I woke up around 3am to nurse the baby back to sleep. I rolled over and he latched on. He was still mostly asleep as he suckled himself back into a peaceful oblivion. I heard some rustling from the other room and, the next thing I knew, Biscuit was crawling into my bed. As I tried to remind him that he couldn’t sleep with me (the last time he did, the baby crawled on top of him in his sleep and started wacking him), we heard some more rustling.
I thought it was C rolling over in his sleep.
I hoped it was C.
There was a mouse on the floor. I’m not exaggerating when I say the mice in my house are brave and disrespectful. They don’t care that there was just a little boy stomping on the floor or that there was a family trying to sleep. They come out of their homes in the floorboards and walls and come into MY home and run around like they own the place. I freaked out a little bit. I thought I was freaking out fairly quietly until my husband, who had woken up during my quiet freak out, told me I was scaring Biscuit. At least it scared Biscuit enough that he willingly went back to his own bed. Though his daddy did have to carry him because he didn’t want to accidentally step on a mouse.
The trap snapped shut later that day. (I called my husband to come in and get rid of it.)
The next day the older boys were upstairs gathering their dirty laundry and they decided to do a nice deed and gather the laundry from my room as well. The baby monitor base is in my room and I keep the receiver on all the time so I can hear most of what happens upstairs. I don’t think I needed the monitor at that point though. They made such a racket! When they came back downstairs, without the laundry, they told me they were trying to scare the mouse. C was stomping on the floor and Biscuit was yelling at it. Oh, and C hit it with Daddy’s sock. That’ll show that mouse not to mess with us!
Figuring this mouse was scared back into it’s hole, I decided to gather up the laundry myself. I was wrong. The mouse was hiding behind the baby’s clothing bin. I screamed and ran downstairs and texted Adam to come in and take care of it. He did. Wacked it with his belt and threw it outside, as our older two watched in awe. Those boys were playing “daddy vs mouse” the rest of the day.
Thinking we were done with mice for a while, I started to relax a bit. Until the very next day when C came to ask me what I wanted him to do with the baby mouse in front of the vacuum. I’m glad he didn’t seem concerned about it. But I was. I had to get him to repeat it several times to make sure I understood correctly. The baby mouse was dead, thankfully. But still, creepy! Since it was dead, I waited until Adam came in for lunch before asking him to throw it out. (You can imagine how entertaining my fear was to him.)
The day progressed as usual. And there were no signs of mice the next day. Until about 5pm when I walked into the living room. My heart still beats a little faster as I remember the feeling of seeing a dead mouse in the baby’s hands. I screamed. For quite a while. And I dove across the living room floor to my sweet little baby as he flapped this thing around and…. slowly…. brought it to his mouth. Still screaming, I managed to reach him before he made contact. There was no way I was going to touch the mouse so I picked up the baby and started shaking his arm to get him to release the mouse. Biscuit sat on the floor beside the baby and watched all of this with a look on his face that said, “What’s the big deal?”
I finally managed to shake the mouse out of the baby’s hand and it landed on the floor with a *thunk* and I ran out of the room. Wait a minute, it should have made more of a *splat* sound. I took a few deep breaths before I was finally able to speak. I asked Biscuit, “What’s going on?” He looked at me with those sweet, sparkly, fully innocent eyes and said, “It’s just a dinosaur mom.”
I was going to say that we haven’t seen a mouse since. But now I need to rewrite that line: We hadn’t seen a mouse for a few days. Until right now. One just ran across my kitchen and I can hear another in the living room. I think we may be getting a cat for Christmas. Apparently 4 traps aren’t enough to discourage them. Now the question is, can I wait until Christmas?
I may scare a few people off my confessing this but I’ll confess anyway: I don’t keep a clean house. It isn’t a goal I’m heading toward. In fact, having a perfectly clean house is not even on my radar. What? Isn’t that everyone’s goal? Isn’t that the role of a homemaker? The answer comes in the form of a big, fat, NO!
You’ll never be satisfied if you try to keep your entire home clean. It’s just not going to happen because you live here! Instead, focus on getting one area clean at a time. Some areas can be clean once per week (or month or year) and some areas can have a clean moment daily. My kitchen table is an area that I try to clean once a day. Sometimes it’s first thing in the morning and then the kids do puzzles or drive cars on it. Sometimes it’s right before supper so I can set the table for supper. Sometimes we eat at a table with last night’s rice still on it and I clean it after the kids have gone to bed. It is clean for probably 15 minutes per day maximum. But I’m okay with that.
I try to clean my floors once per week. I don’t have a very big house and we don’t have a lot of toys so, if everyone (read: my husband, who pumps up the boys to help out) chips in, it only take about 15-30 minutes to tidy the floors enough so I can sweep. Sometimes I mop. And then the kids run in and out of the house with dirty feet. The next day the toys and sand are all over the floor again.
My sink has a dish brush, coffee grounds, and a few dishes in it. I try to clean it once per day but we use our sink. It is pretty much never empty because, as soon as I do clean it, it’s snack time and strawberry and banana covered knives and plates get put in there. Or my husband makes coffee and rinses out the reusable coffee filter. Or I find a cup of yesterday’s leftover milk to dump in there.
The goal is not to keep your home clean. The goal is to GET it that way. And then move on. Let it go. Know that it will be messy and dirty again. And that’s okay. So give yourself grace. Pick your area to focus on that can be cleaned right now. And accept that you are cleaning it up simply to be a clean canvas for your life. A clean slate for new creativity. Whether it be for supper, race tracks, or morning coffee. That’s just life. And life is messy and dirty.
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A vegetable garden can be a great way to reduce grocery bills and increase the nutritional value of the food you eat but starting a vegetable garden can be very intimidating. There are so many methods and so many seed options that a new gardener can quickly become overwhelmed. This is the step-by-step method I devised for how to start a beginner vegetable garden. This is my third year using it and, each year, I’m able to expand my garden a little more.
Continue to Thinking Outside the Sandbox: Family to read the rest of my guest post on how to start a beginner vegetable garden.
When my husband and I were both working full time, our meals consisted of a lot of prepackaged foods. Canned soups, frozen pizza, hashbrowns, mac n cheese, cereal etc. I didn’t have a lot of recipes under my belt and didn’t enjoy cooking (still not my favorite thing to do) so we took a lot of shortcuts in the kitchen. Shortcuts are most definitely not how to eat healthier.
When I got pregnant, I wanted to improve my diet. So I added a lot more fruits and veggies than I used to eat but, due to my work schedule, I often had to eat supper in the vehicle. Drive-throughs were so convenient. Mmmm poutine!
Then C was born. I was still making slow improvements to my diet but it was tough since my husband wasn’t really on board. C was exclusively breastfed until 6 months old, when we first introduced him to solid foods, in the form of pureed carrots. Jarred food had too many additives for my liking so I avoided them. It wasn’t long before C moved past purees and he wanted to start sharing foods from my plate. That’s when we discovered the simplest and more beneficial tip to finding healthy foods in the grocery store:
There are numerous articles on how to read food labels and exactly which ingredients to avoid and which ingredients do what to your body. It’s confusing, to say the least. The “Ah Ha” moment came when my husband and I were comparing ingredients on a couple bags of hashbrowns. One had about 15 ingredients and one had about 6 ingredients. We bought the one with 6.
Typically, less ingredients is better. Also, if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, they probably aren’t good for you.
Carrots = good.
Milk = good.
Eggs = good.
Rice = good.
Eat foods in as close to their natural state as possible and your body will thank you. That’s the easiest starting point to improving what you are putting into your body.
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What is the easiest tip that you have for someone who wants to eat healthier or head toward a healthier lifestyle?
Edited to add: Yes, I do realize my photo has a spelling mistake. And no, I won’t be fixing it at this point. Too much work and I think you get the point anyway 🙂
One of our household mantras go like this:
How do we behave?
Polite and Gentle and show each other Love.
We first started this when my oldest was learning how to properly pronounce an “L.” It encouraged him to repeat words with the “L” at the beginning, middle, and end of the word. It was an added bonus that it also included a character lesson.
In spite of the fact that my boys are typically less rambunctious in their play than one would expect from boys their age, we do have a tendency toward more intensity when it comes to emotions. With the addition of another little boy to our family last week (more on that later), we are in the midst of the extra dose of fatigue and attempts at finding a new family rhythm. Gentleness is a habit that we need to get back into.
One of the things that has helped serve as a reminder for gentleness was to light a candle and say a prayer for my home. C and Biscuit help me light (or remind me to light) the candle and I explain why I’m lighting it and pray out loud for peace in our home and gentleness toward each other. I love having a visual (and scented!) reminder and we hold each other accountable treating each other with love. Yes, I allow my children to call me out when I treat them unacceptably.
I know that there are a lot more ways to increase the habit of gentleness but I’m starting with my candle and prayer. It’s simple. And, with a newborn in my arms, simple is about as good as I can do!
Do you have any other simple ways for increasing gentleness in yourself and your children?
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