Tag Archives: Stay at Home Mom’s

End of Summer Blues

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(Raise your hand if you are team Kohr Brothers)

Where did the summer go? It’s gone but I honestly can’t remember what I did with half of it! Too fast. I’m sad.

I may be in the minority here when I say that I am really sad to send my kids back to school. I love having them home with me so much, even though they are often the cause of most of my emotional issues.

I could keep crying. This won’t happen every year, right? I thought I’d be good after Kindergarten.

Also, Lucy’s new first grade teacher is “big on Homework”. Ugh! I have NEVER been good with homework. I’m nervous. I am sorry Lucy if you fail first grade because your Mom stinks at doing Homework. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Have I mentioned that my daughter is boy crazy? Well, she is. She is totally into love and “romance”… I can’t change it, it is who she is. I definitely try not to encourage it, but I can’t stop it either. So, can you imagine her delight when she found out her “boyfriend” was going to be in her class this year. Please note that this “boyfriend” does not know that he is her “boyfriend”. If you could have seen her face when she saw him walk into her classroom at Back to School Night this evening… oh my goodness… I just can’t. Think, high school boy crush face… rosy cheeks and all. What in the world am I going to do when she is 16?!

I am going to miss you Lu. I hope that you rock first grade like you rocked Kindergarten. You are amazingly bright and spunky and I love you so much. Be the light God created you to be!


Abram turned FOUR this weekend. I can’t believe he is four, he is my baby. Four doesn’t seem as old as it did with my first. Isn’t that weird? With Lucy I thought four was so old and I had all of these unreasonable expectations for her as a four year old. Now with Abram I’m all like “I guess you should start wiping your own butt” and I still want to carry him around even though he’s way too heavy and he crushes my lungs.

I am hoping that with this new year he will develop a little more self-control and anger coping skills. I also hope he learns to wipe his own butt and learn his ABC’s because he’s supposed to go to Kindergarten next year and to him, there are still only eight letters in the alphabet.

I love Abram so much. He is by far the most difficult child I have EVER met yet he is also at the same time the most loving child I have ever met. He loves his Mamma and tells me I am beautiful all of the time.He’s so affectionate and complimentary. Thank goodness because with all the stress he causes I need a reason to like him. Joking-ish.

Abram is passionate. Whether he is happy or sad or angry, he I passionate about it. Raising a strong willed passionate child is NOT easy, however I am very excited to see where such passion will take him as a young man. I prayed for Abram when I was pregnant, that the Lord would make him a strong leader, well… I guess I should have thought about that a little harder when I prayed that. I am thankful for the Lord’s answered prayer but OH MAN… I should have thought that one through…

You probably will not care about this but for my own records… Abram’s favorites are pizza, mac & cheese and cereal. The only vegetable I can get him to eat is cucumber and sometimes he will take a bite of a carrot. He is a picky eater and is very particular about how things are cut (symmetrically) and having proper utensils. Actually, he is very particular about everything which leads me to wonder if he has a mild case of OCD, or if this is just an interesting faze? I guess time will tell. Another specific example of this as I will want to remember in the future is how his socks have to be perfectly square to his toes, his blankets have to be positioned in a specific order and his shoes have to be tied juuuust right while the laces can’t touch the ground.

Abram’s favorite bedtime song is still Twinkle Twinkle. Abram always volunteers to be the one to pray before dinner. His favorite books are Pizza Pat, The Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster, Goodnight Already, Look and Find books and any book from the Library with Super Heroes.

Abram’s favorite things are weapons (all kinds), Ninja Turtles, watching movies, T-Ball and Soccer, playing with Daddy in “the jumpy house” we keep in our basement, swimming and snuggling with Mommy. And his big Sister Lucy whom he loves and admires, and picks on constantly. When Abram grows up he wants to be a Police Man.

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Ugh. Guess I’ll try to go to bed now. I don’t want to…

One more day until school…

=o/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Baby #2: Abram, Fun & Random Things

How We Survive On One Income

When people find out that I am a Stay at Home Mom they automatically assume that my Husband must “make a lot of loot”. That just isn’t the case. Sure, he makes an average salary but we really had to change our lifestyle to make it work.

Like most of you, when Ryan and I got married we were both working full time and had a little apartment so we really had the freedom to do whatever we wanted. We tried to save a lot knowing one day I would stay home but for the most part, money wasn’t an issue.

The first couple of months trying to figure out how to live on one income was challenging  but with a few changes, it has been pretty manageable (we lost about 30-40% of our income!). Now, it has not always been easy. And, it does take a lot of discipline. But, it has been worth it.  I am so grateful I get to stay home with my babies, I wouldn’t give that up for the world (unless I had to…)!!

A lot of people have asked me how we do it so here it is… my Stay At Home Mom Money Saving Tips:

1. Pack your lunch. My Husband packs his lunch everyday for work. If we go to the Zoo or the Mall or to the park, I pack a lunch. Festivals, day trips… we pack food. This takes some preparation and I know that there are so many better food options when you buy out, but the money we save not buying food when we don’t have to allows us to use that money for other things, like a nice dinner date or, more groceries. This goes for your coffee too, make your coffee at home! $2.00 a cup adds up.

2. Minimal Christmas. Ryan and I do not exchange Christmas gifts and we only get our children four gifts each. The main reason we only get them four gifts is to save money but the other part is to not spoil them. They DO NOT need 10 new toys for Christmas, it is a waste. We get them four things that they really want or need and they are just as happy with those four things as they would with 100 things. We both have large families so trying to afford to buy gifts around Christmas (and a tree and parties and decorations and cards…) is really challenging so we really try to stick to a strict budget. I do cheat and buy something for Ryan sometimes if we have left over money….

3. Basic Cable. We have very basic cable, it is only about six channels, and that is so we can get the internet package. I really wish we had HGTV and Disney JR, but, we don’t and that is okay. We have Netflix and watch things for free through the internet sometimes so I don’t feel totally lost. Not only does this save us money monthly but it also keeps me from getting into bad habits (like watching trashy TV that will rot my brain…).

4. Cheap Groceries. Do not just shop at the grocery store that is closest to your home, shop at the stores that have the cheapest prices. You all know that ALDI’S is my jam, but I also will shop at Wal-Mart (however, I hate it there and I regret going every time I go) and BJ’s (they have the cheapest lunch meat! ). Sometimes I will go to Giant because they have things I can’t get at other places but I will not do all of my shopping there. ShopRite has good sales and coupons too.

Look, you do not have to buy name brand food, it all tastes the same. We should all be eating mostly fresh produce and healthy meats anyway so that shouldn’t be a problem. I do not know how to coupon and I am not interested in learning, so if you are like me, just start price comparing and make smarter shopping choices, not just the easiest option. This will save you money!! I get so sad when I am behind the person spending $400.00 on groceries at the basic grocery stores.

5. Less Eating Out. We rarely go out to eat at a restaurant. We will buy food one time a week (usually a weekend) but that means Chinese or Chipotle or Penera, not a sit down joint with a waitress. I would LOVE to eat out more, I LOVE eating out, this is probably the hardest sacrifice for me personally. Anytime I can eat something that I didn’t have to make or clean up is wonderful but we just can’t do it regularly. We get to go on a date not very often, maybe twice a month, and we will go out to eat (because paying for two people is way cheaper than four or five) but I would do it more if we could.

*There are times where I get lazy packing food or we just want to get out of the house and we will go out to dinner, but not going out to eat is a goal we try to stick to because it is the biggest waste of money.

6. No Random Shopping Sprees. Boo. I remember a time when I could go buy a shirt if I wanted one, any time I wanted one. Now, I just don’t do it. I can’t just randomly buy a new candle or a pair of shoes if I like them. I have to strategically save up my money and plan a time where I can go shopping and get a few things. I can not just pick things up here and there if I see it and I want it. This is actually a great habit because I end up spending less money in general, but it is also really hard when you see that thing that you would really love to have.  It is not easy, but the more I resist, the easier it is to resist.

7. Make a Budget. Come up with an amount that fits within your budget and budget out specific items. For example, I have a little file thing that I have labeled for different things (i.e. gifts, clothes, food, hair, etc.) and I try to put money into it weekly and only use what is in the designated file. I don’t get my hair cut until I have enough money in my “hair file”. If you are not that organized, just be aware of what you have and what you can/should spend. Being aware of your bills and finances will help you make smarter buying decisions.

8. Avoid Temptation. Avoiding going to stores that are really tempting unless you know you have the money to spend. I had to stop taking my kids to Storytime at the Mall at one point because the temptation to buy all. the. clothes. was too hard and I was spending money when I shouldn’t have. Don’t go walk around Target if you have nothing else to do. You will find something to buy even if you don’t need it.

And, that is basically it. There are a few other things that I don’t spend money on like manicures and pedicures, coloring my hair, massages… things like that. These things  weren’t really something I spent a lot of money on before so it isn’t a difficult thing for me not to do but I realize that some people may have a hard time doing their own nails vs. getting a professional manicure. I do like an occasional pedicure though, I’m not gonna lie. I just have to budget for that.

*

Welp, I hope you find this helpful. It has definitely been a growing experience for me but with a little self-discipline, I have been able to stay home full time for the last six years.

And, yes, I do wish I had the flexibility to take random vacations with my man, or buy fancy clothes or go out to eat more often, but like I said before, it has been worth the sacrifice!

Also (I will stop rambling in a minute), you do not have to be single or a Stay at Home Mom to practice any of these money saving tips. Try it for a month and see how much money you have been able to save. We do it so I can stay home, you can do it so you have more money to spend on other things! ha.

=)

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Marriage & My Spouse

Meh.

Hello. It’s me! Janet, wife to Ryan. Mother to Lucy and Abram and a half Mother to a cool Exchange Student named Anton. Just thought I would leave a refresher since I’ve been missing and you probably have forgotten about me.

So, what’s been going on? I have been losing my mind over here. Not that things have been super stressful, or, maybe they have, I don’t remember. Every day just comes and goes.  I wake up looking forward to bed time. That sounds depressing reading it on paper. Eh, on screen. It’s not bad. I’m just busy and tired. Aren’t we all?

I thought things would be easier with Lucy in School full-time but, actually I am busier! I live by the schedule. And, I look back at my days and literally have no idea what I did. Well I do, but it doesn’t sound like much.

Topic change.

So, once I turned 30, everything started going down hill. If you haven’t turned 30 yet, get ready! If you have turned 30, you can relate. If you have turned 30 and nothing has happened to you… well, good for you. For example; pimples. I have never had so many pimples in my life. I never went through the weird teenage skin phase, and now, I am even more grateful that I didn’t. Another thing, my MEMORY! What?! I have always prided myself on my amazing recollection of unnecessary information and now, I literally can’t recall half of the things in my brain. Ugh. I hate it!! Lastly, (not really lastly, but just at the top of the 30 board) Pre-midlife crisis! What? Who am I? What is my purpose? What is my direction? Am I good at anything? Blah. Blah. Blah. Why?

Dumb.

Well, my little just woke up and I have to get ready to pick up my big.

Hopefully, I will have some more time to write in the near future. And, if you think about it, this Hyperthyroidism thing (hashtag 30) keeps me DoWn a lot during my free-time, so, if I am feeling better, I can write more. And, that would be awesome.

Love to all of you! Thanks for reading!

=)

 

 

 

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Filed under Fun & Random Things

The Life. The Kids. The Innaproprite. It’s Real Life.

“Today Lucy was looking through one of my Art books from college. She asked me, “why does this guy have a Penis?”

“Umm, because he’s a boy?”

Not quite sure how to explain that.

My Father gave Abram a stuffed frog one day as a gift. He was trying to tell Ryan that Pop-Pop gave him a frog. This is how it went…

“Dad! Fuck Me PopPop.”

“What?!”  <Looking for context clues…>

“Oh! PopPop gave you a frog?”

“Yeah! Fuck me!”  (aka: Yeah! Frog me!)

Is it wrong that we thought is was so hysterical that we called his Grandparents and asked him to say “Frog you”… to everyone at the party?

Well, yes. Yes it is. Sorry. Sometimes it’s just plain funny.

Out of the blue, Lucy looks at Ryan and says: “I hope ___ knows which finger to put it on.”

Ryan responds, “which finger, for what?”

“You know, which finger to put the ring on when he asks me to Marry him.”

When Abram get’s really mad at Lucy he points his finger at her and yells “BAD DOG!”

I deleted Facebook this week. I thought it was a necessary step I had to take. While I may not use it as much as other, I know I use it as a substitute for other things I could be doing. It is a mindless habit that I don’t want to continue. When I am bored or when I am waiting for the microwave or when I am trying to fall asleep… scroll, scroll, scroll…

If I read a book for the same amount of time that I was looking at pictures and reading status updates (which I do enjoy), I would have read 100% more books than I did last year. I would probably be smarter. I would have done a lot more crafts. I would have cleaned my bathroom half as much. Eh. Maybe not.

 I don’t want my face to be stuck in my phone. It’s been stuck in my phone.  I don’t want to lazily rely on my phone for entertainment when I could be doing other, more productive things. I get so annoyed when I put the kids to bed and find that my Husband and I are sitting in the same room not saying one word to each other because I am invested in someone else’s relationship (FB for me, ESPN or Groupon for him).

I am not saying that this is wrong or that I think badly of people who do use this as a form of entertainment, I just know for me, I waste a lot of time doing nothing when I could be doing something.

Do you like this pretty rainbow I am creating. I thought it would be easier to separate my thoughts. And I like color even though it doesn’t look as professional. Wait, do I really think my blog is professional anyway?

Not to complain that my Son in an amazing sleeper (Praise the LORD), but, is sleeping twelve hours a night and taking four-hour naps everyday a little excessive? He has a pretty healthy diet, he isn’t on any medication and doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of any other symptom except that he just likes to sleep. If I try to wake him up early he is SUPER cranky.

Let me just get down to it. This has been an incredibly difficult year for me. I knew it was tougher than the past six or seven but I didn’t really realize it until I sat back and thought about it (or when I realized I was crying every time someone asked me how I was doing (no, I’m not depressed, just exasperated)). I am hoping to get more dates with my Husband this year. I would like to spend more time meditating and reading my Bible ( “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4)  and really investing time into my Children (quality intentional time) and surrounding myself with supportive, encouraging, spontaneous, wise, positive and talkative people. I can’t just be friends with myself! JUST KIDDING!

So, that’s that. My brain kind of just stopped working because someone woke up from a nap and someone came home from work.

Does anyone have any good Deodorant recommendations?

=)

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The Best Gift Ever

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This year for Christmas, Ryan gave me a gym membership . Some of you may think that this is weird or insulting. It is in fact, quite the opposite! I am/was so excited.

I would just like to point out that a few of my other most favorite gifts in the past six years include a new vacuum and new cookie sheets so a gym membership would not be a strange gift for me to be excited about.

I have been asking Ryan for about two years now if I could join a local club. We have plenty of work-out videos, weights and a treadmill so obviously I don’t need to join a gym… right? Well,  in my opinion, I am literally the least motivated person on the planet.  There is pretty much nothing that will get me down in that basement to do a Jillian Michaels DVD everyday  (even if it is only 20 minutes!). I think I made it three consecutive weeks- I know, I am impressed too!

And, I HATE working out. Who seriously likes to work out? Oh, You do? Freak. I work out so I can eat cake. If I were naturally in-shape looking and if I didn’t have two kids worth of jiggle I wouldn’t do it.

Why would I want a gym membership if I hate working out? Well, maybe I would like working out if I belonged to a gym. Maybe working out is good for you. There are other people besides two-year olds that belong to gyms, right? I could eat more cake.

OK- Back to the point.

When Ryan gifted me the membership, he gave me freedom to shop around at every local gym in the area. My only requirements (besides being affordable) were fitness classes and child care. Classes because like I had mentioned before, I am not motivated and going to a gym is just as motivating as working out in my basement. If I have a class to attend with other living people and sun light, I’m in! Just kidding. But really, having class options has really helped me. I have taken most of them by now and there is no way I would be working out as hard or as regular if I were trying to do it myself. Days that I go to the gym when they don’t offer classes, I am probably there for about 30 minutes at most because I get bored and I will not push myself. If I get a little sweaty, that is good enough for me. Having structure, a goal, accountability… motivates me.

Side note: I  do not understand how some women can be walking on a treadmill for two hours. Sure, you brought five magazines to keep you occupied but really. Is that even working out? But seriously. Two hours? No thanks.

And Childcare. This was important to me because having childcare has allowed me more flexibility as to when I can go. My Husband does not work regular hours so if I always had to count on him or a babysitter to be home I would rarely be able to go. I have incorporated the gym into my weekly routine and the kids LOVE going with me. They love it. Being a Stay-at-home Mom is sometimes challenging for me because I am such a people person and being stuck in the house all day (especially in the winter) is very difficult. This is most true when my husband works out-of-state on large commercial jobs and isn’t home for days at a time. Or he just works 14 hour days and I run out of things to occupy my children. Sometimes Momma just needs a break and this has been a HUGE help during those times. It has seriously been a blessing to me and my soul. Fo real. God bless Child Care workers. They are great and I love them.

Okay. So as I continue writing this I just keep think that no one probably cares about why I go to the gym. I assume that all of this seems pointless and you probably really don’t care. So, I’ll cut this off and get to the purpose of my writing this here post…

(Run on sentences… and go…)

Today as I was laying on my back during a Yoga class I was reflecting on how wonderful I have been feeling and how I never really realized how much I actually wanted this and how having this membership is one of the best gifts that Ryan could have ever given me. It has improved my energy, my attitude, my confidence, my mental stability, my need for social interaction, my butt muscles and many other things. It has also provided opportunities for some social growth in my little ones that I didn’t realize they needed until I started to noticed the positive changes.

I am grateful to you Ryan for giving me something that has turned into so much more than just a gym membership.

I still don’t like working out though.   ^_ô

 

[For the record, I do love the gym where I belong and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a Health Club. I have been 100% satisfied with the staff, members, childcare and club itself since becoming a member. http://www.fitgymusa.com]

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Appreciate What You Have

A few months ago while shopping at Target, I noticed a fabulous pregnant woman walking in front of me. I remember thinking “Man, why can’t I ever think of putting outfits together like that?”. We ended up crossing paths in the diaper department and somehow got to chatting.

After talking about our girls (we both had one in our carts about the same age) and discussing the future arrival of our second, she suggested that we exchange information and get together for a play date. This is what I thought: ” What? Are you serious? Someone this interesting, fashionable and beautiful wants to get together with me? I do happen to look the worst I ever have today and she wants to hang out?! Wow! This is so exciting”. It kind of felt like the first time I was asked on a date by a guy whom I wasn’t pursuing first (HaHa).

That information was really besides the point of my story but I thought you would find it funny…

We did get together and we have hung out a few times since then. This girl really is fabulous. She is probably one of the most beautiful girls I have ever met. She dresses so cool and her house is perfectly cute. She is talented in many ways; she is a musician, she makes her children’s clothes, she is super crafty and creative, a vegetarian… pretty much one of those girls that make you think “is there anything you aren’t good at?”.

But, you know what, she is one of the most down to earth people I have ever met as well. So non judgemental and very laid back (obviously since she asked some rugged looking chick on a play-date at Target)!

As of late I have really been struggling with discontentment. You might look at me and think “why would she be discontent”? Well, I have been discontent and particularly with “things”. Most people who have stay-at-home wives /mothers do it because they can afford not to have two working parents. This is not entirely true with us. It is a struggle. We get by and we are never in need but we really have to be wise with our money. We can’t do as many things or have as many things as others. It is challenging but so worth the sacrifice.

Because of our situation, it is easy to want and covet and feel like “I don’t have anything”. None of my clothes fit and they are out of style. I really need a new vacuum and new curtains and I would like… you name it, I want it. I have even been thinking about getting a part-time job so that I can buy all of these unnecessary wants. Seems simple but what is really happening is that I am willing to give in to these things, take time away from my family so I can buy more. I mean, isn’t that what our culture is really about? More. More. More. Gotta have it. Yes, you need it. WRONG!

What I have learned through my new friend is that it is ok to live simply. You do not “need” all of these things. Use what you have. Appreciate what you have. She really lives this way and cultivates this lifestyle. After talking with her and being with her, I realize how much I do have and how much I have begun to take on society’s way of thinking. I covet and want when really, I have MORE than enough. So what, my shoes are out of style- did you know in other countries it is really hard to come by a good pair of shoes <sarcastic tone>? But seriously, we hear these stories and “know” about what goes on but when do we actually think about it and become grateful for what we have? Clearly more than most people.

What is wrong with me. I know, completely normal but why should this be normal? Why is it okay? What are we so greedy and lustful?

You know the saying; give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life (something like that?)? Well that is how I should be investing my time, money and energy. What am I teaching my children by always wanting? If Lucy wants something, she should save HER money and buy it or, use what she has, or, make it.

I think the first step for me is to really start appreciating what I/we have.  I have so much and have been blessed in so many ways.

All of this I know is easier said than done. But boy, am I grateful for new friends. I hope that I can inspire someone in a positive way someday as she has inspired me.

Who cares what the world thinks about me.

What is truly important in life?

And, also, my new friend has taught me that you can be glamorous and simple at the same time. I just have to figure out how she does it…

<wink>

Disclaimer: I realize my writing skills have been diminishing due to my sleep deprivation. Forgive me. They will return in time. Thanks for reading anyway!

=)

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Homeschool Preschool

Last year, A friend of mine started a play group for all of her “SAH Mom” friends with toddlers .

This year she wanted to be a little more structured and decided to do a little Homeschool Preschool for all of the children ages 18mo-3yrs.

We meet once a week for two hours. The two hours include a “circle time” where we sing a welcome song and talk about the weather. Then we do a craft that relates to the color, letter and theme of the day. After craft we have free play that includes different stations of play. When we are finished with free play we reconvene and do another short circle time where the children play with instruments while singing a song and then we read a Bible Story that ties in all of the themes we talked about through the day.

This week the colors were green and red. We talked about the letter “A”. For craft, we painted wooden apples (apples are red and they start with the letter “A”) and hot glued them to a stick (it could be for a book mark or a planter decoration). During free play we played with green Play-Dough , used red and green stickers to fill in the letter “A” and The Bible Story was Adam and Eve (the apple).

And of course, when it is all over, we have lunch together and chat.

It is a really fun time. I like that all of the Mom’s share the different roles and responsibilities and our children are learning and having fun together at the same time. It is also helpful to have a curriculum that we follow so I can use some of the themes throughout the week and plan different activities that will go along with what we do on our Preschool days.

*Here is the curriculum that we are using, in case you are interested.

And, it is not just helpful in an educational stand point, but the children are also building a lot of life skills by being together. Some of the children don’t have siblings, so they are learning to share with others. Some have younger siblings so they are able to enjoy other children their own age. It is a time where we can support other Mom’s and encourage one another when things get tough.

And, and. Every third week, we get to take a field trip. I have always loved field trips. My Mom used to pack me the best lunches on field trip days.

Here are a few pictures from todays group.

 

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Filed under Lucy