5 Steps to Survive Distance in Love

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As some of you may have read my husband has returned to OTR (over the road) truck driving. Typically, he is on the road for about two weeks then home for a few days or more. Right now we’ve agreed for him to run a but harder than usual because with the kids getting bigger, we desperately need a larger home to accommodate them. It hasn’t exactly been easy thus far, but it hasn’t been horrible either.

I managed to survive my husband’s enlistment well enough, though this time around there are certainly more children to take care of! Really though, I do feel so blessed that I have a husband who is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to give our family what we need-and I am grateful that I am a woman who is willing to manage the home front on my own. 

Though this hasn’t been easy, it is completely doable. You both just have to be committed to the bigger picture and follow these 5 rules:

Rule #1: Remember you are on the SAME team

Just because the two of you may be world’s apart doesn’t mean your intentions aren’t the same. Your spouse is working hard to better themselves and provide for you and your children (if you have them) and ensure the stability of your future, together. What you are doing at home is just as important as what they are doing away from home. It takes two to build a life together.

Rule #2: Have patience.

It can be extremely difficult to effectively communicate with one another over the phone, whether it is speaking, texting, video chatting, emailing-whatever. From time to time you are going to desire a meaningful conversation or you (or they) may have something to talk about that has been nagging at the back of your mind. Timing doesn’t always line up the way it needs to to have a real conversation when you are so far apart. You may call and your spouse is sleeping or extremely busy working. When these things happen remember to keep cool and have patience.

Rule #3: Cherish the moments you do get.

When the stars align and you do get the opportunity to really talk-cherish it. Give your spouse your FULL undivided attention. Mute the TV, forget about social media, don’t check your email. This is your time. It is immeasurably valuable. Don’t squander it, you’ll want to hold on to those moments when the loneliness seeps in.

Rule #4: Don’t be afraid to seek support from family.

Having someone else to talk to when your spouse is unavailable can be really helpful, and it saves you from unloading on your spouse when you do talk. If you are like me, a SAHM without much of a social life don’t count out online support groups. You would be surprised at what you can find online. It enables you to connect with like minded individuals, and helps you to feel even if only just a little less alone and isolated. Try to find ways to get yourself out of your own head-even if all you do is keep a journal. Do something.

Rule #5: Do something just for you.

So many of us neglect ourselves, especially when life gets a little stressful. Part of maintaining a healthy and happy relationship is maintaining a happy and healthy you. Take a walk, read a book, get your hair done-anything that brings you some joy. You can’t be there for your spouse if you can’t be there for yourself.

I hope these rules can help those of you in similar situations. Remember, you are not alone, and no matter where they go, your spouse always remains with you. You carry a part of their heart after all, as they do a part of yours.

Love one another. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Stay positive.

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Naps & Twins Co-Sleeping

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Never underestimate the value of a good night's sleep-or that of a nap. Never. - @mom_chronicle

Trying to figure out my twin boys new internal schedule is driving me nuts.

They won’t take their 9am nap anymore so I have been trying a nap after lunch. I thought it would work because they began to fall asleep after they ate their sandwiches..no such luck-at least at first. As soon as I laid them down in their beds, it’s like I hit the super crazy hyped up toddler button. To top it off they are ridiculously cranky.

My poor little men.

Their older sister is doing well with her afternoon nap/quiet time-she doesn’t always nap now that she has gotten older but she does like to lay down and watch a movie in the afternoon. And of course my littlest man is napping off and on throughout the day. He is five months old now. 

I hate to see the twins so cranky and miserable. Teething doesn’t help one bit either. I’m hoping the teething ends and their internal schedules balance out soon. In the meantime I try to give them lots of love and cuddles.

In addition to the current issues, the oldest of the twins has been climbing into the others bed at night and sometimes during naps. This is about the only time any sleep has been happening.  Their beds are right across from one another but they seem to really need the closeness right now. I believe it has to do with my husband being back on the road.

I suppose their is no harm in it. They obviously need to be close right now, and they definitely need the sleep to combat the teething issues. Oh my, I hope their teeth break through soon. I know the whole house will be relieved when they do!

Just a Touch of Courage Pt. 2

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I have had some ups and downs over the past week with my journey to a healthy and happy me! For the most part I can honestly say I feel like I did pretty good for the first week. How did the sugar detox go? Well…

Ha! It wasn’t that bad, but I definitely struggled more than I thought I would. I have discovered a great weakness for peanut butter pop tarts and soda. It’s pretty darn hard when you see that can of soda sitting there in the fridge…so cold…so sweet…ugh! Then, those peanut butter pop tarts taste like Reeses Pieces to me! Sigh. I wasn’t to terrible but I did slip a couple times. BUT I did drink a ton of water, which is something I have been terrible about in the past. Go me!

Also, I started Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD. I have to say Day 1 and Day 2 really busted my butt. I ached pretty much everywhere. It gave me a small sense of pride and accomplishment. Even though I can’t see any major changes yet, it gave me a sort of noticeable evidence of my effort. It felt good-it was rough, but it felt good. I am finally doing something about my health issues. I did have two days where I didn’t complete the DVD. One of the days my husband was able to come home and we were spending quality time with the kids, and the other I was assaulted by a sinus infection and unfortunate lack of sleep from the night before, because kids had trouble sleeping.

Though I have had some setbacks during Week 1, I have refused to allow those things to get me down. I am making improvements. It is a work in progress after all. Already I have been feeling better and my energy levels have improved. I can only feel better from here!

I’ve noticed too that although the workout is difficult for me, it really does get easier each day. I’m taking the positive from last week with me on to Week 2! I’m going to give the detox another go, and I am thinking about adding another workout. I would really like to walk with the kids in the park, but that has some complications. The twins would be in the double stroller, which they really enjoy, and the baby would be in the carrier on my chest, which he enjoys but the last time I tried to walk the course, our daughter walked alongside me and stayed with me at first. Eventually though the test of wills began and she started to refuse to stay with me. Looking back I wish we had  chosen that triple stroller for our baby registry instead of the double. Oh well. I’m not sure about getting one now either. Before you know it she will be out of the stroller era anyway. We’ll see. Maybe I will give the walk another shot tomorrow and just see how it goes.

Wish me luck!

A Horrid Housewife

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I read a really great article today from the Washington Post, and you can feel free to read it here.  Basically this man talks about how people always seem to blame his wife for their messy house, and how he too used to be one of those people.

This really hit home for me. Especially after the twins started crawling/walking and getting in to things, and our fourth child was born. I could keep up with the chaos in our home fairly well until those changes occured, but now is a much different story. I now have three rambunctious toddlers and a demanding 5 month old.  All four are absolutely adorable, and completely capable of making the largest messes you have ever seen. And then some.

My husband and I have had a similar argument, and yes the phrase came up, “What do you do all day?” Unpleasantness ensued, as you can imagine. That was a while ago though and he really does understand now what it is that I am dealing with-but the rest of the world isn’t quite so understanding.

Let me tell you, I grew up in an immaculate home. I was an only child and both of my parents worked full time, but my mother always always made sure the house was in order. That’s just how she was. No one ever had room to talk about our home. Not even a little. She has always been very particular and a little OCD about things, ever since she was a girl helping to raise her younger sisters. From a young age she learned to run a house efficiently, and she taught me the same. I was in charge of my own laundry and keeping my room organized and clean relatively early on. All in all my mother did a wonderful job.

I on the other hand am not gifted with a mind like hers. Yes, I know how to clean and keep things in order-but keeping up with things as seemingly effortlessly as she did alludes me. Although, as said, I do have four children under the age of three. Now my mother has never really criticized my household management but others definitely have. Some family, some friends. It’s not nice, it’s not pleasant when it happens, in fact it can really sting.

Sometimes, yes, our home looks like a disaster zone. Do I clean? Yes, of course I do! What is it that I do all day? Let me give you a peek:

12:00am-2:00am
The baby wakes up to nurse, which usually wakes one of the twins up, who comes to get in the bed with me-and proceeds to toss and turn the rest of the night.

3:00am
Our daughter wakes, for whatever reason and comes to get into the bed with me and her brother. Fighting over blankets and tossing and turning and occasional kicking ensues.

5:00am-5:30am
If I can muster the energy this is my only chance at a shower for the day.

6:00am-6:30am
If I managed to steal a shower all of the kids are alternating knocking on the bathroom door, screaming, and tearing my bedroom apart. If I didn’t manage a shower at this point all children usually jump on me not so gently to wake me up.

6:30am-7:00am
Frantic and anxious cries ensue for milk as I pour cups and mix nesquik. Then I turn the light on in the playroom and immediately the toys are dumped out of the toy box and I turn on cartoons.

7:00am-8:00am
The baby nurses, and I attempt to settle disputes and fix any problems that occur for the three toddlers with a baby hanging from my breast.

8:00am-9:00am
Breakfast for the three eldest. Also, dishes are put away and or washed assuming the water will run hot. We have constant issues with the water heater and a landlord who hasn’t taken action. If the water is cold I have to reset the water heater and wait at least an hour.

9:00am-11:00am
More active play, which involves throwing toys here there and everywhere-sometimes a trip to the park. And our daughter is at the age where she wants to dress up and change clothes approximately 12 times a day, give or take-so there are often clothes scattered around. Oh, and I usually start one of two (sometimes more) loads of laundry during this time. Fingers crossed for hot water! Also, an hour of nursing starts at either 10 or 11 and last for about an hour.

11:00am-1:00pm
A nap is attempted for all kids during this time. Sometimes it works and some times it doesn’t. If it does work then I continue with laundry. Attempt to write a little bit to maintain my sanity and do a workout to help me keep something for myself and improve my health. Also, if I am particularly exhausted by this point I will attempt a nap. However, if the kids nap is unattainable, lots of unpleasant cranky teething toddler shenanigans ensue. I attempt to entertain them and play with them, but if they don’t take a nap their moods usually go down hill from here regardless of my efforts.

1:00pm-2:00pm
The three eldest have lunch and maybe watch a movie. Oh, and I try to remember to eat something too. Also, I attempt to tame the mess around the house. Picking up things here and there, and continuing laundry.

2:00pm-3:00pm
I nurse the baby and the kids play-undoing all of my efforts to clean up.

3:00pm-5:00pm
Continue laundry. Start dinner prep. Cook. All while attempting to keep children out of the kitchen, off of counters-generally keeping them from climbing anything and everything. Try to soothe the baby who is mad because I am distracted and can’t give him all of my attention at the moment.

5:00pm-6:00pm
Get the twins into their highchairs-who are running in opposite directions away from me, giggling all the way. Get our daughter to sit down at her place to eat. Serve dinner. Beg daughter to eat. Bribe daughter to eat.  Lots of frustration at this point. Depending on whether or not nap time was succesful, the cranky level can reach an all time high during this time. Usually I need to nurse the baby too because he naturally wants to eat with everyone else-except me. I don’t always get to eat during this period. Either the kids are really cranky or usually nursing the baby is the priority and it’s just to awkward to try and eat while he does. Also, attempt video chat with husband and kids.

6:00pm-7:00pm
Bath time. The kids play in the tub for a while and them the dreaded shampoo and rinse begins. They hate it. Crying usually ensues. The baby usually looks on from his chair in amusement or cries in his bassinet because the others are being too loud. Then one by one I get them dried off and dressed. I lay the twins down for bed. Our daughter gets to stay up just a little bit longer and finish a movie.

7:00pm-10:00pm
Continue laundry. Attempt to eat my dinner. Keep daughter from bouncing off of the walls in an attempt to keep her brothers awake. Attempt to get her to put her toys away. Vacuum. Tuck daughter in for the night between 7:30 and 8:30. Go separate twins who have gotten into the same bed and are loudly screaming at each other. Probably have to go back in one more time. Play with baby. Nurse again around 8:45 until 9:30. Lay baby down. Then do 30 min workout video.

10:00pm to 10:30am
Put leftovers away if I haven’t already. Wipe kitchen counters and rinse dishes and put them in the sink. Maybe wash dishes-depends on level of sleepy, oh and if I remembered to reset the water heater earlier. Probably restart drier. Maybe sure daughter had clean training pants for tomorrow. Pick up odds and ends.

10:30pm to 11:00pm
Go to bed.

Sometimes I do think I could or should do more. But you know what? I am doing the best I can. Meanwhile, I am dealing with potty training and teerhing issues. My husband is away for work most of the time-which I support-but I have to keep my sanity too. So forgive me if I forfeit picking up a few things or folding a load of clothes to attempt a little sleep or to keep my kids happy.

Potties, Teeth, & Pumping Woes

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My goodness! Potty training my two and a half year old daughter has proven to be very stressful yet equally entertaining. We have a potty seat to put on top of the toilet with a stool and a stand alone potty chair.  The first, she doesn’t like because, I believe, she is so high up and her little tush is still kind of narrow for the seat so she doesn’t feel as comfortable. She would still need my help to climb up there even with the stool and ice she sat down she would latch on to me for dear life. Not the best experience.

So my husband and I bought the standalone potty chair. She clearly feels more comfortable on this chair, however it has presented it’s own fun-filled problems. The main one is she wants to sit on it all day. She never actually uses it-she just sits there. As soon as she stands up however she usually has an accident. I do my best not to show her my frustration and I always encourage her without being pushy- I think.  She refuses to wear diapers or pull ups now, so we bought a bunch of those fabric training pants for girls from Walmart. No problem there-except she likes to take them off when she has an accident and run around the house naked like a crazy girl haha. Yesterday, she walked out of her room while I was nursing her brother and, butt naked mind you, said, “Here’s my poopies Mommy. I nakie!” She handed me her doo doo ball filled panties and proceeded to run around the living room squeeling. I don’t want to teach her to be ashamed of her body but I am having a hard time getting her to understand she can’t just run around without clothes on. I know it will all improve in time. Someday.

Meanwhile, the twins are having some serious issues teething. I feel so bad for them. They both have a few trying to come through but so far only one a piece has slightly broken through the surface. They are pretty much cranky all of the time these days, especially with fighting their naps and missing their Daddy while he is on the road. Orajel doesn’t really seem to be helping them. It stinks. I hate to give them tylenol or ibuprofen too often but they have needed it more than once this week. Poor babies. The nap situation I have all but given up on. Sometimes they will take a  afternoon nap now- and their moods are noticeably improved but those days are few. Sigh.

Lastly, my littlest man is getting bigger and loves nursing, of course! He is doing really well with it and I haven’t been having any issues, but he had started to drool buckets and I can see two teeny tiny teeth just under the skin on the bottom row. Truthfully I’ve never breastfed any of my kids after they had teeth come in. I pumped and supplemented with our daughter and the twins unfortunately were formula fed. I don’t really know what to expect. I don’t really want to stop right now. I would like to pump though, but I have been having some issues in that department. Mainly finding the time with the other three running about.

Lots going on in our household! It can be stressful at times but I wouldn’t trade a second. I know we will make it through all of these trials. It just takes time.

Monday Meeting

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This week I will be taking a bit of a new approach to my writing. We will see if making an outline will help keep me on track and productive! I certainly hope so 🙂

I have already started the week with an opinion piece regarding the recent topics flooding the media including gun rights, the confederate flag, and LGBTQ issues. In the past I have shied away from such pieces but I think I will try to be more involved in current affairs to improve my writing.

I also plan on doing a piece regarding my little army of munchkins. This I hope to devote at least a post or two a week to. It will cover what’s going on in my particular world of mommyhood and how my cuties are doing and what mischief they have been getting up to. I’ll discuss the typical things parents deal with from the perspective my kids have afforded me.

Additionally, I embarked on a quest last week to a happier and healthier me. From now on I will do an update of my progress each week and discuss my troubles as well as successes-and take a look at what changes have really helped me and what hasn’t. 

One of my goals this year is to read a book a week. I really enjoy reading and need to make time for it again, so as I finish each book, I will review it and share tips and tricks for making the time for myself as well as how I feel when I do make the time.

There will also be at least one post about household management and  maybe a recipe or two! On top of everything else I plan on devoting a post a week to my husband and our marriage. Any troubles we may have I would like to share with you and take a look at how we make it through them.

Hopefully outlining my ideas for the week will keep the motivation high and help me stay organized!

Happy writing and reading to you all!

Flags vs. Hearts

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Normally I don’t participate in these types of debates, but I feel this has gotten utterly ridiculous.

Do you really believe making some flags acceptable, and others unacceptable is going to change anything? Honestly? It is not going to change a damn thing. LGBTQ will never be normal for some people let alone their right to marry. There will always be those who support the Confederate flag, as well as those who despise it, and some people will always be against guns, while others will forever hate them.

I am a Catholic, blue-collar, Conservative, Republican woman, wife, and mother of four. Be offended if you are truly ignorant but before you make assumptions about me, my views, and where I come from, I suggest you think twice.

Am I racist? No.

Am I a bigot? No

I do not raise my children to hate or judge. I have a variety of friends and family members from different backgrounds.  I have relatives and friends of various races, political backgrounds, economic backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, genders, and sexualities. I appreciate each of them for who they are, and I would never presume to change them or impose my views on them, nor would I hope they would desire to impose theirs on me. Some things I may not understand, while some things they may not.

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Taking away our right to bear arms will not stop fanatics and terrorists from carrying out their acts of evil and hate.  They will always find a way, so why take away good law-abiding American citizens right to protect and defend themselves and those they love? On April 15, 2013 when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev plotted at the Boston Marathon it wasn’t a mass shooting-it was a precisely executed terrorist attack utilizing two pressure cooker bombs. It was horrific and filled with evil, hate, and ignorance. Did they have guns? Yes. But the bombs were their main weapon. A person full of hate set on a certain path will find a way to commit their crimes with or without guns. Laws on no laws.

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Legalizing gay marriage doesn’t mean everyone in the country is going to suddenly be okay with it-but that shouldn’t matter. Everyone has the right to their own opinions, and I have as little right to change those of anyone else as they do mine. Some will always believe it is a sin while others will always believe it isn’t-and then there will be others who never care at all. You can’t change what lies in a persons heart-the individual is the only one who has that ability and right. Laws and protests, speeches and sermons-none of them matter unless the person chooses somewhere deep inside to change. Change is possible, yes-but it is not a guarantee nor can it be required.

Changing and or banning flags will not make anything better for anyone. How is it that the LGBTQ flag is acceptable, yet the confederate flag is not? What makes one better than the other? Don’t both offend someone somewhere? No matter what one does, whether you like it or not, there will always be someone out there offended. Taking TV shows off of the air won’t change anything either. Three weeks ago I didn’t see anyone screaming for The Dukes of Hazzards removal from television, shouting racism from the rooftops. In fact, I never in my life heard one negative remark against the show until it was portrayed in the media in a negative light. That is ignorance. Allowing the media to dictate what is and is not acceptable-it is ridiculous. Joe blow never gave a rats behind about it until some imbecile on TV said you should. Why are we allowing the media to spread discord like wildfire?

Passing new laws won’t change anything. If a person has decided to hate, they will hate-as ugly as that is, it is true. We have the power to form our own lives into anything we wish-so why is everyone still so concerned with what everyone else is doing. Live and let live. You don’t have to like the opinions, beliefs, actions of others but if they are doing no harm, no one and I do mean no one has the right to infringe on their rights. This is the United States of America-so when did it stop being the home of the free?