Chaos & Love

It’s quarter to seven in the morning and I’m halfway falling off the bed from a little boy who needed mama and a baby girl who also needed mama. Regardless of the time, I needed to journal.

Oh, if you’re wondering where my husband and other child are- they are sleeping on the couch. Not because we are fighting or mad at each other, but because he had a really nice sleep and our little girl wanted to sleep next to him. 💜

The chaos can be fun and other times it can be disastrous. We have to choose how to respond to it..

1. Do we want to Love through the Chaos, or

2. Be Bitter through the Chaos

It’s hunting season and while raising three kids is hard all by itself, life goes on and doesn’t stop for anyone.

I find myself getting bitter at the beginning of hunting season because I instantly become a single mom/widow/whatever you want to call it, but, regardless, I’m the one trying to resolve and argue with my kids who will be cleaning up the cow poop they stepped in and brought it into the house.

I find priorities being pushed back further and further.

Somehow, my husband can come home at 7:30-8pm and be exhausted from working all day on the family farm, but I’m still left to keep the house running.

Dishes can be piled up and not get clean and like our dishwasher currently that is not cleaning the dishes and leaving residue-I’m the one who is responsible for getting them done.

I’m not bitter, I just want to be better.

Ok, let’s put all that aside and look at the positives:

  • My husband is not having glamorous love affairs on 9th street
  • My husband isn’t selling or using drugs
  • My husband surely isn’t running a small town sweat shop

NO!

He is…

  • Working hard
  • Helping his family
  • Hunting to provide the steady flow of meat our family needs to survive
  • Teaching our children life lessons that will never be taught anywhere else

The Chaos immediately turns into Love when I see my husband setting a good Godly example for our family. The Love he shares through hunting, processing, and other things they do on the farm will be passed on to our children.

The Chaos comes to a halt when he fits in hunting time together for just the two of us🦌

For now, I’m going to continue to pray that God continues to keep us together through all this chaos..I’m going to pray that God continues to show his love through my husband and our children learning life lessons that can only be taught through our Lord.

Do you find yourself and your life being Chaotic?

Share with how you handle it..I’d love to hear from you💜

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Jessica Snyder: On Crohn’s & Motherhood

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Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Introduce yourself, name, spouse, children, what you do for a living, and how long you and your spouse have been together.
Jessica: My name is Jessica Snyder. I’ve been with my husband, John Snyder, for 12 years. We have been married for eight. We have two wild, crazy, adorable, and smart little boys. Mason is 5 and Dylan is 2. I have been a stay at home mom for 2 1/2 years.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Tell me your story about Crohn’s disease and the support you receive at home with your immediate family.

Jessica: My story starts in 2004 when I started having stomach issues. My mom took me to my PCP because every time I ate I was in extreme pain with vomiting and diarrhea. I lost a lot of weight due to the sudden illness. My PCP told my mom that I was a teenager and just worried about my figure; that I just had an eating disorder. My mom didn’t give up. She demanded that I get an appointment with a specialist and in 2005 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

In the beginning it was tolerable, however, after I had Mason in 2010, My Crohn’s disease started getting worse. In July 2011, I got a stomach bug which turned into a Crohn’s flare, I became so malnourished that I almost lost my life. The doctors pumped me full of medication and it helped for awhile. I found out I was pregnant with Dylan in 2012 and my Crohn’s went crazy!

In February 2013, while pregnant with Dylan, I had an access in my intestines, which caused me to almost lose Dylan, but the doctors were able to get it under control with a high dose of steroids. Again my Crohn’s was tolerable, until January 1, 2015. I was in severe pain, went to the ER and found out that I had a complete blockage in my intestines. The doctors were able to remove 14 inches of my small intestines and 2 inches of my colon. That left me with an ileostomy bag for 4 months.

The ileostomy bag was removed in April of 2015 and since then my Crohn’s has been in remission. I still have days where I don’t feel the best, but overall I feel great! My husband and our families are always so supportive and helpful through everything. I’m not sure what I would do without my amazing support system.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: As a mom with Crohn’s disease, what does a typical day look like?

Jessica: I get up at 6:30 every morning to get Mason, our oldest son, to the bus stop, and pray that I can make it back before I have to go to the bathroom. Mornings are the worst for some reason because I come home, get Dylan up and make breakfast between bathroom breaks. After about 11am, my stomach straightens out and I’m good for the rest of the day.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Do you look at your life differently now than before you were diagnosed?

Jessica: I can’t really remember what life was like before Crohn’s. I was 16 when I started having symptoms.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Living with Crohn’s disease, what is the hardest part about marriage and parenting?

Jessica: The hardest part is that I don’t feel that I have the freedom I would if I didn’t have it. For the longest time, I was scared to go anywhere with the boys by myself. If I have to go to the bathroom, I have to go then! That means stopping somewhere, getting both boys out of the car and rushing in to the potty. And praying that the boys don’t throw fits and I can make it to the bathroom in time.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Has Crohn’s disease changed you? What have you learned since you’ve been diagnosed?

Jessica: Yes, Crohn’s has changed my life in so many ways. I learned to never take life for granted because in a split second you could be pooping in a bag through a hole in your stomach.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What would you like families who don’t live with a “silent disease” to know about Crohn’s and truly understand?

Jessica: Don’t get mad when people cancel plans because It’s completely out of their control.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How do you explain to your children, so they understand truly what you go through on a daily basis and is this a daily conversation in the home? How do your children view your “illness”?

Jessica:My boys are only 5 and 2 but they understand my Crohn’s. I never hide anything from them and they know mommy poops a lot and sometimes feels really bad.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What advice can you pass along to another mother/family who silently struggles with similar issues?

Jessica: You are not alone, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and your life isn’t over.

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was the scariest moment, thus far, living with Crohn’s disease?

Jessica: In 2011,  I was admitted to the hospital for being dehydrated and malnourished. The doctor was at the foot of the bed, my mom on one side, and John on the other. The dr said that if I would have waited another 30 minutes to come to the hospital, I would have been dead. My potassium levels were so low that they were shocked that my heart was still beating. I remember my mom and John both breaking down. 😦

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How supportive is your spouse and what advice do you have for husbands/dads that you’d like to pass along?

Jessica: John is amazing and he has been by my side since day one. When I got the ileostomy bag, I wanted nothing to do with it. John watched the nurse and learned everything about it and how to care for it, and did everything for me until I was comfortable with it.

My advice to other husbands: Be there for your wives, help them, support them, even when they haven’t showered for a week and look horrible, and tell them how beautiful they are!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Do you have any support groups, circles, or anyone non family who assists in comforting the struggles you go through?

Jessica: Two years ago I started a support group for women struggling with Crohn’s Disease. It has been fabulous!

Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Finish this sentence: Crohn’s disease is:_______

Jessica:  A pain in the butt! ;).

 

If you would like more information about the support group Jessica has set up for Crohn’s Disease, please contact her via facebook by clicking on the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/jessica.snyder.355

 

The Home Loving Wife

The Home Loving Wife
Photo Credit: Amber Burke with Mamaratzzi Photography
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Describe your family(# of children, how long you have been married, etc.)
The Home Loving Wife: My husband, Andrew, and I have been married nearly 7 years and we have 4 beautiful daughters – Julianna Claire (5), Sophia Nicole (4), Chloe Audrina (2) and Isabel Rosalee (1). We make our home and raise our family on the East Coast, in Charlotte, NC. We are a fun, crazy family that loves princess movies (well, us girls anyway!) trips to the beach, snuggles on the couch and pizza night!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What do you miss most about life prior to children?
The Home Loving Wife: I miss the free time – those moments where I didn’t have to be anywhere, doing anything and I had complete discretion over how I spent that time without having to consider anyone else’s needs. Also, being able to have a bit more freedom with my husband – to run out for sushi if we didn’t feel like cooking or run to the grocery store for a few things without having to cart our whole entourage along with us haha!!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What will you do different with your kids than your parents did with you?
The Home Loving Wife: My biggest hope is that my kids grow up with a deeply-rooted sense of gratitude and generosity (something that wasn’t cultivated in my home growing up) as well as an understanding of how to take personal responsibility for their choices and the consequences of those choices. I want my kids to be empowered to make good choices on their own instead of learning to simply follow rules. And I am very intentional about being 100% honest and open with my children (in an age-appropriate manner) when they ask questions – I want them to know the real answers to things and how the world really works so they aren’t surprised by anything later on. And I want them to trust me!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was the deciding factor to becoming a permanent Stay at Home Mom?
The Home Loving Wife: My husband and I were both raised in households where our mothers were primarily stay-at-home mamas, so we both grew up envisioning that being the case when we had our own families. This was something we discussed before even getting married – we wanted me to be able to stay home and homeschool our children whenever that time came. When I became pregnant with our first daughter, I stopped working halfway through the pregnancy and haven’t been back to work since – though I have pursued other avenues to earn income from home since then. The biggest thing for me was that I wanted to be as present as possible in all the aspects of my children’s development. I nannied for a few years before having children, and while I think every family’s needs and circumstances are very different, I knew I didn’t want to have someone else primarily caring for or raising my kids. I knew at the end of the day I’d rather them have more of ME in their lives as opposed to us living more comfortably financially.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How well do you think you handle being a parent?
The Home Loving Wife: I think that on most days I rock this whole mom thing out. I mean, nobody has died in the last 6 years, so that is a serious win!! But in all seriousness, there are SO many aspects to motherhood that are really intense and I lose it way more often than I’d like to admit to. And what’s interesting, is that in a lot of ways I feel like the longer I’m a parent, the less I have black and white answers figured out. I’ve learned that in order to be able to have patience, be calm and kind and handle the chaos of motherhood with dignity I have to do a good job of taking care of myself. When I don’t, everything gets thrown off and I’m no longer in control of my reactions and behavior.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was your first motherhood panic?
The Home Loving Wife: The first time my oldest daughter slept through the night in her own room when she was just 8 weeks old. I remember waking after a long, blissful night of sleep in a panic because I realized I hadn’t woken up with the baby at all and thought I hadn’t turned my monitor on! I rushed to her room thinking I’d find her dead or comatose from crying all night – and instead I found her still soundly asleep in her bed!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: When do you find time for yourself?
The Home Loving Wife: I’ve learned that it really doesn’t work to wait and hope you “find” time for yourself as a mom – you have to be really intentional about creating time for yourself. What tends to work the best for me is to plan out my week in advance and schedule in blocks of time throughout my day and week where I will accomplish things that fuel my mind, body or soul. And being in open communication with my husband about when I need his help to make sure I have that time is essential. I like to wake up at least an hour before I get my kids up so that I have the opportunity to “fill my own cup” before pouring myself out on my kids behalf all day. Also, I pepper self care things through my day, often including the kids, such as eating good meals/snacks, exercising or taking a 15 minute quiet break to read.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How do you picture your kids in ten years time?
The Home Loving Wife: Wow, well….my children will be 15, 14, 12 and 11….which is NUTS to even think about haha!! I picture them all being each other’s best friends. I picture them all thriving in their lives, excelling at what they do and living in their passions. I picture them positively impacting others lives by living lives of love, grace, gratitude and generosity. And I picture having SO much fun with them – traveling, getting our hair and nails done, talking about life and having dance parties in our pajamas in the living room!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What is the hardest part about being a mom?
The Home Loving Wife: In this season of having several very young children, the biggest challenge is feeling sucked dry mentally, emotionally and physically. I am a BIG introvert, so having people around me, talking to me, touching me and needing me all day, every day is EXHAUSTING. By nature I prefer lots of quiet and solitude – which is the opposite of my life right now haha!! This is why I’ve found it to be SO essential to MAKE as much time as possible throughout my day to intentionally recharge myself.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How does your spouse help you around the home?
The Home Loving Wife: My spouse is the most incredible human being in the world. He is an unbelievably helpful, loving, caring and supportive partner. There is virtually NOTHING that he wouldn’t do if I asked him (although I am generally the poopy diaper changer, except in case of emergency or necessity haha!!) He is gone from about 7am-6:30pm during the week, but in the evenings he’s great about taking over for me if I’ve had a long day and need a break, and on the weekends he is all hands on deck to help accomplish whatever I’d like to. He’s great about helping with household chores if I ask, taking charge of the kids so I can have some time to myself and he is the BEST at caring for and loving ME.
For more information please visit The Home Loving Wife at: http://thehomelovingwife.com/
I would like to thank the Van Kirk family for taking time out of their busy schedule for this interview!
Enjoy!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes

We’re happy to see you, 2016!

 

Welcome to 2016

happy New Year

The year of Family, Faith, and Finances for our family! We counted down with the TV last night, all of us together, and watched the ball drop. 5,4,3,2,1….Happy New Year! (Hugs and Kisses to each one of us) We hope you are welcoming the New Year in your own way, just as we are doing.

chattin kids new year(This picture of our kids were on our local news this morning: WSLS Channel 10 Roanoke, VA)

Finances:

The husband and I sat down and discussed finances this morning and we are starting the new year out by using an amazing money saving budget app: Level Money. Level Money is pin protected, so no worries about someone hacking into your personal information. Level money allows you to set a plan that also makes a visual, for visual learners like myself. There are four categories that allow you to visually see where your money is going.

  1. Income: This allows you to see everything that is deposited into your account. (Oh, did I mention, it syncs with your bank account?!-Amazing)
  2. Bills: Every single bill that you’re responsible for that is paid.
  3. AutoSave: This is such an amazing part of the app- it allows you to instantly save money, which separates the amount of spendable money you can keep and what you want to save.
  4. Spendable: The spendable part of the app lets you see how much you can take out for personal purchases each paycheck.

It was such a nice conversation that we had about finances. It was way overdue. It’s going to be tough to stick with it, but it will take routine, consistency, and effort. (Pictures below)

Family:

The family and I were lazy this morning, but at least we were together and were enjoying each other’s company. I had the kids sit down together at the table for snacks and playtime-no tv, no electronics, it was nice. We limit the kid’s electronic use for strictly for positive reinforcement, generally once or twice a week for ten minutes. Young kids need to be outside enjoying life, not cooped up playing on a device inside. I try to keep the rule of thumb, if it’s at least 35 degrees than they should be playing outside. (They’re outside playing now while I write)

chattin kids

Faith: 

The husband and I also discussed getting back on track with the good Lord who has blessed up x 1,000. We have finally found a good program our kids enjoy, so that makes the battle so much easier. Chris and I will be working on each other, our relationship, our children, and physical & mental. This was the easiest and best track that we found that could help us walk in our faith.

faith.jpg

From our family to yours, we hope you are welcomed into 2016 with warm, loving, and happiness arms!