Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Dare I Hope Winter is Over?

My front door is open again!

I love when spring hits. The green of the grass and new plants, leaf buds on trees, the smell of fresh air. We had a stretch of incredibly warm days, I'm talking near summer temperatures, then reality set in and it got cold again. Today is a beautiful spring day. It's windy and you still need a coat, but I can open the front door and enjoy the extra sunshine without the heat kicking on. Sunlight lifts my spirits.

A quick update on Strong-Willed One. She did have an ear infection, but that has been treated and she's no longer in pain. The nit battle, however, is not going well. Between Thursday and Sunday I spent about 9 hours (no joke) picking nits out of her hair. She comes home from school Monday with a note from the teacher making sure I know that you have to literally pull the nits off the hair. I take a look at Strong-Willed One's head and it's loaded with nits, more than I've ever seen on her head. Obviously we are missing something. So, I'm going back to the original method we used in February. We had those nits gone in under 2 weeks. The good thing in all of this nit-battling is that Strong-Willed One is still the only one who has them. Thank goodness.

Last month I talked about how I was cooking out of our pantry and freezer and trying desperately to keep our grocery costs down. By the time March arrived, our pantry and freezer were pretty much empty, so we've been unable to sustain the very low grocery bills. I'm still making our own bread, bagels, granola bars, pizza crust and baked goods. The things really contributing to our increased costs are meat and produce. I've been trying to limit the amount of junk food the kids consume, so I'm offering healthy snacks instead. They have no problem eating veggies or fruit when they're hungry, but it means I have to buy it. As far as the meat goes, I try to plan our meals around what's on sale, I buy in bulk and freeze it in meal sized portions, I use 1/2 lb of ground beef instead of a full pound whenever I can get away with it. But the days when a single pork chop or piece of chicken is enough for me and the kids is over. And I have to keep reminding myself that the other reason our food costs have gone up is because Husband is actually home all week long now, so I'm feeding 2 adults, not just me with my half portion appetite, but also a man with a construction worker's appetite.

I still haven't tried making my own yogurt. Mostly because I either forget to buy the extra milk or I know I won't have room in the fridge because of all the produce. It's still in the back of my mind though.

We're talking about planting a garden this year. I've done a small one in years past, but the last one was 3 years ago and I only ever grew herbs, lettuce and tomatoes. This year we're talking about planting a garden to truly eat from, one that will feed our family. I'm trying to figure out what to plant and where we would best be served to put the garden. And when I think of all that will hypothetically grow in the garden, my overachieving mind has me looking into canning and imagining full shelves of beautifully canned vegetables. Never mind that I don't have any empty shelves or anywhere to put empty shelves to store canned goods. Nor do I have any canning equipment.

So we are marching on in our frugal endeavors. We will be looking into purchasing a portion of cow or pig with some of our tax refund. And now that the warmer weather is here we will be planning our garden and hanging our laundry out to dry.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Poor Strong-Willed One

It's been quite awhile since I've made a general post; sorry about that. I'm not really sure what happened other than the busyness of life. So let's see if I can catch you up with what's been happening around here.

Kiddlet turned 7 the beginning of this month. We had Husband's parents over to celebrate with us. I let her look through my cookbooks and chose what cake she wanted. Her choice? Ice cream cake. We had a nice celebration and she was thrilled with her gifts.

Kiddlet in Grandma's birthday hat.

Last week the girls were off school for the whole week. I had approached this week with some trepidation because a week home with all the kids and no vehicle can be a very long week. However, the weather was absolutely beautiful and the girls spent a whole lot of time playing outside and that made things much easier for me.

But poor Strong-Willed One. It was not one of her better weeks. Have you ever felt like the universe was out to get you? That's what it sometimes felt like for Strong-Willed One. (Still does, as a matter of fact, but I'll get to that.) She had a good Monday. Tuesday she wakes up with pink eye in one eye; by evening it was apparent in both eyes. Thank goodness for over the counter treatments! Wednesday morning I'm combing her hair, which is something she usually does herself, and I find a bunch of nits. She was so mad! She went on for 5 minutes about how sorry she was that I have to go through all that work again and those stupid stupid bugs shouldn't have come back. She's since lost the anger and now keeps apologizing for all that dealing with nits entails. Anyway, back to the bad week. Wednesday morning it's nits. Wednesday afternoon brings a fever and sore throat. That knocked the steam out of her for the rest of the day. Whatever this virus is, and it's going around, it seems to last for about 9 days. It presents as a bad cold with a low to mid grade fever. Despite the fever, Strong-Willed One still spent most afternoons playing outside and having a good time. But by 6pm, she was done. Completely wiped out, no appetite, no coping skills left. Sunday hits and her fever, which had been averaging 100.5 F, is now 102.7 F. Now, this kid hates taking medicine. I'm talking huge huge drama, hates medicine. But she also knows that when her fever hits 102 F, she has no choice. If it stays below that and she's not in any true discomfort, I'm content to let her ride it out without using a fever reducing medication. But now it's getting serious. I have to admit, she took it pretty willingly; I don't think she had the energy to fuss about. So my poor kid spends what is her last day before school resumes laying on the couch drifting in and out of sleep.

Little Guy and Strong-Willed One watching the school bus.

And that brings us to this week. Strong-Willed One staying home from school on Monday was a given. She spent the day in her pjs, played with Little Guy and finished up some school work we had forgotten about. Yesterday she wakes up feeling fine. She still had a low fever, 99.5 F, but her appetite was back, her energy levels were up. Her fever was gone by lunch time. It looked like this would her last day home from school. Our plan for the day was to go after those nits in earnest. We'd been doing the shampoo and comb outs, but I wanted to really thoroughly go through her hair. In the morning I massaged the oils into her hair and covered it with a bag to incubate (or something like that.) As soon as Little Guy went down for his nap, we washed her hair and began the comb out. This was a much more detailed method than I've ever used previously. There were just so many nits! And you pretty much have to pull them off each strand of hair one at a time. 2 1/2 hours and we'd only managed 1/3 of her hair.  At this point I had to stop because Little Guy was squawking and needed my attention. Twice more we sat down and continued the comb out. After a combined total of just over 3 1/2 hours nit picking, I gave up and sent her to bed. I still have the last third of her hair to do. So, she heads off to bed looking forward to going to school today.

Strong-Willed One and Little Guy watching videos on my phone.

And then she wakes up at 11pm in tears because her ear hurts so much. It hurt enough that she actually took the Motrin without a fight. And she was up again sometime before 5am. (Apparently she couldn't wake me up, so Husband dealt with that one.) So here we are, the morning Strong-Willed One is supposed to return to school, the morning she was so excited about. And her ear hurts so much, and she has a temp of 99.0 F despite the Motrin in her system. She is now sleeping on the couch. I'm planning on taking her in to the ER after hubby gets home. This is getting ridiculous. I hate using the ER for things like this, but there is no way for me to get her to her doctor. The office is an hour away, Husband has the van for work, and even if I drove him in, the tires on the van are so shot that we were told not to use it on the highway. (Our new tires won't be in until Friday; apparently they are a "weird size" according to our mechanic.)

Here's hoping she feels better tomorrow!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Contentment is a big deal. I'm finding it in the little things - packing leftovers for Husband's lunch, baking treats for my family, working together with Husband to fix the washing machine. My heart is full.

I love living with my husband; most of the year he's only home on weekends. But for almost 2 months now, he's been working locally and is home every night. Family meals around the table (which we do even when he's gone), listening and watching him interact with the kids, simply having him walk in the door after work and hand me his coffee mug from the morning. I love hearing him tell the kids something I was thinking when we hadn't even discussed it, knowing we're on the same wavelength. There are so many little things that take place in day to day interaction that you don't realize until they reappear after being absent.

Before we married, our relationship was mostly a long-distance one. We'd met at a mission in New York City; our homes were six hours apart. After doing the long-distance thing for a year and a half, some family members expressed concern over how a day-to-day relationship would work for us, a legitimate concern since we were talking marriage. After much prayer, I moved to his home town in the summer of 2000. He arranged an apartment for me and he lived with his parents. Our plan was to keep this arrangement until the following spring when we would get married. The thought was that this would give us an opportunity to see each other on a daily basis, to see how we each were accustomed to living and had the bonus affect of creating a wonderful place for me within his family.

Was the beginning of our relationship meant to prepare us for the past three years of being separated? Does the fact that we had no choice but to trust each other completely from the very beginning help explain why there is no doubt or mistrust now? Aside from my relationship with Christ, the relationship I have with my husband is the most important relationship in my life. I miss him terribly when he's gone. But I think that absence allows me to appreciate his presence so much more than I would if he were home year round. I'm loving that I get to cook meals for him, bake his favorite cookies, make sure that I have an extra tube of his toothpaste on hand. Just washing and drying his pants for work today has filled my heart with contentment; I don't usually get to do that.

I am so blessed to have a husband who loves me and is so devoted to me. I am blessed that I married a man who loves his family and will do whatever he needs to do in order to make sure we are provided for. I am blessed with the opportunity to serve my husband, who loves me despite my shortcomings.

My heart is full.