Saturday, June 7, 2014

Big Family Changes

I have been writing this post in my head for several weeks but just could not find the time to write it down.  This past year made our family realize several things.  We realized how much more important our time together as a family really is.  Of course, our family time has always been a top priority, but with a crazy schedule of working full time and me completing graduate school at night, we had very limited time together.  We knew that we needed more time to focus on us.  Of course, financial needs now and in our future are also a big priority.  After returning to work last summer after my maternity leave ended, I felt more sad than ever about leaving my boys all day.  I often would not get home until almost 7:00 many nights.  Even though I wasn't going to school anymore at night, I still felt like I was sacrificing a lot of time with my children.  Time that I would not ever get back.  Despite the circumstances of last summer, I enjoyed the extra time our family got to spend together.  During this year, we have been increasingly dissatisfied with childcare.  We just could not find an individual who would truly care for our children and see to their needs during the day.  I was also increasingly dissatisfied with my current career as my work environment had changed drastically.  After much deliberation, we decided that it was time for me to say goodbye to my current career to take a break to be at home with our boys.  We decided that the end of the school year would be a perfect time so I made Brody's last week of school my last week of work.  When I return to the workforce in the future (not even sure when that will be at this point), I will be looking into a major career change utilizing my graduate school education although I am still not entirely sure if that will be in the traditional sense or not.  I also want to help support my husband as some opportunities for advancement in his career may be in our future.  He has done such an amazing job in his career although he gets little appreciation from the state for it.  He is a forester in the 10th largest metropolitan area in the nation, but he has been primarily responsible for planting over 600 acres of trees just this year.  He recently went to a planning meeting with our county where they have a goal of having a certain number of trees in the county in the next few years.  When they asked my husband for the numbers of trees planted this year and he told them, they were confused and thought he was giving them the numbers for the whole state!  Haha!  My husband has so many good ideas and plans for how he can improve his industry and insure that we have plenty of forests in our future.  Okay, I just had to brag on him for a second.

So for now, I am satisfied with our choice and want to do the very best that I can to give my husband and children more of me.  I have already made several big changes to our lifestyles the past few weeks.  I have taken over most of the household duties, including cooking, cleaning, and financial responsibilities.  Yes, I said cooking.  I was definitely more than a little out of practice, but I think I am picking things back up well.  I am actually enjoying meal planning, grocery shopping, and keeping a tight budget.  We are working on a healthy lifestyle which includes eating healthier meals at home as we have always eaten out way too much for my liking.  Mostly, our diet choices involve eating as much natural and less processed foods as possible.  I am not sticking to a pure paleo diet or anything because I actually think some dairy is good for you.  We are a milk drinking household (like almost 3 gallons a week!), and I do not think you get the same benefits from non-dairy milks.  I actually read a recent article that stated many non-dairy milks are actually not good for you.  Anyway, we have always spent a little extra on organic dairy because I feel that is one product where the added hormones and antibiotics given to animals is having a very negative effect on our health.  I may share more of our dieting plan later, but this little Pinterest picture sums it up well:

So far, I have tried out several recipes and have enjoyed using the crock pot/slow cooker for a lot of cooking.  The few meals where I used the stove or oven just make it so hot in the house so I think the slow cooker is a great option for summer cooking.  Plus, the house smells so good when something yummy is cooking all day.

I have also finally accomplished some tasks that had been put off too long.  Our house feels more like a home already.  Just this week, Brody has been potty trained.  He had been using the potty so well for months, but with his school schedule and little time together at home, we had not found ample time to stop using pull ups.  From both of my experiences, children will not fully potty train until you totally take diapers out of the equation.  They just know there is no "consequence" to wetting their pants if they are wearing a diaper or pull up.  The first couple of weeks we tried several days with wearing underwear for a couple of hours a day.  Some days, he would do well staying dry and then we would have a day where he would pee every time I could turn around.  This week, he just seemed to get it and has been staying dry almost all day...even during a two hour nap, a trip to the park, and in the car!  He is only wearing a pull up at night now, and we feel that if he is anything like his big brother, he'll be telling us in a few weeks that he no longer wants to wear a pull up to bed.

So for now, my new "career" is stay-at-home mom (a.k.a. a housekeeper, childcare provider, chef, chauffeur, financial planner, etc.).  I think one of the things I still need to work on is finding time to blog.  That one has kind of been pushed to the back burner the past few weeks as we have adjusted to a new schedule.  Once Evan is out of school (his last day is this Tuesday), we have many fun summer activities planned.  I may share more about our new schedule, some organizational things I am trying, and some meals I have enjoyed cooking, but I will definitely share about all the fun we are going to be having!

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  1. Oh my goodness Sherry! Those are all great changes! I'm so excited for you. I am sure your boys will love having you home and how great that you get to do it starting this summer. Please share some of the great recipes that you try out - I'm always looking for healthy meals too. I agree with what you said about dairy milk too. There are a few companies here that make milk, like Hiland or Braums, that make it without any hormones or antibiotics. I usually buy those, even though they are not fully organic.
    You know, I think your family is pretty great. I'm happy for you all! And tell Eddie thanks for all the hard work that he does!

  2. I am so happy for you that you'll be at home now! There are so many times when I see things on social media where people are going on exotic vacations and expensive restaurants, and I just keep thinking...that doesn't compare with what I have...peace of mind, plenty of time on my hands, and lots of quality time with my toddler. So excited for you! : )

  3. Oh Sherry!!! This is so exciting! I am so happy for you and your family. Like Kelly said, sometimes the sacrifices are hard (like seeing everyone going on big vacations or being able to do lots of home renovations) but the peace of mind and time with my kids is so much more important to me. It's time you will ever get back.

    Way to go Eddie on all the great work you're accomplishing. That is amazing! I think we don't brag on our husbands near enough and so I'm glad you did.

    And way to go Brody (and Sherry and Eddie) for being toilet trained. That is awesome!!!

    I look forward to reading more from you as blogging makes its way into your new routine. It sounds like it's going to be a great summer for you all!

  4. Oh WOW! This is amazing news. I am happy that you are making what you think is a positive change for your family. And there couldn't be a better time of year to do it. I think it's always easier to make big changes in the summer. I'm not sure why. It just seems, easier.

    Also, a big woo-hoo for Brody and staying dry. Maybe he can come out here and put Elliott through a potty boot camp!


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