Saturday, June 24, 2017

Took My Fat Butt to the Doctor...

Okay, ya'll. I am feeling the need to relate an experience I had the other day at the doctors' office, that has me a little irritated. And you know, if this were the first time it had happened, I might brush it off. But it's not the first time something like this has happened.

So I go to see my gynecologist for my yearly exam. He mentions my significant weight loss since last year. He mentions my metabolic disorder (in my chart). He mentions the endocrinologist who I see for my metabolic disorder, and who my gynecologist describes as "the best". He mentions my vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and asks about my progress. You know what he does then?

He tells me I need to reduce my calorie intake (without asking me anything about my diet). He asks about my physical activity, then tells me I also need to exercise more to maximize my weight loss.

You know... if he didn't know that I had a diagnosed metabolic disorder, was under treatment by "the best" endocrinologist in the area, that I recently had gastric sleeve, that I'm already seeing a nutritionist, and have lost 70 lbs... if he didn't know all of that and as a medical professional wanted to insert his advice about my weight because he was concerned about my obesity, then fine. But when you know your patient has taken proactive steps to combat the condition, is being seen by someone you yourself consider "the best", and has had significant weight loss, well... do you really think another lecture about how fat she is, how she needs to reduce caloric intake & increase physical activity, well, do you really think that's helpful? Or is it degrading? Disheartening? Insulting?

It's not the first time this has happened. In my early 20s I  experienced some breast changes that, because of my family history of breast cancer, my family doctor felt should be evaluated by a breast specialist. So I went. She never even examined me. True story. She asked me to have a seat in her office, fully clothed, and lectured me on how I needed to lose weight, and somehow this would resolve my breast issues. She literally never even looked at my breasts, let alone did an exam.

Let that sink in for a minute. A patient is referred to you, as a specialist, because of significant changes in her breasts combined with a strong family history of breast cancer. And you, as a specialized medical professional, never even examine her, but instead lecture her about her weight as if that will cure all of her issues.

Needless to say, I never went back.

Thankfully my family doctor was as appalled as I was and ordered my first mammogram. He also said he would no longer be referring patients to that particular doctor.

Don't misunderstand me, I know that obesity is a major health issue in our country. But it isn't everything. It's not even close. Nothing about my yearly gynecological visit necessitates comments about my weight, diet, & exercise, especially when you know I'm already being treated for those issues. Nothing about the changes in my breasts were attributed to my weight, nor would losing weight somehow miraculously prevent breast cancer from being a concern in my life.

The sad thing is that these experiences are nothing new, not for me, and not for millions of other Americans. Our concerns, the real medical issues that need to be addressed, are dismissed; we aren't taken seriously; we endure lecture after lecture about our weight, whether we want it or not. We hear the surprise in the nurse's voice when our blood pressure is within normal limits, and the look of surprise on doctors' faces when we tell them that "No. I'm not diabetic. In fact, my sugar trends low."

It's bad enough the things we endure from John Q. Public, but the doctor is one place we should be able to go, discuss valid concerns, and have those concerns addressed, without judgement. But it's not. It's just not.

It's really sad to think that one of the benefits of me one day reaching a healthy weight is that doctors will now take me seriously. Really, really sad indeed.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What to do if Your Cat Goes Missing

A few weeks ago my beloved cat Tucker snuck out the door around midnight and disappeared into the night. When he hadn't come home by the next morning, I became worried. Really worried. Tucker is 12 years old and an indoor cat. I envisioned all kinds of horrible things. But I also took action.

If you ever find yourself in a similar position, here are a few things you can do to (hopefully) get your beloved cat (or other pet) back home.


#1 - visit your local animal shelter.

Our shelter helped me complete a "missing pet" notice, that would be kept in the intake area for six months, so that any cats brought in would be matched against Tucker's description. They also allowed me to view all of the cats at the shelter, including the recent intakes not yet available for adoption. I was also permitted to hang a "lost cat" flier on the bulletin board in their lobby. The animal control officer that assisted me was incredibly helpful and polite, and gave me some first-hand information on what they see that helps reunite owners with their pets.

#2 - post on social media, especially Facebook.

Truth be told, I did this first, just because it's quick & easy. Create a "lost cat" post, with picture, set the privacy to "public" and share with your friends. Ask them to share. Share in local groups in your area. Post in missing pet networks in your region. Post, post, post, share, share, share. Not only is it super-easy, according to the animal control officer I spoke with Facebook is now the #1 way they see owners reunited with pets in our area.



#3 - post fliers, with pictures, in your area.

This was one of the last things that I did, mostly because the three days after Tucker disappeared were filled with summer thunderstorms. Of course. But the first dry day we had I posted fliers on the telephone poles closest to our home, with plans to post more and expand the area every day. The officer told me this is currently the secondmost way they see pets & owners reunited in our area, especially for those who may find your pet but not be on social media. Even though it was too wet to post fliers outdoors due to the weather, I did take fliers to local gas stations, veterinary offices, and pet-related businesses in my area started on day one.

#4 - if your pet is microchipped, notify the microchip company

We rescued Tucker from a shelter, so he came already microchipped, but this was the first time I actually ever needed to use their missing pet alert system. I have to say, I was impressed. I filled out the online form, submitted it, and not only did an email go out to hundreds of other owners of microchipped pets in the area (I've been getting their emails for years), but they also send out a mass communication to local veterinary offices, and even Facebook groups. In fact, one of the "Lost & Found Pets" groups that I went to post to, by the time I got on social media, had already posted the notice they got from our microchip company. For those who may be interested, we use HomeAgain*.


#5 - go out with stinky food and call your pet by name.

For cats, go out in the evening and early morning. Cats are nocturnal by nature, so there's a chance he may be sleeping the day away. If he's going to be found out & about, it's most likely going to be at night.


#6 - put your cat's litter box outside.

Statistics vary, but some claim that a cat can identify their own litter box up to a mile away. I waited until day three to do this, for a few reason. First of all, I had cleaned the litter box right about an hour before he got out. There was nothing for him to smell. Secondly, Tucker shares a litter box with our other cat, Molly. I couldn't leave it outside with nowhere for her to relieve herself. Thirdly, the rain. I didn't clean the litterbox at all the first couple of days after Tucker disappeared. On day three, when the rain let up, I took it outside and dumped it near our property line, in the direction I last saw him running. It was now nice and stinky with Molly's waste, and I figured even if it's not his, he should recognize his sister's smell, right?



#7 - don't give up hope

According to the animal control officer I spoke with, indoor cats who get lost outside, if they haven't been taken in by someone, return after 2-3 days. If a cat has been "rescued" by a well-meaning neighbor, it can be months before you are reunited.
The story usually goes something like this: well meaning person finds "lost" cat with no identification. "Rescues" said cat by taking it in. Since they are doing a good deed, it never occurs to them the cat may be lost. Surely it is a stray or its owners didn't want it or take care of it. After a few months, the cat either isn't fitting in well in the household, or they finally get around to taking it to the vet, or a friend or family member guilts them about never checking to see if the cat were lost. At that point they surrender it to the shelter where it is scanned for a microchip or matched against a missing pet report. Or the vet scans for a microchip and realizes the pet actually belongs to someone else. Or they start looking at lost pet reports or call the shelter and realize that their new pet is actually someone's missing pet.
So don't give up hope.

So what happened to Tucker? He did return home, on day four, around 11pm. I heard a faint meow, and initially thought it must be Molly, sleeping in my three year old's room. Then I realized it wasn't her voice. I looked over, and there was Tucker, peeking in our French doors at the back of the house. He was skinny, covered in burrs, and reeked of gasoline, but was otherwise fine. I'm not sure where he was for those four days, but I sure am glad he's home.


One surprising development was the amount of attention his disappearance and our reunion got on Facebook. People shared my posts all over and I was getting private messages checking on his status. So naturally Tucker ended up with his own Facebook page. My cat has a Facebook page and people are still following his story. Still seems a little crazy, but it's true.

How about you? Have you ever lost a pet? Were you reunited? What steps did you take when you realized it was lost?

As always, thanks for checking in!



*HomeAgain did not ask for a mention or review, nor have I been compensated in any way for this post. I am simply giving my opinion of a service I have paid for out of my own personal finances.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Letting People In

One of my friends kinda invited herself to my house for a play date. Not in a rude way, more of a miscommunication (I assumed we were meeting at a park, she assumed they were coming over). And I should clarify that although I do consider her a friend, we're not especially close, haven't spent a lot of time together, chatting, or what not. So not a close friend by any means.

I figured this out at 10:30pm the night before when she asked what time she should be over.

Instead of back-pedaling, backing out of it, explaining the miscommunication... 
I agreed.
I might be insane.
My house was a disaster. And not like in the way that people say when it's a little bit untidy but they want to be polite or whatever. Like a serious messy, messy did-a-tornado-hit-here? disaster. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to see my house. Actually, the last thing I wanted was to spend hours cleaning our house only to realize that it still isn't even close to "company ready", even though company is coming, ready or not.
But our pastor routinely says things about how if you keep shutting people out of your life & your home because you're afraid of being rejected based on your flaws, then you are missing out on real, authentic relationships. So I agreed instead of backing out, and I let her and her kids in.
And it was awesome. If she judged me, she didn't show it. You see, I always kind of assume that when people see my messy house they either judge me, or are relieved (you know who you are, LOL). Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a lot of people just don't care that much either way, but that's what I envision: either judgement or relief.

So we don't have people over a lot. Hardly every really. But maybe we should. Because it was great. The kids played together well, she and I got to chat almost the entire two hours, and I think we all genuinely had a great time.

So maybe I need to let more people in, literally and figuratively. Maybe I'm missing out on something great by not letting people in. And maybe if someone judges me based on my lack of housekeeping skills, they aren't the kind of friend I need in my life anyway.

What about you? Is there anything you use a reason to keep people at bay? What are you afraid of?

As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Small Business Spotlight: Pressure Wash Cincinnati

Welcome to the very first Small Business Spotlight on Everyday Nothings. I'd like to spend some time each month shining the proverbial spotlight on a small / family business. Up first, our own family-owned business, Pressure Wash Cincinnati.



Pressure Wash Cincinnati started in 2012 as The ProServe Group, a professional services group specializing in home exterior services, and currently consists of Pressure Wash Cincinnati and Christmas Lights Cincinnati.

Founder Jason Geiman had the idea while talking with his fellow firefighters at the fire house one shift. One of them mentioned that he thought there should be someone who went around and did pressure washing in the neighborhood. The idea stuck with Jason, and he started looking into the idea of starting his own pressure washing company. After he had done considerable research and talked with existing owners of pressure washing companies in other cities, he approached his wife, Jodi, with the idea. Once she had a grasp of the concept, she gave him her full support.



The company started as a true "mom & pop" operation, with the couple going together to look at and purchase equipment, driving to other cities to talk to more experienced professionals, talking over the aspects of the business, and attending professional conventions. When the business launched in 2012 Jason answered the phones, performed quotes, closed sales, and did all of the manual labor  and bookkeeping while Jodi, who was also working full-time outside of the home, did the graphic design and helped with marketing in the evenings, weekends, and occasionally on her lunch break. Their then-3-year-old daughter would also join in as they drove around in what little "spare" time they had, putting out yard signs at major intersections throughout Greater Cincinnati. Family time often looked a lot like family business time in 2012 and the beginning of 2013 (and still does at times!)

Their hard work paid off, and by the next summer they were on track to double their business. Enter Jason's brother, Gary Geiman.



Jason & Gary had previously discussed the possibility of starting a business together, and had talked over several options, including pressure washing and carpet cleaning. With the business expanding rapidly, and Gary in a position to step in, the experienced sales professional came on board the summer of 2013 as the undisputed head of sales.

With Gary taking over phone calls, performing quotes, and more importantly closing sales, Jason was able to concentrate on completing jobs, and keeping customers satisfied with top-notch work and customer service. In his nearly non-existent spare time, Jason started teaching himself marketing. The timing was impeccable, as Jodi needed to take a step back. Additional responsibilities at her full time job combined with a pregnancy made it less feasible for her to be as involved in the business had she had been before. Looking back, she sees God's perfect timing in what was a pretty stressful time. Gary's knowledge and experience in sales has been a boon to the business, and Jason has become a veritable expert at online marketing, which has helped to drive Pressure Wash Cincinnati to the success it is today.




The growth of the company has been fairly aggressive, nearly doubling every year since 2012. This success has led to the hiring of additional employees, and Pressure Wash Cincinnati currently employees ten people, and runs three trucks full-time during the peak season, which runs from late Spring thru early Fall.

In fact, the growth has allowed them to bring more members of the family on board. Gary's sons, Tyler & Garrett, have helped out with pressure washing almost since the beginning, and both have now come on board full time working in the field and assisting with sales calls. Gary's wife, Jennifer, joined the Pressure Wash Cincinnati team this year, performing vital assistance to the company in sales, accounting, and customer service. Jennifer's son, Sebastian, has begun helping Jason with the online marketing by creating videos.



With growth comes the need to find great employees, a struggle many business owners, big & small, are battling. Pressure Wash Cincinnati tries to combat this struggle by paying their employees an above average monetary compensation and providing up to three weeks off per year. They hope to secure long-term employees that share their goals and vision by servicing their customers with the highest degree of satisfaction possible.

Not only has their success led them to increase their hiring, they've also outgrown their physical location twice in just five years of existence. As with many small businesses Pressure Wash Cincinnati started out of Jason & Jodi's home in Northern Kentucky. In year four everyone realized that they needed additional space, and they leased a building in a neighboring town with better highway access for reaching their customers. The business outgrew that space in less than a year, and they have now moved to a larger space in Cincinnati. Not only does their new location provide them with the space that they need for a larger operation, but it is more central to their customer base as well, allowing them to serve their customers more efficiently.


So what do they credit for such success? Well, the achievements Pressure Wash Cincinnati has seen come primarily from successful marketing efforts, but this includes a willingness to try something new when one marketing effort doesn't yield the ROI (return on investment) that was expected. While they can't discount the positive effect active marketing campaigns have had on business growth, their success also wouldn't come without providing an unbeatable quality of work with superior customer service, but for those wondering why their marketing has been so successful, Pressure Wash Cincinnati has two main suggestions:
        - get active on social media with your business
        - find a mentor with more experience to learn from

While entrepreneurship takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time, it isn't without its benefits. The Geiman family sees the flexibility of running their own business as the primary perk. You might work seven days a week at times, but having the ability to set your own schedule is a huge asset. Setting your own goals and seeing them thru to completion also creates a sense of satisfaction that many entrepreneurs struggle to find in a traditional work place.


So what does the future hold for Pressure Wash Cincinnati? Expansion seems to be the future of this successful small business. With plans to expand into other cities within the next year, they see themselves with over ten franchises within five years, and hope to have handed the reins over to the next generation of Geimans within a decade.

I hope you've enjoyed our very first Small Business Spotlight. Interested in hiring Pressure Wash Cincinnati? Working for them? Visit their website at www.pressurewashcincinnati.com for more information, or call (513) 379-5450 to speak to one of their team.


Interested in having your small and/or family business featured in our Small Business Spotlight? Contact Jodi at geimanj@yahoo.com.

As always, thanks for checking in!


******

all photos provided by Pressure Wash Cincinnati and used with permission

Monday, June 12, 2017

Recipe: Stars & Stripes Cookie Bites


I made these cookies for our family's Memorial Day picnic and they were a big hit! Cute & delicious. Not one was left. If you like soft cookies like my family does, the secret is cake batter. Keeps the cookies soft like cake, but with the right other ingredients, firm like cookies. Could be used for any patriotic holiday, like the upcoming Independence Day. Enjoy!

Stars & Stripes Cookie Bites

Ingredients:
One 15.25 oz box of french vanilla cake mix
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup red sprinkles
1/4 cup blue sprinkles

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. I recommend adding one at a time, in the order listed, and stirring after each addition.
Spray cookie sheet(s) with Pam baking spray.
Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes. Don't worry if they're not pretty! That's what the cookie cutter is for!
Allow to cool on cookie sheet.
After cooling at least 10 minutes, use star-shaped cookie cutter to cut into shape.
Serve and enjoy!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Duncan Hines Perfect Size for One


I got my first Perfect Size for One the other day and couldn't wait to try it.

I was not disappointed. I went with the Chocolate Lovers Cake, and it definitely satisfies my chocolate cravings. It was easy to prepare, minimal dirty dishes, and so yummy!



When I first looked at the finished product, I admit I was tempted to add some icing. Not for flavor, but because cake tends to be a little dry for my taste. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it sans icing and found it to to be more than moist enough for my taste. The cake is fluffy, warm, and just right for a small snack or dessert. Just enough to satisfy that sweet tooth.

As an added bonus, I don't have to worry about making a larger dessert, like a "regular" cake, then having the rest of the cake go stale. Perfect Size for One is exactly that, the perfect size for one serving, easy to make, and no chances of the rest of it going bad before you can finish it.


Jena's been begging for me to let her make one ever since she saw the box, and the prep is easy enough that I think I will let her. Maybe tonight.

If you occasionally have a sweet tooth and need just enough to satisfy it, I highly recommend Perfect Size for One by Duncan Hines. And if chocolate is your vice, then you can't go wrong with the Chocolate Lovers Cake.

Enjoy!

************************

I received a sample of Duncan Hines Perfect Size for One in the mail, but there was never any request or solicitation for a review. I chose to do a review of my own accord, with no request or expectation of compensation of any kind.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Preschool: Learning Letters


Now that Jillian is 3 years old, we've started more formal lessons for her in our homeschool. Many of them revolve around letter recognition and spelling her name.

Last week I came up with a simple, but effective lesson that she loved. I took out a piece of colored construction paper, wrote a capital "J" (for Jillian) on it in black marker, then gave her the paper and some small stickers. I asked her to carefully follow the lines of the "J" with the stickers. I have to say, I was impressed with how neatly she did it.


Jillian loved this activity so much, that we've continued with each of the letters of her name. Her attention span only lasts for about the time to do one letter, so we've been doing on each day.

This post contains affiliate links. This does not impact your price but I do get a small commission for any items purchased through these links. As always, thank you for your continued support of Everyday Nothings.

What are some fun ways you've taught your kids their letters?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We're Getting a Homeschool Room!

We are finishing up our third year of homeschooling, and thus far have done our daily lessons at the dining room table, and even added a cabinet in the dining room to hold school supplies. Well, as the years have passed and we have gradually added more and more books & supplies, we are quickly outgrowing the dining room. Especially now that Jillian has started her own preschool lessons, space is at a premium.

One day, as I was lamenting my need for more bookshelves, my brother texted me asking if I wanted free bookshelves! Seriously. (I call that a God moment). You see, he & his wife are downsizing, and needed to get rid of some larger items. Like bookshelves. We ended up getting two bookshelves and a small desk from them! Bingo. But now... where to put them.

Enter our family room. It hasn't gotten much use in the six years we've lived in the house. In the winter we use the functional wood-burning fireplace as a heat source, making it less than ideal for small children to play in, and uncomfortable for the rest of us. So, a room not very functional for almost half the year ended up being a space for junk storage.

Well, now that much of Jason's winter is spent putting up Christmas lights for our family business, he has less & less time for things like cutting & stacking firewood. In fact, last winter we didn't light the fire one time. Not once. We talked about the reasonableness of not using the fireplace for heat in the future, and agreed that while it's a great financial savings to have free heat, the combination of the time it takes to cut & stack wood, along with the prospect of being able to turn it into a functional school room, led us to agree to not burn fires there any longer, and make the change.

Well, a few weeks before the bookshelf incident, I had decided we needed to purge some of our "junk" and had already begun the process. So the room was already in the process of being emptied out. When I knew the furniture was coming, I started an effort to completely clean out the room, as well as paint the walls. I'm so excited at how it's coming along.

Jena helped out painting the first coat

I think the new color, a light gray, is really going to brighten & open up the room. Once we get the new furniture in and the room set up, I think it's going to be a really nice space for the girls and I to have our lessons. And we'll have a functional space instead of wasted space.


First section of the room painted & drying. I'm loving the new lighter color!

Unfortunately I have to paint & prepare the room in phases, due to lack of time and need to parent small children. Some of you know what I mean. It would be nice to do all at once and be done, but bit-by-bit will be just fine and I'm still super-excited for the final product. I can't wait to show it to you!

As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Parenting Hack: Rest Time / Quiet Play

Back when Jena was a toddler, her body tried to drop a nap before she really seemed to be ready. And before I was ready, if I'm being honest. Trying to think of a way to encourage her to rest, I initiated what I call "Rest Time / Quiet Play". Of course back then I was working full-time outside of the home, so it was only used on weekends, but it worked like a dream. About half the time Jena would end up falling asleep.

The idea is that the child has to go to their room, door shut, for a specified amount of time. They can rest, nap, or play, but everything must be quiet.

It not only encourages rest time, but for the time that they're not quite ready to nap, it encourages independent play.

Well, recently Jillian has decided to drop her afternoon nap... and has become a terror. The lack of sleep makes her normally spirited self even more of a handful. Lots of tantrums, she started hitting & biting again, defiance, disobedience... she was out of control. Enter Rest Time / Quiet Play.

I instituted it this past week at our house, for both kids. Sure, Jena doesn't really need it anymore, being 8 years old, but she could use some encouragement to play independently. And quite frankly, I could use some non-kid time.

So far, it has been amazing. The first day it took me about 30 minutes to convince Jillian that she really did have to stay in her room. But she eventually got it.

We school in the morning, then have lunch, then from 1pm-3pm the girls have Rest Time / Quiet Play. Jillian has fallen asleep every day, which as made bedtime a little bit of a struggle, but her mental state and behavior is so much improved it's well worth it for me. Even Jena has enjoyed it, and has started asking for it!

What I didn't plan on, but am not really surprised by, is now much more productive I've been able to be around the house. Those two hours without distraction have allowed me to get more chores & cleaning done this week than I've gotten done in... forever it seems.

An additional bonus? Jena got so bored, she decided to clean her room!



It hasn't been this clean in a long time! And by having Rest Time / Quiet Play every day she has kept it clean, while still having plenty of time for watching shows, playing games, reading, making crafts, or whatever she wants!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Salad


When I accidentally picked up the Buffalo Boneless Chicken Wings by Tyson Anytizers instead of our usual Honey BBQ, I saw an opportunity. Buffalo Chicken Salad, it is. It turned out great. Yum!

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
Tyson Anytizers, Buffalo Boneless Chicken Wings
Private Selection Shredded Lettuce
Kroger Sharp Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded
Original Fritos
Frozen Corn, cooked
Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

Directions:

Cook the boneless chicken wings as directed. Once cooked, cut into fourths.
Put shredded lettuce in bowl. Add chicken, dressing, corn, cheese, and Fritos as desired.
Enjoy!




I love the combo of hot & spicy with cool. Can't wait to make it again.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Trip to Chicago

Last month Jason had the opportunity to attend a marketing workshop in Chicago, so we decided to bring the girls along and make it a family trip.

We started out by stopping at the Indianapolis Children's Museum on the way. This is really a must-see for any families that live in the MidWest. The exhibits are fantastic and educational. We've been several times, and our girls just can't get enough of it. This time the girls' favorite exhibit was the circus exhibit. So much to do hands on! We ended up spending most of our time there. Check out our video to see some of the things we got to see and do there.


Once we left the Children's Museum we stopped for the night in northern Indiana. The next day we made our way into Chicago. As many times as I've been there, I never get used to how crowded it is! People (and cars!) everywhere!

While we were there we were able to meet up with my best friend from college. Gaby & I have so many differences, but we have been there for each other for over 20 years now. It's amazing when we get to see each other in person finally. I love her so much!

The next day, while Jason attended his workshop, the girls & I went to the highlight of our visit: a trip to the American Girl store! Jena got one for her last birthday, and Jillian had been asking for one for months. Since Jillian's birthday overlapped with our trip, we decided to get her one as her "big" present from us. Jena too, had been wanting another one, and in fact had been saving her money for months, trying to save enough to get one.

I really am so proud of her. From her 8th birthday & Christmas she had about $40, but if you know anything about American Girl dolls, that's not even close to enough. The rest of the money she earned thru soccer and chores.

For soccer, midway thru her first season as goalie Jason had agreed to pay her $1 for every goal she stopped, but take away $2 for any goals that got thru. At the time this was maybe $4-5 per game, tops. Usually $1-2. Then indoor soccer started. Ends up indoor soccer moves at a faster pace, and strikers tend to get off more shots on goal. With our daughter being one of the top goalies in her age group, more than half of her games were shut outs. She stopped as many as 27 goals in one game, without letting a single one through! I'm not gonna lie, she cleaned up on that deal!

For chores, she earns money for chores. The amount is rather small though, ranging from 5 cents to 50 cents per chore. She worked really hard because she wanted that doll, and some weeks earned as much as $8.

She saved every dollar, and by the time of our trip had enough to not only purchase the doll of her choosing, but get two outfits for it too! I'm so proud of her for her hard work to earn the money, and the self-restraint to save it for a large purchase. That can be hard for many adults, and my little girl si only 8 years old.

Check out this video to see how excited the girls were when we told them about going to the American Girl store, and some of our time there.


We had such a nice time in Chicago. It's a lovely city, and of course I always get to see a good friend when we go.

Have you been to Chicago lately? What are your favorite sites to see there?

As always, thanks for checking in!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Update on Gastric Sleeve - sorry it's been so long!

Wow.

Surgical recovery and parenting and... wow, next thing you know I am WAY behind on keeping you guys updated.

I had gastric sleeve a few months ago, and things are going great! I am down roughly 70 lbs and feel wonderful. My energy us up, I just feel so much better, I can do more... I just can't tell you how great I feel. I feel stronger, more capable... in short, I feel like I'm getting back to my old self. And indeed weight-wise I am! I have already hit my first personal weight goal, which was to hit my pre-pregnancy weight... before my first child. That milestone has been met and I am currently less than 10 lbs from my next milestone, my wedding weight.

It's been a journey, and not without bumps. I had some pretty bad pain early on post-surgery, enough that there were concerns of there being a leak in the suture line in my stomach, but the pain eventually faded with no other signs of a leak, so that was good. Painful, but not like it could be. Eating, even drinking, was quite a struggle at first, and I was unable to get in the proper amount of liquids, and then later protein for quite a while. I just couldn't even force it down, it was so difficult, uncomfortable, and even painful any time I drank or ate.

I still get uncomfortable at times, but for the most part the act of eating is back to normal. I had my 3-month follow up the other day, and while I did get scolded for still not getting enough water and not taking my multi-vitamins, the nutritionist said that my progress has been so great that she can't really yell at me. Ha!

One thing that has amazed me is that the surgery really seems to be working. I know, it's ridiculous. That's why I had it to begin with. But I think so many other things in my life had failed, the idea that this is working just blows my mind.

I had several doctors independently recommend the procedure for several reasons, one of those doctors being my ob/gyn. I've had issues with my cycles since having Jillian and he suggested that the changes in hormones that occur as a result of the surgery may solve those problems. Guess what? He was right! My periods are still irregular, even on hormonal birth control, but PMDD is pretty much gone, no more menstrual migraines, my periods are lighter and my cramps are almost non-existent. I went from having periods that were debilitating at times to "normal" periods within one cycle of having the surgery, before any significant weight loss. It blows my mind.

The main reason for me to have the procedure was to solve various endocrine issues (my endocrinologist was actually the first one to recommend it), with the weight loss being a happy side result, not only of the procedure, but of getting my endocrine issues resolved. And it actually seems to be working, which just seriously blows my mind that something is actually working. I'm amazed.

That's about it for now. If you're interested in my past updates, maybe you're considering having the surgery, or have had it and want to connect, I have some more frequent surgery & recovery updates on my YouTube channel, as well as just some fun videos from our life, so check that out.

I'm glad to be back on here, and thanks for checking in!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Girl Scouts, and Homeschooling, and Soccer, oh my!

I'm trying to find Jena a new Girl Scout troop, as her current troop is dissolving at the end of this year.

Jena in her Brownie uniform. She's a Junior now, but quite frankly I love this picture.

I don't really care if it's a homeschool troop, as hers currently is, but... it kinda has to be. With her playing (and loving) soccer, plus other family obligations, we currently only have two nights at home most of the year. I'm not willing to give those up in order to add another activity that just keeps us busy.

So... I kinda need it to be a homeschool troop, because I need one that meets during the day on a weekday. Apparently we may be the only such troop in the area, because so far I've had no luck, and I've stretched my search to an hour drive in all directions. Still no luck.

We like Girl Scouts, but I need to have a heart-to-heart with Jena about just how much she loves it. Because right now it looks like my only option might be to start our own troop, and I'm not about to do that unless this is an activity that Jena is really wanting to continue. It's a big commitment for us to make as a family if she's not 100% into it. So we shall see.

Homeschooling is going well. We're behind a bit from where I would like to be in the curriculum, mostly due to my health issues. I've had five surgical procedures since October. That puts a damper on our schooling schedule.

First day of Preschool and 3rd grade, respectively.

Thank goodness last year I made the decision to school year round. Our school year runs July 1 - June 30, and somehow, even with all the "breaks" we've had, we only need 21 more school days to satisfy the state requirements. Praise the Lord! And we have more than 3 months to get those days in! I don't know how we managed it, because quite frankly it feels like we hardly ever school, but I keep record of everything she does, and numbers don't lie. Even though we do school year-round, meaning we won't stop just because we meet the state minimum, it is still a huge relief to know that we are more than on target to meet it.

I will say that one thing that has also helped is that this year we joined Classical Conversations. The community days provided Jena with one day of school each week, even when I was out of commission. The director and Jena's tutor were very gracious in working with us (parents are supposed to remain on campus) and allowed Jason to drop Jena off in the mornings when I could not attend and pick her up when he took a break for lunch (our session ends right around lunch time). We didn't plan on things like this when we started, but it really ended up being a God-send.

Back to soccer for a minute. I'll be honest, I really never pictured Jena as a soccer player. But she wanted to try a couple of years ago, so we signed her up for the YMCA league. And... she loved it. And... she loved being goalie.

Not an action shot, but I love this pic of her.

Fast forward to now, and she plays in a recreational league Spring & Fall and a select league for indoor soccer during the winter. Currently she's her team's only goal keeper, although the coach plans to rectify that once spring practices start, which is any day now. Actually they were supposed to start last week, but have all been cancelled thus far due to crappy weather.

Anyway, I am proud to say that Jena is not only the only goal keeper currently, she's a super star. She may very well be the best goalie in her age group in our entire area. She started this season of select soccer with three shutouts in a row. Stopped 100% of shots on goal. We haven't started keeping stats yet, but I'd say her average is well in the 90% range. Her last game her team played an opponent that was in an older league, and played a much more physical and aggressive game than our girls are used to. Jena stopped 23 of 26 shots on goal. I even heard several of the opposing team's parents commenting on how good our goal keeper was. Yep. That's my girl.

Oh, and because anytime Jena has a high number of stops I hear this comment, I'm gonna go ahead and say that her defense did not let her down. Those girls worked hard and get credit for keeping even more shots coming her way. This was an older team that played a tough game.

Anyway, we haven't started keeping stats yet, because, well... she's 8 years old. But she has asked us to. She heard us (and her coach, and other parents...) using the word "shutout" after those first few games, and decided she did want us to keep track. Jason and I are toying with the idea of keeping track starting with Spring season, not only because she wants us to, but also because if she decides this is something she wants to continue to pursue, knowing how to do it and do it well will serve us well in the future, so figuring it out and practicing keeping track now may be a good idea. You know me, I'm a planner, LOL.

My only hesitation is that she is still very young, and while I know she has a competitive spirit, I want her focus to remain on having fun. I don't ever want it to get so competitive that it ruins the fun for her. On the other hand, since she does have a naturally competitive spirit, she may think it's more fun. Who knows.

So that's what keeps us busy most days. I don't know what we're going to do once Jillian adds her own activities into the mix!

As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I can't sleep

So I'm sitting here at 1am* on my 40th birthday and I can't sleep. And now my Netflix isn't working. And my phone is on the charger. But my mind is spinning, spinning, spinning, so... perfect time to blog, right?

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Right now at the top of my mind is an unpleasant topic, at least for me. Have you ever seen a woman with a man, or listened to one of your girlfriends talk about a guy, and you just know they have a crush on him, even if they haven't told you yet?

Yeah. Right now there are two women in our circle who I'm pretty sure have crushes on my husband. Now, I have no flat out evidence, nothing's been outright said (obviously), and no, I don't think anyone has done anything, but... you know that feeling. Not even the gut feeling of the wife, but the feeling when you see your (hopefully single) friend crushing on a (hopefully single) guy and there's just something about the way she talks, or how she is around him that tells you how she feels before she actually tells you how she feels. That. Except instead of being happy & giddy & nervous for her you're kinda ticked off and a little sick to your stomach because she's in your circle and both of you see her regularly and this is a little close to home for your taste. But you kinda have to be nice, or at least cordial, to her, because there is absolutely no evidence that she (or he) has done anything wrong, so for you to just become a complete b**** would be social suicide, and possibly give her reason to feel no regret or guilt over pursuing what is yours, so you're nice. Even though you want to not be nice. And did I mention there are two of them? Ugh!

So... that. That is on my mind a lot lately. And it's not fun.

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The topic second-most in my thoughts lately is someone else in my loop who is, quite frankly, driving me crazy with the way they are twisting Scripture.

Here's the deal: I was raised with certain Christian beliefs. Thru the years and my own journey to know God better I have come to realize that some of those beliefs were not biblical. Thru the years I have gone to churches of varying religious denominations, talked with believers with a multitude of differing views.

And here's the thing. If someone can show me in Scripture why what I have believed might be wrong, I have no problem accepting that I need to either change my beliefs, or dig deeper into the Word and into prayer and figure out what's going on. I have done this more than once. On some issues I now believe completely differently than how I was raised. On other issues digging deeper has done nothing more than to show me how biblically sound my beliefs were to begin with.

But if you can show me in the Word, if it is not only in the Word, but makes sense in the entire context of the passage, in the historical context of the day, in the sociological context, etc. If it all fits and makes sense, then we're good. We are open to considering it.

This person? Ugh. Pulls individual verses out of context constantly. Has been called on this repeatedly by several other believers, including myself, and still does it. When challenged they tend to either change the subject to another verse altogether, change the subject altogether, or shut down the conversation.

For whatever reason, they have come across an idea that they want to hold on to, they have found other likeminded individuals, and have made their minds up. No matter how many Scriptures you show them that contradict what they are saying, no matter how many times you explain that if you put that verse back in the context of the entire passage, then it doesn't really say that at all, if you usual actual historical fact to explain to them why what they are saying is just not factual... doesn't matter. Their mind has been made up and there is no talking to them.

And it frustrates the crap out of me. It bothers me. I have been talking to them and praying for them for months and it seems to be no avail. I just keep trusting that the Word of the Lord will not return void (Isaiah 55:11) and one day they will see the Light. It's just really hard for me to see them going down this path, because I know them. I know how they were raised. I know their parents. For some years we attended the same church. I know that they were raised in biblical Truth. So to see them turn their back on it, and pervert the Word of God and twist His Word... oh, it gets to me, right in the heart. It saddens me, and angers me, and worries me all at the same time.

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Lastly, the thing that's been on my mind is my recovery from vertical sleeve gastrectomy. I was five weeks out yesterday. The number everyone wants to know: I'm down 34 lbs. I've dropped one pants size and am on the verge of dropping another.

I feel better than I have in a long time, and I feel like I'm getting my life back.

I'm still on a restricted diet. I started on clear liquids, then pureed foods, and now I'm on soft foods. I will be on soft foods for another three months.

This topic needs its own post, so for now I will leave it at that.

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Hoping all of you are well! Thanks for checking in!




* I schedule out my posts to be published at 12noon, and have for years. So now ya know.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pretty Enough

I've been reflecting on the many times I was told I was unattractive. As in, people literally said it with their words. Once in a while to my face, but usually I overheard it. And it didn't stop with childhood.

We think kids do these hurtful things because "kids will be kids", but that's just not true. People do these things because sometimes people suck.

I remember my siblings telling me how fat I was. Repeatedly.

The kid in middle school who asked if I were pregnant, because my belly looked like a big pregnant belly.

The friend in high school who I overheard say I "could be" pretty if I just lost some weight and started wearing makeup.

The mom of one of my best friends who I overheard say I needed to put on some makeup and wear some pantyhose, then I wouldn't be so bad.

One of my good friends in high school who told me if she ever got to be a size 14, just shoot her. I was a 14/16 at the time.

The office manager at my first job out of college who told me I wasn't attractive enough, and I should consider fixing my hair and wearing full face makeup regularly.

The manager at my last job who sat me down after having my first born and told me I needed to work on my appearance, maybe dress nicer, fix my hair, and consider makeup.

And these are just the ones that stung bad enough that I still remember them.


My husband wonders why I don't see myself as attractive, why I never have, why I have a hard time believing him.

Maybe it's because repeatedly, over the course of my life, I was told over and over and over again exactly how unattractive I am. And not just by images on the media, heightened expectations, blah, blah, blah. People in my life actually said it.

And a lot more people said it and/or treated me that way than ever told me I was pretty. I was never the pretty one.

For 40 years.

You internalize that crap after a while.

It is also a big reason why I tell my girls constantly how beautiful they are. I call them "Beautiful" or "Pretty" as if it's a nickname. I tell them they have beautiful princess hair, the cutest noses in the world, and the most amazing eyes. I tell them they are gorgeous.


Yes, I also tell them how smart they are, and kind, and generous, and sweet, and thoughtful, and all of those things. But here's the thing:

One day, this world is going to tell them they are ugly, they are unattractive, they're too fat or too skinny or too muscular or not muscular.

Sure, maybe someone will tell them they're mean, or not nice. I doubt anyone will tell them they aren't smart. Sorry, but they're both brilliant, they just are. But I can just about guarantee that one of these days they will be beat down for their looks. And when that day comes, when those days come, I want them to have this voice in their heads that says "You are beautiful!". I want them to internalize my words in these young years so when they reach their older years, my voice will be louder than the world beating them down. I want them to have a voice telling them how gorgeous God made them. I want them to know it.


I also want to set an example.We compliment other people regularly. I make a point of it. I want to raise my girls to be the girls who compliment the other girls around them, not grow into one of those girls who beats someone else down, who tells girls how they "could be" enough one day.

Girls, you are enough. You are beautiful just as God made you. And I'm sorry for anyone who wasn't told that enough in their life.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Jena Sings the U.S. Presidents (2016)

Because it's cute. Jena at age 7 singing the Presidents. This was in 2016, so President Obama was still in office, in case you're wondering why it ends the way it does.


I don't know about you, but I'm impressed. She knows them better than I do!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oh Jillian

Random video of Jillian I made when I was trying to figure out the whole iMovie / YouTube thing.


 

PS - I'm still figuring the video thing out, LOL.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tools (or on my OCD tendencies)

** this was originally posted in 2012, but I thought it was good enough to share again. Enjoy! **


First of all, let me be clear that I have never been diagnosed with OCD, nor am I really sure that the tendencies that I have would even be classified as OCD, but that's what I call them, and that's what I've been told by others, so until I get another explanation, there ya go.


I've always enjoyed a good list. To do lists are my forte. At work, I'm known for "the list". At home, I have a chore list, a grocery list, a meal planning calendar, a daycare planning calendar, expense tracking worksheets, and even gift giving lists. All tracked on Excel.

Oh, how I love Microsoft Excel.

They all started innocently enough. Other than the To Do List (which I've used since I was way younger than anyone should use To Do Lists), they all came about after Jena was born, as tools to help me manage what seemed like an overwhelming amount of responsibility.

I love a list. I believe lists can be invaluable tools.

And I've been thinking a lot about tools lately.

You see, a few months ago, on a Friday, I had brought my chore list to work for some reason. When I left that evening, I accidentally left it on my desk. I remembered just as I pulled in the driveway.

And nearly had an anxiety attack.

I mean, how would I know what chores to do if I don't have my list?!? How will I know what needs to be done?!?

My list, it's organized by regular chores & special one-time chores. It's a matrix in order by date-last-completed, so I know exactly how long it's been since I've done what. I check them off as I go. It tells me what to do next.

And here I was, on a weekend where Jason wasn't gonna be home, and I would have all kinds of time to get housework done, and I didn't have my list.

I can't explain to you the kind of panic that set in. I can also tell you that I knew exactly how crazy that sounded. But it didn't change anything. I was completely hobbled without that list. I think I did manage to put one load of laundry in that Friday night, and Saturday morning I took Jena and drove to my office to get the List.

And yes, I knew exactly how crazy that was. But it didn't change the fact that I needed that list.

And I've been thinking about tools ever since.

Okay, not like constantly ever since, but... you get the idea.

And then, a few weeks ago... I did a load of laundry, and didn't check it off on the list. And unlike my usual remember-within-a few-minutes-and-run-to-the-kitchen-to-mark-it-off, I didn't even remember until the next morning.

I can't tell you how big that moment was, when I realized that I wasn't having anxiety over not recording the fact that I did a load of laundry.

Yes, I know exactly how crazy that sounds.

I never did check that load of laundry off.

I did check off the next load. And the next. And various other chores.

But it was different. I felt different.

I felt... like I was on the edge of something big. I was either going to have a breakthrough, or a breakdown. And in those moments, it felt like it could go either way.

Next thing I know, we needed groceries. But I didn't have time to get my grocery list together. You know, put it together in Excel, in order by aisle, look thru my paper coupons & mark the list accordingly, look for online coupons & mark the list accordingly, check the flier for discounts & mark the list accordingly... it takes time, and I hadn't had time to do it yet. But we needed food.

So I went grocery shopping.

Without a grocery list.

Without one single coupon.

Without knowing what was on sale.

There was something liberating about that trip to Kroger.

Like, really, actually freeing.

I felt free.

I was lucky enough to be by myself, and I dawdled in each aisle, perusing items & prices for what my family would want versus what was reasonably priced. It was probably the least draining shopping trip I've ever had. I dare say I felt energized leaving that store.

And I haven't marked a single chore off my chore list ever since.

Now, granted, there are times when I worry that I've missed a chore, when our house is a mess and I think "maybe I really did need that list".

And then I remember that our house was a mess before, and maybe it's a teeny tiny bit messier than before, but... if so, not by enough to really notice.

I can see when the hamper is full and laundry needs to be done. Or the sink is full and dishes need to be done. Or the garbage is full & needs to be taken out.

Mental note: clean the bathroom.

Why? because it needs it

It's not that I didn't see these things before, it's that I was handicapped by the very tools I created to help me. Or rather I was handicapped by my dependence on these lists.

Example? Sure.

Let's say the living room floor is dirty.

my reaction then: "yuck. The floor is dirty. I need to do laundry so we have clothes to wear, and then if I have time, I can probably do one or two more chores. But I can't sweep the floor until I straighten the living room and pick up toys & things. I'll have to see if anything is higher on the list than "straighten the living room" and "sweep floors"."

my reaction now: "yuck. The floor is dirty. I need to do laundry first so we have clothes to wear, but then I should have time to do one or two more chores. Maybe tonight I'll pick up the living room & sweep the floor."

See the difference? Of course you do.

Tools.

I'm thankful for my lists. I think when I started using them, when I was truly overwhelmed, when I was fighting PPD, when I was struggling with so many issues, I needed them. I needed tools to help me handle the everyday tasks that others take for granted.

Tools are great like that. Tools are meant to be used when one is lacking in the ability to complete the task by themselves.

Think about it. I mean, if you could hammer in a nail with your bare hand... would you ever buy a hammer? Probably not. You need the tool.

But somewhere along the way, my tools became my crutch.

I am better now. I am stronger. I am healed.

I am not perfect. Far, far from it. But I am ready to stop depending on my tools, and start depending on myself.

I am free.

Right now, I am not using any of my lists or calendars for home. None of them. I may reinstate one or more of them in the future (after all, I am a little concerned I'll forget to buy laundry detergent on my next grocery trip), but for now... I'm content to toddle into the world, finding my way again, figuring out how I'm gonna do this, how am I gonna manage these tasks. I'm happy to be in a new phase of home management, redefining how I will manage my home. I will make mistakes along the way, I am sure, but I also feel quite confident that in the end I will be doing a better job than I ever was before.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Coping with a husband being gone so much

** I originally posted on this topic back in 2011 when I was working full time outside the home. This is updated to add some notes now that I have a couple of years of experience as a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom and my children are older. **


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As a fire wife, one of the struggles is being home alone. A lot. Feeling like a single mom. A lot.

In fact, I have a whole new respect for single moms. And for military wives / moms. Because I know how hard it is with as much as Jason is gone, and I can't imagine being on my own all the time, or until he came home on leave.

It's important that you voice your frustrations to him. Not in a I'm-pissed-at-you-way, but in a I'm-frustrated-and-I'm-struggling-way.
He needs to know what you're going thru.

This is also a good time to ask him what his frustrations are with his schedule. Like missing out on kids' milestones, not playing with them as much, not enough date nights with you, etc.

It's important that the two of you at least try to understand where both of you are coming from, because you are both in very different positions.

You're not in the normal two-income family, where both parents leave in the morning, and both parents come home every night, Monday thru Friday.

You're not the normal one-income family, where he leaves in the morning and comes home every night. Depending on shifts and second jobs he's gone 24-48 hours at a stretch, or sometimes longer.

He's spending nights away from home, having dinner, spending time, and sleeping with other people, while you take care of the kids and the house by yourself after putting in a full day of work.

He doesn't have a "weekend", as his shift includes Saturdays and Sundays. He'll work holidays too, leaving you to handle the celebrations alone. He will miss your daughter's soccer games, even though they're on Saturdays. He will miss a lot of family events thru the years.

This creates stress and frustrations for each of you, but you each have a different kind of frustration.
He has the frustration of not being there, and you have the frustration of being there alone. It's very different, so you must communicate.

The fact is that being in a situation where your spouse is gone much of the time, well... it sucks. It just does.

As far as taking care of the children, and the house:

Things became much simpler for me when I just took Jason out of the equation, when it comes to taking care of the house and the kids.

You just do it yourself. If you need a sitter for some reason, you take care of arranging it, and you do what you need to do. You do all the daycare drop-offs and pick-ups, even if he's home. You plan on doing all of the housework, even if it's his off day. You handle all of the feedings, all of the baths. You feed all the pets, clean all of the poop (pet & baby - ha!). You get everyone dressed in the mornings, get everyone ready to go. Even if he's there.

Keep him in the loop on everything, but just accept it as what you have to do so he can do what he has to do.

This has really helped me / us. It doesn't make the actual work any easier, but it eases a lot of frustration because I don't feel I'm counting on him to do something that he's just not going to do.

And then when he does volunteer to take care of something, it's like a bonus. For everyone.

And that lowers everyone's stress level.

At the same time, you need to realize & accept that you can't do everything. Prioritize what's most important. Obviously taking care of your child(ren) is a must, but other housework, chores, etc.... prioritize, and do the top things first, even if they're inconvenient or unpleasant.

Give it some time & figure out what you can reasonably do in a day, a week, etc. Then talk to your husband and see if he can pick up some of the rest. If not, or if he's not sure, factor him out of the equation.

If that's just not a possibility, then your choices are paying someone to do it (ie. housework), or it just not getting done (ie. housework), or not getting done as frequently as you'd like (ie. housework).

Guess you can tell what doesn't get done at our house, huh?  (ie. housework - ha!)

And you both have to accept that. Because it's reality.

You can't beat yourself up because after working a full day outside the home, or spending hours each day schooling your children, taking care of the kid(s) by yourself, and the putting another couple of hours of housework in before bed, you're still not "done".

You will never be "done".

He can't come home expecting a clean & tidy house, perfectly stocked cupboard, and dinner on the table after you've been working full days outside of the home, or homeschooled the children, doing all (or the vast majority) of the childcare yourself, and all (or the vast majority) of the housework yourself.

It's not physically possible. It's just not.

Oh, you might have a mountaintop moment once in a while, but it's unreasonable for either of you to expect things to be maintained at that level.

And for all the SAHMs out there, one thing I figured out really quickly since becoming a SAHM is this little secret that those who work outside the home don't get (or at least I didn't, and I still think my husband doesn't):

If the kids are home all day, not in school, or pre-school, or in daycare, or wherever, then that means they have more time to make messes in the home. I totally did not grasp that until I started staying home. When I worked, sure messes happened, things were untidy, but the waking time that Jena was home was limited, therefore messes were limited. This is not the case when you all stay home every day. Not. At. All.

## side note - I determined my top priorities to be: laundry, grocery shopping, and doing the dishes. I figured if I could keep clean clothes on my family, food for them to eat, and clean dishes for them to eat off of, then I was doing pretty well. The rest I look at as bonus. ##

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As far as scheduling goes, we share a Google Calendar, that I can access at home or on phone, and he can access on his phone as well. This has helped immensely when it comes to scheduling even the little things.

I can see when is shifts are (because even though they are every 3rd day, like clockwork, I still cannot keep that straight in my head), when he has extra things to do, when he has jobs for the family business, etc.
He can see when I've made plans and he needs to be home. In fact, now that we have a family business, there are often days that I block his calendar so he or his brother don't schedule him work. I only do this if I really & truly need him to be available, or if we've discussed it and he's agreed. This is important. He can trust me to only block his schedule when I absolutely need him, and I can trust him to honor my requests in his schedule.


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He's doing what he feels he needs to do to provide for his family financially, and even if he might be willing to look at another career path eventually, well, it's not going to happen overnight.

So you just have to come to terms within yourself with the reality of your situation, as it is at this moment, and deal with it in the best way you can.

You make it work. You do what you need to do, and you make it work for your family.

It's not fun. It's not glamourous. It sucks. And sometimes it really, really sucks.

But you do it. You make it work.

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And there it is. My advice on how to handle your husband being gone so much.

Thanks for reading! And hopefully this will help someone out there get a handle on things! Does anyone have any advice to add?
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