Just another mom blog…

For this child, I have prayed. (Samuel 1:27)

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

The Mourning of a Neat Freak

I might be a slow learner, but it has taken me almost four years to come to terms with the fact that I am no longer a ‘neat freak.’  It all started after my emergency belly surgery, or ‘The Event.’  I had no idea that a simple little surgery would totally turn the life that we knew upside down.

Before The Event, I was a bona fide neat freak, and why not? I had more than enough energy for both myself and probably to fuel a small town somewhere.  So I cleaned…and cleaned…and cleaned some more.  Instead of sitting around, I got up and got busy. I regularly wiped down walls, windows, mirrors, cabinets, showers, fridge, organized and oiled furniture.  Every single day I did laundry, vacuumed, mopped, swept, dusted, scooped the litter, dishes, all counter tops, toilets, and tidying up.  My clothes were hung by type and color, my shoes by type, heel height, then color.  Before grocery shopping, I would go through and organize everything, wipe the fridge down, and toss out old food to make room for the new food.  Every single item in our then apartment had a place and if not, then it was a goner. I took pride in how clean my place was.

After The Event, I simply did not have the energy to get through the day, much less clean.  It may have something to do with the fact that my heart rate is perpetually that of a marathon runner (while running a marathon), or that I developed energy-sapping, super annoying symptoms of POTS.  To this day, I still have to take naps or rest mid-day to get through the rest of the day. It’s annoying.

I used to feel jealous as I watched old TV shows that featured the mom putting dinner on the table in a spotless house and dressed in her high heels, pearls, and dress.  I keep watching in hopes that her representative energy would somehow be contagious and hold the key to getting back to how I used to be. Then I realized that this was in a time where children ‘were to be seen and not heard’.  Women of her day spent hours cleaning and cooking instead of spending time with her children.  They hardly even disciplined their kids, everything was always, “wait until your father gets home.”  It was not a child-centered lifestyle but rather a house-centered one. Who wants to live like that?

In sharp contrast to Before, I spend most of the day sitting around in between activities. Some days I end up allowing myself to do something fun and productive like sewing just so that I don’t lose my mind in all of this.  Usually though, I have to allocate my energy accordingly, and unfortunately the house tidying ends up not getting done.  Don’t get me wrong, I do a decent job.  I mean, I keep the house clean, but not tidy. I keep the bathrooms scrubbed, the floors vacuumed and mopped, the dusting under control, and the laundry washed (but not usually folded for a day or more).  However, the kitchen table is usually half-covered, toys scattered throughout the house, dried pots and pans left in the drying rack, and the fridge is not even remotely as organized as I used to keep it.  On the very rare day that I do have energy, I spend it entirely on tackling major cleaning/organization tasks.  For four years, I have mourned the loss of my energy and thus clean house. For four years I allowed the sight of my untidy house make me feel anxious, nauseous, overwhelmed, and slightly depressed.

Until now.

I finally realized that I do the best I can, and that I need to stop beating myself up over it and actually enjoy life.  The hardest part is that C has not yet accepted this “new” situation. After four years, he still gets as frustrated and angry as the day it all started.  Part of it is my fault. Before we got married, he was totally against cleaning his apartment.  While dating, I used to go over and clean his apartment from top to bottom. I marveled over the 1/4″ thick dust on his bedroom furniture, found myself elbow deep in week-old dishes, and don’t get me started on his bathroom.  You know, like a stereotypical 25 year old bachelor.

Then I came along and showed him The Light.  I showed him how much nicer it is to wake up to a clean, tidy house each day.  After marrying, I continued about my neat freak ways and he slowly learned to be neat himself.  He hated cleaning (still does) but would often step up to help me if I asked him to.  It was great. The bad side is that I used to over-react over the slightest dirt or misplaced item.  I nagged him constantly to put his clothes in the hamper, to not mess up every folded towel in search of the one he prefers using, to pick up his glasses/plates the minute he got up, to not stick his 6-pack of beer in front of the milk to where I had to move it in the beers damp, weak card board carton every single day, to keep his giant shoes in the closet and not in the middle of the floor, and so forth.  I was a total witch about it. I mean, who in their right mind wants to live with a nagging, frequently irritated/angry wife?

Four years later, there is not a trace of my old self to be found when it comes to being so uptight over cleaning.  I am now much more laid back. I now pick up his shoes without complaining, move the beer as needed, tidy up the messed up towels, ignore the dust on his desk, and whatever else needs doing or not.  Its just not important. When he comes home, I want to spend time with him. Good times together without the nagging and witchy-ness.

I spend my time playing with Nathan and doing a decent job with the house.  I feel more at peace inside and happier than I have ever been, sans clean house.  After all, Nathan and I do not mind it one bit if the house isn’t tidy.  The toys on the floor means that we are blessed with a child.  The clothes on the couch means that I keep my family dressed in clean clothes.  The stuff on the table means that I get busy enjoying being a mom the minute I get home from places. The dishes in the sink means that I keep my family fed.  While I would certainly welcome my old energy back any day, for now at least, life is perfect just as it is.


Planning Nathan’s 2nd Birthday Party

Nathan’s second birthday party will be a Dr. Seuss theme! I chose to do this one because I can reuse many of the same items from last year’s pirate party.  I am buying items that have multiple uses to be as practical as possible.  I already invested in some circular cake pans for a tiered cake last year and plan on making him a cake. I am thinking along the lines of these:

I will have a red table cloth with a runner made from this fabric with giant red pom pom trim on the edges:

I’m doing a really cute favor bag/gifts for all of the little ones. I am doing a paper-lantern “chandelier” above the table in blue, white, red, and (I think) green:

I will also have tons of balloons. Paper lanterns and balloons are the quickest, least expensive options to decorate for a party. Plus, the kids LOVE them and can take balloons home as party favors. 🙂 I will reuse the other decor for next year’s party and for Christmas. 🙂

I will have lots of goodies such as a bowl full of red gumdrops, and giant blue/white swirl lolly pops with Dr. Seuss tags on them:

As part of his birthday gift, I found him seven kids books by Dr. Seuss! I got them for super-cheap from thriftbooks.com for around $3.50 each with free shipping.  I will use them as decoration and then he’ll have them to read later on after the party.

Cute things for Fall :-)

This will be the last “things I love” post! I will be setting up a pinterest account to share cute things with you guys soon.


tea infuser

kitchen timer

Super-cute bath rug for kids

For toddler boys:

6 months later…

Yesterday I headed on over to Dr. M’s for my 6 month check-up following my cancer scare.  While there I mentioned that I was still experiencing a particular bleeding issue. Dr. M added a ductogram to my routine twice-yearly mammogram.  I guess with my family history and personal history that I am high-risk of cancer so I have to get mammograms from now on.  The ductogram will allow the radiologists to use dye to ‘see’ the duct and possibly identify the source of bleeding.  Usually it is just a benign growth in the duct that causes bleeding. In a few cases it can be due to ductal carcinoma in situ, which is the most common and least worrisome form of breast cancer. The vast majority of them are just benign conditions, so I am not worried.

She wanted me to go ahead and get evaluated to be safe, but there is a chance that I may be starting The Saga of the 5th Bean. Since mammograms are x-rays, and x-rays are not permitted during pregnancy, I have to wait until I know for sure before I can have the test.  We are not trying for a baby this month, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

I am not sure what I am supposed to do for the mammogram if I AM pregnant though. Hmm…I probably need to ask the doc about that part.  I am SO lucky to have Dr. M keeping an eye out for me. She is seriously hands-down the best doc ever! No wonder she made the official “Best Doctors of Cinci” list.  How cool is that?

Anyho0…last night we met our friends and hung out. The hubs went and played golf while us ladies and babies went to get some coffee.  Nathan did a great job of scaring the ever living beheebies out of those poor parents with their sweet, smiley 10-month old son.  At one point while eating dinner together, I looked over longingly at their 10-month old son and reminisced about how Nathan used to be so sweet and content all the time. I then looked over at Nathan, who was squirming in his booster seat after throwing food down in a fit over wanting to “geet down!” (get down) and screaming. All I could say was, “What happened to you???” My sweet baby-turned-hellion (is Helion a bad word?) is a totally different child now, which is never more evident then when we are around older infants.  Oh well. This phase shall past. Possibly with the help of plenty of advil and a few glasses of wine, but it shall past. (Hurry phase, hurry!)

Back Home; New rules & changes

This weekend we headed South for my cousin’s wedding. She is really more like a little sister to me. The wedding was absolutely gorgeous.  It was fun getting together with my mom’s side of the family, just like old times.  I was a little sad because my mom is obviously missing from the group.  I really enjoyed seeing Nathan playing with all of his cousins.  Our children play just like we used to back in the day. Well, except for the iphones, ipods, game systems, and other electronics.

Nathan was an absolute Helion though. He threw tantrums at every attempt to redirect. He refused to sit at the table and wanted to run around.  I assumed this was normal toddler behavior until I watched how several of his cousins his same age behaving wonderfully. One cousin who is a year older than Nathan actually came up to me and told me that he needed time out!  The others listened to their parents, did not throw tantrums over every little thing, and they sat and quietly played the entire wedding ceremony.  I then realized that it is high time that we start raising our expectations of this child and following through with discipline if he doesn’t meet them.  We discussed and agreed upon a new set of expectations for Nathan:

  • Mealtime rules: He is to sit at the table at meals until we are finished eating. He can play, wiggle around, or whatever as long as he is not standing up on his seat or climbing onto the table.  He can not throw food down onto the floor when he gets mad for not getting his way.
  • He cannot have free run of every place that we visit unless we tell him so.  We are not going to chase him around anymore. If we call him to come back or clearly show/tell him where he is to stay then he must do so.
  • Tantrums: We do not expect him to be tantrum-free, however, we are no longer tolerating him throwing mini-tantrums every single time he does not get what he wants.  I also will no longer tolerate him kicking me when he is throwing a tantrum. It is embarrassing how many bruises I have on my legs from him doing this.  I have had enough of that.

(Goodness! He sounds positively awful when I put it in words!)

This is my first child, so I don’t have a frame of reference for what is normal vs what needs to be modified in terms of his behavior.  So we started to enforce these rules and a funny thing happened: he started behaving better! In no time at all, he started to listen to us. If he was running around and I called him to come back, he hesitated but then did so. I praised him lavishly for his good behavior.  While we were eating breakfast, normally one of us has to get up and chase him around because he doesn’t want to sit there anymore. We enforced the rule that he is to wait until we are done eating, and you know what? He did it! I am really proud of him. He seems to like having more boundaries to follow and we do too.

I know he is not even two yet, but he is very smart for his age. My cousin and his wife, both doctors, have four kids and they mentioned to me that he is very smart too.  All of their kids are different from one another, but one in particular is more head-strong and ahead in her development than the others were at the same age like Nathan is.  They shared with me some things that works for them and I found that it seems to also work for Nathan.

Anyhow…Nathan and I will be starting home-school Montessori pre-school education next month if all goes well.  Nathan just started to write some of his letters and numbers on his own accord such as two, eight, M, N, O, and L. I have several family members who are doing homeschooling and several friends at church who are also homeschooling.  It is so nice to know others doing the same things as we hope to do!

Note: Religious Discussion Below:

For other news, I am actively working on incorporating more religion in our lives.  I have very strong faith, but due to my negative experiences with others (mostly fellow Christians) being critical of me, I have always hidden it from others.  I realized that unless I lead by example, Nathan has no way of seeing how faith plays in our lives. I am in charge of teaching him and showing him the way. Actually, the husband is supposed to do this based on biblical teachings, but not all husband want to do this and someone has to so the little ones can have an example to follow. So I am working on learning more from the bible and learning in more detail the stories that I already know.  I really wish that I had a knowledgable person to ask my self-guided questions to but I will do the best I can. Self-guided is the key with me, less I end up more confused then when I started.

One of the things that I really appreciate is that I am continuing to grow as a person to become more like we are encouraged to be.  Like everyone else in the known world, I have my flaws but with His help, they are slowly but surely beginning to get better.  The evidence is obvious: I am a different person than who I used to be five years ago.

One of my major breakthroughs lately is realizing that we are like lumps of clay that God has on the spinning wheel to mold and shape us into the people He wants us to be.  The ground-breaking realization is that WE are not in charge of shaping others, for example, our spouses.  So when we face a quality that we do not like and wish our spouses would change, it does no good to “pray it away.”  Facing this quality again and again is designed to shape OUR responses, not theirs, and over time we will finally learn to handle it in the good ways. The key is to pray for God to help you respond to the situation in the way that He wants you to, and for help in accomplishing this task He sat before you.  Those uncomfortable situations are designed to irritate us until, like an oyster does, we shape that grain of irritation into a beautiful pearl. This really helped me to see things differently than before I understood this.

Another, more recent, breakthrough came from attempting to study the stories I already know but in more detail.  I took a closer look at the story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Good and Evil, which ultimately led to sin in mankind.  The key is understanding that the tree was of evil AND good… meaning it had both of these components.  Eve was not trying to pursue evil, but only what she thought on her own accord was good.  Thus, the pursuit of self-led ‘good’ led to sin. The lesson is for us to not go off in the pursuit of what we believe to be good for us, but rather to make decisions based on what the bible teaches.  For example:

A Husband has a strong desire to pursue something in his life. He wants to become rich and sets out to make it happen for his family but does not include Him to guide his decision making.  He gets a great job but it has long hours.  His kids and wife are not happy about this and they express how they would rather have him there in a good mood than wealth.  He sticks to his belief that the wealth is good for him and ignores them and the signs that it is, in fact, not good for him at all. He ends up lonely and either divorces or has an affair, both of which are sins. Again, the pursuit of self-led ‘good’ leads to sin without the blessings of His teachings.

A Christian man does not do this. While he may originally pursue his self-led desires, he will pay attention to his family’s requests and also to the symptoms that may arise. If his marriage begins to suffer, he addresses it even at the expense of his desires because he knows that God does not approve of him placing his own desires above others, especially not his spouse whom He joined together.  He teaches, God first, others second, yourself last.

This article explains this better than I can:

“Good Rather Than God”

Decorations on a Budget

As stay-at-home moms, we often have to find creative ways to save money especially on non-essentials like decorating. One of my projects is to decorate a playroom for our son.  I recently came across some more inexpensive (and Cute!) DIY project ideas. Check out this repurposed/salvage table made from a large cable spool, which is great for the environment and the wallet!


Check out this wall shelf idea made from old drawers:


Another idea is for a creative way to make use of those packed plastic storage bins by using them as a platform for a bench!  I may do this with some of Nathans bins of baby clothes.


Finally, if you want to update a builder-grade ceiling light into something with a little more pizazz, then consider using a repurposed drum lamp shade to create a custom drum chandelier!






Remember this look?

The, “I am so busted” face At ~13 months

And at 22 months…

And the, “I am concentrating face” at 4m, 6m, 14m, 18m




And never forget to cherish the blessings that you have.

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