This is an old shed on my sister’s farm. I took this photo in the beginning of October and just came across it tonight while organizing a back log of photos. I just love the way the light plays across the grass and the shed.
The first 4 years my hubby and I were married we were in college full-time and it led to bad housekeeping habits. (Not that I was great at keeping up with housekeeping before) Piles of dishes, clothes and stuff everywhere and then we tackled multiple home construction projects during various breaks from school. I’m sure some of my christmas village decorations still have sheetrock and plaster dust on them from that season in our lives.
Then we graduated, moved and had jobs with normal hours. Unfortunately, rather than taking advantage of those extra hours to start some good habits in regards to our housekeeping, we just sat around and watched shows on hulu.com. Truthfully, we did more than that but we took full advantage of not having any homework to do!
A year later our first baby arrived, Abigail. We now had sleepless nights, work, daycare, diapers and spending quality time with our daughter. No good housekeeping habits started during that season either.
Then, our second baby arrived, Elsie, and I quit my job to stay home with both girls. Suddenly, I was faced with dirty dishes, diapers, clothes and dog hair everywhere. I wanted to get and keep things clean but I really struggled as I nursed Elsie 24 hours a day (it seemed like) and was potty training Abigail. Our baby would sleep for maybe 30 minutes at a time and our toddler stopped taking naps. When I would try to clean up their room Abigail would cry and say she liked everything out. Oh boy, I knew then that I was in trouble. I needed to get this house under control so our kids understand how nice it is to have a clean place to play and be able to find their toys easily.
Funny how housekeeping habits didn’t materialize when it was just my hubby and I. 🙂 It was easy to just put it off until later. Now that we have little ones in the house and the chaos is in my face everyday I see the importance of a clean house. The importance of teaching them very young to help clean up because hopefully I will foster better habits in them than I possessed for most of my life.
I was not born with the innate ability to keep a perfectly clean house. Or even a mostly clean house. I have to work hard at it. I am comfortable with just a little bit too much mess around. Unfortunately for me once it gets too messy I have a hard time figuring out where to start and how best to get it all done. As I get in the habit of keeping one area of the house pretty picked up I hope it will allow me to get to some of the other areas too. And at some point I will be able to say the whole house is clean. Even on a day when the only people who will see it are Terry and the girls.
This week I am doing a trial run of some weekly goals. I am starting out pretty small because I want to be able to accomplish them and add some more. If I feel defeated the first week then I won’t stick with it.
Goals for this week:
Run dishwasher and put away dishes twice (unless there aren’t that many dishes to wash)
Wash two loads of cloth diapers
Wash two loads of other laundry
Tidy living room before hubby gets home three times. (Bonus for vacuuming too)
Feed the girls fruit with lunch at least four times
Today I got the living room cleaned up and vacuumed before Terry got home, cleaned up the floor of our coat closet (which was a mess of shoes and bags) and i picked over 2 gallon bags (approx 6-7lbs) of green beans from the garden. Also, both girls ate protein and fruit for lunch. It was a good day! 🙂
After reading this post I was inspired to write a little of our story regarding giving and taking. I am refering to the giving of time and talents, of volunteering.
Most of my years in church have been as a taker. There were seasons of giving back but we are currently in our most consistent and longest running period of volunteering. And as I type that I am keenly aware that these last 4 years have also been the most consistent in our giving of tithes to the church also.
Within the first 6 months of being at our current church we were recruited by some friends to serve on the greeting team, then a few months later we had our first child and became part of the nursery team as well. Not too long after, I saw a volunteer opening at the church office and felt I could put my accounting background to good use there.
We have been very involved for the last 4 years and some months I just wish we could quit volunteering because I feel so stretched. Then I think of how much I enjoy smiling and saying “Good Morning” to everyone arriving at church and being that welcoming face to a brand new attendee that doesn’t know what it’s like to do church in a movie theater. I think of how cute those new little babies are (we don’t get the brand new ones, but the older ones are really cute too) and how fun it is to cuddle them and show them that Jesus loves them. Then I think of the work I do at the church office; how what I do helps the pastors to focus on teaching and loving people instead of stressing over finances.
It would be easy to go back to being a taker, but then again, it wouldn’t. I am showing people the love of Jesus one smile at a time.
I think people don’t realize that giving of yourself reaps it’s own rewards. It always feels like work to me before I start. Then the smiles, the handshakes, the cuddles (in the nursery) remind me that people matter more than a few extra minutes of sleep. More than getting a good seat in the service, getting my favorite kind of donut or getting enough cream in my coffee.
…Hillbilly Handfishin’ on Animal Planet?
Here’s the idea. Go down into a muddy river at night (without a boat) and stick your hands, fingers, feet and toes into holes as bait for catching catfish.
If that sounds gross, disgusting and somewhat dangerous, you will probably enjoy watching this version instead.
On Saturday night while Terry & my father-in-law put up some sheetrock in our dining room I apparently went a little crazy.
I went into the basement to look at my yarn stash and decided to start a sweater for my youngest niece for Christmas out of Dream in Color Classy. While I was looking at all the different colors I thought it would be a great idea to knit some thick warm socks for my sister-in-law and my other 2 nieces while I was at it. Also for Christmas.
Then yesterday (Sunday) I said something to Terry about it and he felt the need to tell me just how many days I had to knit these things. Yesterday was the 5th and we are celebrating Christmas with that side of the family on the 18th. Which left me 13 days to knit 3 pairs of socks and a sweater during my free time (basically none) and while I’m nursing Elsie (I do this a lot). I have other things to do while I’m feeding Elsie though, like pay bills, work from home for my part-time job, read books to Abigail and try to catch up on the last 12 weeks of blog reading that I’m behind on. Oh yeah, and I’m trying to read the entire Bible in 90 days. Do I set some unrealistic goals for myself. No… I don’t think so:) If only I could figure out how to read and knit at the same time. Maybe if I wasn’t reading the Bible on my phone and needing to scroll the page up every few seconds it would work out better.
I guess I can show you what I did knit in the last month! We celebrated 4 months of birthdays over the Thanksgiving weekend and I made a couple of birthday presents.
I knit these socks for my sister.
I knit both a cowl…
…and a neck warmer for my sister-in-law.
I just love the buttons my mom helped me find for this!
Last week was beet week. On Thursday I ran out to the garden during naptime and picked enough beets to fill my stock pot. I washed the soil off, trimmed the tops & the roots. Then you add the beets to the pot, fill with cold water and boil until fork tender.
These beets have just been taken out of the pot and are cooling for a bit in the sink. As soon as they are cool enough to handle you basically rub the skin off. It’s easier than it sounds. 🙂
Here they are all skinned and ready to be cut up and frozen.
And this picture I just thought looked cool.
I picked another batch on Friday with Abigail helping me before naptime and then again Friday night by flashlight because it was supposed to frost on Saturday.
We froze 6 cups on Thursday, 6 cups on Friday and 26 cups on Sunday (these beets filled my 4 largest pots) for a total of 38 cups of beets frozen for the winter from last week. We did process some beets earlier in the year too so we have more than that total in the freezer.
Today was my first day on my own at my new job.
I know it seems pretty early to be going to work after having a baby just 2 weeks ago but it was time.
I have 2 bosses and so far the older one is proving to be a little more demanding than the other at about 2pm and again around 5pm.
They are super cute though. 🙂
Today I started my journey as a stay-at-home-mom.
I would say my first day went pretty well.
-Abigail woke up at 8 and we ate cereal while Elsie slept.
-We all got dressed to go to Elsie’s 2-week check-up and Abigail helped me by grabbing last minute things like shoes, jackets & the diaper bag while I fed Elsie.
-We made it out the door & to Elsie’s appointment on time.
-No toddlers ran away from me in the parking lot.
-We arrived home and Abigail & I worked on an art project while Elsie napped.
-A friend stopped over for a few minutes and was greeted by a mostly clean house, a mostly behaved toddler & a cute baby.
-Abigail had a meltdown when I asked her to use the potty before her nap. We tried to work through it and I finally just put her to bed thinking I would have to wash her sheets later. She woke up dry.
-All three of us napped at the same time today and we all woke up after Terry got home from work.
-We had chili that I put in the freezer about 5 weeks ago for supper. It was a recipe I had never tried before and we all enjoyed it. I split it into 2 gallon freezer bags and one of them would be enough for 4-5 adults. Terry is bringing some to work for lunch and then we have another meal of chili ready to go for later in the week.
I am glad my first day went well. I know every day won’t be productive or I won’t feel motivated to write a blog post about how it all went but today was a good day.
Today’s lesson learned: Naptime is a wonderful time of day.
Our sweet second daughter is 10 days old today.
Here is her story.
On September 4th I was 36 weeks and we made a trip to the hospital at 1:30am because I was have contractions 2-3 minutes apart. I had progressed from 1cm dilated (at my dr. appt. the day before) to 3cm but my contractions were not very strong. We went home. We spent each day wondering if today would be the day.
September 10th I had my 37 week Dr. appointment. Everything looked good but there was no change from the previous week at the hospital. Terry and I were not too disappointed because this was a big weekend for us and we needed to be available.
Terry is running for MN House of Representatives and September 10-12 is our town’s annual celebration. This was going to be Terry’s big opportunity for getting his name out to a massive number of voters during the parade on Saturday & during the Community Expo on Sunday.
Saturday, September 11th, I walked the whole parade route on plus another 5-6 blocks home for a total of 2 miles on Saturday. It felt like my belly was tight the entire time.
I had a random person at the end of the parade tell me I looked like the baby had dropped. I wasn’t real optimistic. I was tired by the time I got home and ready to just chill. I was able to relax that day.
Sunday, September 12th, I got up and took Abigail to church and had another person tell me it looked like the baby was real low. I noted later that it was much easier to carry Abigail on my hip (or closer to my hip) than it had been recently. Abigail and I then went to the Community Expo to help out Terry for the afternoon. We lasted a couple of hours before both Abigail and I needed to go home and take naps.
Elsie was usually quite active as soon as my belly would hit the mattress but she didn’t really seem like herself that afternoon. Just before I got up from my nap I felt a couple of very tiny light kicks but that was about it. I started to get a little nervous when I thought about how little I had felt her move in the last day. I put a call in to my sister to ask her opinion. She also told me I only had 31 hours left if I wanted to give her a niece as a birthday present. 🙂 I laughed, what were the chances of that happening?
I decided to call the dr. and see what she thought. We decided to run to the hospital for some quick monitoring to make sure everything was okay. We left at 8pm (Abigail’s bedtime) and brought her with us. We told her we were just going to listen to Elsie’s heartbeat and we wouldn’t be bringing a baby home. We ended up getting checked out in the hospital room Abigail was born in. We thought that was pretty special for Abigail to get to see and she was so thrilled when we told her.
It turned out Elsie was just fine and they sent us home. Abigail was disappointed we were going home and told us she didn’t want to go home she wanted to have a baby. As we drove home we told her that we wanted Elsie to come too but it wasn’t going to happen that night. We told her she could pray and ask God to help baby Elsie come soon. So she prayed in the car on our way home and then she fell asleep.
We arrived home at about 10pm, cleaned up a few things, I did some laundry and we got to bed at about 11:30pm. I remember waking up and feeling weird then I realized I was having a contraction. I went back to sleep and woke up to another contraction. It was a pretty strong contraction compared to what I had the previous week. I shifted and felt a little…ah…gurgle. I said “oh no” or “uh oh” or something like that. Terry woke up and asked me what what wrong. I told him I would stand up to confirm what I thought had happened. I stood, felt a gush and rushed across the hall to the bathroom. My water had broken. I looked at the clock thinking it must be 2 or 3am only to find it was 12:34am. We had only been in bed for 1 hour. Terry called his mom to come and stay with Abigail and started rushing around to make sure we had everything ready. I called the Dr. She asked how often I was having contractions and I said I didn’t know exactly but I had had 3 contractions in the 10 minutes between my water breaking and my call to her.
She said to come on back to the hospital. Terry continued to rush around getting things ready for us to go. He also picked up a few things around the house and filled the dishwasher while we waited for his mom to arrive. While he was doing that, I opened up my contraction timer app on my phone and tried to get dressed in between contractions. They were coming every 2-2.5 minutes apart and pretty quickly I needed to kneel by the bed and breathe through each one. At that point I told Terry if his mom didn’t arrive soon we were not going to make it to the hospital. He called her and found out she was pretty close. We left the lights on and the dogs roaming the house.
We made it out to the car and started driving. I was glad we had a practice run earlier in the day because I was not going to be able to give Terry directions to the hospital. The drive to the hospital was pretty rough and my contractions were getting even stronger. At one point I thought I was going to throw up and Terry found a place to pull over on the freeway. The feeling mostly passed and I told him he’d better keep driving. We pulled up to the emergency entrance and the security guard retrieved a wheelchair for me while I crouched on the floor to make it through a contraction. Terry parked the car and raced up to the maternity ward.
I ended up back in the same room as I was monitored in earlier. I did throw up as soon as I was wheeled into the room. Terry helped me put my gown on and I was hooked up to the monitors at 1:30am. I gripped Terry’s hand and used some version of the breathing techniques they taught us in the birthing class we took before Abigail was born over 2 years ago to get through the contractions. Terry told me he was surprised how hard I squeezed his hand.
The nurse asked me some questions and then checked me. I was dilated to 7cm. Three contractions later I had a definite urge to push and a burning sensation. They called the doctor in from the next room and she confirmed that I was completely dilated. She said I could push with my next contraction because it might make me feel better. I pushed. The doctor got all ready, I pushed once more and Elsie’s head was out, then pushed again to deliver her shoulders.
Elsie Neriah Pearson was born at 2:03am on September 13th, 2010. She was 6lbs 12oz and 20 inches long.
She was born at 37 weeks 2 days gestation and just 1 hour & 29 minutes after my water broke at home. We were at the hospital for 33 minutes. It was a little close for comfort, but we made it. I was thrilled to be able to call my sister at 7am and tell her I did give her a niece for a birthday present!
We became a family of 4 that morning and we have been loving it for the last 10 days.
We have had a very busy summer since my last post.
Abigail gave her daddy a very memorable book.
Chilled at the pool.
Drove a golf cart.
Abigail was bitten mercilessly by mosquitoes while watching fireworks.
Went to a wedding.
Slept in a tent & dressed up like a little lamb.
So far in August:
Abigail played with her cousin & tried her hand at being a big sister.
Sat on a swing.
Had a picnic with her Daddy.
In June our baby was growing.
In July our baby was still growing.
The family camping event this year had the theme “Nursery Rhymes”. Abigail was the lamb from “Mary had a little lamb” and I was the Old Woman in the Shoe though I took my “costume” inspiration from the line “she had so many children she didn’t know what to do.”
In August, you guessed it, our baby was still growing!
This was yesterday at 33 weeks along.
We got a couple more cute family shots in July & August so I thought I would share those also.
I don’t really have the time or energy to do “classic” scrapbooking. Then, I found this great site called shutterfly.com where I uploaded my photos and created this great book for Abigail. I filled it with pictures of her aunts, uncles, cousins & grandparents. There are also pictures of Abigail, Terry & I. I am so excited for this to arrive in the mail so I can hold it in my hands!