Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up: Like the Old Days

Well, I'm finally around to do a weekly wrap-up!  Despite my house being torn apart (literally- and I'll get to that soon) and being canceled from work, and being extremely low on funds, this week has been a sweet reminder of what I love... my family!  They're wonderful!  This week felt like "the old days" before I worked a bazillion stinking hours a week.

I started reading a book to the girls last week, The Cabin Faced West, and Little Bit just loved it! She braids her hair, puts blue ribbon in the braids, and pretends to be Ann Hamilton 90% of the time.  We went to a nearby vegetable garden to pick some veggies and Little Bit tied a small apron around her waist to collect beans in, just like Ann!  She's so sweet.  She also did her first creative narration and wrote a letter from Ann to her best friend back in Gettysburg.  She thought that was so fun... I typed it, and she is in the process of copying it on paper she stained with tea!  This girl....

Since that book was so loved, I decided to pull out the Little House series.  At first Little Bit said I'll never love Laura like I love Ann. . . can you guess how long that lasted??? Not long; now she's confused.  It's been a great opportunity for me to share with my struggling reader, just how wonderful books can be.  Baby T however is enjoying Laura's stories much more than Ann's!  It's so funny how they are so different.  Baby T also didn't think it would be fun to write a letter, so I didn't make her.

Oh- I forgot to mention that the girls thought churning would be fun when we read about Ann doing it. So, we went over to Grandma's and made butter by shaking it in a mason jar.  Let's just say I'm glad I don't have to rely on them to make our butter every week!  They wimped out. ;) If I can get my courage up, I will try to help them make rag dolls, and we want to try our hand at Johnny cakes.

Bean Boy has had a fantastic week (or so).  Last week we offered to pay him handsomely to pull up all the oak parkay flooring in our main room.  Before we moved in, we knocked out walls to make a huge room, but we've never been able to really make it one room because the flooring is different.  In an effort to move that process forward, we are planning on staining the concrete.  But first, the floors must come up.  We offered Bean Boy the opportunity to "do hard things" and he surprised us by taking us up on the offer.  Further more, he surprised us by setting his timer during his breaks, by being more diligent than we've ever seen, and by being protective of his work (not wanting to share it).  We told him if it wasn't done by a certain time, we may have to "outsource" and he was not about to let that happen!  We offered him 3 different prices. . . X amount (a big number people!) to have it done by Wednesday, X-$25 to have it done by Thursday, and X-$50 to have it done by Friday.  He finished Wednesday!  I'm telling you people- I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WORK!!!  I'm so proud of him.  He's ready to move on to the mulch pile outside, hauling it to the back, and not wanting to share that either!  Who is this kid??

He added that entire section he's got marked off there to the pile!
That was his biggest mound of the week!

Here is the big mound... The chilies thought it was fun to walk on them!
It's finished!!!! BTW there is a lot more floor than I could squeeze into this pic!
 Sorry for the phone pics, but that's all I got!

Some other things that have been going on:

We have caterpillars!  Well... we had caterpillars.  A friend gave us one that is now in its chrysalis. I'm hoping that even though it fell, and I'm scared to tie it up like someone suggested, that it will still get a butterfly.  The other two caterpillars that we pulled off our milkweed plant have mysteriously died.  There are still 1-2 we left outside on the plant.  We totally missed this one making it's chrysalis, but hopefully we'll see some action outside.

While BeanBoy has been hard at work on the living room floor, Hubby got to work on the kitchen floor... we have bare concrete now in our 4 main rooms.  Due to scheduling and such it may take us way longer than anticipated!  Most of our furniture is squeezed into other rooms of the house, and today, everything will be moved out! Crazy!  Hopefully, Hubby can get it all done soon!

Hubby and I are also teaching a summer class to some teenagers/pre-teens.  He is teaching a logic/debate class, and I will be going through the book Do Hard Things with them.  Bean Boy started his lessons early!  We start this coming Wednesday and will go for 8 weeks.  I'm getting excited!

Just a note too... not sure how we've done it, but the kids have not turned on the brain drainer all week!!! PTL!

Hopefully I will have time to share about Baby T's Angry Birds birthday party (what a blast!) and some things I've been inspired to do with our almost 12 year old!!!  Even when things are at their worst, God is good.  There are blessings to be found. . . if I'll just take a moment to find them.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Rain

Today, it rained.
The roads flooded, and I was worried we would get stuck.
Pre-algebra tests make me think more than I want to!

Our kitchen has been in shambles since last week.  We are repainting the cabinets and now don't like the colors...and can't find a matching color for the walls.

My kids are driving me crazy.
I got in a fight with someone who means a lot to me... the fight was over when they stormed off, I have no closure and don't expect to ever get it.
I no longer have trauma at work, which makes me sad.

We need more money.
The house is a wreck.
The toilets are dirty.
It is still raining.

But, as for me and my house, we will praise the Lord.  He reigns. . . even when it's raining!

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I feel lost.. You guys probably all think I'm lost as I haven't posted in quite some time.  It has been a whirlwind of drama, sickness, and emotions here, and I'm quite lost in it all.  I don't even know where to begin. . .

Perhaps we should start with the flu. . . the girls both were diagnosed with Influenza B about 2.5 weeks ago!  They ran HIGH fevers (we got up to 104.8!) for several days before their mean, nurse, Momma decided to take the to the MD.  I convinced him to swab for flu in addition to the non-necessary strep test he did. . . and, 1 point for the mean mom. . .though I wish I had been wrong.  They were down and out of school for over a week. It's a sad thing that when you homeschool, flu, or any illness, is like a reprieve.  We are slooooowly getting back into the swing of things!

There have been some wild changes around here.  First, as a means of preventing burn-out while I deal with the demands of our daily life, we have enrolled Bean Boy in Classical Conversations... If you haven't heard of it, it is a college prep homeschool program.  He goes to "class" once a week, and completes assigned assignments at home the rest of the week.  We went to class to preview for next year.  I ended up leaving him for the day and he had a great time.  His teacher invited him to join this class where it is.  She said some wonderful things about him (my heart skips a beat) including that he fit in to this class well, and was at their level.  Sigh.  WARNING: I'm about to brag about my kid on here, cause I dare not do it in front of him!!! He basically skipped a grade, 2 in math! This Challenge A is approximately on a 7th grade level, and he does the Challenge B math which is pre-algebra.... AND, I've always been so worried about how he would do as far as keeping up with the rigorous amount of work a program like this has, but I've seen something odd in him... something I don't recognize.  I think it is called motivation AND determination!!! It is challenging for him, he's trying to learn to focus, and plan, and get all 6 hours worth of daily work done in 6 hours, and while it is taking him a lot of time, he has not despaired and has kept an amazing attitude.  I'm so proud!  :)

One other BIG change, one that breaks my heart, is that my hospital lost it's trauma certification.  This means no more trauma drama for me.  It does truly break my heart.  I finally found an area of nursing that I enjoyed, and I had previously thought that to be impossible.  We are still an ICU, but we will no longer have trauma ICU patients, just medical surgical.  It's not what I enjoy, and I feel like I have to start all over again learning, but it is what it is.  The hospital is appealing, and we should know by September what our status is.  I'm greatly disappointed   I no longer get excited about going to work, which makes the over time I am working all the more difficult.   I am grateful for the time I had doing it, and am hoping that our status will be renewed in September.

I miss writing on my blog. . . but as you can see, life seems to pull me away.  I do find this very therapeutic, whether there are readers or not.  I hope to get back to posting at least on the weekly wrap-ups, but I'll post as I can.  Life is such an adventure! Being lost is hard, but not the end of the world.  God knows where I am, even if it's not in a great place, He won't lose me!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy Anniversary!!! The Big 13!

SO, we've been married for 13 years. . . 13 years!!! It seems incredible! Unbelievable almost. It's even a little weird to me, to think that I've been with Hubby for 13 years. In some ways, it has flown by. Of course, in others, not so much. We've had our share of ups and downs, plenty of rights and wrongs. I'm thankful to be passing down a legacy of long marriage to my children. We've learned over the past few years how ugly and heart-wrenching divorce can be. It pervades every part of life and others lives. It affects people you don't expect it to in ways you don't expect it, and the effects go on infinitely; it's not a one time deal. Though my marriage is not perfect, the other option is, well, not an option.

 This past year (especially few months) has probably been some of the most difficult we've have to endure as a married couple. Hubby going through school, me transitioning jobs, the kids having their different struggles, time zooming by are all things that have greatly affected us. They have all kept us from really focusing on our marriage. Let's face it, we all neglect our spouses from time to time. It's just part of life. I have found myself thinking that he'll still be there when the kids are gone. While he may, I can't count on it if I continue to neglect him and his wants/needs, and vice versa. But, what about those days when I don't FEEL like I love him, or want to???? Well, one thing I've always said, is that love isn't a feeling.  God defines it for us in His Word...

Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, 
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails. 
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

All of the verbs in the passage are describing actions.  Love is something we do, not feel.  Well, that's great and dandy, and I think it is VERY important to keep in mind when we don't feel like we love our spouse... but, not having that good feeling is very detrimental to one's own personal "psyche".  So, what is one to do?  How do you find that lovin' feelin' when you've lost it?  I'm certainly no expert!  But, I've gotten a little help... several, several months ago, I picked up a book called The Husband Project.  I think I read about it first over at Time-Warp Wife.  What I loved about this book, is that it was full of ideas and specific actions to carry out, to show your love to your husbands. . . the thing about it is, that even in grown-ups, actions sometimes precede beliefs.  Sometimes, you just have to do it, in order to feel it!!!  

This project was perfect for me.  I didn't follow the plan perfectly as described in the book, but I never follow any recipe perfectly either, that's just me.  I have to make it my own, so I did, and I enlisted a friend to hold me accountable, just like the books suggests.  I worked hard (slowly) through the plans I had made to make my husband feel loved.  I have heard my husband say several times over the last few months that I've been very thoughtful, and that he feels loved.  And amazingly enough, it has helped me to like him more too!  There is something about serving someone that just really makes you like them more.  

I heard a story on the radio once about a woman who visited her pastor, and said that she wanted to get divorced.  She just couldn't stand her husband anymore.  The pastor said that he understood, and that he would help her.  He wanted to know if she wanted revenge as well.  Of course she did.  So, they concocted a plan where she would pour on the love real thick, to make her husband love her more, so that when she surprised him with divorce papers it would hurt so much more.  The pastor said he would contact her in one month.  Well, a month later he called the woman and asked if she was ready to go through with her plans.  She replied that she had in fact fallen in love with her husband all over again!!! Somehow I think that pastor knew what he was doing...

I also picked up a neat little Pinterest project.  For Christmas, I made Hubby a book with 12 pages.  Each page represents a month.  On each page, there is an envelop with a tag that you can pull out.  Each tag identifies a date that I have pre-planned- we just have to put the dates on the calendar.  Each envelop also has the money/gift card needed for that date.  This should eliminate any fighting over who should do the planning, any guilt about spending the money out of our budget, any nights driving around in the car saying, "What do you want to do?" and hearing "I don't know, what do you want to do?"  

This month, our date was to Hilton Head Island- an anniversary weekend away.  It was a nice, very relaxing weekend, complete with bike rides, walks on the beach, and a nice nap!  AND, it only took 1 tank of gas!  The Island was pretty slow due to it being off-season, but we didn't mind a bit!  We had a nice time just relaxing.

While I know my marriage is a far cry from perfect, I also know I've been blessed with one of the good ones.  I never want to be guilty of not investing in it, working at it, or doing the things that define love.  I never want to be guilty of making Hubby feel like he is not loved.  I want to leave a legacy for my kids that doesn't involve 5 different Christmases, birthdays and other occasions.  I want to love my husband, both in action and in feelings.  I know sometimes that will require work on my part, and I'm willing.  Though I need to vent to friends occasionally, things are perfect, and sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side, I hope I can always get back to this point...the point where I'm working on it, and doing my part.

Hubby, thank you for 13 years together.  I'm hoping the next 13 years will be blissful, but either way, I'm willing to stick it out!  You're a good partner, and I appreciate you and even love you!!! ;)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up: Coming out of the Funk

Well, we started back to school again, which should mean you'll be seeing more regular posts from me. . . at least in the weekly wrap-up department!  I'm still not really over my Christmas "funk" so I've had a super hard time wanting to write, but rest assured, I'm sure God is stirring up something in there that will eventually overflow onto my empty page.  That's usually how it works.... I get in a funk (bad attitude and all) He teaches, disciplines, I change and overflow with what He has taught.  It's such a painful process, but I usually like myself better on the other side of it.  I'm kind of sitting back letting Him take the lead and waiting.

As for school, this has been a fabulous week!  As much as I stomped my feet and pitched a fit about going back, (my bad attitude has pervaded every part of life! lol) I'm glad we're back at it.  It has been quite the adjustment though.  Baby T has cried every day this week!!!  She rarely cries.  In fact, we went for a bike ride and on the way home, she cried the entire way, "Momma, I can not take any more!"  Now, one might expect this from a 5 year old who just rode a bike over a mile, but Baby T takes 2 hours of gymnastics twice a week and just the conditioning part is something I could not withstand!!! Yesterday she took a short nap and woke up crying!  I kept her home from the gym.  She must be growing or something...even though she's in the 95th percentile for her height!  Poor Baby T!

Bean Boy has had an amazing week as well.  His work load has been lighter as I'm still waiting for some things to roll in, but he's had some major accomplishments.  I promised him a new game on the Nook if he could simply put his school books away daily instead of leaving them all over the house... I'm sure by the time I post this, he'll have a new game.  He hasn't slept well this week, but has a determination, like I've never seen in him before, to get his school work done.  I wish he'd apply that to chores as well, but I'm not a choosy beggar!  We're making progress.  He's done a great job in school, keeping up with all his work, staying on task, and making good grades with fewer careless errors than usual! Yiiiiipppeeeee!!! You guys remind me to read this the next time I'm complaining!

Little Bit has had a good week.  We've backed her up in reading and started at the beginning of Hooked on Phonics.  I keep trying new things for her, knowing for quite certain that she is dyslexic...even though we've not officially tested.  She doesn't like to be challenged in anything she does, so backing up to easier reading has been good for her.  She has not complained once this week about reading, and yesterday, we ended our reading session while laughing!  I was so happy with that!!!  We'll keep plugging along at her pace (hopefully I'll remember that "her pace" part!).

As for me, I've had a couple of projects.  I got a new sewing machine that we are all in love with! ;) I made several aprons, and am hoping to start selling some of the sets soon.  I even checked at one of our consignment shops, and they are willing to talk about keeping 1-2 on hand to sell for me!  Exciting!!! VERY NERVOUS about that though.  SO, I've got to sit down and figure out how much to charge and all of that, make the hats, and oven mitts too.  I even made an apron for Baby T's doll, at her request, and it turned out so cute!  I also, finally, finally finished my chore chart!!!  I think I started this at the beginning of the school year!  Geesh!  It took long enough.  I think it looks so pretty, and it is right outside of the school room, so I don't forget to keep up with it there. I love it....
I used the same bulletin board I was using for our last chore chart and kept the heading. Wood glue and double sided duct tape were used to keep each clipboard on.  Each kiddo has a board of personal things (their animals and clothing) and then there are the weekly and 2x/week and the $$$ board...since we don't pay an allowance for chores, I have a list of things they can do to earn money.

Funny that this board is the least used, but has the most on it! 

Now mom and baby match!  She has asked for a hat for the baby... I'm not so sure I'll ever get there.

Be forewarned... while I am going to get back into a regular twice a week posting, next week may be an exception.  I will work four nights in a row starting Friday, and then will be going on an anniversary vacation with my husband next Friday!  Wooohoooo! Thank you to my MIL who is helping make it possible once again!  Don't know what I'd do without you! Have a great weekend! Linking up with

Monday, January 7, 2013's all over!

I was so excited about the Christmas season this year!  I had so many hopes, plans, and thoughts of special things to do with the kids and hubby. . . most of it never happened.  Actually, it was highly unusual for me to get that excited.  Perhaps my mom is rubbing off on me.  She gets her Hallmark countdown ornament out in October. . . Anyway. . . I was really hoping to spend the season purposefully focusing on others, and helping the kids to do that as well.  The first week of December started out strong.  We did pretty good. But after that. . . sigh. . . not so much.

I had read this amazing blog post about how this sweet lady was sick of focusing on that mischievous little Elf on the Shelf (which I had  never heard of till this year!).  She wanted to place her focus on others too, so she started a plan she called "Light 'Em Up".  I was instantly hooked and began talking with the kids to plan our own "Light 'Em Up" season.  Please go to her blog and check it out here. . . I think that is the original post I read.  It was just what I wanted. Something, anything to take the focus off of "me", what "I want", what am "I getting".  And by "I", I meant the little ones. . . little did I know that I needed to get away from the "me" thinking too!

So, we printed out our Light 'Em Up planner, and made a plan.  My biggest excitement would be writing on the driveways of our friends!  I thought, how cool to let them know how loved they are, and remind them to think on Jesus this season. . . we didn't get to ONE! We did focus on Hubby the first week.  It was kind of a funny disaster!  He finished up his masters degree that first week of December (wooooohoooooo), so the kids and I thought we'd show him how proud we were of him.  We planned to surprise him by writing on his car and sticking a ton of balloons in it. . . But, when we went to his celebratory lunch (with people from his internship) his car was no where to be found!  We drove around the parking lot (with a bazillion other crazy drivers) for-EVER!!!  I finally relented and texted him, saying, we're in the area can we stop by and meet your friends (he had wanted us to anyway, I think). We took the balloons in to him and thoroughly embarrassed him. :) The look on his surprised face was priceless (even though I had worked the night before, and only had about 2 hours sleep, I still remember it- a Christmas miracle).  (BTW- he had ridden there with someone else, which is why we couldn't find his car!)

So, we still had the issue of the car writing that the kids were not going to let go. On the final day of his internship we drove over to the hospital he was at and looked for his car.  You're not going to believe this. . . I couldn't find it!!!  Again, relenting, I texted him saying we were in the neighborhood wanting to go out to lunch when you get done, want to park by your car, where is it?  It was in the employee garage!!!  Can you believe it?  So, we left and went out to lunch.  When we were done eating, I made him stay in the restaurant while we went outside to decorate his car!  I never even took pictures, because I was so frustrated.  We wrote things like, love you, Dad the grad, etc.  It was fun after the frustration died down.  I think he liked it. . .

After that, we went camping.  Then, when we came back, I worked that crazy, crazy schedule (2 on, 1 off, 1 on, 1 off, 1 on). . . I call those the zombie days and nothing got done.  Then, the next week, I worked 4 in a row.  It was just an unusually weird month as far as my work schedule went.  I was exhausted, never knew if I was coming or going, and sad. . . I really wanted to really focus on Jesus, on others, and on showing my kids the wonderful ways they can serve and be little lights.  But, it was all I could do to stay awake and keep up with our regular duties.  To say the least, I was disappointed, frustrated, and highly resentful of the fact that I had to work.  Ugh...that's not quite the attitude I was going for this season!

Then Christmas came.  As it has been many times before, it was quite a disappointment.  Without incriminating anyone, let's just say that things are getting better, and that my broken heart is in the healing stage.  Hopefully, this will be the last Christmas spent in tears.  (Many of my childhood Christmases were spent this way- at a certain grandmother's house.)   Then, as if it wasn't bad enough, I had to work Christmas night and the night after. . . So, I've spent the last several weeks trying desperately to adjust my attitude.  I've been reminded of how thankful I am for grace.  While I don't believe my outward behavior was terrible, my heart attitude has been one of selfishness. . . the very thing I started out to set right!  While the season and my hopes were let down, I am infinitely grateful for my sweet Jesus who humbled Himself enough to become a baby, then a man, die on a cross, and love me in spite of my selfishness/self-centeredness.  I am mindful of grace that covers resentment and selfishness, and so ever grateful for it.  I am grateful for the gift of a job that I now really enjoy, a husband who loves me (also in spite of me) and and amazing family to share special moments with...even the moments chasing down Hubby's car!

I think we will try again, all year long, to be lights to the world.  Sometimes I'm going to fail.  Sometimes, though, God just might decide to shine through me!

Do all things without grumbling or questioning that you may become blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life. . . 
Philippians 2:14-16a

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Catching Up

Well, I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas.  I have not been posting much, as December had an exceptionally difficult work schedule, and I've found Christmas a bit much to take in this year.  It has been a hard season.  I do not have a weekly-update prepared, but am hoping to start back with that next week.  However, I have prepared a cute, short, little story of my morning!

If You Give a Mom a "To Do List" by Kristy Mikell. . . If you give a mom a to do list, she'll probably get started right away. She'll ask the kids to help her put the laundry away. There's no room in my drawers the first kid will say. So, the mom will help her chose which clothes should stay, go away, and be saved for the next one in line. The mom will then ask the next one to help sort the mess. Cute as can be, she'll roll her eyes and say why me? Newer clothes are fun, but you don't have room for even one. So, the mom will go through with child number two to decide which ones to toss, consign, keep. The to child number three, the mom will say, "Let's take a peek." This child is the most difficult of all, being as for most of his clothes he is too tall. The bags are packed, labeled and ready to ship out. Back to the chore list, let's knock this out. Well, the mom still can't vacuum, number two on the list, because the filters are still covered with a wet mist- despite having them in front of the fan! So, the mom will try again for number three on the list. Complete the project of chore list that was started months ago...but where did the chore tags go? Mom will wonder through the house, promising candy to the first one to find the prize. While looking for the prize, mom's eyes gaze over the mess. Number four on the list, get the trash off the floor, while dad paints the cabinet doors. The laundry must be moved from washer to dryer, and then started again, but now she sees the mess on the floor again. Then the call from work cuts her time in half, cause now she has to squeeze in a nap. Next she'll try to find something for lunch. To the freezer she flies, only to find it has died! Now the mom will quick bake the pizzas, toquitos, and try to save the shrimp before it goes. After having a day like this, where only one thing on the list gets done, it's nice to know I can have some fun! Writing this quick story may be the only thing that gets done. . . until I'm interrupted again!