The Beauty of Living in a Small Town

I kinda, sorta grew up in a small town, and I kinda, sorta live in a small town now.

I say kinda, sorta about where I grew up because, while I did grow up in a small town, it is connected to a metropolitan area of about 500,000 if you add the population of all of the cities that run together.

I say kinda, sorta about where I live now, because the nearest small town is about four miles away.  We aren’t even in a small town.  We are in the country.  I work in another small town, about 16 miles away.

This has been a change for me.  As an adult, I’ve always lived in a fairly populated area.  In fact, my last residence was a condo, so there was someone living literally on the other side of the wall.  We longed for solitude, and we got it.

We have lived here for over four years.  We are in a development, but we were the first to move in.  We had the neighborhood to ourselves for the first six months.  We now have a whopping three neighbors (three houses, to be accurate; so I guess if you count every resident, we have nine neighbors!).

During our first six months, we felt a little vulnerable with no neighbors.  I was grateful to have our mean-looking dog for some protection (she looked mean – we didn’t advertise that she loved everyone, even strangers).

Growing up, my Grandparents lived in the country.  I would laugh about them always wondering about the rare car that came down their road.  “Who’s that?  Oh, it’s Ted.”  It seemed they always knew the car. It was an event, hurrying to the window to see who was driving by.  Because we had so little traffic on our dead end road, we did the exact same thing.  I had fond memories of my Grandmother whenever I would hurry to one of the few windows with a good view of the road yelling, “A car’s coming!  Who’s that?!”

But, we got used to it.  It’s nice and quiet, and now that we have a few neighbors, we feel less isolated.

What I have found interesting has been becoming part of the community that is the small town four miles away, and the small city that is about 10 miles away in the other direction.  I seriously cannot go to Walmart in the small city or the Dollar General in the small town without seeing someone I know.  In a small town, it doesn’t take long to get to know a large percentage of the population, especially if you have school-age and preschool-age kids, who also participate in outside activities.

I started going to the local salon about a year after we moved here, and something happened that could only happen in a small town.   Our diaper bag had gone missing a couple of weeks earlier.  My stylist was asking if I was from the area. I explained where we lived. The stylist at the next chair asked who my husband was. I told her his name. She said, “I cut his hair. Are you missing a diaper bag?” Yep. Small town. Love it.

At around the same time, we attended the Pumpkin Dash in town.  It’s a race for the kids in their Halloween costumes.  Within 10 minutes, we saw at least 10 people we knew.  My son said, “All of my friends are here!”

Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would like this kind of lifestyle.  It’s pretty hard to be inconspicuous, and my introverted nature makes small-talk exhausting for me.  But, the people are genuine and helpful.

Before I had kids, I lived in a city.  Because I worked in HR, I didn’t feel I could hang out with colleagues outside of work.  I had a very hard time making friends there.  Here, I see the same people over and over, so it’s much easier to make a connection.

Small-town life . . . maybe it’s not for everyone, but I love it.

 

 

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Amara Organic Baby Food Giveaway

New Mamas – Check out this great Giveaway!

Sponsored By: Amara Organic Baby Food

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Co-Hosted By: InezbyDesign

3 Winners Will Receive:

An introduction pack to Amara Organic Baby Food!

A $75 TRV giveaway!

Open To US and must be 18+ to enter

Giveaway Dates ~ 6/16 9:00 AM EST through 6/30 11:59PM EST

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winners will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winners have 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Litom Solar Light Giveaway

Great Giveaway with 5 Winners!
(This post contains affiliate links)

Sponsored By: Litom

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Co-Hosted By: InezbyDesign

5 Winners Will Receive:

a Litom Super Bright 24 LED Outdoor Motion Sensor Solar Light *PLUS* a $10 Amazon Gift Card! A $250 TRV giveaway!

Open To US and must be 18+ to enter

Giveaway Dates ~ 6/16 12:01 AM EST through 6/30 11:59PM EST

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winners will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winners have 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

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FitMomLife Giveaway

Who Wouldn’t Want a Custom Fitness Program!?

Sponsored By: FitMomLife

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

**10 Winners** Will Receive:

A 3-Month Membership to FitMomLife! A $1410 TRV Giveaway!

Open to Worldwide entries!!

FitMomLife is a custom fitness program that is perfect for those who don’t have hours to spend searching for healthy recipes, working out at the gym, or endless monetary supply to spend on personal trainers or dietitians. This one-stop site will get you motivated and moving in the right direction! FitMomLife knows being a parent means you might not have a lot of time for yourself… ahem… so they make the most of the time you do have! With customized meal and workout plans, and access to their team of personal trainers and registered dietitians, you won’t need to look anywhere else for the answers you need. Now that’s time saved, mommies!!

Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory
Open To US and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 6/8 12:01AM EST through 6/30 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received nominal monetary compensation to write the sponsored post featured above. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winners will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winners have 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Travel and Photography – A Lovely Day in Dresden

As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I were fortunate enough to spend our honeymoon in Prague.  We didn’t want to do the whole 7 countries in 6 days type of European trip.  We spent the bulk of our time in Prague, getting to know the city.  In fact, I found more photos and may need to post a “Prague – Part II.”

We did, however, take one day trip to Dresden, Germany.  While there, we visited the Zwinger Museum.  As you may know, much of Dresden was destroyed in World War II, including most of the Zwinger Palace.  It has since been restored, and it is a gorgeous building.  These photos are from August of 2008.

On the Road from Prague to Dresden

Zwinger Museum
Zwinger Museum

We walked around the city, visiting shops and gatherings. It was a rainy day, but we enjoyed our time.

We had lunch in this beautiful restaurant. It was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.

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Soft Sole Moccasin Giveaway

These are adorable!

Sponsored By: Freshly Picked

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

1 Lucky Winner Will Receive:

Winner’s choice of ANY pair of soft sole moccasins! Solid or print – $60 RV!

Spring is probably my favorite time of year. Flowers are blooming, the weather is picking up, and you know you have three beautiful seasons lined up (for those who live in a 4 season area). The fact that you don’t need a coat when you leave the house, certainly doesn’t hurt either! With the warmer weather comes the inevitable, adorable kid clothes! I love the billowy dresses, bight colored shorts and of course, Freshly Picked moccasins!
Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory
Open To US and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 6/1 9:00 AM EST through 6/15 11:59PM EST

Sponsor regulation: The winner cannot have won another giveaway including a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins in the past 60 days.

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins at no cost to facilitate the above-mentioned review. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Give Other Parents a Break

My daughter had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on Friday.  This was not a decision we entered into lightly.  While she has had frequent illnesses, especially this year, it was the sleep apnea she was experiencing that resulted in our going forward with the surgery.  A 4-year-old simply needs good sleep to develop properly.  We couldn’t let her go on with interrupted sleep any longer.

This experience has been rough.  I have gained a new respect, as well as more empathy and sympathy for parents with particular challenges.  Specifically, I feel for parents with challenges in four areas.

1.  Parents of children with chronic illness.  We have had to keep a watchful eye on my daughter because the complications associated with this surgery can be serious.  Besides the general anesthetic, which is worrisome in itself, there is pain, fever, medication, swelling, bleeding, vomiting, constant monitoring and encouragement of increased fluids, limited diet, hindering activity, and I’m sure more that I’m missing in this long list.

It is stressful.  I just keep counting down the days.  But, I realize there are parents of children who have ongoing or permanent challenges that don’t get to count down the days.  I can’t imagine what a toll that would take for an extended period.

2.  Parents with no local support system.  I’ve always wondered how single parents do it, especially when caring for newborns.  If I didn’t have my husband, I don’t know how I could have managed to even take a shower when my children were infants.  In many ways, the almost constant attention my daughter needs for two weeks has been like going back to the newborn phase.  Knowing what I do now, I feel strongly that this should not be an out-patient procedure.

In addition to my husband, my parents are nearby, and I have friends  who show concern and support (as an example, my son’s friend’s family let him stay over the night before so we didn’t have to worry about getting him to school and getting my daughter to the hospital early in the morning).  In today’s world, many people have to relocate for jobs, and they have no family or established friendships in their community.  How difficult it must be to juggle parenting and all of the other responsibilities of life without support.

3.  Parents of children with food allergies or other dietary restrictions.  My daughter could not have dairy for the first two days after surgery.  So much for the promises of ice cream.  My husband bought her some non-dairy ice cream (one made with soy, another with rice), but to be honest, the texture and taste just aren’t as good.  She can’t have any red food or drink, because you can’t distinguish between the food and blood.  She can only have soft food.  She is supposed to drink 64 ounces of fluid per day.  This is extremely difficult to achieve with a 39 lb. child who is not allowed to use a straw or a sports bottle to get all of this liquid in her.

We were at a convenience store yesterday.  She asked if we could buy a snack.  My first instinct was to say “no”, because obviously most snacks at a convenience store are not the healthiest.  But, I have had to say “no” to this poor child so often lately, that I told her we could get something if we could find a treat she was allowed to have.  Unfortunately, between the chips and the candy bars, there was not one thing that I saw that she was could have.

I thought, how trying it must be to have a child who can’t have anything containing peanuts or gluten.  Again, I felt grateful that our situation is temporary, and my heart went out to parents who have to be vigilant about these restrictions every day, permanently.

4.  Parents who seem impatient or pushy.  This child of mine has a history of aversion to medication.  Without getting into a lot of detail, getting medication in her body has been nearly impossible.  We’ve tried everything.  When she was a year old, even the nurse in the emergency room was not successful at getting her to swallow ibuprofen without her gagging and spitting it out.  This time around, with all she had been through, I really wanted to avoid suppositories.

She did not want me to use the syringe, so I gave her the chance drink the 1.5 teaspoons every four hours, alternating between Tylenol and ibuprofen.  It would take her hours.  She admitted, at one point, that none of the medicine from her teeny tiny sips was entering her mouth.  She was wetting her lips and wiping off all of the medicine with a wet paper towel.  She used every stalling tactic between sips that you can imagine.  She’s much smarter than I, so they worked for quite a while.  Then, there was the gagging.  How much was real, and how much was put on to get out of taking more medicine?  Hard to say, but after days of going through this, hour after hour, I was ready to pull my hair out.

The pressure from medical professionals to make sure she gets all of the pain medication and fluid in her is tremendous.  The frustration is incredible.

Yesterday, against my better judgment, I allowed her to attend her brother’s t-ball practice.  I encouraged her to wear a pull-up because there is no bathroom available there, and we are constantly making her drink fluid.  She said she didn’t want to look like a baby.  Okay.  “Try to use the potty before we leave.”  “I don’t have to go.”  “Try anyway.”  She tried.  Nothing happened.  The ball field is a bit of a walk from the car.  We weren’t there ten minutes when she said she had to go potty.  I drove her to the gas station.  We returned.  In the meantime, I’m trying to get her to take her medicine from a syringe because she was due (I had talked her into the syringe earlier in the day).  She’s gagging and carrying on.  I must have looked like a crazy freak.  Then, she tells me her tummy hurts.  I can’t help but wonder if it’s legit or another stall tactic.  She says she has to go to the bathroom again.  I tell her, she is definitely not coming to the next practice.  I ask my husband to take her because my patience is gone.  They return as practice is ending.

We get home and the syringe is still not empty.  I get her to take another tiny squirt.  She pukes all over me.  I guess the gagging and the tummy ache were for real.  She says her throat hurts a little from throwing up.  My heart breaks.  I feel like a terrible mother for pressuring her to take the medicine when she already felt sick.

I thought of the times I have judged parents who didn’t seem patient or kind enough, without having any idea what they may have going on, and I tell myself, next time, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

 

 

 

Grumpy, Grouchy, Grateful

Maybe you’ve seen this before.

Sound familiar?

First of all, I have no idea why my kids call me “Mama.”  I’m sure I called my Mom “Mommy” when I was very small, but as long as I can remember, she’s always been “Mom.”  When my son was a baby, I referred to myself as, “Mommy.”  Somewhere along the line, he picked up “Mama.”  Of course, his baby sister has followed suit.

When my kids were very young, no place was off limits.  At some point, I decided I am entitled to privacy in the bathroom, so now I lock the door.  As soon as the door shuts, I hear, “Mama.  Mama.  Mama.”  It then turns into “Mama!”  “What?”  “Mama!”  “What?”  “Mama!”  “WHAT!?!??!?!”

It makes me insane.  I find myself thinking, “Can’t anyone do anything for themselves around here?  Seriously?!” Sometimes, they don’t even try to figure out where I am, or give me time to answer in between “Mama’s.”

But, then I take a breath.  In early 2007, I was single.  I didn’t even have a pet.  I had job responsibilities, etc., but I had a lot of freedom.  Family and friends cared about me, and wanted me around, but no one truly needed me.  Fast forward, 2.5 years later, I had a husband, a baby and a dog.  Now, I have a husband, two kids, a dog, a cat, a number of fish and three ducklings.  Lots of changes in a relatively short period of time.

When I take a breath, I think what a privilege and blessing it is to be needed.  While my kids will need me, even when they’re grown, there will be periods when they’re teenagers that they probably won’t even want my company.  This time of being needed on a daily basis will pass quickly.  While I can’t promise that I won’t have moments of grouchiness and grumpiness, I hope I always remember to take that breath and be grateful.

 

Have I Become the Person I Always Wanted to Be?

We’ve had a long journey to where we are now, in many ways.  My husband and I were married in 2008.  He moved into the condo I bought before I met him.  Fifteen months later, we bought some property out in the country.  About a week after that, we had our first child.

We were both 36 when we got married.  So, we had duplicates of a lot of stuff.  My husband never really fully unpacked there.  Some of his furniture remained in the garage.  When we bought the property, while we didn’t know when we would build on it, we began packing away unnecessary items.  The garage became full of boxes stacked on top of one another.

In early 2012, I became pregnant with our second child.  I finally finished my wedding scrapbooks that year – I filled two scrapbooks!  It only took four years!  But, I figured that was better than never finishing them at all.  We broke ground on our new home that summer.

We had our daughter in the Fall, and we moved into our new home in January of 2013.  It is a ranch-style home, with a basement.  We didn’t finish the basement immediately, but we had plans to.  More time for stuff to stay in boxes.

We finally began finishing it in 2015.  We did quite a bit of the work ourselves (my husband did most of it), and so it took a while.  We just had carpet installed about a month ago.  I now have a jetted tub, and an office/scrapbooking room.  It is glorious.

And now, the unpacking of forgotten items begins.  A couple of years ago, we had a pump go haywire in the basement.  It would occasionally spray a bunch of water everywhere.  It took us a while to pinpoint the problem.  It was an easy fix, with the help of a professional.  Unfortunately, in the meantime, some of my scrapbooking items were ruined.  In the clean-up, one of the wedding scrapbooks was knocked from a table and damaged.  It was set aside to be repaired or replaced later.

Now that I have my own scrapbooking room, I finally got around to transferring the pages to a new album.  It’s given me the opportunity to look at it for the first time in quite a while.

In it, I had printed the prayer I had asked my nephew to read at our wedding.  I believe I found it in a wedding planning book that offered reading and prayer options.  I’m not sure of the copyright issues, so I won’t include all of it here.

While I believed in God at that time, sadly, I can’t say for certain if I was really expecting God to hear this prayer, or if I just thought they were nice words for the ceremony.  What was amazing to me when I read it, nearly nine years later, is that God has blessed us in all of the requests included in the prayer.

One of the areas that struck me, was the ending, which stated (paraphrasing) . . . and many years from now, may I look at you and think, because of you I am the person I always wanted to be.

It made me think about how much I have changed since we were married.  While my husband has been incredibly supportive in my career choices, especially some that were potentially risky to our financial situation, we have had our share of problems.  Marriage is hard.  These days, people are encouraged to wait until they’re older to get married.  We were on the older end, even these days.  Frankly, I think getting married older, when you’re set in your ways, is actually harder.  I think there is something to be said for marrying young, experiencing firsts, and growing up together.

What I realized, was that it has been the trials in our marriage that have made me closer to the person I want to be.  When I said my vows, I didn’t know who that was.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  While it’s easy to point fingers and blame the other person when things aren’t going smoothly, ultimately, we can only change ourselves.  Marriage has forced me to look at my own immaturity, and I finally had to grow up, big time.

Through trials, my relationship with God and my marriage have been strengthened.  From the English Standard Version, James 1:2-5

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

I was lacking wisdom.  I was so unwise, I thought I was wise.  When we’re going through trials, we just want smooth sailing.  But, it’s through those challenges, we experience true growth and learning.  I’m praying that nine years down the road, I’ll be even closer to the person I want to be.

 

 

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Original Sunscreen Giveaway

Sunscreen Giveaway – Just in Time for Summer Break!

Sponsored By: The Original Sunscreen

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

3 Winners Will Receive:

The Original Sunscreen! A $119 TRV Giveaway!

Thanks to The Original Sunscreen, my worries of being uncomfortable in the hot sun have disappeared. This super easy-to-use and handy product is the perfect solution. With its lightweight design, it’s a breeze to carry to sports games or outside family functions. You can use it pretty much anywhere!
Open To US and must be 18+ to enter

Giveaway Dates ~ 5/16 9:00 AM EST through 5/31 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received The Original Sunscreen at no cost to facilitate the above-mentioned review. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winners will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.