Friday, August 2, 2013

Mom's Basket - JACKPOT!

My family, as I am sure most families do, think I am their servant.  I pick up everything for them, from shoes to toys to dirty laundry...everything!  I make my kids clean their rooms, but they have always done such a shoddy job that I wind up going in there every few months to get it clean myself and reorganize.  If I had a dollar for every I had to tell them to pick their things up out of the living room, I'd probably never need to work again!

Then I saw an idea on Pinterest....God bless Pinterest.  

Unfortunately, I never could find an original link for this picture.  But allow me to give credit where credit is due:  if this is your idea, I bow down to you. You are my hero.

I had a basket that I used to gather the kids' toys up to take into their rooms.  I emptied it, then called a meeting.  I explained that to my Flower (10) and Little Man (4) that anytime I found something of theirs laying around the house I was going to pick it up and put it in the basket.  If they finished playing with a toy and do not put it up, it goes in the basket.  

On day one, I had 10 hot wheels, a pair of ear buds, and several super heroes.  Flower wasn't too concerned about the ear buds, but Little Man was just devastated at the loss of his super heroes.  He asked for a chore, so I told him to sweep the kitchen.  He was actually excited, and swept with a happy heart and earned his toys back.  It was the worst sweep-job that kitchen has ever seen, but I don't care.  He learned a lesson, and did it with a great attitude.  

Last night, I picked up several superheroes, two pair of shoes, some jewelry, and a few odd toys.  This morning, at breakfast, I walked into the dining room with my basket.  I reminded them that they couldn't even go outside to play until they had done chores, because their shoes were in the basket!  They gave each other a glance, not sure what to think.  

About 30 minutes later, Little Man came up to me and said "Mama, I am going to go get dressed, then I am going to do a chore, ok?"  A few minutes later he came in dressed and said "Mommy, I decided I will clean my room and put all my toys where they belong.  I will even pick my toys up in the closet!"  Not too long afterwards, he came out and asked me to go look at his room - sure enough, the toys were all where they belonged and his room was spotless!!  Because he actually had quite a bit of picking up to do in his room, and because he had such a great attitude about it, I let him take all of his things out of the basket.  He was so proud of himself!  

Flower still isn't too concerned about getting her items back.  She really would rather lose them than to do chores to get them back (except I am holding her favorite pair of Converse, so it won't be long!).  But, she is paying closer attention to not leaving her things out.

I figure this is a win/win situation for me.  They are both doing a great job picking up their things once they are finished using them, which saves me from having to pick them up constantly.  When I do have to put things in the basket, I have less chores to do myself!  Their attitudes have been great, and they are learning that we have to work for the things we want.  

How do you get your kids to pick their toys up after they get finished playing with them?  Have you tried the chore box?!  It works!!

Be blessed today!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Confession Time

Confession time, I did it.  Again.  I wrecked my husband's pick-up.

And no, it couldn't be his old pick-up, either.  It was his new one.  The one we had for a whole three months.  Three months.  

And the last thing he said to me before I drove off was "Do not wreck my pickup.  Do not."

Here's the worst part: I once backed one of my cars up into a bright yellow air pump at the gas station.  I then backed another of my cars up into my husband's other pickup, in our own driveway.  This is now the third time I have backed one of my vehicles into something.

I officially hate driving now.  I tried to tell Barb Wire Man that I was never driving again, and I meant it.  He forces me to drive myself places now, so I wait until I absolutely HAVE to go.

He just called me to let me know he took his pickup to the body shop to have it looked at, and listed all the things they said would have to be fixed, then added that the bumper was expensive.  Very expensive...thank God for State Farm.

The conclusion we came to was if I do something, I do it right.  I don't half-way do anything, be it a good thing or a bad thing.  If I am going to do something, I go all out.  I make sure I do a bang up job...literally.

I am never driving again.  Never.  At least not my husband's vehicle!

Be blessed today!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Something Priceless

I could probably write a million blog posts on marriage.  I'm so thankful that my parents set an amazing precedence for me, but I've never met anyone who has had as wonderful a relationship as they do.
From Pinterest
They've been married now for 32 years.  According to the world, their marriage should never have lasted!  They barely dated before they got engaged and married, and only 15 short months later, I was born.  But they are in love.  Disgustingly in love.  Always have been!  I've never seen Dad raise his voice at me.  I've never seen Mom contradict Dad's authority in the family.  The doesn't mean it never happened, but I never saw it.  They've had their fair share of hard times, but they both kept smiling, and kept loving each other.  They valued their relationship.  Mom always said they had children young (my parents are both still in their 50's) so they could still be young enough to enjoy each other and have fun together.  But, the key word is valued.  Dad knew that mom was a jewel among pebbles.  Mom knew that Dad was a musician among karaoke singers.  (See what I did there, Mom and Dad!?)

I like to think of it in terms that I am more familiar with, though.  I collect tea pots.  Most of my teapots are antiques, and most are china.  Each teapot comes with a story about how and where I acquired it.  Each one is carefully placed on a shelf, out of the reach of little hands.  Each one gets dusted and cleaned.  Each one is special to me in some way.  But the most special is one I don't have yet.  It belongs to my granny, and I have loved it since I was a child.  It is beautiful - cream with a beautiful light green design around the top.  She's already written my name on it and promised it to me after she is gone, and it will be the most prized teapot in my collection when I have it.  Why?  Many reasons!  It is a gift from someone I love dearly.  It will remind me of her every time I look at it, and how she always thought of me when she looked at it.    It is irreplaceable.  It is beautiful and special.  It is time tested.
From Pinterest
In other words, I will guard that teapot more than I will any other teapot.  I'd rather lose all the other teapots I have in my collection than to lose that one.

My marriage to my husband is like that teapot.  It is a gift - a gift from God.  Every time I look my my husband, I am reminded of how much God loves me.  I'm reminded of how much He thinks of me, that he would put someone as special as Barb Wire Man in my life.  He planned for us to be together!  My marriage to Barb Wire Man is irreplaceable.  Sure, he or I could marry someone else, but there are memories, dreams, goals, and a friendship that would never be the same with anyone else.  What we have is special, and I rather lose friendships with everyone else in the world than to lose the love and friendship of my husband.
From Pinterst
I want to guard my marriage to Barb Wire Man even more than I would that tea pot.  Marriage isn't something to be put up on a shelf, then forgotten.  It also isn't something to be taken off the shelf and passed around haphazardly with everyone we see, to be broken, chipped or dirtied.  It is something to be valued, cherished, and lovingly care for.

My goal is to value every moment of my marriage.  In 15 years, I want my kids to look back and say they were disgusted at how much Mom and Daddy love each other.  I want them to model their marriage after ours.

Be blessed today!

Friday, July 26, 2013


Trust.  It is such a small word, but one of the greatest.

Without trust, a marriage is nothing.

This may be one of the hardest posts for me to write, because I know I'll be admitting to something that I've never wanted to!

I've mentioned in previous posts that I had been married before I married Barb Wire Man.  I married young...I was 18 and he was a Marine.  I was crazy in love with the boy at the time.  I hadn't ever lived on my own.  I grew up around incredibly Godly parents, and their Godly friends.  I only knew one person who had ever been divorced, and all my friends were wonderful, trustworthy people.  The truth was, I lived an incredibly sheltered life.  I'd never been betrayed or seriously emotionally hurt by anyone, because everyone I knew was raised that it was not okay to do that to a person!  I truly believed that everyone lived life like that!

To make a very long story short, I married very young, at 18, to a Marine whom I was madly in love with at the time.  He had plans of going to seminary one he was out of the military.  About 10 months after we were married, I found out I was pregnant with out first child.  I also found out he had been having an ongoing affair with an woman he worked with, and it was not his first affair.

I was shocked.  I was hurt.  I was ashamed.  I was embarrassed.  I was, furious.  I was devastated.  I was forever changed.

It was at that moment I chose  to trust no one.  There is, after all, only one man a girl can trust, and that is her daddy!  (Well, in my case 3, daddy, pa, and pawpaw!)

Then, I met my husband, Barb Wire Man.  Aside from the three aforementioned men, I've never met a man more honest.  Because he always shot straight with me, I tried to make sure I was a trusting, un-jealous wife.  When he went out with the boys, I shoved any un-trusting feelings down so deep, even I didn't realize I felt them.  For 9 years, it worked great!  Now, the trust I have in my husband was not ruined, far from it, but it did take a little jolt.

There are two things, though that I noticed about myself recently.

First, I realized that while at one time I trusted no one, I was beginning to trust people again.  Not just saying that I trusted people, but actually trusted them.  And I also realized that I really do not want to trust people.  I hate that I feel that way!  After 30 years of being on this planet, I've learned to not trust people, and those who I do are met with a very guarded, cautious trust.

Secondly, I realized I am a very, very jealous person.  I really don't like that, either.  I've always tried to shove any form of jealousy down very deep, because I never wanted to be a jealous person,  Jealous women annoy me!  But I was forced to admit that when it comes to a few things, like my husband, I am very jealous!

For our marriage to be healthy, I have to learn to work past these things.  So far, the only thing I can do is pray about it!  I don't want to be a guarded person, and I do not want to be a jealous person.  Do you struggle with trust issues?

Be blessed today!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Taking Each Other for Granted

We take just about everything for granted these days.  We don't think twice about flipping on a switch and having lights until the power goes out.  We get in our car, turn it on and drive off without thinking about it, until the car won't start.  We load the dishwasher and hit start, never even thinking about the convenience.

When two people are first married, they notice all the little things the other does for them.  The longer a couple is married, the less those little things are noticed.  Before I go much further, I do want to say this isn't a matter of the other needing things from the other.  Barb Wire Man and I neither on need each other.  He has and is perfectly able to take care of himself in every way.  I do not need Barb Wire Man - I have, and can take care of myself in every way.  But, I suppose this is a little rant.

I'm talking about the little things we do each day to make the other feel special, or to help make their life a little easier.

I work each day.  Yes, I stay at home to work, but I do work.  During the school year, I babysit.  Contrary to what some believe, I do not sit on the couch while they watch TV.  I hardly sit down throughout the day!  We play, and sing all day.  I change diapers constantly (literally about 18 a day!), cook breakfast and lunch for them, make them snacks, and even help potty train.  Essentially, I am their mommy from 7:30 in the morning until 5:00 or later in the evening.  And I love it!  Financially, I could take care of myself and my kids, and I intend to keep it that way.  On top of my job, I still have everyday household chores.  Barb Wire Man is old fashioned in the sense that he believes it is the woman's job to care for the home, and he got lucky enough to marry a woman who believes the same!  I do all the laundry.  I do all the cooking.  I do all the cleaning.  I go to the grocery store alone.  I wash his favorite coffee cup every day, and if I don't for some reason, he'd rather skip coffee than wash it himself!  I make sure he has plenty of snacks in his semi.  I do all the banking and bill paying.  I take the trash out when he..."forgets".  I take care of the garden.  I rub his back.  I bathe and take care of the kids.  I do these things because I feel like it is my job, but also because I know Barb Wire Man is tired.

Barb Wire Man goes to work everyday, and sometimes, has some pretty funky hours.  In fact, today, he left our house at 1:30 in the morning.  When he gets home from work, Barb Wire Man's "duties" include taking out the trash (if I haven't already), mowing the lawn (once a week at most), and......and......and....yeah, I have nothing else to add.

I do not mind doing all the things I do around the house.  I know my husband is tired after a long day at work, but sometimes, he fails to realize that I am tired from work, too.  He sometimes fails to see that we both have jobs, but that on top of my job, I have work!  Occasionally, it would be nice to hear a thank you from Barb Wire Man.  It would be nice to hear "Let me help you with supper tonight!"  Or even "I know you've been working all day, too, let me help you fold the laundry."

He takes for granted all the little things I do for him, like, washing that stupid coffee cup for him.  I do it to be nice to him.  To do a "little something" to make his day better.

We have to remember to never take the little things for granted.

Tell your spouse thank you for all the little things they do to make your life easier.

Better yet, help your spouse with those things.  We are supposed to be a team, right?!

Be blessed today!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Marriage: Attacked By Busy-ness

I always complain that "life" gets in the way of, well, living.  I mean it rather tongue in cheek, though.  None of us can avoid things like work, caring for the children, laundry, cooking, etc.  We have to do those things in order to survive, pay our bills, and be decent members of society.  We can, however, allow those things to take over our lives.

Barb Wire Man and I have definitely allowed that to happen recently.  I am incredibly blessed that I am able to work at home, but that certainly doesn't mean I don't work hard.  I am able to stay at home with my two precious children, like I feel God has called me to do, but I also care for other's children.  I've always taken that incredibly seriously.  Essentially, I am filling in for their mommy.  I truly act as though they are my children when they are with me.  If my job is to teach my own child about his numbers, letters, manners, and God, then it is also my duty to teach the other children.  I still have to change diapers (literally, about 18 a day!), fix breakfast and lunch for 5-8 kids, get them all down for nap, plan activities, and play.  On top of this, I still have my household duties.  I cook all our meals; breakfast, lunch and supper.  I have mountains of laundry that I have to wash and hang out to dry, then fold.  I have toilets to scrub, floors to vacuum and mop, and I try to make sure my house is spotless before Barb Wire Man gets home from work.  By 5:00 in the evening, the last thing in the world I want to do is, well, anything basically.  I certainly don't try to make sure I look pretty for him, because I'm around kids all day.  I darn sure don't feel sexy by the end of the day!  He understands this, but I know he would love to come home to a wife who at least looks like she took a shower.

Barb Wire Man drives a semi truck, so his hours are hardly 8-5.  Some days, he is out the door by 4:30 in the morning, while other days, he doesn't leave til 7:00.  Some days he is home by 5:00, but often it is 7:00 or later.  Sometimes, he doesn't get to come home at all, and "gets" to sleep in a little bed in the back of his truck.  His job duties include far more than just sitting and driving a truck.  I ride with him every chance I get, and I know that his job duties are physically taxing on him.  Once he gets home, there are always things I need for him to do.  I know how tired he is, so I try to do everything at home by myself (which makes me even more tired!), but there are some things I cannot physically do.  When you are short, sometimes, you just need a tall man to help! He trudges through, and does the things I need help with.  Because the kids haven't seen him all day, all they want to do is play.  I'm pretty sure he uses up the last few ounces of energy he has on our children.  I've asked him many times how he has the energy to play with those two the way he does.  Once the kids are in bed, all he wants to do is sit on the couch, watch TV and get on his computer.   I don't blame him for this at all ,but he knows that I'd give anything for conversation, a little attention, and to simply be acknowledged.

So, what is a couple to do?  We could eliminate our jobs and daily chores from our lives.  Then, we'd be homeless, hungry, and most likely childless!  Of course we can't do that.  People make time for the things that are important to them.  Outside of work, we do have an abundance of free time.  I don't know about you and your spouse, but Barb Wire Man and I could make time for each other.  We have chosen not to do so.  I have always poured my efforts into caring for my children first.  Keeping my house in what I deem "perfect" condition was second.  Those two things alone consumed me.  I had no energy left to be sexy for him.  Barb Wire Man's spare energy went to the our kids, sitting at the computer, and watching TV.  Noticing me was last on his list.

To put it bluntly, we acknowledged each other when we had to.  We have wonderful, amazing conversations during the day on the phone.  He sits in a truck, and has time to talk!  But at night, we are alone while sitting on the couch together.  After the kids are in bed, I busy myself with cleaning the house...even if it is already clean.  I sit on the couch with my computer in my lap.  Barb Wire Man sits on the couch watching his TV programs and is on his computer at the same time.  We know what all our  friends are doing, what their kids are doing, and even what their grandkids are doing, and we know what they are all thinking thanks to things like Facebook and Twitter!  But we don't know what each other is thinking.  We don't know what the other is feeling.  Basically, we know more about people we are merely acquainted with than we know about the person we claim to love the most.  And we have allowed ourselves to become okay with that fact that the most we say to each other is "Are you ready for bed?".

We both know this is something that must change.  We must stop busying ourselves.   We don't have to leave our house once a week to go on a date, though that would  be awesome!  We don't even have to swear off TV and Facebook.  But we do have to set aside time every night to really talk with each other.

We don't need to talk about the kids.  We don't need to talk about how our days went.  We don't need to talk about what we are going to have for supper the next day.  We do need to get to know each other better and continually.  "Where do you see our family heading in the next five years?"  "Am I meeting your needs?"

I know surely we aren't the only ones who go through this type of thing in our marriage.  Hopefully sharing part of our story will help you, as well as keep us accountable.  What type of questions do you and your spouse ask each other?

Yicarechech Adonai L'Olam Ve'ed
(May God bless you and keep you)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Have a Perfect Marriage?

I'm really making an attempt to write on a regular basis here!  Hey, an "a" for effort, right?  Kids, work, and life seem to always get in the way of doing the things I like to do for fun.  (Yes, knitting has been taking a backseat, too!)

So, I briefly mentioned the other day that Barb Wire Man and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary in two years, and that we are planning a vow renewal ceremony to mark the occasion.

Recently, he and I have noticed that we absolutely must take time to focus on each other, and our marriage. Our marriage, like anyone else's, is not picture perfect.  We have our ups and downs, just like anyone else, but recently, it seems like we have had more downs than ups.

Don't get me wrong...we love each other incredibly, and are truly the other's best friend.  We love passionately, and we fight passionately.  We live in a world that makes marriage hard.  I think in some ways, it is harder to keep a marriage whole now than it ever has been...there are more outside attacks we have to shield our marriage from.

In the next few posts, I'm going to write a little about the things I think attack our marriages.   I'm in no way a counselor, but, personal experience is something of which I have an abundance.  God has really laid a few things on my heart lately, so I'm praying that in writing these coming posts, I will be able to help someone else who may be struggling with some of the same things I have.  At the same time, I think it will help me sort through some of my own thoughts and feelings.

Be blessed today!