Friday, May 30, 2014

Getting in shape update...

I have been doing a lot more walking lately. I haven't broken into my DVD library to work out, but honestly I am getting a great workout just being active.

We live in an area where everything is within walking distance. Instead of hopping into the car to go get diapers, I am walking to the Walgreen's on the corner. Yesterday the truck needed some work, so I dropped it off and walked home with the girls.

In summer's past, I would be too exhausted or get home too late to head to our complex pool. Yesterday, even after all the activity, we took the girls to the pool. It was fantastic.

So what is this doing for me physically?

I feel everything tightening up. I am not losing a bunch of weight, but my clothes are fitting differently. I can actually bend down to tie my shoes. My stomach is getting smaller and I feel my sides becoming more defined. The swelling in my legs is also going down a ton, despite the weather heating up.

I do hope to add some DVD's to my life, but for now I am working on staying active throughout the day. To have fun with my kids and keep Hubby moving.

Speaking of Hubby. He is pooped. He has been working some extra hours to make up for the holiday. He will run around with the girls at night and help get dinner together. Last night he was so tired, he fell asleep on the couch before 10:00 P.M. Poor guy.

One more thing to add, I am back on my supplements and Metformin (for PCOS). I notice when I skip a day, I feel like I can barely lift my head. I take: Iron pills, Biotin, Vitamin D, Calcium, B-complex. I will add a multi-vitamin in a few weeks. I notice if I start them all at once, I am really nauseous. For now, they are working and I can see and feel a difference.

That's the update for now.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

School just about over...

I have had a wonderful month with my youngest. It was a great way for the two of us to bond without my oldest. You may think, oh how horrible. Don't you love both of them? Yes I do. But my oldest is very clingy. When I try to cuddle my youngest, she will but in and take over the cuddle.

I was very attached to my youngest when she was first born. When I went back to work, she was still a mamma's girl. However, when my hubby lost his job the first time, she became a daddy's girl very quickly. I ended up working more and more and seeing the girls less and less.

My oldest and I would go grocery shopping and run other errands together. So we had our alone time. But my youngest and I didn't have that time together. She grew closer and closer to daddy, only wanting me for a short time before bed. If she fell down and hurt her knee, she would run to daddy. I could do nothing for her.

For the past month this has all changed. She and I have shared lots of cuddles, play time and regained that bond we shared when she was a baby. It has been wonderful.

Big Sis has one more half day of school, then it is just me and the girls. I look forward to spending time with both of them. Fridays will be our field trip days. We will go to a museum or the zoo. Maybe even the beach. The rest of the time we will probably be spending it at the zoo, or walking around a mall.

I am also happy that one of Sarah's friends will be coming over once a week for play dates. It will be good for her to have someone her own age to have "big kid" play time.

Wish me luck on a summer with both girls. I have been praying for it for so long, I hope I am up for it. LOL.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How do you handle your frustrations...

Expectations. We all have them. We all find ourselves having our expectations exceed what actually presents itself. So how do we handle the frustration that you have over someone or something falling short of your expectation.

I am a perfectionist. Yes I said it. Once you have kids you realize that you have to lower your expectations when it comes to keeping a clean house, or having everything turn out perfectly. But how do you handle the times when you really think things should be a certain way and then it seems like everyone and everything works against you.

Lets say that you work all day to get the house clean and within 10 minutes of the family getting home, things are destroyed. No one seems to care about the things around them. They throw a wrapper on the floor. They leave drink cups for days, if you don't remind them to put them in the sink.

Trust me, I try. I try to guide them to do the right things. I try to develop in them a sense of pride in the things they have and the home they live. But for some reason it all falls on deaf ears.

I do have to say that Hubby is getting better. He reads my frustration and then takes some action, but to me that is a little too late. I hate that I feel that way. But I wish that my family had the same sense of urgency that I do. I have the belief that if you put things away as you go, you don't have to get overwhelmed cleaning the whole house.

Frustrations aren't all house work related. What about people just not taking other's feelings into consideration. We were on the way home from my parents last night when we stopped for gas. I ran in and got some drinks for everyone. Hubby made the comment that I am Miss Considerate. I asked why? He said that I always think of others, that getting drinks for the whole car was very considerate. I wouldn't just go in and get something just for myself. Would you?

Why is everyone so into themselves these days? When I was younger I was taught to be kind, courteous and show love. When you have people over, you always ask them if they would like some refreshments. When I go over to my friends house today, I have to bring my own drinks. How is that for southern hospitality?

When you are stuck in traffic, do you let someone merge in? Or do you speed up and make the get in behind you? Do you spend the rest of the drive angry that they dared cut in? I have learned that if I let them in, I spend the rest of the time feeling good about myself. But I do get mad when people are not considerate and let me in.

So how do you handle your frustrations? Are you a considerate person? Do you do for other's without having to be begged, or pestered until you do? Do you eat the last granola bar out of the box, or do you save it for your kids lunch the next day?

I ask everyone to help return us to a simpler time. Return to the time when you welcomed people with a nice cold lemonade and a cookie. Invite people for dinner and don't ask then to bring their own drinks. Let someone in the next time you are stuck in traffic. Clean the kitchen for your wife before she even thinks it needs to be done. Surprise someone by paying for the person behind you in line. Just an idea.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Can you have it all?

My cousin has had a very successful life as a Public Defender. She gave her heart and soul into it for over eight years. She is also a wonderful mother to three beautiful children. She gives as much as she can to everything in her life. Recently, she too has come to the conclusion that she too wants to take the summer off and be with her children. She is also feeling the pressure from "well-meaning" people, who question her choice.

This frustrates me to no end. There are many reasons why women have left the home to work. Some had dreams of becoming a Doctor, Lawyer, among others. It was done to give our kids a better life. It allowed us to send our kids to good schools and have bigger homes. I believe the "good intentions", backfired on us, our economy and where we stand in the world.

When I was growing up I was in daycare for a short time, but the rest of the time I spent with my grandparents, or as a latch key kid. I benefited greatly from the time with my grandparents, but the time I was alone, I got into all sorts of trouble. Most, I am sure my mother would be shocked to learn.

The cost of daycare has gotten to the point where it paralyzes the household. In our house, we were spending on average $1200 - 1800 a month on childcare. We tried to have family watch our girls for a short time, but they had to make their own living and could not do it forever. To make up for higher childcare costs, I had to work more and more. How does this make sense? You work your butt off so someone else can raise your children?

I hear all the time from mom's that they just couldn't be with their kids all day. That going to work is like a vacation to them. I understand that feeling, but how sad is that? I don't know if it is because we had to work so hard to have our children, but I want to spend my time with them. I think they are these amazing little people who have so much to give. They are not just little life-force suckers.

When I was working the housework suffered. We ate out a ton, to compensate for my late ours. This piled on the pounds and gave us a general unhealthy lifestyle. When both work parents work outside of the home, how do they feel at night. Do they feel relaxed? How much true quality time do they spend with the kids? If you figure that you get home by 6:00, dinner by 7:00, bedtime by 8:30. How much time did you have to enjoy these amazing beings you created?

This way of living never made sense to me, but I felt that I had to do it. Our society has been molded to one of the two income household. If you do it any other way, it is weird.

Let me ask you, can you really have it all? Can you have a successful career and a successful household? I am not talking about people who hire maids and nanny's. They are not the average Joe. I am talking about the people who struggle to keep a house, struggle to put meals on the table, struggle to keep up with all the activities (a topic I will talk more about). How does the average family handle a two income household?

Lets address activities. As parents who both work, we find ourselves trying to schedule "quality" time. We work our butts off to be able to pay for soccer, ballet, football, scouts, etc. We think these are the things that we need to provide to our kids for them to become successful. What it does do, is run the family ragged running from place to place. It adds to the stress of the household. Once again, we try to have it all.

Read here:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Returning to a simpler time...a sign of success.

How do you rate success? Is it the amount of money in the bank? The size of your house? How fancy and new your car is? Or is it much more simple?

I used to rate my success on owning a house, driving a nice car, having a great paying job. But then I realized that my life was empty. I had my kids, but I never saw them. I rarely got to see my mom and step-dad, let alone the family living out of town. I was extremely unhappy. Panic attacks ruled my life. The little time I had was spent trying to sleep (which only happened with sleeping pills).

I decided to reflect on what was really important to me. I decided what I really wanted was to return to a more simple time in life. One where entertainment didn't consist of sitting in front of the TV, but taking a walk with a loved one.

Growing up, life was always outdoors. We rode horses. Rode our bikes. Had campfires and went camping. I used to sit for hours on the hill of our family farm, picking petals off of flowers and watching the clouds go by. Sure I have some memories of watching TV with my parents, but the ones I cherish most are the times spent WITH them dancing and singing during music night.

Just because our society has become one of excess and running from soccer practice to ballet recitals, doesn't mean we HAVE to live this way. You may say, "But I like living that way". I will then ask, are you happy? Are your kids really happy? Are you sleeping well? Do you struggle to find time to do the things you have to do? It might be time to simplify your life.

It is funny, the other day I was sitting out on the balcony roasting marshmallows on the grill. Hubby came out and we chatted for a minute when he decided to go in and get something to drink. He didn't come back out. I was really disappointed. I want to have these moments and my family is so conditioned to watching TV, playing on our Kindles or phones. We are so antisocial. It is time to return to the times when it is more important to communicate. Play games with each other. Interact.

So this is another goal I have, return to a simpler time. Spend more time together doing simple things. Teach the girls to play cards. I remember playing cards with my Grandma for hours and hours. Having real tea parties and talking about our goals in life. I don't want my kids learning life's lessons from Dora, I want them learning them from my Hubby and I.

Tell me in the comment section below, do you want to return to a simpler time? Do you find yourself overwhelmed? What things did you do as a child, that you wish you were doing with your kids. I want to hear from you.

Learning from our mistakes...

I want to pat myself on the back (hubby too). A year ago when we were in the position to move his 401K to another place, we took it out instead. We blew a lot of money that we should not have. We thought that we would be able to keep it in our savings account and not touch it. No such luck. We were so immature. Yes, a guy who was turning 50 and a gal who was a few years from 40.

When we decided that I would leave my job, we were faced with a similar decision.We could put it in a regular savings account or move it to a Roth IRA or a bank IRA. After some debating we decided to move it to a bank IRA. I just couldn't see taking the tax cut hit now.

What I am happy about, is that we didn't decide to take it all out. We learned from our mistakes and did the right thing. You do not understand how big this is for us. Last year our relationships with family and friends were disrupted because of our immaturity and stupidity. We were all about instant gratification.

I have shared some things with you, but basically our whole word was rocked. We had to grow up or lose everyone and everything. It was hard. It is still hard. But we have come a long way. We still have a long way to go to dig out of the hole we put ourselves in.

We really wanted to move into a rental house this year. A yard for the kids and dog called. We thought briefly about using my 401K money to pay for the move. How stupid would that have been. But the point is, we didn't. We reflected on what is best for our future. Moving to a house NOW will not make our future any better. We decided it would be better to stay where we are. Purge the material things making the apartment feel claustrophobic and enjoy what we have. Once that decision was made, it was like lifting a boulder off our chests.

We do want to get a house eventually, but now is not the time. We have to live with one major life change at a time. Me becoming a stay at home mom, is enough of a change for this year.

Stay tuned for more lessons learned...there should be quite a few.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I won't lie...this week has been tough, good but tough

I have been having a bit of a tough time this week. Hubby was off on Monday due to feeling under the weather. He had to work extra hours the rest of the week to make up for the amount of work he needed to do. Needless to say, this left me with the girls all day long. It was tough.

I wonder if hubby wanted to show me what he had been doing for the past 8 years. It is not fun. Not fun. Not fun. Did I say it is not fun?

I would not say that this is a normal week for us, so I have to give myself a break. Just because I didn't do all that I did last week, does not mean I am failing at this. Heck, I have only been home for three weeks. I think the fact that the house isn't a total wreck, the kids are safe and clean, and we have had home made meals most nights, mean I am a success. Right?

Have I been all cheery and happy when hubby comes home at 7:00 or 7:30 at night? Have I wanted to listen to his workplace antics? Have I been the most patient when my two year old decides to exert her dominance over her older sister? Nope. Not at all. But then again, that does not mean I am a failure. I call it being human.

What have I learned this week? Take a bubble bath when the youngest is napping. It is some really good me time. To heck with the lunch dishes, I can do them later. I also learned that if I take her out for a good play in the morning, those naps are a whole lot easier.

I also learned to do one big cleaning project a week. I do not have to tackle it all. If I do one closet that is excellent. I do not have to do the other closets so they "match". Yes, I am that OCD.

It is also more than OK to grill hot dogs for dinner, instead of having a gourmet meal every night. Heck, throw them with some Ramen and the girls eat it up.

One more thing, don't assume hubby took the dog out before he left for work. Poor puppy was floating at 11:00 when the youngest and I got back from the park.

So that is what I have learned this week. Next week will be just as hectic as this one, since hubby is off again on Monday. I will get through it. Oh yes I will. I wouldn't have it any other way. I treasure this time with the girls.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Third week home...still loving it

I won't lie, I am tuckered out. I have been working very hard on getting our apartment in order. I am purging a lot of stuff, organizing and doing a deep cleaning. Going from being very sedentary to working hard on the apartment, has me sore and tired. But it is a good sore and tired.

This morning was a good morning. My youngest crawled into bed with me in the middle of the night (a never heard of occurrence), so I was able to sleep in until 8:00 am. We were running low on pull ups so I decided instead of running to the store in the truck, we would walk to Walgreen's.

It was really nice to get out in the cool, albeit windy, morning. On the way home we decided that it would be nice to go to the park. We were the only one's there, but still had great fun. Little Woobie is so much  more adventurous then our older girl. I have to ring her in a bit, because she doesn't realize that at two, she has some limits.

After that, we went home and took the dog for a walk. Needless to say, I am pooped. After a nice shower we cuddled on the couch and read some books. It is then, that I realized her "lollie" we got at the store went missing. I believe our dog got to it. He is quite the food thief.

One thing I have learned this week, is that I do not have to do so much so fast. I have a ton of housework to do, but I don't want to overdo it and not have time or energy to enjoy the girls.
In two weeks, my oldest will be out of school for the summer. I wonder how that will go...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Stay at Home Mom

I thought I would share what a typical day is for me, in my new role as a stay at home mom. It is not glamorous. Neither do I sit around all day and watch TV or search the net.

6:30-7:00 am - Make lunches for school, make sure kiddos are fed breakfast, get them dressed and teeth brushed

7:30 - eldest is off to school. Throw in a load of laundry, start dishwasher, make beds and pick up house.

Remainder of morning -

Do chore of the day. Either bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming, changing sheets on beds, etc.

Interact with youngest - play, work on talking, colors, shapes, etc. Wednesdays is library story time at 9:00. Friday mornings is Gymboree time. Other days we will go for a walk with the dog and explore nature.

11:30 - lunch time

12:15 - 2:30 - nap time. Usually this is when I take a shower and have some downtime. I blog. Watch a "grown up" show, like Bones or NCIS. I continue to do laundry and pick up the house.

2:45 - leave to pick up oldest from school. Run an errand or two. During the summer, this time will be used to go to the pool for awhile.

3:30 Get home, help daughter do homework. Let them play independently while I unload dishwasher and start to get dinner together.

5:15 - hubby comes home. Listen to him talk about his day.

6:00 - Dinner time!

7:00 - Bath time!

8:00 - Bed time!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day - My Long Road to Motherhood

I am so very grateful to the God above who blessed me with these two little girls. It was a long road I traveled to be able to give birth to them. I thought I would share a little of that road.

My husband and I married when I was 30 and he was 42. I knew that I would have problems getting pregnant, as I had been diagnosed with PCOS a number of years before. We actually started trying to get pregnant 6 months before the wedding. 

Once we were married we decided to go to the next level. My OB-GYN prescribed Clomid as a first step. When I say it made me homicidal is an understatement. I had hot flashes. I was a walking rash. It was horrible. I stayed on Clomid for 6 months with no results. My OB-GYN recommended we go to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. To say that least, we were unimpressed with him. He started out by telling us that I did not have PCOS. He put me on another useless cycle of Clomid. We decided we would not return to him.

For the next six months I tried everything I could holistically, in combination of adding Metformin to the picture. Metformin is a diabetes medication that has horrible side effects. I will not go into detail here, but will in another post. I cut out as much sugar and refined foods as possible. After going on Clomid in July of 2005, starting Metformin in February 2006, I started tracking my cycles on a website called Fertility Friend. 

In August of 2006, I had a chemical pregnancy. Along with that difficult time, we had a devastating accident happen to one of our immediate family members. It was a time where we couldn't think that anything good would happen in our lives. It was a month later that God decided we needed to be blessed. We got pregnant naturally with our oldest daughter Sarah. We were ecstatic.

One of the things I did to help get pregnant was taking a baby aspirin a day. I had researched that it would help with someone who had repeated chemical pregnancies. At 16 weeks my doctor told me that I could stop taking the Metformin and the baby aspirin. Two weeks later we had a horrible snow storm and we were stuck in our apartment for a few days. I sat on the couch a lot watching TV. I noticed that my leg, below the knee, was really sore. It started to feel like a hot poker was being inserted into my leg. After searching Google, I thought that I might have a blood clot. 

The nurse told me to come in, but was reluctant to tell me that I had a chance of having a blood clot. When I got there, I saw the Nurse Practitioner. I think God was once again looking after us, as she had just seen a patient with one and new what to look for. She sent me directly to get a sonogram on my leg. I was diagnosed with a 10 centimeter DVT (deep vein thrombosis). If I had stayed on the aspirin, I doubt I would have gotten it.

I was sent to a specialist and was diagnosed with having a blood clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden. I only carry one gene, so the doctor was really shocked I developed a clot. After further testing they found out that I also have a metabolic disorder, it was like it flipped on the recessive gene. I had to go to the specialist every week for the second half of my pregnancy.

During the remainder of my pregnancy I had to endure shots of blood thinners (in my stomach) twice a day.  I had to be induced instead of being allowed to go into labor normally. Once I delivered I was changed over to an oral medication. Unfortunately, I ended up being allergic to it, so I had to endure 2 more months of shots. It was not how I wanted to spend my time as a new mom. 

We new we wanted a big family, so six months after Sarah was born, we decided to start trying to have another baby. I went back to the way I was eating when I got pregnant with Sarah. I took my medication and nothing happened. For two years we tried with no results. My doctor decided to send me to a new fertility specialist. We loved her. She immediately did a scan and told me our previous specialist was nuts, that I did indeed have PCOS. That first cycle we started shots and did an insemination. 

Unfortunately for three cycles we did not get pregnant. The fourth cycle we were blessed with a positive pregnancy test. It was the best 24 hours of my life. When you are on fertility treatments, you are required to come back for repeated blood work. Each time I came back, the numbers went down. It was confirmed 4 days later that I had lost the baby. I was scheduled for exploratory surgery and a D&C. Ironically, it was also at this same time that we had to put my beloved kitty down after a horrific illness struck her. My parents house was hit by lightening and burned. It was a horrible time.

For a year, we decided to recover from all the traumatic events in our life. 

It was in January of 2011 that we decided to go back to the fertility specialist and do two more cycles tops (mostly because we only got 6 cycles paid through insurance). We started our meds and on Valentine's day weekend I went in for my insemination. Two weeks later we found out that it worked. We were trying very hard not to get excited, after what had happened the last time.

I had sonograms and blood work every few days for three weeks. Each time, the doctor said to not get our hopes up. The baby's yolk sac was enlarged and most likely it would not make it. In the mean time, my beloved Grandmother passed away. We had to drive from Dallas to Chicago for the funeral. The whole time I was stressing over whether or not the baby was going to make it. 

At 8 weeks we were transferred to our regular OB. The yolk sac was still enlarged, we were informed that most likely the baby would not make it past twelve weeks gestation. So we waited and waited. Once 12 weeks passed and the baby was still hanging out, we felt like she would make it. But the doctor cautioned that she might have genetic abnormalities. She wanted to do blood work, however we were against it. We would not terminate the pregnancy, so we did not want to know. 

At 20 weeks, we had the anatomy scan. We were terrified. But God was looking down on us and blessed us with a perfect scan. Nothing at all showed to be wrong with our blessed baby girl.  It was like I was finally able to breath. I was finally able to start to enjoy the pregnancy. 

At 38 weeks I went in for my induction. Little Bekah did not want to come into the world. She reacted poorly to the induction, having deceleration's in her heart rate. An hour in, my water broke and there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. It was decided we would do an emergency c-section. 

After having the epidural, I knew something was wrong. I could still feel everything. I was wheeled into the operating room and kept telling them, but no one was listening. They gave me a catheter and started to shave me. I felt it all. Yet they would still not listen. Finally, my doctor came in and I told her. She took one look at me and told the Anesthesiologist to knock me out. My hubby came in and kissed me, then I was knocked out. An hour later I woke up to the most beautiful site. A newborn baby girl, who we named Rebekah. She was amazing. A true blessing.

So that is how we ended up having two beautiful girls. We tried the past three years to add to our family (naturally), with no results. We would love a boy. But in reality, it is for the best that we did not add to our family then. We were not in a good place at all. Now that I am a stay at home mom, we will work on getting healthy again and see if we can have another miracle baby. You never know. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thursday Showers, Happy Mommy

I was awoken this morning by drizzling outside my window and cuddles from my youngest. Bekah had wanted some morning cuddles and I was very happy to oblige. To look down at my baby in my arms and have her looking up at me with a smile on her face, well that is the best reward a mother could have. If you had seen us a week ago, you would see her clinging to her daddy and me begging for her to come cuddle with me. To have her finally want ME, is huge.

Bekah and I had fun grilling burgers for lunch. We actually met a neighbor who has a two year old. She lives across the way and she sat out on the balcony while we sat on ours. It was a lot of fun. One thing I know that is important for stay at home mom's is to develop a branch of friends. You need to maintain adult contact so you do not go mad. Being an introvert of sorts, this is a little difficult. But I am really working to burst out of my bubble and make friends. I have collected numbers from Sarah's friends moms. I plan to develop play dates all throughout the summer.

I am so happy that Bekah and I are having this time together. Sarah and I have always been close (except for her first year when it was all about Daddy). We have been concerned about her language skills. Her tongue was tied when she was born. It was so bad that the skin below it came all the way to the top of her tongue causing it to appear heart shaped. When they fixed it, we were afraid they fixed it too well. She has a Gene Simmons tongue now. As far as her language goes, she mumbles a lot. She can say some words perfectly, but other's are very hard to understand.

I have been working on making sure she doesn't have her pacifier except for bedtime. I am having her repeat a lot of things to me. When we are playing, I have her repeat colors and shapes. When she says something to me, I have her repeat it until she gets it right. Hubby told me that her language has exploded this week. Not to say anything against the fantastic school she was at, but when you are one on one you can do more intense education.

I am signing her up for ABC Mouse today. I will also be taking her to Gymboree next week. Adding on a library visit during story time. I will be signing my oldest up for some sort of activity at the local recreation center. She wants to take swimming, so I will have to see about that. We will also take weekly field trips based on lessons I will be giving the girls throughout the summer. She also has a goal to read 20 books this summer. For each book, she will have to write a one page book report on it. Just because a child is at home, does not mean they cannot get an education. I am so happy that I get to be a part of their life.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Weight Loss Journey

It is very difficult to lose weight and get in shape when you are tied to a desk for 8-10 hours a day. Research shows that even an hour workout at the gym every day does not undo what those hours does to your body.

I was at my thinnest when I was home with my girls (during my maternity leave). I was active, cleaning, walking, playing. Being at a desk all day was nearly the death of me. No more. Now that I am home, I am very active. Yes, I do have my T.V. time. My cuddle time. Yes, even nap time. But the majority of my day is cleaning and organizing and being interactive with my girls.  After just a few days of being home I am already down a few pounds.

This week I am focusing on doing a deep cleaning on my house. Starting next week I will start doing Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone. I will then alternate each week with a different video. So look for future postings about my get in shape routine. I will post weekly weigh in's then monthly picture updates.

One more thing I want to add is that when I worked at a desk all day, I snacked all day long. I constantly had to be munching on something. I tried to do fruit, nuts, veggies, but chips and chocolate always snuck their way in too. I ate way too much and got nearly zero exercise. This new way of life will be great!

For those of you stuck at a desk all day, here is some good info to help undo some of those hours:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day Two...

This is getting to be really nice. I am getting over the "stress" of this major life change. I am getting things done and enjoying the girls so very much. Last night I actually went to the book fair with my oldest. Now that may not seem like a big thing for you, but prior to staying at home I never went to a book fair with my daughter. It was a major event if I was able to go to some after school activity. Normally I wouldn't get home until about 6:30. Last night I was able to get dinner started, leave hubby with the youngest and take the oldest to school. I then came back, finished dinner and we were all done with bath's by 7:15. AMAZING.

I am continuing to get the house under control. It has been a long time since I have been able to do a deep cleaning on the house. I hope that after this week it will just be a matter of maintenance. I will start ABC mouse with Bekah next week and start weekly trips to the library for reading time. I think I am also going to sign her up for Gymboree classes.

After I pick up the oldest from school, I need to go to my old work and pick up my things and turn in my badge. I was going to do it this morning, but I decided to get the housework done. Then since I will already have the kids in the car I will just head to work after picking up Sarah. Then Sarah can help push the stroller while I carry my stuff out.

I also have to find time to run to the store for a few things. If the girls are up for it, I will do that after stopping at my work.

Tip of the day: I don't know about you, but our dryer often takes two cycles to dry. So I threw a hard ball (tennis ball size), wrapped it in a sock and tied it up. Now I throw it in for every dryer cycle and it takes only one cycle for it to dry. Talk about energy savings!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Working mom vs Stay at home mom - Dr. Phil

Last night Hubby and I watched an episode of Dr. Phil. It was about stay at home mom's versus working mom's. They were at war with each other. Of course there couldn't be a civilized conversation, as that wouldn't make good TV. I want to know why we must be at war with each other. It is a different life choice. I think we should be supportive of what ever life choice.

Being a working mom, I was able to feel a sense of accomplishment. I liked my job for the most part. Some days I loved it. Some days I hated it. I unfortunately had a job that required me to work a lot of hours. The whole premise of the Dr. Phil show was really about finding balance in your life, no matter if you are at home or out of the home. With my job, there wasn't any balance. If I didn't work extra hours, I wouldn't make enough for daycare. Some hours were required, like at the end of the month. I could not get off any time to go to those special things like field trips. We had black out days that you had to be in the hospital to get out of.

My problem with the show was that it didn't fully address the high cost of quality daycare. They had a short segment where they discussed finding daycare for a new mom. They researched nanny options, an in-home daycare and a daycare center. The mom did not want to go back to work, but found she HAD to financially. No one discussed how expensive it is for a mom to work. I wish they had set down and run the numbers. How much was she going to be making at work, versus staying home. The cost of clothing and food and travel. I am not saying that staying home is the only or best option for someone. I am saying that if you WANT to stay home or go to work, to be honest with the numbers.

For years Hubby and I could not afford for me to work and we couldn't afford for me to stay home. I went to work, because the bills had to be paid. But they rarely got paid on time. It was a constant struggle. We had two car payments that combined totaled over $1k a month. Daycare cost between $1200 (for one child) to $1800 for two (full time). You might think that if we eliminated the $1k a month for our vehicles (which we did) that we would be good to go. That is not how it worked. We were constantly behind on our car payments. Eventually having one go back to the bank. So we didn't have that "extra" $1k. We were always late on paying for daycare so we would have to pay late fees. We borrowed money from family to stay afloat. We could not afford to pay for daycare. We could not afford car payments. So we had to find a way to cut out both.

We tried to have my parents watch the girls. This would have been ideal for us, but turned out to not be ideal for them. They raised their kids. They were retired and wanted to be free to do what they wanted to do. This was totally understandable. At first I was upset, but now I understand their side of things. I do not hold it against them at all, but this made our lives a little more difficult. We couldn't afford daycare and at the time we couldn't afford for me to quit.

Once we started following Dave Ramsey, we learned how to budget and cut out things that were not necessary. I discovered how much we spent on food. I set out to find a way to cut back. We went from spending about $175 a week on food to about $100 a week. Sometimes as little as $75 a week. We decided to only drive cash cars from now on. We have found cheap things to do for fun. We cut out a money sucking hobby. We did lots of things to cut back.

So why could we still not afford daycare. All of these money cutting things, were only getting us to a place where we could pay for things on time. They were not actually freeing up money. We figured that we would be paying about $200 each month, for me to work during the summer. Why would I want to pay to go to work, when it meant I only saw my kids on the weekends and for about an hour during the week days. You tell me how that makes sense.

So all of these things has led me to becoming a stay at home mom. I know it seems like I have blogged a lot about this choice lately. Trying to explain to people about my choice. But I still get flak for my decision. I wish I could get people to understand. But I guess I have to just suck it up and be confident with my choice. So you tell me, how is it you came to your decision to go to work or stay home. I would love to hear your stories.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Emotional day

I was able to go on Sarah's class field trip today. It was my first. I about lost it in tears watching her with all the other kids in the 1st grade. It was a dream come true for me. My previous job required me to work really long hours most weeks. I didn't have the luxury of taking time to go on field trips. Most of my PTO time was taken up with sick time and the rare vacation. To be able to be with my girl on a field trip was Golden.

It was Bekah's last day at her preschool. I balled my eyes out in the car after picking her up. The preschool she attended was the best around. Of course it cost a pretty penny too. But I felt like I was a failure, not being able to provide the best schooling for her. I am not saying I won't be able to provide for her at home, but we are made to feel guilty as moms for staying home. We are made to feel guilty for going to work. It is a no win situation.

I am very grateful for being able to stay home with the girls now. I know it was only day one and it will be a lot of work being home with them, but work I enjoy. Tonight I was able to put a healthy meal on the table, clean up and then cuddle on the couch with the family. I didn't have to worry about trying to squeeze housework into the 1/2 hour between the time I got home and bedtime. It was so nice.

So while it was an emotional day, it was a good day. I look forward to tomorrow and all the days to come. I might even be able to watch a few of Sarah's friends every now and then this summer to make a little extra cash. We shall see.

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Support me in my choice, I support you in yours

I am all for people wanting to work and having those options open to them. However, I do feel that we need to reflect on our lives and see what is important. Is working important to you? Do you find joy and accomplishment? Then do it. Go out there, work your dream and have peace. But what if your dream is to stay home and raise a family? What if your dream is to be a stay at home parent (mom or dad).

It seems to me that the current culture is where both parents have to work. That if one chooses to stay home, it is a horrible thing. People ask you, "Can't you find work?" They look down on you, as if you are less than a person who works outside of the home. I think this is horrible.

Granted, for the past year I have stressed out over my husband being out of work. But the reality was, I was stressed out because it meant I couldn't be home with the kids. I was jealous. I was mad. We were actually better off financially when he was home. We weren't shelling out $1400-1800 a month in daycare. It forced us to reduce our living expenses. We learned a great many things during this time.

So now that I have become a stay at home mom, I hear my "friends" whisper about how they feel I am doing the wrong thing. This is not the case. They have no right to judge what is right for my family, just like I have no right to judge what is right for theirs. They want to work. That is fine with me. I don't go telling them that they are doing their families a disservice. All I want to say is that my choice is the right one for me.

I will be going back to work when my youngest is in school. I will be teaching so that I can still be with the kids when they are off from school (for the most part). I don't hate work. I love work. But I want to be with my girls right now. It took a lot for me to have these girls and I want to enjoy them.

So for all of you hurting for me and my decision to become a stay at home mom (while attending school to get my Masters), I say stop. Don't worry about me. I will be fine. My family will be fine. This wasn't a choice made lightly. This is my dream. If you choose to not support me in my choice, than fair well. I support you in your choice.

Friday, May 2, 2014

I am now a stay at home mom...

I originally intended for my last day to be May 30th, my daughters last day of school. It didn't work out that way.

This past week I worked a ton of hours at work (a monthly occurrence) for month end. Yesterday I worked from 8:00 am to about midnight, with only a half hour lunch break. It is the same every month. So today I went into work expecting to carry on for the next month. I was told that I had a meeting with my manager at 3:00. They sent every one home in our group except me. Odd, I thought.

I went into the meeting expecting to discuss the monthly training plan. Instead, I sat down and my manager told me that they decided to accept my resignation, effective immediately. I was shocked at first, but then it dawned on me that it is business as usual.

They felt that it was best for them to make a clean break and not waste anyone's time over the next month. OK?!?!? I didn't think that would happen, but that was their opinion. They said that they wish me the best and think I made the right choice to go into teaching. It was rather cordial. They did say that the reason they sent people home was because they were unsure as to how I would react. Like what, I am going to explode at people? No, I save that for the inner struggle I fight every day.

So here I am. A stay at home mom. What I have always wanted to be. I am terrified. I am excited. I know this is the best for everyone. I will finally be able to focus on losing weight. Spend time with my family. Work toward my M.A. in Education. I have learned so much the past year and I have no doubt we will be OK. But dang...its hard going from "employee" to ME. Do you know what I mean?

I will be blogging more now, showing you what it is like going from working mom to home mom. I hope we both enjoy the ride. Thank you for coming along.