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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The garden is producing food!

Okay, so its only a few ripe tomatoes and some nice green beans to add to our salads, but still there is food ready to be picked.  The kids are excited to help with picking the current available produce and the older two are actually trustworthy enough to pick only what is ready.

As you will see in the pictures the garden is very green and resembles a small jungle.  We stayed small this year and still tried to plant as much as we could in the small area.  Lesson learned.  While it works, we have space in the yard and will devote more to our garden next summer.  Then maybe you could look at the next picture and see that there are several plants growing, and not just a sea of green! 

Madeline directing Owen where to go to pick the beans.  She likes to instruct him and he usually is pretty easy going about listening to her (even when he shouldn't!)


Trying to avoid stepping on plants in order to get at other plants which is not an easy task.


 The pepper plants are staying small but two are producing some peppers, so maybe they are supposed to stay small?  I don't really know as I have had little success with them over the years. But peppers are peppers and these are growing so I am happy
The peppers are growing.

And there are a few more hiding out under the leaves. 
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And the mystery of the viney plants in the corner of the garden is solved.  They are all pumpkins.  And we have four pumpkins growing round, which is good since we have four kids.

It's a pumpkin!
Another pumpkin!
And a third pumpkin!!

I found my cucumber plant growing on the other side of the beans, not where I marked it.  Next time I need to mark the seeds when they are planted, not a few days later!

I am excited to see how many tomatoes we get (not pictured since most are still green).  I have never made my own pasta sauce but with the amount of green tomatoes growing in the garden it is on my to-do list this year.  Now I just need to find a really good, and preferably simple, recipe. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Happy Wife Project: Expectations vs Reality

Go Forth and Mother


Sometimes I feel like I am ungrateful for not being as happy with my life as I should be. And that I should be grateful everyday for the life I have.  I mean it is what I wanted right?  And now that I have it shouldn't I be overjoyed and thrilled all the time? 

I'm not sure what I expected daily life to be.  But I know I was better at it all somehow.  The house was cleaner in my expectations.  I always had things for my kids to do and I wanted to play with them endlessly.  Dinner was always perfect and everyone loved it.  Homeschooling never entered into my expectations so of course I had kids ready and out there door to school on time every day and I always had time to help the PTO. 

Chaos did not have a place in my expectations.

I'll let you in on a little secret- my life is not exactly like I pictured it. 

And I feel somehow less because of it sometimes.  Not quite as happy as I should be.

But when I stumble upon bloggers like Amy, I read posts that make me feel less alone. 

Yes I should be more grateful for what I have, and think less about what I don't have or what others do have.  But it is okay to feel down sometimes.  It is okay for reality and expectations not to be the same thing.  But it isn't okay to wallow in it.  It isn't okay to throw up my hands and say "that's it.  I give up.  I am bound to be unhappy."

I guess I never expected to get tired just doing the things that are daily obligations when you have a houseful of people that need looking after.  I did not expect that there would be days that I would just want to run away for a few hours and not have the responsibility sitting on me.  I don't think this makes me a bad person or mom.  I really hope it doesn't. 

I did not expect that I would miss seeing my friends but that when I did actually have time to see them I was so tired that staying home in bed seemed like a better option. 

But then there is the good stuff.  The reasons I smile when I do. 

I have people who love me, most important the four little loves that live in my house and drive me batty on what feels like a daily basis.   They are so free with their love, it's amazing.  My kids routinely and randomly tell me that they love me and want hugs and sunggles.  And amazingly they also seem to know just when I need it most.  I didn't expect that.

I have a husband who goes to work every day to "bring home the bacon" as we like to joke.  Jon loves his job and I am so incredibly grateful for that.  But he also is the one who has supporting us financially sitting heavily on his shoulders.  I don't.  He works a second job during the school year and teaches classes during the summer as well.  This year he is adding courses for his Masters onto his already busy workload.  And he still makes time to help around the house and be an awesome dad to our kids.  How can I not be grateful for all of that?  I didn't expect that I would love him more after ten years of marriage then I did on our wedding day.

I have a part time job that provides me with the flexibility to work only when Jon is home.  I can arrange my work nights around his classes and the kids activities.  I work with women who are funny.  I get an awesome discount that comes in handy when clothing four children.  I didn't expect that.

I have a good, solid house in a quiet neighborhood where we actually know our neighbors and our kids have friends to play with.  In the next year, hopefully sooner, the house will expand to include a very large open room upstairs where at least two of the boys will sleep.  This will allow Madeline to have her own room and allow us to simply spread out a little more.  But even without the additional space it is a good house. And we make it into a great home.  I didn't expect to live in the town we chose. 

It isn't what I expected.  It is loud, and chaotic.  It is messy and silly.  It is also rewarding, loving, and full of the choices that we made.  Jon and I chose to live the life that we are living.  And there is something rewarding and fulfilling just in knowing that. 

And I didn't expect that.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I participated in the Mommy Wars (and I am ashamed)

I was at dinner with friends the other night.  As always work came up as a topic and they were talking about schedules.  My husband was jokingly saying he has a really hard schedule this summer- working 2 hours a day at summer school.  Others were talking about how long their days were.  And then I did it, the thing I hate. 

I said "Well I work 24/7."

Now to be honest I was half joking in saying that.  But still...

I hate the part of me that feels the need to make those comments, even jokingly.  Because parents work 24/7. Working(out of the home) moms work their day job and then come home and work their mom job.  Stay at home moms work their mom job day and then night again.  Dads are the same, whether working out of the house or staying at home.  All parents work 24/7.

But still I felt the need to point out my 24/7 job.  And I know why.  Because a small part of me(that part I really dislike) felt the need for validation.  I work hard dammit, notice it!  But why?  Why should anyone notice how hard I work?  I do it because I want to, because I love my kids.  And because it works for MY life. 

And then yesterday I was reading a friend's Facebook post about having a rough morning.  The kids were bickering and just generally giving her a hard time.  And to top if off, while dealing with them her coffee got cold.  She posted on Facebook and others responded with sympathy and some empathy because many of us have been there (more often then we'd like I think).  Well someone felt the need to point out it could be worse because she could be heading out to work too.  This friend (with the rough morning)is a fellow stay at home mom.  She likes being home with her kids.  She can be home with her kids.  This kind of comment gets to me because its like looking at a person complaining about having a rough day at work and saying "It could be worse, you could be unemployed for months on end."  We all KNOW it could be worse.  But sometimes we need to complain a little anyway.  I don't know the person who made the comment, it is a friend of my friend.  She could have been a work out of the house mom who wanted to be a stay at home mom.  She could have simply been trying (and most likely was trying) to make my friend feel better as we all were.  But I read it as a not-so-helpful comment.  Because of that small place inside of me.

I participated in the mommy wars and then I judged someone who I saw as doing the same.  I often feel like I need to justify what I do and why I do it.  Not to those who are close to me, they have all been supportive of the life choices Jon and I have made.  But to society as a whole.  To those who make small comments about my being a stay at home mom.  And I don't know why.  I don't know why I care what others think, I wish I didn't.  But at times (when I made my comment or read that of another) I participate in the mommy wars.  And I dislike it.  It isn't often, in fact it probably comes down to rarely.  But I wish I could say I never did it.  Because in the end I am doing what is right for my family.  I work hard all day and at night as well.  My work out of the house peers work hard during the day and at night as well too.   But no matter how often we day things like that, the mommy wars still exist. 

And I need to stop participating in them.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Garden is Growing(and it is currently very green!)

I am amazed.  Each year I plant seeds and seedlings with grand plans to weed daily and water as often as needed.  And every year I fail.  My garden usually still grows some things but not nearly as well as it would if I actually took care of it.

This year is more of the same. Planting with great plans.  Starting off strong. And slowly dwindling to not weeding at all and depending on the rain or Jon to take care of watering it.  I get caught up in all the other things to do around here and forget.  But there is a small difference this year.

Even with me forgetting to take care of the garden regularly it is flourishing.  And that isn't just my opinion.  Our family came up this weekend to celebrate Ben and Wyatt's birthdays and there were several comments about how well my garden is growing. 

Boy am I glad that I finally got off my butt Sunday morning and weeded it! 

The tomatoes are green and small but they are plentiful.  The carrots are doing well and finally thinned so that they will grow.  My squash plant is finally growing.  The pumpkins and cucumbers are taking over their corner of the garden as well as my yard (Jon had to move the vine in order to mow around the garden).  Jon strung up the beans so they are much happier to be growing up and not along the ground. 

The lettuce is not growing which is odd since that is one plant that has always grown fairly easily.  But new house, new soil so maybe that is why.  I'll have to look into it before next spring. 

And here are pictures to prove that I am not a huge liar:
cucumber or pumpkin?  I have no idea

the other "cucumber or pumpkin" plant

see the flowers? 

lots of tomatoes.  tiny and green but growing!

There is a bigger tomato hiding under there

peppers are growing!

baby summer squash!

there are the green beans hiding in there.

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes Volume 16

Another week of summer down, 6 more weeks to go before Jon heads back to work full time.  To me that is when summer ends at least, I know the technical date is September 21 (or is the 20?)  Other years would have summer ending with the kids going back to school but this year is a lot different than years past.  But that is still a few weeks away so for now we concentrate on controlling the chaos of summer life. 

What have we been up to this week?

1. Sunday we celebrated Ben and Wyatt's birthdays with family.  The kids had a great time playing with the cousins that they don't see often due to distance.
The birthday cake for the boys.  They loves cars and trucks



2.  Summer bible camp for Madeline and Owen.  They LOVED it.  I am so glad too because Owen was very nervous about going but by day three he was asking to go back next summer and by day five(today) he was asking to stay there all summer.  Sorry little man, the camp ends today. 

3. Wyatt had his 2 year check up.  At 2 years the little guy weighs 30 pounds and is 36 inches tall.  Not so little huh?  He almost outweighs his big brother Ben who at 4 weighs about 32 pounds.  I keep telling Ben to learn how to run and run fast.  Wyatt is doing well in all motor areas but his speech is behind.  I am not concerned as the mother of two other boys who took their time with talking.  I figure he'll get to it when he gets to it.  I also subscribe to the notion that some kids simply take longer to do things, like talk.  The pediatrician is concerned.  After some talk we agreed to meet back when he is 2 1/2 if he is not putting two words together. 

4. We spent some time at the zoo with the younger too.  I love taking my monkeys to see the monkeys.  Jon came home from work on Tuesday with the suggestion so after Wyatt's 2 year appointment we headed on over.  We have a season pass so we can go frequently and the kids really enjoy it.  We ran (well technically Wyatt ran and I chased) from animal to animal. 

5.  I finally ordered the last of my curriculum for the fall.  All About Reading and Spelling You See are on their way here in the next week.  The Story of the World and First Language Lessons Level 2 have bids on them on Ebay.  I guess that isn't technically ordered but if I lose the bids they'll be coming from Amazon next week.

6.  And I got my act together, finished up my homeschool education plans and dropped them off at the central office here in our town.  Now I wait on approval because in my state the district must approve your home education plan.  I don't expect any issues but I will be much happier once the approval letter is in my hand.

7.  My garden is growing!!  I have pumpkins and cucumbers taking over a corner of the garden and I cannot tell them apart.  I only know that they are both there because there are two different kinds of leaves growing off of the mess of vines.  So if anyone visits here, please tell me which is which? They both have long, prickly vines and large orange flowers growing off of them. 



I can't wait to harvest whatever is growing!

For more Quick Takes Visit Jen!