Mama Drama

Posted 12-31-2012 at 11:49 AM by Krista

Everybody has some version of their own Mama Drama, but in this case, I’m talking about one of the most dreaded relationships out there: the one with your Mother-in-Law. Even as a child I was aware of this delicate and often volatile relationship. Come on, we’ve all seen our fair share of movies where the mother-in-law causes arguments between the spouses, a frantic house cleaning, and the couple is worn out before she’s even arrived! In particular, I remember the relationship between Fred Flinstone and his mother-in-law. Talk about rocky! (Pun not intended) This relationship has been the source of ire for women for centuries, so much so that you can find plenty of websites where women share stories about their mama-drama.

I mean, come on, does every mother think her son is God’s gift?! If Jesus ever tied the knot, I could see why Mary might act a little superior, but come on!

Even if you like your mother-in-law, the relationship still can be awkward at times. Many couples cite it as one of the biggest problems in their relationship -one of their biggest problems, and here’s why:

  1. Whether they are willing to admit it, MIL’s are always worried about being replaced. You’re the number one woman in his life now, and this gives you power. Some MIL’s resent it and are always struggling to get that power back.
  2. She’s secretly afraid you’ll cut her off.
  3. She doesn’t think you’re good enough/smart enough/pretty enough (and before anyone judges me for including this, my MIL once told my husband that I was not “pretty enough”)
  4. In some cases, the mother/son relationship actually was quite rough while your DH was growing up, and so that drama carries over into your marriage.
Diaper Swapers

Friends Around the World

Posted 12-31-2012 at 11:23 AM by Krista

I have been astounded by the love and understanding given and the knowledge imparted from woman to woman on sites like Diaperswappers. I have become very close with a member of such a site, and we have been exchanging emails, phone calls and even gifts for the past few months. I suppose it’s the closest I will ever come to knowing what online dating feels like!

My friend lives in Australia and surprised me with the news that she would be coming down for New Year’s to help me celebrate my husband’s birthday! I am so very excited to meet this wonderful woman as much as I am nervous. I hope she likes me “in real life” as much as she does when we are online. I hope that we get along—you can’t see idiosyncrasies over the phone! I hope it’s not awkward. And yes, yes before anyone asks—I have checked her out. I know she’s a real person. Wait, scratch that. I know she’s the real person that she claims to be. I have her government email address for heaven’s sake!

Despite the crazy worries, I feel so very blessed to live in an age where I could meet her, because without the internet and being able to afford a computer we never would have met. I am blessed each and every day by the friendship that she offers, and the way that she listens even when she can’t empathize personally with what I am going through. I am so, so blessed that she chose to spend her summer holiday (Australia, remember) to come see my family!

The First Step

Posted 12-27-2012 at 02:46 PM by Krista

I have been talking about Dave Ramsay’s plan of financial peace. While my husband and I both agree that this is something we would like to do, in this consumer-crazy credit card world it is hard to see a future in which we will not have any cards—one emergency card, right? Right?!—or carry balances. In the past, I admit, I’ve given up because my husband is more prone to pull out a credit card. I have always said that it takes a united front to make it work, and while I think that is certainly the best way to accomplish such a goal I also think that it takes one person to begin heading in the right direction.

I am going to be that person. Today I took the first step: I called my credit card companies and got the interest rate for each card. I have to admit that I was quite shocked at 15% and above interest rates. That only helped to steel my resolve, and I cut up my first credit card. When I pay the balance—which is admittedly quite small, anyway—I will no longer have access to that card or the credit limit.

Now, you might be wondering what I didn’t just cancel the card? By having the account open, I still technically have access to the funds. While that’s true, it would take about a week and a half to get the new card, which means I would be nudged to find another way to pay for a purchase, or put it off if I couldn’t afford it without the card.

Making Marriage Work

Posted 12-27-2012 at 12:54 PM by Krista

When I was younger—I used to hate statements like that!! I am only twenty-seven, I should have no wisdom to pass on!—I used to believe completely in the magic of fate and the certainty of destiny. (I know, most people don’t believe in both. Don’t judge.) I was so sure that if something was meant to be that you would just know it in your bones. Again, I do feel that the long lineage of Disney princesses is to blame, at least in past, but we won’t go there.

And if a relationship wasn’t meant to work, well then, it just wouldn’t, and both people would know. Right? Right?! Unfortunately, it often doesn’t work that way. Relationships take hard work, commitment and patience from both parties. And that’s only touching the surface. I never expected marriage to be so challenging, but on the flip side, when you get it right it is also one of the most rewarding feelings.

My husband and I recently went through some problems this year and I have to say that coming through that fire has not only made us harder and stronger as a couple but has opened my eyes completely to the truth. Love is not always about romance and personal happiness. Often personal ha

Better to Give?

Posted 12-26-2012 at 09:47 AM by Krista

I have to admit—and I hope people don’t start throwing stones, or worse, hack my email or something—I am not a real fan of Christmas. Well, that’s unfair. I love Christmas, but this time of year? Insane. Everyone knows that, even our four legged creatures know we get a bit nuts when that Christmas tree comes out. And what is all that insanity for? Well, starting with Black Friday, all Americans really seem to care about is acquiring stuff.

It’s funny, I have had three different people tell me how hard it has been to shop for me this year. Why would this year be any different from any other year? I guess because stuff has lost its allure for me. In fact, I have been getting rid of a lot of it. I am so tired of keeping junk sitting around just because I want to own it even I never use it. With that in mind, I have been purging. I keep telling myself that my closet just isn’t big enough—and OK, it really is tiny—but I think I might have to hit there next. Yes, I confess, I just felt a little sad for myself as I typed that.

I got to thinking about this when I realized how many presents I had for my girls. Every year I seem to forget that, as the only grandchildren, they will be showed with love—brightly colored plastic love—from their grandparents. Thinking that made me realize that—once again—I’d gotten them too much. I think that the lesson that it is better to give than to receive is an important one. I certainly feel that way. I love to give heartfelt gifts to let the recipients know how much I care for them. I just don’t know how to teach that quality.

Living with Cold Urticaria

Posted 12-26-2012 at 09:43 AM by whitneywalters

You may remember that I wrote a blog over the summer about my daughter being allergic to the cold. Since being diagnosed she has broken out four times. The first time was on her third birthday, it was a hot day in July so we went to a swimming pool and then got drive through after for supper. She was still in her bathing suit and was holding her cup in her lap. She held it there for about fifteen minuets on the way back to her grandparents house and by the time we got there she had a huge spot of hives where it touched her bare skin.

The second time was at an event called Living Windows downtown. Living Windows is a special event in our town where all the businesses have living displays of Christmas  scenes in their windows. We took the kids, it was actually a really nice evening so we thought Kairi would do alright but we noticed after about an hour that her hands were really red and she had welts on her knuckles.

The third time was out on my parents farm. She was out helping my dad feed the chickens, the weather was a bit chilly but not to bad so he had her in a light coat and a hat. By the time they were done she had hives on her cheeks, hands and chest.

The fourth time was recently. It was pretty nice outside for being December in Iowa. We took advantage of the nice weather and went on a walk. The wind was a bit chilly so I had them dressed in hats and coats. We walked up town and when we got there, Kairi’s whole face was covered in hives. It was the worst reaction she has ever had. Her hands were the color of a tomato and they also had welts all over them. The wind blowing right on her had to have made the reaction that much worse. I felt terrible. It only took about ten minuets for them to fade away but I was still upset. It was a really bad reaction and it seems like each one is getting worse and worse. So we are not taking any chances with her.

Stocking Stuffers

Posted 12-26-2012 at 08:58 AM by Krista

Growing up, my favorite part of Christmas morning was actually seeing what was inside my stocking. For one thing, it was the only thing we were allowed to look at until my parents got up on Christmas morning. We weren’t allowed to wake them. Now doesn’t that just seem cruel? It certainly felt so to a kid excited about presents!

Even so, I loved turning that stocking over and seeing the candy and gifts spill out. Sometimes there were even some wrapped ones stuffed in there too! My mom’s creativity really showed in the thought she put into our stockings each year. Even now as a so-called “adult” the stocking is still my favorite. My husband, God bless him, tries, but since he can’t quite fill my mother’s shoes—can you believe it?—she still makes me one each year! Even though they don’t seem quite as exciting as they used to, it still makes me smile.

I try my best each year to carry on the tradition with my own girls. Here are a few of the things that I included in my girls’ stockings this year:

  • Candy, of course!
  • Burping alligators—don’t ask me why, but it makes them giggle every time, and what is better on Christmas than little girl laughter?
  • Lip gloss
  • Play jewelry
  • Toy cars
  • Bath crayons

All of these things were inexpensive, and yet I am sure to see a huge smile on their faces when they see all the fun stuff they have waiting for them!

Losing a Friend

Posted 12-21-2012 at 09:13 AM by Krista

The world we live in lately seems to be one tragedy after another. The day after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting there was a shooting in a hospital near me. There have been stabbings in a school in China. There is no question that the world seems to be spinning out of control right now.

Sunday this fact hit me a little harder than it had in hearing all of the previous events. It hit a little too closer to home. A friend of mine, a friend I have even written about in this blog, killed himself. I can barely type those words without blinking at them. It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t even seem possible. In the back of my mind, I still question it.

Ryan was one of the brightest men I ever had the pleasure of knowing. When I say brightest, I mean he literally shone. He was full of smiles and big bear hugs and laughter. He loved to laugh. He loved to hunt, and garden, and cook.

I hadn’t seen or spoken to Ryan in a little over three months when I got the news. He just seemed to disappear. We went from seeing each other about once a week to once every two, and so on. He became slow in returning phone calls and texts until he stopped altogether.

Thanks for the Compliment

Posted 12-21-2012 at 08:45 AM by whitneywalters

I do not always like taking the kids to the grocery store or running other errands because they get bored and are not always on their best behavior. It can be embarrassing to have your children throw a major tantrum in the store and have everyone stare at you. That said, when my kids do really well in the store I always praise them and it is nice when I hear it from other people as well.

We had just got over a bout of strep in the house and once the kids were healthy enough I knew I needed to get out and go to the store. We were out of juice, milk and fresh fruit. So I got everyone ready and out we went. I had a feeling it was not going to go well since they had been sick, they were still kind of whiny and they did not want to go to the store.

Once we got there it was like they turned into totally different kids then they were at home. The listened to everything I said, did not whine once, were very polite to everyone and were so good. I kept telling them how proud I was, that I was so happy they were so well behaved and since they were being so good I let them each pick out a special treat to take home for after lunch.

Elf on the Shelf

Posted 12-21-2012 at 08:44 AM by Krista

One of my favorite things about Christmas—actually the favorite thing is having Christmas with children. It’s so much more exciting to see them experience all the fun of this time of year. It’s become especially special this year, because my girls like to sing Christmas carols, and we enjoy watching the movies together. Everything is better, because as they age they appreciate it more. We recently went to pick out a Christmas tree—my daughter wanted a pink one, and darn it, wouldn’t you know they were all sold out of the pink ones?!

We have also brought out our 25 days of Christmas calendar and once again, Archie, our elf on the shelf has returned. He is Santa’s helper who returns nightly to the North Pole to tell Santa of our daughters behavior. Strangely, this tactic does seem to keep my oldest in line. My youngest doesn’t seem to quite comprehend it, although she could be fooling me.

The fun thing about it is finding unique places to put them. While we balanced him precariously last year on a hanging lantern and the ceiling fan, this year I have tried putting him in different scenes. For example, we bought a box of little Debbie cakes and I set him holding the box like he wanted a snack. I told my daughter he was hungry, and she was worried that he would eat them all! Being the good elf that he is, he did save them a few.