Titus 2:3-5

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some thoughts on Motherhood

I love being a mother. Even since I was a teenager I knew I would love being a mother. When asked what I wanted to do with my life I would always, always answer "be a wife and mother." Being late to the game I have spent more than my fair share of time out in the paid workforce. I can tell you honestly that I don't miss it, not for a single second.

My life is so tied up in the care and nurture of my wonderful husband and adorable little boy that I don't even want to contemplate life before them. I know I am very blessed. My husband wants me to stay home to look after and nurture our son. He is committed to do whatever he needs to do to enable us to live on a single income. One look into my baby boy's eyes and we both know that no sacrifice is too great for his well being.

I also know that most of the people around us, family, friends and acquaintances do not understand all of our parenting choices. That is alright, I don't need anyone else to understand or approve of what we do. I also know some of these same people find our choices a little too extreme for them. They are our choices and we are not forcing them on anyone else. It works for us that I stay home. It works for us to trust the Lord with our family size. It works for us to put the needs of our family before other, worthy but lower priority causes.

When I say that I'm a stay at home Mamma, I really mean I stay at home. Our sweet little boy is now in a great sleep routine. We struggled with daytime naps for the first five months of his life, and now that he naps we don't mess with it. Aiden likes to go to bed with the sun (just like his Daddy) so right now he is going to sleep for the night about 5:30pm. He sleeps for about 12 hours, so that means getting up about 5-5:30am in the morning. When a lot of other people are just getting going he is getting ready for his first nap. Depending on exactly when he got up that morning he is going down for his morning nap between 7-7:30am and sleeps for about two hours, maybe a little more. Then he goes for his afternoon nap around 12noon and will sleep up to three hours. That doesn't leave much time for going out anywhere. So I don't. Most weeks the only time Aiden and I leave our neighbourhood is to go to Church on a Sunday morning. I haven't been back for the evening service since early November. I do miss Sunday and Wednesday evening services, but not so much that I'll sacrifice my son's sleep for my convenience.

I have to confess that the more I stay home, the more I want to stay home. There will always be Church Socials but my first born son will only be 7 months old for one month. Next week he'll be 8 months old. I want to be able to enjoy each age, each stage of his babyhood and infancy for as long as it lasts. He isn't crawling yet, but I'm good with that. Once he is mobile things will change again. We aren't even sure if he will crawl. His Daddy never did. Aiden has never been keen to be belly down. We are slowly getting him to cooperate on this, but it is taking time. When he has had enough he lays his head down and eventually rolls back over onto his back (a position in which he can travel across the floor!) He sits up unsupported and loves to watch everything going on around him, so I'm sure once he gets the proper motivation (whenever that may be) he will start to work on his mobility.

I also know that the more time I spend around this fascinating little person the stronger my desire for more children. Aiden is a very social little boy who loves to interact with everyone he meets. What better gift to give him than siblings. I'll gladly take as many children as the Lord chooses to bless us with. While we will never be a mega-family, we started too late for that, we hope for 5 or 6, and would be delighted if we could get to maybe 8, but that is one choice that we are placing in more worthy hands.

While my lifestyle and my choices may run contrary to the majority of my peers I would say that I have never been happier, more content or more at peace than I am right now. I have a life (contrary to what Ms Germain Grier may say) and a very joyful life at that. I choose to submit to my husband's headship. I choose to obey my high calling to motherhood. I choose a quiet, peaceful life. In doing so I am choosing the life I was designed to live. I am being who I was always meant to be, and there is no better life than that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some frugal ideas for around the home.

As tempted as I am to just blog about my darling little boy these days I thought i would take a break from just being a Mamma and instead go back to blogging about running a home.

In this day and age (and economy) everyone I know is looking for ways to save some money. I have a friend who is very good at extreme couponing and often has savings of over 70% on her grocery shopping. I admire her dedication, especially with five growing children to feed and living on a single income. However I also know that couponing just isn't for me. It involves too much shopping for me, and I like the predictability of a planned menu that means not having to think about what we are going to eat every single day/week. I wrote a post about our 8 week menu plan some time ago. You can read it here. We have revised it a little since then, but it is pretty much the same idea. We have a rotating menu with lots of variety, and a grocery list so we can shop every few weeks for everything we need.

Living on a single income with a baby has so far not been as expensive as most parenting articles would suggest. Firstly we decided ahead of time to use cloth diapers/nappies. We bought 5 packets of Gerber Premium Prefolds, 3 snappis and 3 econobum one size diaper covers. We used a gift card to purchase the prefolds so the total cost to us was just over $40 (with shipping etc.) We were able to have enough supplies to diaper our baby from birth to potty training for less than the cost of 2 months supply of throw away diapers/nappies.

Now that Aiden is eating some solid food I save on that cost by making my own baby food. He will eat any fruit as long as there is some mashed banana mixed in, and almost any vegetable as long as there is some sweet potato. I like using only organics for baby food, so I buy several of any item, make them up and then store in the freezer in little tubs. I'll mix up a couple of days worth at a time from the freezer stock and store in the 'fridge in little double portion glass jars. When its meal time all I need to do is put half a jar in his bowl and I'm ready to feed him.

We are also in the process of transitioning our own food to healthier organic or naturally produced food. The first meat we have chosen for this is chicken. We used to buy chicken breasts in bulk at Sam's Club. I would put each one in a ziplock bag before freezing them, that way we could just take out what we needed. We eat chicken probably three times a week most weeks, so we use a lot of chicken. Then we found whole chickens at Publix for less per pound than the chicken breast at Sam's Club. Obviously you're paying for the skin, bones etc too. As we talked about it we realised that we could save some money through this too. We use a lot of chicken broth. We were buying cans of chicken broth, again in bulk at Sam's Club. Rob also likes to have chicken wings and over the last two years we've noticed they have become rather pricey, more expensive per lb than chicken breasts. So we buy a couple of whole chickens at a time. I butcher them myself at home. The only part I throw away without using is the skin. I bag the breasts as before. I cut up the wings and bag them up for the freezer, and likewise with the drumsticks and the thighs. I then keep the carcass and bag it up for making stock. I currently have 4 chicken carcasses waiting in the freezer to be made into chicken stock, and then I'll pick the bones for the left over cooked meat to add to soups, curries etc. All we need is to go and buy some reuseable mason jars for the stock and I'll be good to go. By using every part of the chicken I'll actually be able to save money in the long term while still feeding my family hormone and antibiotic free meat. We did this with the leftover Turkey carcass at Thanksgiving and it was surprising just how much meat I was able to pick out of the boiled bones, not to mention how tasty the turkey soup was that I made with the stock I produced. We just finished using up the leftover turkey just a few weeks ago.

Finally, for this post anyway, we switched to cloth napkins instead of paper ones. We bought a couple of packs of plain white cloth table napkins so that we would always have plenty, even when some are in the wash. We chose white so that when they get stained it is easy to add a little laundry bleach to make them all white again. We also stopped buying paper kitchen towels and just use dish towels and hand towels in our kitchen. It is amazing how quickly the savings add up when we switched to reuseable products instead of disposable. One of the nice things about this is that it not only cuts the cost, but it also cuts the environmental impact too. We can be good stewards of our money and good stewards of our planet at the same time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

All change for the new year.

It seems that life won't ever get dull, when it is constantly changing.

Now that we're settled in to our new home, we've finally found some time to have some fun as a family. This past weekend we managed two trips to our community pool. They were short and sweet visits, but still it is one of the benefits of living in South Florida. The pool at our new place is heated, so we can use it all year long. After purchasing Aiden a pair of cloth swim diapers just before Christmas, we were able to take him into the water. What can I say? My son is just like his Daddy, a water baby. On Saturday it did take him a few minutes to relax and start enjoying the water. Yesterday when we went back for another quick try he relaxed right away and looked like he had been using a pool for months. I have a feeling Aiden is going to be able to swim before his Mamma.

Another change happened this past weekend. Aiden decided to change his nap routine again. Just as we were getting a handle on the 90 minutes awake and 60 minutes asleep our precious blessing decided this wasn't working anymore. He's just finished a growth spurt. This one happened virtually over night. On Christmas Day he had these enormous fat rolls at the top of his thighs, and could only reach the floor on his tip toes when playing in his Jumperoo. On Boxing Day (the next day) we noticed his feet were almost flat against the floor in the Jumperoo, and that his fat rolls seemed to have shrunk. A week later he starts to refuse to go to sleep for one of his naps. Yesterday I spent an hour and twenty minutes trying to get him to sleep for his second nap while we were at Church. Concerned he would have a melt down during the sermon we left early to come home and put him down to sleep. We thought he would fall asleep in the car, as he usually does when he's tired. Instead our little boy was wide eyed all the way home and for an hour afterwards. When he eventually went down for a nap he slept for two and a half hours.

So today we decided we would try keeping him up a little longer and trying a two nap routine. He stayed up for two and a half hours before his first nap. This gave me time to feed him his second breakfast before his first nap. He then slept for nearly two and a half hours. Then he stayed up for another two and a half hours. Right now he is down for his second nap, and is still asleep after nearly two hours. I guess Aiden decided that turning 7 months meant it was time to switch to a two naps a day routine.

I think the next few weeks will probably also see some changes to the amount of solids he eats, and hopefully the first of his teeth with make an appearance soon. I know that mobility will soon be upon us too, then it'll be time to train him where the safe areas to play are.

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Baby Mordecai

Our blessed first baby, Mordecai, gone to heaven on July 23, 2009 at 13 weeks gestation.

You will never be forgotten by us.