The Unexpected Stay At Home Mom

I never dreamed I'd end up here

To eat gluten or not eat gluten

I love carbs. I love bread, pasta, and crackers. I would love to eat Wonder white bread at every meal. Instead, I’ve filled our house with whole grains. Now however, we have some other things to consider.

There is a lot of research on the effects of gluten on the body. It makes me cringe very time I hear it because, if I didn’t already make it clear, I love gluten. Here’s the thing. I have a child struggling with an illness that could be greatly improved by eliminating gluten from her diet. That changes the stakes. Now “mom mode” kicks in. I have told her from the beginning I am willing to do anything to help her and apparently that includes giving up some of my favorite foods.

So this is the start of our family’s journey away from gluten. We are going at it as a whole family and will commit to 30 days. The first (huge) hurdle, getting my teenager on board, has been met so now I need to figure out what we are going to eat! I have two loaves of bread baking right now and we are exploring new foods every day!

If anyone has any suggestions, please share and don’t be surprised if you see a future post titled “I miss bread”.

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I’m a hippie

I have been called a “hippie” a few times over the last few weeks. Actually, my teenager told me I’m too old to be a hippie. I’m not sure how that makes sense, as I’m only 33, but maybe the term means something different to teens nowadays. Anyway, I have become obsessed with making my own hair and skin products.
It probably started with all of the cloth diaper stuff. I made cloth wipes and did some experimenting with different solutions. Then a friend told me about how she was making her own sunscreen, lotions, and such, and I became interested. It’s fun, and the products work, most of the time.
Here are some of my experiments:

-I made my own cloth wipes and solution when I started cloth diapering. My husband was never on board with the wipes, so I found a way to turn a role of paper towels into homemade disposable wipes.

-Diaper cream

-I’m brewing a chamomile tincture (it takes about a month) that will help with upset stomachs and teething.

-I’ve been brewing a ginger bug that I use to ferment drinks that are like fizzy juice. It’s a healthy alternative to pop.

-All of my skin products are now homemade. The exception is make-up. While it is possible, I’m not ready for that quite yet.

-Hair stuff I’m working on. My hair will probably be in a ponytail or bun for the next couple of weeks because this is proving to be a challenge. It is currently covered in coconut oil that I haven’t been able to fully rinse out of my hair for two days.

Now here’s the question most of you are asking: WHY? First, I like the idea of getting chemicals out of our products and using truly natural ingredients. It’s also pretty cool to actually make the diaper cream I’m putting on my kiddos butts! Second, I’m saving money. It is much cheaper to make these products than to buy them, especially if you want natural and/or organic products. And finally, I think it is my creative outlet since I’m not teaching anymore. I get to research and experiment and I can teach my kids while we do it together. The “teacher” in me will never die:)

L loves to help me "cook" lotion.

L loves to help me “cook” lotion.

If you are interested in it, here is the website I get most of my recipes from: http://www.wellnessmama.com.

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Isolation at home

In my former life as a teacher, I was always surrounded by people. Not just adolescents (and let’s be real, they barely count as people) but adults I could have conversations with. Whenever something funny, annoying or terrifying would happen, there would be someone close by to tell or discuss it with. Honestly, it was rarely anything very important, but there was a nice camaraderie with the people I worked closely with.

I’ve quickly realized that doesn’t exist anymore. I have a wonderful group of SAHM friends, I’m close with my mom, and we get out of the house for various things every day, but it isn’t the same. L will say something hilarious, and there isn’t anyone in the next room to laugh about it with. A will have a massive poopy diaper, and I just have to marvel at it by myself. I am fully aware these are not life changing moments, which is why they aren’t big enough to call my husband at work about.

My life has changed drastically over the last few months, and I am regularly having to modify they way I think and manage. I’m not lonely, and I’m surrounded by wonderful relationships, this is just one of those “SAHM things” I didn’t anticipate.

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Teaching prayer when the dog runs away

Today was one of “those” days. It’s Monday, and it felt that way. Our dog, Jesse, has shown himself to be a runner, and he got past me out the door this morning. I was panicked and worried and L was sensing it. I’m usually a pretty even tempered person, so when I’m anything else, I can tell she reacts to it. I told her we should say a prayer to God to bring Jesse back to us safely. We did and about 5 minutes later he was waiting at the back door to be let in. We then prayed a prayer of thanks that God answered our prayer.
Fast forward two hours, L is helping me “clean” the back door, opens it, and the dog gets out again. I was reaching a breaking point after what had been a long morning and nap time was not quite close enough. I was standing at the counter trying to prevent a personal meltdown when L says, in her sweetest 2-year-old voice, that we should pray to God. What a great idea! We did and Jesse came back a little while later, so we said another prayer of thanks.
It hit me what a great teachable moment God had given me this morning. We pray with L daily at bed time, but this was the first time I has prayed with her for a specific need. God gave me an opportunity to teach her to pray for a need and tangibly answered our prayer so we could then pray thanks. He used the dog running away as a way for me to parent my daughter. How amazing is that?!

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Can you think of a time God has given you a teachable moment?

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A romantic weekend away

For months, my husband and I were planning a weekend away, without kids. Friends were getting married in Minneapolis, so we decided to make a full weekend of it. We’d leave early Friday, have a free time to do as we wish, celebrate friends getting married, and not have to change a single diaper. Ah, the best made plans…
18 hours before our flight, I came down with the flu, and a few hours later, my husband was taking me to the ER. I got an IV, some good meds, a few hours of sleep and decided to be a trooper and still make the trip. Just as I was beginning to feel better Saturday morning, my husband turned an unhealthy shade of green and admitted he was coming down with it too. Our weekend was spent in our hotel room.  I’ll leave out the ugly details.
On our way home Sunday, I asked my husband what the good part of the weekend was. I didn’t want to walk away from it thinking it was a total bust. Without hesitating, my husband said, “We had three days of time together, just the two of us.” That’s what I love about him: his ability to bring me back to a good place of reality. I probably would have walked away thinking it was a waste of a weekend, but he reminded me we were still together, maybe not the way we had planned, but there is a new kind of intimacy that you develop from spending 48 hours in a hotel room together with the stomach flu.
As positive as I am about last weekend, our next weekend sans kids had better be a lot more fun!

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Those aren’t my words

I was on my home one evening, and I passed a man on the corner with a cup asking for money. I usually give money in these situations, but this time was very different. Instead of just rolling down my window, saying “Hello” and giving him money, I felt that I NEEDED to talk to him. I made a U-turn, parked my car, and walked over to him.

I introduced myself, he said his name was Doc, and I proceeded to tell him I was going through a really tough time. He cut me off there and said if I didn’t tell him what was going on he wouldn’t talk to me anymore so I gave him the short version, and we started a wonderful conversation, where he was encouraging and supporting me in my tough time. He then told me his real name, which I thought was very meaningful. I then said what I felt I was supposed to say to him:

“God is doing amazing things in my life; I know he will do amazing things in my daughter’s life, and He will work in your life too.”

The words just flowed from me as if they weren’t mine. I said them twice in the conversation. Then I realized, they weren’t mine. Every part of this was orchestrated by God, and because I was in a hurting and weak place, I was more willing to listen and follow than I usually am. He was using me. Who knows why? Maybe my new friend needed to feel a purpose that night and encouraging me gave him that. Maybe I just needed to be obedient to God’s will for me. Maybe he listened to what I said and it made an impression on him that he will look back on some day.

James 1:2,3 says

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
I’m learning more and more what he means by considering trials a great joy. I am amazed at how God is working in our lives because of the trials we are facing. It is strengthening my marriage, and if I can get through this, I can get through almost anything. My faith is growing exponentially during this time and that is a great joy.
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And the winner is….

Jesse!!

Ok, anyone who has been following the poll from my previous blog has probably noticed this was not the name that won. Duke was the favorite by a landslide but in our house I’ve learned to go with the flow because few things go as expected.

In an interesting turn of events, K admitted that she had voted for the name Jesse (my pick) so I told her we could gang up on T because its now 2 against 1. We told him this and, being the kind and graceful husband that he is, he conceded and went with our pick.

Jesse has been the perfect dog! House trained, crate trained, so good with the kids, mellow, and is trying to make friends with the cat, Cassius. Cash is the one being unfriendly but he will get over it. Welcome to the Watson family, Jesse! You’re stuck with us now:)

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Name Our Dog

We got dog!  He came with the Sootie, which is weird, so he needs a new name. T, K, and I each submitted our name and now you get to vote. If you want to have more fun, take a guess in the comments about which of us chose each name.  Voting ends Sunday night.

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It isn’t a great picture, I know, but he’s still a little finicky and getting used to us. He is part lab and part beagle and as sweet as can be.

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He’s in my boat

As I mentioned previously, my family is in the midst of a storm. I hate having to be so vague, and anyone who knows me at all knows I am a pretty transparent person. I’m not writing about this to worry anyone or to be annoyingly mysterious, but because I feel like I’m being called to share how God is working in our lives in the midst of our private storm.

A couple of weeks ago was one of the most challenging points in my life, especially as a mother. God continued to remind me of two stories throughout this. First, was Matthew 8:24-27.

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Whenever I’ve read this story, my initial reaction was to laugh at the disciples. They are sitting in the boat with the Son of God and are afraid. Seriously, guys?!? This time, when I thought about this story, I was reminded that Jesus is in our boat too. Why should I fear the storm when the Son of God is sitting in my boat? He will calm the waves when the time is right and I have faith in that.
The second story that He reminded me of was Matthew 14:29-31.
“Come! ” He (Jesus) said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me! ” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt? ”
I like the Lego version of this story.

I like the Lego version of this story.

If Jesus could make Peter walk on water, what can he do for me? Again, it all falls back on faith. He can work miracles in the lives of my family, as long as we have faith. I waiver frequently and feel myself sinking like Peter, but I also know that as soon as I cry out, “Lord, save me!”, His hand will reach out and pull me back up.
This was also a good reminder for me as to why it’s important to read my Bible daily. The more familiar I am with God’s word, the more it will help me when I really need it.
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Happy Things: Part 1

My first year of teaching someone suggested I label a file folder “Happy Things” and put funny things in it.  When I was having a stressful day, I could pull it out and it would make me smile.  It is one of the few things I saved when I cleaned out my classroom after I resigned from teaching.

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This is my first blog installment of Happy Things.

There are three reasons why I have watched this countless times and it never gets old:

1.  Jimmy Fallon is hilarious and talented so it’s disappointing that I can’t come close to staying up late enough to watch his show.

2.  Justin Timberlake is amazing in so many ways.

3. Old school rap rocks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XBHBprlXMQ

NFL: A Bad Lip Reading

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zce-QT7MGSE

I hope you enjoy my Happy Things as much as I do.

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