Thursday, December 29, 2011


Did you know that if you bottle up stress it comes out in other ways? Like migraine headaches and snappy comebacks? Well I have always been a bit, how can I put this - blunt.  I guess I have trouble holding or biting my tongue at times.

Stress - Stress is the body's reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious. Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or "stressor." Dealing with a serious illness or caring for someone who is can cause a great deal of stress.

How funny that I found a definition that focuses on the exact thing I am dealing with (and I did not have to search hard to find it).

Frustrated, angry, nervous or anxious yep feeling that way but not as much as six months ago. It seems like it comes in waves for all of us on this journey of living in the middle. Luckily it is (usually) one at a time or we would/could really hurt one another (with words that is). We each have our own unique gifts (and that’s the way God planned it) and meet different needs in different ways. But guess what it is working WOW!! Only by God’s infinite grace does this unusual living work. Let’s just say we have gotten into a rhythm.

Is it really unusual living though? How has the world lived for thousands of years? How did Ruth and Naomi live? History shows that families have lived with three or more generations under one roof for EVER. It is even portrayed in movies like “Moonstruck”.   Why do we Americans think we have to live alone – to be independent, to be successful? This was my thought when I was younger – I have to go live on my own before I even think about getting married so I know I can take care of myself.

I thought this post was about stress. It is or what leads to my stress. I do not feel stressed today maybe because it is after Christmas and I still have a couple days before I get into the crazy back to school routine. Maybe it is because I am thankful for all the good things I have. Maybe it is because I was able to make a good dinner and still get to spend a good half hour with my hubby just me and him at DQ. Oh yeah it must be the ice cream and chocolate high. (Peanut Buster Parfait YUM!!)  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Swag bucks that is. Ha ha I got you. So I signed up for Swagbucks to earn for the things I do online anyway. Hey why not get paid for surfing the internet and playing games. Right? I have succumbed to it, I have been reading from my Frugal bloggers how much they are getting for free and I just had to get some too. I have been a member of My Points for a little less than a year and have really enjoyed how easy it has been to earn (esp. dining out gift cards). I have been able to eat out more and even give teachers gifts. Well Swagbucks is really easy so far and it is only 450 points to get a $5 Amazon gift card. I have really been shopping Amazon this holiday season esp. since Borders closed. Are you earning online yet?

Disclaimer - Swagbucks, My Points and Amazon have NOT compensated me for these views. They are my own.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas prep

Every year since my oldest was in kindergarten I have brought my Christmas breads for the school staff to munch on. I start baking sometime around Thanksgiving or when it turns cold and I have a good excuse to warm up the house with the oven. This year I am cutting it really close because the day is quickly approaching and I still have one other bread to make. In case you do not know already - I love to bake. It is a way for me to relieve stress. I call it my therapy. I prefer easy things that take longer to bake than to mix up and I hate to roll out anything or use yeast. (I do not own a rolling  pin.) So Santa's cookies are always the Pillsbury slice and bake sugar with can frosting that has food coloring in it. Anyway the breads that I make and give away are: Pineapple, Cranberry, Banana, Zucchini, Strawberry and Pumpkin. Yummy plus then we get to have them for Christmas week. Yummy breakfast for me and the little one (the only one besides me who will eat them). I always make peanut butter balls and English toffee too. What are you making/baking this Christmas?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving week Part 2

6:30 am Happy Thanksgiving it is turning out to be a good week was able to get most of my plans done. I was even able to do some power shopping. Return a Christmas gift at one store to purchase it at another $20 cheaper, $5 jeans and get another gift. Woo Hoo.

Have a great Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to all the good food and family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving week plans and realities part 1

Do you have a list of things you are planning on doing this week of Thanksgiving well yeah, me too.

Here is what I had planned.

Sunday - get up and look at newspaper to plan some shopping trips and/or look for coupons. Church -  Sunday School and my turn in the Preschool Department during Worship time, Drive home, make lunch, clean pot shelves and fans then reverse the fans.Put up Christmas tree (at least part of the way) make dinner, put children to bed, have time with hubby, sleep til 6am.

This is what really happened - no newspaper but the rest was all flowing smoothly (with even a lunch out with my brother and sister in law til 1:30am my oldest woke us up with the sound of vomit. Now maybe you don't know this about me but if I smell it then I do it too. UGH! But since I have the best husband in the world (with a cast iron stomach) he got up and cleaned up that boys bedroom floor, yep couldn't make it to the toilet. Thank goodness I got a REAL good deal on a new Bissell Steam cleaner just five days ago. So I made sure everyone was fine and snuggled back in bed with my littlest. 4am again this time right outside my bedroom door. Yes, hubby took care of that too. He had just laid down to try and sleep. I think he only got about 3 hours sleep.

Monday - get boys ready for school, pick up brother at automotive repair shop, take boys to school, get some groceries, do some laundry, put the rest of tree up, go to work, pick up brother to get his car back, help at littlest ones school, get littlest, pick up oldest from band practice, take friend home, help with homework, get dinner ready, go to sister in law's to meet with dietician for mom in law, get home, help boys put up their trees, get ready for bed, sleep til 6am.

This is what's happened so far - stumble out of bed at 6am ask hubby how oldest is doing, get directions on what hubby was unable to do, look for yesterday's paper - still not here, check email, play Gardens of Time (my guilty pleasure), put fresh sheets on oldest's bed (he's sleeping in littlest's bed so can't do laundry yet), get phone call from brother (oops I forgot, that's what happens to the sleep deprived), go get brother in pajamas and robe (no one will see me), after picking him up unlock gates at mom in law's (hubby's daily routine), take brother home, get call from oldest "Can I lay in your bed" "No, lay in your own I put fresh sheets on, figure out which blankets are not icky and put them on", go home, start to have coffee, start load of laundry, get littlest ready for school, put on warm up suit over pajamas, grab grocery ad, take littlest to school and while there scan ad and write a list of things to get (need that cheap turkey), see teacher she says she has some more things for me to cut, follow students in and get those items to take home and cut, tell her I'm planning on helping this pm as planned but oldest is sick, she says I can stay home (whew), go to store score $8 butterball turkey and some other good deals while texting hubby to find out what he wants for dinner 'cause I need meat if he doesn't want what I have in freezer, get home check on oldest, wash more laundry, finish coffee, clean up kitchen, take shower, check on oldest he has a fever now, give him several things to drink while I'm at work, grab all fliers and coupons from the HUGE pile on my counter to sort at work, get to mom in law's to make sure trash gets out, scrounge something to eat from leftovers, get to work, write blog. It is only 11:45am, I am ready for a nap.

Tuesday - Get up, take boys to school, get mom, go do big grocery shopping, drop off some groceries at mom in law's, go to work, help in littlest's other teacher's class, get home with littlest, do some more decorating, make dinner, get ready for bed, start packing for staying at mom in law's on Wed and Thurs nights, sleep til 6am.

Wednesday - Get up, take boys to school, finish packing for mom in law's, get things over to mom in law's, go to work, go to mom in law's in time for occupational therapist, pick up boys from school, practice and take friend home, get home, have boys pack for grandma's, go to grandma's, make cranberry relish for Thanksgiving, make dinner, get ready for bed, sleep till 5:30am.

Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving, get up, do morning routine, watch Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, make mac and cheese, green bean casserole and cherry pie. Spend Thanksgiving at sister in law's have a good time. Get back to mom in law's and get ready for bed, sleep till 5:30am.

Friday - Get up, do morning routine, decorate mom in law's, get home about 4:30, have some quality family time, go to bed, sleep til 6am.

Saturday - Get up, more family quality time, haven't been home on a Saturday in a few months not sure what we will do.

Hopefully my Tues - Sat will turn out the way I planned. I do not want to miss Thanksgiving because one or more of us is sick. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blessings and Priorities

Do I expect to be blessed because I care for my mother in law? No, I am already blessed. If the groundwork was not already laid out (prayers and life situations) this living in the middle would not work well at all. Do not get me wrong, it has been a HUGE adjustment these past 6 months. We all want what is best for everyone. Right now that means living half the time at my home and half the time at my mother in law’s home. It means I cannot go to or host the home parties I would like to (Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Tupperware, Lia Sophia, Premier Jewelry just to name a few.) It means trying to go on a weekly DQ date with my hubby (and sometimes kids too) instead of doing laundry. It means my kids get to see their grandmother every week and have a sleepover with her (the little one’s fave). It means that the plans I had to “get my house clean” once the kids went back to school are not happening. It means that my Black Friday will be spent decorating my mother in law’s house not my own (hope to get that done before Thanksgiving). It means coordinating my own mother’s doctor’s appointments around my hubby’s mother’s and hair appointments. It means our monthly sister lunch is spent making sure the next month is coordinated so we all get to get out of town once in a while and/or are able to go to the special events happening in our lives. It means that the time we have left with her is precious and every day is a blessing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book of Ruth

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”  Ruth 1:16 & 17

The book of Ruth is my favorite in the Bible. I love the story of sacrificial love for one’s mother in law and the great blessing from doing it. (Ruth is the grandmother of King David. See Ruth 4:13-22) Part of the reason I love that book is that I have the same kind of love for my mother in law. You see I was not raised in a Christian home. My parents did the best they could and I know that they believe in God but it was hard for them to model it when they were not taught what it means to be a Christian. My husband’s family was similar yet different. Although they did not consistently go to church, the grandchildren were taught the basics of being a Christian by their grandparents and their mother has always been a believer.
I have heard and seen from others that my relationship with my mother in law is a rarity. Here are a few reasons that we have a good one:

1)      My mother models always getting along with others no matter what and I try to be that way too. She works hard to show love to everyone in her and my dad’s family. Even after my parents divorced she maintained a relationship with his parents.
2)      My husband started praying about me way before we met for he had heard Billy Graham say be specific in your prayers.
3)      I wanted my kids to know and spend time with their grandparents because I spent time with mine.
4)      My mother in law enjoys being involved in her children’s and grand children’s lives.

Like all relationships we have our moments of misunderstanding and/or rubbing each other the wrong way but we always go back to love.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

Monday, October 31, 2011

I am Traditional

Traditional, that’s funny to me when I think of traditional I think of the middle income conservative family of four a dog and living out the American dream, a vacation once a year, a nice home, a new car every 5 years or so. Well, in some ways that is me, in others it is not. You see I started my journey of living in the middle over twenty years ago. Come to think of it my grandparents lived with us for a while but I think that was mostly to help my mom as she single parented me and my brother. Before my husband and I met his grandmother was a big part of his life and she had spent many a Sunday with him going to church and then on to Furr’s cafeteria for fried okra and the rest of the yumminess on that buffet. Things changed when she became mostly homebound and my husband was encouraged to visit another church to meet people (singles) his own age. Anyway over twenty years ago we had the opportunity to live with his grandmother and help to care for her by being there in case she fell and cooking meals for her. That did not go well. Come to find out his grandmother and I are a lot alike. Word to the wise do not begin your marriage (or the first 5 years or so) by having to care for someone other than each other. 

So between then and about ten years ago we were able to live our lives as normal twenty and thirty somethings. You know get a good paying job, buy a house, get a truck, have babies. Yes, in that order because we had a plan. Then my dad got the big C yes, that’s right cancer. He needed help and me being the oldest and having the best relationship with him I took him to his appointments. Oh yeah, I had a two year old then. My in laws stepped right up. They said they could keep my child anytime I needed to take my dad anywhere. What a blessing they were to me during that time. They had a blast with their newest grandchild and that grandchild loved every minute they spent together. Well, my dad waited too long to see a doctor about his condition and while I was pregnant with our second child he went to be with the Lord.

Now we are really in the middle. My in laws have gotten slower over the past ten years and have had some medical issues (strokes) that have made it harder for them to get around. My father in law was the primary caregiver to his wife whom he cherished until he fell and could not recover from his other (unknown to us) medical issues.  So we are helping to take care of my husband’s mother.

Now when I say help that is what I mean. We do not have to do this 24/7 as other families do. What a blessing it is to have a team of family members to care for their mother.

I am struggling to put to words how it is to raise your children, care for an older adult and prioritize time and things that are the most important. That will be another post I’m sure. 

For now I’ll just think on things above.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Definition of Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation what does that mean?
Wikipedia definition:

The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.

That is it in a nutshell but it comprises so much more. 

According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.

Carol Abaya categorized the different scenarios involved in being a part of the sandwich generation.

Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.

Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.

Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.