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2009 March » Philoxenos


Getting the help I need

27th March 2009

Getting the help I need

I have always tried to ask for help when I need it. I try to avoid thinking I can be a super woman. I normally can only sustain that level of achievement for a short time and then I start to resent Handsome for not helping out more or reading my mind and just doing what I think needs to be done.

A couple weeks ago I had a talk with Handsome and shared with him that I needed some help. With the long hours he’s been working I was getting very overwhelmed and feeling snowed under. I asked if it was possible to use a bit of the money that he’s earning in overtime to pay for some help for me. He asked what I had in mind and I suggested just one half day a week, someone that could do whatever I needed at the time. He said okay, sounds good.

I talked to a friend that has older kids in school and for the last two weeks she’s come over for four hours and done whatever I needed her to do. The first week she folded about seven loads of laundry, vacuumed every nook and cranny in the master bedroom, cleaned the main bathroom really really well, swept the kitchen, then took the kids to the park for over an hour so I could make a bunch of phone calls.  When she left I just breathed a big breath in and could smell the clean! It was wonderful.

She came again today and cleaned my kitchen super well - including the stove top and the microwave - dusted the living room, cleaned the main bathroom again, and took the kids to the park again while I mopped the tile and cleaned the school room.

Now it’s 10pm and I can smell the clean. I love it. I’m having a baby shower here tomorrow at 10 am and I’m not worried. I’ll just tidy up the kitchen, vacuum the living room and make sure the toilet hasn’t been sabotaged by a 3 year old.

It is AMAZING to me how having someone for just three hours a week can make such a big difference in my whole being. All week long I’ve been noticing little things that needed to be done and I just made a note of it and asked my friend to take care of it and she did! With a joyful and serving heart.

I know that this won’t last but I’m going to enjoy it while it does!!

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23rd March 2009

My little boy really knows how to push my buttons


The timer on the oven just went off. I went over to check on the bread rolls that I was baking for our dinner tonight. I opened the oven and thought, in that split-second kind of way, that it wasn’t very hot. I noticed the rolls weren’t even close to being done. I immediately checked the heat and saw that, as I suspected, the oven had been turned off. Again. Second time this week.

My little boy likes opposites - if it’s open, he’ll close it. If it’s on, he’ll turn it off. If the refrigerator starts to beep because it’s been left open, he runs from wherever he is in the house to close it. If a cupboard is left open in the kitchen or bathroom, he always closes it. And of course this applies to ovens. I’m always warning him that it’s hot and he can’t open it. I guess he thinks the next best thing is to just turn it off altogether.

So I’ve now got my parbaked rolls baking again and hopefully they turn out okay!

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16th March 2009

Budgets - friend and foe

I was told by Handsome over the weekend that we had no more money for dining out for the rest of the month. Not even a run through the drive-thru for hungry kids. And definitely no money for a coffee at Starbucks. Poor me.

Please don’t think that this budget has been imposed on me and I am just the poor little woman that has to deal with it. We worked on it together and we both agreed to abide by it. We have certain financial goals, one of which is to remain debt free while also being generous with the money God has provided. To do this we have to make certain choices. One of those choices is not spending much money on eating out (we budget $50 a month for entertainment, which covers eating out and renting movies and all that). So, okay, that’s fine.

As a result I’ve been thinking today about some new food ideas to make things a little bit more exciting and interesting in the food department. It’s when I get bored in the kitchen that I want to eat out. I know how much I have left to spend on food for the month and I’ve got enough to allow me to be a bit creative.

Budgets are an interesting thing. They tell us that we may only have $50 a month to spend on entertainment, but they also tell us that hey! We have enough saved to buy that pair of shoes! They show us how much we’re giving back to the Lord, which I always find very exciting. So budgets are sometimes a pain in the butt, but they’re also very freeing. I believe it was my husband that once said “A budget is not so much a spending plan as it is a freedom plan.”

So I think I’ll start thinking of it as our Freedom Plan. I like the sound of it better :)

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16th March 2009

What I’ve been doing today

Today has been a really good day for us. I got up at dark o’clock to go the gym. Came home, did the email/blog thing, then had a shower and got ready before the kids woke up.

For breakfast I tried something new: Green Smoothies. Go read the link. And then try it! It was really, really good. And Little Boy ate two glasses of it, essentially getting three servings of vegetables in his breakfast. I made mine with banana and blueberries, as well as several handfuls of spinach. Yes, it was green. Yes, it had spinach in it. But you really couldn’t even taste it.

After breakfast the kids got dressed and got ready then did their jobs - Cutie makes sure there is toilet paper in each bathroom and empties the rubbish bins. Precious wipes down the counters in the bathrooms.

Then we got onto our school work! Lots of fun for everyone. Then a friend came over to visit with her two children and stayed until after lunchtime which sufficiently wore everyone out so we had a good rest time.

Precious and I spent some time outside in the front. She rode her bike around while I chatted with a neighbour. I think he’s quite happy that we’re going to be doing some work in our front garden. I’ve also discovered that having new daffodils blooming in the garden covers over a myriad of ills. People don’t even see the weeds! I also flipped through a cookbook looking for ideas on kid-friendly food. Do your kids want to eat as often as mine? I think we’re doing some serious growing around here.

The other two kids woke up eventually and came out to play too. Now they’re all sitting watching a movie we got from the library and I’m about to get started on dinner - corned beef and cabbage! We love corned beef but don’t eat it very often since we moved to America.

So, that’s it for today. I highly recommend the green smoothies!! I’m going shopping tomorrow to buy more fruit to put in them. Can’t wait to try it with strawberries.

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16th March 2009

update on the pacifier

Remember what I said in the previous post? About finding more pacifiers? Little Boy found two of them today. And he was very upset when I took them out of his mouth and threw them in the trash.  I’m pretty sure that he’ll be telling his therapist about it in about 25 years.

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16th March 2009

no more dummies!

In NZ a pacifier is called a dummy. I’m not sure exactly why, but I think it’s because when it’s in the baby’s mouth he becomes dumb or mute. That’s my guess anyway.

On Friday Little Boy went cold turkey on his dummy. He is the only child I’ve had that used a dummy because the girls both sucked a thumb or fingers quite early on. Not quite sure how he got so attached to a dummy but he did. We’ve spent countless hours searching for a dummy at bedtime and I think we even made an emergency trip to the store to by one because one couldn’t be found.

I knew that with his birthday approaching it would soon be time to wean him off. I didn’t want it to impair his speech, which it most certainly was. My intention was to do it slowly, making it only for sleeping times. But Friday night it was bedtime and we couldn’t find one. They had been slowly going in the trash as he chewed holes in them so we only had one or two left. But after a half-hearted search on Friday Handsome and I decided that was it. We said good night and shut the door.

And the screaming commenced.

For about 10 minutes. Which isn’t so bad considering.

Then I noticed that on Saturday there was a lot less whining and complaining from him. I like that.

But yesterday ( Sunday) I had to put him down to sleep in the afternoon by myself because Handsome was at work. I think Little Boy knew that I was alone because he really ramped it up. Screamed a good 30 minutes, with me comforting him every five minutes or so. After practically falling asleep standing up he finally conked out on his bed, pitifully sucking on one of his fingers, kind of.

So. Looks like that’s one less thing to think about at bedtime! I’m just praying he doesn’t find any hidden away somewhere and then starts remembering the joys of  a pacifier.

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10th March 2009

More children?

Little Boy, our youngest child, turned 2 yesterday. And part of me is excited because he’s changing every day, growing up, so much fun. And part of me is mourning because he’s my baby that isn’t a baby anymore.

For several months, as Little Boy has been growing older, Handsome and I have been discussing whether or not we would have a fourth child.  Our first two children are 22 months apart and the second and third children are 18 months apart. I have never had a child that is 2 years old without having a baby as well. Many people think that three children is more than enough. For that matter many people thought that two children was more than enough!

In our hearts we know that there is room for more children. The question is -  Will those be biological children or adopted children?

I personally have gone through a transformation in my attitude towards children since I got married. I always knew that I’d have children if God allowed but I thought I’d have a couple, maybe three. Then we had Precious five years ago and I started reevaluating and thought three would be nice. After Cutie was born almost four years ago I started thinking that maybe we should have more than three, maybe we should let God decide how many children we would have. That’s when I knew I was getting into weirdo territory.

We live in a time when most couples choose very carefully when they conceive. If we started allowing God to choose how many kids we’d have, I’d be pregnant every 18 months because you can just call me Fertile Myrtle. We could easily end up with six or more children.  It was during this time that we conceived Little Boy. And I’ll be honest, having three kids in less than four years is not easy. It’s not impossible, but it’s definitely a heap of work and I often feel like my brain not only left the building but also left the state and took up permanent residence elsewhere.

There have been many times in the last two years that I’ve thought - okay, we’re done, that’s it. NO. MORE. But then I will pray about it and I just don’t have peace from God. I don’t believe we’re done. But God has, many times, reminded me of the children in the State of California that are without a permanent home. Children who need love and caring and Jesus. And I cry because I know that what He’s asking us to do is going to be hard. And heart-breaking. And rewarding. And life-changing.

So Handsome and I are praying. At this time I would say that we won’t be having any more biological children but we aren’t prepared to make that a permanent decision. God continues to work on our hearts, softening them towards extending our family through adoption. We would really appreciate your prayers. I think that eventually we may end up as that weird family down the street that has a big family and they’re all different colours too! But that’s okay.

Today was one of those days when I was feeling very weak and depleted. Just spent. While I was at the gym tonight I was listening to Steven Curtis Chapman “His Strength Is Perfect” and the lyrics go like this:

 His strength is perfect when our strength is gone

He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on

Raised in his power the weak become strong

His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.

So no matter if only have three children, or we have ten children, I know that my strength to get through each day will come from Jesus. So I must, every day, rely on Him.

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9th March 2009

thoughts on our garage sale

We had a multi-family garage sale at our church on Saturday. As part of the Financial Peace University class that we’re leading, garage sales are recommended as ways to make some quick money to pay off small debts. Get it done quick, be encouraged and get working on the debt snowball. So, we had planned to have one early on in our class.

It was a great success for everyone, a beautiful day, and we got rid of some stuff. Not much of it was ours because we’ve only been here 18 months and we work really hard not to accumulate stuff. But my grandma had given us a treadmill that she couldn’t use anymore and we had a desk that my parents gave us when we first moved here and we didn’t need because we now have a built in desk in the school room. Plus, my great-uncle had given me about 200 hardback fiction books, excellent condition, about 9 months ago. I had been trading them on and had successfully traded about 50 of them but I still had a lot left and they take up a lot of space!! I sold about 20 of them and then a lady came along that sells used on Amazon, so she bought what was left (about 80 books) for $50. I was happy, she was happy, and I didn’t have to take them home.

Lessons learned: schedule garage sales the first weekend of the month because that’s when most people have just been paid. Don’t pay to advertise in the local paper - expensive and I don’t think it really paid off. Wear sunscreen because you will get sunburned.

Things to note: I had read about people selling thei cheap/free health and beauty items (remember how I get lots of stuff free or really cheap?) at garage sales and I wanted to try it. I had quite a stock of things like toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, soap. I had read about how to price it, so I gave it a try. And guess what? I sold out in the first hour. No one blinked an eye about buying that stuff at a garage sale. I priced the toothpaste at 75 cents and one guy bought three tubes. One lady bought all the soap (which I had been paid 25 cents a box to buy) for 50 cents a box, then bought all the deodorant I had left, as well as the toothbrushes. So now that I know that people will buy this stuff, I’m willing to make the effort to buy it when I can. I normally do anyway, but there are lots of deals that I pass up because I just can’t be bothered. But if I’m able to make $20 or more on just a bag full of things in less than an hour, it’s worth a little effort each week or month to get these things and save them for our next garage sale.

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9th March 2009

the abortion president

I heard on the news this morning (at the gym) that Obama is signing an executive order to release the hold on federal funds to support embryonic stell-cem research. One representative from NJ called him the abortion president, meaning that would be how he will be remembered. He is also supposed to lift the ruling allowing health care professionals to not do abortions for the reason of conscience.

Please pray for our leaders. That’s all I can think to say.

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8th March 2009

The gym, the ipod, the pain in my butt

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on my blog before, but we joined the gym a few months ago. I started out going 5-6 days a week, normally early in the morning. That steadied out to about 3-4 mornings a week. I started to feel a real difference, my clothes were fitting differently although I hadn’t actually lost any weight. Then the kids got sick, I got sick, and 5am at the gym just didn’t have the same appeal. I’ve continued going at least twice a week, but not as committed as before.

My mom loaned me her ipod and Handsome put about 45 minutes of music on there, but after going to the gym so often I was getting really sick of it. To the point that I’d watch the news at the gym or if I went in the afternoon I’d get caught up watching something like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, which is a definite time sucker.

Anyway. I told Handsome last night that I really needed to get back into going to the gym early in the morning. A great way to start my day and makes sure I get it done. But I just couldn’t handle listening to the same 30 minutes of music anymore. Could he please, pretty please teach me how to put music on my ipod?

Now. For my frugal friends out there that think I download music from itunes, don’t despair. I don’t. We have quite a CD collection, mostly CDs that are over 10 years old, purchased before we got married and started budgeting. So I’ve been going through our CDs and finding long lost friends, like Sarah Laughing (that’s actually the name of a band) that I got free when I saw them in concert as part of my job at Fresno Bible House in college.  And Steven Curtis Chapman’s greatest hits. And Point of Grace. I have three of their CDs!! I think I’m dating myself. I’m not 20 anymore.

Anyway, although I’m enjoying finding all this great music I’m also hating itunes and my computer. I have a laptop that has seen better days and the little mousey thing is really not liking me tonight.

But I’ve got some new music, about 1.6 hours of it according to the counter thing. And so if you see me at the gym tomorrow morning I’ll be the one dancing on the treadmill.

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