Why I Really Need to Stop Looking at Facebook (And Other Time Wasters)

Guys, I don’t often talk about how I feel on this blog.  I like to use it more to share things that I think other homeowners, parents, or life participants will find helpful in their everyday.

To be honest, I don’t often talk about how I feel in real life, either.  I’d rather talk about other things that are far more interesting.

Today, I will be sharing some of how I have been feeling lately, only in light of some of my recent activities.  I will be sharing what I have been changing, and how it has changed how I have been feeling.  I hope THIS helps some people to make connections with their habits and their mood.

When Baby Brother was first-born, a good friend of mine warned me that the third child makes you child like none before them.  I thought she was joking.  I had survived going from childless to mother smoothly enough, and I survived having two little girls 17 months apart (the second of whom never liked to sleep).

How could my third child, following his sister by a full three years, be any harder?

I can’t say for certain that having Baby Brother has been more or less difficult than when Squishy Bean was born, but I will say that I find myself markedly more tired.

All.

The.

Time.

So tired, in fact, that I feel like I need a nap by about 8:00 am most days.

A little over a month ago I actually visited our doctor to make sure there wasn’t anything else wrong.  Not only had I been extremely tired for months, but I had some serious heartburn.  I later learned that lack of sleep can cause overeating (surprise..), which can cause heartburn.

With a house full of small people depending on me for a lot of their livelihood, I really had to be on my A-game most days.  Being that tired and sluggish did not allow me to be on my A-game.  Thus, something had to change.

The biggest change I had to make was making time to get enough sleep.  I didn’t just need more rest, I needed more sleep.

As an introvert, I need time to myself to wind down and recharge everyday, and with three small children and a husband working second shift, time alone is hard to come by.  I usually find my alone time at the end of the day, after the kids have gone to bed.

My typical evening went like this:

I could easily spend an hour on Facebook or Pinterest, then read blog posts and articles about different things until 10 or later.  I would still have dishes to do, so then I would drag myself into the kitchen to clean up.  Finally, victorious over the sink full of dishes I’d left all day, I would treat myself to a little Netflix in bed, not getting to sleep until close to 11:30 or 12.

For some people, getting to bed at midnight is not a big deal, but when you have an infant that may or may not wake up to nurse around 3 am, then again at 6 or 6:30 am, midnight really isn’t early enough to get enough sleep for the night.

In the last month since finding out that there is nothing medically wrong with me except my lack of sleep, I have significantly cut back on the amount of time I spend on the internet everyday.  This has allowed me to hit the pillow closer to 10 or 10:30 at night, often while giving Baby Brother his dream feed.

I can say that being in bed closer to 10 has allowed me to enough sleep that I can function better in the mornings.  I am able to wake up before the girls again (which I have been in the habit of since I quit my 9-5), allowing me time to exercise, read my Bible, pray, breathe, and perhaps even drink a few sips of hot coffee.

As a brief aside, there have been two things that have truly been the keys to my sanity and productivity as a stay-at-home mom, and one of them is waking up before the kids.  The other, of course, is not leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight.

Of course I still love my time to myself at night.  I have learned, though, that my useless time at night (on Facebook), can be traded for more meaningful time to myself in the morning (a run with the dog).

I can say that although I still don’t feel 100% myself lately, I do feel a lot better.  Most importantly, I’m getting enough sleep that I am not suffering from heartburn anymore.

This experience has taught me a few key things about self-care and being the best, most present mother I can be:

  1.  I need sleep to be able to pay attention to the ramblings of a three and a four year old.  And there are a lot of ramblings.
  2. Sleep happens more at night than in the mornings.
  3. Facebook and the internet in general prevent me from getting enough sleep, and they do not allow my mind to rest.
  4. Morning runs with the dog are the perfect cure for many of life’s ailments.

 

This Physicist is Still Going to Thailand. In Four Days.

In four days I am going to Thailand.

Is that true? Am I really going through with it?

Absolutely.

I have been planning and fundraising for this mission trip for the last eight months, and I’m almost in disbelief that it is here already.

I’m also totally floored by the fact that not only did my friends and family help me to raise the funds to go, but my funding exceeded the cost of the trip, allowing me to help a few of the other women to fully fund their trip cost.

I’m finding I have to constantly remind myself about these simple but powerful things:

  • God put this mission trip to Bangkok, Thailand, on my heart four years ago. I have waited four years to go on this trip.
  • I was one of 10 women out of over 30 selected to go on this trip, despite the fact that I have no prior experience in this type of mission work.
  • The Lord showed up in huge ways through my friends and family to fund this trip.

Over the last eight months since I have been fundraising and preparing for this trip there have been so many things trying to take my attention off of these simple truths. The enemy has pulled my heart and emotions in all sorts of directions with different circumstances. I’ve had family problems, marital problems, and more than my fair share of parental frustrations. I have felt depressed. I have felt far from God, or at the very least, not on His radar.

As I look back, I hadn’t guarded my heart well enough. When the Lord sets a new assignment in front of me, I know that Satan is coming around the corner to distract me from it, and this was no exception. I could and should have spent the last eight months in prayer and study for my upcoming missions trip, but instead I spent it in prideful isolation. Sure I prayed occasionally to prepare my heart and the women going on the trip with me, but I hadn’t read or even skimmed any of the books suggested to our team. I haven’t had open discussions with the Lord about my fears of leaving my husband and children, about walking into a city with such evil that others can literally feel its presence, about talking to new people with a huge language barrier, and about sharing my story with women who have almost literally been to hell and back.

It is not too late, though. I have a few days left to have these discussions with God, and to have some of them with my husband and close friends. I have almost 36 hours on a plane to read Isaiah and a book or two on human trafficking. God can take these nearly wasted several months and put purpose to them. He can make them fruitful if I let Him, and He can make me fruitful during my time in Bangkok if I let Him.

And I will.

I am not sure if I will have internet access in Thailand, but I will at least bring a notebook and pen. I hope to record my experience and share as much of it as possible with my readers, in hopes that you too can be in awe of the ways the Lord can move in even the most hopeless of situations.

True Colors

I am not a neat person.  My home is neat because I mean it to be.

I am not one to be tidy all the time, but by focusing and putting effort into it, I get results.

I am not an artsy person.  I do not draw, paint, or create very much from within myself.  I have always thought of myself as an analytic.  I do tend to think through problems in my head and make “pro-con” lists naturally.

But did I believe there was a creative bone in my body?

Not so much.

It has become more and more evident to me, though, that my creativity does not lie in things that I can look at, nor is it really harnessed in the things I write (such as this blog), but it is found in the things I can taste.

Several weeks ago I made a batch of butternut squash soup that my husband loved.  He asked what I did differently with that particular batch, but I couldn’t tell him.  I muttered something about experimenting and testing new things out, but I truly couldn’t tell him what exactly went into that pot to make the flavors I made.

When I cook I am in my zone, so to speak.  I start with some aromatics, I smell my herbs and spices to find what suits my palette at  the moment and what would go best with the ingredients I have on hand.  I saute, I deglaze, I roast, and I sear.  All of these bring out different nuances of flavor that I know can be harnessed in different ways.

Today at a local MOPS meeting I brought some mini-quiche.  I didn’t really have a recipe in mind, but I knew I had some vegetables and plenty of different kinds of cheese on hand.  I ended up with pepper, onion, and mushroom quiches with romano cheese “crusts”.

When a friend asked for the recipe I gave her the same goofy look that I gave my husband several weeks ago.  I had no recipe.  Could I probably tell her what was in those mini-quiches?  Yes.  Was I positive of the exact amounts of everything?  Not a bit.

I share this bit of insight into my life to have to take a look at your own.  You may not be artistically creative, but we are all created in His image.  We are all creative.  How are you creative?

 

Parenting Priorities and a Book Review

I am no seasoned veteran when it comes to parenting. My oldest child is only two. So, really, I am not trying to advise other parents here, just share my view.

In recent weeks I have been thinking about my goal as a parent.

I find it so common for mothers to want to raise “advanced” children. They’re babies have to know their colors by 18 months, talking in sentences by 20 months, and reading by age 3. I hear about moms and dads like this; they often focus on the cognitive and academic milestones of their children. They spend hours and hours researching games and strategies to help their child learn and understand concepts very early, and then they spend hours on top of that executing what they research. It’s exhausting. And all the while, the parent(s) are spending much of their time, energy, and mental capacity on the future of their child.

Some parents focus on physical milestones. Is my child walking? Can they run? Will they be a famous baseball player. Parents focused on these aspects of their child’s development often spend less time up front concentrating only on their child. They do, though, often invest a lot of their psychological and emotional well-being on the success of their child. (Not to say that the previous type of parent doesn’t.) These parents spare no expense at helping Junior get the best training and exercises, playing on the best teams, getting the best coaches, etc. so he can really succeed in life. And, of course, give mom and dad the glory.

There are some Christian moms that say they want to raise Godly children. They focus a lot of time and attention on showing their children who God is, reading bible stories to them, and doing activities that reinforce biblical stories and themes. Though this sounds like a noble goal, these parents (read: moms) often find themselves heartbroken and disappointed when their child doesn’t accept the Lord the way they were expected to and Junior ends of leaving the church and the faith all together. Mom and dad feel as though they can personally lead their child to Christ, but are often ultimately disappointed when that falls through.

None of the above are mine and my husband’s personal parenting philosohpy.
Let me stop for a moment to assure you that we do read to our girls, teach them things, take them outside to run around, and teach them about God. I will repeat, though: None of these things are our focus.
Right now, with two toddlers, our focus is obedience and treating others with respect. With two sisters so close, it’s easy to imagine the slapping, pinching, toy-stealing, and other daily atrocities that may go on in our house. Not to mention blatant disobedience of either parent while attempting to get a “second opinion” after receiving an undesired response from one parent. Our daughters may be young, but we believe a child is never too young to learn that they are not the center of the universe; life doesn’t revolve around them.
Obviously, having two children makes this a bit easier.
By focusing on humbling our girls and teaching them that others should be treated with respect, kindness, and love and that elders should be obeyed I feel that all other things will follow.
If our children can obey us, they can obey God.
If they can be kind to one another, they can be kind to non-believers.
If they can respect one another, they can learn to respect future friends and husbands. (One for each, preferably ;-P)
If they can love one another, they can show God’s love to the world.

And that, my friends, is my segue to an awesome book review that I am so privileged to do here on Domesticated Physicist.
I recently received The Beginner’s Bible: Jesus Shows God’s Love (” title=”get it on Amazon”>) to peruse, read to my girls, and review.
Ok, so by recently I mean I received it just before we left for the great north for Christmas.
But man was that an awesome Christmas gift.
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This book is not a true children’s bible, necessarily; instead, it gives highlights throughout Jesus’ life of how He showed love to others around Him.
Each page had a few sentences with a large colorful picture depicting a scene in Jesus life. Allow me:
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This had to be my *favorite* page in the entire book. This illustration’s caption is: “John also baptized people. He said, “Get ready! The Lord is on his way!”
Why do I love this picture so much? Because this is EXACTLY how I picture John the baptist when I read the gospel of Matthew. Rugged, with dirty toes, lots of hair and a giant beard with a slightly wild look in his eye. Perfection.
But aside from my love for this book, I found that Madeline loved it, as well. The pictures were drawn in a very kid-friendly way. She was able to pick out and understand the theme on each page (for the most part), just by examining the drawing. I think she also liked hearing the many small instances in Jesus’ life when He loved on others. Many children’s bibles (the ones we have, for example) often skip over some of the lesser miracles and healings that Jesus performed to leave room for the major events in His life. This book filled in some of those lovely details.
She may just love looking at the illustrations, too.
I found this book to be a great addition to our Christian children’s book library. It’s message was very clear and easy to understand for a young preschooler, and the pages were colorful and exciting enough to keep the attention of both of our girls.
My only complaint about this book is that it is paperback. At this young age, especially with Clara around, I tend to prefer board books. This book just requires adult supervision when the littlest one is around.

“Yes, I Can!”

Surprisingly I am not quoting Eddie Murphy from the Nutty Professor.

This is my sweet oldest daughter’s new conditioned response to when I ask her to do something.

I.  Love.  It.

I am not sure where she picked up that sentence, because I certainly didn’t teach it to her, and my husband has said it wasn’t him either.  But we definitely both appreciate it.

A few weeks ago if I asked Madeline to put away her toys her conditioned response was, “I’m too busy.”

You are probably asking yourself the same question I had been:  too busy with what?  I’m not sure.

Fortunately that response has changed to “Yes, I can!”  with all of the enthusiasm and gusto of someone who truly wants to help.

This change in her attitude has made me rethink my own attitude toward chores, responsibilities, and things people ask of me.  Am I responding with enthusiasm?  Do I look excited to get my work done and to help others?  I’m not sure I do, but little Madeline has inspired me to take a look at my heart and how I respond to responsibility.

We All Have Those Days

For those of my readers that are or have been stay-at-home parents, you will probably understand this post.  For those of you with no experience in the realm, I expressly ask you not to judge what you are about to read.  For you cannot know what you don’t know.

Or something less philosophical.

I have been home now for almost two years.

For almost two years I have not gone out to earn a paycheck, and for almost two years it has been my job to maintain my home, feed my family, clean, shop for groceries, etc.

It has been a good two years, but there certainly have been some trying days.

In the days “BC” (Before Clara) I often found myself bored.  Madeline had been a two-nap-a-day girl until almost 20 months old, so I had almost four hours during the day to myself. There really are only so many chores you can find to do that won’t wake your sleeping toddler, I assure you.

That ample time actually spurred on this blog.  I have always loved to write, since I was in elementary school, and I thought a blog would be a great thing to put my time and effort into.

Well a few short months later I found myself pregnant.  Again.  And exhausted.  I slept every time Madeline slept, and it literally still wasn’t enough.  I was so tired and nauseous in my first trimester with Clara that I had a hard time keeping up with my small household.  That Bean was a handful from the start!

(Side Note:  I know some cheerful moms will say that they gain their energy back in the second trimester.  This is lies lies lies.  You may gain some energy back, but not all of it.  All of life goes in slow motion when one is pregnant.  Unless you’re Super Mom, in which case, please don’t brag.  It’s not nice.)

Once the little Bean was born there was some adjusting time.   Adjusting to two babies, adjusting to carrying a newborn around all day while playing with a toddler.  Adjusting to not sleeping through the night.  For almost a year.

That’s real life for you.

But today, I realized, that the familiar patterns have settled in again:

Clara is a solid two-nap-a-day kind of girl (after much work and sleep training), and Madeline still loves her afternoon nap.  I won’t say yet that I find myself bored, but I certainly am not overwhelmed with everything I have to do.

Tonight I closed out my kitchen (and my workday) at a decent hour:  8pm.  I scoured my sink, swept my floor, and cleared off the junk from the kitchen table.

It’s days like today that I feel like I am really getting the hang of this job.  This homemaker, stay-at-home-mom business.

I know I need these days every once in a while, as a little self-esteem boost, and as a rest. I need these days just so I know that I have been equipped to do this in the best way I know how.