Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Category Archives: Family

Dear New House,

We’re very excited to have you join our family. We are, really. Even though we’ve only met you twice and the first time was just two weeks ago. We are anxious to make our relationship with you official. I hope this isn’t too fast for you.

It’s a bit fast for us. We had just started looking for you. My daughter is having some difficulty adjusting. You see, she loves the old house. Its all she’s known. She has so many memories with our old house. I know she’ll grow to love you too. I know the old house will soon become a memory. She is passionate and (sometimes) a bit stubborn. But until then, be patient with her. Be kind with her. And know. she will come around.

My son, he’s excited. I think you’ll find him a bit more rambunctious and easy going. He’s loved our old house too. Its also been the only house he’s known. But, he’s a bit more accepting to change. He will be teary, I’m certain with saying good-bye to the old house. And he’ll have days when he wants to go back. But I’m confident, he’ll be filling you with laughter and curiosity.

I and my husband are nervous. Anytime there’s such a large investment. We are get nervous because we too love this old house. We wonder, will the new be good for us? Will it be what our family needs? Will the neighbors accept us? Most importantly, will our children adjust?

So you see, we are very excited and a bit nervous to add you to our family. Thankfully we have a very short 1.5 months to adjust to the idea and say our tearful good-byes. We will be preparing and are looking forward to officially meeting you very soon.

Yours Truly,

A very excited (and nervous) future family

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Hi. My name is Ruthie and I’m an exhausted mom trying my best to be everything to everyone. I am the mommie to two wonderful little ones who are active in sports and dance. I am the homework boss, snack regulator, grocery shopper, and home referee. I am classroom volunteer, fieldtrip driver, school board member, and cheerleader. I am the housekeeper and home chef. I could go on, but I’m sure you get it. I’m certain you feel my pain. You are in similar shoes.

We are moms. We are wives. We are employees. We wear many hats. And do many thankless jobs. We are the ones who everyone goes to to get things done.

So, what happens when we need a break?

This is exactly where I was last weekend. I needed a break. From Friday until Sunday, I had 2 dance practices, 2 soccer games, 1 dance picture session, and 1 school auction. Plus, I needed to move into my new office space. I felt pressured to attend all of these functions. with a smile on my face. You see, all of these activities needed me or at the bare minimum wanted me. But I felt EXHAUSTED thinking about the weekend. I needed a break. After working 40+ hours a week, I still had a crazy busy weekend to get through.

I silently rejoiced when it was too cold and snowy for soccer. It was one thing off my list. I opted out of attending the school auction. And you know, it was OK. The world didn’t end. Yes, some may have been disappointed. My kids for the cancelled soccer game and probably some people from the school since I typically attend the auction. And you know I and my kids had one of the best weekends we’ve had in a long time. We hung out and watched TV. The kids helped me move into my office without me feeling impatient and rushed. The kids played video games.

I gave myself a pass. You can too. You can take a deep breath and opt out of things. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. You can pick and choose what you want to volunteer for. And, quite frankly what events you want to attend. ITS OK. Give yourself permission. Because, when you slow down you win. Your kids win. Your family wins. And, that’s more important than anything else in this world.

Trying to be everything to everyone is a curse. Its not realistic. It won’t make you happy. Volunteer and do things you want but also give yourself a break. Accept being able to take a break and just enjoy life with your family. Sleep in. Break that curse.

(This post was shared HERE where you can find blog posts from other encouraging posts.)


You ever have one of those moments when your kid says something that just hits home with you? I had that moment this weekend. We were in the car going from one activity to the next when the conversation started. I love talking with my kids in the car. None of us are going anywhere. We’re all stuck in a small space which encourages all sorts of conversations. I’ve seriously had some of the BEST conversations with my kids in the car.

But back to the specific conversation this weekend.

Darling Daughter: I’m so glad you and Daddy are friends and like each other.

Me: Of we course we’re friends!

Darling Daughter: Yeah. I’m also glad you’re friends with Little Ducky’s mommie and daddy. (Little duckie is a baby who goes to our church. She was dressed as a duck last Halloween and hence forth is called Little Duckie by my kids).

I’m so glad you and Daddy are friends and like each other.

Wow. That hit home. My little 8 year-old notices a lot. I’ve always known without a doubt she and her brother know they are loved by their parents and each other. I’d always said kids pick-up on things even when parents are trying to hide it. I’d say that, because I’d learned that in school. I’d say that because I knew kids often, without thinking, share how their parents fight or when money is tight. But for some reason when it came out of her mouth, it really hit home.

I’m so glad you and Daddy are friends and like each other.

Such simple words made a huge impact on me. Yes, my husband and I love each other. Our marriage isn’t perfect. He annoys me sometimes, I annoy him sometimes. I can HONESTLY say we don’t really fight. We bicker every once in a while. But that’s not common at all. We have this MUTUAL respect for each other. We try very hard to talk things out before they become a BIG issue. I pray everyday that we can continue to do this. That we can WORK together to continue to build a wonderful marriage.

We’re not PERFECT. At all. But we sure do work hard at this thing called marriage. We don’t put on a face for the kids. We are real. We work hard to do family things together. My husband and I laugh together, tease each other, and work through things. All in front of our kids. They see us having a good time and problem solving together.

I never realized those little things, impressed on her. But she noticed.

Mommie and Daddy are friends. They like each other. 

What are your kids noticing from you? What do they think of your relationship with your spouse?


This year has been a hard year for me. I’ve not written much about it here because my emotions are still very raw. Last spring I my father died. I and him were not close, I actually only referred to him by his first name. Despite not being close and not have a significant conversation with him for years, it was still very painful. My heart ached for what will never be. I was hurt by all the kind words people said about him, because those words were not true to me. Then five months later, Mom died. My mom and I were close. I helped organize her care for the last 5 years. I talked with her weekly and often went to see her in the nursing home. We had been close when I was growing up and I loved my mom dearly. That was a hard week.

I also started graduate school this last year. I decided that after many years of contemplating becoming a Nurse Practitioner, I should to dive-in. Wow. Life has gotten turned upside down from school. My evenings are almost 100% consumed with studying after the kids go to bed and studying tends to occur during the weekends. Since I’m also trying to be a decent mommie to two young ones, I squeeze in family time and push studying late into the night. So, basically, I’m always tired.

Due to all those changes, I gained weight this last year. Sadly, every pound I’d lost found its way back onto my body. It hardly seems fair that 6 -9 months can undue two years of dieting! Around the time my mom died, I joined Weight Watchers again and decided to focus on losing weight. My efforts were feeble to say the least and I bounced around a 3-4 pounds weight lost between then and Christmas. At Christmas, I’d been steadily losing a pound a week for a few weeks.

Christmas came and so did the time for the white elephant exchange. I ended up with 18 Snickers, you could imagine some of my disappointment. I couldn’t eat them and lose weight. I was extremely disappointed. I was still feeling down and depressed about everything that happened. However, a couple of days after we’d gotten home, I was working and thinking about my mom.

You see, my mom’s favorite candy bar was Snickers. I realized the gift of Snickers was probably one of the best Christmas gifts I could’ve received. I decided to freeze them (that was mom’s favorite way to eat them) and I would eat one once a month to help me remember my mom.

So, now I’m very grateful for the 18 Snickers I received at Christmas.

Have you gotten a gift that seemed poorly timed but turned out


So this year has been beyond crazy and stressful. It’s also been an amazing year of growth for me. This year will be know as the year I tested myself and pursued a dream. It will also be know as the year of death and sadness.

In the spring, Joe, my father passed away. It was such an odd emotional experience for me. I and my father had a strained relationship to say the least. We spoke minimally and only when it revolved around my mom’s care. I was saddened because of the loss of a relationship that will never be. I was sad because, part of me, really wanted resolution to some of our issues. I knew our relationship would never be close and he would never be in my children’s lives. But I wanted to feel like if we saw each other in public or at an event, we’d acknowledge each other. That was now never going to happen. I also found myself very angry. I was angry when people told me he was a wonderful man.

Approximately two months after his passing, I started a nurse practitioner program. The decision to pursue my NP has been one I’ve wrestled with for a while. I prayed about it, and ultimately decided it was a good time to go back. The summer classes were killer, Advance Pathophysiology and Healthcare Statistics. This second semester has been much better. I have my MSN so I had some ideas on how this would play out, but seriously, there’s a reason people do this when they’re younger!

Then basically 5 months to the date, my mom died. I was surprised. I and my mom were close. We talked weekly and I managed all of her medical needs. I arranged everything for her. She was living in a nursing home and had been on hospice 5 years ago. Her health had been good for the most part. But cognitively she wasn’t there. Even though it had been a few years since she recognized me as her daughter, she always knew I and my children were important to her. Despite feeling like my mom had left years ago, I was still very emotional about my loss. Even now, months after she’s been gone, I find myself wishing she was here. I’m not sure that will ever go away.

Since the death of my mom, I’ve also had the death of an aunt on my father’s side and a dear friend from nursing school. So, as you can see this year has been a challenging one. I, however, view life as a chance to grow and learn. I know I could easily look at this and dwell on all the stress and problems. However, I refuse to do this. I will stay positive and focus on the amazing things going on in my life.


Last night our school had a fundraiser at a local restaurant. I took my daughter and we met one of her friends and her mom. The place was busy and noisy. The girls were giggly, loud, and squirmy. The service was slow as expected due to a great turn out for the fundraiser. Despite having to reel the girls in a few times, we all had a good time. Then it came time to leave. My daughter knows we don’t go running out of a store and towards the parking lot. I’ve reinforced her the need to stay close to me. However, last night all the excitement had gotten to her and I was a little worn out and tired from the day. She and her friend took off running out of the door and toward the parking lot. I yelled gently at my daughter and she kept running. So, I yelled firmly using her whole name. I rushed to her because she was running to far for my comfort zone. I immediately scolded her for her behavior.

Her punishment was to get into the car while I and her friend’s mom finished our conversation. We were trying to plan a time that we could get together next with the girls. After I finished the conversation and helped my daughter find her missing doll, I reconfirmed to her that I loved her very much but her behavior was inappropriate. I told her that her actions were not safe and even if we were having fun we had to be safe and listen.

And then the tears came. Huge crocodile tears were pouring down her cheeks. She was upset and sad that she’d disappointed me. She was embarrassed she’d gotten in trouble in front of her friend. She felt very, very bad for be disobedient (her words). And then my heart broke. Even this morning she said to me she was so sorry for last night.I reassured her we all make mistakes and that I loved her so much.

She is my sensitive one. She is the one who likes to push the limits a bit. I knew she was sensitive but I still scolded her harshly. I felt horrible. I wanted the lesson to be taught, but was I too hard? Had I let the situation with her behavior go to far all night that I was at my frustration point? How can I keep that from happening again. I felt like the worst mom ever.

I’m certain I’m not the only one that’s been there. Said something to their child either a little to harsh, handled things poorly or reacted without thinking. We all make mistakes. Despite wanting to tear myself up over this, I will not. I will take it as a learning lesson. I will have a better in plan in place before we do our next friend’s outing.

In fact, I already know what I will do before next time. 1) I will tell her ahead of time of the expected behavior 2) I will tell her she will hold my hand when leaving the store/restaurant/etc as we normally do.

I know I’ll stumble as I continue down this parenting path. New things and situations will come up. I will make more mistakes but I will learn from them. I find ways to move forward and to do things better the next time.

How have handled a parenting mistake or when you’ve over reacted? I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 

 


This year, we’ve been introducing some chores into my children’s lives. My oldest just started 1st grade and last year was her first year of some responsibility before school. My son just started pre-school and he too has some things he’s responsible for before school.

Our implementation of chores has been a slow process. My kids have always loved helping me with household duties such as cooking and setting the table. I used their natural desire to help to direct them to appropriate duties. So, I guess one could say, they’ve been informally doing chores for a long time now.

My 1st grader’s before school routine- what she’s responsible for:

1) Getting dressed

2) Brushing her teeth

3) Making her bed and putting her pajama’s on her bed

 

My Preschooler’s before school routine- What he’s responsible

1) Dressing himself with supervision

2) Brushing his teeth

 

Saturday morning chores for both children- my preschooler with more supervision

1) Put away all folded clothes

2) Pick-up their room

Our chores are simple. None of them too difficult and some may say too simple. However, implementing chores at this age to me is more about teaching the children to be part of the family and to assist the family. I don’t want chores to have a negative connotation. I want them to think that chores are no big deal, it’s just what we do. Because, really, they will have chores to do all of their lives. No reason to make it a negative experience at such a young age!

Do your children do chores? What age did you start? What was your approach? Was it successful? Leave a comment, let’s talk chores!