Ah…the weekend

At long last, it is Friday. The weekend is so close I can feel it. I was sitting here thinking, I don’t think I’ve left the house this week….like not at all. I think we thought about going to Tae Kwon Do on Monday, but it was really cold and starting to spit snow. I think I want to get out tonight if the roads are good. I’m thinking I actually may try to leave all the children at home and run to the craft store to pick up some khaki sock yarn so I can try my hand at knitting my husband some dress socks. See what I did there?

So, I’m really going to try this sock knitting thing. Meleesa has inspired me because she knocks out a couple of pairs a week, surely I can get at least one pair done in a month if I try really hard!

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Crafting and Crockpots

The novelty of being a SAHM wears off pretty quickly. It’s the *staying at home* bit that really takes some adjustment. This is the world that I’ve been in for a few years now. This is why so many of my friends have been met in online mommy forums…because they understand why it is exciting to go to Walmart or the library and we speak the same language. I talk every day on the phone to some of my friends, and every single day we discuss what is in our crockpots, what we put in our kids lunchboxes, any *outtings* we may have planned for the day, as well as what breads or cookies we are baking. We talk about the sales at Aldi, the deals at Sam’s and what is in the upcoming Angel Food box and how to use it. We also talk about diapers, washing them and what is currently on the bum. Another big topic involves our yarny crafts….blankets, hats, scarves, deals on yarns, yarn in general, knitting groups, and patterns. I do love chatting with my friends, and I as much as I like talking about *deep subjects* the noise level in most of our homes simply doesn’t allow for it. If we do manage to tap into a conversation regarding our faltering economy, it must be a successful naptime at both of our homes.

One of my friends recently left the working world when she had a baby. She now is an official SAHM (Stay at Home Mom). I know she has fully emersed herself in the SAHM way of life, because last night she sent me an email that mentioned both crafting and crockpots. I have a favorite line from a really corny movie (Labryinth staring David Bowie)…”Turn back Sarah, turn back while you still can.” I know my friend is reading this…just insert your name LOL!

Snow…

Snow Days

Snow days are exciting, kind of like Christmas without the presents. They are eagerly anticipated by the young kids, and present a challenge to adults who are suddenly called to task to locate snow clothes, boots, coats, extra mittens, sleds and hot cocoa.  As a parent I look out the window and know that I’ll need to locate all of the aforementioned items and also prepare for a day of getting absolutely nothing done in the house because my school aged children will be home. Snow and ice mean I will spend my day not only tending my little charges, but tending to the needs of my older children, their friends and the older siblings of my normal daycare children.

Oh yeah, snow means WORK, though I do enjoy watching the kids play outdoors in the snow, I don’t really enjoy cleaning up the floors soaked with salt, ice, mud and snow. I get a good kick out of bundled up kids (that took a good 20 minutes to dress) waddling out into the cold with plans to make snow angels, an ice castle, a snowman family and have a snowball fight, only to see them slink back into the house with little red cheeks 20 minutes later, asking for hot cocoa. I know they won’t be out too long, so start preparing the cocoa as soon as the door closes.

Today was our first snow day and it was just wonderful…noise level aside. It looks like another snow day will be called again tomorrow, which means I need to get off this computer and get all the snow clothes washed and dried, salt mopped off the floor and a hot dinner on the table. In case you wonder what I serve on a busy day, here it is:

Ravioli Lasagna borrowed from Jenny’s kitchen:

  • 1 pkg frozen cheese filled ravioli
  • 1 lb ground beef browned and drained
  • 2 jars or a whole bunch of homemade spaghetti sauce
  • 16 oz shredded mozzerella
  • 1/2 container parmesan cheese

Layer frozen ravioli, sauce, meat and cheeses into a large crockpot. Cook on high for about 4 hours.

Served with hot, fresh french bread.

Camping

John and I have talked for a year about buying a camper so that we can do weekend family things. Come March, our little dream is coming true, we are going to take the plunge and buy one. I think that having a travel trailer or a popup camper is going to be absolutely wonderful because we can spend time outdoors as a family and we can show the children places we went as children.

Dustin especially is looking forward to camping. He wants to fish, catch frogs and play in streams. Hopefully Dustin becomes a good fisherman because the idea of cooking fresh fish over a hot grill really appeals to me. Fish in a bag is great, but fresh fish is absolutely delicious. Liam will probably want to be just like big brother and a little Mickey Mouse pole may be in order.

Warmer weather is much anticipated so we can get this show on the road!

Advantages and Disadvantages

A few years ago I quit my corporate day job to work from home and raise my own children. Since then I have kept 3 or 4 children other than my own in my home daycare. I have the advantage of being at home, so during down time and naps I can toss in a load of laundry, make a bed, mop some floors, run a vacuum and start dinner. More importantly, though, I don’t miss things like “The First Roll” or “The First Step”. I get to see my children all day long. I get to be home when my big kids leave and get home from school, so I oversee breakfast and homework. I’m also the first person my kids run to when they get hurt or when they have something exciting to tell. I don’t need to pump milk for my baby to get fed and I don’t need to worry about what to do when the school calls because one of the children is sick. I’m here. I’m always here.

For all the advantages there are to working from home, there are a fair share of not so positive things as well. These are all the things I encourage people to really think about when they want to quit their job and do in-home daycare theirselves. One of the most obvious things is that you are still working, meaning you can’t plan to sleep in, wear jammies all day, or have a quiet cup of coffee. You will have to share your home with other children, which means you never leave the office. Your own children cannot be your primary focus by day, they will need to take an equal seat next to the children you care for. This can be particularly difficult if you provide care for children the same ages as your own. Your home will take a beating. You will have a parade of people coming and going. Something else to keep in mind is that you will seldom leave your home by day, there will not be playdates with friends, mid-day shopping trips, or lazy days where you do nothing. You will be around children A LOT, so if you don’t like kids that much and think it is going to be easy money, think again because this is the wrong job for you. It is a disservice to a child in your care, you and your children if you are a childcre provider but hate your job.

As a home daycare provider you see all of your children’s firsts, and you get to raise them, but you also will see many firsts for other children and you will be helping their parents to raise them too. For me, knowing that I provide an invaluable service to parents who work outside of the home is very rewarding. One of my general rules of thumb is to never tell a parent that their child started walking, talking, or any other milestone activity while in my care, with the exception of rolling. I will always tell a parent about rolling because rolling on the floor can also mean rolling off the couch or bed at home. The little kids in my care become part of our extended family. They are well taken care of and get all the advantages of being cared for, by day, by a mom…even if it isn’t their own mom.

Recently, my working hours have shifted, so I am finished working every day by 4:0opm. It is amazing what one hour does for me. Just in the last two weeks we have been able to go to activities at the library, run errands before dark and hit our Tae Kwon Do classes and I don’t feel rushed. I suspect the combination of Maggie getting older, Liam becoming more cooperative, Dustin and Dorothy being here more often and my early off time is going to make us a far more productive family. Another really exciting change for us is that John’s second job is transforming a bit, so he will also get to be home more often! This definately means that come spring, our yard will be nicely manicured, I will have gardens to plant and tend with the children, and that weekends can be spent with us and the kids relaxing in a van down by the river…well maybe not in a van, but if things work the way we plan, in a nice camper by a river.

Unimpressed

Last night we took the 4 littles out for a suprise. After a long hour at tae kwon do, where Maggie, Liam and I patiently waited for Dustin and Dorothy to finish class, we headed over to America’s Incredible Pizza Company where John was already waiting. If you aren’t familiar with AIPC, it is something like Dave and Buster’s combined with Chuck E. Cheese. Sounded wonderful. We paid for our food and bought the kids the Wednesday night special of unlimited play for 90 minutes.

The unlimited play did not include some of the *big* games or the go-carts. That was fine. Dustin and Dorothy were thrilled and had a lot of fun! We went directly to the area with games for smaller children for Liam to play. Surprisingly, the unlimited play didn’t include several of the children’s games, and of the ones it should have worked for a couple were broken. Also, the carpet was already coming up at the seams, this place is new.

The food was better than expected, but the children’s game selection combined with the hefty price tag of the evening pretty much ensures that our family will not return. It was fine for an evening, but I think next time we’ll stick to the tried and true, and leave a little change in our wallet.