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Category Archives: Home

I’m Not Looking For Placation. Just Fix it.

Really.

Ever since we moved here I have been smelling a whiff of gas off and on. Always in my room. James can’t smell it, and jokes about my bloodhound sense of smell.  Hannah says she can smell it sometimes.  It annoys me enough that I constantly run a fan in my room to keep the air circulating at night.  We have had the gas company come out twice but they never found anything.  On Wednesday, the gas company sent a guy out again and this time he finally found the leak and red tagged my furnace.

Today, my landlord sent a repair person to the house.  The guy obviously thought I was being paranoid.  His behavior was just a hair above eye-rolling condescension.  I swear I thought he was going to refer to me as the “little lady”.  He finally decided he would replace a valve, but made it clear he was doing it to make me feel better.

The gas man had been very friendly, and tolerated all of Cooper’s questions.  He let Cooper hold the meter, and was very patient with him.  Cooper always has a million questions.  Today, he tried the same thing on the repair man, but this guy wasn’t so nice.  I had to keep directing Cooper back to the playroom, while he protested “but I just want to help! I’m a good helper!”

WELL.  Once he was in there, he discovered it wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought.  Nearly two hours later, my furnace is finally running and there no longer is a gas smell.

I couldn’t help but smirk while he explained what he had to fix.    Guess I wasn’t so silly after all.

A Cup of Coffee… And a Whole Lot of Bitterness.

birth center
Looks so peaceful.

Yesterday was… Difficult.

It started out well enough.  I was excited about my very first prenatal appointment with my midwife.  I was happy that because of the generosity of my readers I was able to give my midwife a down payment towards the cost of my home birth.  It was such a relief to hand over that cash.  I felt very blessed, because I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to give her anything.

Then it kind of went downhill.  I was feeling anxious to hear my baby’s heartbeat.  The whole visit I was looking forward to that, and when the student midwife took my blood pressure, it was 157/100!  She asked if that was normal, and I said no- so she had me lie down and they distracted me talking about the kids and then checked it again.  124/74.  Whew.

So then it was time to get me gooped up for the heartbeat….  And they couldn’t find it.  We tried for thirty minutes.  My tummy and uterus are sore today from the poking, but we couldn’t get it.  We heard the swooshing of the placenta, but not the baby.  I burst into tears.  It reminded me of my last pregnancy, and brought out a lot of trauma I thought I had buried. I cried and cried and told them about my loss.  Both my midwife and her assistant said they aren’t worried, that it could be hard to hear for many reasons.  That because of my extra padding, the placement of the placenta, the tilt or placement of my uterus it can be difficult to find the baby when he or she is still so small.

We are going to try again next week, and if we still can’t hear it, I will have an ultrasound the following Tuesday.  She also took blood to check my levels, which she said was just to reassure me that everything is ok. I felt gutted.  The whole thing reminded me of my lost baby.

After I got home, Hannah wanted to tell me about something personal, but we have a play group on Thursdays at my house so we didn’t really get a chance to talk.  I could tell she was bummed, and I remembered I still had a little left on the gift card Dee sent me, so I offered to take her out for a coffee so we could have some alone time.  I had such a good time talking with her, and it really cheered me up after my failed midwife visit.  It was my happy moment of the day, and I took a picture to share it with my TKW page.

And then….  The comments started.  How dare I buy coffee when I’m asking people for money. Why couldn’t I take my kid out for “special” time that was free?  I’m squandering my birth fund money.  I’m like a person who holds up a “hungry” begging sign and then buys a candy bar and soda. Why do I have a birth fund anyway? I chose to have five kids, I should choose a birth that my insurance covers.  (I don’t have insurance, for the record, we fall into that mythical crack where we make just enough to not qualify while not being able to afford insurance).  How dare I not have insurance.  How dare I have five children.  Its selfish of me to try for a home birth.  It’s selfish of me to ask people for money. It’s distasteful.

This one of those times that I’m weighing the good parts of having a blog and fan page and sharing my life against the hurt and shame and judginess that it can sometimes result in.  The majority of people on my page are so supportive and loving and make me feel GOOD.  It makes me feel like I’m doing something worthy when I hear that someone decided to try a different way of doing things because of something I said.  That’s why I keep doing this.

But yesterday was rough man.  I’m a little tender today.

UPDATE:  I talked to my midwife.  My levels are in the middle of the normal range.  She isn’t worried, she said.  Next Thursday I will go back to try the heartbeat again, and if we still can’t get it she will check to see if my levels are still rising.  And schedule an ultrasound for the following Tuesday.

Privilege

There is this word.  I keep seeing it whenever someone comments on a post I write about homeschooling (or even breastfeeding).  The word is “privilege”– as in “my husband and I need to work to stay afloat; we’re not privileged enough to be able to spend all day with our children”…  This is from a comment on the huz’s homeschooling post.

People constantly tell me how privileged I am to be a stay at home mom. How nice it is that my husband makes enough to support us.  How we are part of that wealthy, privileged, upper class.  And how they can’t do that, so how dare I make them feel bad because they can’t do A, B, or C.

I agree with the first part.  It is a blessing and privilege to stay at home to raise children.  But it isn’t about wealth or class.

Here is the thing.

We have been poor.  Like, no car, getting evicted, eat rice for a month because that’s all there is, poor.  We were below poverty level for a good chunk of our marriage.  Yes, I stay home with our children and my husband works.  And yes, the four years of truck driving meant that we started to pull ourselves out of the deep financial hole we were been buried in ever since we said our “I dos”.  My husband worked HARD so that could happen.  His new job makes so much less.  And we struggle.  We juggle which bills to pay each and every month.

Over the years, we have survived on everything from no income at all to nearly six figures a year (that was awesome.  I miss that). I have had to learn to make our budget stretch farther than should be possible.  I can say with confidence that I know how to feed my family of six on less than fifty dollars a week if I have to. I’m pretty proud of my skills.

Yes, we make sacrifices for our lifestyle.  We go without a lot of “special” things.  We don’t have cable, we make most of our food from scratch, we haven’t been to the movies in  years.  In fact, neither Patrick nor Willow had been to a movie theater until last summer when I took them to a dollar showing of Thor. My husband and I go without many things so that our kids can have food, clothing, shelter, homeschool materials, and fieldtrips.  We’ve never had a honeymoon or even been on a vacation.  Its not a big deal though, we live this way because we think it is extremely important that our children have a parent stay at home.  It might be “old fashioned” but I do think there should be a parent at home to bake cookies and wipe noses.

We want our babies to have their mama, so they can be carried, snuggled and breastfed all day long.  I pumped and supplemented and did daycare with Hannah, when I was finishing school- I know how difficult that is and I wanted different for any future babies, so I made this choice with my husband’s support before we were married.

(I’m talking about OUR LIFE and OUR CHILDREN and OUR CHOICES here.  THIS IS WHAT WE FEEL IS IMPORTANT TO US, OUR VALUES, OUR DREAMS, OUR GOALS.  THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO.)

Would life be easier if my kids were in school and I had even a part-time job?  Hell yeah.  Have I ever secretly wished this were the case? YES.  When my husband was on the road for stretches of six weeks at a time I was basically a single mom, (although I got the cool benefit of having a paycheck dropped into my bank account each week) without time off or a break and no one here to help me or offer me a damn hug.  But was it worth it? HELL YEAH.

I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle for ANYTHING.  Not even a closet full of designer shoes (I love shoes.) or a fancy house.  My kids are amazing, and I get to experience each and every day with them.  Each day is a gift- no matter how cranky they are, no matter how tight money is this week- I am so glad that I get to share every single blessed day with them.  They are happy and secure and kind children- and I know that is partly due to the love and attention they get all day long.

It is crazy what you can live on if you have to. It is eye-opening to find out what you can live without if you need to.  To us, raising our kids this way is worth it.  We chose this lifestyle, for them, so that we can be together and help them learn and grow, because we think it is important and special to be a part of that process.  This is the only way in which my husband and I are privileged. We are honored to be the parents of four such wonderful people.

My point is, where there is a will, there is a way, in *most* situations (obviously not ALL) and if you make sacrifices and work with it a bit you might be surprised with what you can do!

Big News… BIG MOVE!

That’s right. I am Superwoman. You can totally marvel at my skills. I am going to pack up this entire house into a moving truck and send it on its way. Then I will pack my kids into our car and drive the 1200 miles to our new home!Continue Reading

Alone Time

Today the huz took all the kids out so I could have some time to myself. What did I choose to do? READ? NAP? Nope. I cleaned. It never fails to amaze me how quickly I can get through a cleaning without the kids here.Continue Reading

I’m a SAHM. I Mother AND I Clean.

I was reading through a thread on facebook where someone had asked whether or not keeping the house clean was part of the job of the stay at home mom. Almost every single “SAHM” said no- their job is to care for the children, not the house. I strongly disagree. I think that keeping the house reasonably clean IS part of my job. Continue Reading

Baby it is cold INSIDE.

Brrrrrr! It is cold in here. I woke up to a chilly house this morning. My thermostat is set for sixty-eight degrees, but it was already down to a sixty by eight o’clock. Now we are pushing fifty-six and I am not a happy camper.Continue Reading