Hey Friends! I am back. FINALLY! I am sorry that it has been so long since I have posted or vlogged. Summer time has come to an end and life here on the homestead has been C.R.A.Z.Y. With school starting, sports in full swing, preparing for winter, sleep training our sweet baby, and life in general, things have been hectic. I love so much being a large family Mama, but it is definitely hard to find time for the extras. Some days I can barely find time for the must do's. Ha! We had a beautiful summer and I am sad to see it end. It is by far my favorite season! But, with every ending also comes new beginnings and I am looking forward to a new season in time and in life.
New hopes and dreams...
The big tall hubby and I have spent many nights chatting about our future dreams and goals and there are big changes coming our way. For several years now we have desired to live a more self sustainable lifestyle. For us that means living a natural healthy life, while growing as much of our own food as possible, and raising our own animals. While we currently have chickens and bees, and hopefully goats again very soon, we are not where we want to be yet.
Living debt free??
Something that has been really heavy on our hearts lately is that we very much want to live a debt free life. Early in our marriage we made many mistakes financially and paid long and hard for those mistakes. When we finally got out of that mess we decided then that we wanted to live differently moving forward. We have tried very hard since then to not take on any unnecessary debts. However, like most Americans we still have a mortgage and a car payment. While most people wouldn't think of those things as careless debts, they are still debts. When you owe someone money you are a slave to them. I do not want to be a slave to PennyMac or the bank. So what do we do? I mean you cant just up and move with 7 kids and where would we live? Don't worry, we don't plan to tent it with our crew on my parents lawn. LOL
We believe that our home has appreciated quite a bit since moving in 3 years ago. We are considering selling it and using the profits to purchase a piece of land that we would own debt free. We don't know if we will build from there or possibly purchase a piece of land that has a small home we could live in until we can afford to build with cash, We are and have been praying that the Lord would give us direction on what to do from here.
When you are able to live without the constant weight of debt on your shoulders I believe that is true freedom. We are so blessed that the big tall hubby has a great job and we have a nice life. However, the reality is that all of that could change in a heartbeat. If he lost his job or was injured/sick and unable to work, we would really struggle to maintain a mortgage, car payment, and all our monthly responsibilities. If we could actually own our land, home, and vehicles, what a blessing that would be! I know this would mean a lot of changes for us and it would definitely involve losing many of our creature comforts for a period of time. I believe though that the benefits far out-way the negatives.
What the future holds...
When I started this blog it was with the hope of encouraging others through the journey of motherhood, life and all that comes with it. We don't know what the future holds or how this will all play out for us but I wanted to share with you my heart, our dreams and our goals. Will we be able to truly live a debt free life in the near future? I don't know, but I certainly hope so. If you have been on a journey to financial freedom I would LOVE to hear about it. It is so encouraging to me to hear from others who are on the same path or who have already succeeded. Whatever happens, I promise to bring you along for the journey.
I hope this new season brings you new hopes and dreams and many fun adventures.
*Photo from our family vacation this summer
Mama's, Please tell me I am not alone here. Do you ever just have those days/weeks where you CANNOT get it together? I am definitely having one of those weeks!
Sometimes I have this whole Mama thing down. Like, really down. I look around and my house is clean and pretty. My kids are behaving and doing well. The big tall hubby is happy. We have healthy, homemade meals every day. I actually make it into real clothes with my hair all done up and everything! Those are the days I think "kids, schmids!" I could have 3 more easily. I mean, why do people think this is so hard?! HA! And then God brings me back down a few notches and I have a week or two of COMPLETE FAILURE!
Y'all, my kids haven't had baths in 3 days, I have a load of laundry in the washer that could possibly be growing mold and I wouldn't even know it! Despite me running it 3 times, I have failed to actually pull it out on time once and put it in the dryer. My bedroom looks like a bomb went off in it. My bathrooms are certainly at HAZMAT level. I haven't followed my meal plan in days. I am gross, covered in saw dust, sweaty, and eating a bowl of dry Honeycombs for dinner at 11:15 at night. For real. Definitely not winning any Mommy awards around here this week.
Now before you guys go calling CPS on me, let me explain. My kids have been in VBS this week at a nearby church. It has been wonderful and they have been blessed. It has also kept them up until 10 pm or later every night. VBS runs in the evening and they don't get home until almost 9:30. Tired kids are cranky kids. Cranky kids make for cranky Mama's. So we have been off of our schedule this week; big time. In the mix of all that, we have also had things like birthdays, playdates, doctor appointments, errands, projects, and trying to help serve others in need. It has been a good week and even a productive week. Just not at my home. I am behind.
Mama's are tough aren't we? We have a lot on our plates whether we have 1 kid or 10 kids. We wear A LOT of hats. We try to be everything to everybody all the time. We are taxis, cheerleaders, chefs, dishwashers, interior designers, house keepers, managers, employees, doctors, psychiatrists, and care givers to all the ones we love. It can be hard! Did you hear me Mama? It can be HARD! But it can also be wonderful. So very wonderful.
I get down on myself when I am having these rough days. I wonder why I can't keep up all of a sudden? How did everything get so bad so quick? I start to think crazy things like "Maybe this is it. Maybe this is when I become one of those women who can't get it together to save their life". But, none of that is true, The truth is I am human and so are you. We are just doing the best we can with what we have to work with each day. Some days we are just tired and worn out. Some days we might just not care at all. This week I might not have been the best chef or housekeeper, but I was a good Mama and a good wife. I spent time making memories with my kids and my hubby. My little boy turned 5 and said he had "the best day of his whole life!". I got to work on some things that were important to me, and I got to help someone I love with a project that was important to them.
So I am going to give myself some grace this week. I am going to celebrate my successes and let go of my short comings. I will get up tomorrow and I will try my best again. I will keep doing that every day as long as God allows me to breathe because Mommin' Aint Easy, but it sure is worth it!
Philippians 4:11b "For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
So we finally did it! We ditched the TV and all of the electronics. Yeah I know, its nuts right? Who will babysit my kids now? What will I do at night while eating a pint, I mean a completely responsible, portioned controlled bowl of ice cream? Now my kids will not only be the unsocialized, homeschooled weirdos but they will also be "those" people without a TV?! Well, we did it anyway. I got tired of the noise. SO.MUCH.NOISE. The truth is they rarely watched it anyway, but for some reason it was always on, From the time we woke up until the time we went to bed, it was there.
I've been on a journey of minimalizing our home, our life, and all the clutter and I realized one day that the TV was just that. CLUTTER. Not the kind of clutter that takes up space or doesn't have a home, but head clutter. It was cluttering our minds, our hearts, and more importantly, our time. Valuable time together as a family being lost in the world of TV and electronic gadgets. So I talked to the big tall hubby and told him my thoughts and he agreed. I know, he's amazing! We agreed that Sunday night would be our final night and before we went to bed we would pack it all up and hide it away for the summer. We warned the kiddos so there wouldn't be any meltdowns come Monday morning, or anyone thinking that someone broke into the house overnight and stole our valuables. Surprisingly everyone took it very well. Now that could be because I have threatened this kind of thing many times in the past, yet never followed through but, either way they accepted it. So, that's exactly what we did. We binged watched Amazing Race on Netflix till almost 1 am and then we hauled our TV to the basement, covered it with an old rug and packed up all our other devices, chargers and any other paraphernalia and hid it away. And guess what guys? NOBODY DIED!
I've read that in order to get rid of a bad habit you must replace it with a good one. So, that's what we did. We woke up Monday morning, ate breakfast, got dressed and loaded up for a walk. We walked 2 miles down our country dirt roads and we talked and we laughed and we really enjoyed each others company. My kids talked to me about their dreams and their plans; we stopped to see the local cows and horses along the way and nobody said a word about the TV. Nobody missed it at all. In fact we have walked each day since and now we even load up and go to a local park. Sometimes we run, or bring our bikes, or play at the park after our walk. Life is good. Each morning they get up and instead of immediately turning on the TV or fighting over who gets to watch what, they ask me when were leaving. They cant wait to go on our walk together and that makes me one happy mama. During the day they have been playing with their toys, building things with Legos and Lincoln Logs, being creative and actually being kids. At night we have been playing board games, having drawing competitions, and reading books. Even the big tall hubby is reading at night and in almost 17 years of marriage I have never seen him read a book to relax. I don't think there is anything wrong with TV and I am sure at some point we will bring it back on a limited basis, but I gotta say, I really don't miss it. The time that we have gained back as a family has been so worth it. Hearing my kids tell their friends and family that they don't miss it because now they get to do all kinds of fun stuff with their parents makes me know that we did the right thing for us. So, I encourage you if you have been a little too wrapped up in TV or gadgets to take a breather. You don't have to pack it all away or swear it off for the whole summer like us, but maybe take a week and give it a try. You just might find that you don't really enjoy all that clutter either.
Kym is a homeschooling Mama, who has a passion for frugal living, enjoys meal planning on a budget, organization, event planning and home decor. She lives on a small homestead in southeast Michigan with her husband Mike and their 7 children.