Saturday #169

Today started off with a rainy morning, which was disappointing as my family had outdoor plans. We decided to take our time in getting the day started in hopes that it would stop raining. It didn't.

We drove around and hit a few indoor garage sales, but that was not very fun. We consoled ourselves with a stop at 8 Sisters Bakery. A Farmers market was set up in a lot across the street, so we grabbed the umbrella and went over to it. A local artisan was selling Sheep Milk Soap, and I walked on the wild side and tried it. (It is just as great as Goat Milk Soap!)

Reality set in about Harper being here soon so we went out and picked up a few outfits for her, with the selections in stores now I ended up getting mostly things she can wear in the spring/summer. I need to start getting clothes she can wear right away, but I know I will need to wait for a few weeks for long sleeved items to be in stores.

We were having a fairly nice day. We came home and had a late lunch. I decided that I was going to blow off my housework and curl up with a book for a little while. Rolfie and Adam were busy playing "dudes". I got about 3 pages into my book when the phone rang.

My aunt called to tell me my grandma is dying and has only days to live.

This is the grandma I wrote about last year, we haven't seen one another in nearly 17 years. She has never been interested in my life, she has never cared for me. My presence was requested at the health care center.

I really let this ruin my day. I frowned for hours. In frustration I said "I am taking a shower to wash the family that isn't family away."

That didn't help. I returned fresh and smelling great (love the sheep milk soap) to frown some more.

I have come to terms with the situation with my fathers family. Many years ago I put it all behind me. I may not be loved or valued by them. I may not even exist to them, but I have a family of my own. Let sleeping dogs lie and all.

But, I am making the long trip down to say my goodbye. To let the past rest finally, to get beyond all of it. I am going to take my son so I can say I gave her the chance to meet her only great grandchild. It is the right thing to do.

Saturday #169 was spent with my family, those in the flesh and those far away in thought. I enjoyed the time with my husband and son and that is all that matters. I hope you had a chance to enjoy your family as well.

Dear Weary Mom

Dear Weary Mom,
Parenting is hard work isn't it? Do you ever feel like people underestimate the effort that raising children takes? I know I do. I have been a stay at home Mom for my sons entire life. He is 3 years and 2 months old.  In those 38 months I have heard countless times how I don't have to work. How easy I have it. How I let my husband carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and I get to stay at home, playing, watching soap operas and taking it easy.

Taking it easy... hmmm. That is a good one. It seems that very few people understand how action packed my days are. I am at the point where I just let it go. Trying to explain to someone looking to argue how busy I am daily, how hard I do work, and how yes, I might be at home, but I work and earn money to benefit my family as well is just too much effort anymore. I let them have their misconception rather than try to explain that not only do I care for my son 24 hours a day, but I also cook the meals, clean the house several times a day (despite the fact that you can't tell I have done it moments after I am finished), I manage our money and I get up around 5am every day so that I can work as a virtual assistant... not only am I Mom, the maid, the cook and the personal shopper, I am also the accountant, the teacher, the assistant and I manage not one but 2 blogs. That gets exhausting! I don't get a day off, a day to sleep in, a day to leave the kid with a relative and go shopping alone. So yeah... taking it easy...

Weary Mom, I know you have action packed days too. I know that holidays are unpaid and many times no one even notices that you work hard day in and day out. In case you don't hear it from your family please let me tell you I appreciate you. Mothers of the world, if you work outside the home or you have the job of raising kids without any pay, my hat goes off to you. Parenting is hard work no matter how you play it.

Weary Mom, some day this will all be a memory. Your kids will grow up to become amazing people and your life will go on. But in the meantime, know that someone out there is cheering you on. No matter how it seems, no matter if your loved ones aren't cheering for you, know that I am. Moms need to stick together instead of turning our backs on each other and passing judgment.

I started writing this weekly post to participate in a blog hop, however my content really wasn't fit for what the group had in mind. They were looking for inspirational and not crude posts. I know at times I can be crude and not so inspiring. In fact I down right complain at times... so I thought I would just keep writing the Dear Weary Mom notes and share them with you, in a real life tone of voice.

Saturday #168

This was a much better day than the last Saturday. My son and I woke up early, as usual. We played around  and watched cartoons together as the rain started early in the morning. With the rainy day atmosphere we saw no real reason to head out on the town or wake the husband up. We let him sleep with the dogs crowding him for a few hours.

When Daddy did wake up Rolfie was in the room giggling, hoping to wake him. My husband encouraged us to crawl in bed with him for a few minutes for hugs and kisses. That was so rare and out of the blue that I couldn't resist, although I knew I had a ton of housework I should be doing.

Around noon we decided we would go to a little Sweet Corn festival in a tiny little town close to where we live. As we pulled into the town, it started to rain again. We kept driving south, but when faced with the option of going on to Columbus, or heading back to the Mansfield area, I sighed and said "Well... what about Fredericksville?" We had never headed that way, so we decided to do just that. As soon as we came to a town we saw they had a little indoor flea market. I suggested we stop. I thought maybe the rain would stop and we would have more options for what to do.

As soon as we walked in we found a booth with really cute organic catnip toys and organic handmade dog treats. That set the pace. While there were only a few vendors my son managed to flirt with every woman there. He talked me into buying him some "dudes" despite my resolve of not buying him anymore action figures. Then he flirted until someone gave him a toy phone.

I found an Avon dealer who was so sweet I had to buy something from her, even though I am not really a fan of Avon. We walked around, basking in the moment of having a loveable kid. As Rolfie was being carried by his Daddy he planted kisses on Adam, then he would reach for me and kiss me. We all felt pretty good after making our rounds. By the time we were finished Rolf was happy, he had found Conn's Chips at a booth and was happily munching on a small bag. My husband and I were happy to see the sun shining and the rain drying up.

We headed back to the Sweet Corn festival. The weather was perfect. We walked around the town, visited a few quirky yet quaint shops. Bought a dozen ears of sweet corn that had just been picked. Laughed at my son and his adorable antics. He ran to the beer garden and wanted to stay there and dance, he flirted, tried to take of with flags and so on. Now that I am doing a little better and have been told I can eat what I like, as long as I avoid drinks with added sugar (Hooray!!) we couldn't resist stopping in the bakery. We don't have a bakery in our town and that is something we have missed for years. 8 Sisters Bakery was adorable inside, and their baked goods were nothing short of amazing. My husband and son shared a few donut holes while I indulged in a mini cream filled donut. It was the best donut I have ever had in my life. My Mom would  be so disappointed to hear me say that, but it is true.

As we finished our festival trip we ran into Kroger as we needed bottled water, I have developed a weird thing. I can only drink Nestle Pure Life water at this time... everything else gives me heartburn. We came home to a semi clean house, which always makes me happy. I felt like I could cook a nice meal for my family   so I set out to do that. Everyone was happy.

It wasn't action packed by any means, but it was pleasant. It was nice. It was a great Saturday by all means.
I hope you had a chance to enjoy your family over the weekend as well.

Dear Weary Mom

Dear Weary Mom,

I know that some days seem longer than an entire week. I know that you have not had enough sleep in a very long time, and I know you clean up the same mess over and over again. I know that you feel sad, discouraged and sometimes beat.

Sometimes, more often than not, I feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like I am a single parent, I feel like my husband doesn't appreciate me. Sometimes I feel like crying, sobbing, laying on the floor and kicking and screaming. I feel like running away. Going somewhere quiet, where there are no toys, no griping kids or spouses, where there is nothing but a comfy chair and a view.

Weary Mom, I know parenting is hard work. We have so much riding on our shoulders. We feel like if we don't do everything right, we will fail miserably and our kids will suffer the consequences. We have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and society adds to the equation by judging us. However, here you will find no judgment. Weary Mom, I respect how hard you work to raise your family. I respect that you are human and that you are not perfect. Please understand, there is no reason to even put on the illusion of perfection with me. I will tell you my secret... I am far from perfect myself.

Sometimes I go to bed in the clothes I wore that day, because I am so exhausted not only physically but also mentally that I can't even manage to locate my pajamas, or put them on. I drop into bed feeling like I have played an intense game for 19 hours straight and I was clearly not the winner of the game. It is not uncommon to find my laundry in a basket just patiently waiting for me to either grow an extra set of arms or the day to go from 24 to 30 hours. It is not uncommon to find that I have a messy bedroom, applesauce in my hair or red rimmed eyes from crying, or big black circles from sheer exhaustion. I am often angry and resentful of my well rested husband who will sleep for 10-12 hours a night, then spend the day pursuing his own pleasures, after all he is on a "well deserved 3 month vacation", raising children and keeping a house, plus working at home isn't really work... I haven't had a day off in 3 years. Not a holiday, sick day or personal day. If I am sick, I must get up in the wee hours of the morning or late at night and play catch up... so it is easy for me to admit this resentment and anger, yet another of my flaws.

Weary Mom, I have hope and faith that someday, your struggles and strife will be worth it. You will see your children grow into wonderful people that make your heart burst with pride. You will be overcome with emotion in a good way when your children are out in the world accomplishing great things. The lack of sleep, the feelings of self doubt and the annoyance you probably feel at times will become insignificant, you might even forget all of that. I hold onto hope for not only you, but for me also.

Weary Mom, you can always come back to this blog, you can hear about my week and commiserate with me, or you can tell me how your week was. There will be no judgment here, Weary Mom, I am always here for you. I understand.

Saturday 167

Saturday 167 did not begin well at all and it set the pace for the entire day.

I have developed a habit of checking my bank account several times a week after having my identity stolen. Maybe I am paranoid about it happening again, but nonetheless I check in to my account 4 to 5 times a week.

This morning I checked in to find my account was overdrawn. I was distraught over this as I have been careful to manage our money to the penny and make sure we are living as comfortably as we can in between my husbands stretched paychecks (he does get paid in the summer). We have really been using paypal money for anything that isn't a bill for 6 weeks or so.

So, I began to go through the transactions to get the bottom of this mess. I found that we had been charged by Farmers Insurance for a canceled policy, we had also paid our insurance from the company we switched to. On top of the 2 large charges, checks started to post and we began to accrue insufficient fund fees. Being a Saturday morning and all, it was hard to get anyone on the phone to remedy the problem.

Finally a live person answered the phone! Rolfie picked that exact moment to begin screaming in my ear and trying to take the phone from me.

Finally I said "I give up! You take over!" to my husband. He got someone on the phone and began to work the issue out with the old agent and the bank. So we left and decided to go to a community yard sale. There were a total of 3 tables set up. Lo and behold the one person in my neighborhood I cannot get along with was one of the 3. So that irritated me too.

I needed to take the recycling in and drop it off. The 3 places you can do that in my town did not have their trucks out for pick up. I had a car full of plastic and cardboard.

At lunch I took my husband and son to McDonalds. That sounds like an easy option right? Of course they got my husbands order wrong and he made it into a big deal which ruined the moment of eating in peace.

We then came home for a few minutes. My son wanted to play but I had to go to the bank, withdraw money from one account and replace it in the overdrawn account. As Farmers told us it would take upto 30 days to issue a refund...

Yes... it keeps getting better.

Then the recycling truck in the town I bank in had plastic bins, but no options for cardboard. I was still stuck with all of that cardboard.

Finally we made a stop as someone had a wagon to sell us for Rolfie. It barely fit in the car, but it was a great deal and it made my son very happy! A wagon that I priced at over $100 for $20.

My husband cleaned it up and said he would take Rolfie for a walk to try it out. That worked well for me as I had work to do online. My husband then proceeded to completely blow a gasket because he is not capable of looking for anything (like shoes) on his own. I mean why would they be on the shoe rack? Who keeps shoes there? He started in with me over it, because I wasn't helping him and I was focused on my job instead. I get paid to work, so I kind of have to....

So in a nutshell this was the worst Saturday since I started this series. I didn't enjoy my family, I spent most of the day dealing with drama at every turn. In all honesty everyday has been like this since the development of my issues in this pregnancy. When you expect someone, like a spouse, to be supportive of you, to care, to be helpful when you need it, it really hurts to have them essentially kick you when you are down... then keep doing it over and over again.

Normally I would keep things like this to myself and not bother the people that actually read my blog with my real life drama, but this time I feel like it is good therapy for me to get it all out.

I certainly hope you had a much better Saturday than I did!

Strawberry Jam Recipe

I am pleased to share a great guest post from my pal Savannah at the Simply Me blog. I don't know about you, but I am going to get the ingredients today and try this recipe for myself! 

One thing my family looks forward to every year is Strawberry season! Why you may ask?  Because in my house that means its time to make homemade Strawberry Jam .
Making Jam is super easy and ALWAYS taste better than store bought.  I want to give you my favorite Strawberry Jam recipe.  Please note that if you do not like Strawberries you can replace them with your favorite fruit.  I have also used blackberries in this recipe and it turned out amazing.

Strawberry Jam Recipe 

What you need:
~ 4 Cups of sliced strawberries (Please make sure to remove the green part before slicing) 
~ 1/3 Cup graduated sugar
~ 2 tbsp. lemon juice
~ 3 envelopes (1 1/2 tbsp) unflavored gelatin 
~ 1/2 Cup cold water

~In a medium saucepan combine berries, sugar and lemon juice.  Heat for around 8 minutes mixing and crushing the berries the entire time.  
~ Bring berry mixture to rapid boil and stir constantly for another 4 minutes.  Turn down heat.
~ In a small bowl sprinkle your Gelatin over the cold water.  Let stand for 1 minute.
~ Add the gelatin mix to your berry mix.  Keeping it on the heat and stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.
~ Once dissolved remove from heat and let set for about 5 minutes.  If your Jam formed any foam on top skim this off.  Slowly ladle your jam into jars.  Cover your jars with plastic wrap for now.  Do not place the lids on when the jam is still hot.
At this point your jam will still seem runny
I let my jam sit out over night so it can thicken.  The next morning I either freeze or refrigerate it.
Jam has a 1 month fridge life and a 1 year freezer life.

Please note if your Jam does not thicken that is okay it has happened to me before.  A runny Jam still makes an amazing ice cream topping!  So no need to throw it away.

Thanks again to Savannah from the Simply Me blog for sharing this great recipe!

Saturday #166

On Saturday #166 my family headed to the Hocking Hills for a family party. We had a great trip down, we encountered no traffic or construction hold ups and everyone was most pleasant despite spending several hours in the car. We enjoyed seeing family and friends that we rarely if ever get to spend time with. My son was a cute little charmer! I was very impressed with him.

It was for the most part a great time. The only downside was my husband invited his mother to join in the festivities and she acted much like she always does, getting herself involved in every conversation we tried to have and smothering my son. I found myself getting very upset after my son was happily playing with a few little boys and my mother in law came over with a ball and pulled him away from his fun and games so he could play with her instead. She was insanely jealous that my son was talking to his Grandpa, and that he wanted to sit beside my uncle's girlfriend and talk to her.

BUT other than that stuff we had a really nice time!

I hated that we could only stay a few hours, and really enjoyed the time away from home, spend with great company. I hope we can attend the annual event next year as well.

I hope that you had a chance to have family fun over the weekend.

Saturday #165

On Saturday #165 my family got ready early in the day to head out to nearby Ashland, Ohio. We had plans to attend the Hot Air Balloon festival. We drove to Ashland and found a parking spot, then walked to the festival. We got there and we were very disappointed. There was a huge field, about 20 food vendors and a few bounce houses, which were not set up. We didn't see a single balloon or any attractions or activities. We walked the perimeter of the field and decided that at least we got a nice walk together as a family. We left after the walk.

We toyed with the idea of going to the Amish country, but we had been there recently. We headed to Mansfield as I had a desire to shop at Target. I really love a t-shirt I got there the previous weekend and wanted to get another one.

We headed home, only to decide to try another nearby festival in Tiro. This was again not what we had in mind, it was nothing more than food and a volleyball game. We got back in the car after walking the grounds and headed to Bucyrus Ohio. That was another wasted trip. I craved candy, ran into a shop to get something nice as a Hershey Bar wouldn't do it, then grabbed dinner at Wendy's, as by this time of the evening I was just too put off to go home and cook.

Again this weekend felt like a disappointment, we tried to get out and about and do something, but the offerings in the area made it hard. I admit this, regardless of the activities offered, I would complain. I am not taking the sun and heat well with my pregnancy. At 6 months I am round, 20 pounds heavier and uncomfortable in my body. If I am hot and in the car I seriously feel like I could faint. I keep telling my husband if he wants to go places with me, he needs to get up early and make it an early event, as I just want to be somewhere cool and dark or in the pool by the time noon rolls around. He doesn't seem to get my discomfort level.

The positive news I have for this post is my doctor and I set a date for Harper to be born. We are aiming for October 11th. At my last ultrasound she was weighing 15 ounces and is developing right on track. In the evenings I take a break and lay on the sofa with my feet in my husbands lap and she kicks me over and over again. We both enjoy feeling her move around, she is a very busy baby!

I hope you had time to spend with your family this weekend. I hope you were able to enjoy the weekend and make memories together. The weeks go by so quickly. You only get 940 Saturdays (give or take a few) with your children before they are ready for college. Writing this ongoing series is great for me, as I will have a way to remember how we spent each Saturday.