Chores for Kids

medium_4260679732So, we’ve been talking about chores  – partly because my little man owes me some money, and partly because it’s just good practice.  Typically, he’s been responsible for taking out the trash (for which I pay a quarter), cleaning the bathroom (with vinegar and water in a spray bottle), and feeding and watering the dogs.  He’s recently started taking an interest in doing the dishes, and we’re working on learning that one.

So, I was starting to look into chores when I found some great resources on the subject.

My friend Edna wrote a blog about chores for the Family Life Ministry page (GOArch). It’s REALLY good stuff!  I highly recommend that ANYBODY with kids, Orthodox or otherwise, read her post.

Here is a list of 43 chores for kids up to age seven!  We’ll be looking at this list pretty extensively.

I am working on a chore chart, but I think I am basing it on Edna’s model, outlined in her blog above.

I am also SERIOUSLY looking for some resources for dealing with ADHD/ODD children in homeschool situations.  We have a lot of very trying days, and I think we BOTH need a system that works.

Meanwhile, I appreciate your continued prayers for our family.

photo credit: Alison Faith via photopin cc



Moral Support

medium_8755031604I am so blessed.  I really am.  I am blessed to have some amazing friends who let me vent my frustrations about my lack of friends TO THEM, MY FRIENDS.  It’s not as strange as it seems, I promise.  I do have some wonderful friends.  My kindred-spirits and sisters-in-arms are in Mississippi,  Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, Washington and Oregon.  There are several in Ireland as well. They are wonderful, soulful, beautiful, intelligent, huge-hearted, kind-spirited, brazen, battle-waging, award-winning, genuine, fabulous friends. And they are all more than 300 miles away.

I don’t get out much.
Not even to church.

You see, here’s what we don’t talk about much, if ever.  The fact is, as much as I LOVE what we’re doing, it doesn’t really pay the bills.  I do as much as I can to make money(again, here’s my website so you can do some shopping and help us out. I am not into hand-outs, but I really do some great work! Lots of it with Orthodox families in mind!)  There are about seven Orthodox churches that are local to us.  ALL OF THEM are almost exactly and hour’s drive!  So, that’s at least a quarter of a tank of gas every time we go to church, and I don’t usually HAVE a quarter of a tank of gas.

Don’t misunderstand.
I am not complaining.

I am just explaining things. I do wish I could get out of the house more.  I wish I could go to church.  I wish I could develop more local friendships for myself and for Jack.  It would be nice.

But I am so truly and genuinely thankful for the dear friends that I have.

Kelli is my  soul sister.  She is my rock.  She is my snarky, loving, tender, angry friend who really GETS me on all levels.  She’s a brilliant artist, and intelligent woman, and the very best friend a girl could have.  She is also my bon bon dealer, but that’s another story.  I am currently cut off, darn her! We used to be local, but not in a while.  At first, we were local but our schedules just never let us see each other.  Then she became disabled, so we didn’t see each other MUCH.  Now, we are several hundred miles apart, and I last saw her when she spent Christmas with my family in 2011.

Jane and I have parallel lives on opposite sides of the country.  We were pregnant together.  We became single moms together – at the same point in our lives for the SAME REASON!  We have been sick together.  We have raised our precious children together.  We have struggled together, cried together, laughed together, loved together.  We’ve met exactly once.  Our children are convinced (YAY!) that they are going to grow up, marry each other, have twelve children, and build a big house with two small apartments for their Mommies to live with them forever.  Young love! It makes my heart smile.

Arlie is my miracle friend.  She just is.  There is no better explanation.  She walked into my life when I desperately needed her, and unknowingly pointed me in the right direction.  She keeps doing that!  She is just absolutely fantastic, and she keeps showing me that I can do more than I give myself credit for. We’ve never met!

These women, our limited interactions, and their love have gotten me through the hard times and helped me celebrate the good times.  I don’t know what I would do without them.  I know there are people who think that you can’t have a true friendship with someone you have only really known online, but I know better.  See, all three of these girls I met online, back in the days when journal sites were the big thing to do!  I’ve known each of them for no less than seven years, and we’ve shared more than I’ve shared with most of my face-to-face, day-to-day acquaintances.  We’ve been genuine and vulnerable, and we’ve given our love with no question.

I just wanted to put this out there.

There are also some great groups online for support.  I’ve found a few of them, and I know there are more.  If you’re like me, feeling pretty alone sometimes, doing this thing on your own – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  Shoot me an email, and we’ll find you a group!

photo credit: CJS*64 via photopin cc

Long Week

medium_5506821377Poor Jack is having such a difficult time this week.

Last fall, we had a family move in next door.  The second time I met them was when the oldest boy came to invite Jack to play outside. Those two boys have been inseparable since! They have spent at least two or three days a week outside in the yards or in one of their bedrooms or another.  They’ve gone for walks together, ridden their bikes in the empty parking lot across the street, and done their Christmas shopping together! They’ve just been INSEPARABLE and CONSTANTLY together.

Yesterday, our neighbors moved.  Now, they only moved about a mile away, and the boys will still get to see each other at least once a week.  But it’s just so hard on Jack, who is used to being able to walk out the door and spend the afternoon in the yard playing cops and robbers with his best friend.

And since I am here, he takes it out on me, so that instead of comforting him when he is sad, I am having to punish him for treating me badly.

Pray for us.

I am so happy for our friends who were able to find a home that is better suited to their needs, but I am so sad for Jack, and I am so frustrated with his behavior.

I hope we get another set of awesome neighbors with kids who like to run and play, because childhood SHOULD be about running around and playing outside with your friends.

I am very thankful that we’ve had several months of being able to have that experience every day.  It taught me to let go a little – that I don’t have to watch him every second of every day.  It taught him to PLAY, and have fun, and to not be QUITE so clingy and afraid to leave his mother’s side. We’re growing up, I guess. We’re starting to recover from our past hurts and move forward.

We do have other friends in the neighborhood, but having this family sharing a fence line with me made it so easy for them to be inseparable.  Some days, when I am ill, even going half a block is daunting.  I definitely prefer being able to be at home when I don’t feel well.  Yet, I don’t want to keep Jack at home because I am not well.  Even though I seek the comfort of my couch and my living room, I know he doesn’t always.  He wants his friends. He wants to play.  He wants to run around and be a superhero who saves the world from the evil Spoctopus from Jupiter!

And his mother wants an hour or two when she doesn’t have to entertain a busy six-year-old so she can vacuum the floors in peace, or cook dinner without a million questions, or (SHOCK!!) read the NEWS!

My child is a lot like I am.  He wants to play, but not alone. He would rather sit in the living room with me, bored out of his mind, than go outside and play tee ball without a friend. I get it.  I can’t even manage to clean the kitchen after he goes to bed without a phone in my ear or an audio book on mp3.  Even talk radio helps! There’s got to be some sort of balance, though, between always being BUSY or having someone around, and never seeing anyone.  I guess we both need to learn the value of being quiet and solitary every now and then.

Anyway, that’s our week so far.  We started reading the Hobbit together, and Jack is reading Danny and the Dinosaur for very first book report.  We’re starting a nature study next week, which promises to be a lot of fun, and we’re starting art, piano, and French this month too. I am trying to find a job that I can do (maybe from home? That would be ideal!).

In the meantime, by way of trying to make ends meet, I am asking you to visit my website, shop if you can, and share with your friends and family.  I sell several items (mostly hats) that I knit and crochet, and I am always open to taking custom orders (my favorite was a recent set for a baptism – gown, bonnet, sweater, and blanket).  I also have several home businesses doing direct sales primarily online with SoyLicious (candles, home fragrance, soy soaps), At Home (decor), LilyBean and Baxter (anything you can imagine – personalized), Kitsy Lane (jewelry – lots under $20), Spirit Lockets (customized jewelry), and Meredith Lily (more personalized, event/party supplies, etc – still in pre-launch phase).  Please check it out and tell a friend – all your friends! You can find my website at



photo credit: rottnapples via photopin cc