Now Accepting Applications

Now Accepting Applications

The Taylor family is now accepting applications for a full- time laundry fairy.

Applicants must not be put off by incredibly insane amounts of dirty laundry.

A magic wand is preferred but not a requirement. Serious applicants should be capable of keeping the washing machine and dryer running simultaneously seven days a week, 365 days a year with little to no complaining. A master’s degree in Stain Removal and a thorough understanding of the dissertation, “The Mystery of the Lost Sock” are non-negotiable.

This position highly discourages the need for personal days or time off however, in emergency situations time off will be granted provided the applicant understands all laundry will be waiting upon return, twice as high as the day before. 

Applicants who are easily overwhelmed or apprehensive about “unusual” boy smells need not apply. Send applications to :

“One Tired Mom”

1412 Loads of Fun Lane

Laundry Room, NC 28469

 

And the Winner Is….

And the Winner Is….

I must admit…I was a little concerned about the results of this year’s competition.

You know Britten took home the victory last year with his incredibly lovey-dovey penguin ornament.

What you don’t know is that for the last couple of months I’ve told everyone I was incredibly confident that I was going to win this year’s swap, despite the fact that Britten repeatedly told me he was going to win two consecutive years in a row.

But then the first vote on the blog was for his ornament and the first vote on the facebook post was for his ornament. I suddenly realized that I might have been a little over confident. Thankfully, over the next few days things took a dramatic turn and my ornament began to wrangle the votes.

In the end….I carried away the victory with my quilt ornament 38 to 6.

Thank you for taking time to vote and keeping the annual ornament swap competition alive!

Wondering Why Wednesday

Wondering Why Wednesday

If you’re new to the blog , then let me introduce you to the mayhem of raising five boys. Life in our home can be comical, messy & electrifying all at the same time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world! I never know what I’m going to find or what peculiar things I’ll  run across in the course of a day.

Several years back I started taking pictures of the surreal and posting one each Wednesday. I called it Wondering Why Wednesday because when I came across an amusing situation it left me wondering “why.” Tonight is no different.

I give you….

 Another installment of “Wondering Why Wednesday”

Why did I leave the toilet paper where the puppy could reach it?

Ornament Swap 2018

Ornament Swap 2018

The Annual Christmas Swap had a bit of a unique twist this year. Eight days before Christmas one of our boys came down with the flu and three weeks later we were still passing it around between the seven of us. You don’t know excitement until your whole family gets the flu the same week you bring a new puppy home. We endearingly refer to the 2018 Christmas season as “Flumageddon.” I break out in a nervous sweat just thinking about it. 

The flu and date night don’t exactly go hand in hand, so our customary overnight get away didn’t happen. Late one night after we had administered all the meds, cleaned up after the fur baby, got the boys in bed and collapsed on the couch I told Britten we needed some Christmas cheer and suggested we swap ornaments. Between coughs and sneezes we got the ornaments unwrapped and reminisced over our last year together.

And now…we take it to the people and you declare the winner.

If you’re new to the Yearly Ornament Competition Swap read last year’s post to get the details. If you know the story well, you remember that last year I lost and Britten has gloried in his victory for the last 12 months. Tonight, we put our destiny in your hands by asking you to cast your vote. Here are your choices.

Ornament #1

It’s no secret that we are a traveling family. Our boys have been to 10 different countries in the last few years which means we’ve logged more hours in airports and aisle seats than I care to admit. This year marked a major milestone for our little tribe. We moved back on US soil this past summer and our boys haven’t stepped on an airplane since. As outlandish as it sounds, there are days when we desperately miss the chaos of rushing through airports with five kids and seven carry ons. There are days when we miss the thrill of constant change and the excitement of international jet setting. *Sigh*

To commemorate the end of an era, we added this ornament to our tree. We may not be jumping on a plane anytime soon but we will remember the days of terminal transfers and in-flight cuisine every year when we hang the carry-on Christmas ornament.

Ornament #2

The second ornament left us scratching our heads. Although it was certainly beautiful, the significance of the patchwork quilt was a bit of a riddle….

until the next box was opened and nestled deep in the bottom was a handmade t-shirt quilt. The quilt was made from all of the t-shirts we collected during our time in the Middle East. The boy’s basketball jersey’s, a few soccer jerseys and t-shirts from each of the gyms we opened came together to form a sentimental representation of the last five and a half years of our lives.

*Insert Misty Eyes Here*

You’ve seen the options, you’ve heard the stories and now you pick a favorite.

Will Britten reign supreme two years in a row or will Brook dash his hopes and dreams by stealing the title?

It’s all up to you. Cast your vote and come back next week to congratulate the winner.

Life With Boys

Life With Boys

My sweet friend recently found out she was having a baby boy. This will be her third child and her third son.  Seeing the royal blue balloons in her Instagram announcement reminded me of the first time I heard the words, “It’s a boy!”

I was unconditionally overjoyed and whole heartedly unprepared to be a member of the Boy Mom club. Thankfully, my rock star mom and the dear friends the Lord put in my life were altogether willing to show me the ropes. They showered me with every shade of blue and taught me new words like- circumcision and Pee-Pee Tee Pee. I had so much to learn.

 

Fast forward 14 years and I’m not only  in the Boy Mom club…I’m  an Elite Member.

My five boys are 4, 7, 9, 11 and 13 and they’ve schooled me in all things, “Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.”

And while I LOVE to help new moms prepare for life with boys, the suggestions I make now are entirely different than the ones I gave early on in my journey.

I’ve put together a list of five things every boy mom should know.

  1. Be exceptionally leery of young girls that want to be your bestie. When a girl is in the same age range as your son and she is constantly texting you, showing up where you are and ordering you matching B.F.F. necklaces…she’s up to something and it’s probably no good. I can activate Mama Bear mode in exactly 0.2 seconds. You’ve been warned.

2. Go ahead and put a toilet auger on your baby shower registry. Boys and bathrooms are a lethal combination. Call it curiosity or call it boredom but boys flush things down the toilet. Hot Wheel cars, toilet paper rolls, washrags…there is no limit to the things they will flush. Save yourself a lot of frustration by always having a toilet auger on hand. You’ll thank me.3. Foster their love of Band-Aids and then by stock in the company. When boys are small they put Bandaids on everything. Not only should you let them, you should encourage it. In a few years their little boy legs will be covered with cuts, scrapes and scabs and if you can keep bandaids on them you’ll reduce the amount of blood that is All. OVER. YOUR. HOUSE. Buying stock in Bandaid will help keep your sheets, couches and rugs as stain free as possible.

4. Skip the all natural, froo-froo bathroom cleaners and go straight for the big guns. I get it. I really do. Organic chemical free cleaners are all the rage right now but you need to hear me say this. Boys pee everywhere and your essential oil, vinegar based, eco-friendly, non-toxic mumbo jumbo cleaner is going to run home crying with its tail between its legs. I appreciate the nod to health and wellness but go ahead and get yourself an industrial bottle of Clorox Urine Remover and call it a day.

5. You have a never-ending, all encompassing, automatic pass to enjoy “girly” things at any given moment. Your life will be a coalition of E.R. visits, one word responses, strange smells, injuries, non-stop hunger, constant wrestling and conversations that consist entirely of emojis. The concept of breaking away and making time for yourself is not only “suggested” it’s mandatory. So-tell the hubby I said go get a manicure, go to the spa, watch a chick flick or plan a craft night. Trust me…you deserve it!

At Home Baking

At Home Baking

Last night the delicate scent of warm apple bread filled our home. The savory fragrance confirmed that fall is indeed here. As the dough began to rise and the edges turned a tawny brown I thought about the fact that I was baking.

To most people it’s just bread, but to me it’s so much more.

You see, in the last five months, we’ve lived in four different homes. We moved from our (1) home in the Middle East this past May, stopped by some (2) temporary housing in Alabama and then into (3) transitional housing in North Carolina and, finally, landed in our (4) new home 6 weeks ago. Each stop was an incredible blessing and a gracious gift from God, but for many different reasons we never truly felt settled. Each time we moved into a new home we only unpacked the necessities because we knew it was just a brief stop in the journey. And when you’re only making brief stops along the way- you never really feel settled.

Last night I took mixing bowls out of the cabinet. I pulled a rubber spatula from the drawer. I plugged in my Kitchen Aide mixer and watched it gently fold the batter.

As I sliced the warm bread I realized this was the first time I had baked in months. It may sound strange but baking is something I only have time for when life feels settled and our family is in a good routine. Of course, I can throw a simple dinner together and feed the guys but baking takes time- it’s more careful and methodical.

When my heart is at peace, I bake. When I have the freedom to linger, I bake. When I want to create something with my hands to serve another…I bake.

I sliced the fresh bread and wrapped in it parchment to take to our new neighbors. As I walked out the back door and headed across the grass my heart was flooded with joy. I’m so thankful for this new season. It feels good to be settled. And I’m incredibly grateful to be “home.”

To My Expat Friends

To My Expat Friends

It’s that time of year again.

Summer is drawing to a close with the passing of every late evening sunset which means most expats are preparing to go back “home.” 

This week we talked to friends who have just arrived back in their country of residence. Many other expats are frantically shoving last minute items into already full suitcases, saying emotionally overwhelming goodbyes and scouring the internet for airline tickets that do not involve thirteen hour layovers. Just typing the above sentence causes my blood pressure to elevate and my heart rate to quicken.

Life overseas is not for the faint of heart and going back “home” can bring a flood of emotion ranging from utter elation to woeful sorrow. It’s a strange dichotomy that can’t be explained, only experienced.

Tonight I find myself missing our previous life and longing for the familiarity of the beautiful country we called “home.” Please don’t hear me wrong. I absolutely love where we are right now and I’m beyond thrilled to be back in my home country but as one author so eloquently put it, I find myself  in a strange paradox.

“They can be completely thrilled to be “home” and feel like they just left it at the same time. Give them the space to love both places and the time to grieve their loss. Ask them what they’re going to miss the most.”

The Lord has been incredibly gracious. He has allowed me to deeply love my home country and the other countries I’ve called home. I consider it an absolute gift to be able to write from both sides of the equation and tonight I’m talking to my expat friends and this is what I want to tell you.

-Life can be hard and the day to day task of fighting for joy can be an immense struggle but this is not your forever home and one day you’re going to miss the expat life… soak every day in and let it transform who you are. The Lord will graciously use the most difficult of days to make you look more like His Son and you may not even notice the changes until you’re in a completely new life season.

-I know that you feel alone and forgotten but the truth is you are loved, remembered and prayed for. Life happens and people get busy and the enemy would love to make you think you are alone but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only do you serve a great God that promises to be with you, you have an army of people that talk about you, pray for you, remember you and love you…even when you are completely unaware.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

So to all my expat friends, as you’re weighing those bags for the last time and settling into your aisle seat, know that you are loved.

Desert Safari

Desert Safari

One thing can be said for living in a culture that is not your own. Life is rarely prosaic.

Without a doubt, day to day life can be taxing and somewhat demanding but never monotonous.

In the face of constant diversity one can chose to detach from the culture or embrace it head on, enjoying the new and  unfamiliar.

This weekend was a chance for our family to get up close and personal with Arab culture in an exhilarating way.

Our  friends invited us on a Desert Safari complete with dune bashing, camel rides and whole lamb roasted on a spit.  Upon arrival, all guests were given goggles and a shemagh (traditional Middle Eastern head scarf) to keep sand out of our eyes and help us look the part. Sidenote: when you are out in the middle of the barren desert, abayas are optional.

Then we set off into the desert with a professionally trained driver. At times our ATV was literally vertical and I unashamedly screamed like a girl. 

We played soccer, rode beautiful Arabian horses and danced the night away to traditional Arabic music.

However, the highlight of the night was dinner.

One of my favorite things about this culture is the food and this weekend’s feast was no exception.

Sitting under the stars with twinkle lights floating overhead our friends taught us how to choose the best pieces of meat and which desserts were on the “must try” list. It was a perfectly serene ending to the night.

I often tell people that living in the Arab culture will redefine your view of hospitality. This southern girl only thought she knew hospitality but I learned the true meaning of it during our time overseas and I think this quote by Nancy Leigh Demoss sums it up perfectly.

|| The word hospitality in the New Testament comes from two Greek words. The first word means love and the second word means strangers. It’s a word that means love of strangers.||

Homeschool Resources

Homeschool Resources

Today I’m sharing a few homeschool resources that I really enjoy.

  1. The first one is Typing Club.

Typing Club is a free online program that teaches touch typing to a wide range of ages and skill sets. To access the program you only need a keyboard and a web browser and you’re off to the races. Typing club teaches proper hand position, the layout of the QWERTY keyboard and muscle memory all while working on speed and accuracy. Not to mention, it’s free.

We’ve been working on the program for eight months and I’ve seen major improvements in each of my school aged boys.

They also recently released keyboard covers which means I don’t have to use sticky tac and card stock to rig my own.

2) Next up the Youtube channel Kids Art Hub

My brother-in-law shared this one with me and we are hooked.

My boys enjoy art. However, I tend to let it fall by the wayside because I can’t draw, paint or sketch…but now I don’t need to.

New art lessons are uploaded Monday-Friday so you can pull up a lesson whenever you are trying to cook dinner and your kids won’t get out of your hair it fits your school day. You can also search the channel for specific lessons so it’s an easy subject to tie in with science, history or seasonal studies.

My refrigerator is running out of space to display artistic creations but my boys have shown great improvement in their drawing

3) The last one isn’t exactly a resource but still needs to be shared.

This winter I found myself in a season of weariness and burn out for a myriad of reasons. I was going through the motions with our homeschool day and trying to “check all the boxes.”

A friend recommended the book Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie and I hit the “buy now” button after reading the description. Not to be overly dramatic but, I breathed a deep sigh of relief during the first few chapters. 

The book gently and graciously reminded me to see the hearts of my children rather than a checklist of things to accomplish in a given day. It truly has shaped the way I view our homeschool days. Order it. Now.

I’d love to hear about your favorite resources or the things that make you breathe a little easier on this homeschool journey.

Lasting Traditions

Lasting Traditions

The salt dough tomb is dried out 

and the colored eggs have all been found. 

Packing away the Easter remnants made me ponder our family traditions.

I couldn’t help but smile as I reflected back on the years of matching Easter outfits and color coordinating baskets. 

That life seems like a distant memory.

Reminiscing on those distant days made me wonder why certain traditions have stood the test of time and others have fallen by the wayside. 

Some of our family traditions ceased to exist when we moved to the Middle East. Partly  because I could no longer find the necessary items to make said tradition a reality and partly because mama was tired and didn’t want to add another. single. thing. to an already full plate.

I settled on a handful of meaningful traditions and those are the ones that have held on through numerous homes, multiple cities, varying cultures, different countries and ever changing seasons  of life.

My thoughts were prompted by the Easter holiday but the same holds true for other celebrations throughout the year. Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries all hold traditions that are woven into the fabric of our family. Other enjoyable traditions have come and gone but the  ones that are meaningful, simple and purposeful are still with us today.

I have a running list of things I wish I could go back and tell a younger me. This week the list grew a tad bit longer.

||the everyday routines of life and the special celebrations of holidays and dates will become part of who you are as a family. The simple becomes familiar and the familiar becomes noteworthy. What we do over and over again will become habit and habits become ingrained. Choose wisely and seize every opportunity to take the ordinary as well as the extraordinary and use it as a means to point to Christ||