Aug 25, 2012

Mommy Lessons

Several things have been going through my brain lately that are Mommy-related (hmmm...I wonder why?). This post will just be random thoughts and observations about being a mom.
Why do I always bathe the baby, and THEN feed him?
Why do I bother giving my baby toys, when in reality, his favorite items to play with are my stray hairs that he finds on the carpet?
I don't need to vacuum since my 6 month old picks everything up anyway.
No one wants to play with my 4-year-old at the park, because he chases them and screams with
his angry pirate voice, trying to kill them with an imaginary sword. But when he chases them singing "Pretend, pretend! Pretend, pretend!" he suddenly has lots of friends.
As soon as the bathroom door shuts, all heck breaks loose with my children.
If I'm trying to sneak a cookie, my children ALWAYS come inside right as I'm about to take a bite.
If I'm dying for a nap, it's guaranteed that I won't get one.
If my child claims that there is a bat in the house...there probably is.
Time outs work really well if I play soft piano music on the CD player.
Family prayer and scriptures do WONDERS for the overall feeling in our home. There is less fighting, and I am less likely to lose my temper.
Every night, the boys watch a movie at 6:30pm. It's downtime that I need, and the 30 minutes is perfect length for my 2 year old to sit through.
Knots in kite strings are not impossible to undo. They are simply a series of misunderstandings.
My baby is not a messy eater. I am just a messy feeder.
After feeding the baby, ALWAYS wipe under his neck.
I love Luvs diapers, but they do an incredible job of masking poopy diapers (which technically isn't a bad thing, unless I let my poor baby sit in it too long).
When I hear "I'm going to tell Mommy!" I usually tune out the tattling.
I was given advice that I should act as if my baby is the last one I'm going to have. By enjoying each moment with him, I have enjoyed everything, even his adorable cry. It makes being a mom so wonderful.
As I was sitting outside holding the baby and the other boys were playing in the dirt, I began pondering how great life was, and how wonderful I had it. And then my 2-year-old surprised me by throwing a fistful of dirt right into the baby's face.

Aug 12, 2012

In Times of Poverty

Maybe I'm just being overly sensitive, but I need to put this out there. I'm tired of those who have money criticizing those of us who are desperate enough to need to survive off of food stamps and Medicaid. My husband works full-time...and goes to school full-time. I am trying to follow the counsel of the prophet by remaining a stay-at-home mom and raising my precious children, even though I have a degree. With four children and one income, we are poor. Dirt poor. But that's okay, because struggling is a part of life. I always expected to be poor as I pictured myself newly married. I just didn't expect to be this poor with FOUR children.

My husband has been working his way through college for many years now. Why so long? When we had our first baby, his company switched clients, which in turn changed the available work hours. He was now required to work when he was supposed to be in classes. My husband had a choice to be unemployed and go school (and somehow pay our bills), or quit school and work until we saved enough. It didn't take a lot of pondering. During this time in our life, we were barely scraping by as we tried paying off my student loans (and hospital bills from my son's birth) as quickly as possible. We had $100 a month for groceries, toilet paper, dish soap, and anything else necessary. One HUNDRED dollars. Everything else went towards bills. By the time we had our second child, we realized that we really needed food stamps, because $100 was NOT cutting it...especially with two young ones in diapers.

I am so grateful that while applying for food stamps, the case worker suggested that we also apply for Medicaid. We really didn't want to, because we didn't want to be beggars, but we decided that with free dental care for our children, and no co-pays for doctor visits, it would REALLY be beneficial. And it's a darn good thing we got it. When I was 30 weeks pregnant with my third child, I had experienced severe abdominal pain. I thought nothing of it (thinking I worked too hard at preparing dinner) until that night, I bled. I cried and cried, because I had already experienced the trauma of a miscarriage, and I did not want to experience one again...especially this far along. The next night, my water broke. I was taken by ambulance down to the McKay Dee hospital in Ogden (can you imagine THAT bill?). I was then told that I was to remain there, away from my entire family, the entire time until my baby was born. He wasn't due for another ten weeks. I felt alone, terrified, and hopeless. I remained in the hospital on bed rest for an entire month. Then, when my baby was born, he was taken to the NICU for two weeks. During that time, I stayed in on-site lodging, visiting my baby to nurse and hold him. When we finally returned home and we started getting the bills, I was horrified. It would have cost the same amount as a small house. Medicaid saved our lives.

So here we are, approaching our seventh anniversary, and my husband is STILL at his low-paying job. Why? He had found other employment with much higher salary, but when he injured both knees, tearing the ACL and miniscus on both, he needed a sit-down job. And this was what he had to resort to. So why are we renting a house, you might ask, and not a cheaper apartment? This house's rent is CHEAPER than an apartment. Why? Because the incredible landlords are the most selfless people ever to walk this planet. They are not out to make money, but to provide shelter. So why hasn't my husband graduated yet? If it weren't for his stupid anatomy class that is so difficult for him to pass (he's already taken it twice), he would be graduating this fall. But since it's a prerequisite for another class required for graduation, he must postpone graduation until he passes both classes, each different semesters. Until he graduates and finds an actual career, we're stuck here in a valley that offers mostly minimum wage jobs, living in a super affordable house, because frankly, we can't afford to move anywhere else where there might be a higher-paying job. While it may seem like we're destitute, we're not, because we have food on our table, and my children are healthy, because they are able to see the doctor, and my husband can go to work because he was able to get his knees repaired.

I just want to put it out there that I am so incredibly grateful to be living in such a great country that offers its people financial help. Had we been in living in another country, we'd be living in a cardboard box, and my children would have died from starvation. While there may be some who are abusing the system, it's not fair to criticize those of us who truly ARE in need. It's okay to be poor, and it's okay to accept help when it is offered. But it's not okay to judge in anger just because your table is full from the work of your own hands.

Aug 7, 2012

Finishing Up My Book

After about a year of not even looking at my book, I finally picked it up a few weeks ago and began revising it...and now, I am loving it. One piece of advice my husband gave me that REALLY helped me out a lot is to highlight paragraphs/sentences that just don't seem to settle right, whether I know why or not. I am so glad he told me that, because I had LOT of things in my book that I secretly hated, but I guess I felt obligated to keep them in, because they were a part of my story. I ended up deleting a LOT of things, which is good, because the stories I really wasn't too thrilled about ended up being cut down to a size that was more appropriate, and I wasn't bored by them anymore.
Another piece of advice my husband gave me was to stick to my theme, and not go off on so many tangents. I renamed my story, changing it from "Waiting for Cupid" to "Finding my Fairy Godmother." With the story centered around a Cinderella theme, I had several references throughout my story to Cupid, "the gods," my wishing star, and, of course, my fairy godmother. So when my husband suggested I take out all the references to everyone but my fairy godmother, I was mad, and refused...until I read my book again, and realized how right he was. There was way too much chaos. Now, my book is tighter and more coherent.
Having an outside opinion is one thing, but sometimes getting advice from a spouse can be annoying, since I tend to think that I am right, and he's...not as right. ;) But, after considering all of his advice, my book is so much better right now! Editing is hard work, especially when you fall in love with what you have, and someone tells you that it needs to be changed. When I first ended my book, I left it on a bad note. My husband suggested to me that I change it into more of a love story, reminding me that if I had picked up this book from the library and read it, I would be annoyed with the ending. I kicked and screamed, and refused to change it...because making it into a love story required far more work than I was willing to put into it...thus the year-long hiatus from my book. Now that my book is complete, I get an excited, satisfied feeling when I read the last chapter, because I am happy with how it ends. It actually feels complete, and I think others will feel that, too.
My one major motivation for getting this done is because I came across a publishing company that is looking to publish novellas 30,000-50,000 words long, and they're only accepting manuscripts for one more month. My original book was 24,000 words long, but it is now up to 42,000, which is exactly what they are looking for. After a year of not even looking at my book, and then suddenly becoming motivated to fix it up again, I was surprised when I found that this company was looking for exactly what I was working on (not many publishers are thrilled about publishing novellas). If this wasn't fate, I don't know what is. Now, if I can just finish it up and make it perfect, I may have a shot at publishing! But if not...I can always try again next year.