Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yes, I Spend My Free Time Writing About Cleaning.

Hi there. It's 8:30 in the evening and I am taking a rare moment to myself. As a full time working mom I have a lot on my plate and time like this feels selfish but it's necessary. I spend all day taking care of patients who need me and then come home and take care of my family who needs me. It's hard to take care of me sometimes beyond the basics like makeup and a shower. So tonight I am trying to ignore the "You worked all day! You should be holding your son! Bad mom!" guilt while Lucas naps in his crib and I turn on The Mindy Project and write about my life.

I am trying to get my life together. It is not exactly easy but little by little and bit by bit it is happening. Before Lucas I was very messy and disorganized and didn't care much. Now I care a lot more if the lawn gets mowed and the front yard gets weeded because I want a better life for Lucas. When I was growing up I felt like I could never have friends over because our house was always a huge mess. We did have six kids in the family after all, and we were all very close in age. Naturally mess follows. But I want Lucas to be able to have his friends over without shame or worry. I want him to be proud of his family and his home.

Lately I have been following the Flylady program. It has been around forever and is completely free, and it really helps me to get things clean and keep them that way even with my work schedule. My house is cleaner with a four month old than it ever was in the eight years prior to his arrival. And no more ring around the bathtub! I am implementing the program bit by bit and it's great for a couple reasons:

1. Flylady doesn't demand perfection. I was always taught that if it wasn't perfect there wasn't really a point. I was taught to clean but a lot of time things weren't clean or were too impractical to clean (white tile and sand colored grout for a bathroom shared by five people of the male gender, anyone?). It was either of the extreme. Flylady tells me frequently that it doesn't have to be perfect to bless my family. How freeing is that?

2. I have a place to start. The Flylady system gives people like me who were trained to clean (but not much else) a starting point, down to morning and evening routines and even what to do each day of the week if I want. Having someone tell me that it's a good time to wipe down the refrigerator or plan this week's menu is so so helpful!

3. Flylady is encouraging. Not only does she not demand perfection, but she tells you she's proud of you. A little corny? Yes. Much needed? Also yes. My poor husband knows my dad used to criticize my mom for the way that she kept house and I think he's afraid to say anything if the house does look nice. So hearing an "I'm proud of you!" from Flylady really makes me feel better.

4. It works. The first thing Flylady tells you to do is shine your sink. To get the dishes out of there in a dishpan if need be and to actually clean out the sink before you clean anything else. I didn't buy it at first -- what in the world would a clean sink do for me anyway? But I followed Flylady's instructions and my sink has stayed shiny since! It has also created a cleaner kitchen since I no longer want to leave anything there.

Anyway I plan on sharing my Flylady progress sometime in the future and I hope that you enjoyed my review so far!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Favorite Things: Name Brand Items We Always Have

Before I started couponing I was an avid buyer of all things generic.  After all, why spend the extra cash when generic is fifty cents to a dollar less? And I wasn't convinced about the couponing thing. While I am still working on my stockpile and we are many items short if a disaster were to happen, I would love to share some 'name brand' things I always buy:

1. Miracle Whip. We have a split household. I prefer mayo (which I rarely use) and James prefers Miracle Whip. We always have it!

2. Pepsi Products. I don't like to stock soda but when we have it it is name brand. James just won't drink off brand or even Shasta. Also for some reason Pepsi products are less expensive than Coke in our area. I would love to do a cost of living blog one day and we can all compare for fun. I love reading old pricing lists about how a loaf of bread cost thirty cents in 1955. :-) Maybe one day my kids can laugh at how bread was ninety eight cents!

3. Head and Shoulders. Funny, but many of these are coming up as things James insists on! I guess if it were me I would buy everything generic? (Not anymore, by the way! I have .28 cent per bottle L'Oreal in my stockpile. Whoo hoo!) :-) Anyway James will use other shampoos but says Head and Shoulders works the best.

4. Old Spice Deoderant. Ha ha ha... this is turning into "All the name brand things I buy for James!" But he has only used Old Spice deoderant. That's what we have and that's what he uses.

5. Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing, Ken's Steakhouse Caesar Dressing, and Hidden Valley Bacon Ranch. These are name brand specific because off brand just doesn't taste right.

I just thought it would be fun to share some of the things we always have and will splurge on. :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

QUICK UPDATE.'s been a while!

Things have been just crazy in the last month. I know our culture values "crazy" and "busy" but truly my schedule has been insane and things are just starting to quiet down.

First off, I never like to talk about work here online, but my crazy has been all work related. I don't like to make complaints when I am having a hard time, but coming back from maternity leave I was having a pretty rotten time on my unit since all CNA schedules changed while I was out. I was working 8am-8:30pm, 10am-10:30pm. Swing shift is not my strong suit. I was very tired and childcare was a headache -- I was bouncing Lucas from daycare to friends and it made for some very long and hard days. Plus Lucas was asleep by the time I got home.

Fortunately before I came back from leave I heard of a job opening from an old coworker in the hospital in the Birthing Center. There are only two CNA's in the Birthing Center and it is not easy to get in. But through God's grace and a lot of chocolate, here I am two months later! I take care of moms and babies in Post Partum! It has been such a refreshing change for me and to boot I work 7am-3:30pm Monday through Friday. Childcare is now all through hospital daycare alone and it is so nice to take baby to work with me, feed him during my lunchtime, and take him home. That extra time with little man is so wonderful as are weekends off which is almost unheard of in healthcare.

I am so excited and blessed!

Second in the past few months I have started couponing. Insert groan here. At least for my mom anyway. My mom has women in her congregation who have crazy stockpiles I guess and she thinks they buy things they don't need. However since Mother's Day I have been learning a lot of lessons and saving a lot of money too, not to mention developing a modest stockpile. I have only been buying things I need at a fraction of the price, and I have started to get items for free or very inexpensively. I am no extreme couponer, but I am saving a very significant amount of money and I am working on doing even more.

There's a lot more to cover but that's all the time I have this evening. :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Dear Lucas,

This month has been full of ups and downs. I went back to work the first weekend in May and it is almost starting to feel normal to leave you with the daycare ladies. We had some schedule challenges since I came back to work and found my old schedule had been eliminated and I was instead working later and later hours. It's hard to find childcare for a newborn until 10:30 pm. I also had such a hard time coming home to my little love sleeping soundly without help from his mama. But you seem to love me still. I worry through the twelve hour days that you'll forget me. But you know my face, my voice, my smell. Just like I know yours.

I have enjoyed the changes this month sweet boy. You have filled out. Your arms and legs are fatter, your feet are round and chubby and you have a dimple on every knuckle. Your smiles are bigger and more frequent now. One day as I had you on the floor for tummy time and was taking some pictures you suddenly flopped on your side. Just like that. All on your own. Right there on camera. That's my boy.

I am obsessed with your legs and your feet. You have the cutest little rolls. I know it means you're getting fed well, but it is so much fun to see you grow.

Since I went back to work in May you also contracted your first illness. It all started with sneezing followed by coughing and lots of sad whining. You never spiked a fever or exhibited any behavior changes other than wanting to be held more and waking up a little more at nighttime. I took you to the doctor who pronounced you just fine with clear lung sounds. Next time I will just buy the stethoscope like your Grandma French suggested. Doctor Edwards said that had you been any younger we would have had to do a full workup on you -- including a chest X-Ray and lumbar puncture. It took almost two weeks to clear up but you made it (and so did your mom).

You also made it through your very first Stovern Mother's Day shopping excursion. Each year we get together and spend many hours marching through every store with a garden center so your Grandma Kay can have a nice garden. Shopping with Grandma is an extra special kind of torture you will only appreciate when you are older.

I think you look like my brother Daniel in this picture.

Love, Mama