Looking Back–Looking Ahead

It is amazing to see how far this little space has come. When I began blogging, I was a homeschooling mom of 4. Now I am a working mom of 6-but with one of those six fully-grown and another who will reach adulthood this coming year.

Navigating the changes of motherhood is rewarding, challenging, and sometimes, downright scary. And yet, through it, I have had this space to hash things out, get advice, and share some of my joys and burdens with you. And for that, I am forever thankful.

And because of that, I resolve to nurture this place a little more. This space,  that has given me so much (including lasting friendships), deserves some more of my time.

Here is some of what I hope to share with you all in the coming year:

  1. More Working Mom Wisdom and #MomWin Wednesdays.  We moms need to celebrate our successes, and the joys and obstacles of the modern working mom are still some things I am working through in my brain.
  2. I want to share more of my crocheting with you. It has been one of the most fun changes in my life in 2016. Through some yarn and hooks, I feel connected to my childhood with my grandma, I work through stress, and create beautiful things for friends and family. If all goes well, perhaps a Dakotapam Etsy shop may be in the works.
  3. Homemaking Tips–21 years of marriage in, and I’m still learning, but I have picked up a few helpful things along the way (hint–less stuff is a GREAT starting point!)
  4. More Cooking for 8! Keeping my growing family well fed has always been a kind of fun challenge. I tend to strike a balance between from-scratch and convenience foods, and sometimes, for fun, I just cook from a box–sadly, these meals are a HUGE hit–likely due to the novelty factor.
  5. I hope to share a book a month with you–some fun, some meaty, and some for the kiddos! I love to read–but my crocheting tends to get in the way! I hope to use YOU as my motivation.

Mostly, I just want to spend more time with you, and I hope you are all up for coming along for the ride. Please feel free to share those things that you find helpful–I love making new friends too!  And please, don’t be a stranger in the comment section! I love to hear from you all!

And now, a quick question for you: What do YOU want to see more of in this space? Leave me a comment or pop over to our Facebook page to let me know!


#MomWin Wednesday 

Being a mom is tough, and being a working mom is fraught with guilt. However, I think if we learn to celebrate our #MomWins, we will start to see the wonder in our ordinary, everyday lives. So, Moms, I invite you to connect and share your #MomWins here in the comments, over on the Facebook page, or on Instagram.

I’ll start:

  •  #MomWin–I rounded up all of the twins’ winter gear BEFORE the first snowfall.
  • #Momwin– I remembered to put the rotisserie chicken bones from last night into the slow cooker this morning. Dinner was a quick pot of chicken noodle soup after work. #nofastfood
  • #Momwin–teenager hugs (forced or not).

So, what are your #MomWins? I can’t wait to hear yours!

Stressed? Blessed? Or Something in Between?

I have a rare fall Saturday at home today. The coffee is brewing. The girls are mindlessly watching cartoons. The first of many loads of laundry is washing (or the last of the midweek loads are rewashing–don’t judge!)

We are having an absolutely picture-perfect fall her in North Dakota this year. The stuff that magazine covers are made of.

I should be out walking paths crunching leaves.

I should be baking up all the apples.

I should be decking my house out in all of the fall decorations I have collected over the years.

This is what social media tells me I should be doing (and let’s not just blame social media! I’ve been at this mom gig long before Facebook and Pinterest. Before that we had parenting magazines that told us how to be perfect!)

What am I doing instead?

  • I’m waiting for that blessed coffee to finish brewing (why so slow, friend?).
  • I’m finally catching up on past-due writing (when the 9-5 is heavy on writing it is less fun on the off hours).
  • I’m getting used to a new Bluetooth keyboard–since about five important keys stopped working on the last one–as my Facebook friends were gleefully aware of!
  • I’m wondering where all of this laundry comes from!!!!
  • I’m looking at this big bag of fresh-picked apples on my counter with mixed feelings. I’m both thankful for God’s rich bounty, and a little overwhelmed with the responsibility of good stewardship.
  • I’m looking at my messy house while gently reminding myself that I had six children for such a time as this. I can cook and they can clean!
  • I’m thankful that the coffee has finally finished brewing and I am thankful for a stainless steel tumbler that keeps it actually hot when I set it down somewhere and forget about it for hours!
  • I’m thinking that all I really want to do is crochet. I’m working on a stack of dishcloths for Christmas gifts, which is a very fun way to play with new techniques! Speaking of new techniques, I fell down the Tunisian Crochet rabbit hole this week and finally got a new set of Tunisian hooks in the mail (thanks Amazon!)
  • I’m mentally procrastinating all.day.long.

The other night a dear friend commented in reference to me that I have six kids and never seem stressed. Well, I am stressed, a lot! My kids will vouch for me, and as such, I fear that I am not being real enough in public! I’ve been setting it as a goal to yell less for years now. . .and I’ve yet to succeed. I’m drowning in the clutter that a household of eight creates. Last week every last one of our dinners was on the fly–and one included using a coupon at KFC.

This is not the mom I ever wanted to be.

I always wanted to one of those moms who happily attended every sporting and school event, while maintaining an organized household, a shining disposition, and a balanced checkbook. Instead, I more resemble Mrs. Hannigan from Annie.

And yet, at the end of the day (most of) my kids hug me good night and tell me how much they love me. And yet, in the morning when I sit down to do my devotions I am reminded of just how much my God loves me.

Because you are precious in my eyes,

And honored, and I love you,

I give men in return for you,

Peoples in exchange for your life.

Isaiah 43:4

So, what am I? Blessed, stressed, or something in between? I still have to say, I am overwhelmingly blessed.

10 Reasons I am Ready for School to Start

Yes, I am that crazy mom who complains in June that summer is not nearly long enough, and counts down the days to the first day of school in August. I’m a mom, I’m allowed to be fickle!

So, here they are, a mom’s list of 10 reasons I am ready for school to start. 

10. I loved school growing up, and I love seeing the same joy in my kids. Sure, they may not love every single thing, and maybe I may not either, but, for the most part, I love the schools that our kids are in and it is exciting to see them learn and grow.

9. My kids thrive on routine, and, quite frankly, their summer routine is currently broken. Which means that they fight all. Day. Long.

8. I love the excuse to buy brand new, sparkly, school supplies. I could sniff at fresh Crayolas all day!

7. My house may stay relatively clean for a few hours a day.

6. My grocery bill will shrink, since I won’t have six kids mindlessly eating all day long!

5. My laundry pile will shrink since I won’t have two little girls home all day changing clothes 8 times a day.

4. Homework time gets me on track too! I often sit and read while the kids work on homework.

3. I look forward to fall sports and concerts.

2. I miss some of my school mom friends. We may only see each other at drop offs and pick ups, but I miss those interactions over summer break.

And my number one favorite thing about school starting is:

1. Normal bedtimes!!!!!!! This mama craves some evening peace and quiet! 

Image: ‘Lets Do 52 :: 34:52 :: Sharp’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/47166549@N00/7987131835Found on flickrcc.net

Back to School Goals

I’m a goal setter. 

I’m not always a goal attainer, but I like to set goals. 

And, even though I’ve been at this mom gig for some 20 years, I’m still figuring things out.

So I’m going to sit down with the kids this week and have them learn to set some goals for the school year. 

I’ve learned that a good goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal. 

SMART stands for Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-Bound

I spend a lot of time at my job setting SMART goals, and I think it is a good thing to pass on to my kids. 

One of the frustrating things about my children (and I’m sure that they are not unique) is that they set a lot of real lofty goals– like becoming a professional football player (oh wait, we DID have a local kid who achieved that goal, so that IS achievable!) or making millions of dollars playing video games. I know that I work a lot smarter and more focused when I have good goals in place at work, so I think the kids should have some goals for their very important job.

The hard thing is, MY goals for my kids may not be their goals. So I have to make sure that I let them talk, and really listen. 

I also know that often a well-placed carrot can make goals even more achievable. I have a few young teens who want much cooler phones. . .and perhaps they will appreciate them more if they work really, really hard at their “jobs” for them–just like I do. I have two little girls that really like to buy “all the books” on their book order. Perhaps if they work, really, really, hard at their jobs. . .

Chime in: Do you set goals with your kids? What has been the best way to work on setting (and attaining) those goals? Let me know in the comments!