Monday, November 29, 2010

Warning! Carbon Monoxide

I am typing this from my mother-in-law's laptop.  We've evacuated from our house for the second time in less than 24 hours!  It seems like major house issues always happen while my husband is away for deer hunting.

Yesterday we visited my mom most of the day (my husband and my dad are hunting together).  Charlie decided he wanted to sleep overnight at Grandma's house, but I took the rest of the boys home with me.  As soon as I got out of our van at our house I heard what sounded like our smoke alarm.

Sure enough we got inside and the alarm was going off about every 30 seconds.  But it wasn't the smoke alarm.  It was the carbon monoxide alarm.  We heat our house with a coal/wood furnace.  So far the most irritating thing to me about this method of heating has been the wood smoke smell that is constantly in our house and thereby in our hair and clothes.

Before my husband left for hunting I asked him to change the furnace over from wood to coal.  I thought the coal would be easier to maintain for me while he was gone.

But apparently the fumes from coal are also more toxic.  I'm really not sure what is going on.  The alarm never went off while we were using wood.

Anyway, I'm very fortunate that 1.  My sister in law lives next door and 2.  My mother and father in law live two doors down.  I first got the kids out of the house and took them to my sister in law.  I opened doors and windows in my house and called my father in law to see if he could come help me check the furnace.

It appeared that one of the seals was slightly loose on the furnace door.  But, we really didn't know if this was enough to let out enough gases to set off the alarm.

I wasn't comfortable sleeping in the house with the children last night, so we had a sleepover at my inlaws.  This morning my father in law checked our house again.  Everything seemed fine and the alarm wasn't going off.

The boys and I decided to head home, but after being there about an hour the alarm started sounding again.  And, we once again evacuated to my inlaw's house

I am frustrated.  This is one of those times that I really don't like living in an older home.  We continue to use this type of heating because we save a good deal of money.  But, right now I'm feeling willing to pay extra to have a thermostat on the wall that I can just turn to the temperature I like and be done with it. 

And, I want to feel safe in my own home!

This wasn't the post I had planned for today, but I really needed to vent.  Thanks for 'listening'.  Hopefully, I'll soon be back in my house and I can prepare the happy, fun post with pictures that I'd planned.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where Oh Where Are You Tonight?

Does anyone remember watching Hee Haw?  As a kid it was one of my dad's favorite shows.

Anyway, I've had a song running 'round and 'round in my head that they used to use in one of the show's segments.
'Where oh where are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and thought I found true love.
You met another and (here the hillbillies doing the singing inserted a 'thhbbttt') you was (again as they sang it) gone.'

There's no deep meaning behind why I'm posting this other than that this song has been stuck in my head for almost a week.  And, I keep thinking that it could make a really beautiful country ballad if done today.

What do you remember from Hee Haw?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

40th Birthday Celebration/ Road Trip to the Fingerlakes

As promised, here is my post where I include a few more details about my birthday weekend away plus pictures. My friend Melissa (we went with her and her husband, Craig) was the one who remembered a camera that weekend. And, she shared her pics with me via Shutterfly. After playing around with my Shutterfly account, it appears that the only way I can share the pics here is on a slideshow. So, if you'd like to see the pics, please click below

(Disclaimer - you will almost never see much more than head shot of me on my blog. Why? Because I'm very unhappy with my body size and shape right now. My whole mission to lose 40 pounds by my 40th birthday never happened. Anyway, in this slideshow there are body shots as well. This is evidence that I am feeling comfortable with you dear blogging friends.)

We left on Friday around lunchtime. We met our friends Craig and Melissa at their house and then continued on our way to Keuka Lake...about a 3 hour drive from their place. Keuka Lake (pronounced 'Cuke-ah') is part of the Fingerlakes Region in New York.

The Fingerlakes are famous for their vineyards and wine trails. And, we had tickets to go on a tour around Keuka Lake on Saturday. We discovered on Friday night that most things in the area were closing for the season. We were staying in Hammondsport (at the southern tip of the lake) and we were lucky to find a restaurant that was open for dinner that night. And, it was the last weekend they were open and then they were closing for the season too!

The room we were staying was actually an apartment suite and was a great deal for us since both couples could share it. I'll admit I was a little disappointed by the 'Inn' where we stayed. It was actually an old motor lodge that had gone through a few renovations. Renovations in our apartment suite seemed limited to fresh paint on the walls. There was still blue shag carpet on the floors & a very 70's looking kitchen.

On the plus side, the apartment suite was huge! It was 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, with a fullsize eat-in kitchen, plus dining room, plus living room. The one bedroom even had a walk-in closet! So, for all of that I was able to overlook the outdated decor.

Saturday we started on our wine trail tour around 10 that morning. It's a good thing we started early because by around 1:00 the different vineyards/wineries were getting crowded. We had a designated starting point on our tickets where they gave each couple a grapevine wreath and an ornament. Then as we went to each winery on the tour they each gave another ornament. Plus each one had a winter food to sample (we had stew at one, a chicken tortilla soup at another, pasta at another, etc.) and they offered tastes of up to four of their wines.

We didn't need to stop anywhere for lunch that day. The food samples we were eating along the way were more than enough to fill us up. We wrapped up our tour around 4 and went back to the inn to rest and freshen up before heading out for dinner.

We found a really cute restaurant in downtown Hammondsport. (We had actually stopped by this restaurant the night before for dessert and thought we'd like to come back and try them for dinner.) There was even some lovely music to serenade us. Two older gentleman were playing some classic jazz and big band tunes. One was on the piano and the other on the clarinet (I think?).

This is the one point in the weekend where I had a mini-breakdown about turning 40. Saturday was my actual birthday and this was my official birthday dinner. We had a younger guy as our server. And, in his defense, it was pretty busy that night. I just couldn't make up my mind as to what I wanted to order.

When my turn to order came I was somewhat flustered because I was still trying to decide. I use my hands a lot when I talk and when I'm nervous or flustered my hands really start flying around. I must have been mumbling about trying to decide which entree I was going to order plus my hands were a 'goin'. Finally, the server said, "So, do you have an order?" He really didn't say it in a mean way but he was obviously losing patience with me. I was embarrassed & I quickly gave an order.

After the server left the table our conversation resumed, but I started welling up with tears. Why??? It's really hard to explain what my feelings were, but basically it came down to this...I'm not young and cute anymore. All that young server saw was an annoying middle-aged woman who was holding him up from getting to the rest of his tables. There. That pretty well describes what I was thinking.

My husband said something to me and then asked if I was crying. I had to get up from the table and go to the ladies room to compose myself. (Honestly, this made me feel even worse, because I hate to draw attention to myself and I felt like that's exactly what I was doing.) Anyway, my dear friend Melissa came along with me and cheered me up. We were able to continue on with our lovely evening.

Finally, on Sunday before heading home we stopped in at the Glenn Curtiss Air Museum. I had never heard of this man. But, my husband, who is an aviation buff knew about him and was so excited to go. The museum had old airplanes, engines, motorcycles, etc. So, my husband was in his glory while we were there. I'm a vintage buff, so I found it all pretty interesting too.

It was an awesome weekend with my husband and our two dear friends. It almost makes me eager for another milestone birthday so we can go enjoy ourselves like that again. Hmmm. Next year is our 10th wedding anniversary. Maybe then...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Inner Hostess is Smushed

I imagine a time when I can hostess amazing get togethers.  I enjoy coming up with a menu and preparing food for parties.   I enjoy using my creative skills to decorate and make a lovely party atmosphere.  I love the idea of people talking, relaxing, laughing, enjoying themselves at our home.

There are only 2 things that stand in my way.

One is my children.  Now, that sounds terrible.  But, here's the truth of the matter.  We are in a season of life where the kinds of soirees I imagine in my head are time intensive in regard to preparation.  And, if there's one thing I lack while having very small children, it's a lot of extra time.  The few occassions where I've tried to implement my ideas in a backyard barbeque or family get together I end up getting completely stressed out and I can't truly enjoy myself.

The second thing that stands in my way is space...or lack of space.  I was reminded again at Charlie's birthday party on Monday night exactly how small our house is.  This isn't about being discontent (although that's definitely an issue I've struggled with).  This is about mathematics.  How many people can comfortably fit into x amount of square footage?

Usually if we have a group of people to our house we try to do it over the warmer months when we can all spill out to the back yard.  But, in this instance, Charlie has a birthday during the colder months.  Outside is not an option.  

We don't go crazy with birthdays.  For one we really can't.  Usually it's a family affair with possibly a friend or two.  On Monday night it was my husband and I plus our boys (6 people), plus my parents, John's parents, my grandmother, one of my sisters, John's sister and a friend of hers & her friend's son (9 people).  That's a total of 15 people.  And, boy was it a tight fit.
picture found here

Our downstairs space is really limited to our kitchen/dining room area and a super tiny living room.  We also have our computer room which isn't really set up for entertaining & our sunroom (ahem - junkroom) area....which is also unheated.

It's taken me some time to accept my house for what it is - a tiny fixer upper....and also our first home, the place where we are raising our small boys (John refers to it as our brooding house - a place for us while they are young).  But, when we try to have family over and we are all tripping over each other, that's when I really wish we had more space to spread out.

Here are a few things I've learned over the years about entertaining in small spaces....

1.  Know what you can and what you can't do.  I can't have 20 or 30 people over to my house.  Even 5-10 is a stretch.  But, inviting a friend or two over here and there can still help fulfill my desire to hostess.

2.  Utilize the space you have to the fullest.  Make sure there is seating in the areas where people are able to congregate.  This bench that I painted over the summer is along one of the walls in the dining area.  It adds seating for 2 more people.  I try (but don't always succeed) to clear out as much clutter or unecessary stuff from the areas that we'll be.  Less stuff makes it feel bigger.

3.  Take a deep breath and remember that it's about being together with loved ones.  I can get really uptight if I feel like people might not be completely comfortable.  Or, I can relax which will actually do a lot to help others feel more at ease...even if they are smushed.

Do you have any tips for entertaining in limited space?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crazy Busy

The title says it all.  I've been crazy busy lately.  I've wanted to do more writing here, but other things (like my children...and laundry) need to take priority.
image found here

I do want to share a little more about my birthday celebration weekend away with my husband.  I think he was a little hurt when he saw the one short paragraph I wrote about it on my last post.  He spent a lot of time and energy planning a fun and relaxing weekend.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera that weekend!  And there was some amazing scenery.  But, my friend's Melissa and Craig brought theirs.  So, my plan is to get them to e-mail me a few pictures that I can then share on here.  All this to say...I will be writing a little more about our fun time once I get those pics.

I looked around my house today and was completely overwhelmed by the mountains of laundry, dishes, clutter scattered hither and yon.  I didn't know where to start!  Then, this little thought struck my mind..."A good place to start is to get started."  I don't know if I heard that somewhere or just made it up.  But, it's true, right?

Sometimes we just have to roll up our sleeves and dive in.

It reminds me of an anecdote I read once in a book about organizing, decluttering, cleaning, etc.  In the anecdote the woman was doing  a lot of what I was doing at that time...reading about ways to better do all those things.  And, in the story, her husband said, 'Instead of reading about vacuuming, why don't you just vacuum?'

Yup.  Sometimes you just gotta make stuff happen.  So, that's what I'm up to these days...trying to make stuff happen.

I hope you all are having blessed weeks.  I'll check in again soon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Birthdays, Birthdays!

November is quite a month for birthdays! My sister-in-law celebrates her birthday on the 11th. Mine was on the 13th. And, my son Charlie's was today, the 15th.

As you might recall this was the big 4-0 for me. I keep trying to tell myself it's just a number, but this one was a little difficult for me. But, we had a fantastic weekend. My husband and I, along with friends of ours who were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary went to Keuka Lake in the Fingerlakes Region in New York. We had a really lovely time...and I only had a small breakdown of tears at Saturday night dinner. Overall, 40 is not so bad.

And, today, our Charlie turned 3!

Charlie is one fun-loving, cuddly little man!

His face is almost always dirty, but his heart is always sweet. He's growing so very fast.

Happy Birthday Charlie! We love you!

p.s. - Stephanie at All Things Faithful is hosting a giveaway! She's featuring Ordinary Mommy, another talented crafter with an Etsy store. Go here to enter. But, hurry, because I think tonight is the last night. I believe she's announcing a winner on Tuesday.

Here's what you can win...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mom & Dad + 4 Boys = Our Family

Jen at Denton Sanatorium has asked her readers if they will share the stories of how their families came to have the number of children that they have.  This is the type of story that could become overwhelming with details, so I'll try to condense it the best I can.

I've always wanted to be a mom.  Always.  I was the oldest child with 2 younger sisters.  I was the oldest cousin on both sides of my family.  I started babysitting when I was 11.  I was drawn to children.  I had a lot of experience with children.  And, I went to college to guessed it...a teacher.  I graduated from college with a degree in elementary/ early childhood education in 1992.

When I was in junior high I remember thinking that I'd have 12 children.  I even had names chosen for all of them.

I also imagined I'd be married young.  I wanted to be married young.  But, I was a late bloomer to say the least. I didn't even have my first date until I was in college.  I really, really wanted to fall in love.  And, I guess I did (or at least, in infatuation) over and over.  But, the guys I was meeting didn't seem to be interested in committment and certainly not in marriage.

I'm not going to segue into my testimony here because that's a whole other post in and of itself.  But I will say that, after I graduated from college and got my first job I finally moved into my own place (I commuted from home during college) and I entered into a fairly dark time during my 20's that involved a lot of poor choices on my part.  

Needless to say I didn't meet the man who was to become my husband until I was 28...and I wasn't sure if we were meant to be more than friends at first.  Shortly after we met he left for a year long missions trip to Kenya.  We communicated by letter and e-mail and started dating seriously when he returned.  We married in September 2001.  When I got married I was only 2 months away from turning 31.

We talked about children during our engagement.  We both knew we wanted a fairly large family.  We joked that half a dozen seemed about right.  

I felt my biological clock ticking big time and was anxious to start trying for a family early in our marriage.  (Did I mention that my husband is almost 4 years younger than me?  Oh, and men don't have biological clocks.  Still, he was on board.)  I knew that it can take time to get pregnant so I figured we should get started.  Plus, I had some concerns about my fertility. Around our 1 year anniversary we began to officially try for a baby...and got pregnant immediately.  Go figure.

Wyatt was born in June 2003 when I was 32.  When he turned a year old I wanted to start trying for another baby.  We got pregnant immediately.

Edison was born in March 2005 when I was 34.  I had some major post partum depression following Edison's birth and it lasted for probably a year and a half.  I had a really difficult time adjusting to having 2 children to care for.  I was pretty miserable.

When the fog started to lift, that desire for another baby returned.  When Edison was 2 we started trying and shortly thereafter became pregnant.

Charlie was born in November 2007 when I was 37 ( he came 2 days after my birthday).  

The story could have ended here.  Having 3 boys under the age of 5 was challenging.  It was work.  Even though I didn't suffer from depression like I did after my second son was born, I was getting tired.  My husband was pretty much content with the three boys that we had.

But, I felt like there was another child who was supposed to be there.  At times I'd be loading the children in the van and have the sense that I needed to go back in the house to get another one.  Or, the boys would be playing downstairs and I felt like there was another baby sleeping upstairs.  

John and I started talking about having another one.  He was hesitant.  He knew that I struggled sometimes with the 3 we had.  And, I think in some ways he was anxious for a time when my time and attention wasn't in so much demand from our children.  As he said, 'he wanted his wife back.'

Around the time we were starting to think we might try for one more, we found out we were pregnant.  And, so, Joseph was born in 2009 when I was 39.

You know how I have the little story on my sidebar under my profile about how I saw the neighbor's boys and thought it would be cool to have stairstep boys of my own?  Never in my life did I imagine I would be the mother to all boys!  As a matter of fact, in that little anecdote, that was probably the first time I really considered what it might be like to have boys.  I always pictured myself as a mother to daughters.  

Yet there are no girls in this household.  So, people ask if we'll try again for a girl.  No.  If we were going to have another child, it would be because we were meant to have another child...not because we were trying for a certain gender.  Oh, I'll admit, there's a part of me that thinks if we have one more maybe we'd have a girl.  

But, we're done.  At least my husband is done.  I'm mostly done.  My body is tired.  I turn 40 in 3 days.  I'm worn out.  There's still a part of me that thinks...'maybe we could have one more'.  I love being pregnant.  I love giving birth (is that weird?).  I love my children.  But, I also want to give my full attention to the children that I have and be the best mother I can be to them.

I actually sometimes feel guilty about having as many as we do have.  How can I give them each the time and attention that they need from me?  I feel pulled in a million directions.  I even sometimes wonder what it would be like if I'd had one or two instead of four.  

I also sometimes go down the road of 'If I'd gotten married younger' I'd have had more children.  But why go down that road?  That's not the way life happened.

Here's the thing - God has given us four boys.  Boys that we have the privilege of raising.  Boys who I want first and foremost to love, honor, and serve God.  Are there more children in store for us?  Biological? Foster?  Adopted?  (We've considered the possibility of adopting a little girl sometime in the future).  I don't know.  Only God knows.   

At this point we think our family is complete.  We trust that God holds our lives and the lives of our children in His loving hands.  And we know that His grace is sufficient!

Ok so that ended up being really much for the condensed version!  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dr. Phil Irks Me

I want to preface this by saying that I don't normally watch Dr. Phil.  When he first came on the air I did like him and I watched him from time to time.  He was generally positive with positive stories.  But, I am unable to watch him anymore because now his shows focus on some pretty intense, negative stuff...stuff I don't need my children to see.

Every now and then if the boys are still napping and I'm folding laundry or working in the living room I might flip on the tv.  And, there is the rare occassion that I'll check to see what Dr. Phil is talking about.  Often I'll flip right by.  But, when I do stop to watch a bit I come away disturbed.
image fround here
Has anyone else noticed that Dr. Phil has become somewhat pompous & self-righteous?  Now, I will say, I think he's gotten as far as he has because he's a straightshooter.  He tells people how it is and doesn't let them hide behind facades.  That is all fine and well.  And, it's probably what many people actually need.

But, I also think there is a line and that he has crossed that line.  You can still listen with compassion and understanding.  You can point out the things a person needs to change while still affirming his/her worth.  I've gotten the sense many times that some of these people are pouring out their hearts desperate for someone to tell them they are loved and worthy of love (and I'm thinking you are one of two things if you choose to air your dirty laundry on tv... desperate for love or desperate for attention.).

And, Dr. Phil frequently looks right beyond that need...ignores it really.  I'm sure he's had his share of crocodile tears on that stage along with co-dependancy, manipulation,etc.  But, I also think there are times when someone's true heart and pain is so obvious.

Specifically, I remember a time that a young, single mother to two children was on the show.  She had made some bad choices in her life and now there were people trying to take her children.  The children's father and grandparents were telling her she was an unfit mother.  Here's the thing (and please understand, I am first and foremost an advocate for the children!  There are many parents out there who should not have custody of their children), this young woman had made some major changes in her life.  She was trying to be the mother she should be.  But, she struggled with the day to day challenges of single motherhood.

Oh, I heard her struggles and I understood!  I've been there.  And, I have a support system!  I have a loving husband, parents, in-laws, friends, MOPS group.  And, here was this young mom with no support system.  She had the desire to be a good mom, but only had people telling her she needed to give up her children.

She tearfully said to Dr. Phil, "I don't know.  Maybe my children would be better off without me."  And, without even a blink he said something to the effect of "Maybe they would.".  And, then I don't even remember what all he said next.  He went off on one of his pseudo-psycho speeches.  But, I remember listening for him to say, "You need support.  You need people to help you.  You can do this, but you can't do it alone."  Nope.  Nothing even close to that came out of his mouth.

I also remember another time that they were talking to parents who yell at their children.  I will admit, some of them were pretty hardened, unwilling to accept any blame.  But, there were some who were a lot like me.  They yelled from time to time, didn't like that they lost control in that way, and felt a lot of shame.  This time is was Dr. Phil's wife, Robin, who got under my skin.  She said (choking back her own crocodile tears?) "I never once raised my voice at either of my two precious boys.".

Really Robin?  Never once?

Anyway, I guess what my whole point is with this little rant is that so many people turn to on-air personalities like Dr. Phil or Oprah for answers.  They look to these fallen, imperfect humans (yes Oprah is human...don't even get me started on Oprah) as someone who can solve their problems in one neat on air segment.

The fact is they can't.  And, so often they actually misguide people or give them only partial truth.  And, that part of people that is seeking to absolve their shame and to feel worth and love is left empty.  There is only one who can guide them and love them in the way they seek.

"  No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, 
but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
Psalm 25: 3-5

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Never Thought I'd Be a Mother Who....

I was talking to my sister this morning who is adjusting to life with an infant.  My sweet nephew was born a little over a month ago making my sister a first time mom and making me a first time aunt.  We are now having those conversations that you can only have once you have children of your own.  

And, our conversation today got me to thinking about all the things I thought about motherhood prior to becoming a mom and how I think about those things now.  And so I give to you...

I Never Thought I'd Be a Mother Who....

 - couldn't keep her child's runny nose constantly clean.  And, I certainly didn't think I'd be walking around in clothing covered in my child's snot, spit-up, lunch, etc. etc.  My children (especially the 2 year old) often look like little street urchins.  They are just constantly covered in dirt, bits of their lunch, or snot.  I do clean their faces.  I really do.  But, it usually only lasts a minute or two.
image found here
 - didn't notice that her child's fingernails had grown into talons. Ah, how this one has haunted me.  When I was working in childcare I remember noticing one kindergarten age boy whose nails had grown rather long.  I remember tsk-tsking to myself that his parents were apparently too busy to trim their child's nails.  Umm....I now stand guilty myself.

 - had children who had temper tantrums.  I know.  I know.  Silly me.  I really believed that temper tantrums were simply the result of poor parenting.  Again, I stand corrected.
image found here
 - would lose her cool and yell.  Nope.  I was going to be the calm, ever-patient, yet firm mother.  I would handle my child's misbehavior (which wouldn't be often because I was going to be such an awesome parent!) with skill and decorum.  A simple change in the tone of my voice along with a serious look would be all that was necessary for my children to respond with respect and obedience.  Hee hee!
image found here
 - allowed her children to watch too much tv.  Of course in my household television was going to be a once in a while treat.  And, that would be perfectly fine with my children because they would be so involved in imaginative play, crafts, games, and other activities.  Then, I had 4 children in 6 years and suddenly allowing them to watch tv so I'd have a few minutes (or an hour or 2?) of quiet didn't seem so bad.  Ok.  I will admit.  I really do want to cut down on the amount of television my children watch.  It's a work in progress.

image found here

I could go on and on.  But, you get the idea.  So, what are some things you find yourself doing as a parent that you never thought you would do?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Highs and the Lows

Yesterday was a day with highs and lows.  You know the kind of day.  The kind where you feel like you are on a rollercoaster when you'd much rather be on a nice flat road.

Our day started LOW...

We all started the morning like grumpy, stompin', roarin' dinosaurs.  Myself included.  I am not a morning person.  It's hard for me to 'get in the groove'.  And, when my day begins with fighting, moaning, complaining, etc. it's hard not to let that set the tone.

But the big boys headed off to school & we got our day underway at home.  And, I found a little something in my wash basket...

That would be a HIGH point.  How can that not make you smile?

Then, a surprise!  And, another HIGH.  I heard the UPS guy on the front porch which I thought was strange because I hadn't ordered anything recently.  And, I found this...

Hmmm.  Why do I have a package from Gevalia?  Eons ago I had signed up with Gevalia because they had a super great introductory offer.  But, as I looked over their regular prices I realized their coffee is rather least for me.  So, I spaced shipments out as far as I could (every 6 months) with the intention of canceling.

I never did remember to cancel.  And, apparently, this would have been my 3rd shipment.  And, because it was my 3rd shipment they sent me a 'thank you' gift...

According to the shipping papers the coffee maker retails at around $100.  Free to me.  Now, I don't really need a $100 coffee maker, but if someone is going to give it to me, I'm not complaining.

Now wait Karen, you might be saying.  It sounds like your day got off to a rough start, but it things seemed to have picked up.  That should be enough to cheer you up.  You would think.  But, I'll tell you how it goes, I allowed myself to slowly slip into a lethargic, overwhelmed, self-pitying funk.

You see, I'm turning 40 next week.  And there are days that I feel like a big ole' blob.  (I never did lose those 40 lbs. I wanted to lose by the time I turned 40).  I feel old and tired.

Plus, parenting is a tough job!  Much harder than I ever thought in my younger years (read pre-child years).  I always knew I wanted to be a mom.  I always knew I was good with young children.  Those were the 2 areas I was absolutely confident in.  But, now that I AM a mom I find myself questioning myself at every turn.  I feel so .....inadequate.

Oh, and throw a little dose of guilt in there too.   I was feeling like life was so HARD.  But, if I think life is hard when our family is healthy, we have the love and support of family and friends, and we are well provided for, what would I do if something really HARD hit us?

So, all that to say, I had myself worked into a pretty good funk.  By the time it was the boys bedtime I was LOW, LOW and ready to check out for the night.  All I wanted was to veg on the couch in front of the tv and not have to think.

Hubby had other ideas.  He suggested we keep the tv off and actually talk.  At first I was reluctant.  Talking was the last thing I felt like doing.  I just wanted to shut off.  But, talk we did.  And, you know what?  It was good.  Really good.  We covered lots of topics.  And, I did share with my hubby how I'd been feeling all day.  We connected.  He prayed for me.  A peace came over me.

The day ended on a HIGH.

And today has started in peace.

May your day be one of peace as well!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Did You Say?

A conversation from earlier this evening with Edison, our 5 year old....

Edison: So, are we taking the canoe or what?

Me: What are you talking about?

Edison: Are we taking the canoe? It's the only boat we have!

Me (lightbulb going off):  Edison, I said 'We're going to vote'. Not 'We're going in a boat.'!

Here A Link, There A Link...

Everywhere a link, link.  Sorry.  I couldn't not finish that.  I found a few links today that I'd like to share.

image fround here
I just discovered this blog, Grace and Truth Living.  It appears that she only posts once or twice a month.  And, usually I don't pay much attention to blogs that don't post fairly regularly.  But, in looking over her!  She's got some good stuff in there!  This post about fear vs. faith really spoke to me.

Another blog that has really been grabbing my attention lately is Small House Family.  She had a short but good post today called 80/20 that touched on decluttering.  It's something that's really been on my mind, because as I'm organizing and preparing to use my new bookshelves, I want to be sure that I'm not just transferring junk from one location to another.  I want to be sure that what I save (and display) are things that actually matter to me.

Also, Stephanie at All Things Faithful is another new blog friend whose posts I really enjoy.  She had a thought provoking one today on Halloween.  You might remember a few weeks ago I posted this where I posted my own struggle with the appropriate response of a Christian family.  Just as a follow-up I will say that this year we chose to attend our church's fall harvest party rather than take our children trick or treating.  I can't say I've completely resolved this issue in my heart yet, but for now we felt God was asking us to take a step back & take a biblical look at it.

I hope you enjoy these links as much as I did!  Have a great day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Bookshelves!

Sometimes fun little finding the perfect pieces of furniture at a low cost!!!...can really make your day.

I've been keeping my eye out for bookshelves. I really wanted one for my living room and I also wanted one for upstairs in my boys room.

When I priced bookshelves on-line I was finding that I'd spend at least around $100 or more per bookshelf...and that was just for a standard, no frills shelf. The pieces I really liked were way more than that.

So, I waited. I figured maybe I'd find something at a yard sale. I was even planning on having to do a little DIY makeover if I found a piece that was nice but needed some TLC.

I've also been watching Craigslist. Mostly I've just been curious to see what people sell on Craigslist and how much they tend to ask for different pieces. I have a couple items myself that I thought about listing.

Of course, every now and then something caught my eye (like a beautiful black hutch a few weeks back), but things were either not the right price or size, etc.

Yesterday, just out of curiosity I checked out the furniture listings and found a pair of bookshelves for sale. They were asking $75 for the pair. They were white pine with a whitewashed finish & adjustable shelves. The taller one was 7 foot and the shorter one was about 6 foot. In other words, they were perfect...exactly what I pictured for our rooms!

I emailed the lister & agonized in suspense for several hours before I got a response. (I even e-mailed a second time just to be sure the first one went through. In retrospect that may have been a tad obsessive.)

I was first to respond!!! Yay! So, I arranged to go the listers house today to see the pieces. I was trying not to be overly excited, because sometimes it's hard to tell from a picture alone if it really looks the way you think it does. But, it did.

And, now I have two new bookshelves. They don't need any DIY makeover. And, I think the price was pretty awesome.

The tall one will live in our living room. I'll have to show an after photo once I get everything moved into place. You'll notice the huge amount of dust on the arm of our love seat. When moving furniture around to make space I unearthed a ton of dust & cobwebs.

I'm excited to clean out our corner cabinet (on the opposite corner of the living room) & use it as a display only for our china. It no longer has to double-duty as a bookshelf.

The shorter one is still on the porch. I need to make room upstairs for it. A couple of the shelves aren't in place yet. But, I' love that they are adjustable. I'm thinking I can use this for the boys books & organize their toys in baskets.

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