Friday, March 25, 2016

Did I ever tell you the story....

I remember so vividly the moment I met my oldest son’s soul in a dream.  The dream began in a foggy darkness with my best friend and I walking along a lone sidewalk.   Ahead of us I began to see a bit of light, not sunlight but some kind of pale light.  As we drew closer I saw a tall streetlamp, with its artificial light casting a triangle type beam of light down through the fog onto the sidewalk.  There beneath the streetlight a child stood with his back to us and hands in pocket.  Walking past the child I looked at him.  He had an adorable face, with glasses and this kind of bowl shaped haircut.   I turned to my friend and said, “When I have son, he will look like that little boy.”  At that moment the little boy turned towards me, looked up, and said “Hi mom!”  Something deep in my being knew instantly that I had met my future son.

I woke up filled with a sense of peace and wonder.  My husband and I were not trying to conceive at that point, rather we were about a month and half from our wedding day.   Cue, two weeks later.   I was shopping for a few groceries, thinking about final wedding plans.  Going past the seafood counter I was suddenly repulsed by that familiar “ocean” smell.  I had never remembered it smelling so bad and I nearly didn’t  make it the restroom to get sick.  I resumed shopping but had this feeling that I was pregnant.  One extra item, a pregnancy test bought and a chipper “Good luck!” from the cashier and I was racing home to test!

 Almost instantly the line appeared and I was in shock.  I stood in the bathroom, both laughing and crying.  And then fear set in.  Having lost our first little one to miscarriage a year before I was filled with dread about the same outcome.  Yet I couldn’t contain my excitement at the same time.   My best friend was the first to know.  I had to be sure after all that I wasn’t imagining those lines.  That’s right, I may or may not have taken a few more tests just to be sure.  There was no imagining it.  I was pregnant, and funny enough it conception happened around the time I had met my son in that dream.  Amazing how life works sometimes.  I believe in a Higher Power, God.  I’m also not a black and white person and do not get hung up on dogma and doctrine.  I embrace what God was giving us, and at that time apparently it was another child.  And I prayed this one would live and be able to be born. 

Throughout the entire pregnancy something told me that he was different, unique, not like other children.  However that came out more in the form of worry and anxiety.  I was fearful all of the pregnancy.  I had horrible dreams of losing him, of him taking away, of me fighting for him.  Looking back I realize that I was being prepared for this wonderfully bright, beautiful, and autistic child!

On November 13, 2006 at 2:13pm, he came into the world.  That was quite the experience too.  Another story, for another time.  At that moment, I breathed a sigh of relief.  He was here, crying, and in my arms.  I forgot about all those nights of terrible dreams.  All those days of being in tears, worrying something was "wrong" with him.  None of that mattered.  And I had no idea of the journey that lay before us. 

For that instance, all was right with the world and our beautiful son was the greatest gift!
And that is the story of how I met my son ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When no one knocks on the door.

The knocks come on the door.
"Can Aaron come out and play?"
Often, and with joy!

But the knocks rarely come for David.  I take that back, occasionally they do come.  Usually preceded first by seeing if Aaron can play.  If he can't, or he's busy, they sometimes ask for David.  Sometimes.  But he's rarely a first thought.
And this shatters my heart in a million pieces.

I want to say I get it.  I want to say I somewhat understand.  But another part of me wants to say it shouldn't be that way.  He's just a child, and he wants to play and be included as well.

That can be the heartbreaking part of children with special needs. 
David is quarky, he's loud, he doesn't understand personal space, he has a hearty laugh, he may laugh at inappropriate times, he may add to the conversation, but not in the way one would expect. 
He'll believe you if you joke with him and say you're taking over the world.  He's deathly afraid of bugs so he'll get scared if you tease him about one being on him.  And he'll take whatever you say to heart, either good or bad.

That can be a lot to deal with, as a child.  So in that sense, I see why many children just shy away.  I try to help out when I can, to ease everyone into a playing situation, but I can't always be around, and honestly, I know I can't always step in and "rescue" him or the situation.  It's not real life sadly.  It's not the way the world will work when he gets out in it.

But it can and does still break me.  It moves me to tears many times.  I think that sometimes David doesn't really notice.  He just busies himself playing inside with his medical books and items.  Reading about science, looking at maps.  Usually if he does wander outside to find his brother, he'll end up playing but usually it is short lived and he comes back in tears, not realizing some of those qualities that can be endearing to a mother's heart can be annoying or frustrating to the average person. 

More often than not, he'll venture outside, generally after everyone else goes inside.  That way he can play and ride his bike alone.
Now, granted he does prefer to play alone mostly.  He always has.  I just wish on those occasions he did play with others, it could be a more positive experience all around.  And I know as he grows and learns more coping skills he will be able to face that social awkwardness that often accompanies those on the spectrum.
But in the meantime, it can be tough.
I've even quit having "all out birthday parties" because the turn out for him is not always good.  I remember one year, sending out tons of invites, like 30+.  I think I had 2 people show up.  Now I understand people have plans, and birthday parties can be frankly, boring.  But year after year it can sad.  Watching people come to his brother's parties, but not his. 
So we've opted for fun family things.  The good news is, he is fine with that too!  And we end up having a great time. 

What I do love as a parent is that I HAVE connected with some other wonderful parents who have special needs children as well.  Those are the people I can really bond with.  The people who "get" it.  And that has helped tremendously, because they truly understand. 

So while other children may not knock on the door, David still has a wonderful support system from his family and from those who are walking very similar journeys.  And for that, I am truly thankful!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

How do you pick a leader?

This morning at Palm Sunday Service, I learned something old, that was like learning something new! Yes that can happen. You can hear something a thousand times, yet it may not "click" until one day when...
I will say in today's societal climate, this can true whether we share the same faith or not. At one point in the reading from the Christian Holy Scriptures, a few that were followers of Jesus wanted to resort to violence to silence His [Jesus] protesters. In the blink of an eye, one cut off the ear of a protester.
Jesus told them that it would stop RIGHT NOW! Basically that he'd have none of that, that it wasn't the way to spread his His message essentially.
And then Jesus did something even more amazing. He HEALED this protester. An ear restored. It would be interesting to know more on the story of the protestor, what became of him. But we don't know.
What we do know and what we learned in that instant is that the mark of GREAT and CARING leader is one of leading by example. One that stands up even for those that protest or don't agree. He set a new precedence that all leaders could learn from, even in today' time.
From a supervisor at work, to a teacher, to leaders or future leaders of towns, cities, states, countries, nations, a leader does not invoke nor condone violence to further rifts between them and those that may not like them or protest against them.
A true leader reaches out, attempts to find a common ground, maybe even leaves their peaceful mark on the protestor [in whatever form that would be.]
I would say one thing. If a leader resorts to making people feel less than worthy, allows people to be hurt while standing by, who perhaps hurt people themselves whether with word or deed, then they are not the leader to follow.
Look for the leader [in anything] that reaches out to those others would like to shun or shut up! Look for the leader that would rather get their message across via love and peace than hate and violence.
And above all, especially if we do share the same faith, we should be premium examples of this.
A 2000+ year old lesson, even more relevant today!

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Sound of Music!

[ David, Dec. 2009, 3 years old ]

Lately [and by lately I mean months, and months, and months, and...well you get the picture], David has been singing Opera.  His whole life is in Opera style right now. 
If he needs to brush his teeth.
It's act one of the morning Opera!
Take a bath?
Closing act..."BAAATTHH TIMMMEEE!!!!" 
Do homework? 
Okay maybe he doesn't sing then, he just grumbles like an old man.

And as much as it can get on my ever loving nerves, a part of me is so thankful that he does it!  Even at 6am!

Christmas Season 2009. 
This year will forever stand out to me.  Now I adore Christmas.  It's my favorite holiday, so every year is stands out.  However this one?  This one is when everything changed. 
David sang for the first time! 

Now I know what you are thinking.  Okay, kids sing, so what made this one special? 
It was special because honestly, I never thought he'd sing.  I never even thought he's really talk, let alone make music!]
On the language front, another sign that I notice was David's lack of language development. 

Around 6 months or so he did say mama.  I was happy!  He said it a few times and of course we always prompted ;)  Around 9 months, he stopped saying mama, and added no other words.  I talked to him, I named things, pointed things out, read to him.  But nothing. 
He turned a year and still wasn't speaking.  He made sounds.  But nothing recognizable.  When I would express my concern I would just get the ole' "Oh he's a boy, they just develop latter.  Don't worry about it."

I tried to follow that, but I knew.  I just knew!  Something wasn't right.  He didn't even point like most typically developing children would, for something he wanted. 
He would get so frustrated instead and I had no idea what he wanted.  I would show him different things, saying their names, until I finally found what he wanted or needed.

The months rolled on and he picked up a few words here and there.  Juice, eat, out.  But nothing more.  Not even the beginning simple 2 word sentences by 2 years old. 
He becoming increasingly frustrated himself and would act out aggressively.  Finally at 2.5 years old after getting no where in expressing my concerns a friend and teacher told me about Early Steps.  A free program that helps children under the age of three with developmental delays.

It was a God send.  They came to us!  Came to our house, did all the assessments, worked with him for several months and at last he was officially labeled as developmentally delayed in language and social/emotional.  
It was through Early Steps that he began attending a special needs school, where he is back at currently [Our Children's Academy in Lake Wales]. 
He began school in August 2009. 
Going in with about 30 words, I wasn't hopeful he'd talk honestly.  AND, it was so hard to "let him go". 
I was that helicopter parent back then and it took me a long time to finally step back and let him grow. 
He began to flourish!  More and more words came, even simple 2 or 3 word sentences, with in the first few months.  I was amazed, humbled, and thankful!  To hear him say "mommy love you", "daddy play".  Wow!  Amazing.

I still have never heard him sing though.  We played lots of music at home and I know they did at school too [and in all honesty, he probably sang some at school!].  But I didn't know.
So here comes Christmas.  I remember my mom was sitting on the sofa with him singing Jingle Bells.
And what did I hear?
David singing for the first time!!! 
That was the best version of Jingle Bells I had ever heard!

Now, he sings a lot.  He's truly his mother's son because he does love Christmas music too.  I love to hear him sing Christmas carols.  He's become more and more fond of them since that time. 
Not only that, he loves to listen to music.  He's developed a taste for classical styles [again like his mom].
He loves to learn about instruments! 

The sound of music.  That's what fills our house now.  That's what fills my heart!  The sound of music from a child who continues to amaze me with something new everyday! 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Autism, food battles, & fish sticks!

It is no secret that children with autism quite often struggle with food.  Look, smells, texture, taste, all play a part.  Their scope of what they will eat can be small and concentrated in one group.  Pastas, sweets, salty, etc.
Food is an area where I started noticing that David had struggles from an early age.  With purees, I offered a wide variety of foods and often, since it takes an average of 15 times for an infant to acquire a taste of something.
No matter how many times over the course of about 10 months in the puree stage, he never would get used to vegetables most fruits, and meats.
Mainly he loved oatmeal, applesauce, peaches, and macaroni and cheese purees. 
It was incredibly frustrating.  When I tried introducing more textured food as he matured, he HATED them.  He gagged on most things that infants and toddlers love.  Those puffs?  Not so much!  Little crackers.  No way!  He did love the cheese puff like Gerber Graduates.  He would eat those.  And Cheerios.  He finally got a taste for dry cereal and he loved that.  Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Fruit Loops [he loved the Cascadian Farms brand].

Now most children adore spaghetti, or so it seems.  The day I introduced him to it cut up very small, he gagged and gagged and finally refused.  I kept offering it over the course of the next month.  Same reaction.  Anytime we had spaghetti over the coming months and years, same reaction.  He just couldn't and didn't do it or want it.
He was a good 15/16 months before he would even eat any foods with texture and by foods I mean mainly macaroni and cheese.  And even then, it was just the boxed kind.  He hated the creamy kind you make, the kind you buy, the kind you get at restaurants.  He hated the kind that was anything but the small elbow macaroni with the powdered cheese packs. 
As the months went on, we found he did like some other soft textured foods like bread [but heaven forbid a crust was on there!], pancakes and waffles, and Alfredo!  Basically soft foods.  He would occasionally get a happy meal and rarely eat all the fries, but he loved the nuggets.  A plus!  He ate a meat!

At 2 years old I gave him some peanut butter and he fell in love with that.  He loved PB&Js.  So our scope had grown to PB&Js, cereals, pastas, chips, and gummies. 
As always we offered, had him try bites at each meal, all met with gags, smelling, inspecting, and refusing. 

I admit, it was hard sometimes.  Especially because at this point we knew something was up, but were not exactly sure what.  Later around 3 years old we would discover first, that he had Sensory Integration Disorder.  This explained so much about his eating habits.  The therapists that worked with him really educated me and I finally understood.

While I continued to offer a wide variety of foods, I didn't worry so much.  I was okay with what he ate.  At least he was eating. 
He is 9 years old now and his horizons are broadening!  He now eats quite a bit. 
Fruits: cantaloupe, watermelon, apples [minus the peels], peaches, grapes.
He LOVES spaghetti now.  But not with meat sauce.  He mainly still likes only chicken and lunch meat like ham and turkey. 
He'll eat meatloaf if he has ketchup.  He's gotten to were he will eat a half of hamburger now, minus the cheese.
He likes black beans and refried beans.  He likes the chicken and rice combo I make with cream of chicken soup. 
He'll eat sausage gravy [no biscuits]

A few days ago I decided to get fish sticks.  He's never like fish when we've made it.  Then I remembered when I was young, my mom always made fish sticks and mac-n-cheese. 
Because he loves mac-n-cheese I thought I'd try to throw the fish sticks into the dinner just to see.  I didn't have high hopes.
He ate 2!  TWO!!  I was overjoyed. 
Now, if you haven't figured it out, I'm not really all that "crunchy"  [I used to be], I'm not overly worried about every thing being natural or whole.  I'm just glad he eats!
So finding another food he liked was a battle won! 
We actually are not a seafood kind of family.  Every so often I'll make talapia.  But he's never eaten it!

 It's nice to look back in retrospect and see the progress.  When you're in the moment, the day to day grind, you can often ask "why am I even doing this?"
As much as I asked that so many times, I still would have him try a bit.  I only ask for one bite. 
There were times, like the day he finally did start liking spaghetti, were we sat at the table for 30 minutes.  I calmly told him he needed to try one bite.  He cried and cried, sat there and refused, then finally tried a bite. 
He then exclaimed "Mom, I LOVE it!!!!!"
This was just 2 years ago!  It took him a good 5 years of being exposed over and over and over, to end up loving it.  Battle won!

If there any parents out there struggling with the same thing.  Don't give up.  I can't promise they will ever like something.  But keep exposing them!  Keep showing them.  Have them touch it.  Let them play with it [it's just food and will wash off].
Maybe one day they will like something new! 
Don't give up!  Don't give up!!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Let it rise! Homemade yeast rolls.

Some meals cry out for hot, buttery bread. 
Pot roast, spaghetti, cottage pie....

I love making fresh bread.  And you want to know a secret?  It's not so much because I like to eat it. [Well I DO like to eat it], but I LOVE the smell of fresh yeast rising dough! 
It seems to fill the whole house and screams out fresh home cooking!

This time I made yeast rolls, using a basic recipe.  And of course there is room from tweaking based on preference.

What you need:
1 cup warm water
1.5 tablespoons yeast

1 teaspoon honey 
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4-6 cups of flour


* add one cup warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey to a bowl.  Let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture foams up.
* add in eggs, melted butter, and honey to yeast mixture.  Mix until blended.

* using a mixture with dough hook, by hand, or in a bread machine, add 1 cup of flour at a time.  Keep adding flour until dough pulls away from the sides and forms a dough ball.
*Mixture will be a bit sticky, if too sticky add more flour.
*Generally you will use about 4.5-5.5 cups.
*After you have the dough ball, knead a few times, adding flour if needed. 
*If you using a bread maker use the dough cycle ONLY to mix and form into a dough ball and then transfer to a large bowl and then knead.
*Let dough rise at least 2 hours.  Use a big bowl as dough will more than double in size.

Once dough is risen, punch down in bowl, knead a bit back into a dough ball.  add flour if sticky. 

*pinch off a piece of dough about a little bigger than a golf ball [or any size you wish].
*place in shallow backing dish.
*repeat until all do is used and your rolls are all in the baking pan.

I topped mine with poppy seeds, but you don't have to top with anything.

*Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes [depending on oven/size of rolls].
*When rolls are about a minute from being done, pull them out and baste the tops with melted butter.

And...there you go.  Fresh rolls for dinner!  

The versatility of these is that you can substitute the honey for a sweetener of choice.  If you use regular sugar increase amount to 1/2 cup.
You can add cheese into the dough just before making the rolls for a yummy buttery cheddar roll.  You can add in rosemary for an herbed roll.  Baste the the tops with olive oil and garlic for Italian night! 
Have fun, play around with it!

From our table to yours, enjoy your meal!

1 cup warm water 1 1/2 tablespoons active-dry yeast (or 2 packages) 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 cup melted butter 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 eggs 1 teaspoon table salt 4 cups all-purpose flour


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I [still] do...10 years later!

December 2005.
That month he proposed.  I'll never forget it.  I gave him a Christmas gift early that he'd been wanting, an online video game pack.  I jokingly said I wanted one early too.  Then went on about day.
Later that evening he told me to check my stocking.  Yay, an early gift.  Perfume?  Starbucks giftcard?  Nope!  A ring! 

"Let's get married!"  simple, from the heart, and the start of a new chapter among many.  We had been together 2 years already, we had lost a child early to miscarriage.  It was time.

March 27th, 2006
Our wedding.  Small, simple, at a local Women's Club venue.  About 35 people total.  My best friend Michelle, had our wedding cake made as a gift.  We made our own food, buffett/finger food style.  Believe it or not, I purchased my dress online new for $65!  The veil was $15, the tiara was $14! 
The entire wedding was under $600, food, dress, tuxes, venue, decorations, all of it.  I'm all about saving money and enjoying the moment at the same time!

Fast forward 10 years later.  As mentioned in my earlier blog post, we've had quite the journey over the last months and months.  Overcoming many obstacles.  And now to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, we are declaring before friends and family, we'd do it all again.

This time around we're doing it in the church.  While I loved my first wedding, and a minister did the ceremony [and it was great], the element of a formal service was missing and left a kind of longing in my heart. 

We'll be having a beautiful Episcopalian Vow Renewal Service, complete with the Eucharist.  A time to revisit our vows and consecrate them after a long and winding road. 
The one thing that hasn't changed though, is my quest to have a beautiful, fun, but inexpensive ceremony and reception. 

And the good news this time around since we're already married, is that I don't really have to worry about "tradition" and people knowing details, or seeing some things from the coming ceremony!

Our theme is Hawaiian Luau.  Colorful flowers for the bouquets and veil headpiece, reminiscent of the islands!   The reception is Hawaiian inspired and the menu is going to be ham & pineapple, ginger meatballs, savory rice, and a tropical salad.
There will also be an appetizer time while we do pictures before the buffet style dinner, and of course cake!!
Appetizers will range from shrimp cocktail to a tropical salsa served with tortilla chips. 

Luau decorations are pretty easy AND cheap to come buy.  I've gotten about 90% of them already for under $40! 

I did purchase my gown from David's Bridal [probably the biggest purchase].  And I've made my veil [see pictures] and the maid of honor [my best friend], and the flower girl's bouquets. 

The veil cost under $20 to make and is cathedral length.  The bouquets cost under $10 total! 
So I'm off to a good start! 
April 2nd is the date of the event.  It will be a busy day but I am so looking forward to the event and sharing it with family and friends who mean the world to me!  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Marvelous muffins...a versatile batter.

I love to bake and try new concoctions.  Sometimes it works, other times I can only shake my head.
Today I found something that works!

I was in the mood to make some kind of coffee cake style muffins of loaf.  Plus I had quite a bit of yogurt that's going to go bad because I won't be able to eat it all before the expiration date.

Using sugar, flour, baking soda and powder, yogurt, eggs, oil, and milk I made a better that Ive found can be quite versatile.

The Basic Recipe

1 cup of all purpose flour
5-6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combined dry ingredients in a bowl, give a quick whisk

1 egg
2 tablespoons of milk
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons oil

Whisk together wet ingredients in a bowl, pour onto dry ingredients and whisk until blended.  Don't over mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now the tweaking.
I used strawberry yogurt, and added in chocolate chips.  It passed the taste test with my sons so I know I have a hit!  Especially with a son whose Autistic and has Sensory Integration Disorder.  He's my super picky eater.  And as you can see from the picture, I put my batter in a pie dish and it makes a cute little pie style cake for serving with coffee or tea.

I haven not tried any other flours yet [whole wheat, spelt, sprouted] but I want too.  However keep in mind if you do use another flour it will probably be more dense.  Which is the norm for those flours.

This is where the versatility comes in.  You can use any sweetner of your choice:  Honey, agave, maple syrup, stevia, splenda, etc.
You can use any yogurt of choice: plain, Greek, vanilla, blueberry, lemon, etc
You can use any "add" ins of choice like berries, fruit chunks, chocolate chips, etc.

In short you can make many "flavors".  The yogurt certainly can give it flavor, but if you use a plain yogurt a sweetner like maple could give you a nice rich maple coffee cake type muffin or loaf.

Because the yogurt also gives it a kind of "creamy" heaviness, you could use a lemon or cheesecake flavor yogurt and make a cream cheese glaze.

Bake up something yummy.  If you find something that just knocks your socks off with this recipe, please share it in the comments!
Maybe you can make it Vegan style and share it with us!  Make low-cal/low carb/weight watchers style?  Share it! 

So pull up that chair, pour yourself some coffee or tea and have a slice of yummy goodness with me!

A New Chapter, An Old Book!

I've stepped inside a time machine and headed back.  Back in time to the 'overly' romanticized era of stay at home housewives and mothers.  To a time where Donna Reed was busy baking something up, June Cleaver was running the vacuum, and Samantha Stevens was twitching her nose. 
I have to admit, there is a part of me that has always been drawn to that era, to being able to stay home, nurture my family, care for hearth and home, wear aprons, put on make up, greet my husband with a kiss and a cocktail!

In the beginning, when we had our first child, I did stay home.  And along came our second child just 19 months later.  I stayed home for about 3.5 years then.  Yet that time was such a blur.  Those days were the infancy of discovering that our oldest, David, had special needs.  With the day to day grind of being at a loss, of being in tears many days, of barely getting my teeth brushed, I missed out.
I missed out on just enjoying the moment, of looking at it in the new light and through the new eyes that I have now, some 5.5 years later. 
My sons are now 7 or 7 and a HALF as Aaron always corrects me, and 9.  They are both in school full time.  And up until about 4 weeks ago I had been back in the workforce for 5.5 years. 
I'm going to be brutally honest.  Those last 5.5 years have basically been a few good days, with many months of hell.  Barely making it, going through the motions, sometimes dreading the next day.
It's no different than any working outside of the home mother.  It's HARD!  As the months and years moved on after I first went back to work, I found myself becoming increasingly, tired, sick, resentful, unhappy, crying often.  To be honest I didn't really know why either.
I just knew I had to get up, get the children ready, send them off to school, go to work, get off work, get the children, go home, cook dinner, clean, homework, get the children ready for bed, try to do some laundry, spend time with my husband, go to bed. 
With that, I found some things, the most important, being put on the sidelines.  Time with my husband. 
Essentially I was pushing him further and further away as I just tried to survive day to day.
With the growing needs of David, and the typical needs of Aaron, working, and trying to care for the house I just had nothing left to give.  And for awhile I didn't want to give anything. 
For those that may not know David, our 9 year old, is diagnosed with ASD, Sensory Integration Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Asthma, and ITP [an auto-immune disorder where the antibodies attack his platelets leaving him vulnerable to uncontrolled internal bleeding].
This alone seems to monopolize my time.  We never know when his platelets are going to reach critical level [which means he could have spontaneous bleeding in the brain which could be fatal.]  Add in the day to day journey of ASD/ADHD/SPD and it's sufficient to say that it's hard to look beyond the moment.
In short, I had begun shutting just about everyone out.  Especially my husband who works hard for us.  He works 2 full time jobs but I was too busy to really see just how much he did.
All I could think and complain about was "Why didn't you help with the dishes???"
It got to the point where I honestly just wanted to be anywhere but here.  I wanted to take my sons and run far away thinking that was the answer.
To save you an even longer novel, I will tell you this.  I ended up talking to my priest at the Episcopal Church where I attend.  He gave me fresh perspective, he prayed with me, he offered REAL help, not trite and black and white quips.
I left his office feeling a little better but still with the outlook that things were going in a direction that I never thought they'd go.
Ultimately that night I approached Eric, shared what I was feeling.  And finally I just said I'm exhausted.  I can do this anymore.  I can't work, take care of a house, and the kids.  Basically I just want to run away.
I'll never forgot the moment when Eric said that me working and the extra money wasn't worth throwing everything away over.  Just quit, and stay home and focus on the boys.
Suddenly everything clicked.  It was an A-Ha moment.  And I have very few of those.  A literal, my life rolling before my eyes like an old vintage slide show.  I saw in retrospect how increasingly unhappy I had become trying to be "Superwoman".  A career, child rearing, maintaining a June Cleaver house.  I just could not balance it all.
It clicked!  While I loved the extra income, it was coming at a huge price, my family.  And no amount of money is worth that.
Fortunately our circumstances are such that I can be home.  I give huge kudos to those that can balance it all, that have to balance it all.  I am not strong like you.  Hats off!!! 
But I am thankful that my own husband had infinitely more wisdom than I had given him credit for. 
And here we are.  Me at home.
Just last night Eric told me that whatever it is we're doing he loves it.  He sees how happy I am.  That made me feel so good.  Time for him! Time for my faith, Time for my children, Time to tend to home and hearth!
The ironic thing is that I say I'm an oxymoron.  While I am actually quite the "21st" century women with some liberal views, my CHOICE is to be at work at home mother.  And trust me, ALL mothers WORK whether they go to a brick and mortar building to work, or stay home to work!
I chose to live that 1950s-ish lifestyle. 
I love having dinner ready.  I love pouring my husband a drink after a long day.
I love having time and patience for my children. 
I LOVE it!
And most of all I love that my marriage is happy again.  Happy!  And as our love grows through these trials and victories, I really do see "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger".  I understand it a little more now.
I know that this is a mountaintop and of course there will still be valleys.  That is just life.
But for now, I am content to serve my family.  Yes, my modern who woman me, who believes in choice, has made the choice to serve my family out of love.
Soon my husband and I will renew our vows for our 10th anniversary.  What a great way to mark this great milestone and to show what we have overcome and are overcoming!
I may be "just" a housewife.  But I assure you that if you pull up a chair in the "Parlor" [aka living room], pour yourself a cup of coffee, and observe, you'll find that there is always some adventure in this home!