Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Cavalry is Coming!

Spurs, cowboy hats, and white horses! Well . . . more like combat boots, patrol hats, and buses, but who's paying attention.

So as the final days before my husband's return home, what am I doing?? Checking my to-do list!

I am a project person. So of course I'm running around trying to finish up all these projects I started before he comes home. Then there is the everyday "stuff" on my list. And let's not forget the beautifying process.

So my projects include organizing the milk room, finish de-cluttering the house, and add a few last touches to my re-decorating projects. The everyday "stuff" has to be maintained to avoid chaos. Plus I don't want my hubby coming home to a disaster. And I haven't seen my husband in an year with the exception of 2 weeks in January, so I want him to be happy with what he sees. Thus begins the hair fixin', nail paintin', and clothes shoppin'!

So off I go to complete the tasks before me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Brain Mush

I've always said that you lose brain cells with every child born. But I have come to learn that although that is true, deployment is much harder on your brain cell count. Now that we end this year long deployment, I find my brain is mush. You know that soggy hot cereal consistency that melts everything together so that nothing is really working quite right. And I have extensive research on this topic.

  • Going to pick up hay, I hooked up the trailer to the truck, loaded the kids and took off. As I came out of the driveway and made the turn onto the road my trailer jumped off the hitch and was free loading. Thank goodness I did remember to hook on the chains even though I forgot to latch the ball and hitch.
  • We live near nothing. So forgetting something at home is not a good idea. But I arrived at the orthodontist appointment without my purse. That's right folks, I forgot my entire purse! The tricky part here is that I had very little diesel left and needed to fill up. So I dropped my son off at his appointment and prayed all the way home and back to town that my diesel would be enough to get me to the gas station. It did, thank God!
  • I recently purchased a new vehicle. During loan paperwork I actually forgot how much the car was being sold for and processed my loan for $1300 too little! Good gracious.
  • Then I have been to the DMV three times already to get plates on it and I keep forgetting a different paper each time. One day I will have plates on my car.
  • This past week I have managed to get to town without the diaper bag enough times, that I now have a large enough supply of size 3 diapers that I won't need to buy anymore until he moves up to a size 4. God's way of telling me I don't need to be doing cloth diapers at this point in my life I guess.
  • I make almost everything from scratch, and spaghetti sauce is a family favorite. So when I make it, I make a big pot of it and freeze the remainder for other meals. But that only works when you remember to actually put it in the freezer. I've had to dump many forgotten pots of food this year. :(
  • And let's not forget how many times I've left my cell phone at home. Forgotten birthdays. Misplaced my keys, all three sets of them. Completely missed meeting a friend. Forgot to pay bills, you know, important ones like the electric. And found things in the car I thought I mailed weeks ago.
And if my memory serves me well, my husband will come home soon and my brain with him.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Deployment Revealed

Wow, this deployment has taught me more about myself than I ever imagined. I can definitely say I'm not the same person I was before my husband left for Afghanistan.

Before my husband left . . .

  • I was confident in my ability to be supermom. I never doubted for a minute that I couldn't homeschool our children, run our little farm, birth our fifth child, teach childbirth classes, be active in church, volunteer for my FRG group, and learn to play the violin.
  • I was totally unemotional. I was cool and collected.
  • I loved the idea that I was "tough" and could run a farm alone.
  • I looked forward to the adventure and wanted to make my husband proud.
  • I was proud of my ability to cook wholesome foods from scratch for my family.
  • I had so many dreams. They included growing this farm, scrapbooking, sewing, losing weight, cooking, midwife school, getting closer to God, homeschooling and having fun with it, teaching childbirth classes, maintaining an orderly house, training the kids to do their part, field trips . . .

Since he left . . .

  • I have discovered that I am not supermom, nor do I possess the ability to wear a cape and fly to the rescue. The children's education consisted of home ec, animal science and some math. I did add a donkey and many goats and chickens to our already growing farm since he left, but the farm is hanging on by a thread. I did birth our 5th child at home with the support of my sister and a dear friend. I have managed to teach two childbirth classes, but I'm exhausted. I've missed more Sundays at church than I have attended. I only attend FRG meetings if I'm already in town. And the violin is collecting dust.
  • One week after his departure I began an evening ritual of crying hysterically. Once the baby was born and the hormones ceased, I pulled myself together . . . temporarily. Then the sleeping all day, watching tv all night commenced. Oh and don't forget the sacred ritual of stuffing my mouth with chocolate.
  • Ha ha ha. Within weeks of my husband leaving, projects still needed to be finished. I had hay to pick up which ended in me jack knifing the truck and trailer and getting stuck in the mud pregnant with 4 kids in the middle of nowhere. Then had to hire free labor (oxymoron) to lay the floor in the milk room. A loving homeschool group came out and built hay feeders, water troughs, and mucked stalls. My obsession with adding more animals to this zoo . . . I mean farm, required the services of the same free labor that laid the floor to come build a buck house. We've had 6 kittens and 6 goat kids born since he left. My son has had to bury 1 goat, 2 kittens, and 2 chickens since my husband left. My disposal broke and my pastor came to my rescue. I've hired help to clean my house and had volunteers come out and help too because supermom ain't so super. I've trimmed many hooves, mucked the barn several times, learned to back a short trailer pretty darn good, hauled 65# hay bales, and learned to give antibiotic shots to my goats.
  • The "adventure" has included spending over $3000 on truck repairs, buying a second vehicle, driving way more than I have ever cared about, way too many doc appointments, braces for my son, selling my husband's wrecked truck, two military funerals, and the general chaos that comes with 5 children on a farm.
  • Cooking has been reduced to frozen chicken nuggets and canned beans. An occasional salad if I have the energy.
  • One word: survival.
So as you can tell things haven't gone the way I had planned. But do they ever? God did use this time to teach me something. First (and obviously) I'm not supermom. Although I still want to be. Or feel like I should be. Second, I am me. I'm not Donna Reed, I'm not Annie Oakley, and I'm not the First Lady.

I've spent so many years reading about the many great homeschool moms. Reading about how they do it in their home, what curriculum they use, what their schedule looks like, why they have so many children, where their food comes from. But it isn't really important if I don't have my own personal convictions.

I want my kids to remember a mom that was fun, a mom that taught them to love learning, a mom that cared enough to give them good food, and a mom that knew her limits. I love to dance. I love musicals, and the cornier the better. I enjoy playing tennis and volleyball. I like working with my goats, but I don't really care for the chickens. I can't believe how soft the donkey is and I really enjoy him. I love to can and cook, but I have no interest in managing a garden. I love hanging out with friends and acting like I'm still a teenager. I don't care for fiction, but I love a good DIY book. I hate driving, but I love being the passenger. I want to live life fully and see and experience new things. I'm so inconsistent . . . in everything I do. I don't quit, but I will find another way if I think one way isn't working. I love chocolate . . . a lot. I think driving the 4-wheeler is fun, but I would rather ride with my hubby. I love a good pair of jeans and a t-shirt with a cap and boots. I want to be able to ride horses with my kids, not just watch from the sidelines. I don't like schedules! I like flying by the seat of my pants. I don't like being alone. God made me a people person. Most importantly I want my kids to like me. Me, not the homeschool magazine cover mom.

So you see, I've learned a lot during this deployment. And I want to send a thank you out to those special friends, that love me for . . . well . . . me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I love food!!!!

There are times, like when it is a wind chill of -35 outside, that I bundle up, flip on the instant Netflix, and watch some realty programing. I know, I'm a dork. Well, as most of you know, I've been determined to lose weight before my hubby returns from Afghanistan. So flipping thru Netflix I found the show Ruby. And I discovered something (but I already knew it). I love food!

I found myself really relating to this 500 pound woman! Why couldn't I say no to all that bad food? Now my bad food is way different from her bad food, but it was the same emotion. I may not be 500 pounds, but my gluttony has cursed me with other health issues. I am hypoglycemic on the edge of diabetes and my large intestines doesn't function properly causing malabsorption. Now common sense would tell me to avoid sugars and build back up my intestinal enzymes. Do you know how hard that is?

"Little Children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21

Food is my idol. How do I know this? Well it has taken many years for me to learn to share my food with my children. It is really hard for me to admit this, but its true. I hated to give up my "treats". I would hide chocolate or other goodies and eat them after the kids went to bed. I always made sure there would be enough for me and if there was an uneven number of muffins, I would get the extra one. This may not sound like an uncommon thing, but it was a heart matter for me. I wanted that food for me! Knowing that sugar is not a good thing for me, I still have a hard time saying no. Now I don't junk out and I consume way less sugar than the common American, but the fact that I can't say no bothers me.

I am proud to say that I now serve my children first and I eat what is left over. Granted it still upsets me when I miss out on some goodies, but that is a heart issue I am still praying through. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but admitting my struggles is the first step to recovery. I love to cook! And I love learning about the food God provided for us and how it can heal our bodies.

"And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.'" Genesis 1:29

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." Genesis 9:3

But there is no place for loving the creation over the Creator!

Monday, January 17, 2011

January Goals

Ok, so for the month of January I want to lose 2 pounds. To do this I'm going to eat 50% raw and exercise 3 times a week for 20 minutes. I'm starting simply and small.

The easiest way to get the 50% raw is make sure there is something raw at every meal and eat raw fruits and veggies for snacks.

I am using my Wii Fit Plus for my exercise. I'm hoping as it warms up outside I will be able to add bicycling. And I am not counting farm work or housework as any of my exercise - that is extra. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Years Resolution

Ok, I've never been one to get into the New Years Resolution stuff. Particularly because I am always making goals and starting new projects. It's just my personality, so I don't see any need to do it specifically at the beginning of the year. But I just had a baby (2 months ago) and my husband returns from his deployment this summer and I am determined to lose a few inches and get back into my size 6 jeans.

So In honor of this great tradition, I'm setting my goal to put pulling up my size 6 jeans by June 2011! And to do this I need a little accountability which I hope to obtain thru this blog. So here is my plan:

January - I want to lose 2 more pounds this month and be eating 50% raw by the end of the month. I plan on doing 20 minutes on Wii Fit 3 times a week to get me moving a bit.

February - The goal is 5 pounds this month with a continuation of the Wii Fit plan but increase my time to 30 minutes. I also hope to progress to 75% raw and do a one-month Young Living weight loss program.

March - Again, drop another 5 pounds and continue my Wii program. Maintain the 75% raw lifestyle. Repeat the YL program if needed.

April - Drop another 5 pounds, continue my Wii time, and add bike riding twice a week. Continue the 75% raw diet. Begin once a month fast (this will be tricky with my blood sugar, but thinking I will be stable enough at this point to do a 1 day fast).

May - Drop the last 5 pounds and continue my exercise routine. Maintain 75% raw diet. Fast twice a month if last month went well.

June - Goal reached! I'm feeling great and can wear my size 6 wardrobe again!

This may be a lofty goal, but I think I can do it. Will you encourage me thru this?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Trust Him!

I'm five months into this deployment. I'm not sure what the Lord has done in my husband's life during this time, but He has really been working on me. Here is a brief breakdown of events.

My husband wasn't able to fill up the barn with hay before he left so I took it upon myself to do so. Please keep in mind that I am about 6 months pregnant at this time. So one Saturday I hook up the livestock trailer and load up my four children and head south to pick up hay. I get about 15 miles from the house and hit a dirt road. No biggie, except it rained the day before. I can do this. Three more miles down the road and my truck starts to slide. Pretty soon I am jack-knifed with the trailer and my front end is buried in a sand bank. Ugh! I had no clue how to get out and no one else was going to be crazy enough to drive this road today. So I put my youngest on my hip and gave my son the backpack with snacks and started walking back towards the pavement. About a mile down the road, the postal worker drove by in his 4x4 pick-up! Yea! He helped me get unstuck and I turned around and went home! I did go back and get the hay eventually. But then I had to unload all of it by myself because it was starting to rain! I was so exhausted.

The next two months included picking up three new goats, building a goat pen for my buck, running two goats to the auction, taking another goat to the vet for an injured hoof, breeding rabbits (which had 3 unsuccessful litters), and milking one other goat. This was all on top of my regular duties as mommy. Now I'm 8 months pregnant and having lots of rib and sciatic pain.

I was VERY blessed with many who came and volunteered their time to help around the farm. My mother-in-law flew out one weekend and helped get some necessary things done. I even took the kids to an overnight field trip to a science museum where I had to sleep on the floor. As the arrival of our 5th child was getting near, I was getting anxious about everything working out as it should. So my sister ended up coming out a week before the birth and staying with me through the birth. Another friend flew out and stayed with the kids while I gave birth. It was very comforting knowing all was taken care of.

Now the baby is almost 2 months old and the chores haven't stopped. The baby, lovingly called Peanut, got his first 4-wheeler ride at 2 weeks old as I unloaded feed and delivered it to each barn. Praise God my mother was here to help. By this point I had stopped milking, but animals still had to eat! By the time Peanut was 4 weeks old I was left on my own. It took a little adjusting, but I am getting the hang of this. I am very blessed with great kids and a great church family and loving friends.

Now that I am breastfeeding, I have lots of reading time. I am so grateful for this time. The Lord has taught me much through my quiet times and the not-so-quiet times. At the beginning of this adventure I was sure He was trying to teach me humility as I was having to push aside my pride and ask for help. But that wasn't it. Then He revealed to me that I was missing true joy. And as part of that process, I have come to understand a freeing truth!

I am such a research-a-holic and like to analyze every situation, circumstance, and relationship. So I tend to get over-worried about things like "Does my child really understand the gospel?" or "Am I ruining my kids?" Yes, I want my children to give their lives to Christ. No, I don't want to ruin them. But God has asked me to obey Him and trust Him to do the rest. Trusting my children's lives to the one Creator is what He asks of me. Teaching my children Jesus' love is my responsibility. I need to focus more on following Jesus, than spending my energy worrying about "what if I'm doing this wrong?" I'm not the most eloquent with words and I pray I have voiced myself well. The Lord is doing great works in the Johnson household this year.