Family, Work and the Cost, Where is the line?

It’s a Sunday morning and at 5am my phone rings after having putting in a 50 hour work week. It’s a coworker needing relief as they have been on call and working for over 24 hours. It’s a friend so I agree to come in to work and relieve her to let her go home for 8 hours. I am grateful in one since for the overtime pay which is great. In the other since I have had over 70-130 hours of overtime a month since last November. I covet my weekends and evenings with my kids and my wife, but always appreciate the extra money. I have 2 kids with Cystic Fibrosis who I want to be around and support as much as possible as well. I have lately been struggling with this as my kiddos are missing out on their dad, and my wife doesn’t see me much. Where is the line? When is enough, enough? I make good money, but at what price. This has been a large part of my prayer life and thoughts lately as my job provides well and the benefits and retirement are great. Again the struggle is how much am I willing to give up with my family?

I am curious those of you out their that have been through similar struggles and this dilemma what conclusions have you drawn? Especially in this economy?

Any Millionaires want to share lol.

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Five Ways To Entertain Your Kids While On The Road..

You are about to pull your hair out, just picture Chris Farley in a moment of frustration driving down the road, because your kids are bored, and driving you crazy those lovable little ones 🙂


Your in the midst of wanting to drop all of them off and drive into the sunset j/k, but lets be honest all of us parents have had this moment I call the Bridge Imbankment courtesy of the late Chris Farley. 

Here is your solution:

#1) Play road game greats, such as: license plate searches for each of the fifty states, types and makes of cars, counting cows, best impersonator of the animals we see, Sing alongs although not my favorite.


#2) Bring Ipads or tablets for everyone, dvd players. Be cautious of screen time and ability to charge, as to much screen time or loss of charge will cause grumpy kiddos.


#3) Create a Travel binder of activities for your kids



livingwellmom.com

#4) Nest Organizing with Sticky Notes (Amazing)

Sticky Note Time Tabs

Here is another one of the 3 tips for organized travel in this series, and it focuses on organized travel with kids.

 

A little bit of planning and preparation goes a long way in making a road trip with children easier, enjoyable and more fun! This is what we used on our recent travels from western NY to northern Maine.

 

Sticky Note Time Tabs

Sticky Note Time Tabs for Organized Travel with Kids – Neat Nest Organizing

 

Here is how it works:

1. Choose an interval of travel time that suits the age and developmental stage of your child(ren). Mine are 8 and 6, so one-hour increments were just right for them.

 

2. Use sticky notes to record the increments and stick them to the center console below the clock.

 

3. Tell the children that when the clock-time matches the sticky note-time, there will be a small surprise.

 

4. When the interval is reached, remove the sticky note and hand out the prize/monotony-breaker.

 

5. Add more intervals as needed. (I could only fit four at a time.)

 

Prizes/Monotony Breakers
 

The prizes I packed included:

*Little craft kits (sticky mosaics are a big hit!)

*Activity books (paper dolls, sticker storybooks)

*Little trinket toy set

*Little coloring kit

*Candy (Gasp! Yes, a few small treats are just fine to enjoy.)

*Book on CD

*iPod with music

*iPod Touch for electronic game time

 

Travel Guess Who? and Bendaroos were fun options, too.


 

Bingo also found its way into the prize bag. I can call out the objects from my seat.


 

Removable sticky page tabs make great travel bingo markers. They stay put & are reusable, too!


 

Tootsie Pop Contest: See how long each person can go without biting off the candy. 

This took about 20+ minutes; it was fun and also kept things quiet for a bit- bonus!

Packed prize bag was stored near me for easy access.

Note: Prizes came from many sources. We bought a few at Dollar General, got some from Grandma specifically for the trip and some were from a stash I had put away a few months ago. (They seemed like new when brought out for the trip!)
 Also, each child was required to pack her own car bag as well. I am not the only source of entertainment for trips. At these ages, my children are primarily responsible for making their own fun, and they really enjoy preparing and packing their own bags, too. 

Inspiration for this idea came from a July 2012 article in Family Fun Magazine. The author used clothespins attached to the visor instead of the sticky notes. The sticky notes worked better for us, and I liked having the exact time increment written on each. It prevented the constant barrage of “is-it-time-for-our-next-surprise?” questions. Plus, the sticky notes were easy to store, use and remove.

idea and content from neatnestorganizing.com

#5) Create some surprise Eggs and wraps some gifts from the dollar store for them to open on the car ride.

10 Best Blogs to follow for Family Fun, Crafts, Slime and More


OMG! Have you every wished you had a treasure trove of ideas for fun with your kids that were cheap, fun and lots of variety. Well stay tuned today is your lucky day. As a dad of five on a conservative budget we have learned that creativity is key, and we have discovered that you can do a lot of stuff super cheap. Please check out these amazing resources and let me know what you do for fun, sites you recommend and what do you think of these awesome resources?

Blog #10 www.kidsactivitiesblog.com

Blog#9 www.skiptomylou.org

Blog#8 www.onesavvymom.net

 

Blog#7 www.messforless.net

Blog#6 www.u-createcrafts.com


What will you find at U Create?

thousands of free tutorials, recipes and projects that inspire “YOU” to create

the latest craft trends and projects in the craft industry

free printables and downloads for holidays, home decor, and simple gifts

tips and tricks to make creating fun

occasional guest posts from creative people all around the world
Blog #5 http://www.cometogetherkids.com


Blog #4 www.raisingfairiesandknights.com

Blog #3 www.playdoughandpopsicles.com
Blog #2 www.craftylife.net


Blog#1 www.spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com


What crafts do you enjoy doing with your kids? What tips and tricks do you have to offer?

Masters Degree, Vacation, and Mr. Mom

Man its been awhile since I have sat down to write on my blog or journal period. My wife Angela flew out across the country on Saturday, I took vacation for a week to care for our 5 little ones, 2 dogs, and a cat. Two of my kiddos have Cystic Fibrosis and have treatments, meds three times a day. I have never felt more appreciation and respect for all that my stay at home wife does. On top of all this during the school year she home schools our kiddos through Liberty University Academy. 

I am in awe. I am only 1 day in, and I have to admit its a lot to take on, schedule, and keep track of. Cleaning, Dishes, Laundry, Cooking, Animals, Treatments, spending time with kiddos and breathing. It is amazing at how hard, and how much time my wife puts in a day. I feel like Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom. My daughters drew all over our master bathroom with lipstick, my other son spilled on the carpet, dogs barking to go to the bathroom, ovens beeping, reminder goes off about treatments, someone knocks on the door, the phone rings, OMG!! Lol


Gods gives us amazing spouses that have talents and gifts that we lack. I am amazed at what my beautiful amazing wife can do. After this week I am going to be worn out, feel like I have completed boot camp for dads, and gotten my own masters in being Mr. Mom. Stay Tuned!

Weight Loss, Cystic Fibrosis and Lip Gloss

Well its been awhile since I wrote to you last. A lot has happened. I have continued with my journey on losing all of the extra weight on my body. I am still doing my workout routine and taking the supplements that have saved and changed my life for the better. I am down now almost 20 lbs in 30 days. I have more energy than I ever remember having since I was a teen, my joints, muscles and body overall does not ache, and hurt like it used to. I have better mental focus and clarity, and a whole new outlook on life. It’s amazing that I can now get down on the floor, and play with my kids, run around with them, and I have tons of energy to work on the house now, instead of relying on my wife for it. Before starting these supplements I would come home from work, and collapse from being worn out, from not being able to keep my blood sugars were they needed to be. My blood sugars since starting these supplements have been consistently under 120 which is perfect!, and I am taking much less insulin. I cannot wait to be able to be done with Insulin all together.

IMG_2920.JPGSo, my son Gunnar 3 months old who is pictured here has Cystic Fibrosis. On Friday he was admitted to a Children’s hospital where we live as he has a horrible congested cough. He will be there for 1 week on strong antibiotics, respiratory therapy, and a battery of tests to make sure they get everything covered. I have come to respect all that my wife does so much more, as I have been solo at home with our other 4 children since this happened. Thank you to all of the amazing mothers out there, so much respect for you and all you do. Yes I will admit it lol I am at times overwhelmed, but I love my kids and its been fun, crazy, and all the above.

 

 

Fun example of my chaos: Helping my two sons go to the restroom, in a split second my 2 little girls sneak into my master bathroom, open my wives lip gloss, proceed to grab multiple q tips and smear the lip gloss all over my bathroom toilet seat. They have to have some higher power connection to stop time, because I have no idea how in a matter of less than 1 minute they cause as much chaos as they are so capable of LOL. Fun memories, but Lord almighty I miss my wife, praying for Gunnar to heal and have them home soon. #daddyneedsavacation

Pink Eye,Laundry, and More…

My daughter comes to me daddy your home. Sounds great at first until you notice the gross , nasty goop that is coming from her eyes. Then on top of the nasty cross between slime Ghostbusters looking, and a runny nose eye junk, she looks like rocky after a bout with Apollo Creed from her eyes being swollen, and red. This is all at the end of an 8 hour work day full of stress, and chaos. The great part was when you call your advice nurse through your provider, and you are on hold for 1, and a half hours just to talk with a nurse.

The whole time I am on hold I am thinking what if this was something serious? Is there only one nurse working in the call center? While I am on hold waiting for the nurse to come on the line, my youngest boy our newborn blows out his diaper in one good grunt, and push. All that I kept thinking was that seen from the movie Three Men and a Baby, where they are wearing rubber gloves, masks, and aprons going in to change a diaper. Kids should come with a toxic waste tattoo right above their butt. After disposing of the atomic bomb that Gunnar created I had to tear down his bouncer to wash it, his blanket, and his outfit.

I cannot believe how fast laundry mounds up holly cow. I feel like we do laundry all day everyday, and it continues to show up. We have probably purchased enough laundry soap to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool in the last 8 years of Marriage. Five kids, two adults  I think I may find a Nanny with money from that tree in the backyard that grows money, ha lol, if only.

It’s amazing how many things at one time a parent has to juggle: waiting on hold for an advice nurse, holding hot and cold compresses on your daughters eyes, keep daughter from touching anything, washing everyone’s hands, making dinner, doing laundry, changing diapers, feeding the dogs, good lord…

catboxOh yeah and I didn’t tell ya the great part of how I think she got the pink eye. I’m throwing up in my mouth ick. So, last night we put our girls down to sleep, and while my wife, and I were walking around doing other household chores, my two girls woke up, and snuck out of their room. Our youngest daughter somehow in a matter of seconds got into our cat box, and was sprinkling it on my daughter with guess what Pink Eye now. I about lost my cookies when I saw that. All  I could say was Bath, Vacuum, Cleaning Supplies, New location for cat box.

Kids are sleeping, Dogs are snoring, Cats are who knows where. The house is silent, and I am enjoying my few minutes of blissful quite time. Only a few hours until I start all over again.

Three Day Weekend…

Three Day Weekend comes to an end. I am sitting here realizing at 1130pm at night that my work week is about to begin in several hours. Don’t get me wrong I love my job, but man weekends go so fast. I guess I am anticipating another long vacation. I was spoiled when my son was born, as I took a month off from work. I have some co-workers who have taken 2-3 month vacations. I am starting to see the appeal. Weekends are crazy, and fun when you have a large family.

 

Think about it your weekend is full of fun and chaos. You should clean the yard, keep up on laundry, do the dishes, clean the house, attempt at getting to projects you never have time for, try to watch a tv show you like, play referee with your kids, have fun with them reverting to being a child with them living in the land of pretend and their wild imaginations.

 

My wife, and I make it a weekly effort to both find time to entertain, and have fun with our five kids. I feel at times like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy where he goes to pull his hair out, but all of the energy, work and chaos is worth it. The reason it all is worth, is because it makes me a rich man, not in monetary means, but I am rich, because of the five beautiful kids the good Lord has entrusted me with, and the beautiful wife that God has blessed me with.

 

So, as I sit here tonight in my five minutes to myself, kids asleep, wife feeding our newborn, dogs snoring, cats passed out somewhere. I am grateful for my chaotic life, the challenges, and all that comes with it. I am going to make a commitment to myself for my sanity, and for myself to daily post at least one blog thought, whether it is a political thought, book review, family moment I have to share, or just my opportunity to vent, I will share with you once a day.

 

Kiss your spouse, Hug your kids, let the dog out, clean the house, and enjoy this thing we call life, this beautiful wonderful Life.

Fun Day With Dad

img_0597Today I decided to take an extra r and r day for myself with my kids. The chaos of life can make you forget the simple connection, and fun that their is in simply playing, and connecting with your children. Work brings chaos, stress, paperwork, and all that goes with careers at times. The challenge is not bringing that home, and connecting with your children creating memories.

I got to be a kid again today chasing my kids around the house, playing hide and seek, and the list goes on. I had forgotten how fun playing with ninja turtles were, and playing with the dollhouse with my little girls. Throwing out the rules of fruits and veggies for a day of enjoying snacks, goodies and of course ice cream.

The memories come when you find your 3 year old daughter inside of a toy box playing and laughing, and your 2 year old passed out on a bunk bed from playing so hard. My two sons have mastered the power song. I just caught my youngest son rockin out:

I was reminded today by my kids how much they want to play, wrestle and just be with their dad. Life lesson learned play with your kids often, dress up and play tea with your daughters, yes let them paint your nails lol. Just have fun and enjoy the gifts that the good Lord has blessed you with.

As I am finishing this article my youngest daughter drops a plate of food on a freshly shampooed carpet. All you can do is laugh and and love them, as you realize you have to go back over that area again 🙂

Love being a daddy!