Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quick Takes

1.  In a jam, children's liquid pain reliever will work for mommy headaches.  I was out of ibuprofen & desperate.  It worked!

2.  I didn't know what to make for dinner tonight, but I had a can of corn, a can of Rotel, a can of refried beans, and a can of salsa verde.  I also had rice & ground beef.  Unfortunately I had no tortillas or tortilla chips.  But, I still was able to throw together a rice dish that (most of) my family ate.  Oooh.  And, we topped it with some fresh cilantro which has started popping up again in my father-in-law's garden.

3.  I'm reading a new book for the book club I've recently become part of.   It's called Little Bee by Chris Cleave.  It's the story of a Nigerian refugee girl who escapes to England.  It's not a book I would have chosen on my own, but it has completely drawn me in.  It's powerful.  And, even though it's fiction, it's a story that could be true.  I'm reminded again of how blessed we are.

4.  Chatty Mommy is hosting a giveaway again.  And, you've got to check this out.  Creative Kates is a mother/daughter team that make beautiful jewelry.  You must check out their site!

This is the beautiful ring you could win in the giveaway. 
But hurry, because the deadline for entries is tomorrow, Friday 10/29 at 6 p.m.  
So git on over to Chatty Mommy now and enter here.

Have a great night!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Question & Answer Time Again

Janette from Janette's Sage posed these questions for her readers the other day. I really enjoy reading other people's answers to these sorts of things. And, I enjoy answering them too. Some of the questions really force me to stop & think.

  1. If you could go on two vacations, without any concerns, one with your family and one with your husband where would you go? Well, if there were no money, time, etc. concerns? For a family vacation I think it would be really cool if we had the freedom/ ability to take 6 mos. - 1 year to travel across the country in an RV. I haven't been west of Illinois (except for one brief weekend business trip to CA years ago). I'd love to see the Western part of our country. Plus, I remember one year when we were camping we met a family from New Zealand that was doing exactly that. They were homeschooling their children during the year that they were spending exploring the United States. Very cool. With my husband alone? Someplace super romantic - like Italy or Spain.
  2. If you could write a book, what author would you want to be like and why? Wow. This is a tough one. I used to read a ton. Lately I don't read all that much. However, if I were writing non-fiction I'd love to have the wit and humor of Julie Barnhill. If I were writing fiction, I'd love to have the ability to make a story & the characters come alive like Francine Rivers.
  3. If you could dream up the most romantic evening with your spouse, what would it be? Romantic? What's romantic? Time that we can actually hold an entire conversation without our children repeatedly interrupting us would be nice. Having a meal together that can be eaten without the constant wiping of spills, refereeing of arguments would also be pretty cool. If we could also work in a massage that would be nice.
  4. If you could hear your parents say anything about you, what would you want to hear? Ok - here's the thing. I know my mom reads my blog. Hi mom! Can I be honest here? I'd love to hear that they think I'm a good mom & that they're proud of me. I already know that's how my mom & dad feel. We can never hear words of affirmation too often though.
  5. If you were to have your dream job/career/extra-occupation, other than the blessings of what you are doing today, what would it be? I think either having some sort of a baking business or refinishing/ repurposing old furniture and reselling it would be fun. Maybe when all the children are in school I'll have the time.
  6. If you could be a missionary in any country, where would you go to serve? I'm going to say Kenya. My husband lived there assisting a missionary family for a year shortly after we first met. They have asked us each time they see us when we are going to come there together.
  7. If you could go back for a day, year or month in your past, what would it be and why? I would take a day to go back & have a talking to with my younger self in my 20's. I made a lot of poor choices then. Things that I regret. If I could go back & impart some wisdom to myself & some reassurance/ encouragement, that's what I'd do.
If you like doing this sort of thing too, consider yourself tagged. Here's my list of questions for you....

1. What is something you've never done that you really want to try?
2. If you could immerse yourself in another culture for a year -it's food, it's language, it's people - what would it be?
3. What is your oddest fear or phobia?
4. What do you see yourself doing when you are past the age of raising your children?
5. If you could have a superpower ( go ahead, use those imaginations) what would it be?
6. Is there a book or a film that you have watched that effected you profoundly & has stayed with you to this day?
7. Is there any habit or mannerism that you had as a child & you still have to this day? If so, what is it?

Thanks for playing!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I'm Embarrassed to Get Unexpected Company

I'm a day late.  But, that's how I roll lately.

Jen over at Denton Sanatorium challenged her readers to 'keep it real' and show what a day in their life is truly like.

I'm pretty much gonna let the pictures speak for themselves.  Basically, this is what my house looks like on any typical morning before I've had a chance to straighten.  And, it doesn't matter how many times I straighten, do dishes, wipe counters, pick up toys, etc.  this is inevitably how it looks again at the end of the day.

So, if you promise you won't let this effect your opinion of me too much, here goes...

 Kitchen counter before morning clean-up. Note our lovely 60 year old linoleum and the bare light bulb above the kitchen sink.  Nice.

This is the doorway we primarily use to enter the house.  It comes directly into our dining room/ kitchen.  I'm not thrilled about how cluttered it looks with our coats, bags, etc. hanging on the pegs right there (and it gets worse in winter).  But, so far I don't have a better solution.  We have no downstairs closets.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  No downstairs closets.  Our house was built in the 30's and apparently closets were taboo for the Old Order Mennonite family that built it.  It also had no upstairs closets, but we added a couple small ones there.

We have a teensy tiny living room.  But, if the children want to play downstairs, this is where they do it.  So, this is how it usually looks.

 Ok - so this isn't totally realistic.  Usually there's much more laundry sitting there waiting to be folded.

 If you look through the door and window you will see our sunroom area.  That's the closest look at our junkroom  sunroom that you are getting today.  The rest of the area looked relatively uncluttered, so I had to include that.

 Our computer room/ office.  Um.   I have a little filing/ organizing to do.

And, finally, on the opposite wall in the computer room you will observe our air hockey/ gun cabinet/ deer horn display area.  And, will will see that the air hocky table has become a waiting zone for things that I need to put away.

Alright, there you have it.  I actually did more than just let the pictures speak, but I felt like I needed to be a proper hostess on the tour.  You will note that I did not show you our bathrooms or the upstairs or our scary cellar/ laundry area.  Perhaps another day.

So, there you have it....the reality of the place we call home.  I dream of someday being super organized & clutter free.  Someday....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Day of Spills

image found here
Spill count for the day: 4

1. Milk, spilled by Charlie, spill zone: table, floor, fabric covered chair

2. Sunny D, spilled by Me, spill zone: contained to countertop

3. Sunny D, spilled by Charlie, spill zone: my lap

4. Water, knocked over by curious baby Joseph, spill zone: bedroom floor/ carpet

It's been quite comical actually. I'm wondering what's next. Things I've learned from today....

1. My 2 year old should probably still be using cups with lids.

2. I might also need cups with lids.

3. Fabric covered kitchen table chairs in a house full of young boys is just asking for trouble.

4. It is possible to continue talking on the phone to my grandmother in a normal voice as ice cold Sunny D pours into my lap.

A question I have after today...

Does the cleanup that takes place after multiple spills count as mopping the kitchen floor?

P.S. - I haven't gotten a chance to comment on other blogs as much as I've wanted to lately. I haven't forgetten you & I'm still reading your blogs! I even have stuff I want to say to you. I'll get back to you as soon as I'm done wiping up spills.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Choosing Joy

I've got a bunch on my mind.  And, I know I haven't posted in a while.  But, I've also got a bunch to get done during the boys' naps today.  So, I'll keep it short.  Nothing too profound, but here's my heart today:

I told my husband over the weekend that I am ready for a time when the words "tired, stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry" do not describe my general frame of mind.  And, I know it's a season of life, but even so I want these words: "joyful, thankful, at peace, content, enthusiastic, energetic" to be my descriptors.

I was struck with the thought that God is doing a work in me.  Instead of fighting against & feeling guilty for having the negative emotions, can I learn something through them?  And then the other thought was (as hard as it is), sometimes we can't wait for the positive emotions, sometimes we have to choose them.

Today I choose joy.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Thank you bloggy friends!  I've been greatly encouraged by all of you.  Your comments on recent posts have lifted my spirits and reminded me I'm not alone.  Some of you have even made me laugh.
Image found here

And, I have to make mention of these two links which also really spoke to me today.

So I Married a Mennonite made me cry with this post of hers.  A good kind of cry.  You should read it.

And Sarah Mae at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee had an encouraging video blog entry that really spoke to me.  (I'll be honest I don't usually take the time to watch videos, but this one is short.  And, it's worth it.  I promise.)

I hope all of you are having a wonderful day.  And, I hope you are all encouraged in some way today.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm Getting Too Old For This

So this morning I went to the first moms group meeting for the year at our church.  I am also part of a MOPS group at another church.  But, this is a group that meets at the church we attend.  And, since we are still fairly new (we've been going there almost a year) and are still trying to get to know people, I was excited to go.

We had a great morning.  All the other ladies were friendly.  It was a small enough group that I feel like I could easily get to know some of them.  It was warm.  I felt welcome.  I felt confident.

I walked out of the meeting feeling good.  

Then I went to pick up my 2 youngest children who were with me that morning from their childcare rooms.  And, I needed to use the restroom before we left.  So, we made a pitstop in there.  

As I was washing my hands and getting my stuff and my children back together I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  

Once again I was taken by surprise by my size.  Even though I know I'm heavier than I want to be, I still have an image in my mind of how I look.  But, when I see myself in reality, I feel like I'm looking at a stranger.

And, in that moment, I saw myself as I imagined the other women had seen me - overweight, frumpy, graying, aging, and definitely not hip or stylish like so many of them.  

All the confidence, all the warm fuzzy feelings I'd had walking into the bathroom vanished in that one moment.  I suddenly felt the urge to leave quickly as though my very presence was offensive.

I have struggled with body image issues for almost as long as I can remember.  As I've gotten older I have ( I thought) become more comfortable with myself and have learned to focus more on the inner me...who God wants me to be.

But, here I am...almost 40....and it turns out I still can let thoughts of "I'm not pretty enough", "I'm not thin enough", "I don't really belong" destroy an otherwise lovely morning.

I am getting too old for this.

My husband made a comment the other day (in relation to an entirely different discussion) that he thought he married a confident woman.  And, when I met my husband I was confident...or at least I had become really good at putting forward the appearance of confidence.

But, underneath there still lurks the awkward, misfit, shy girl who was teased and taunted by her classmates.  That girl has never really left me.  There is still this piece of me that wants so desperately for people to like me.  For me to belong.

I am so ready to move forward.  To get beyond this.  To stop beating myself up because I don't fit the image of physical perfection.

I know I need to remember who I am in Christ.  It's just that sometimes our feet are so darn planted in this world and all the messages the world has for us.  

I guess I need to go back to my post from yesterday and remember to tune out the other voices...and to listen to the One Voice that matters.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So Many Voices

At times I feel like my brain is a switchboard.  Wires crisscross hear and there.  Lights constantly going off.  New information.  More thoughts.  Things to remember.  Things to process.

So many voices clamoring to be heard.  

Voices from the television, magazines, newspapers, and the internet.  

Voices of people we know.

Voices from our past.  

Our own voice...questioning, searching, analyzing.

But there is one voice that must be heard.

1 Kings 19:12 (King James Version)

 12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Revelation 3:20  (NIV)

   Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

John 10: 3,4 (NIV)

   The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Am I listening?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I'm going to do something that I don't typically like to do on my blog.  I'm going to bring up a controversial subject.  It's something that's been on my mind and I'm really curious to hear some different opinions & thoughts.

What is the Christian to do about Halloween?

My husband and I both grew up in Christian families.  But our families approached Halloween differently.

For me, we just avoided the scary stuff, but as kids we did dress up and go trick or treating.  And, since we lived way out in the country, our trick or treating was limited.  Our mom had to drive us to the homes of a few friends, family, & neighbors (maybe 6 or 7 houses tops).  Walking was not an option.  Our church also had 'Fall Harvest Parties' which we participated in complete with hay rides & hot cider.  And, occassionally we even dressed up in costumes for those.

For my husband, I'm sure he attended church sponsored harvest parties too.  But, his family did not participate in the costume/ trick or treating part.  Halloween and anything related to it was avoided completely.

Now that we have children of our own, I have felt very torn on this subject.  I think that wearing costumes & trick or treating is just plain fun.  We've allowed our boys to participate in this way, but very reluctantly on my husband's part.  And, now I'm not sure either how I feel about the whole thing.

Can we just enjoy the innocence of trick or treat and avoid the evil that goes along with Halloween?

I really don't know.

Our MOPS ( Mothers of Preschoolers) group is planning on addressing this topic at our next meeting.  And, I'm really interested to hear what other moms have to say.

(Oh, and the ironic part?  My husband and I actually met at a costume party one year over Halloween.)

How does your family handle this holiday?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feels Good

I had a boatload of things in bags & boxes that I  had collected during one of my de-cluttering frenzies.  (Don't be fooled - we still have a ton of clutter - my frenzies barely make a dent). 
I want this t-shirt!!  Image found here

 I had already taken these things to a friend's yard sale once and sold a few things, but brought the rest back thinking I'd have my own yard sale sometime this summer.

I didn't.

Those boxes and bags were a thorn in my side.  What to do with them?  Part of me thought that I could still make a little money from selling them.  But, the work involved in putting up a yard sale or listing stuff on Craigslist just didn't seem worth it.

I also thought about just lugging everything to the local Reuzit shop.   But, I know that they are short-handed and are overwhelmed with stuff to sort and that many times things end up in the trash there.

My husband offered to save me the time & energy and just take it to the dumpster at work.  I was horrified by this.  I can't just throw something away that could still be useful to someone somewhere.

So, I am very excited that a solution presented itself.  My second cousin works for an organization that serves adults with mental health/ mental retardation issues.  They are having a yard sale to benefit their organization.  And, the clients themselves will be taking responsiblity for sorting and pricing the items to be sold. 

My cousin was more than happy to take these items off my hands.  She even picked them up!  

And, I feel good.  I know that donating these items will definitely help a good cause.  I no longer have to stumble over the boxes and bags in my sunroom.  And, I have the peace of mind of not having to decide what to do with them.

Next, I have bags of magazines and books that I plan to donate to the library for their annual book sale.

What do you do with your overflow?  Sell it?  Donate it?  

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Little Q &A

Jen over at Jen's Ink Pen posed a group of questions and rather than tagging different people to answer them, left it openended.  Anyone who felt like answering them could.  I enjoy reading people's answers to these types of questions, so I thought that I would answer them myself.  Here goes...

1.  What was your favorite subject in schoool?
 Reading and English were definitely my favorite subjects.  I was always an avid reader.  I have very clear memories of coming home from school, grabbing a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and reading Beverly Cleary books (especially any of the Ramona series!)

2.  Do you prefer the Ocean or the Mountains? 
I am not much of an ocean girl.  It's Ok - but I'm kind of freaked out by not knowing or being able to see what's in the water, and I don't really enjoy baking in the sun.  But, give me cool, crisp mountain air, a sweater, and a campfire anyday.

3.  What is your birth order... or are you an only child, like me? 
I am the oldest of 3 girls (yup my parents had all girls and now I have all boys).  My sister closest in age is about 4 years younger than me.  My youngest sister is 12 years younger.

4.  What is your most productive time of the day?
Probably the morning.  Although I don't feel very productive lately at any time because my kiddos need me and when I get pulled away from a project it's hard for me to regain my motivation and focus.

5.  Describe the perfect Saturday.
Hmmm.  This would all be contingent on having childcare for the full day.  So, I guess it would start with Friday night and the children sleeping overnight at one of the grandparents.  Then I'd love to start the morning with a couple strong cups of coffee and swing by some yard sales early in the morning.  Maybe come home and complete a project or two around my house that never gets done.  Then, meet a friend for lunch and a trip to Barnes & Nobles or some other bookstore with a cafe (because again, coffee must be included).  Maybe go get my hair done since I pretty much never do that.  Come home to read for a bit and a short nap.  Then, get dressed up and go out with my hubby for dinner and a movie.

6.  Do you get the Flu vaccine?
No.  I don't get it for my children either.  I know everyone has differing opinions on this.  And, I'm not completely anti-vaccination.  I'm glad there is a vaccine for polio and other serious childhood illnesses (I'm iffy about the chicken pox vaccine).  But, for the flu, I think it's important for our bodies to be given the chance to build up immunity and allow it to fight things off like the flu on it's own.  Plus, I really do think that by making flu vaccines we could be creating a 'superbug', one that no vaccine could protect us from. 

7.  Is there anything that you really wish you could do?
I wish I could play an instrument.  I took piano lessons as a child, but never got very far with it.  I would really like to learn to play the guitar.

8.  If you could be a contestant/participant on any reality show, which would it be?
Oh boy, probably one of the Real Housewives of... series.  I would love to be the first real real housewife.

Now, if you'd like to participate, why don't you go ahead and take those same questions and answer them in your own post?  Leave me a comment letting me know that you're doing it so I can swing by your blog and read your answers.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 1, 2010

When In Doubt...

Charlie's doing a great job potty-training...except for the poop part. Tonight he had an accident in his underwear and I realized he may have left a trail to the bathroom. Wyatt was checking for me while I helped Charlie in the bathroom. 

Wyatt: "Oh yeah.  There's a poop, there's a poop.  There's another one.  Ooh look! A fruit snack!" 

Me: "Are you SURE that's a fruit snack?!!"

Wyatt:  (popping it in his mout
h): "Yup. Tastes like a fruit snack!"

My Cleaning Routine

  • Wake up as kids are waking up.  Come downstairs & observe mess/ dirty dishes from night before because husband was not home (working) and I was alone with 4 rowdy boys trying to keep the peace.
  • Get kids dressed, fed, packed for school, referee any ensuing arguments.  Send 2 on bus.
  • Feed baby, change diapers, try to eat some breakfast & clear table.  Again observe mess which is now larger
  • Feel overwhelmed.
  • Try to get baby and 2 year old involved in something to keep their attention and start on dishes.
  • One minute later give a cracker to baby who is screaming because he doesn't want to be in his exersaucer, but the floor is too filthy to let him crawl around.
  • Return attention to dishes
  • Help 2 year old who is digging through the refrigerator for something to drink.  Explain that 'No.  We cannot drink soda at 8:30 in the morning.'
  • 10 minutes later once crying and sulking is over, & 2 year old has a drink, attempt to return to the dishes
  • Baby refuses to sit in exersaucer any longer.  Reluctantly set him on the filthy floor.
  • Check facebook.  Type a post about my frustration.
  • Return to dishes.  No longer feel motivated and 2 year old has just spilled his drink and a yogurt that he somehow (most likely in the few minutes I was on facebook) sneaked out of the fridge all over the table.
  • Wipe the table again.
  • Overwhelmed
  • 1 hour later and house still looks much as it did when I awoke
  • Check other blogs to see if anyone else has miraculous household tips.  Become convinced after seeing pictures of everyone's beautiful homes that I am the only one with  a dirty, messy house.
  • Give up until naptime
  • When naptime comes...spend more time on my blog than I meant to. 
  • Big boys come home and refereeing, dinner prep, homework help all ensues.
  • Bedtime  & I'm pooped.

And, there you have my cleaning routine!

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