I want to be in all senses of the words, All. Things. Mama.
As far back as I can remember I've wanted to be a mom, not just any mom, but the mom that stays home with her kids full time. The mom who loves even when she is not loved back, who can't breathe without thinking of her kids first. The mom who loves teaching, playing, cooking, baking, laughing, and kissing owies. The mom who is ALL THINGS MAMA. My husband and I scrimp so that dream can be fulfilled. Being a mom is not part time for me. It is something that has captured my heart. All of the going ons of my life start with thoughts of my kids. My kids consume my love and my life and I allow it because, with God's help they are the essence of what makes me a mother. This is me...

kids: the reason for moms

kids: the reason for moms

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life's everyday amazing moments

Everyday there is something or someone that amazes me, something God whispers into our lives, helping us live a little better, giving us a better outlook.  Here is a list of some of the most recent...some are big, some small, all amazing ;)

-Melanie saying "I need a purse" when I ask her if she's ready to go.
-Paying all of our bills and somehow still having money left over (has to be God!)
-Easton saying "ball" when I get one out for him to play with.
-Getting paid an unexpected, extra bonus from a job I only work at 2 days a month for a measly 3 hour shift.
-Seeing one of my kids fall and in some act of grace, miss getting badly hurt by a tenth of a centimeter (amazing!)
-My husband coming home from work at 5 in the evening after leaving the house at 4:30 in the morning and still smiling and in a good mood..don't know how he does it!
-Seeing pre-children photos and wondering how I lived without them.
-Finding something that works to stop a Melanie fit without giving in to the fit ;)
-Creating a new recipe that tastes REALLY good.
-Meeting up with old friends I haven't seen in over a year or maybe 2!
-Hearing Melanie say I love you in both Spanish and English.
-Hearing Melanie say anything in Spanish ;)
-Watching my kids light up and laugh when Guapo comes in the room.
-Watching Guapo take the "kids' abuse" without complaint.
-Seeing my kids sleep soundly and peacefully.
Lots more---but I need some sleep! Buenas noches!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chicken fried elk steak and everything in between...

Time to slow down after a busy week.  A few too many play dates, a day spent with Grandma, a wedding rehearsal, big grocery shopping trips, bank drive thru stops, diaper runs, a Pampered Chef party, and a wedding, made for a lively and tiring last seven days...but we all LOVED it.  All of the past week's events have made it blatantly obvious that  my cozy bugs are growing up right before my eyes and seemingly way too fast.  I actually teared up thinking that someday my Melanie Bug will be having her own wedding day and Easton Pies will one day not want to live with his mommy and daddy, because he will be grown up!  But for now, I have decided to savor the ages they are and record as much of their lives as possible, so we can all remember.
On Wednesday, we took Melanie to her first wedding rehearsal because she was asked to be a flower girl for my cousin's big day.  Easton stayed with his Grandma and Grandpa while Darrell and I took Mel to the rehearsal.  Melanie did so well.  She sat so nicely in a wagon with her cousin Ashlyn while her older cousin Gabe pulled them down the aisle.  We were proud!  Afterwards, we went to pick up Easton and found out what a big boy he became just in the hours we were gone.  He ate chicken fried elk steak for dinner!  He only has two teeth, isn't even 9 months old, and he is eating like a man! Yet another reminder, growing up seemingly way too fast.  Why does time accelerate itself once kids are in the picture?
On Friday, I felt like super mom..even though most moms can do all the things I did that day with MORE than 2 kids, I still at least FELT like a super mom. :)  We left the house at 9 and met with some friends at McDonald's play land and played for an hour and a half (and yes, we packed our own food because I can't justify paying to feed my kids that much fat and grease, but that's a whole other blog.)  Next, we went to the bank, then to Target for diapers and wipes, where, after paying for our purchase, we ate our lunch in the parking lot. ;)  Lastly, we had a BIG shopping trip to do at WinCo, because we were out of almost everything at home.  The cart became so full that Melanie had to walk while I pushed the groceries and Easton in the cart.  She is becoming such a little girl, rather than a toddler!  She kept her hands off the things in the aisles and stayed right next to me the entire time, holding my hand.  How many more things this week can remind me how grown up she is getting to be??  The things that made me feel most like super mom (other than holding one cozy bug's hand while maneuvering a cart of groceries and a baby) was bagging all of the groceries myself (because that's what you do at WinCo) while making sure Mel stayed with me and that East did not grab things off the counter. And, I still got them home in time for naps!  Just 2 years ago I would not have thought it possible for me to be able to do that!
Our last busy day of the week ended with a wedding, where Melanie performed beautifully.  She may not have smiled while being pulled down the aisle, but she sat still and was a good girl, and that's more than we could have asked for!  Our little serious bug did great and made these parents so proud!  Below is a picture to prove it :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How to be a cheapskate..lol

I wouldn't exactly call myself a TOTAL cheapskate but I'm pretty darn close. Once in a while, I still buy myself a coffee while we're out, but before having kids that was an everyday treat.  Now a days I feel guilty even spending any money on a coffee when I could have made it and brought it with me from home.  Following the arrival of our cozy bugs, and the loss of a second income, most of our life's pleasures come from things that are free.  Did you know that the library carries newly released movies?  I had no idea until we launched on this journey of living on one paycheck.   Now that we know, we don't pay to rent movies anymore, we simply check them out from the library!  Free entertainment!
There are lots of ways to entertain yourself and your kids for free.  Here are some of the ways we have fun for free. In only the last few months alone we have gone to some things in our own town that did not cost us a dime to enjoy.  The high school had a Spring into Health fair that offered a free bouncy house for the kids to play in and also had about 20 different booths to peruse that were also giving away samples such as sports drinks, bottled water, chap stick, candy, toothbrushes, balloons, etc.  Really fun and no cost for us!  In addition to the the health fair, every year there is an Arts Festival that is free to attend AND (bonus for the kiddos) it is held in a park.  Again, there are lots of booths, some with paintings, some with woodwork, jewelry, clothes, dolls, toys and much more.  Spending money not required!  Many communities will have things offered for free, you just have to look!
Other ways we save money, I price out EVERYTHING.  Want to know where to get the cheapest diapers and wipes of the highest quality? Go to Target and get the UP & UP brand.  Cheapest place to get socks for kids? Walmart.  Best place to get the most groceries for your dollar? WinCo.  Easiest way to save money on your groceries? Plan your grocery list around the dinners you are making for the week and stick to your list.  Most economical way to get kids clothes? Go to garage sales (on the last day of the sale and negotiate, sometimes you can get stuff free just because they want it gone!) and always take hand me downs from friends and family when they offer!  Buying clothes brand new is too expensive, especially when the kids are growing like weeds anyway!
Those are some of the ways we've been able to manage our money on a tight income.  Extra things we have done to cut down our bills is by simply not having EXTRA.  We don't need tv, therefore we don't pay for cable. We have cell phones, therefore we don't pay for a landline.  I can cook, therefore we don't eat out. :)  Believe it or not this saves A LOT of dinero and we are healthier because of it!  By not eating out we are avoiding many of the fatty foods offered at restaurants.  I have lost weight and weigh less than I did before having kids, and I believe it is partly due to eating meals at home.  Even when we are out for the day, I pack a lunch to take along so we do not have to buy a meal.  This may sound crazy to some, but it is a heck of a lot cheaper.  Think about it, $15 bucks on fast food compared to maybe $1 or $2 on sandwiches, carrots sticks, chips and fruit snacks prepared and packed at home.  Much cheaper and healthier and fresh.
There are a lot more things we do and do not do to keep being able to pay the bills but for right now, I'm too tired to try to think of them.  I'll tell you all about it in another post, someday!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Naps..good and bad

Naps are luxurious when we are spending the day at home.  I get free time and the cozy bugs get the much needed sleep their little bodies demand to keep them sprouting.  They also mean my cozy bugs will be in perfect form for continuing a day of learning and playing .  All mamas know how  our little ones are when the naps have escaped the day.  They suddenly aren't actually cozy at all.
My girl is the one standing at the window ;)
My two cozy bugs looking at the seals.
Yesterday, we allowed naps to escape us for a day of seeing animals.  Our friend has a pass that gets us in the zoo for free.  It was worth the napless day to hear my little girl, 2 months shy of 2 years old, say "monties! hoo hoo ha ha" as she curiously stared at the monkeys hang from the trees and perform for us. It was worth it to let go and give her some freedom as she walked through the water sprinkler area without me to cool off and play.  Everything seemed so worth it...until the ride home. The sweet little girl at the zoo turned into a mono loco (crazy monkey).  I tried to keep my composure as I listened to her scream "NO NO NO NO!" over and over in between her fits of crying.  This lasted for 40 minutes.  Being the "ever loving and kind" mom I am (or try to be), I even pulled over to buy her juice from a coffee stand only to have it pushed back in my face.  Nothing could stop her.  She was a too tired, crazed out girl in despair who could not control her emotions.  So I kept driving, and I let her keep crying.
Somehow my precious little boy stayed asleep through most of it.  Funny how two kids from the same parents can have such different personalities.  Even when he was awake he was contentedly smiling as the screaming raged on. I love that about him.  Happy in all situations.  Why can't I be like that?
We came home and ended the day with relaxing on the couch to watch Elmo. Elmo made everything better. There were no more fits and bedtime came so quickly that it made the day worth it once again.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm still trying to figure this mom thing out...

Everyday is a new challenge.  Fit throwing is full blown and growing stronger in our household.  My 22 month old daughter is the queen of fits.  My 8 month old son is learning from her.  Sometimes I'm not sure I'll be able to handle another fit until I take a deep breath and remind myself to be loving and understanding while also redirecting the fit into better behavior.  Does it always work? No.  Sometimes she's too hungry, too tired, too whatever to be able to be redirected.  Sometimes I have to give in and let her throw her fit while I get her lunch ready or get her ready for a nap or bed.  And that's okay.  I'm not perfect and neither are my kids, but we make it work.
I chose this life of challenges.  I quit my job to stay home.  My husband and I make notable sacrifices for me to be able to be the ama de casa.  No eating out. No cable tv. No renting movies, no going to movies.  Bascially, we do not spend money unless it is on groceries or bills, and to be completely honest..IT'S REALLY FUN!  My kids are so young that they could care less that we never go out to eat.  They do not notice that we don't spend money on movies.  They live life, a pretty darn good life, without us spending extra money.  How long before they start wanting more than what we spend? Who knows..but this is what I'm hoping: I want my kids to grow up learning how to save money, live frugally, and spend wisely.  I want them to love life without having all the "things" money can give them.  I have a feeling that as the years go by and we enter the teenage years, this thrifty lifestyle will start bringing forth even bigger fits, but I'm ready for it. :)