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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

National Adoption Month

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month?  Did you know that less than 1% of all crisis pregnancies culminate in adoption? 

One way to support adoption is to support birth mothers!  mrs. r has a lovely blog that is all about open adoption and her experiences with it.  For National Adoption Month, she’s leading a charge to post about adoption every single day during the month of November.  I started late and I’m still trying to build up my blogging muscles so, I won’t be taking the challenge BUT I had to post a link to her awesome service project!

Definitely check it out!  If you’re looking for a service project for your family this holiday season, this is definitely a worthy one!

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I heard this song, probably a year or two ago and, I just couldn’t handle it at the time. I came across it today as I was reading a blog and the feeling of peace and healing was a surprise to me. I’m thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who not only knows the dreams of my heart, He planted them there and He whispers words of love and comfort to me.

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Tell Your Time

I know that I haven’t been posting here at ALL and that’s mostly because I have had no TIME! My goodness, buying a house, repairing a house, renovating a house, running a business, caring for family, and on and on and on, ad infinitum… I’m looking all around and seeing women (and men!) who are just as busy as I am and yet, they seem to find the time to shower, they seem to be able to have conversations (with actual friends, mind you! I hardly remembered I was supposed to have those!) that weren’t words being flung, rapid-fire, with barely a breath drawn. How do they DO that? Where do THEY get the extra 12 hours a day they MUST have? Is it drugs? Why aren’t they sharing?? (JUST kidding!!)
In my search to find peace and balance in my life, I’ve been reading blogs (WHO has TIME to BLOG??!!) and finding different female ‘heroes’. Women who I could relate to, who seem to have their stuff together but are still not perfect, who have similar goals to mine and seem to be actually progressing toward them. I was looking for footprints in the snow! Someone who was a little bit ahead of me on the path but who wasn’t so far ahead that their footprints had already been filled in again with flurries and I’d get lost if I tried to follow them. One such woman has written a book…

Click to check out her ebook!

 …and it is AMAZING!  It is short, it is simple, it is part of what I was so desperately looking for!  A way to have my life reflect my values and ideals. 

Maybe you’re like me.  I have so many ‘roles’ that are key to who I am as a person.  I’m a wife, I’m a care provider, I’m a Mormon, etc…  Somewhere in all of my activities, I lost track of, not only those roles but, also the most important one, I’m myself.  I need to care for myself so that I can care for my husband, my charges, my relationship with Christ, my dreams.  There are so many things that I feel I HAVE to do and there’s always more piling on.  I was spending my days running and my evenings collapsed in a heap of exhaustion and frustration.  Everything has to be done right now!  Look at everything I still have to do!  Does that sound at all familiar or is it just me?

So much was suffering!  I’m able to care for the kiddos but not my house.  I can feed my husband but I’m not drinking any water (AT ALL!).  I can finish my paperwork but I can only sleep 4 hours a night.

After reading Amy’s book (it took about 20 minutes), it was like a lightbulb had switched on!  You mean I only get 24 hours a day and, if I schedule more than 24 hours worth of stuff, I’ll be stressed, frustrated and upset with myself?  Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?  Even though I knew that already (duh, 24 hours, 7 days, 52 weeks…), I was feeling totally powerless.  Everything on my calendar is good stuff, it all has to be done and it all has to be done by me!  I had no clue how to prioritize and eliminate or delegate.  Amy’s book has lit that path.  I get it now and, though it may take some time and effort on my part to make an actual DOable plan and stick to it.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get it eventually. 

I really hope that, if time management is one of your stress points right now, you’ll take a look at Amy’s book.  You can’t find it in stores, only on her website.  It’s an ebook so, you’ll only have to wait about 30 seconds for delivery and every tool she gives you, you can use right away.  If you read it, please, leave a comment below!  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  If you don’t read it, I’d still love to hear your thoughts!  What do you do that makes your schedule work for you?  What doesn’t work?

Click here to visit AmyLynnAndrews.com.

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A Brazzle Dazzle Day!

Something about the sunshine through the rain for the last few weeks, the rich soil in our yard being turned over in preparation for planting, the blustery wind blowing the trees and clouds around, tells me it’s definitely spring!  I’m really feeling it in my bones this year, I almost feel like a seed myself!  I feel like I’ve been buried all winter, sleeping and hiding and waiting.  All of a sudden, I feel a stirring, a stretching.  Ideas and thoughts and dreams are starting to spark and turn into activity and it feels good!  It’s a nice surprise actually, I was feeling stagnant and sluggish, bloated and lazy.  It’s nice to discover that there’s growth and life deep down.  A seed, even while it’s laying dormant through the winter, isn’t a waste, it’s not dead, it’s just sleeping and waiting for the rain and the sun to wake it so it can start fulfilling it’s purpose!  I’m ready to wake up!  I want to grow and change and produce!  

The greatest thing that I’m discovering about seeds and plants, it’s not a speedy growth.  It takes time to work those first little leaves through the soil and even though, to the naked eye, it looks like nothing is happening, under the dirt the seed is working and pushing out those roots long before the tiny tendrils poke up.  Even after you see the little spikes of green, the plant doesn’t shoot up like a rocket, it’s slow and steady.  The plant knows that it can’t reach the heights it needs to if the base of the stalk isn’t strong.  If the plant hasn’t built up the right kind of support at the bottom, it won’t be able to support its fruit.  I can work with slow growth.  I don’t want to shoot up and flare out like a comet.  I want the calm, steady, inching my way up the trellis kind of progress! 

Maybe I’m more like a garden than a seed.  I’ve been letting my soil rest and hibernate all winter but lately, it’s been turned over!  Weeds are getting yanked and burned, I’m having rich additives mixed in and supplementing what I already have.  It’s not all that comfortable, sometimes downright painful but, it needs to be done.  Then comes the fun part, choosing what I want to grow in my garden.  I’m using Galatians 5:22-23 as my seed catalog.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…  That’s exactly what I want growing in my garden!  I’m excited to see the first sprouts and I can’t wait til I start seeing the first fruits!!

Here’s the lyrics to a song that came up on our Pandora station today, it really had the kids and I bopping around the house while we were doing clean up.  It’s exactly how I was feeling when I woke up this morning to see the sunlight streaming in my window!  Enjoy!

It’s a Brazzle Dazzle day,
So throw off the past an everything in it,
That’s the Brazzle Dazzle way,
Enjoying your time, from minute to minute,
Running through the sand without your shoes on (shoes on),
Making sure that you don’t keep your blues on,
Finding a boat we can cruise on

It’s a Brazzle Dazzle day,
When you think of love and never a sorrow,
That’s the Brazzle Dazzle way,
To do your work now and take off tomorrow,
Flying through the air; you don’t need wings on (wings on),
Climb right up! and feel the thrill it brings on,
Flock with the wind as it sings on.

Ride higher and higher and glide above the clouds,
Free! no one to catch us or slow us,
Even the birds are below us!

It’s a Brazzle Dazzle day,
A life time of joy in just a few hours,
All our Brazzle Dazzle years have just begun,
We’ll follow the sun and replay,
This Brazzle Dazzle day!

Ride higher and higher and glide above the clouds,
Free! no one to catch us or slow us,
Even the birds are below us!

It’s a Brazzle Dazzle day,
A life time of joy in just a few hours,
All our Brazzle Dazzle years have just begun,
We’ll follow the sun and replay,
This Brazzle Dazzle day!
This Brazzle Dazzle day!

-Walt Disney’s Pete’s Dragon

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72 Hour Kits

Lately I’ve been wondering if we’re as prepared as we should be in the event that there were a major disaster during child care hours.  I always have a week’s worth of food at least but, do we have enough water?  What if we have to load everyone in the stroller and camp out at the park?  We’re lucky enough to have quite a few of our clients pretty close during work hours, some even live close enough to walk but, what about our clients that live/work on the other side of Santa Rosa?  What if they can get to us but can’t get home?  What if they can’t get to us and we have their kiddos for a night or two?  We have extra play clothes in their cubbies but those are really just for if they have an accident or get dirty, really just one extra change of clothes. 

David had the idea of having several generic backpacks or gallon bags filled with clothes and labeled, not by name but by size.  Perhaps have the parents go through their extra or outgrown clothes and donate them so that we can organize them and have them ready to go here, in a big tote.  What would we need for each 72-hour kit as far as clothes?

  1. Footy PJs
  2. 3-5 pairs of undies (for diaper wearers, we have all their sizes here, as well as overnights for the bigger kids)
  3. 3-5 pairs of socks
  4. 3 pairs of cotton pants, no jeans
  5. 3 shirts
  6. 1 sweat shirt and 1 sweat pants
  7. plastic poncho
  8. pair of crocks or something like that in case their tennies get wet or they come to child care in sandals that day
  9. Anything else?

I’m also trying to think of what types of foods would be best for their 72-hour kits.  Carbs, not having a problem!  You got your crackers, cheerios, oatmeal, etc…It’s the protein I’m having a hard time figuring out.  Most of the kids are under 3 years old and we have one kiddo with a possible nut allergy so, peanut butter is out.  Cheese isn’t shelf stable and, for the kids under 3, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with jerky or something like that, I don’t need to be worrying about choking children on top of everything else!  I’ve seen those packets of chicken or tuna salad that come with crackers at the grocery store and those might be a good idea but, what else?  Of course we have chili and beans, etc in our pantry but, if we have to camp out or can’t get back in to our house for some reason, canned goods would be heavy and hard to transport while herding 7 infants and preschoolers.  For the babies, most brands of formula have those single serve packets and we could put a box of those in each of their kits.  Baby food and infant cereal last a very long time and is very easy to store and transport so, it’s really just the preschoolers kits that I’m having a hard time with!  Do you have any suggestions? 

Have recent events made you start thinking more about your emergency prep?  What have you got prepped and what do you think needs to be updated/changed?  When was the last time you rotated your food or checked the sizes in your kid’s emergency kit?

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Balance

You know, there are some days that I am so focused on the kiddos that, after their parents pick them up and I look around, the house has fallen down around my ears.  There’s food scattered and mashed on dining room floor.  There is not a single book or toy on a shelf or in a box.  Garbage cans are stuffed to the gills and, in some cases, close to overflowing.  I may not have even had the time (or inclination) to change out of my PJs, let alone put on a little makeup or do much with my hair besides a messy ponytail.  But the day was fun!  We worked on art projects (as evidenced by the marker scribbled table and glue stick schmeared chairs), we played out side (you can tell from the mud and sand tracked all over my carpet), and probably all made lunch together (with, not only a sink-full, but a counter-full, of dishes to show for it).  Yes, we had a fun day but, I’m so exhausted when I look at what’s left for me to do before bed, just to get the house ready to do it all again the next day.

Other days, I spend most of my time changing diapers and wiping noses in between loads of laundry and mopping floors.  I’m so intent on the house getting clean that I get the kids started on individual projects or spend most of the day in free-play so that I can run around with my gloves on, tidying and disinfecting.  I’m blessed to have my sister as my assistant so that I can spend my time being ‘busy’ getting things done.  At the end of days like that, the kids head out the door with a hug and a kiss and I realize, I didn’t really get to have my ‘kid time’.  I didn’t take the time to roll on the floor and cuddle, I got quick hugs and kisses as I passed with my arms full of laundry basket.  I have less work to do after they all go home but, though I know it’s important for kids to have their individual time and that one of the benefits of family child care, as opposed to child care centers, is that they see what it takes to keep a house running, those aren’t days that I’m left feeling satisfied with my efforts of the day.

And then, there are days like today.  I folded laundry with two of my big helpers and they did a really good job on those wash cloths!  We had a blast counting and matching socks.  We read a new book together and we all learned to count (or rather, read) to 10 in Swahili.  While they worked on their art project in the dining room, I was able to prep snack and chat with them about the colors they were using and the safari animals they’d like to photograph (we were making cameras).  We all cleaned up together and went in to wake the baby for snack.  He was standing up, grinning, just waiting for us and everyone was giggles and smiles.  While everyone ate, I was able to load the dishwasher and clean the counters and then we all worked together to sweep the floor.  Then, since everything was ‘done’, we were all able to play together.  I wasn’t stuck scrubbing out the sink, only popping into the front room to count or scold or give a time out.  I got to enjoy my kiddlets and we all cheered for the baby as he climbed up and over the nap cots again and again.  The kiddos wanted to play my favorite game, ‘Make Sarah’s Hair Pretty’.  It’s the one where I get to sit back and relax while  snuggling the baby and they brush and play with my hair, divine!  

Everyone pitched in to clean the toys up while the baby and I went into the kitchen to prepare lunch, which I had a plan for and it was already partially prepped, thank you very much!  After lunch, everyone went down for naps without a fuss and I didn’t hear a peep from any of them for 2 hours!  More than enough time for me to recharge for the afternoon and clean up lunch.  The kids were so excited to wake up and see that David was home because he had been promising them that they could help him plant a garden as soon as we had some sun and, lo and behold, we finally had a break in the rainy weather!  We packed everyone out to the backyard for a picnic snack while David prepped the soil and then they took turns planting peas and lettuce.

Now, was today perfect?  No, far from it!  We had timeouts and a few tantrums.  The baby is teething and has boogers the size of his eyeball.  We’re in the middle of potty training the kiddos and so there was many a panicked sprint for the potty.  Overall though, it was a great day!  I was calm and kind while still being firm when I had to be.  The house looked decent, not perfect, at the end of the day and I felt that I was able to connect with the kids on a very real level.  They didn’t just get to see how a house runs, today, they got to help make a home work.  They got to participate and see how a family works.  This wasn’t a rare day, in fact, they’re becoming more and more common as I continue to focus on how I want my home to feel.  They key, for me, is to keep trying and to give myself permission to have those off-balance days when I have to but to do all that I can to keep my self, and my home, in balance most of the time.  Maybe, right now, I’m able to accomplish that 70% of the time.  Next week, I’ll shoot for 80% and the week after, even higher.  I don’t have to be perfect and I’m good with that.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

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Well, hello there!  I thought that, in my very first blog post here at Home Can Be A Heaven, I should probably tell you a little bit about me before I plunge head first into…whatever this is going to be! 

I’m a woman in my early 30’s and I’ve been married, since 2003, to my best friend.  We’ve done our best to set goals for our family and, for the most part, have done really well at achieving them!  When we first started out, I was waiting tables and a nanny for a wonderful little boy and my handy hubby, David, had been with a certain home improvement store for nearly 10 years.  I was able to stop waiting tables pretty soon after we wed and absolutely adored caring for that sweet little boy and it made me realize that, if I needed to work (we live in California, there are single income families but, they are few and far between), I wanted to care for young children.  We both decided that, when our own children came along, I wanted to stay home with them so, I began laying the groundwork to open my very own small family child care home. 

Well, time passed and our family wasn’t expanding.  Georgie-Bug was fast approaching preschool age and his family wouldn’t need me during the day anymore so we decided to stop holding our plans off til they fit the life we wished we had but, go ahead and start living the life we had right then.  I was able to quickly interview and find four families that we loved and couldn’t wait to care for their little ones.  When we started, back in 2007, we had four tiny 3month olds and I cared for them in a little two-bedroom apartment.  Now, those four little babies are my big preschoolers and we are starting to care for their younger siblings as well!  After we bought our very first house last July, I expanded my license to a large family child care home and so I now have the capacity to care for up to 12 children.  On a typical day, we care for 2 – 4 infants and 4-5 preschoolers.  It’s a wonderful career and I feel so blessed!

As for our little family, it’s still David and I.  I was diagnosed with PCOS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and it has contributed to some fertility issues for us.  I’ve finally reached a place, mentally and emotionally, where our family size and my fertility doesn’t define who I am anymore but, it’s taken a lot of time and work to get here.  David and I know that Heavenly Father will bless us with the perfect family, we just don’t know what that means yet.  Is our perfect family just the two of us?  Should we try more advanced medical options?  Maybe adoption is the way for us…We just don’t know yet but, we do know that Heavenly Father knows us, loves us and is mindful of us, we’ll be led to the correct path.

For now, I’m back to learning to live the life I have, not the one I wish I did.  I want to be healthy and fit, physically and emotionally.  I want my husband, the children I care for and their families to love being in our home, not because it’s filled with beautiful stuff but, because it’s filled with a beautiful feeling.  I want to be able to use the talents I have to bless my family and friends and I want to develop new talents.  All of this boils down to the ideal of, I want my home to be a heaven on earth where my family and friends want to be.

– Sarah

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