Working Mom

Working Mom

The other morning my son asked “why don’t you make stuff like my aunties”?

Dishing up my breakfast I responded confused “what do you mean?”

“Well Aunt A makes syrup, and Aunt R makes apple sauce, and ….”

And key knife twisting. In the most positive voice and a smile I could muster I explained that I did make apple sauce, and I don’t like homemade syrup, plus I use it too fast.  We discussed the benefits of stay at home mom’s and working moms, and how we need to do what works best for our family. We also talked about how we try to make sure he is still able to get as much quality time with each parent as possible.

I am part of a circle that many families are quite blessed in their ability to have the flexibility of a parent home or available most hours for the kids. My son can’t see that most of those moms work in one form or another, and only a couple are not working from home, but we talked about that too.

This really got me thinking though. Sometimes I think as moms and humans in general we really struggle with comparing ourselves to others. Social media has really amplified that too: Amazing moms posting amazing cakes and crafts on Pinterest. Fun family vacations, and perfect Christmas pictures on Facebook. We rarely stop and realize we are comparing our real life to the highlight reel of others.  When we see the perfect family with the perfect portrait pose, rarely do we think or realize that the photographer was bribing the kids with candy, or that husband and wife may have been arguing 20 minutes before over finances. Looking at the perfect birthday decoration ideas on Pinterest how often do we think about how perhaps it’s that perfect because the blog writer is paying bills by making others see perfection?

I find that from time to time I get so caught up trying to make up for working that I waste time on the details that probably won’t be remembered in 10 years.

Perfect example, I tried to earn mom points with cool shaped sandwiches in my son’s lunch. What a waste of time. By the way, you have to cut the bread before you make the sandwich – would have been smart to read the directions.

For my son’s 6th birthday he had a perfect Army Transformer’s cake, with a party at an arcade, everything looked planned and perfect. What wasn’t seen was that I forgot all about how close it was, and suddenly it was the day before and I had no cake, no decorations, no birthday gift. I had a reservation and invitations out. That was it. Late the afternoon before I was calling around like a mad woman trying to find a cake. I got lucky and Walmart had one the right size, and even sort of fit what he wanted. Birthday came, and my son thought I was AWESOME. But I knew I was a wreck.

It’s life. Life is a rollercoaster.

My life is not always perfect, and somedays I feel like I’m a wreck just barely getting by. In the end though I know my kids will look back and think “mama did her best, and loved me unconditionally”.

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Baseball Birthday

Baseball Birthday

This past weekend my baby turned 1. I avoided thinking about it as long as I could , but at a certain point I had to accept that my baby is getting to be a toddler and let him have his day. Hubby’s mom was up from out of state, so the family would all be at the house, and that alone is a full house.  Just hubby’s family made a house of 9 little ones and 8 adults. We kept the party limited as we expected to need to be indoors, and I’m not sure about you, but that basically maxes out my home especially having that many kids running around. However, we had a great surprise in the form of an 80 degree sunshiny day.

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Thinking back it turned out great, but I really do owe it all to hubby. You see, I decorate, and plan, and fuss over the minor details. He on the other hand implements.  He’s the one that remembers the practical stuff; the things I wouldn’t use personally and therefore don’t think to buy, pickles, tomatoes, extra chips. I also don’t seem to understand how much food kids eat. The family gathered at our house the night prior too, the chips were eaten, the veggies were eaten, dinner was eaten, and popcorn was eaten. I was out of ideas, and one of my snackers was gluten and dairy free. I was in a bit of a panic for the next day. All I had planned was hot dogs, popcorn, and cracker jacks. Hubby to the rescue! He picked up all the practical stuff and no one was hungry at the end of the night.

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And since he took care of the real party needs, I got to set up cute baseball theme decorations. Baseball invitations (sample pic below) which turned out perfect!

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I ordered those here. Baseball toddler photos curtesy of me. Thank you. Baseball baby smash cake, I’m not a cake decorator, but I think it turned out pretty good. Baseball themed party supply table with a couple pictures of the guest of honor. And my awesome sister hooked us up with slip and slide baseball.

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We couldn’t have asked for a better family evening on the farm.

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Valentines and Blue Berries

Valentines and Blue Berries

I’m not sure if after 10 years of marriage your view of a good valentines day date changes, or if as a couple, my hubby and I never had a traditional take on valentine’s day. But for me, this years was probably the best!

We started our valentines weekend with a family trip to Prosser where a berry farmer was selling off his field. As we were getting to the Sunny Side area, my son pointed out that “Uncle DJ” lives in the area. That was actually quite lucky for me. Digging berry plants with a 30 pound baby on your back would probably suck. DJ was awesome enough to take my place & let me be Mom with a camera.

We initally planned to get 20 plants, dug up 21, and decided to round it out to 25. Now we figure some wont do well with the transplant, but even if 1/2 die, we will have around 12 bushes. Thats more berries than I anticipated, but I’m sure they won’t go to waste.

We spent Valentine’s day afternoon transplanting the bushes, which leads me to my highlight (2nd to having a best friend over earlier in the day). Hubby taught me to drive a backhoe! I don’t have a picture, but it was awesome. Given the last tracter I drove I ended up banned from. In fairness, those gas tanks were plenty far away. The giant wood chip pile between us stopped me before we collieded.

Once the sun went down it was movie night. And nothing says happy valentine’s day like a Leathal Weapon marathon. It was the perfect end to the weekend.

I almost died this weekend

I almost died this weekend

So I almost died this weekend, and I wish I was being dramatic.

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Hubby and I took Friday off to finish our wills. We had 1 easy correction, and needed to sign. So here we are driving down the highway when a black pickup decides he is tired of being stuck in a line of cars or something, and decides to pass not one vehicle, but two on a solid double yellow line on a curve. One of those vehicles was a semi-truck! I have never been so grateful to have God on my side, and a husband that is pretty skilled at driving.

It’s not uncommon on this stretch of highway to have cars pass in unsafe areas. It’s actually one of the deadliest highways in the country. But generally when someone passes when they shouldn’t, they try to force their way back into their lane. As the on-coming vehicle, you slow and drive down the shoulder mentally cussing (and sometimes it’s out loud) the unthinking driver, and continue on your way.

Friday’s situation was so far from the expected bad situation. The driver of the pickup realizes too late that we are there, slams on his breaks, apparently realizes he is still alongside the semi, and as my hubby is already braking and heading for the shoulder, the pickup decides that’s also his best bet for survival. Our vehicles are now still careening toward each other at a slowed rate of maybe 55 MPH now. Pickup continues to our shoulder forcing Hubby to steer back into the tiny space between the semi and the pickup neither of which has quite made it to the shoulder. The back end of the car breaks loose and we start fishtailing in a space so narrow I already wasn’t sure we would fit.

At this point, the only thought on my mind was “this is how it ends. My oldest is in class, and the rest of his immediate family is either taking a ride in the coroner’s truck, or a helicopter”. Pretty sure the infant in the 5 point harness will be the only one to get a ride out of here alive”. As I write this, that awful feeling still sits with me. We almost left 1-2 babies alone.

God gave Hubby the amazing ability to evaluate, react, and counter react so perfectly. He was able to switch between braking and heading to the shoulder, to braking and going back to center, to speeding up and powering out of a fishtail. Everything worked out so perfectly that of the 5 vehicles that almost collided that day, all of us drove away without a scratch of damage.

This whole scenario played out in the time it takes to go from about 63 to 40, and back to 60.

As we drove off, I made it maybe 1 more mile into safety before the tears hit. The irony hit me about the same time. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh, cry, be angry, or grateful.  All of those feeling were right there at the surface. Once I felt safe and reassured we were all alive, I couldn’t help be laugh a bit at the irony of it all. 2 inches left or right at any point, and someone would be trying to decide if the intent of a will was enough. Here someone would have found a mess of legal paperwork on intended guardians, power of attorney, and healthcare directives all over in the front of the car. Guess if intent is enough, it would have been in a handy location.

Winter Wonder Land

Winter Wonder Land

This year we have gotten more snow then the entire winter last year. My son is in heaven. Th first snow fall he was up and dressed in full snow gear and running out the door before the sun was up.

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It’s great to watch. Last year I felt like I was depriving my son of the basics of childhood. He didn’t seem to understand the idea that we could have frost, but no snow. I found him trying to make a snow man out of the frost that had fallen from our trees.

Across the road is an irrigation ditch, it makes for great sledding. It brings back memories of my own childhood sledding. We lived in wheat country. with great rolling hills and wash outs. We would all gear up and spend hours in the snow. Grandma would call us in and our noses would be frozen, and our lips blue. So cold it would actually hurt to warm up. We had a great hill, and at the bottom a creek ran through and as a result there was a wash out which made for a great sled launch. We would compete to see who could make it the farthest, then regret it as it made the hike back so much farther.  My great aunt taught us that the fastest sleds weren’t sleds at all, but waxed cardboard boxes.

Winters as a kid were hard. We would get snowed in most every year. Two girls trapped together for days on end could get into some real serious fights believe it or not.  I remember one year in particular a snow plow driver would plow through the area checking on residents. As he drove through, the snow would fall back in behind him. That year was so bad we would sled off the roof. We made igloos and snow forts. We had some of the most elaborate snow wars a kid could survive. And each snow cave we made sure to test. How do you test a snow cave as a grade-school kid? Why shove the rottweiler inside of course! We had a theory about that dog, if he went in and stayed, it must be safe. The day one caved in and buried him I thought Grandpa would kill us. We also used to push him out onto the ice of the run-off pond behind the shop. We weren’t allowed to play on it as it was at least 6 feet deep, but we figured if he went on the ice, it must be safe. haha.

And with that tidbit, I sign off.

Merry Christmas everyone, and God bless.

Best late excuse – sorry cops were searching my house.

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So my internet has been down, but it is up just in time for me to tell my crazy running late for work story. So here goes. Deputies don’t drive around our area very often, so yesterday morning I was a bit surprised when I saw one drive by, then a little annoyed that he drove through my property treating it like a personal turn around. But hey whatever. So I take my son to the babysitter and realize I left my cell at home, then didn’t tell her or get her phone number again. Living just down the road I decided to rush home and get it. Like anyone living in the country (and some city dwellers), I left the truck running and ran inside to grab by phone. As I’m coming out a deputy is pulling in. Now I know something is up, but at the same time, I’m struggling to care as we are shorthanded at work, I’ve got a gal from our CA branch there to meet with me, and I’m already going to be late. So as politely as possible, I slow down to see what the deputy has to say.

Here’s how this goes:

Deputy: “You look like your leaving, have you been here all morning?”

Me:  “for the most part, but I left just a bit ago and took my son to daycare, but forgot my phone.”

Deputy: “well, we have a really bad guy running loose right now and we suspect he is trying to find a place to hide and a vehicle to steal”.

Me: “so, leaving my pickup running with my purse in the front seat while I run inside, probably not the best plan”.

Deputy: (eye’s rolling) “No. Do you ever leave your doors unlocked?”

I must have made a funny face (I’m no poker player), because he does this exasperated eye roll with a “you leave your doors unlocked” – more of an accusation this time.

Me: “well the back door to the laundry room, but there are 3 big dogs in there, so I highly doubt he made it in”.

Deputy: “We have reason to believe he is hiding in your house, would you like us to check it?”

Now this seems to be a pretty big leap, but given hubby was going to be working out of town and I would be coming home alone with a 5 year old in tow……

Me: “well, alright, I should at least lock the door, your welcome to do a walk through”.

I go in real quick, and my inner bad ass is going I’ll  just check the rooms myself real quick – if I let the dogs out its going to be this big stop harassing the deputies (there are 2 now), don’t lick, don’t knock them over, yada yada yada. At the same time my brain quickly touches on that I have a pistol hidden nearby, but the deputy is standing right there and that seems inappropriate. I figure if there is a bad guy, one scream and the Great Dane eats the bad guy and cops come running in. I say “I’ll just peak in and lock the back door real quick”. I failed to mention that the laundry room leads to more of the house.

Me: (as I come back) “Well, I locked the door, and there doesn’t appear to be anyone hiding in the back bedroom or bathroom, or anything”.

Deputy: (serious eye roll) “you checked the rooms yourself?”

Me: “yes, their clear, however, you are welcome to check around the property outside, I don’t think anyone would hide in the chicken coop, but feel free to check around”. My mind touches on the hidden pistol again, but that still seems weird to get out with the deputy standing there, plus I’m sure picking up a gun while in the presence of the deputy would definitely slow down my progress of getting to work.

At this point, the local farmers are pulling into my driveway and I’m still going, I’m totally going to be late. I do a quick introduction, and everyone was nice enough to move trucks for me. I called the gal down the road and let her know what I was told – “stay in side, bald white bad guy hiding in the corn field”. Turns out she knew too. So I tell hubby, who is now not so happy being away, but gets the full story from the other neighbor after I hung up.

So here’s the outline:

Turns out the neighbors son was moving out and the night before had loaded up his guns, TV, and misc stuff in his truck. The next morning he goes to leave, and this guy is steeling the stuff in his truck. So the neighbor’s son takes off chasing the guy on foot into the cornfield boarding our property. After losing track of him the neighbor goes back to his house and finds 3 guys in a car have arrived and are trying to take off with his stuff. Deputies arrive about this time and chase the 3 guys in the car, who in turn roll their car. Deputies found a bunch of master keys, slim jims, and other paraphernalia. Those bad guys get arrested (guess they also punched the ignition on another vehicle in the area).

Later in the afternoon I hear from my neighbor’s dad (whom I work with) that they caught the bald guy. Turns out the irrigation district worker was going by and stopped to ask what all the commotion was about, so my neighbor tells the story. Irrigation guy goes “no way, a guy matching that description just walked out of the corn field and is walking down the road right now!” so my neighbor drives down to see if he is still there and calls one of the city officers directly. My neighbor gets flagged down by bad guy who asks to borrow his cell charger! Needless to say, neighbor says no, and the city cop arrives and detains bad guy until deputies arrive.

So there is the craziness of yesterday morning. Lesson learned: locks doors, and perhaps leave dogs out.

Country Livin’ & Sweet Tea

Country Livin’ & Sweet Tea

 

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Like most families mine started out in this country as immigrants who gradually migrated across the country. So as a result I’ve inherited traditions from countrywide. And there are something’s I’ve picked up from others that I just loved and have adopted. So I thought I’d give a quick rundown of the country traditions that I love and think we could all incorporate a bit more.

 

  1. Holding the door – you still see this, but it seems like its fading out. Hold the damn door open whether you know the person or not, it’s just the polite thing to do!
  2.  Sir/Ma’am – I know some say this makes them feel old, but it’s a respect thing. I for one am trying to make sure my son learns this well. And you can be sure if I give him an order I better get a yes ma’am in response. Maybe that’s the military background in me.
  3. Sitting on the porch – this is just a great place to build relationships, and for me, it’s better than TV any day.
  4. Waving to your neighbor – we live in the country in an area where you probably know the person driving by, so we wave. Driving home you wave at the passing driver, odds are they’re a neighbor. My son always asks if we know them, and sometimes we do or don’t, but I just tell him if we don’t we probably will soon.
  5. Tea – I love my sweet tea, it’s a summer addiction. Hubby goes for the sun tea, but either way we’re a tea family.
  6. Bless your/their heart – best phrase ever! Back in the day I felt the f bomb could cover a multitude of situations, but this is way better, covers most of the same situations, but with a little class. This is my go-to mom phrase.
  7. BBQ – goes right there with the porch and tea.

 

So, for those looking for a good sweet tea recipe, here you go:

 

6 cups water – bring to boil

 

1 cup sugar – add to boiling water, and let boil a minute or two. Stir so the sugar dissolves.

 

Remove from heat and add 4 regular size tea bags – you can mix them around a bit, but basically let brew for 20 minutes.

 

Pour tea into tea container, and add approximately 2 cups cold water. Mix. We use an 8 cup mason jar for our teas; actually we use them for most everything. Best storage containers ever!

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