Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got this cookie recipe from a friend probably 15 years ago and it's the only one I use.  I have one copy* of it and I keep misplacing it, so I'm putting it on here for safe keeping!  Should you decide to make it, I like to add extra vanilla to make it extra delicious.

Tricia's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
chocolate chips

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Add in dry ingredients and mix.  Add chocolate chips.  Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes.

*I used to have more than one copy, but six kids means things get ruined really quickly!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Finding fulfillment in motherhood

My cousin, Wendy, wrote this post and this was my reply:

Wow, you're a terrible, horrible person for not feeling fulfillment in motherhood!  What's the matter with you?!?

Haha, just kidding!  I don't either.  I think it's easier to be fulfilled by a job because there are measurable goals and standards.  That's what I'm used to-finishing a project, getting the next raise or promotion, being recognized for my skills, etc.  Transitioning from career woman to mom hasn't been easy, although considering I'm used to working with people with disabilities, raising kids isn't hugely different.  :)

I love staying home with the kids, but at the same time, I don't know that it's hugely fulfilling.  I'm sure this is just my mindset because, like I said, I'm used to measurable goals.  How do you measure if you were successful each day with your family?  Granted, you can totally have a to-do list of things to cross off, but even those things can't always be measured.  Like if I need to clean the bathroom, does it count if the best I can do is pick the dirty clothes up off the floor and make sure there isn't any unflushed poo in the toilet?  Or does it need to be spotless?  In a house with 6 kids, a man and 4 animals, it will never be spotless.  And while part of being a responsible adult and parent is keeping the house clean (or in my case, just managing the mess), do household tasks really have anything to do with being a good mother? 
What defines being a good mother and nurturer?  Not losing your temper?  FAIL!  Making sure your child is potty trained and can count to ten?  FAIL!  Making sure homework is done every day?  FAIL!  Making sure your child is alive at the end of the day and did not suffer any major injuries?  SUCCESS!  See nobody told me about a mother's guilt before I got these kids.  Of course until you experience it, you just don't know.  I work really hard to not sweat the small stuff, but even so, it's hard not to feel guilty when you tell the kids to go watch a show because you want 5 minutes of peace.  Or when one of the kids complain to you that another one hit them and your solution is to tell them to go hit her back.*  (I so wish that I cared more about them hitting each other and calling each other names, but I just don't.  I want to tell them to get over it and I feel like I should put someone in time out or something like that, but I just really don't care.  Like seriously, the world isn't coming to an end because your sister called you stupid.  Get over it and move on!)
And speaking of discipline and naughtiness, how do you decide what's really important and what to ignore?  I lose my temper the most when the kids don't listen and don't do what they're told.  If I have to tell you to do something five times, the shit's gonna hit the fan.  Tyler, on the other hand, loses his temper the most when the kids are mean to each other.  My philosophy is that being mean is part of growing up with siblings and you should get over it.  I can't get upset about everything and I just naturally don't care as much about certain things, so there you go.  Would it be nice if they never said anything mean to each other and just wanted to spend every waking minute together because they loved each other oh, so much?  Yeah, it would, but it would also be creepy and no one likes creepy children. 
So anyway, now that I've rambled on, my point is I liked your post and can relate.  I, too, need to figure out how to find more fulfillment from motherhood.  Or maybe I need to figure out how to turn off the work and goal-oriented part of my brain and just enjoy the ride.

I've been thinking about this topic ever since I wrote the above response and here are some other thoughts:
  •  I don't think it's abnormal or wrong to not feel total fulfillment from motherhood.  I don't think it's something you need to try to force either.  Not being fulfilled by something doesn't mean you don't enjoy it.  I enjoy caramel corn, but it doesn't fulfill me.  
  • Part of being a well-rounded individual is finding fulfillment in different things at different times in your life.  Those women who are very fulfilled by motherhood right now will eventually find other things to fulfill themselves when their children are grown and out of the house.
  • People have different mindsets.  The environment in which I grew up shaped my thinking of the world, my priorities, my mindset and what I find joy in.  Not everyone grew up the way I did and that makes the world an interesting place.
  • Should we find joy in being a mother?  It'd probably be a good thing.  Does it have to define us, fulfill us and be the only thing we focus on?  Absolutely not.  
  • Stop comparing yourself to other moms and your kids to other kids!!!  I know someone who is so stinkin' competitive when it comes to her child and that has got to be exhausting.  I don't have the time nor the inclination to worry about what miraculous thing your child did.  I also don't give a flying f*#k about your exercise program, what Pinterest masterpiece you made, how wonderful your husband is (who exactly are you trying to convince with all your Facebook posts?) or how fabulous you look in your 10th selfie of the day.  What I do care about is the strange and mysterious smell in my house, the fact that there has been chocolate cupcake smeared into my sheets for the last couple days and the currently unknown location of my Kindle.  
So now that I've rambled on yet again, the conclusion I've come to is that people find fulfillment in different things and that's ok.  I'm ok.  You're ok.  We're all ok. 




*Just so you know, I don't encourage fisticuffs between the children.  When I tell them to hit the other person back, it diffuses the situation and instead of one child being mad and the other one crying, they look at each other and start laughing.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Photo dump

I'm avoiding cleaning and the children, so here are some pictures for you.

 That one time there was a dead baby mouse on the floor.


That one time I tried to take a picture on the first day of school.


That one time Ethan accidentally wore his sister's too small, flare-legged pants to school.


That one time the mangiest looking cat ever came to live with us.


That one time my cousin came to visit from Georgia.


That one time we carved pumpkins.


 That one time the puppy snuck in with the kittens.


That one time my VMars Kickstarter supporter t-shirt finally came in the mail!


That one time the rabbits were almost burned alive.


That one time I tried to take a decent picture at the Halloween carnival.



That other time I tried to take a decent picture at the Halloween carnival.


 That one time my husband looked extra manly, trying to feed a dying kitten.



That one time the kitten looked dead, but wasn't dead, but then later was actually dead, but I didn't take a picture of that.

 

That one time I asked Tyler to get me some potatoes.


That one time Emma was super cute while she was sleeping.


That one time Spud was super cute while he was sleeping.


That one time Kylee was playing with my phone.


That one time my husband was covered with animals and looking extra manly again.


That one time the cat was hiding, probably from the children.


That one time we needed an exorcist because I swear the devil was possessing Trysta.


That one time it was super cold and there was like an inch of ice on the inside of our window.


P.S. In case it sounded like I was being sarcastic about my husband being manly, I was not. There is nothing sexier than a man taking care of a baby animal!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cat poop

Oops, slacked off with the blogging again!  At least I have a valid excuse this time.  Since I last wrote we have acquired a plethora of cats, one of which has brand new kittens, which means she is living in our laundry room.  Since acquiring said cats, we have also acquired several piles of poop on the carpet and a vet bill for de-worming and antibiotics.  Good times! 

On the bright side, Jezebel (the cat with the kittens who I've been wanting to steal from my mother-in-law) straight up put the dog in his place.  We usually keep the door to the laundry room and the downstairs closed, but there are six kids, so shiz happens.  Anyway, Stryder managed to make his way through the door that had been left wide open, and discovered his worst nightmare in the form of a mama cat.  When I found him, he was hiding under the bed downstairs, whimpering, and Jezzie was standing guard, not letting him out.  He didn't think it was so funny, but I did!  I feel like this was payback for when he got out and went after the rabbits and I managed to scrape up my arm up trying to get him away.  My arm is now lovely shades of yellow, brown and red.  For the record, it's probably not a good idea to get your arm caught between a large dog hyped up on rabbit fumes and an old, wooden rabbit hutch.  Or any kind of rabbit hutch, for that matter.

Ethan's birthday party plans are coming right along.  I have acquired one decoration and thought about the menu.  Last minute frantic party planning is what motherhood is all about though, right?  I still have several days, so I'm sure something will come together.  In the meantime, I'm trying to get the house clean in anticipation of my parents' arrival on Saturday.  I know they couldn't care less what the house looks like, but I feel like I should at least clean up the animal feces.

Oh hey, in super exciting news, I managed to get the kids on the bus (and one on his way to school with his dad since he couldn't find his shoes in time) without yelling once.  Bam!

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's all in how you look at it

Over the last few months I've learned a lot about adjusting expectations and changing how I look at things.  For example, some people might say my yard is full of weeds and I should do something about it.  I prefer to look at it as we're going green and growing our own rabbit food.  We also have a huge pile of junk in the backyard that may or may not look slightly white trash.  Instead of focusing on the fact that it's a breeding ground for tetanus, I think of it as a pile of stuff that may one day save our lives because, as I was told last weekend, if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, we have an oil drum stand on which to put a barrel full of gasoline.  Nevermind that we don't have a store of gas lying around-we can siphon it from other people's cars.  So you see . . . you can choose to focus on the negative or you can change your perspective and be grateful for what you've got.  It's all about perspective!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

To do list

  • Stop saying no to everything.  Am I the only one whose immediate reaction to everything a child asks for is "no"?  I need to start looking for reasons to say "yes" instead.
  • Remember that I have a husband in addition to six kids.  Poor Tyler is not only on the the back burner these days, but he's on the back burner at some house down the road.  I saw him yesterday for about 10 minutes before he went to work and I was already in bed when he got home last night.  I did manage to wake up enough to ask him how his day was, but I have no idea what his answer was because I fell back asleep.  Maybe when harvest is over we'll be able to spend more time together.
  • Plan a birthday party for Ethan.  The little man of the house is turning 7 in two weeks.  I kind of want to do a Duck Dynasty-themed party.  He loves that show as much as I do, so we have mom-son bonding time while watching it.  Happy, happy, happy!  He also loves dinosaurs, though, so maybe a dinosaurs in camo party???  Hey, what about a dinosaur hunting party?!?  The kids can wear camo and "track" the dinosaurs.  I could make dinosaur tracks for them to follow or something.  Am I thinking too much about this?  Should we just have cake and ice cream and call it good?  Does every birthday party really have to have a theme and activities? 
  • Put sheets on the bed. I shouldn't be admitting to this because it just shows how lazy I am, but we've been sleeping on the mattress pad for three or four days now.  My reasoning is that when I took the sheets off to wash them, the dog got on the bed and now the mattress pad needs to be washed, but the dog gets on the bed every day, so if I wash the mattress pad now it'll just get dirty again, as will the clean sheets.  Yes, I realize how sad and pathetic my line of thinking is.
  • Get new bedding for the rabbits.  The mystery of the wheezing rabbit has been solved.  I put down extra bedding for them last night because it was supposed to be really cold over night, and Oreo was wheezing again this morning.  The last time he was wheezing new bedding had been put down too.  Apparently you aren't supposed to use cedar shavings for rabbits.  Good to know!
  • Do the dishes.  This item just permanently lives on my to do list.  The dishwasher is broken, so right now it's just being used as a very large dish drainer.  This means that everything has to be washed by hand and I swear the kids take a new cup every time they get something to drink.  We run out of kids' bowls and cups every single day.  I've tried having the kids help do the dishes but they just end up playing in the water for an hour.  I should probably put forth more effort to supervise them and teach them how to do the dishes properly, but I just don't care enough to do that. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Observations

As a follow up to yesterday's entry, I would just like to announce that all of the kids made it onto the bus fully clothed with shoes and a jacket, they all had their backpacks with their completed homework, everyone had a full belly and everyone's hair was done.  Plus the dishes from last night and this morning were all washed.  Pretty much, I made this morning my b*tch. 

Now to move on to my observations on motherhood; both motherhood in general and me as a mom.  It's been an interesting transition from single to instant mom of six and these are a few of the things I've noticed about myself and how I do things.
  • I start out the day as kind of a cross between Michelle Duggar and Glinda.  (Are you a good child or a bad child?)  If I'm not careful, I finish out the day more along the lines of Mommie Dearest and Hannibal Lecter.  (If you don't go to bed right this second, I'm going to eat your face off!!!)
  • My mood sets the tone for the kids' mood.  
  • Because my mood sets their mood, it is extremely important that I take a little break and go elsewhere when I start to get frustrated.  One of the women I admire most in this world told me how she used to take her babies into the bathroom and lock the other kids out so she could get a break.  For me, it's more like leave the babies and take the dog.
  • Animals calm me down.  If I am going to be any kind of a decent mother, there must be animals involved.
  • I say the following things way too much:
    • Get your finger out of your nose.
    • Knock it off!
    • Come here, let me smell your bum.
    • That's too bad . . . life's hard.
    • What did I ask you to do?
    • Don't make me ask you again.
    • Put the shower curtain IN the tub when you take a shower!
    • Whose shoes/clothes/backpack/toys are in the middle of the floor?
    • Boy, it's a good thing you're cute!
    • Go to bed NOW!
  • I have got to start remembering that if I leave a sharp knife sitting on the counter or the table, it will be found and it will be played with and there will be blood.
  • Clothes can be washed, kids can be bathed, dishes will still be there later and anything clean will shortly be dirty again, but memories of fun times together last forever.  Or at least until dementia sets in.
  • I am horrible at following through.  I need to stop making threats that I know I'm not going to follow through on.  Four of the kids sleep downstairs and I'm always yelling down to them that if they don't quiet down and go to sleep, I'm going to come down there and when I do, they won't like it.  In the real world, I'm too lazy to go down there.
  • Rewarding is a much better motivator than punishing.  Unfortunately, it also takes more effort, thought and planning.
  • Even though they drive me crazy half of the time, I can't stand the thought of being away from my kiddos. 
  • The kids are much more forgiving of me and my faults than I deserve.
  • Whenever they ask if they can help do something, I try to always let them, even though it probably won't be done the way I want it and it would be quicker and easier to do it myself.  
  • As you may have noticed, bedtime is when I struggle the most.  By that point, I'm tired and just want quiet and to get in my own bed.  I'm more of a morning person, so I would rather have them go to bed early and get up early rather than vice versa.
  • Speaking of mornings, if my day is going to go at least somewhat smoothly, it is vital that I get up at least half an hour before everyone else.  
  • I am constantly telling myself that it's not the end of the world and they'll survive.  So what if the same load of laundry has been sitting in the dryer for two days now . . . it's not the end of the world.  So what if we still don't really have any toys here-there are cardboard boxes, my high heels and Tupperware containers for them to play with . . . they'll survive.  So what if I still have not gotten any thank you notes out . . . I have six kids and people will understand the delay-it's not the end of the world.
  • Money will always be tight in the farm world and we'll always be poor, but the kids couldn't care less.  They think it's awesome that they get free lunch at school.  Ethan would actually rather have hand-me-downs because it means that he gets to wear Colton's clothes and Colton is super cool.  I know that at some point they won't be so ok with these things and not having the new, fashionable clothes might be embarrassing, and they probably won't want all their friends to know that they get free lunch, but for right now, life is good in their little world and that's what matters.