Occasionally I like to go back a few months in my archives and see what I was thinking about at the time. I reread my goals for 2014 and realized so many of my goals have either been taken off the list or evolved in some way. Much of this had to do with expecting our third child at the end the growing season, house progress and a reality check. But, like I said in that January post, they were likely going to do that! I have found myself taking things a little slower and trying not to look too far into the future. Obvious goals I now have are revolving around preparing for our new arrival and I have been posting about them recently. Instead of give a definitive list of goals that are likely to change again, I'm going to kind of give you are more realistic look at what my life will be like the rest of the year. I don't often give much detail about my life because this is a public blog, but as I have been working through some things I realize that some of you might be encouraged or could at least relate in a way to me.
First of all, my husband is a cell tower technician working for a company that subcontracts all over New England. Most weeks he is gone a full five days about 2-6 hours away and is home on the weekend. Because of this I am what you would call a 'married single parent'. Until recently I had not really made peace with this situation and instead just did what I had to to deal with it. I wasn't bitter and wasn't outwardly dissatisfied (much) but internally I needed to face and deal with the fact that my family's dynamic is different than most of my friends who have husbands that are home every night or even work from home. Sure, they might get a 'taste' when hubby goes out of town on a trip occasionally, but there is something very different about it being a constant weekly thing. Thankfully I have a very supportive and loving extended family who helps as much as they are able and I am so thankful for them (Mom, you keep me sane most weeks!). Until our house is done we will have been living with my parents for two years and obviously that takes some pressure off as far as being able to run to the store without loading kids into the car every time or have even a half hour to cook dinner while my mom takes the kids outside to play. When we move into our house they will still be very close by, yet there will be a new degree of separation. I will be responsible for my physical house (including a solar power system, propane, snow, yard care, small repairs, etc.) as well as need to be 100% on for the safety of my children, self and animals. My parents are close but they are also very busy! The help they give I consider a blessing not a given and I don't ever want them to feel obligated to help me because I am a single mom 75% of the time. I truly want them to be able to enjoy their grandchildren, not be another parent. So, now that you have a picture of this dynamic, lets dive into what I have as realistic 'goals' now through next winter.
It's now June so that means summer is here! I hate heat but I do like summer for the things it brings like gardening, beach days and picnics, green grass for kids to run around without having to put on a thousand layers... I will admit the perks *winkwink* But, oh man! I do hate the heat and humidity and getting a real taste of it yesterday made me realize I am in for a sweaty and swollen summer personally. However, I am determined to not let it get me and to give my kids the best summer I can.
Over the summer my priorities are gardening and canning, schooling Puzzel Boy, raising the new chicks, preparing for baby, finishing a house and making a few memories with our kiddos. Ok, writing that out it seems like a lot! Hahaha! Things will be taken in stride though and likely we will spend the worst heat days hiding in my parents a/c bedroom or in a kiddie pool. On cooler days I will plan to work on my lists and anything that needs to be canned will be done in the early morning before it gets too hot. I'll be honest, on days where I can or am working on bigger projects, the kids will likely have a movie or two but I will try to reserve those times for a rainy day or even get a sitter so I can really buckle down. Canning is a big thing to me and I see it as a worthy investment of my time to be able to feed my family during times of less or more healthfully. Pretty soon we will be trying to eat the majority of our food from our own effort, so this is an essential practice to really focus on.
I have touched on homeschooling through the summer and what our plans are there, so I won't rehash that!
Our new baby chicks have arrived! I will be doing a separate post on that later, they are so stinkin' cute!
Preparing for the baby... I have just done a post on that as well.
As for the house, Montana Man is taking some of his vacation time this week to make some progress. Yesterday, with the help of my cousin and her boyfriend, he finished the roof and took down the staging as well as built a shelter for the generator we affectionately call the 'genny house'. I'm not exactly sure what else he has planned for this week but we should be pouring the basement floor and finishing the electrical, maybe ordering plumbing. Next week the windows and siding will be delivered and that will be the following weekends project! 'Brick by brick' we are getting there! I am trying really hard not to stress over its completion given I have about 11-16 weeks left in my pregnancy. I am trusting God will provide!
Taking the time to make memories? Likely the only thing we will do as a whole family (meaning with MM), is spend 4th of July together somewhere up the coast. We took a ride up to an old Civil War fort last year and had a really great day. This year we haven't decided what we are doing yet but it likely will be similar. Me as the mama would like to take the kids to the beach either a lake or the ocean, visit friends and just play with them. Bubbles, picnics in the yard, lazy days and maybe a trip to the mall on a really hot day to just walk in the cool a/c and visit the merry-go-round. Simple things but things I know I remember doing as a kid with fondness.
After little man arrives I will be taking a 4-6 week break from normal life. I am setting myself up to not need to go anywhere other than the doctor's office or to quickly pick up groceries. I will have easy meals, a stocked house and anyone who would like to offer help will be gladly accepted and given a specific task (folding my laundry anyone?). After 6 weeks is up or when I feel ready if earlier, I will be back in action which will include babysitting my friends son a couple days a week while she is in nursing school. Right now I have him one or two mornings or afternoons a week so he is very used to us and our rules/environment so hopefully this will be an easy transition! I enjoy him being with us and so do the kids so I look forward to having him.
Around October/November, Montana Man will start going down to Georgia for 4 weeks at a time and then will be home for two weeks. During the winter in New England the work in often interrupted by storms and lack of jobs sites so a crew from the company he works for will be heading south, and he's on it. Financially, this will be a good thing. As a family, this will be really hard. The older kids will miss him as will their Mama! But, for the baby... it makes me sad that he will be gone so much of his first few months. He'll come home and he will have grown and changed so much! I worry about how well he will bond with his daddy. Emotionally it will be a very trying winter.
Sometime in November we will have the male chickens butchered at our local butcher shop. We decided that while we could do it ourselves, it was just too many to do without at least a plucker and a helping crew and we are willing to spend the money to have it done quickly and professionally. Believe me, it will be enough work just vacuum sealing all the meat!
November also starts hunting season and the men will be spending most weekends in the woods. If I get my hunter safety done, I as well will be hunting near our house when my mom can watch the kids. I much prefer wild deer to beef (as long as it isn't super gamey!) and would gladly have a freezer filled with venison and homegrown chicken for the year.
The holidays will be busy especially since Puzzle Boy's birthday is in December as well. This year we are going to start a new tradition of spending Christmas Day at our own home which I think will be wonderful.
I'm sure over the next six months I will be posting on a lot of these things, but I figured I would kind of give a general idea. And, maybe because I feel dumb for being so far from what I had outlined in January, I felt I needed to update to keep everything on the same page. Life is life, things don't always go as we'd like! And, sometimes we are blessed in very different ways than how we wanted or expected. Part of being successful homesteader is knowing how to work with what you have and making do without what you don't. Ideals are nice to think about but they shouldn't be your focus. I love building our life more each year and knowing we will someday be in a really awesome place of self sufficiency.
Til next time, come back for a post on our new chicks!