Where the Bruised Cucumber meets the Sippy Cup!

A Loud Mama with a loud family, living imperfect lives glorified through God and breaking free of the bondage of politically correct Religion. We do things differently around the Viking Homestead, and hope that, by sharing our lives, we can help others feel more comfortable with their differences as well.

22 March, 2012

Thankful Thursday: God

Its time for Thankful Thursday again, and this week I have SO much to be thankful for.  Yes, on one hand, I suppose I do have a lot of things I could grumble about.  That's life.  However, If I quit whining and feeling sorry for myself and focus on my blessings, its amazing how much more my life starts to rock! :)  Really, at the end of the day, my life is amazing.  Yes, I have stress but I'm amazingly blessed.  Focusing on the blessings is REALLY helping to keep the stress and worry at bay.  I'm an inpatient, cranky, stressed out mama who could only get through each and every day by the grace of God.  So, today, nothing long and drawn out.  Just, that I couldn't thrive without His grace and that, when things seem the MOST unbearable, God always has a way of giving you just enough grace to see that the best things ever are right around the corner.

20 March, 2012

My advice to my daughter(in response to 'Biblical Reasons for Divorce')

Well, Its been quite a few days since I've posted.  I'm running around like crazy trying to make sure everything is in place for the arrival of Baby V.  Of course, I'm sure things were fine 3 or 4 weeks ago, but every day I wake up and find something else that needs tending to.  Ah, such is the life of a soon-to-be mama of 3!  Now, on to business!  I pondered publishing this post, but felt it was the right thing to do.  Not necessarily easy, but if it can benefit anyone, then I would be remiss to keep it hidden away.  After reading the advice that was sent to me to be forwarded to the lady having marriage issues, I realized just how different everyone feels on this issue.  I knew it wouldn't be cut and dry and people have different life experiences, but no two people responded the same way.  She has noted that she has appreciated that people thought enough of her situation to send advice or, at the very least, well wishes her way.  I thought long and hard about what advice I wanted to give her.  What advice would I give to my daughter if she were in that situation?  What advice would I give to my best friend?  If I were looking into the eyes of someone I loved and saw them hurting and broken-hearted and feeling absolutely worthless and just looking for some kind of hope.   If I saw one of my little girls devastated by the way her spouse was treating her and if he was engaging in this kind of behavior...or even worse, if my son was treating his wife this way....what would I say to her?  So, I gave this woman the advice that I would give if she were my daughter.  A tough-love sort of manner because, at this point, this poor woman has been absolutely broken by the person who is supposed to support her the most.  So, here it is.

Wow!  First off, I'm so glad that you felt secure enough to reach out to me.  I'm passing along all the advice and thoughts that I receive so that hopefully you will garner some direction or comfort from them.  I'm SO sorry for what you've been put through.  You deserve so much better.  This kind of treatment is unacceptable.  You've been broken by the person that should be your foundation. Instead, he seems to have left you on sand with no way to get your bearings.  I wanted to give some advice of my own.  As will all the other advice you're received, it is yours to do with as you wish.  I hope that you are at least able to get some answers or some things sorted out.  When deciding how I felt and how I wanted to respond to your e-mail, I had to think long and hard.  I finally realized that the only way I could give you advice that I could actually stand behind was to imagine if one of my daughters were in your situation.  This is where that advice comes from.   So, if it seems a little tough-love-heavy-on-the-southern-mama, thats because it is. :)
1)  You need to get yourself(and maybe even your older children) into counselling.  You need to find a GOOD Christian counselor without an agenda that will help you to rebuild your self-esteem.  You need  to do this so that you will realize that you DESERVE so much better.  You deserve to be treated better and deserve to have a happy home life. 
2)He needs to get himself into counselling(again, with a GOOD Christian counselor without an agenda)!  He needs to start the process of coming clean about why he has made it a point to distance himself from you, especially when you are the most vulnerable and need him the most.  If he can not do this, that would be a red flag for me.
3)You mentioned that he has had emotional affairs but had no way to prove if it had escalated.  Whether it became physical or not does NOT matter.  He betrayed your trust and acted inappropriately with another female.  He needs to go to counselling to deal with the issues that lead him to seek out the attentions of other women, ASAP!  Also, he needs to be an open book.  You need to have ALL the passwords to his e-mail accounts, social networking accounts and voice mail.  If you discover hidden accounts that allow him to continue this behavior unchecked or he refuses to deal with this, thats another deal breaker to me. 
4)A recurring theme was that he wouldn't actually deal with issues, but would just be nice and act as if things were normal.  Tell him that this is unacceptable.  That while doing the dishes is nice, he is showing you utter disrespect when he refuses to do what it will take to fix the issues.  He can either talk about the issues at hand(especially since he promises that he will) or he's only showing his lack of consideration for you.
5)Start a separate savings account.  This is not fun money or a typical rainy day fund.   This is just in case something happens and you need to leave quickly.  It is for dire emergencies only.  He is to have no access to it.  If you have a skill or are able to babysit, then you can take the small amount of money you would earn and put that aside in your account or, if that is too risky, you could give the cash to a trusted friend or family member. 
6)Check with your local community college to see about continuing education or certificate programs.  If you have ANY hours at all, they may be able to go toward getting a certifications that would help you to find a job that would allow you to provide for your children.  This would also help to boost your self-esteem as well!
7)The whole room-mate thing is very sad to me.  Have a room-mate or a husband.  If you can't view each other as spouses, especially due to his out of place priorities and what you consider to be sexual immorality, then you need to sort out HOW he needs to go about repairing this.  What will he have to do for you to look at him as a romantic partner instead of some guy that lives with you and squashes the bugs?  Think LONG and HARD about this.  It is NOT fair at all on your part if you lead him on, give him mixed signals and a list of requirements when, in fact, you no longer have any romantic feelings for him and don't want to work things out.  Make sure you are being totally honest with yourself here.
8)Porn. Ugh.  Honey, if he has a porn addiction, he needs to get to a support group, like, yesterday, and you need to find a support group for spouses/partners of people with some form of sex addiction.  Pornography is disgusting and has NO place in a marriage.  It only serves to make women feel inadequate and men feel desensitized to real women and real relationships.  I could go on for days, but honestly, at the very least it is degrading and insulting to women.  Its got to be TERRIBLY difficult to be married to a man who views women that way!  I would say that, at the very least, you need to install net nanny or some other internet blocker or filtering software on ALL the computers in your house as quickly as possible.  Also, if he has a smart phone, then you need to go through your service provider and have that sort of content blocked from his phone. 
9)Since he has a problem with emotional affairs and seeking attention from other women, he needs to get that in check.  My suggestion?  NO unneccesary contact with females that he is not related to.  No female friends that are not also your friends as well.  He is to delete female friends that you do not approve of from his phone and social networking accounts.  Now, will this completely solve the problem or prevent the behaviors entirely?  No, but it will at least let him know that YOU know whats going on and you expect him to act better than he has been.
10) 'fake it til you make it' is the worst advice I've ever heard in a scenario like this.  I'm SO sorry you were given that advice.  He's been treating you badly, ignoring your needs, and just basically missing the mark all around on how to help fix things.  I would say, instead, to picture your marriage how you want it to be and go backwards to sort out the steps you have to take to get to that point, but never to just fake being happy.  Thats unfair to both of you.  You have to be brutally honest with yourself and with him if you are going to sort this out.  Hopefully he can take a lesson and be brutally honest as well, instead of being so caught up focusing on his image!
So, there it is.  This is the advice I would give to my children and I hope that, if nothing else, you know that I'm thinking of you and your children and praying that your situation would have a wonderful resolution as I know that you really DO want things to work out for the best.  That you would have a marriage that is a testament to the glory and grace of God, that you would have a spouse worthy of you and that your children could grow up in a happy household.  I hope that you are able to find peace and grace while going through this trial and know that there are people that are thinking of you!

13 March, 2012

A Letter to my Daughter

Dear as-of-yet unnamed little baby girl,
You'll be here any day now.  I'll be surprised if you're not here by the weekend.  I love you already....but I'm terrified of you.  The changes that baby #3 will bring, the fact that I can't pick a name for you, that I don't know how your older siblings will behave once you arrive(though I'm expecting it won't be well), that I don't know what kind of number you're going to do to my body and I'm scared to death of postpartum depression and ocd.  I'm scared of, well, everything.  The potential for several more years of sleepless nights and emotional upheaval is almost more than I can bear sometimes.  It seems the bigger you grow, the harder things become.  The stress between Cranky Pirate and I, which has been there for years, only gets worse when I'm pregnant.  Your brother and sister have grown alternately excited for your arrival, and entirely unimpressed with the fact that you are coming(I know, it makes no sense!).  All grandparents are butt-hurt over the fact that, given that we already had 'one of each' kept making babies over the socially acceptable number of two(unless you 'need' one of the opposite gender).  Yes, you are being born into a completely childist society that is anti-family and VERY selfish.  If we have more children after you, I'm sure the disparaging looks and tacky comments will only come more frequently.  I'm scared that something will be wrong with you.  I turned down genetic screening and, after my level 2 ultrasound, a meeting with a genetic counselor and any further testing.  However, I know that, technically, you're chances of having Down Syndrome are now increased.  It scares the hell out of me that you could be sick....that my baby won't be well, won't be 'normal'.  And, yes, part(most) of that is a VERY selfish fear.  It will make my life harder and take me away from your siblings more.  Alternately, I'm also scared that you'll be a very easy baby.  I know this makes no sense.  However, I have horrible ocd....kids have always given me an out from participating in society.  If you are easy and sleep anywhere, then I won't have ANY excuse to stay hidden away.  While I know that your brother and sister would love that, it terrifies me. That I would actually have to reach out....that I would probably have to resort to medications to cope.  That I know it would start another roller-coaster of Cranky Pirate counting pills and keeping business cards handy and phone numbers on speed dial and asking, every time I have a bad day, if I've been taking my meds.....and I hate meds.  What if something happens....I don't want to watch another baby be held down for a spinal tap.  Will you nurse well?  Will my labor be what I'm hoping for?  Will I need a c-section.  What if something goes wrong(like in all the freaky stories I've unfortunately been reading) and I end up with pre-eclampsia or postpartum heart problems?  What if something happens and I die, like that crazy story I read where the mom died and her little girl was alone in the house...I mean, ok, I should really stop with the crazy reading of sad stories, but that one freaked me out!! Will you sleep as well as your sister did as a baby?  Will you prefer your father more than me(as your sister did) which will kick up the crazy want for me to have another little boy?  Will the bond be there?  Can I love you just as much as I love your brother and sister?  Will it work?  Will we all settle in happily and, before we know it, it will be as if you were always here....or, well, more like you were the piece we didn't know was missing?  Can I handle the emotional rollercoaster of having, and loving another baby, all while dealing with OCD....I hope its something you never understand, but EVERY cry, sigh, wimper, funny look, fever, sniffle, cough, or anything else is enough to send me into a panic and to stand vigil over a crib or bed while waiting for the worst to happen. 
Ok, all that bat-poo crazy being said, I love you little girl.  I can't wait to see you.  I'm glad you chose this family to come into.  While I'm terrified, I'm also completely smitten.  I'm ready to see Cranky Pirate catch you, and hand you to me and to have that crazy start to the crazy whirlwind romance of a life we're going to have.  I don't know if there will be more after you, but I know that my pregnancy with you has been life changing in ways I didn't know existed.  I'm ready to see you earthside and jump into the deep end.  Oh, but if you could, PLEASE be kind to mama's perineum on the way out....seriously.  A bad doctor did a hell of a number down there when I had your big sister....so, seriously, if you wanna give me a bit of a break, that would be great.  I love you....more than the rain, more than good coffee, more than sleeping late and spending an entire day in a bookstore.  I love you more.  I'll get through the rough....I'll find a way to love you the way you need to be loved, even if it means getting through the mess in my mind....I'll find a way to keep it quiet in my mind so that I can have enough grace for both of us.  For all of us. 

Trilight Health Review for Modern Alternative Mama

It's that time of year again! Cold & Flu season is kicking into gear and, if you're like me and live somewhere with crazy weather fluctuations, a late-starting cold and flu season can coincide with hay-fever, allergies and sinus problems. There are times when the kiddos seem to be 'sick' for 6 months straight. However, I now have a new 'weapon' in my arsenal against what I call 'the crud'. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to try Sinus Minus from Trilight Health so that I could review it for Modern Alternative Mama. This could not have come at a better time. Both of my children(ages 8 and 3) were starting to come down with the crud. Runny nose and eyes, mild fever, sinus drainage and constant throat clearing and that was on a good day. Having made the rounds with doctors when my daughter was younger to try to find a solution for her problems, I know that going that route is expensive and doesn't fix anything. Oral and nasal steroids, OTC antihistamines, decongestants and ultimately surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids had NO effect. I've done the best I know how and now, thanks to cleaning up our diet and keeping everyone on fclo and probiotics year round helps. However, sometimes, there's just no preventing a bout of sinus problems or hay-fever(when you live directly across from a field of ragweed and trees that you have a confirmed allergy to). I'm thrilled to have something else to turn to when everyone in the house starts feeling yucky. As far as I'm concerned, Sinus Minus is going to be a permanent fixture in our medicine cabinet! I'm ordering the largest bottle that they have to keep on hand so that I can start it the minute 'the crud' tries to rear its ugly head. Sinus Minus has a combination of herbs specifically selected to support the sinuses and lungs during bouts with sinus infections, allergies or if you are dealing with a cold or the flu and have lots of extra congestion to clear up. My kids LOVE to try new things, so getting them to take this wasn't hard at all. My husband took it as well and while he said it did have a medicinal taste, no one complained or refused to take it. I followed the suggested use on the bottle starting the day we received Sinus Minus and, quite frankly, was a bit skeptical. I wasn't really expecting much, especially not for the first couple of days. However, I was pleasantly surprised when, by day 2 the kiddos had stopped clearing their throats! This was HUGE to me, because when they have sinus issues, it is constant. By day 4, they didn't have 'allergy face' anymore. Their appetites had also improved as food started to taste good again. Even my husband, who was incredibly skeptical and works outdoors(in harsh environments and in a vocation that puts massive amounts of stress on his body) said that he was pleasantly surprised by the improvements. For the record, he is a guy who has to take the largest dose of pseudo-ephedrine available to get any amount of relief. He noted that he woke up after a couple of days with NO sinus drainage or nose bleed. This is a HUGE deal as he has dealt with this for years. I didn't give all the doses per day that were allowed. I don't wake kiddos up for supplements. The label advises that it can be taken every 3 hours. I gave it to the kids at breakfast, lunch and bedtime. If they were feeling worse, I would have increased the dose. However, as this seemed to work quite effectively I was pleased to stick with this amount. I was also happy that Sinus Minus didn't cause my children to experience any side effects. For a bit of time I did give my children OTC antihistamines and decongestants and those can turn the sweetest of babes into raging little monsters. My children always experienced ill effects from these drugs. Sinus Minus caused nothing other than a good night's sleep during cold & flu season. All in all, I can't say enough good things about this product and am really SO happy that I've had the experience to try it. I'm now recommending this for ALL my mama friends to have on hand as a way to get away from the vicious cycle of OTC/prescription drugs.
I had a GREAT experience with this product and its nice to have something else to go to.  The
ONLY negative I could find was that, using the recommended doses, we did run through the bottle fairly quickly.  However, this would be true of ANY medicine if we were ALL taking it.  This review was originally featured over at Modern Alternative Mama.

08 March, 2012

In Response to 'Biblical Reasons For Divorce'

This post is going to be a bit different.  After my post on Biblical reasons for divorce, I recieved a message from a woman who seems to be going through a really rough patch in her marriage.  I feel horrible for her, but I'm no counselor!  I gave her the best advice I could and asked if I could post her letter so that someone might be able to give her some better advice or point her in the right direction.  She agreed on the condition that she would remain anonymous and that any potentially identifying details are changed/deleted so as not to cause further problems.  I also left out some details that could offer more insight, but, well, I'm still wrestling about mentioning them.  Suffice to say, they aren't good.  If you have any advice, please feel free to comment here or leave a message for me on Facebook.  If nothing else, tihs is something for all of us to ponder!  I've seen several places that state that, even people who are in HORRIBLE marriages, will report that they are much better 5 years later....so stick it out because it gets better.  I've also seen self help books that suggest that not talking or having loads more sex will fix the problems.  That is not the case.  If you are in a relationship where you feel completely unloved and disrespected, the last thing you want is to have sex, although you might have stopped talking at that point.  I don't feel that cutting off communication or increasing sex are ways to pull a relationship back from the brink.  I also don't feel that someone should have to stifle who they are to be in a relationship.  When you get married, you take that person for better or for worse.  So, when they STILL clip their toenails on the coffee table after you got married and it irritates you to no end...well, you married the guy didn't you?  You knew he did that and you shouldn't expect that he would change just because y'all exchanged rings and signed a marriage license.  Also, if you are a perpetual wallflower who's idea of a happening party is getting a coffee and sitting around in a vintage bookstore all evening, and you've ALWAYS been that way, then I see no reason why you should be expected to go out to clubs or bars if that is something you can't stand to do and it makes you intensely uncomfortable to say the least.  Now, for full disclosure, I don't do date nights.  Period.  I put my kids to bed.  I make my kids breakfast.  I LIKE to be home and to care for my children.  I need several hours sleep to feel rested and, now that I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy, I need more sleep to handle homeschooling two rambunctious kiddos.  I know some people advocate 'date nights' for married couples, and some counselors will just about require it to couples trying to save their marriages.  However, I honestly can't stand the idea since, by the time you get a sitter(uh, no thanks) deal with time constraints(I will only go out without my children if they are in bed), deal with parking, etc., just to sit somewhere and talk about the kiddos while eating overpriced food and wearing 2 pairs of spanx just isn't my idea of a fun night!  At that point, I could've stayed home and saved the $80+ dollars.  Ok, so enough of my rant/advice.  These are just my feelings and thoughts on the issue.  Please offer any advice/ideas if you would like.  However, please keep it kind or supportive.  This woman has beat herself up enough already(as I'm sure you'll see) so, if you don't have anything nice to say, then go eat a piece of chocolate. 

"Let me start off by saying that I don't really know how to feel about your post.  I'm in a situation that I alternately wouldn't wish on my worst enemy but am sure that there are others going through this.  I've been married for several years and we have three children.  All of the pregnancies were unplanned, but I was happy for each one.  My kids are my world.  However, staying with their father has gotten harder and harder as the years have gone by.  We were having problems before we even got married, but went forward with getting married.  I contemplated divorce, then turned up pregnant.  Once I had our first child, I was so sucked into being a mom that I just jumped into the deep end of being the best mom ever and, by the time I came up for air, I realized just how bad things had gotten.  He was very odd and detached during the pregnancy so I distanced myself.  I figured I could make it on my own as a single mom....but then I got pregnant again.  Again I had something else to focus on.  He was even more detached during the second pregnancy.  After the baby I was again thrilled to have a new child in the house and tried to get a nice routine going for the kids and I.  At that point, the thought of being a single mom to 2 kids was terrifying, so I figured I'd made my own bed and would suck it up for the sake of my kids.  Then, by some fluke, I got pregnant with my third child.  We are RARELY intimate....I was able to confidently tell my OB the exact night I conceived because it was the ONLY time we were together in 6 months.  We were both shocked, but the pregnancy was relatively easy.  Of course, the oddness and detachment were even WORSE(if that is even possible!!) and once the baby was born, I quickly sorted out a routine for myself and the other children.  Now, of course, I'm definitely stuck at the moment.  I have 3 children and no education.  Therefore, I would be a complete burden on the system if I left.  I don't know if I'm quite to that point yet.  So, let me start by giving you the LONG backstory on my situation.  If nothing else, I want to get this off my chest.  I need to tell someone since I've long since realized that telling it to my husband=talking to a brick wall.  My husband is the guy that will hide, omit and deny.
You just CAN'T confront him unless you have air-tight proof of something...and even then, chances are he will come up with some way about how its 'not what it looks like' or that its someone else's fault.  He's very image concious and has an idea in his head of the image he wants to project. He's very careful to protect that image but will not admit to anything that goes against that image no matter what. Even if he is, in fact, involved in something that would make him look like a bad husband, he won't process or admit to that because then it would go against the image he has of himself.  Its funny because he comes across as such a people pleaser....I think its really that he wants acceptance more than to make people happy. Regardless, I wish he understood that he can't make everyone happy and that he's OBVIOUSLY focusing on pleasing the wrong people.
He absolutely refuses to apologize or try to fix things. Of course, I get the refusal to apologize. If he did that, it would be admitting wrongdoing. I just wish that he understood that the longer these situations go unresolved, the more I have to detach so I won't constantly be sad or angry.
I've told him several times that he needs to do what it will actually take to fix things, not just be nice and hope everything will get swept under the rug. I can't trust him. I look on the past and wonder what else he keeps hidden, based on all the other inappropriate actions/things he has tried to keep to himself.  Trying to get answers from him is impossible. Of course, part of that goes back to his 'image'. He wouldn't ever say anything that would alter his image. He doesn't want to be in trouble or get fussed at so uses that as an excuse to avoid talking as well-but that has OBVIOUSLY gotten us nowhere. One of my biggest problems is when he says he won't talk to me or tell me things in order to 'protect me from myself and my feelings'.  Its gotten to the point(and I've told him this several times) that I had to start viewing hims as a roommate to deal with my anger, hurt and perpetually unresolved issues(with him). That there is no chemistry on my part. That to not be angry and to remain functional, I had to shut down emotionally and stop viewing him as a husband or looking at him in a romantic way. Instead, I had to start seeing him as my roommate(whom I would obviously have much LESS expectations of), who I happened to have children with. I've had to shut down and detach myself from him emotionally because I know there will be no resolution because he is hoping that attempting to be the 'good guy' now will fix everything.  Everytime I try to bring things up, he says that everything is fine. For over a year, I've waited and hoped that something would get done besides me reading some relationship books and nothing changing.  When things get bad, he gets scared and acts like he really wants to fix things. Then, I stop being angry and he stops trying. I mean, I'm the one who had to find a counselor even though I told him it was something HE had to do to prove that he wanted to fix things. I didn't really want to go to therapy, but I wanted him to fight for me. To prove that he wanted to fix things. He didn't. If maybe once he would just have some fire, take some initiative and fight for me.  Now, this doesn't meant I don't appreciate everything he does. He works hard to provide for our kids and to make sure that we have medical and dental coverage. He's great with the kids and will happily chase them around all day. When I was pregnant he would take them out as much as possible so I could just sleep. He also does tend to all the 'manly' chores around the house(oil changes, bug squashing, dog walking, etc.).  Also, we want similar things, including all of our children have the same parents. Outside of that, I'm not sure there are any similarities.  Ideally, we would agree to live together as co-parents. Roommates who have the same general wants but are legally married because at this point there is really no other option. Right now, I just can't picture things changing. There's just been so much time....the older wounds have 'healed' into marred and ugly scars. Now I like sleeping by myself or with the kiddos curled up around me. I don't like being pressured to be intimate and HATE that even a friendly peck on the cheek is seen as an invite for some 'adult' time. Especially not after everything that has gone on. I feel like that is his main focus....not on fixing things, but on when I'll start 'putting out' on a regular basis. Of course, its been ok for him to continually hurt my feelings over the years, but he can't understand how offensive it is to still expect me to be intimate with him when our relationship is in such a bad state. At this point I would like for him to just give me my space and quit trying to be IN that space. To stop trying to kiss me on the mouth or complain and whine when I give in and give him a little peck...not good enough and he whines about having a 'proper kiss'. Um, no thanks. Since I know that, if I do give him a 'proper kiss' he will then want a hug and will then assume that he's been given the green light, so to speak. In response, I have completely shut down that part of myself. I was seeking advice and counsel from some women who viewed divorce as absolutely unacceptable and was following their advice to 'fake it 'til you make it"...basically, to act as if our relationship were already as I wanted it to be and to act more loving so that I would adopt better behavior in the relationship and that would help to actually make the relationship better but I just can't gring and bear it any more since things aren't getting fixed. That only seems to have led him to believe that everything is ok! :(
At this point it seems better to me to have no expectations so that I won't be constantly let down. He has an addictive personality(no drug use or drinking or gambling...its other things). I don't really know if I have the emotional energy to deal with all of this. However, he makes loads of promises that he never keeps. At least I've learned my lesson where that is concerned and don't actually expect him to follow through on his promises any more. Also, I have VERY few male friends that aren't co-workers or family. I keep it that way on purpose. I don't really feel its appropriate to have casual and excessive friends of the opposite sex. He doesn't feel that applies to him, but can't keep from acting inappropriately with female friends. I don't mean sleeping with them, but flirting with them or speaking to them about things that a married man should discuss with other women. I feel as if he doesn't know me at all. I get to the point where I also detest when he tries to compliment me(in a low attempt for intimacy and to keep the peace). I'm WELL aware of the type of woman he finds attractive(as evidenced by the history on our computer...)and it is PAINFULLY clear that I look NOTHING like those women. At. All. I've had a few kids, I'm not a spring chicken anymore. Since I'm not his type and he has no problems excessively looking at ones who are, then I refuse to degrade myself by being 'intimate' with him.  I just can't do a 'superficial' relationship anymore if its got marital expectations to it. I'm tired of the back and forth. I don't care for passive behavior. I'm tired of all the weirdness and back and forth going on. One day he won't talk to me and then the next day he's all over me. I'm tired of hearing 'its not us, its you'....unless there is someone he wants to unburden himself to...and by 'someone' I mean a girl. Then, all of the sudden, he will tell that someone how bad our marriage is and how its been bad for years and so on and so forth. The children and I need routine and stability. I hate knowing that there's something going on but no air-tight proof=me looking like an idiot if I say something. Its not worth it. I would rather keep my dignity and pride intact. Its just, knowing that something is going on and not being in a position where I can say anything is such a bad space to be in. I know him better than he knows himself. He will readily admit this to anyone. However, when I can tell things are off, and call him on it, then 'i don't know what I'm talking about'. I don't know....and the crazy 180 degree behavior keeps my head spinning. I hate being in a position where I doubt and second guess myself. I hate when he keeps telling me he'll talk to me about something but then never does. I hate his passive/agressing, attempting to use the kids against me type behavior to 'get me in line'(thats must be whats going on)! He refuses to be open with me about anything, even though he KNOWS how important it is to me. I just can't handle this situation anymore. I can't handle whats going on. All of this not talking and being in a funk and overcompensating and superficial stuff if driving me crazy. Hiding my feelings and walking on eggshells to be a good wife isn't working for me and its making me miserable. I just am really frustrated and don't know what to do here."

06 March, 2012

When Something Isn't Right: Having my children evalutated for SPD and Dyslexia

I love my kiddos.  They are my world.  I've always accepted their behavior as normal because, well, its normal for us.  Sure, there may have been times that they were on the slower or later end of the curve, but thats ok, right?  Because they aren't 'bad' kids by definition and really, they have their good moments.  They can be 'good' kids....and by good I mean spell a word consistently(that would be nice) or go out in public without having to scream just because(I won't hold my breath!).  It wasn't until the start of this past school year when I really started to step back and notice things about my children that I knew in my heart were NOT normal.  My happy, well adjusted and popular daughter had gone to the school nurse at least 75% of the days she was in attendance at public school....sometimes more than once a day!  I had teacher friends checking up on her, watching her, and making sure that there was no problem with bullying, problems with friends or older kids, etc.  She did really well, and was enrolled in the gifted program where she continued to make good grades.  However, I noticed problems that, to this day are still a huge issue.  Spelling problems, handwriting issues and math.  Also, her last teacher called me to tell me she thought my daughter's stomach aches weren't really a problem and that she was just making them up to get out of class.  I told her that she should do her job and figure out why my daughter was having such a rough time but managed to get such good grades.  That there had to be something else going on because she liked going to school, liked her teachers, friends, etc.  Once we started homeschooling, I noticed something:  she would have stomach aches when she had to do a lot of copywork or math.   Not anxiety, like, almost like motion sickness.  Her vision is perfect so we knew it wasn't that.  Math problems were often incorrect, even for the most basic of concepts and, although she could get an answer on paper, she never shows her work.  that concept doesn't make sense to her.  If I do put a time limit on math or copywork or certain other activities, the number of wrong answers increases dramatically.  It takes AGES for the proper spelling of a word to sink in...if at all.  She will spell it correctly in once sentence and then, later on the same page, she will spell it incorrectly.  Trying to get her thoughts out in an effective manner can also prove difficult, sometimes to the point she gets frustrated and just says 'oh, I don't know' and gives up.  Its very frustrating for her because she is very academically motivated.  I finally decided to start looking for answers.  The answer I came up with is dyslexia.  I'm going through the avenues to have her evaluated.  Is she dyslexic? who knows.  I don't at this point.  This is just what I suspect.  However, it would actually be a relief if that were the case, because then she would be able to get some extra help and I could sort out the best way to teach her.
Now, on to my son.  My little dude.  He's adorable and sweet and all smooshy blond curls.  However, once I saw him interacting with other kids and his behaviors in general, I knew he was far from 'normal'.  He was the baby who could NOT be rocked, at all.  period.  If you rocked him he would scream and throw up.  No rocking at all.  To this day, if you're sitting and holding him, you better not be rocking because it just pisses him off.  He's well over 3 but still has a pacifier.  I let him have the pacifier because if he doesn't have it, he puts everything else in his mouth.  I mean everything.  One day he lost his pacifier in the car and I turned around to notice he had pulled of his shoe and was chewing on that!  Sadly, the pacifier is the only thing that prevents him putting inappropriate things in his mouth.  No matter how hard I work with him, and go over the rules with him, its about impossible to take him out in public! :(  He RUNS.....not jogs ahead, RUNS.  EVERYWHERE.  Like he's driven by some motor that just can't be turned off.  He touches EVERYTHING.  seriously.  You should buy stock in antibac gel because he touches everything.  Not just toys, but trash, plants, and anything else he comes across.  However, don't YOU dare try to touch what HE is touching.  He understands 'gentle' but can't be gentle.  He can demonstrate it with me, but its almost as if he see's it as a line that he has to leap right past and can't play or interact with anyone without a touch turning into a punch, slap or push.  Cups of water always have to be tipped over.  If its in a sippy he has to turn it upside down and shake it to get the liquid out.  Things always have to be thrown when he is done with them.  He's caught more spankings over this than anything else, because he has NO regards for people, animals or things in this regard.  He's tired of a toy, he's gonna throw it and oh well if it hits anything or anyone in the process.  You try to take away a hammer he found? ditto! :/  He doesn't understand speaking or singing at a normal level or 'inside voice'.  He screams.  all the time.  He has to be louder than everything.  And God give me strength if I try to have a gathering at my house...its like he starts out overstimulated and it turns the whole get-together into an embarassing hot mess.  Sadly, I'm to the point where I try to schedule gatherings for when I know he will be napping so that we won't have to send everyone home. It just becomes too exhausting to try to keep him well-behaved around other people.  I always tell people that if he had been my first child, I would NEVER have had more children.  He's that difficult.  Of course, when we're out in public, no one stops to take into consideration that he may have a behavior issue.  Its just assumed that I'm a bad mom.  However, hopefully there may be an answer for him as well.  Sensory Processing Disorder.  I'm looking for someone to evaluate him.  This would allow him to have early help if he needs it and this is a disorder that doesn't include drugs as a method of treatment.  Its all occupational therapy.   Right now I'm still sorting out what exactly I need to do to have them properly evaluated.  Its been a long road.  It can take some time to come to term with the fact that something isn't quite right with your children.  However, its for their best interests that I swallow my pride and my shame and realize that there is no normal.  There's just average....and I never set out to be average at anything anyhow! :)

05 March, 2012

Moms and Merit Badges

Proof that I do indeed rock!
Ok, so, I should start this off by stating that I am NOT judging other mama's.  As long as you are doing what is best for you and yours, then go mama!  Seriously.  I won't judge you, you don't judge me, we agree to disagree when we reach diffent parenting decions and life goes one.  I don't usually go to playgroups or mommy groups or even take part in online forums because that seems to be where I find the dreaded 'merit badge moms'.  I do what I do for my family because its what works for MY family.  It may not work for your family due to differences in personality, eating habits, allergies, ages of children, health issues, space issues, money issues or any other number of issues.  As long as you are doing what you do with the best of intentions and out of love for your family and its working for you, then go mom!! :)  However, if you are doing what you do to 'fit in', thats when it's NOT right, in my opinion.  Parenting isn't about 'fitting in' with anyone.  Its about raising your children.  You'll notice that on some message boards or online pages for your local playgroup you will notice that after a Mom's name, she will have listed 'mama to:' and her children's names.  I do that as well, as I wouldn't be there if I weren't a mom. :)  However, after that, I've seen more causes, agendas, methods of parenting, etc. listed than I think I could find in an ENTIRE Dr. Sears book!  I don't do that.  I don't need to impress people with my parenting resume.  Now, I'm always happy to discuss how I raise my kiddos and what works for us.  If someone asks me where Little Valkyrie goes to school, I don't lie based on who I am talking to.   She is homeschooled and thats what I tell them.  Do I use cloth diapers? Yeah, but not all the time.  Vaccines?  We did our homework and decided that yes, our kids would get some vaccines.  And so on and so forth.  I see mom's whose signature takes up more space than the message they left.  Describing not only HOW many children they have, but how/if they educate, feed, diaper, vaccinate, birth, wean, sleep, circumcise, etc.  Really?  I could care less.  Do you love your children?  Do you care about their well being and do the best you can for them given your information and resources?  Then let the rest go! :)  You don't have to impress the world.  My most important job pays in kisses, cuddles and endless worry. I never WANTED to be a parent. I thought it was too hard and required too much(or giving UP too much as is often the case). I was partly right...it IS hard. Harder than I could have ever imagined, however, it is also more rewarding that I could have ever imagined. I didn't want to be a parent...until I could afford to pay someone to do most of the work for me. I intended to have a full time nanny and a housekeeper. Thats how it was gonna go in my house. I'm incredibly stubborn and was trying to avoid being a parent, even relieved when a doctor told me I would need to go through fertility treatments to conceive. God had a plan for me, lessons for me to learn, and ways for that all to happen. He put me on a cliff and pushed me off. It was time to fish or cut bait. I had to grow up. I could never have comprehended what I was getting myself into when I decided to go through with each of my(unplanned) pregnancies, but I thank God everyday that I'm lucky enough to have the most important job in the world: Being My Children's Mother! They are everything I never knew I always wanted. They are the greatest blessings in my world! Once I stopped worrying about what society thought of how I was parenting, I was able to be the kind of parent my children needed.  I have some odd views on things, and if something is working, I'm not going to change just to fit in someone else's box.  I don't need to be part of their 'group' if it requires me to change my ways and therefore deprive my children of the kind of mother THEY need.  My 'job' as my children's mother is to raise them to the glory of God and to love them the best I can.  Everything after that will fall into place after I realize how to best meet their needs.  So, Mama's(and Papa's), just love your kiddos and do what you have to do to be the parent THEY need....not the parent that someone else says they need.

Biblical Reasons for Divorce

Well, lets just get right into it shall we?  I'm sure the topic for this post is already raising a couple of eyebrows.  Especially depending on your views of divorce, your relationship with God and how you interpret the Bible.  Everyone is different and will have a different relationship with God and understanding of the Bible based on the convictions that God has placed on their heart.  With that being said, This post isn't written out of judgement or criticism.  I'm writing this post for myself.  These are my beliefs on Biblical grounds for divorce based on my experiences, my convictions and what God has placed on my heart.  When discussing what the Bible says about divorce, it is important to keep in mind the words of Malachi 2:16 “I hate divorce, says the Lord God.” With this statement it is very clear that even if there are instances where divorce is permissible, that doesn't mean it should be the first or only option.  In my opinion, in today's 'instant gratification', throwaway culture, its MUCH easier to just go grab a quickie divorce than to actually deal with the problems that got you to that point anyhow.  I've seen many relationships fall apart simply because the couple 'grew apart' and, instead of seeking counselling, or doing something to save the relationship, they just slowly grow into complacency and ultimately decide they need to divorce due to the ever popular 'irreconcilable differences'.  I think both the process of getting married and getting divorced should be a more difficult process than it usually is.  To get married, you just need to get a marriage license.  As long as you are of legal age, you don't need any permission or blessing.  Its a little TOO easy in my opinion.  Imagine how many marriages would be prevented if the couple were required to go through a year of premarital counseling first.  At the very least 6 months.  This would be a wonderful thing.  Those marriages that would be prevented were ones that wouldn't have lasted in the first place and the counseling was probably longer than the entire span the couple had been dating.  Think of the grief that would be saved and the families that would be spared because of this! The same goes for divorce.  People want what they want when they want it.  Imagine if they HAD to go to counselling.  To at least give it the old 'college try' before destroying their family on a whim?  Now, I understand there would need to be exceptions to the latter.  If you are in an abusive relationship, then you don't need to live in the same house with your abusive spouse.  Get somewhere safe where they can not harm you or your children and go from there. 
     Now, when people speak of Biblical reasons for divorce they are 'usually' debating one of two things: what the Bible says are acceptable reasons for divorce period OR what the Bible says are reasons for divorce that would allow remarriage.  The Bible gives two clear grounds for divorce:  sexual immorality (Matthew 5:32; 19:9) and abandonment by an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:15).  Divorce is not required in these circumstances but is viewed as grounds for divorce.  If your spouse commits one of these offenses against you, and there is NO possibility of any reconciliation after counseling, then, after you have exhausted all options, divorce is permissible.  Now, it is my personal belief and conviction that, if you divorce for these reasons then remarriage is permissible without causing yourself to commit adultery.  There are people that disagree with me and I very well understand why.  It can be a very slippery slope.  Also, people will disagree on what constitues sexual immorality.  Some people are very cut and dry: only a classic instance of adultery constitues sexual immorality.  However, depending on your convictions, then someone being married to a person who is homosexual would also meet the requirements of being able to divorce on grounds of sexual immorality.  Also, I personally view pornography addiction and any form of extra-marital affair(including emotional affairs) fall under sexual immorality and would therefore be Biblical grounds of divorce.  Now, I don't seek to impress my convictions or beliefs on anyone.  This is what I believe and again, its based on my relationship with God and the beliefs that he has laid on my heart.  From what I have read(including the Bible), I feel that divorce for these reasons would allow one to remarry without commiting adultery. 
     While the Bible does not discuss several other common reasons for divorce, and I will by no means presume upon the word of God, I also could never judge someone who fell outside of the above reasons but needed to leave their marriage.  The most frequent additional grounds for divorce, which, as best I can tell are discussed neither explicitly or implicitly in the Bible,  that people inquire about are spousal abuse (emotional or physical), child abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual), drug / alcohol use,  criminal activity or imprisonment, and mismanagement of finances (such as through a gambling addiction). None of these can be claimed as Biblical grounds for divorce in my opinion.
However, my feelings on this matter are that, since I believe that there are circumstances for divorce with remarriage, these cases, if they ultimately led to divorce, would not allow for me to remarry.  If I divorced my husband because he had done any of the above, I could not remarry unless I wanted to commit adultery on a daily basis.  Now, do I necessarily 'agree', well, not always.  I don't think that God wants any of His children to suffer, and it breaks His heart.  Its much like disagreeing with your own parents.  You disagree but you respect their decisions because(usually) they love you so much it hurts and want what's best for you, not necessarily what's the most fun or the easiest path.  Don't settle for the easy path.  I'm not here to follow my own path or try to get out of life in the easiest way possible.  Everyone has a task to complete and a life that God put them here to live out to His glory.  Thats what I want to do, for every day that I am granted on this earth.  

02 March, 2012

Homemade Laundry Care

Because I can't cook when making laundry soap...just sayin'! :)
If you do an internet search for homemade laundry items, you will find a multitude of methods and recipes for ditching the commercially available detergents, stain removers and fabric softeners and, all for good reason.  Homemade laundry care items are easy on your budget and your clothes.  Also, you know exactly what is going into them so you can adjust what goes into them based on allergies or needs.  I got interested in homemade laundry detergent while trying to save money when Little Valkyrie was about 4 and we were starting out in a new house.  Of course, the money situation improved, and back to buying it from the store like 'normal' people.  Then I got pregnant with Little Viking and was planning on using cloth diapers.  At that point, I decided that, for the money it would save me I would go back to homemade laundry detergent.  Especially since I KNEW it would be free from optical brighteners and scents that could gunk up my cloth diapers.  I've been using homemade laundry detergent ever since.  I've since branched out into stain treatment and fabric softeners.  Following are the recipes I use for my family.  Of course, feel free to experiement and figure out what works for you and yours!

Laundry Detergent:
  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Cup Washing Soda
  • 5.5-6 oz Bar Soap (and brand you prefer, grated)
  • Liquid Castile Soap
Heat 2 quarts water in a large pot until simmering.  Add the grated soap and stir until melted.  In a 5 gallon bucket, pour in the melted soap, borax and washing soda.  Stir well.  Then add 4-4.5 gallons of VERY hot water to the bucket and continue stirring.  I will also usually add about 1/2-1 cup of castille soap for extra cleaning power.  Once the detergent is mixed thoroughly, let it sit overnight.  It will thicken(it will resemble a more gelled egg drop soup).  The next day, stir your detergent.  Fill an old liquid detergent container halfway with your homemade laundry detergent and halfway with water.  Use about a cup per load!  You can also use this to pretreat stains.  Or if you like, you can try this recipe:

Stain Treatment
  •  1/4 Cup Borax
  •  1/4 Cup Washing Soda
  •  1 Cup Sal Sud's
  •  4 Cups Warm Water
I make this by mixing the borax and washing soda into the warm water until dissolved, then adding the Sal Sud's.  I LOVE using this treatment on REALLY dirty clothes.  The Sal Sud's will cut through grease and food stains, which is GREAT when you have kiddos running around and a husband that works in an industry that=loads of impossibly dirty clothing.  After its all mixed up, I just put it in a squirt bottle by then washing machine so its ready to go.  Now, for the grand finale:  Fabric Softener.  Here is is.  Go to the store.  Grab a downy ball and a gallon of white vinegar.  Fill the downy ball about 1/4 to 1/2 full with white vinegar and toss it in the laundry!  Easy peasy and your laundry will come out nice and static free.  It also helps to de-stink your clothing as well.  So, hopefully this post will help you to at least save a few bucks if nothing else.  Can't go wrong with something that will help you to put some money back AND will allow you to have a little more control over what is being used in your home.

01 March, 2012

Thankful Thursday: LUSH and Tylenol 3

Thats right!  Lush and Tylenol 3.  I'm thankful for them!  Like you wouldn't believe.  As this pregnancy draws to a close, the aches and pains and migraines increase in intensity and frequency.  This is definitely a case where love hurts.  Its a 'labor of love' so to speak!  Ok, enough with the puns!  No more schtick! :)  However, sometimes it really is the simple things that help me cope with the pain i'm in.  Due to having autoimmune thyroid disease and nerve damage that causes muscle spasms, pregnancy is a VERY physically painful time for me.  Usually, I cope pretty well because I understand that its for a limited time and, once the pregnancy is over, I will feel much better.  However, sometimes I just have days where I feel like I've been hit by a bus, had my limbs broken, and am walking through hot sand.  Those, of course, are usually the days where to complete the combo of pain, fatigue and muscle spasms, I will also have a migraine.  The only good thing about the migraines I have is that I get a good fair warning they are coming courtesy of a migraine aura....then my eye starts hurting and then its there.  On those days, I'm thankful that there IS some safe medication available and that there are things that work to make me feel better.  I take a tylenol 3, run a nice warm bath with 1/2 a box of epsom salts and a Lush bubble bar, put some vapo rub on my temples under a nice cool cloth, and just sit in the tub until I've used up all the hot water!  It might seem like something silly to be thankful for, but it allows me to make it through pregnancy without going too stabby so, for this I am thankful!