Just Another Day

WARNING GRAPHIC PICTURES BELOW

 

Once again things did not go as I had planned.  While trying to help out on the farm and in between homework assignments, I had an accident.

I was pushing cows into the alleyway during branding and things were going great.  Suddenly a cow kicked a post which slammed into my finger.  It hurt, but I walked away trying to hold myself together…we had so much to do…300 cows and calves to brand.  When I went to hand my husband an ear-tagger, I noticed my limp and bloody finger hanging in an unnatural position, a 90-degree angle.  I said to my husband, we need to go and he quickly rushed me and the boys to the ER.    It is then I realized how much my family needed me to be strong.  Even though I’m hurting, by me staying calm, it helped my boys.

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I knew I was always important to my family.  Until I was hurt, I saw them in a different light.  A mother is truly extremely important to her family.

Cooper, my oldest, who is extremely sensitive was like a rock for his brothers to lean on.  He diligently helped buckle in his brothers for the ride and never once argued about what he needed to do.

Cash, my strong, silent one, was overcome with emotion, sobbing uncontrollably even after my husband and I reassured him numerous times I would be okay.

Cody, my ornery, feisty one, quickly settled down, unsure of how to react.

It is amazing how different each boy is and when needed how they react to the situation.  The boys went to the gift shop and got me a lovely glass ornaments and a multi-colored gecko.  They almost got me a 6-foot-long stuffed toy rattlesnake, but Grandma talked them out of it.  They wanted it because they knew purple was my favorite color.  Can you imagine a purple rattlesnake!

Since the accident, the boys have mentioned many times how much they love me and are sorry I got hurt.  They are quick to help out and help which makes me feel like I’m on the right track.

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Now, just to get rid of this stupid splint and go to my orthopedic appointment and move one.  After all, work is never done in a mother’s day.  Just pray for me that my life calms down and I can still figure out how to get everything done.

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IT’S DATE NIGHT…….

If you missed my last blog post for some crazy reason, I suggest you check it out. It goes over the strain children can add to relationships. Super good information in that post!

So…I thought it would be fitting to follow it up with ideas on how to keep the flame burning between you and your spouse!

Did you know, according to a survey conducted by Redbook, 45 percent of couples “rarely” have date nights and only 18 percent manage to go out once a month!

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With such chaotic life styles and trying to manage kids it is essential that we make time for our significant other.  My husband and I make it a priority to take some much need time for ourselves at least three times a month.

Even if it’s just a lunch or dinner by ourselves it allows us to reconnect, touch base (without anyone else needing attention) and get back on the same page. I cannot stress how important spending time alone with your spouse is!

I am a strong believer that date nights not only benefit you but also your family! So what are you waiting for, let’s make it happen!

3 Date Ideas:

  1. Take a walk:

That’s right, it’s as simple as just taking a walk with your spouse! Who said you have to actually go somewhere or spend a lot of money? By going on walk this not only helps your physical well-being but also your emotional (I know it helps me).

  1. Clean the barn:

Oh yes, this can really be a date activity! Strange as it may sound, the satisfaction of knowing that an important task is finally accomplished is a sense of relief and working together to accomplish the goal is “important.” Said one of my friends.

  1. Dine In:

Sometimes it’s impossible to get away or find a sitter,  So when this happens, try dining in. Have your kids help cook the meal and set the table with your best dishes.  Let the children light candles and set the mood.  Order takeout for the kids and settle them in with a favorite movie.

 

So it really doesn’t matter what your Idea of fun is for your “Date Night,” it’s just that you are connecting with your spouse.  You know the old saying, “Those who play together, stay together!”  Or is it, “Those who work together, stay together?”

 

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Stuck on what to do with your spouse, well, Pinterest has thousands of ideas to help you plan the perfect date night:

30 Playdates for Grown-Ups

32 Stay-At-Home Date Ideas

52 Free or Cheap Date Ideas

50 Daytime Activities and Date Ideas

 

Relationships After Kids

We all know that relationships can be challenging! Whether it’s between parents and children, friends, siblings, or spouses; it can be difficult to figure out the dynamics of the relationship. That’s right, we are all flawed and imperfect. This makes it hard for us to see eye to eye all of the time.

I mean, it’s only natural for people to want their own way or to think that their way is the only way. I know, I thought I knew everything about parenting before I was a parent, but what I didn’t realize is how having children would alter my relationships.

Your Friends:

The reality is that after children your life completely changes. This unfortunately means that you do not have as much time for your friends as you once did (obviously little people demand a lot of attention).

With every new chapter in your life you might lose some friendship, but if you are open, you will also gain new ones. This is just a natural process, although it can be a tough at times, the important thing to remember is that things change, you change, and that’s okay.

Your Parents:

This has been one of the trickiest relationships for me to manage since I have become a mom. I am not a hundred percent certain as to why, but I think part of me will always want to make my parent’s proud. Not that they are not aren’t proud of me as a mom, but we do not always agree when it comes to my children, and when this happens it can be very emotional for everyone involved.

The truth is, I am not them and they are not me, and although I do not do things the way they think I should (and vice versa), I will always love and respect them. It is tricky trying to find your own way and not hurt those around you. From my experience, most parents are not trying to intentionally cause problems, they only want what’s best for you and your children.

Your Spouse:

You would think that this relationship would not alter much after children, I mean this is the person you married, you know them right! Wrong! From now on there will be times where this relationship will be strained. It is extremely important that you get on the same page and quick!

With the lack of sleep, you will be getting, and the uproar of emotions, from giving birth to a little person, it will be difficult for both you and your spouse to adjust to your new life. It will take time, and you will make mistakes, but just remember it will get better!

Children are amazing little creatures and there is no doubt that they will change your life forever.

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The Essence of Time….

Did you ever notice how time means so many things at different stages of our life?

When I was a baby, I imagine, my needs and wants were immediate…. I’m hungry, feed me; my diaper needs changing, change me so I feel better.  I don’t feel good, rock me and soothe my hurts, aches and pains.  I was always waiting for someone else to do something for me.

As a young child, time seemed to move very slowly.  I always seemed to be waiting on my Mom or Dad to finish up their work, so they had time to play or talk to me. It always seemed as if I was waiting, in line at the grocery store (while they chatted with one of their friends) or waiting for an them to answer my question, “Can I have Johnny come over and play?”

When I was an older child, I wanted to be a teenager, able to drive a car, stay up later, make more of my own decisions.  My parents always said, “In time?”  I wondered, what does that mean? I then I found out that it meant, I would get those privileges as time went on and I was ready for more responsibility.  So there was more waiting. Waiting to  actually be old enough to gain those rights.

Then as a teenager, time was consumed by my desperate desire to show how I was “grown-up”. The reality was, I was just a bigger child.  Time was moving faster now…. it seemed as if it was competing with my friends, family and extracurricular activities for my attention.  I wanted desperately wanted to be an adult, have a job, money, a car, and still wanted time with my friends/family. I found myself struggling to juggle everything.

Now as a young adult, time seems to be constantly moving.  I’m either chasing children, driving them somewhere, checking their homework, cooking a meal, or doing my own homework.  From the time I rise to the moment I fall into bed, I wonder if I can claim any of the time as “Me time…or does it always belong to someone else?”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is how people age 25 to 54 with children choose to spend their time in a typical day.

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For more information on how Americans spend their time check out this very informative article by Andrew Van Dam and Eric Morath, publish in The Wall Street Journal: Changing Times: How Americans spend their day reflects a shifting economy and population.

I wonder what life will be like when I reach the “empty nest” or the “retirement age?”  Do older people really have more time to enjoy the things they “want” to do?  Will time slow down or will I struggle to find “time” to do the things I want?  Will time remain constant?  Will I like it when I am no longer needed by my children every minute or every day?

The Essence of Time is just that…an opportunity to make the most of each moment in time before it’s gone.

 

The old adage tells it best:

Don’t worry about what should have been, it’s the past.
Don’t worry about what will be, that’s the future.
Embrace the present, for it is a gift.

Parenting Challenges

Parenting has never been easy, and parents have always had challenges to face.  But is parenting in today’s society harder?

We live is a face paced ever changing world that is constantly demanding our time and attention.  In an opinion poll by, SheByShe, it reveals that 74% of women find it more challenging to be a parent in today’s society than their parents.  Although there are unarguably different benefits of parenting in today’s society there also seems to be a lot more challenges as well.

 

Challenges

3 Challenges of Parenting

  1. Keeping Kids Safe on the Inter-web:

Do not get me wrong, I know there are lots of benefits from technology but it is also a very scary thing to try and monitor. I know in our own home we have numerous ways to connect to the world, and for the world to connect to us. We have smart TVs, iPads, tablets, computers, phones, and gaming devices that all link to the web. The problem isn’t so much with the devices and using them to connect to others around us, it is more about the effects of constantly being connected to others, screen time, and monitoring apps. There is a lot of research showing the damaging effects, on children, who use technology excessively (there are so many great articles on this topic, here is one).  I feel parents need to take a proactive approach and arm themselves with information about what is out there. Some great resources that I use are: circle, teensafe, Urban Dictionary, and Commonsense.  Technology is only going to expand and as parent’s we need to educate our children on how to properly use it, this means we also have to be aware of how it works ourselves.

 

  1. Making Enough Time:

One of the most difficult thing for me as a parent is having enough hours in the day. Society says that we need to be active and involved but I think it is equally important to reevaluate what truly matters. I know we are guilty of letting our kids try every sport, be in 4-h, after school programs, camps, and Awanas. With three boys you can only imagine that we are constantly on the go, and rarely home. I don’t believe this is how it should be, there needs to be time for them to just be. This means as parent’s we need to stop feeling guilty that are children are not involved and learn to say no.

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  1. Letting your children learn from their actions:

As an adult it is hard to see our children suffer the consequences of their actions. I know I never like to see my kids hurting. Our nature is to protect, help, and guide them. Sometimes we need to step back and let the natural consequences occur. This is a difficult thing to do but the reality is our children are learning valuable lessons from their mistakes. They need to know that every action has a reaction, whether it is positive or negative. There is no doubt, letting them discover this on their own is hard, but it is part of what shapes us into the people we are today.

The most important thing when facing challenges in today’s society is to keep trying, never give up, yes it is difficult, but your kids are worth it!

Come and Get It!

 

As I was reading one of my favorite blogs this week, DudeMom, I was inspired to whip up one of my family’s favorite meals, and share it with all of you!

Have you ever been to a Japanese Steak House?

Well if you haven’t, you really should, our favorite is Tokyo Bay in Bonita Springs, FL. They do an amazing job of entertaining us and preparing a delicious meal. It is probably one of my family’s favorite places to eat, but not something we can enjoy as often as we would like (especially with seven of us).

 

After multiple try’s and a lot of failures, I have finally gotten it (at least to family’s expectations, and minus the flaming volcano)! So here is my version of the Japanese Steak House Dinner. Hope you enjoy!

Japanese Steak House Dinner

Prepare rice as recommended on the box and set aside.

Homemade Yum Yum Sauce

  • 1 tsp Tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Melted butter
  • 1/4 cup Water

Directions:

  1. Mix well and refrigerate

Allrecipes has a great video showing just how easy it is to make this delicious sauce, so check it out!

Next prepare the meat!

The Protein

  • 1-pound chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1-pound steak cut into bite sized pieces (optional can substitute for shrimp or other protein of choice)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika

Directions:

  1. Heat vegetable oil and minced garlic in large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Place meat in heated oil, sprinkle with Cayenne pepper and Paprika.
  3. Saute until done.

Fried Rice

  • 3 tbsp. Butter, divided
  • Prepared white or whole grain rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. Soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Green onions, diced
  • Optional: Diced Carrots, Peas and Onion.

Japanese steak houses cook fried rice right on the grill.:

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of butter in large skillet over high heat.
  2. Add eggs and let cook in one even layer before chopping it.
  3. Remove egg and set aside
  4. Add 1 tbsp. of butter and vegetables (if using them) and garlic.
  5. Sauté vegetables and garlic for a few minutes.
  6. Add remaining butter and cooked rice.
  7. Pour soy sauce and sesame oil over rice.
  8. Continue cooking for a few more minutes.
  9. Mix everything to gather and add eggs.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with green onions.

 

Enjoy

Now it’s time to reap the benefits of all your hard work! Dish up the desired amount of rice, add meat, and top it off with some delicious yum yum sauce (in my opinion this makes the whole meal).

Photo of Kobe Japanese Steakhouse & Lounge - Seal Beach, CA, United States. fried rice, steak, lobster and scallops!

Here are a few more of my family’s favorite dishes from Pinterest:

Mexican Tortilla Stack

Best Damn Fettuccine Alfredo On Earth 

Ranch Cheddar Chicken 

Crock-pot Pulled Pork 

Pigs in a Blanket 

Working Mom vs. Stay-At-Home Mom

When reading through the comments on my previous blog post, ‘Just A Mom’, I came across a comment that really hit me.

I don’t know why it had such a strong impact on me but it really made me think.  As I started thinking about it more I thought about how great being a stay at home mom is and how fortunate I have been. I also started wondering if I was not giving enough credit to all of the working moms out there. My intention was never to minimize the role of  working moms.

As most of you know there is a lot of debate about what is best, being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom.

This seems to not only be a heated debate among friends and family, but also in the health care industry.

 

 

I know first-hand how hurtful it can be to have my decisions questioned by others, and I do not want to be guilty of making the same mistake. So I decided to make a list of just a few of the pros and cons of SAHMs and working moms.

So what is better: stay-at-home moms or working moms?

The Stay-At-Home Mom

Pros:

  • Lower Childcare Cost
  • Don’t Miss Out On Monumental Moments
  • You Make All of the Decisions
  • More Time with Kids
  • Don’t Answer to a Boss

Cons:

  • May Feel Unfulfilled
  • Loneliness
  • No Me Time or Breaks
  • Lacking Adult Conversations
  • Always on Call

Here is great resource about the pros and cons of being a stay-at-home mom.

The Working Mom

Pros:

  • Helps Family Financially
  • Appreciates Time with Kids
  • Set Schedule
  • Children are more Independent
  • Feel Valuable

Cons:

  • Feels Guilty for Not Being at Home
  • Miss Out On Milestones
  • Still has Mom Duties
  • Co-Workers/Boss Do Not Understand
  • Split Time Between Family and Work

Check out ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the article: The Pros and Cons of Being a Working Motheron One Shift               for more pros and cons of being a working mom.

So what’s best?

I don’t know! I believe it is a personal decision that each family has to make based on what they feel is best for their family. Who are we to say one is better than the other! We do not know the circumstances that surround the decision, so it is not our place to judge.

I do believe, that not matter whether a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, they truly are only doing what they believe is right for their family.

Intentional Parenting

Have you ever thought about parenting? I know I have thought about it: before I was a parent and now that I am a parent. My children’s well-being has always been on the fore front of my mind, not just their physical well-being but also their emotional and spiritual well-being. I think it is safe to say, all parents want and hope for the best when it comes to their children’s future. I know I do.

But Is hoping and wanting enough?

Our children are one of the most precious gifts entrusted to us by God to watch over and guide. Do you think just positive thoughts and hopes is what we are required to give?

 

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I personally do not think so.  As I was sitting in church on Sunday morning, listening to the sermon, I found myself convicted. Convicted of not always being intentional in my actions towards and with my children.

I am guilty of not always being intentional when it comes to my children. I sometimes find myself letting things go, like watching too much TV, disciplining them (when I know they need it), or giving into their wants (so I don’t have to deal with the sad/mad/crying child).

To be honest, it is a lot easier to turn your head and look the other way, or to let them play on their devices, then it is to actually deal with the same situation over and over again.

 

I always knew it was not right, but on Sunday it really hit me, that as a parent I am called to do so much more.

We are not supposed to let the society dictate what is right and wrong for our children, we are not supposed to cave to our child’s every want and desire, we are not supposed to sit back and hope for the best. We ARE supposed to fight for our children and their future.

You might be wondering: “Don’t we do that just by being their parent?” or “How are we supposed to fight for our children’s future?”

One way we can fight is by being intentional when it comes to our children’s emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. We need to be looking at what is truly beneficial for them as they navigate through life.

Here are 5 ways to be intentional with your children:

  1. Believe you have an influence on your children

  2. Give your child uninterrupted time

  3. Be involved

  4. Listen to listen, not just to respond

  5. Be the type of person you want them to be

For more information on becoming an Intentional Parent check out Living On the Edge’s radio teaching series: Intentional Parenting: 10 Ways to be an Exceptional Parent in a Quick Fix World.

Being a parent is not about being perfect it is about striving to be better!

What Matters?

This blog post was supposed to be about, the day in the life of a mom, and maybe at some point I will write about that, but today I was once again reminded of what truly matters in life.

Today started out as a normal Saturday morning. Well, maybe not as normal as usual. Let me restate that be saying things started out great but quickly went downhill.

I’m not sure what was in the air but for some reason, which is really irrelevant, my husband and I got in a disagreement. We usually do not argue but for some reason we just didn’t see eye to eye.

As he proceeded outside to have his usual morning meeting, with his brother and dad, I also went out to do chores. It was then that I noticed the dog had been locked in the car overnight (he always sleeps in the house so how we missed that I have no idea). As we let him out of the car his hair raised and he quickly made his way down to the chicken coop. Something was wrong.

As I made my way down I immediately noticed there were chicken feather everywhere (we had just added 10 new chickens to the gang). Long story short, something had gotten through the new installed wire fence during the night, and massacred 21 chickens. My heart sank! Whatever it was did not eat them or carry them off, it killed them purely for sport. After the earlier argument with my husband, this sent me over the edge and I became an emotional wreck.

Maybe in some way this tragedy was what I needed. Abe (my husband) quickly came to my aid, helped me reinforce the fence, and gather the surviving chickens. Shortly after we had finished getting things settled we notice that there was a cow who was choking.  This was not what we needed. Abe quickly sorted her out and put a piece of hose, three feet long, down her throat (she is about to calve so it was essential not only for her but also the unborn calf). Again, we came together and did what had to be done.

 

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I think God was preparing us for what was about to happen. 

We had been planning to move 300 pairs of cows (mommies and babies), three miles, off of corn stocks to a pasture. The way things had been going we should have rescheduled but we didn’t. Once again started off a little rocky and two calves got separated, we pushed on and continued to drive the rest of the cattle to the pasture. If you have ever moved cattle, you know how long it can take when you have baby calves, but we all worked together and got the job done. Success!

All the cows were moved, except for those two calves so group headed black over to field to grab them.

Again things didn’t go as planned. As Abe roped the last calf, he missed the dally, and the rope dropped. The calf started running, dragging the rope, and the chase was on. During all of the commotion, Cooper, my oldest son, decided to join in the chase (there was already a horse, pickup, and two four-wheelers in the field). In the midst of all the chaos, the driver of the pickup abruptly turned to cut the calf off and accidentally sideswiped Cooper.

Coop was knocked to the ground and extremely shaken up. Thank the Lord, he walked without any major injuries!

In a blink of an eye things were put back into perspective. The dead chickens, the choking cow, the argument with my husband, all of these things did not really matter. Yes, at the moment they seemed important, but when faced with the thought of losing my son, I quickly realized just how silly they were. As I tucked my boys in bed, I thanked the Lord for his unfailing mercy, and my answered prayers.

In the blink of an eye life can change, so I urge you to ask yourself:

“What Truly Matters?” 

Just A Mom….

When meeting someone new, the same question seems to always be asked: “What do you do?”

I kindly reply: “I’m a stay-at-home mom.” Most people smile politely and say, “Oh, that’s nice.”

That reply makes me have mixed emotions and feel like being a stay-at-home mom is looked down upon.  It makes me feel as if I am less valued and important to society because I am ‘just’ a mom.

Why is being a stay-at-home mom viewed so negatively?

Do people really believe that I am sitting at home idly, watching soap operas, and eating bonbons (a delicious bit size ice cream covered in chocolate that was all the rage in the 80’s)?

But the reality is I am not ‘just’ a Mom……I am A Mom.

A mom is always there to wipe the tears away, to carry my sleeping babies to bed, listen to worries and their joys.

Being a mom means, I am responsible for influencing and guiding future generations! I am investing precious time and energy into my children so that later in life they will be equipped with the tools they need to succeed and make the world a better place.

What could be more important?

Why do people have this image that moms are not contributing to society?  Or a mother’s job is not as important as someone who is working outside the home?

Well, it is time that ‘Moms’ stop looking at themselves as ‘just’ moms and start realizing just how valuable they really are.

As I was researching the value of a stay-at-home mom, I came across some shocking information. According to Salary.com a stay-at-home mom’s financial worth is close $134,121 a year. That’s right, if she got paid, for all the work she does (for free), she would make $11,176.75 a month!

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You can learn more about the financial value of a stay-at-home mom by checking out this info-graphic titled, “What if Mom Got Paid for Being Mom?”

The True Value

So, how do you measure the value of a mom?

The truth is your mom’s worth is immeasurable. She is a model of unconditional love and sacrifice, she is the rock and foundation you can turn to, she is the light in the darkness, she is your mom!

Can you put a monetary value on your mom’s prayers, hugs, kisses, dreams, and hopes?I do not believe there is a way to put a value on who she is, or to measure all of the love, care, and attention she has selflessly poured into your life. She is so much more than ‘just’ a number, she is irreplaceable!

So the next time talk to your mom, tell her just how much she means to you.