Sunday, December 15, 2013

Patience as a Parent



There is a self-employed mother sitting at her computer, trying to send out an important email to a client  who's waiting for her on the other side of the screen.

"Mommy," a child says as she walks into the room with her stuffed animal. It's missing a leg and the stuffing is falling out. "Mr. Dumdum has a booboo. Can you fix it?"

The mother looks down to her little girl and nods, saying, "just a minute, Honey. I need to finish this."

The girl furrows her brow and turns away, holding "Mr. Dumdum" closer to her as she walks away.

Two minutes later, she returns.

"Mommy," she starts again. "I'm hungry."

The mother looks up at the clock, realizing that she'd forgotten about lunch. But she needs to get the report to the client immediately. "Oh, Honey," she says. "Just give me a few more minutes and I'll make you some PB&J. Just let me finish real quick here."

With a nod, the little girl walks away only to return in another minute.

"Mommy."

The mother's patience is wearing thin as she tries to focus on the report and replies to her daughter with a half-attentive, "hm?"

"Can I have some water?"

The mother takes a deep breath and points to the cupboard. "You know where the cups are, honey. Go get one yourself." The tone of her voice is harsh and the little girl wonders what she's done wrong.

Placing "Mr. Dumdum" ever so carefully on the floor beside the counter, the little girl pulls up a chair and climbs up. She sees her Cinderella cup on the middle shelf and takes it with a smile. As she kneels to get off of the counter, her foot sleeps on the edge, and she falls to the ground with a resounding crack as she hits her head on the ground.

The mother jumps from her seat and picks up her little girl whose face is streamed in tears. A goose egg almost immediately forms. Within the next few moments, the little girls shows signs of a concussion and the mother decides it's best to take her to the hospital to get it checked.

The girls is in pain. The mother is angry at herself for not just taking the fifteen seconds to get the cup of water for her little girl. The report was never sent until late that night but thank God the little girl was all right in the end.

***

Ah, patience.
As parents, it's something we can all use a bit more of but with children, it's a pain to get a hold of…tightly.

In the above story, the report was not sent immediately but it was sent in the end. The point is that it was sent. The little girl's trip to the ER could have been avoided but it was something that forced the mother to realize how such little things could cause her to lose her patience…and in the end, it just wasn't worth it.

The above was just an example but every day there is something that we, as parents, feel needs to be done immediately and that our children could wait until we get it done. When they're little, it seems to them that the smallest things really can't seem to wait. These are things that we need to realize are nothing so important as our little ones who depend on us, grow and then leave us. Will they leave us with memories of a mother/father who took time and had patience for them? Or as parents who always had something else more important to do?

I, myself, struggle in patience myself. There are times throughout the day when it just seems like the worst time for my kids to need or want something.

I finally get to sit with a cup of coffee and they want me to help them brush their hair.
I lay out everything to get dinner ready and they want me to help them find their shoes so they can go outside.
I finally have a moment to lay down and the baby wakes up because the siblings were too loud.

In those moments, I feel like the whole world is going against me. I feel as if I never get a break for any sort of peace and quiet. It's like nothing goes my way and in reality, more often than not, it doesn't. But only after I yell at my kids or start stomping around, slamming things behind me do I realize that these little things are not that big of a deal. Most of these things can really be fixed by time management and the realization that an extra two or three minutes of looking for shoes will not have any real effect on when dinner is ready. Or that brushing hair only takes a couple moments of my time while stomping around or slamming things will be something the kids will remember for the entirety of their lives. (they see these things, people)

I had a few years for my girls to grow up before I decided to bring another two into the world and only when #3 was born did I realize how much time was wasted on pointless frustration and anger at them. They're little ladies now and I feel like in the blink of an eye, they're going to move out…go to college….get married…and I'll be left with only bitter memories of impatience.

I thank God that I realized this now before they do get much older. I'm thankful that I was able to realize that their baby days, so sweet and tiring at the same time, go by so quickly and I can never have them back. Their memories are being made every day and I can choose whether they'll be of a mother who showed how she loves them through daily patience and understanding or of a mother who always put their needs aside for alone time - which does come eventually - or cooking and cleaning or house chores that aren't going anywhere. (seriously. if I don't do them, no one else will so whether I do them now or an hour from now doesn't change much of anything)

We have the power to make our lives easier for us and our family or more difficult. If only we'd all take time to really see that what choices we make in our patience today will forever leave a mark on our lives when our children are gone. That mark can be one of beauty or an ugly scar that brings guilt at every sight of it. This mark will not only affect us as the parents but the children as they grow into adulthood and this mark can be the rising or downfall of their own lives with their own children in the future.

Patience. Who knew such a little thing could be so important.

_woodland_mom

Thursday, December 12, 2013

3 All Natural Ways to Clean Your Home

Chemicals are in everything these days and that just can't be good for our health. Not only are these things flammable - which is never a plus - they're toxic and can lead to all sorts of health problems. Problems range from causing miscarriage in pregnant women, to environmental issues and here we are spraying and wiping and spreading them all through our homes!

"But I want my home to be clean."

Oh, really, now? Don't we all? How ever did people manage centuries ago without Windex?
There are many useful, everyday, natural products we can use to keep our homes clean and healthy! And so many are surprising.


1. Vinegar.

Distilled vinegar has a high level of acidity, making it a popular choice for household cleaning. It can kill most germs, bacteria and even mold!
There is a website called www.vinegartips.com where they have a huge list of all the wonderful things vinegar can do for your home! This equals less money and healthier living. What's there to lose? A few of its uses are:


  • Cleaning and disinfecting baby toys
  • Removing water rings from wood
  • Removing paint from windows
  • Cleaning up pet accidents
  • Deodorizing toilet bowls
  • Removing grime, mildew, scum as well as labels and price tags 
  • And so many more! (click here to go to the page with correct water vs vinegar ratio for each job)

2. Baking Soda

Baking Soda is another pretty well-known cleaner, deodorizer and baking aide. It's like everything great in one little, orange box!
With baking soda, you can:


  • Clean tarnished silver - put 1 liter of water, 1 tbsp of baking soda and a piece of aluminum foil together into a pot and bring to a boil. Place your silver inside for ten seconds and remove. SHINY!
  • Clean the dishwasher - sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda to the bottom of your dishwasher and run a short but HOT cycle. VOILA! Fresh, clean, unstained machine!
  • Even wash your face with it! - Mix 2 teaspoons on baking soda with 1 teaspoon warm water. In gentle, circular motion, rub onto your face then rinse with warm water. That's it!


3. Lemon

Lemon is a mild but highly effective cleaning agent due to its low pH and antibacterial properties - and the smell's not all that bad, either! As one of the most natural things you can possibly use to clean, why is it that more people don't put this miracle fruit to work? Here are a few things lemon - and lemon juice - can be used for:


  • Clean grout - squeeze the juice on there and brush away with a toothbrush
  • Scrubbing grills/grates with lemon juice and salt for a fresh shine!
  • Sanitize your garbage disposal with hot water and half a cup of lemon juice
  • Remove stains and germs from cutting boards - rub the juice (using the lemon) into the cutting board and let sit until the stains disappear
  • Clean hard water stains on shower doors and faucets with half a lemon
  • Grease stains in clothing - rub spot with a lemon and let sit overnight before washing like normal
Now that you know, what's stopping you from being healthy and natural at home? Give these a try and see how fresh life becomes!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Finding Peace of Mind

I will admit that I was not always a happy person.
In fact, I went through a major depressive state that lasted for two years. I was unhappy and unhealthy…a dangerous mix.

There is so much that life offers us and it's not always good. The bad things, though, are not there to define us but so many people allow the negative aspects of life to control them and even use them as excuses.

I suffer from a heart issue that's believed to be atrial fibrillation(they haven't been able to diagnose it without actually recording the abnormal heart rates, etc It's difficult to catch right at the right moment). (definition from mayoclinic.com: an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body.

I'm 27 and have three kids with one to come next year. I can't exercise regularly like most women can. I can't clean or work as quickly as I'd like. Stress is quick to attack and raises my blood pressure in a breath. Any sort of cardio exercise is painful, which can be rather difficult when you have little ones to run after.

I often feel like a bad mother because I don't have the strength to run with them as much as I'd like. I get weak and fatigued very quickly. It's upsetting to deal with…especially being so young, but it's something I finally came to accept.

Key word: accept.

The majority of unhappy people are lacking on this part. As humans, acceptance of the bad is near inexistent but no one seems to realize that if we'd just accept our circumstances, we would be in control of our emotions instead of being controlled by our emotions.

Troubles are there to make us stronger, not weaker. They're meant to strengthen our minds through acceptance; our bodies by pushing forward, regardless of the weight we're dragging behind us; and our spirits by the pride we get by looking back and knowing we made it through a struggle.

The point here, ladies and gentlemen, is that finding happiness is all in our mind. It's all about how we accept what's happening - or not happening - in our life. Being able to sit in the midst of a storm and look around with a smile, knowing that every storm passes.

Nothing lasts forever.
Every problem will have an end and we usually don't realize it until the struggle is over and we look back. But, instead of looking back and shaking our heads in disdain at our handling of it, we can look back and breathe, knowing that we weren't beaten.

In my particular circumstance, I was angry with myself for not being on the same level as every other woman I know. Unable to cook and clean and do the wifey thing as well as others, made me feel inferior and worthless. I knew my heart was bad it's not my fault but despite all that, I put the blame on myself nonetheless.
The sense of inferiority leads to putting oneself down. Suddenly, not only did I not feel "fast enough," I wasn't pretty enough. I felt I wasn't a good enough mother. I felt overwhelmed with life and everything just felt wrong. I was too skinny or too fat or too tall or God knows what other problems I felt I had until one morning when reality hit me.

I woke up one winter morning and I opened the blinds - Oh and, by the way, at this time in my life, I hated winter. It was too cold - There was a cardinal perched on our yellow bird feeder that hung from the porch. Everything outside was frosted over. The whole scene was just beautiful. I took my coffee and sat on the sofa, looking out the window at the view and sense came to me in a rush.

I have the life I've always wanted. A life in the country with nature and seasons and beauty around me year round. There's green grass for my kids to play in. Trees for them to climb. I have a white house with a porch swing where gorgeous wild birds come to feed from my bird feeder. My children are healthy. My health is not life-threatening. I have a husband who loves me and his kids and works hard every day so I can raise our babies and take care of our home.
No, I'm not as fast as every other woman I know but I do get things done in my time. "My time" still frustrates me but I can only change as much as my health will allow me to and that much I am pushing for.
I can cook homemade meals that are healthy and aiding in the growth of my beautiful blessings.
No, I can't chase after my kids for hours like other moms can, but I can do it for a few minutes and those minutes are precious to my kids. I can still pretend with them and read with them and do things with them without overexerting myself.
I'm doing the best I can. It doesn't make my life any less worth living or any worse off than others who have a perfect heart but neglect their families.

These were the thoughts that came to me as I sat and watched the birds out my window. It was the realization of a lifetime and something that I continue to remind myself of as I continue on this adventure of family-hood.

Life is good and little things are there to remind us but the negativity in our hearts blacks out all of that. If we would all take time to sit and look around us, pinpointing the little things we have in our lives that are so right, the things that are so wrong will no longer be in control and knowing that they will eventually pass, will make life a whole lot easier to live.

_woodland_mom

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to Make a Basic Stock

Soup stock is the most basic level of fooding.
Does that make sense?
Fooding (according to me) - cooking, eating, enjoying anything related to food.

I love food. I don't always enjoy cooking it but when it's done, good Lordy do I love to eat it!
This method of stock-making is relatively quick once you get it down. 30 minutes or even less, depending on how hungry you are.

Chicken Stock

  • Whole chicken or cut up.
  • 5-6 Carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 a green pepper
  • 1 whole onion
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Peel onion and cut off ends. I usually stick a knife in the ends to help get the juices out more quickly.
  2. Place chicken in a stock pot and cover with cold water.
  3. Add all the vegetables.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, with the lid askew, so as to release the steam without evaporating too much water for at least 2 hours. *Note: the longer you simmer, the more concentrated the stock will be - and better tasting, in my opinion. I usually simmer for about 4 or 5 hours.*
  5. Occasionally skim off and throw away the foam that floats to the top of the stock.
  6. When the stock is done, strain out the veggies and add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Welcome to the Woodland

Greetings, fellow nature-lovers!

I come before you a tired and restless mama. My posts may be minimal for the next few months as my fourth pregnancy comes to a close but after that, there is hope on the horizon!

With three girls and a boy, I am bound to be busy, of course but as a creative nut at heart, I make the time to release what stresses I have through my writing and sharing of my life.

Why should I share my life? Because life is good. Life is wonderful and everyone should be able to take a moment and realize this. If the mindset isn't there, nor will the goodness be…and where would we all be then?

On Prozac, of course!

No one should do that to themselves and with that in mind, I am going to take the good - and the bad - in my life and share it in the hopes that others will learn from my mistakes or maybe just learn to look at the bright side of life, no matter where it has its hold on you.

So, onward, I say! My first real blog post is in the works so - as Scar put it, "Be prepared!"

_woodland_mom