Monday, July 21, 2014

The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning

Last summer Mark, knowing that I enjoy this sort of thing, suggested that I check out the blog of this woman living in Maine who had nine kids. He said that she was a good writer and that I would really like her blog. I was a bit skeptical, but I gave it a chance. And I was glad I did. The blogger's name is Simcha Fisher, and she is HILARIOUS. I do not agree with everything she writes, but when she is on, she is ON!

And now she has written a book: The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning. I first heard about this last fall, and Mark and I pre-ordered a copy as our mutual Christmas present. However, we both got a bit backlogged in our reading, and we haven't read it....yet. So now I am thinking that I would read it and share my thoughts on it with you. Because even if you don't use NFP, or even agree with its principles, I am certain there will be some nugget of wisdom for you to take away. So, again, if you have the chance, check it out-- and maybe read it along with me. At the very least, click on the Amazon link below and see what it's all about!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Family Systems Part 1: In which I realize a problem and an overview


I read in a book on home management that all families have systems. Some are beneficial, such as a system for dealing with dirty dishes immediately. Some are not, such as a system that leaves the dishes for days on end until there are no more clean dishes and someone just does them all. But beneficial or not, they are both systems.

I came to the realization while back that our family systems were not working. We seemed to be perpetually existing in survival mode. We seemed to bob along, doing the minimum necessary to keep our heads above water. Don't get me wrong-- we never starved, we always had clean clothes when we needed them, and no health codes were ever violated. But we ate meals out far too often, the laundry never seemed to be caught up, and we spent far too many frustrating moments trying to find things (the remote, a needed book or papers, a pen). Between nursing school, an active three year old, and a feeling of general exhaustion once the weekends came around, our systems were most definitely no longer beneficial, or even working anymore (if they ever were).

So in the past few months I have been working reforming our family systems, on finding ways to make our systems run better, function more smoothly. I have read (and am still hunting for tips) what has worked for others through reading blogs and books on homemaking, pulling out ideas and suggestions that I think will work for us or that appeal to me. In my research, I tried to follow three simple rules.

1. It has to be simple. I have this tendency to try to make my systems, any system from organizing to budgeting, overly complicated. Very detailed, meticulous plans appeal to me, and I love to create them. The problem is that complicated plans/systems also require time and energy to put into practice, and time and especially energy are two things that I am frequently lacking, and so the systems are never followed. Therefor, I have tried to follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

2. It cannot require a huge investment of resources. Time, money, and space are all in short supply around here, and I simply cannot afford a system or an idea that requires a great deal of any of them. Of course I could have the perfect system if I had a huge house and unlimited time and money. But I don't, and our family systems have to work for where our family is right now. So any organizing scheme that started off with purchasing huge amounts of materials or rearranging my entire home I passed on by. Simple, inexpensive (even cheap), and easy to do.

3. It had to be three year old compatible. As of right now, I only have one child, and she is three. As such, she is of limited help in the running of our home. I have seen a lot of systems that have Mom delegate a large portion of the work to her children. These systems simply will not work for us, not right now. (Side Note: I did make notes of these ideas, as they might prove helpful later on down the road)

I won't pretend that I have all the answers now, for I certainly do not. I am still very much in research mode, trying to devise new systems and change old habits. It hasn't been easy, as old habits certainly die very hard.

 Perhaps hardest of all is that this whole process has forced me to take a hard look at myself, and face some personal habits and behaviors that were unhealthy, not beneficial, and just down right selfish. This has been uncomfortable, and even down right painful at times. But then, denying one's self and picking up one's cross is always painful. But that is a topic for a later post!

So while I have far, far to go in my re-education as a keeper of our home, I have learned some things, and in subsequent posts hope to share what I am learning with you. As always, I would love any advice you, my dear readers, might have. What systems have you found to be effective in this season of life, whatever it might be? What systems once worked for you but had to change as your circumstances changed? Any advice for one who truly is just starting on this road?

Source for image:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Back from hiatus, a funny story, and one silly girl

I have returned! I did not intend to take a hiatus from the blog, but as it turned out, General Chemistry II in six weeks plus my home duties was about the most I could handle and stay sane. This blog got shuffled off to the side. However, my class is finished (with a very acceptable-to-me B+), I have had oh so many great ideas for posts, and am excited to be back!


A Funny Story:

WARNING: This story involved an exploding diaper, so skip if that sort of thing grosses you out!

Lorelai in her car seat at about the time this story takes place

 In July of 2011, when Lorelai was 10 months old, we drove out to North Carolina for a family get-together with my mom's family. We drove straight there, had a wonderful time, and when we left, we drove with my mom back to her home. This story takes place while we were in transit to my mom's.
Mark was driving, I was in the front passenger seat, and mom was in the back seat with Lorelai.
It was mid-afternoon, and we had been stuck in horrendous traffic practically from the moment we had crossed into Virginia, and the closer we crawled towards Washington, the worse it was getting. About an hour south of D.C., my mom suddenly said "Uh Oh!" I turned around and looked at her, fearing the worst. And it was so much worse than I could imagine. Lorelai had pooped, it had escaped her diaper, she was playing with it, and IT WAS EVERY WHERE!
Here we were, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, who knows how far from a safe place to pull over, and my daughter was happily smearing poop all over herself, her car seat, and the back of the car, and my poor mother was desperately trying to keep it contained.
Blessedly, at that exact moment, Mark noticed a sign for a rest stop-- that was blessedly open. We pulled off, and Mom and I carried the poop covered girl into the ladies room as soon as the car came to a complete stop.
It wasn't the filthiest public restroom I have ever been in. But it was probably in the top 5, certainly in the top 10! It had a diaper changing table-- right in front of the narrow entrance. That way not only did everyone get a good eyeful, but anyone entering and exiting (and there were a LOT of people coming into and out of that restroom) had to squeeze past the two ladies desperately trying to clean off the 10 month old. Who screamed her head off the entire time and did her very best to NOT co-operate! And our reward for cleaning the kid off and into clean clothes? We then had to figure out how to clean off her car seat and the car enough so that she could ride in it for the next three hours of our trip!
(For those curious, poor Mark was waiting outside, listening to her scream and feeling terrible that he couldn't help!)
One Silly Girl:
Tonight, as I was typing the story above in fact, I looked over to where Lorelai was sitting watching a DreamWorks animated movie about Joseph and his brothers (by the same people that made Prince of Egypt), and this is what I saw:
That is one silly girl!
This was shared as part of a Link-up at Splendor in the Home blog, Visit for other funny stories of diapers that got away, and possibly share your own!