Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Son Swallowed a Quarter

In a newly invented game--one that he thought of himself--my six-year old son swallowed a quarter. The game? A spin-off of Hungry, Hungry Hippos: "Stuff Your Mouth With Coins--See How Much You Can Hold." Except he couldn't hold as much as he thought he could, and down went the quarter.

He came upstairs, crying and scared. "Mom, I swallowed a quarter. Am I gonna die?" Me, not thinking he was capable of such a feat, wondered why he would be making up a story like this. But after lots of questioning, "Are you serious? Are you really serious?" and affirming he was in fact serious, the second line of questioning was, "Are you sure it was a quarter?" We are learning about the different coins right now, and I told him to show me exactly what coin he had put in his mouth. He produced a quarter.

With the coins from his piggy bank spread in piles (pennies, nickles, quarters minus one) all over the living room, he began to cry. "I don't want to die. This was too short of a life! I didn't even get to fly a plane."

I assured him that I didn't think he would die. He assured me that he would. We went in for the x-ray. On the way, I lectured him about how we don't have insurance and Christmas is in a few days (this was last week) and this is not what I want to be spending money on. Then, thoughts of surgery, flashed through my mind, and huge, horrible bills. I just prayed the quarter would go down and out quickly.

I realized he did not need lecturing in what he believed were his final moments on earth, but rather compassion and mercy. I stopped lecturing and drove silently the rest of the way. That was as much mercy as I could muster right then.

Sure enough, the x-ray showed a quarter. Fortunately, it was in his abdomen--not his trachea or esophagus, which would have required surgery in our nearest metropolitan city four hours away, since no surgeon will touch that kind of surgery here in our smallish city.

I think it's since entered the sewer system. Despite our daily checking, I think we missed its exit.

Tonight, our middle son began crying before bed and asked if he would die if he swallowed a nail. After another line of intent questioning, he admitted he did in fact swallow a nail.  My stomach sunk to the floor.
I buried my head in my hands. My husband asked him why in the world he would do such a thing. Through tears, he answered, "Because my nail was sharp and I was mad at it, so I wanted it off." It was his finger-nail.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A "Good Enough" Christmas

Is it just me, or does this Christmas seem a little different from years past? The house isn't clean enough; the tree isn't decorated enough (the ribbon ran out half-way down, and I have yet to finish it; several ornaments were removed after curious hands broke too many); the baking isn't done; cards aren't even started. My son swallowed a quarter last week and it has yet to make its way out. It's just one of those years.

I could keep stressing about it all and the lack of being the way I want it to be. Or I could relax and realize it is good enough and enjoy it as it is.

photo credit

I often wonder what Mary thought two-thousand years ago, as she prepared to give birth to her baby boy, in a place and circumstance that wasn't quite good enough. Far from home, in an unfamiliar town, with unfamiliar people. No family around. Her mother was not there to help her give birth, probably not even a mid-wife. And the location? Giving birth to God's Son in a dirty stable? Laying a newborn in a manger for feeding livestock? You've got to be kidding. Nothing seemed good enough.

And yet it was. Even more than good enough, it was one of the holiest nights (along with the Resurrection) in all history.

So even if things don't seem just so, let's remember what it is that we're really celebrating. Even the most bare-bones Christmas experience is still worlds compared to what the mother of Christ herself experienced. It's not about the fanfare. It's about the event.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The 30 Minute Principle

The list of things I'm falling behind on grows by the minute. It's beginning to look a lot like those giant Christmas lists Santa unrolls in the movies. For example, when I learned I was having a girl this time around, I purchased material to sew some adorable clothes in Making Children's Clothes. I'm a beginner seamstress; I just haven't begun.

Another example--
My third son (who just turned three and can't say his "j's" yet) looked at the wall of pictures the other day and said, "Mom, where's Whack in these pictures?" (His name is Jack). Yeah, no pictures of him on the wall anywhere. In fact, his baby book isn't even begun.

That's why I love the 30 minute principle:
Work at something every day--be it a creative project like scrapbooking or sewing, or a necessary project like putting laundry away--for 30 focused minutes (or as many focused minutes as you can with small children in the house). Set a timer if you want. When the 30 minutes is over, put the project away for the day, and start again the next day where you left off.

I read about this idea in Teri Maxwell's book Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit (which is fabulous, by the way). She says that disorganization can be one of the biggest hindrances to a meek (not easily perturbed) and quiet (gentle) spirit. I definitely find that to be true in my own life. This 30-minute principle, although referenced in Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, is actually from her other book, Managers of Their Homes.

So whether it's getting your house under control, or finding time to work on a hobby, I encourage you to find a way to put the 30 minute principle into action! That half hour is a perfect length of time to get something accomplished without getting burned out (especially when you're cleaning or organizing). Thirty minutes a day, then stop until the next day. You may find yourself even looking forward to it...unless of course, the job that's been put off too long is cleaning out the fridge!

(linked up at Works for Me Wednesday)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Giveaway

I received an email announcement about this giveaway and thought I would share it with you! Good luck! I know my boys would love the castle blocks!

With the holiday season upon us and many people getting caught up in commercial buzz, Primrose Schools is encouraging families to slow down and reflect on their favorite things. Dr. Zurn, the Vice President of Education and Professional Development for Primrose, is helping spread her love of giving to her Dr. Z and Friends followers by sharing her Favorite Things with you and your children!

For the remainder of this week and all of next week, until December 16th, Dr. Z will describe one of her Favorite Things in a blog post and give it away at the end of the day; simply leave a comment on her post to enter for that day's giveaway and a winner will be chosen at random to win not only that day's Favorite Thing but you will also win a book that reflects the same theme.

So far, Dr. Z has given away a music set, a full collection of children’s books, and an iPad with an iTunes giftcard. The prizes for the remaining prizes for the first week are as follows, with next week’s prizes being announced soon:

December 8th: A Groupon gift card for you to use on your next family outing. The book is Field Trip Day by Lynne Plourde.

December 9th:
ArchiQuest Blocks: Kings and Castles

The book is
Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs

More about Dr. Mary Zurn: She has been with Primrose Schools since 2004 and has been paramount in developing the curriculum taught in the family of over 200 early education day care practices. With over 40 years of experience, she began her blog as a way to communicate with parents and loved ones her love for education and children.

More prizes being given away next week! Go here to enter.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

So there are some great sales at Safeway right now that I want to take advantage of, but other than that, I am trying to plan my menu around the meats I have in the freezer (and beans) and the vegetables on hand. Need to get some fruit for the week, though.

  • Oatmeal, orange juice
  • French breakfast puffs, homemade hot chocolate
  • Scrambled eggs, toast, kiwi fruit
  • Muffins, Greek yogurt with granola and honey
  • Cream of wheat
  • pancakes
  • Oven-baked omelet, toast
  • Goulash, bread and butter, oranges
  • Cheesy beef and rice, green beans
  • Vegetable beef soup, rolls
  • Chicken salad sandwiches, grapes
  • Leftovers
  • (Saturday--snacks)
  • Sunday--chili cheese dip during football
  • Pork roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, brussel sprouts, chocolate cake
  • Pork stir fry over rice, tropical fruit salad
  • Roasted chicken (or in crockpot), butternut squash, Normandy blend vegetables
  • Beef stew (crockpot), milk, bread and butter, honey
  • Pinto beans and rice (taco style), corn
  • Skillet ziti with broccoli and chicken
Visit Menu Plan Monday for more ideas!
  • Potato soup, salad

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm A Mommy, Not A Mompreneur (Part 2)

The Internet provides a fabulous way for moms to earn money from home. It sounds like a dream come true: stay-at-home to raise your children, wash your laundry, cook your meals, clean your house, offer hospitality to friends and strangers, and earn some money, too, without ever leaving your front door.

But is it really that easy? Or has feminism so crept into our beliefs that we as Christian women—many of whom profess to stand staunchly against the doctrines of feminism--are feminists and we don’t even realize it?

Feminism encourages women to pursue careers outside the home, but does Christian feminism encourage women to pursue careers inside the home? Even Christians who think they oppose feminism may find they have subconsciously been so influenced by it that they, too, crave career success, but justify it by working from home. But if one seeks to climb the career ladder in one’s field from inside the home, is that really any different than doing the same thing outside the home?

"The mompreneur movement is one steadily growing in the US as mothers try to find ways to make money, express their creativity or business acumen, and also to parent their children". --source

Read what World Net Daily has to say about feminism's influence in culture today and see if it applies to the mompreneur movement:

"So many women – and men – have bought into the notion that women should work outside the home that for the first time in American history, and perhaps world history, vast numbers of children are not primarily raised by their mothers or even by an extended family member. Instead they are raised for a significant part of their childhood by nannies and by workers at day care centers. Whatever feminists may say about [they’re] only advocating choices, everyone knows the truth: Feminism regards work outside the home as more elevating, honorable and personally productive than full-time mothering and homemaking." (bold mine) source
We may say we agree with those statements (or we may not), but what I'd like us to ask ourselves is:

Do we regard work inside the home as more elevating, honorable and personally productive than full-time mothering and homemaking?

There are so many moms out there earning a part-or full-time income from making products, writing articles, and marketing their sites and products online. Nothing wrong with that. The Proverbs 31 woman, who provides us an excellent example of biblical femininity, was involved in the marketplace, no doubt. Proverbs 31 tells us she sewed and sold linen garments, traded goods, and bought a field out of her earnings. Yet, all of her endeavors were for the good of her household—not for her own career success. From this, I gather that there is a distinction between a mom selling craft items or writing articles in her spare time and a mompreneur aggressively pursuing success from within her own home.

Plus, it sounds like the children of the Proverbs 31 woman were not small. They arose and blessed her. This tells us they were old enough to: 1) walk, and 2) talk. Perhaps she wasn’t involved in the marketplace when she was fully involved in raising small children?

Yet, many mompreneurs are not only trying to rise to the top in their fields, they’re usually also parenting little ones who desperately need Mom’s training and attention. They might even be homeschooling, too. They either have superhuman organizational skills and manage to excel at it all, or the work-family balance is out of balance.

“One of the principal issues the mompreneur faces is learning how to balance the requirements of her children with the needs of her business. This is why many sites advise people new to running a business to create small realistic expectations that will not cause too much of a burden to especially young children.” --source

The truth is--we really can't do it all. Even Crystal Paine, the famous money-saving mom, admits that her success comes with a price—it’s not a cake-walk.

“I am a firm believer that, with God's blessings and lots of hard work, anyone can successfully work from home. However, I will be the first to tell you that working from home is just that–it's work...
I won't sugar-coat the truth when it comes to working from home: if you are not prepared to put in lots and lots and lots of time and effort, working from home won't work for you.”--

Motherhood—being a good mom—is already a full-time job. Homeschooling, for those that do, is at least a part-time job. Keeping house, making nutritious meals and caring for the needs of our families is another full-time job. Since I already have two full-time jobs and one part-time job, I can’t take on anymore in this season. That’s why I’m a mommy, not a mompreneur.