introducing blue chicken

Hello,

I would like to introduce to you the beginning of blue chicken ! 

By way of doing that I’m going to have a ready made market type thing. Here are a few of the designs I have available just in time for your thanksgiving celebrations!

All signs are made from reclaimed pallet wood. Sanded to perfection. Made beautiful. Each sign has been sanded no less than 3 times.

Contact me via email thearmonats @ gmail dot com.  I am available to meet you in the Anderson area OR I can ship it to you.

I am also available for a limited number of special orders. I have a few that I am currently working on. But, I have space for a few more. Contact me for more information. Also, any of these items listed are available in any color combination YOU would prefer. The price will change slightly for custom orders.

As more ready made market items become available, I will post those as well.

IMG_5885

 5×10 reclaimed wood “hello fall” sign

accented with burlap, corduroy, and linen flowers

$18

give thanks flower

5×10 reclaimed wood “give thanks” sign

accented with a linen flower, corduroy, felt, and burlap leaves

$18

hello fall sunflowers

5×10 reclaimed wood “hello fall” sign

hand painted and lovingly rustic~ified

$12

give thanks blue

give thanks white

5×12 reclaimed wood “give thanks” sign

hand-painted and lovingly rustic~ified

available in either blue or white  SOLD

$12

cluckoinkmoograycluckoinkmoobluecluckoinkmooblack

5×12 reclaimed wood “cluck oink moo” sign

hand-painted and lovingly rustic~ified

available in gray/white, blue/gray, or white/black

$12


IMG_5952

5×8 reclaimed wood “Gather” sign

hand-painted and lovingly rust~ified

$10

Eat

5×10 reclaimed wood “Eat” sign

hand-painted and lovingly rustic~ified

available in maroon/yellow and a black/white (not pictured)

$12

SOLD

Thanks for looking!

my hunting adventure

Deer1

 

Deer2

You see that? That is my back yard. They were seen frequently all summer. I am timid when it comes to Brian’s hunting rifles. They are loud and heavy and kick. But, I want to shoot a deer. I posted on a Facebook group I’m in that is for women shooters asking what kind of rifle they suggest. In that group a woman that lives near here offered to let me go hunting with her. Being curious as to what it is like to actually go hunting, I went.

We arrived at their hunt club in the pitch dark. We rode on a 4-wheeler to a trail, then hiked to the tree stand. It was a little nerve wracking to say the least to climb up in the deer stand in the pitch black dark, having never even seen a deer stand. And considering that I am terrified of heights. Once I got up there and settled though, it was fine.

dark sky

Here we are waiting for the sun to come up. It was a dreary, rainy kind of day. A misty rain. Just enough to wet your clothes. I might have been a little chilled.

scope and feed lot

to the left

If you look down the road up there. That is where we saw a doe, then a buck come trailing behind her.  It was neat to see. They did get away. But it was an exciting 10 minutes.

tree stand

Here is the tree stand. It is wide enough for two people to sit comfortably. Well, relatively comfortably.

tracks

Here are the deer tracks of the two deer that we saw.

turtle

While the men were making sure the deer wasn’t wounded in the woods, I found this cute little turtle. Then I found this pretty snail.

snail

It was just such a nice time to walk around in the woods enjoying God’s creation. I can’t wait to do it in my own back woods.

moss tree

Evidently there is a huge record breaking buck that roams these woods behind my house. Our neighbor’s son has been tracking him. How hilarious would it be if I got it? Even if I don’t get that one, I sure would like to get one. A young girl in our homeschool group has gotten 3 already this year. Isn’t that wild?

deer 3

If not, it will be fun to try. It is fun to learn new things.

the hunter

Here, I am, in my official hunting outfit. I don’t think I’ve ever worn anything camouflage in my whole life. I have until the end of the year to get something. Wish me luck!

Live and Learn ~ Summer, 2015

Life seems to be settling into a regular routine.  It is so so wonderful to get up every morning to make Brian’s lunch.  Sometimes, he even gets to come home for his lunch break.  The girls love seeing Daddy during the day.

I have missed blogging regularly.   I was looking through some old blog posts here, reading them, I realized how much fun I have blogging.  Telling internet land about our adventures, mishaps, and lessons.

The Lord has been so gracious to us during this season of adjustment.  We haven’t had Brian home this long in 5 years.  At first, our lives had a honeymoon quality to it.  But, as LIFE keeps happening, the honeymoon has slowly morphed into reality.  HA!  This summer seemed to last forever.  It was wonderful.  We had lake days upon lake days. We had movie days, followed by crazy cleaning days.  But, through it all, we were dealing with something much bigger than us.  Something that seemed to drown us.  So, many times, I have tried to blog. But, it seemed like anything I could write was just full of miserableness and desirous of pity, maybe?  I’m not sure.  But, I wasn’t rejoicing in the Lord, that’s for sure.  Now, it doesn’t really matter what that something was or is.  As I have gone through this, I think I am learning more about myself and what it is I need to do in order to live a life more pleasing to the Lord.

I find it amusing that my theme for the year has been Choose Joy.  Because, I tell you what, it is hard to have joy in your heart when it feels as if your very world is crumbling around you.  Then to top it off, several other things happened that made me question if I even had any real friends, at all.  I kept wanting to “confront” or “have a talk with” or “fix it, somehow, someway.”  But, all those things were the wrong path to take.  Thankful, God brought me to this verse,

Proverbs. 19:11

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

People are people.  And people will hurt your feelings.  That is life.  People will take offense, then wallow in it.  Sometimes, it is just better to let things go by giving it over to God in prayer.  Sometimes even daily. Only God can change people.  It wasn’t until I finally got back to my daily Bible reading that my focus became clear once again.  It is ridiculous really, to keep allowing this roller coaster of life to affect my relationship with Jesus.  But, like the Israelites, that is what I do. Over and over.  I am so so thankful for these verses.

Lamentations 3:21-24

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. There are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 

We have begun our school year with a bang.  It has been marvelous, really.  I am grateful to be led to a wonderful supportive homeschool group.  I love seeing the girls’ delight in learning.  It is fun.  Hard work.  But, rewarding, already.  When we purchased this house, we had every intention of turning the guest house into our SchoolHouse.  This is the first time it has actually been empty, so we were able to do that.  We actually GO to school.  I say “Good morning, class.” and they reply, “Good morning, teacher.” It is so cute.  I am hoping to do a few homeschooling posts to show our way of doing school.  At first, our way seemed crazy, but it is actually working.  So, I am ready to share how we do things.

I am also in the midst of listing my signs in my virtual “shoppe”.  So, be on the look out for that.  That is exciting.  I can’t wait to get that rolling .

And, in other news, my house is clean.  HAHA.  I have had many, many helpers throughout the years.  Many.  Many blessings of many hands, helping to get my junk cleaned out and/or organized.  I finally have the house organized.  I can’t begin to tell you how awesome that is.  And  you know who helped me?  My girls.  That’s right.  What a blessing is that?  Small in size and age, but powerful workers.  We can get a lot accomplished when we work together as a team.  You can’t eat off the floor or anything, but for once, my house has NO piles piled up anywhere.  I am my mother’s daughter, in that regard.  And if you know her or me, you would totally be laughing at that.  For an example, my kitchen has been clean (including counters) almost every night.  Don’t ask about the laundry, though.  It is still a beast, or the never-ending story.

So, since the routine of life has allowed me to have nap times free a lot of days, I am hoping to put blogging into the schedule.  I have some things I would love to do with this blog.  I was praising and thanking the Lord this morning for all my blessings.  It dawned on me, that if I have this platform to talk to people, I really ought to be using it to glorify Jesus.  I hope I was encouraging in some way, today.  I do like to keep it real.  Most people appreciate honesty.  I just don’t always temper it with grace in real life.  Blogging gives me time to think, delete, and rephrase.  I had an email from a coworker in my previous life this week.  It was the most encouraging note.  It inspired me to share more of our lives, and our little chicken farm, and whatever else comes our way.  I have been praying and praying for the Lord to use me in some small way (other than as a mother).  I think this is it.  To share. To encourage others.

If your world does seem to be crumbling, ask yourself if you are totally being dependent on God.  Are you leaning on HIM daily? Are you PUTTING ON the garment of grace, daily?  Taking time each day, to get your sins under the blood, and refresh yourself in HIS WORD?  If not, maybe you should.

Happy Saturday!!

bigwhite chickenbutts

** WINNER WINNER……chicken dinner**

I have finally settled on a name for my little shop I am so wanting to open. Finally!! After much much deliberation, I seriously feel like I am naming another child. I don’t want to regret my name. I want people to see it and think CHRISTY! HaHAHAHA. So, without further ado:

 

 

blue chicken

 

Judy Bennett, my cousin, suggested Blue Chicken.  I loved it as soon as I heard it. So, Judy, let me know what sign you would like for your prize. Maybe this time next year, it will finally come to fruition? Seriously though, I would like to be “open” in time for your Christmas shopping. Prayers needed.

 

Contest submissions

You would not believe all the ideas I received from all of you! Thank you so much. It feels as if I am naming a new child. HAHA. I thought I would list them out my favorites here. Maybe we can come up with something. HA!

Rustic Rewind

Trickle Creek Treasures

Cobalt Chick Creations

The Chicken Coop Creations

Hidden Creek Acres

Hidden Creek Treasures

Blue Hen Creations

Blue Hen Treasures

Blue Chicken Creations

Blue Chick Creations

Blue Chicken Treasures

Blue Chicken

Blue Chick Treasures

Blue Chicken Designs

Rustic  ??

What do y’all think?  One of these? A variation of one of these? I still can’t decide.

Help!!

new directions and a contest

My wonderful husband has a new job in town.  That’s right, in town!!  It is going to be so strange at first, I think.  He will be coming home every afternoon.  Weird!?  Dinner at a specific time.  (A goal I have had for awhile, now.)  I’m looking forward to making his lunches in the morning, having him home for dinner (dishes), sitting beside me in church, helping out in church together.  All the things we have missed in this past season of our lives.

New beginnings.

New things.

I have difficulties sometimes with change.  It will take some getting used to, his coming home every day.  I will have more laundry.  I struggle with that beast.  I have been praying for this change, though.  I am more than ready.  It seems the older I get, the more I understand that God does make things new.  I love seeing God’s hand in our lives.  Changing us.  Growing us.  Preparing our hearts for the changes that do come.  God is good.

Along with this, I am working on my in Along with this, I am working on my inventory.  I am building and making things, here and there.  Fun. Fun.  I am looking forward to starting this new venture while doing what I enjoy.  MAKING!! (Makers gonna make…might as well get paid. HAHA!)  I’m trying to come up with a nice catchy name for my “business”.  (It feels strange saying that, but I think I can…I’ve had quite a few sales already.)  To make it more fun for me, and to help stir my child-fogged brain…I want to have a contest!  Help me name my new business and receive a hand crafted sign of your choice.

Things to think about while thinking of a name:

I like to use old wood, old things, antiques, junk, rusty things and repurpose them.  I think my style is a rustic, vintage feel.  Also, everything can be personalized.  I make a variety of things.  I like words and plays on words.  Like Thyme Passing Creations or All Things New.

I have been calling our little homestead armonat acres. The name of my blog is Live and Learn. I like alliteration.  I would like for the name of everything to be the same.

 

Well, here is the deal. If you want to try to win a custom-made sign, and you have some ideas, post them whereever you’d like. This facebook post, comment on the blog post, the instagram post, email me. Whatever you’d like.  Below are some of my latest creations.  Most have been sold.  But, all can be recreated! :)

DSC_1344

 

 

 

image image image imageimage image image image image image image image image image image image image

As you can see, there is a variety of things!!  I sure hope y’all can help!

Here’s to the Armonats’ new adventure!

throw

 

the end is near/here

Where has the time gone?

It has truly flown by. I can’t believe it. God is so good. It is interesting to me that each time I am faced with a Brian’s huge absence, I think we won’t make it. We were on the calendar page of October, I was flipping through the calendar to mark his return date, it wasn’t there. I had to wait to get a new calendar before I could mark it.

And now, here we are. First, we were in the month of his arrival. Now, we are in the WEEK of his arrival. I just received a text that he is on his way to the airport. So, now, he is in route!! (Delayed several times, now.)

I wish I could personally thank all of you for praying for us. God has brought a change in my heart these last few months. He has done an amazing work in my husband, as well. I cannot wait to see it. I hope God will allow me to share our story, one day.

In the meantime, we have big plans. We rented a house in the north Georgia mountains. Can you say, “VACATION?!” We have gone to the beach as a family when it was just Kate and Isabel. We’ve gone on camping trips. But, this is going to be amazing. Our family needs rejuvenating. This will be perfect.

You know, lots of preparation goes into these homecomings. Each time, I say I’m not going to do anything “extra”, but each time, I end of doing something! I had originally planned to have a teen girl come spend the night Wednesday then clean Thursday. Because of the ice, my regular Tuesday teen girl rescheduled for Thursday. So, thanks to their awesomeness, my house was clean when I left for my hair appointment yesterday afternoon. I was even blessed to do a little shopping, and have my nails done. Upon my return home, I was pleasantly surprised to find all the laundry folded, all the girls ready for bed, and so many more extra things done around the house. It was such a blessing to see all the work they went into helping me get everything ready for Brian’s homecoming! What a sweet servant’s heart displayed in both these girls. They even handled several mommy sized disasters during my absence.

I think that is the epitome of homeschooling success. These girls knew exactly what to do. They handled themselves with such maturity. I am so proud of them. They blessed their mothers by putting into practice what their moms have been teaching them. It is such a blessing to have girls like these for my girls to look up to. I am thankful to be a part of a church with wonderful families like this.

This also brings to mind Jesus’ glorious return. Don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing Brian to Jesus. This house is filled with excitement. Everything resonates with the rhythm “Daddy’s coming home today. Daddy’s coming home today. Daddy’s coming home today. Daddy’s coming home today!” How marvelous it is. The house is clean. The girls and I are prettified. Shouldn’t we be preparing our hearts for Jesus’ imminent return? We know he is coming soon.

One time, Brian had the great idea of surprising me by coming home a week early. He had our pastor pick him up from the airport, then drop him off at the end of the road. He walked to the house and surprised me as I was loading the girls in the yukon. It was an amazing surprise. I loved it. But, at the same time, I wasn’t ready. The house was a wreck. It was the week of VBS and I do the crafts. (Meaning: craft stuff all over the house along with the regular house mess.) As happy as I was with his return, I was frustrated with myself because I had let things that are important to Brian go. I wasn’t ready, at all. The surprise fell kind of flat. I fear that is what will happen to most of us upon Christ’s return. We won’t be ready.

This time, for this homecoming, though, I am ready! I am absolutely giddy with excitement.

Happy! Happy! Happy!

thank you for praying!

It seems just like yesterday, I posted. But, it has been weeks!! I had such an outpouring of love and encouraging words after my last post, too.  Honestly, I was kind of surprised.  Thank you so much for praying for us!  I appreciate it more than I can express in a blog post.

We have had quite a time.  The adjustment to our new normal is taking forever.  Or so it seems.  I thought we were adjusted, then I had several things planned for us.  Unfortunately, it was several days in a row.  If you have small children you know the toll that took on us.  ARGH.  Then, the stomach bug hit.  Thankfully, it has just been a 24 hour thing.  They all got it, just not at the same time.

Seriously!

IMG_1733Truthfully, I don’t know how much to share here.  It is hard to be a single mom.  Some days I don’t think I can handle this another minute.  I have struggled with hormonal issues since Amelia’s birth that complicate things further, to say the least.  HAHAHA.

A few weeks ago, Sunday was a typical Sunday.  Trying to get ready to get to Sunday School on time.  But, this is a house FULL of girls trying to beautiful themselves for church. It can be quite stressful even when we are organized and prepared.  But this Sunday, we weren’t.  And we overslept.

I exploded.

I took them to Grandma’s.  (One went to my sister’s.)

I guess I am too proud to ask for help.  Or sometimes, I don’t realize I need help.  We all need a break from one another, but I don’t recognize the problem.  I know I am afraid people will talk about me.  I don’t want to be judged or looked down on for not being able to handle it.  I am the mommy.  It is my job to do it all.  {You know it’s true.}  But, I can’t.  I need help, occasionally.  If someone really has something to say about my life, I think it is their problem. Not mine.  I am so trying to learn that. {So, I am saying it out loud to make it truer to me.}  I need help during this season of my life.

I just need to figure out how to live in it with JOY. {Because, it is different than HAPPY.}

IMG_3050

I have a plan.  I think.

Focus on God.  I am reading an excellent devotional titled, Finding God’s Path through your Trials, by Elizabeth George.  One of the things that she explains is in James, when he says “count it all joy”, he is using the word “count” as an accounting term.  Put your trials in the JOY column…ugh.  So, so hard to do.  Especially when every day presents new challenges.  You know, I am not really sure how to handle the daily trials.  I think I have always lived my life by my emotions.  I am trying to change that.  Things are what they are. It is what it is.  I had a friend just say yesterday, ” Will it matter in glory?”  Well, no. No, it won’t.  All that matters is Pleasing Jesus.  I am trying to teach that to my girls.  I think I need to practice it more.

Routine. Routine. Routine.  The girls and I don’t function well without a good routine.  Even if that routine looks strange to outsiders.  I don’t really care.  It is what works for us.  Part of our routine issues is organization.  If the house is out of kilter and messy, then we are, too.  This past weekend was a prime example.  The house was messy….well the floors were, so it makes rushing around, getting ready for church really challenging.  So, this week we are finishing the organization projects that we started and didn’t finish.

Breaktime.  I need regularly scheduled breaks throughout the day to refocus and recharge.  {Without the children in my lap.}

Doctor’s help.  I found a local doctor that is a chiropractor who specializes in whole food healing.  Using whole foods and supplements (made from foods) to heal.  Not chemicals.  I got blood work done this week.  It looks like I have a few issues that can be addresses easily and simply.  We are also going to do some more hormonal testing.  We should have a good idea of what’s going on in 2 weeks.  In the meantime, I have some supplements to take.

Prayer.  My Preacher says all the time, “Keep your sin list short.  So, anytime throughout the day you can pray immediately.”  I am learning to pray my thoughts to God, instead of calling someone “to vent”.  They can’t change anything or anyone.  But, God can.  I try to just tell him about it all.

Every day is a new day.

HIs mercies are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness. 

Amen.

IMG_3256 IMG_2985 IMG_2978

*PS.  I had typed this last week, waiting to edit before posting.  Yesterday, God really helped team Armonat get to church EARLY Sunday morning.  As we pulled into the driveway, we all started cheering.  There were tears.  Hugs all around.  Kate said, “Can we do this every time?”  Yes. YES, we {with God’s help} can.

Learning to live with {JOY} one day {trial} at a time.

 

IMG_3262(Not Sunday morning, but the latest car selfie.)

Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all!

not really any of your business

~but, honestly, I kind of want everyone to know.~

The Armonat family is in need of prayer for this upcoming change in our lives.  After Carrie passed away, Brian tried to find a job in the local area.  I was finding it increasingly hard to be alone in my huge pregnancy with the girls.  But, he couldn’t find any job that didn’t take him away from his family.  So, we resigned ourselves to deal with his going away.  Thankfully, his company brought their people home from Afghanistan to Massachusetts. So, he was able to work there for 2 rotations.  This time it was 60/60 rotation as opposed to the 90/90 we had been living.  This last time at work he was led to believe he wouldn’t be going overseas in the near future.  It seemed an answer to prayer.  But, during his time home, he received word from his employer that he would be leaving for Jordan in November. Much to our dismay.

I tell everyone this because we could use your prayers.  We don’t really have a choice in where Brian goes to work.  His field is limited in its choices of where he is employed.  I guess we could always relocate.  But, that just doesn’t seem worth it, either.

The girls are much older and will be good helpers.  Genevieve and Amelia are the same exact age that Kate and Isabel were when Brian left the first time.  Old enough to be aware of his absence, but not old enough to understand.  Makes it difficult at times.  Kate and Isabel each have their own way of handling his time at work.  Each child requiring grace and mercy from Mommy at every turn. While Mommy struggles with keeping house, doing school, shopping, etc. On top of the fact my helper quit. So, now I am in search/prayer for a new helper.

I know God is in control.

He has taken care of us at every turn.  We are so blessed.  In ways sometimes I don’t even realize.

My girls are becoming beautiful young ladies. Not because of me, either.  I fail at every turn. All because of Him. His grace. For His glory.

I know all of this.  I might need to be reminded of it, though.  I might need extra grace and mercy from you~ my friends and family who are reading this.  I don’t think you would be reading this if you didn’t care, at least a little bit….right?  If so, when God brings the Armonat family to your mind.  Please pray for us.  At least this first week when life adjusts to it’s new normal for us.

After this rotation is over, maybe just maybe God will see fit to give him a job, local.  If not, we will still be fine.  God will still be in control.  Just as He’s been through it all…rough Genevieve pregnancy, chicken pox for 3 months, Amelia pregnancy-with one stupid health annoyance after another, Carrie’s home going, Brian’s job situations, financial difficulties….see?  We are all fine.  Great health.  Groceries in the pantry.  A job.  God is good.  God is in control.

We will have a few days that will be a little more difficult than others.  He will miss Kate’s birthday, thanksgiving, Christmas, Amelia’s first birthday, and my birthday.

I found this Mary Englebreit print the other day.  I love it.

ME "Grace" print

It goes with this:choose joy

Don’t you think?

Thanks for reading.  I do appreciate your prayers.  I love you.

moving, apples, and burgers

I am moving my little old blog to a new hosting doohicky.  No clue what I am doing.  HA!  But, it will not defeat me.  I will figure it out.

Meanwhile, enjoy our apple picking pictures….along with the rest of America’s.

IMG_1512IMG_1533IMG_1536IMG_1502IMG_1471These scarecrows were so fun!

IMG_1459IMG_1456IMG_1452IMG_1451IMG_1449Even though we go somewhere every fall to “pick” apples.  This was the first year we actually got to pick.  It was fun.

Come to find out it was National Hamburger Day.  We were already enjoying “the best burgers in all the land” when we found out.  There is an adorable local place called Barnwood Grill.  Yummy.  Grassfed beef on homemade buns.  Make you smack yo’ mama! I said that to the girls one day, the looks they gave me!

IMG_1439IMG_1433IMG_1431See how much they enjoyed them? HAHAHA.

IMG_1432This kid would eat a burger every day if I let her.

life happens

I really wanted to open Live and Learn Designs today.

All pictures have been taken.  Not yet uploaded.

Stay tuned until Friday.

Many things to be excited about….here is a preview.

 

DSC_1344

 

 

Burlap Family Name  $30-50 depending on the frame.

IMG_2342Anything personalized!! Price depending on colors and whether or not you have the item. Starting at only $5!

I will be hosting a giveaway for spreading the word!  Christmas present time is just around the corner!

 

laundry~the beast that slays me

Finally, this past summer I was able to paint the laundry room.  I wish I had taken a before picture.  Picture a sky blue tinged in dirty.  There was also a refrigerator in here.  Beside the hot water heater.  I still need to add all the finishing touches.  I also, was waiting until the laundry was actually caught up and everything was clean.  HA!!  It’s real life over here, not Land of the Perfect that you see in blogland.  Who knows when I will get to make it gorgeous, but I have really wanted to show y’all my “system”.

Granted, I might be the only one in all of the land to care…wait, I take that back!  My cousin, Teah, who was my helper then, helped me accomplish this.  SHE will care.  HAHA.

Anyway, back to my “system”.  On the right is the washer, obviously.  But, also on the right are the DIRTY clothes.  I purchased a 3 basket sorting thingy.  You can see it hiding behind the 2 hampers, there.  In goes colors, pinks, and whites.  (Yes, I have an entire load of pinks.  I also have an entire load of blue clothes and brown clothes.  Because those are Brian and my favorite colors to wear.  But, those stay upstairs until washing time.)  Too much?   The white hamper is for dirty towels.

IMG_1643

To the left is the dryer.  If there are clothes in baskets, they are clean.  Clean clothes are ALWAYS on the left.

IMG_1644

Do you see the closet organizer hanging there?  That was in my closet, I brought it down for organizing the girls clothes as I fold them.  Each girl gets a cube.  I am not sure what else to call it.  But, I tell them to get their clothes out of their cube and put away.  It keeps down the amount to put away each time.  (In theory, anyway.)

I just noticed the laundry coming out to the dryer, as if to attack!

Behind the curtain is the built-in shelves Brian installed.  They are organized in a messy way, I put the curtain up to hide it.  My OCD keeps wanting to rearrange it, so I am hiding it, instead.  The curtain kind of matches.  Who cares, anyway?  It is just a laundry room.  Well, I kind of care.  I spend about an hour a day in here.  I want it to be pretty.

I really like my “system” because once you know it, anyone can go in and take over laundry.  It’s not just my job.  I have a helper.  I like for us to be on the same page.  I am training my girls to do laundry.  They need order and routine.  This totally helps.

IMG_1645

Now that I have totally aired my dirty laundry….hahaha….as I look at this picture, I see how grody that floor is.  Something else to put on the list.  In the meantime, though, I think I will put a big rug in there.  Do y’all have any suggestions for the walls?  I want to put words in there….vinyl wall decals.  Like, “laundry, the never-ending story” OR “wash rinse repeat”, my favorite is the Johnny Cash lyrics~ “you gotta know when to fold ’em”.

What say you? What should I do?

what’s up


dragonfly on Amelia's headDragonflies

Dragonflies have been everywhere this past spring and summer. Dragonflies of every color of the rainbow!  The girls and I have enjoyed watching them fly all around the yard. It’s really been the Year of the Dragonfly.  (That’s how I will remember this year.)   Recently, we were privileged to enjoy a Patch the Pirate concert and were introduced to a new character. A DRAGONfly who wants to breath fire. Hysterical. Then yesterday, Isabel sang part of the character’s song, “I wanna breathe fire!”  in a whispery voice with her little crooked grin. Hilarious.

G & I hug

We also have had some amazing hummingbirds. We had a hummingbird family. Then, we had a hummingbird WAR. Quite amusing. I’ve gotten so many fun pictures. I can stand at my kitchen window for quite awhile watching them, snap~snap~snapping pictures all the while.

hummingbird1

“Good morning, Christy!,” he says.

In other news, someone has been stealing our mail. Time to get a game cam. IT IS ON.

Seriously, folks.

Someone stole my precious Isabel’s birthday present her Grandma and Grandpa Armonat sent her. In it was a gorgeous hand knit dress for her. Made especially for Isabel because she requested it. I know her Grandma Judy is absolutely heartbroken over this. I am not telling Isabel. She was be so upset.  Who steals mail, anyway?

Isabel crazy

We began our school up again~September 8.  Brian and I worked to get the playroom semi-cute and functional so we could start.  The girls were so ready to start back up.  Truthfully, I was a bit nervous.  I struggle so much with balancing it all without school I didn’t think I could do it.  Thankfully, my Abba Father showed His grace to me that week in such amazing ways. Each day was a new beginning. We rarely followed my schedule. But, somehow, all my goals for the week were accomplished! Woohoo!

K first day dancing

I implemented a chore system that seems to be working. Awesome.  I will give Kate and Isabel their duties and walk away. Genevieve is left standing on the stairs, asking, what do you want me to do, Mommy? I just love it.  So, she gets her chores, too.  She is doing so well helping out. Once we are going smoothly on this list, I want to add a few more things to it.

G with brown flower

Amelia thinks she can walk.  I am telling her she can’t.  She is the sweetest precious baby in the world.

Amelia laughing

Slowly, but surely, I am getting this small house organized.  It is quite a task to take our little 2 bedroom home work for all 6 of us AND do school AND for my ‘little’ projects.  But, I think I am figuring it out.  It really helps my mental clarity to have everything in its place.  Less clutter is so much better.  I keep finding things to take to goodwill.

Meanwhile, I am still eating the Trim Healthy Mama way.  I am halfway to my goal and STALLED.  My clothes fit so much better.  I have so much more energy.  My mind is clearer.  I’ll take that!  Woohoo!  If I happen to eat something that’s not the wisest choice, Kate will say, “Are you allowed to have that?  Will it make you healthy?”

KAte

It’s almost that time!! Opening day for Live and Learn Designs! Do you have your calendar marked?  I will have some giveaways!

Amelia and her eyesI love this time of year!  I am ready!  God is growing me.  I am finally, once again, ENJOYING this season of my life.

Are you?

 

big things are acomin’

It’s an exciting time around here! School will be starting “officially” next Tuesday. I’m ready to be on a better schedule.

That’s not the exciting news, though.

logo

My shoppe.

I am so excited!

Grand Opening.

Coming soon to your own computer.  Or iPad. Or phone.

I am working hard.

October 1!

Write it down on your calendars.

 

 

a year later

Grief.  No one can truly understand it until they have experienced it.

One of the things I have learned is to cry out to Jesus.  I think all I do is cry to Jesus.  He is the only one who understands.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, it says in Isaiah.

I have changed so much since Carrie went to heaven.  All of us have.  Sometimes it’s almost as if we don’t even know each other anymore.  This month we are all reliving it.  (I am dealing with it by rearranging and cleaning out the house.  I think another yard sale is in the works.)  I keep waiting on someone to call….knowing they won’t.  Everyone is too busy.  So busy living.  I think we don’t know how to relate to people in person anymore.  It is easy to text or FB one another.  Difficult to actually dial a phone or go by someone’s house, school is starting, you know.

I pray that as God grows and changes me, I become more loving.  I don’t want to be the judgmental, too busy, superficial person I used to be.  I want to fully engage and love those in my world.  Whether we agree on everything or not.

Choosing JOY.

LOVE.

Those two things.

Let the JOY of Jesus every little frown erase. Proclaim his grace with a happy face. Let his glory SHINE!

an awesome parenting moment

But first let me tell you something funny.

Genevieve picked up the saying “awesome sauce” from a commercial on Hulu. It was cute. Recently, Brian started saying it.  He would say he was so awesome~ he was the sauce to go on awesome. I would then ask if I was awesome.

Heehee.

g-burbt

I know. I am a dork.

I decided since I was asking Kate to have more responsibilities around the house, it was only fair that she has rewards for her efforts.

kate&mommy

For example, she has more chores, including taking care of Amelia. So, she is allowed to stay up 30 minutes later than everyone else.

Good deal. Works for everyone, right?

Ha. HA!

Not Isabel.

smiling llama

As I was trying to explain to Isabel all the reasoning why…..I finally got frustrated and said, You are just going to have to get over it. That is life. The oldest sister gets to do everything first. I’m sorry, but that is just the way it is.

Oh my word!

No wonder Jada, Carrie, and Jayme get so mad at me!!!

tsktsktsk

Oh, well!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Meanwhile, Isabel is so upset that she is hysterically screaming and crying because Mommy is laughing at her. She was so very mad that I had to send her to bed.

This kid. She is something else.

isabel profile

 

 

in summer…..

I’m excited to be feeling well these days.  The Lord has really blessed my marriage and my health these last few weeks.  I have been following a new way of eating~ Trim Healthy Mama. It is wonderful! I have so much energy! I don’t even need my afternoon coffee OR my 3rd cup in the morning.  I don’t think I have felt this well since way before Genevieve was born.

I have big plans for these weeks while Brian is working. To help me stay focused, I want to list them all here and maybe get some ideas from y’all.

1.  Makeover the laundry room.

We recently took an extra refrigerator out of the laundry room. Now I have extra room for a folding station, places for each person’s folded clothes, a reason to paint and beautify. I want to clean it out, rearrange, then make gorgeous! I’m thinking a soft buttery yellow with a bit of red here and there, white trim. What say you? You coming to help? Right?

2. Build a chicken coop run.

Jason put my chicken coop between some trees. I would like to build a run around it, giving the chickens more room to play with out having to let them all over the yard. I want to add a dust bath area and some perches. Make gorgeous with colors!

3. Finish the outside play area.

I moved the girls play area over to the swings. I would like to get a nice bench or something for me to sit in by the weeping willow. (In time, in time) Paint the area. Paint the slide.

4. Memorize a passage of scripture with the girls.

Which one? Psalms 23?

5. Keep the house clean.

Develop a system of sorts for daily cleaning tasks for everyone. Maybe that will help keep the clutter down. Any ideas that actually work?

6. Tea party ~ with decorations, dressing up, and everything. Inviting all the girls we know and love! Having each one bring a fancy dish!

7. Choose joy each and every day. Remembering to:

Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.

8. Be more loving. Love.

Here are a few pictures from the last few glorious days of spring.

DSC_0725 DSC_0778-1 DSC_0762-1 DSC_0627 DSC_0691

 

these days

 

And it begins again.

A foot thrown across my face in the wee hours of the morning. I slowly wake to find Genevieve tucked up under my side. I attempt to roll over only to find Kate (or is it Isabel?) on the other side. Oh, that’s Brian. Kate has curled up under him. ARGH! I try to unwind from the sheet that has become untucked and tangled around my legs in the night WITHOUT waking up the bed full of children.

I sneak down the stairs bringing Amelia. If I leave her in my room she will wake everyone up when she wakes up in a few. I cherish these quiet early morning. My coffee, iPad, and Amelia. Savoring my coffee, thinking about the day what I want to accomplish, praying.

I am so thankful for how God is using the circumstances of my life to change me. I think that  somewhere around the time Genevieve was born, I think I have struggled with depression or something. I am not exactly sure what triggered it. Im sure it was an accumulation of things along with straying away from God. Just in little ways, though. Not enough to hurt anything- or so I thought. That combined with being a single parent half the year- being pregnant or nursing the last 7 years (LOL)- homeschooling, etc. You get the picture, I am sure. Life. Life happened.

So, now you know why I haven’t been blogging.

Since I am feeling better, I have really become close to my Mom. Close like I always wanted to be. Talking to her, I realize that my “issues” must be genetic. She had the same struggles as a mom as I do. I believe my Nanny (her Mom) and my Granny (Nannie’s Mom) both had the same problems. Thankfully, we are at a wonderful church that has many older godly ladies that I can talk to. Through many conversations with them and much prayer, I have learned that sometimes you need more help. And, I do. More help as in the medication kind.  I struggle with postpartum, chaos, messes, busyness, life with small children. HA! I got a prescription and slowly began to feel better.  Still, sometimes I want to cry out, “No one ever told me it would be this hard!! WAH!! EVERYONE PLEASE STOP CRYING!!!! It’s Mommy’s turn!!”

Some wonderful ladies, including my mom were so helpful after Amelia.  They all shared with me the struggle they had when they were moms of small children. There was an entire network of godly ladies praying for me, I later found out. They came over and helped me with my housework, children, and meals several times. It was reassuring to know that I was not alone, others had been there.

One of my wonderful friends has introduced me to a new way of eating called Trim Healthy Mama. I would describe it as a low glycemic lifestyle. I am feeling so healthy because of this way of eating! I have so much energy! I bound out of bed every morning, roaring to go. Because of this wonderful way of eating, I want to slowly wean myself off of the medication.

At the beginning of their year, I wanted as my motto or goal to be to always “Choose Joy!” No matter the circumstances. I honestly believe God has a sense of humor, because it was almost as if he said, “Okay, you asked for it!” Sort of like, not praying for patience, you know?

Rambling on, am I making any sense? Life, you know? Life goes on. There is no better time. This is it. Make the best of the life God has given you. LOVE Him. He is changing my heart to love HIM which is teaching me how to love others. I never understood that before. I get it now. Totally. Each day, we have a choice. We can choose JOY, living for Jesus. Or we can choose to wallow in our troubles. Granted, sometimes we need help to do that. To see that sometimes, even.

I guess I am just trying to kind of talk about what God is doing in my heart. But, in order for you to understand it, you have to know what I was going through. I keep trying to list it all out, but it reads like a Lifetime Movie script! HAHAHAHAHA!  Seriously, though.  God is good.  Life is not always good. But, God is.

b61376b8427250dbab0a92b7e5146780

Footsteps pounding down the stairs. Chocolate milks to be made. Diapers and pull-ups to be changed.  Laundry to be washed, dried, folded, and put away. Dirty dishes still in the sink.

A new day, but yet the same.

JaneFarrCalligraphyLamentations

 

Still living and learning…..

playroom garden

playroom from hall

I have been wanting to show you all the playroom for ages now! When we first moved here 3 years ago, this is what it looked like.

playroom before

From the very beginning I envisioned a garden for the girls to play in. I just wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted it done. The washer and dryer was in a closet (without a door) in this room. So, half the time, the floor was covered with laundry. I couldn’t stand it. The room was so ugly. Hardly any sun comes through those little tiny windows. It was brown. It was drab. It was awful. After I finally got the washer and dryer moved into the laundry room (hallelujah!) I enlisted my daddy to come paint the walls for me. I chose a gorgeous sky blue color. Then it all just came together (over the next year).

flower wall

I hand painted and stenciled the flowers on the wall here. Knowing what I know now, I would cut out the flowers from vinyl and do it. It would look better, I am sure. Thankfully, with a little elbow grease, soap, and water, those flowers can wash right off. So, one day in my spare time, I might just do that.

kitchen

This is the kitchen I played with when I was little. Isn’t it adorable? It is rather small, though. I really want to make the girls a taller play kitchen for Christmas. (Crossing my fingers-that project was supposed to have been last year’s Christmas present.) The other cute things have been acquired through the years. the baby doll high chair-from Grandma Judy. The coffee maker and mixer-different birthday presents. The cute little cupcake stand I think was a birthday present. I made their cooking hats. They have aprons to match. Now Genevieve needs one, and another cute little girl I know needs one, too. Those purple totes are the “quiet time” boxes. They work great, when we use them.

baby area

This is where babies are taken care of. We used to pile them all up into the baby bed. That was annoying. The pencil shelf was used somewhere else, I brought it into the playroom for the dolls and their accessories. I like that better. The two brown spots on the wall where the blue paint has peeled off really bug me. I need to touch that up. I used to have a coat rack hanging there, it won’t stay on the wall. So, I just took it off. After I touch it up, I want to paint something cute there. A tire swing? Birds on a wire? The cardboard box has baby blankets and other baby accessories in it. We decorated a box with wash tape and card stock birds we cut out. The little white trunk was a Christmas present from Grandma Judy. It holds all their baby doll clothes. They have at ton more baby doll clothes (that were presents) but I have them put away for now. Too much stuff makes it hard to clean up.

back door view

This is the view from the back door.

reading area

This is the closet the washer and dryer were in. It is now the reading area. I call it the patio off the garden. I picked up that window/mirror at a yard sale. Perfect there. The brick looking stuff on the walls and floor is linoleum I got on clearance at Lowe’s. I thought it was perfect there. The heart garland is leftover decorations from a birthday party. If I weren’t so lazy, I would sew it, then it would hang nicely. On the wall to the right there, around the corner from the door, is a full length mirror-a present from Aunt Jada one year. They use it when they need to see their outfits. (Daily, hourly) The shopping cart is a Melissa and Doug toy. I bought that for one of them for Christmas one year. It is awesome. We take it to the store. They love it.  The two round pillow looking things I made out of corduroy one year. They are great, but they can be better. The girls like them, so that’s all that counts. The corduroy had been given to me, so all I purchased was the stuffing. They need more shape. I should have used piping. Oh, well. Live and learn. I got the pattern from Pinterest.

pallet bookshelf

Our book rack. This is the first thing I think I made from Pinterest. It is out of a pallet. A little more difficult than at first imagined. Brian made it, actually. I just found the pallet for him. HA! The purple basket has stuffed animals and soft books. It’s their reading buddies.

tree

This is our apple tree. We change out this tree according to the seasons. One year we had a fall tree with colored leaves. I am going to switch out the apples for the leaves, when I find them. At Christmas time we always put a Christmas tree there. This is the door to the laundry room.

DSC_0057

DSC_0058

These are planes we have collected here and there. The blue one is made from cans, we purchased it at the Jockey Lot years ago. Kate and I painted it. The red plane is actually a book shelf I picked up at a yard sale one year. Love it. The planes are for daddy.

sun

This sun has been hanging up in a room since Kate was a baby. It is a hand-me-down from a cousin on daddy’s side. I thought it was so cute to hang that instead of painting one. Then we added the stuffed clouds. I bought that shiny white fabric at a thrift store years ago. Perfect for some clouds.

sticker tree

This is a vinyl tree I bought. Genevieve won’t stop picking the raccoon off the wall, so I stuck him in a tree.

coat rack

I am particularly proud of this thing. It is a cedar log I saved when we cut down the tree in the yard, one year. I made it into a rack for the girls to hang their dress up stuff, hats, and purses. I made a mess when I took everything off to get it’s picture.

cedar log

I sanded the bark off, then drilled holes into the log at a downward angle, then inserted dowels into the glue filled holes. I then put it on a little stand! I used power tools. So much fun to do. It lasted for about a year, then we had company who climbed the tree breaking off my piddly little dowels. So, when Daddy came home, he redid it for me with some thicker dowels.

I didn’t take a picture of the back door. It’s a metal door, have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn’t until we moved here. Because it is metal, it is magnetic. Awesome. So, we use it to display random things. Drawings, magnetic letter words, whatever the girls want to display at that moment.

I am really pleased with our little playroom. I finally got the toys organized on a shelf in little bins which helps clean up time. We pare everything down about every couple of months. Sometimes we sell things, sometimes I just put it up and bring it back out later. I know the girls really enjoy it. Since our house is so small, I am very thankful to have a designated room for toys.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our garden.

back door view

grief

CARRIE

Grief is a strange thing.

Truly.

The 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary says grief is the pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. The pain of mind. I don’t think I have ever been in this much pain. Mind or body. The kind of pain that flares up randomly. In the grocery store when you see the International Delight Iced Coffee carton and burst into tears. Or at Walmart when the speakers are blaring some country song that reminds you of her. Genevieve seeing her picture and saying JoJo all day long.

Pain of loss, thinking of all the future memories not experienced. She not being here to hold my new baby.

Regret of words said, not said, time wasted.

It seems easier some days.  Some days are so filled with children, housework, husband, life that I don’t let myself think about her. Other days, she is all I think about.

Carrie is in heaven. Carrie is with Jesus. What is she doing? How is Grandma? How is Coy and Grandma Lou? What is it like up there? How does it feel to have your new body?  Oh, the joy! I can’t quite wrap my mind around it.

On Labor Day, we went to spend the day with the family-mainly my Mama, sisters, and all the kids. The husbands were working. As we drove by Mama’s house, I noticed Carrie’s car in the driveway.  I said to my girls, “Look, JoJo is here.”  Really? How could I have said that without thinking? As soon as I said it, I began to cry. No, she’s not here. Ugh. She won’t ever be here again.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelations 21:4.  I am so thankful for the comfort in that verse. When I can remember to think about it, that is.

Memory flashes of that week. That horrible week. Carrie lying on the hospital bed, already in heaven. All I could say and think, “Oh, Carrie. Oh, Carrie.” Buying her last outfit. Seeing her name on all those official death forms. Having to SHOP around for a funeral home. One that didn’t require every single penny up front.  Meanwhile, life doesn’t stop. Children still need to be fed and bathed.  Bills forgotten, housework neglected.  School?  What’s that? Questions without answers.  Children who want JoJo.  Crying without understanding.

But, it does get easier. You just have to keep on going. You have to. The sun still rises and sets every day.  Clothes need to be washed. Floors finally get mopped and vacuumed. My husband comes home taking some of my burden. Life finally settles back down into a routine. Granted it’s a different routine. Routine, nonetheless. More frequent calls and texts between sisters.  Trying to love each other more.

I miss her.

CARRIE

 

 

 

 

 

like the Hebrews

Each and every day I have a simple goal. To rise early (before the girls) to read my Bible. Each and every day I fail. Genevieve usually wakes me up. It is difficult to have time alone with God when there is a rambunctious toddler in your lap.

Until today.

I was awake at 5:30. Kate came in wanting to sleep with mommy. We lay there, neither one of us sleeping. Until I finally just got up. I told her she couldn’t get up until the clock said 8:00. She was upset, but she eventually fell back to sleep, thankfully. I made my coffee and sat down with my Bible. It has been so long since I tried to just read it, I wasn’t even sure where to start. so, I just found where I had left off last time, months ago, and began there.

The Hebrews had just left Egypt and were trying to outrun the Egyptian army. (I am sure you all know the story.) God brings the Hebrews through the Red Sea on dry land and drowns the Egyptians. The Hebrews rejoice. They sing and dance in praise and worship to God for his deliverance.

Then disaster.

Bitter water. Bitter attitudes. Angry with Moses and with God. How dare this happen to them, they cry! We would have been better off in Egypt, they say. Really?! How quickly they forgot God’s deliverance. It was just in the previous chapter. So, it couldn’t have been but the previous week, right? I am no Bible scholar, but they weren’t even getting their manna yet, so they hadn’t been away from Egypt very long. They had just seen the greatest miracle of their lives. The Red Sea crossing and yet they were doubting God.

Sounds a lot like me.

Just a week ago, I was praising God in church for his love and care. And this week? I am a complaining, weepy, whiny mess. I don’t know how I could have forgotten already. But, I seem to have. I needed this reminder this morning. God is taking care of me and my girls. Even though the water may seem bitter to me right now. He will sweeten it. I just need to trust Him. I don’t need to forget. I need to remember His blessings that He gives in the forefront of my mind.

God does love me. The Bible tells me so. I am not alone. He is right there with me. He is taking care of us. Here are 3 of my blessings right here.

mother's day

I hope I can remember this lesson longer than the Hebrews.

guess what?

number4announcement

Life has been a bit challenging to say the least this past year. I am hoping to get back into blogging again more regularly. So, to jump right back into it, I thought I would share our latest bit of news!

number4announcement

We are expecting blessing #4 sometime in January!

a little paint project

I asked Brian if we could paint the guest house for it looked like this.

Ew! Right? Not really. It still cute. It is just raw wood with water stains and mildew loveliness. The walkway was slick with some mildew, also. Not fun after a rain. Well, I guess it would be fun if you were little, but I don’t fancy slipping and sliding then falling on my bum.

We decided to paint the guest house. But, because I was going with a drastic color, Brian told me to get a quote on the house. Everything needs to match, right? So, after lots of back and forth (hahahaha) we were able to get the house painted, as well. I was beyond excited. In the winter months, it starts to look DREARY around here.

Here are the before shots of the house.

It really is a cute house even with the gray. The boring and drab gray. I like gray, don’t get me wrong. I wear it almost daily. That and brown and blue and plum. HA! But, I don’t wear red. My house is red. I don’t wear red. Maybe on Christmas Eve, I will wear a red sweater. I don’t really wear yellow, either. My girls do. they look gorgeous in yellow. Me, not so much. My house? Now, it looks gorgeous in yellow, too.

Doesn’t it? Isn’t it so bright and cheerful? Doesn’t it just make you SMILE?!

Look at the guest house! Gorgeous! It’s like a little play house.

I even stained the walkway after they pressure washed the nasty thing. It looks so good, even with acorns and leaves all over it.

Since it is Autumn, my favorite time of year, I had to put up a new wreath, right? Right? And get pansies, right? My front door and front entrance is gorgeous, now!

Well, at least Kate and I think so. She helped me do all the planting while I made my wreath. She also arranged everything around the front door. I think she has quite an artistic eye.

Well, what do you think? It looks good, doesn’t it? I think it looks even more “me” than before! I love it! Woohoo! I love coming home and walking down the little walkway to the entrance. It is so lovely. It really makes me smile. Now on to the landscaping and the wall! We are going to be working on that in the spring.

Happy Monday!

celebrating Isabel

Last month we celebrated Isabel’s birthday. I have been meaning to dedicate an entire post to Isabel. She is our little clown. Our funny girl. Everything she says is hilarious.

For example, tonight I was taking a shower. I had Genevieve in her crib playing, and Kate and Isabel had climbed in with her. I just left them all in there to play. I thought it would be okay. Less likely for anyone to get hurt, if they are all corralled in the crib. Right? Well, halfway into my shower, Kate tells me that Isabel is sitting on Genevieve’s back and neck. Really? Sitting on her back? When I questioned her, she said yes, she had been sitting on Genevieve’s back. I try to explain about being gentle with the baby. Stuff I have said a thousand times. Isabel just looks at me and says, but she was my horsey.

Isabel. My sweety sweet girl. The girl who walked at 8 months, but still wants me to hold her all the time. My girl who has yet to sleep through the night for an entire week. My girl, who in the midst of her play, will come to me just to tell me that she loves me. Then run back to play some more.

Isabel. My bully. Torturer of Kate. Hilarious, really, but you can’t laugh in front of them. She picks on Kate mercilessly. Kate can’t stand it. She is so tender. The least little slight and she cries. But, Isabel? Tough as nails. She doesn’t get her way, she just calmly reaches over and PINCHES the fire out of Kate. Holds Kate’s things behind her back while taunting her. So mean. Then the next minute, playing nicely and lovingly. Please and thank you.

Isabel. My singer of Jesus loves me. Every morning. She loves to sing that song. She loves to pray. She always prays for our food. Amen. She loves Jesus. She loves Sunday School. Cries if we are running late and she misses her story on Sunday mornings. She loves her baby sister. Loves her big sister. Loves her cousins. Full of love and smiles and joy. My Isabel.

Isabel wants long hair more than anything. She is constantly talking about having long hair. About 5 or so months ago, she began wearing things on her head and calling it her long hair.

Like a shirt.

Or…

Her baby sling.

Or…

A burp cloth.

Or…

Her cape.

Or…

Random yellow lace.

Seriously. She is obsessed. She will even put their sequined frilly skirts on her head. Anything that suits her mood, whether it matches her outfit or not, she will put it on her head, and call it her long hair.

Enter Grandma Judy who buys these children what they want.

I give you, Isabel~with long hair. (Granted, it is fake Barbie like hair, but it is her long hair.)

I let her wear it to Walmart one time. I’m not sure if people there thought she was a sweet little girl going through chemo. Or if they realized she was just wearing a dress up wig. But, she wore it through out the store. We got lots of looks. Lots. We are probably on that nasty Walmart website with the other weird people at Walmart.

She wanted a fancy birthday hat for her birthday party. So, I took a plain birthday hat, dressed it up and glued it to a headband. She even called the dangly ribbons, her long hair.

I just love that silly girl.

marital bliss

I am so blessed to be married to my best friend. Today is our anniversary. Instead of being sad because we weren’t able to spend it together, I thought I would walk down memory lane. I don’t have any pictures before this of us. We weren’t really together, nor did I have a digital camera. This is in the stone ages, you know.

2007.
I am pregnant with Kate. He always liked to put his hand on my pregnant belly. In this picture, we are in Arizona. He had to go to Tucson for work. I was a flight attendant, then. So, I flew down (for free) to stay with him and see the sights for the week. We had a lot of fun.

For those of you who don’t know, we did everything out of order. We weren’t saved. We were living for our own pleasure and however the wind blew. Brian and I were really good friends who got pregnant. He did the honorable thing and took care of me. He eventually began to love me.

2008.
Happy and in love, here. I think. My sister was moving away. So, we had a luau type going away party for her. It was a lot of fun.

2009.
This picture totally cracks me up. We were getting some pictures made in our wedding finery. I wanted him to look at me with adoring eyes as I leaned against the tree. This is what I got. Adoring eyes. See them? He finally did marry me. Thankfully. Because at this point in our lives, we had just had another child. Isabel. She was a month old on our wedding day.

2010.
I like this picture a lot. I am not sure if it’s the angle of the camera or what, but my face looks way huge compared to his. But, I still like it. We had a baby sitter and were able to go out to celebrate our one year anniversary. It was fun. We went to dinner, got ice cream, and probably went to Walmart. If I remember correctly. I mean, isn’t that what you do on your dates?

(I think I need to buy my husband a new shirt. It looks like he only owns this blue one with the white stripes. Did you notice that? Go back and look at those pictures again.)

2011.
My cousin took some family photos for us last year. This is my favorite one of us. He is saying stuff like, I hate this, I look stupid. Push you in the swing? Really? How dumb. And look. It turned out absolutely adorable. He is a laugh riot. I’m newly pregnant here, just pregnant enough to look fat and gross, so I cropped it out. Heehee.

2012.
This is at the airport, right as he was leaving this past time. I always take a picture of him and the girls. Then one of me and him. I have to get one last picture before he goes, just in case he doesn’t make it back. Morbid, I know. But, I do it anyway. I like this picture a lot, too. I should print it out and put it by my bed. That is a good idea. I think I will do that.

Well, even though it is only our 3rd marital anniversary, our family is older than that. So, I don’t really like to count it as 3. It is more like 6. But, this is our special day, set aside to celebrate our love. 10-10. Brian chose that day, so he wouldn’t ever forget the date. If you want to read the post I wrote about our wedding day, click here. It is a good read. It just might make a tear come to your eye. It does mine.

Happy anniversary to my best friend, Brian. I sure am thankful for you. You are a wonderful husband and an amazing daddy. I am blessed beyond measure. I love you.

birthday monkey cake!

We celebrated Isabel’s 3rd birthday a week early, so Daddy could join us. It was more fun getting ready to celebrate her birthday than the actual celebration. I don’t think we “do” parties well, yet. Maybe in a few years, they will have more fun. But, the cake was AWESOME! I really enjoy making spectacular cakes. So, I wanted to show you the cake and how to make it.

Here it is! Isn’t it wonderful! The reason I wanted to make her a monkey cake is first of all because I wanted the challenge, but secondly because I call Isabel, my monkey. Want to know how?

I used a 3D bear cake pan. I got it from Michael’s several years ago.

It is imperative that you follow the directions that come with this cake pan in baking your cake! Imperative. If you don’t, you will be sorry. Don’t ask me how I know that….3 separate times. ARGH. Read the directions! Follow the directions!

This is how it looks out of the pan…except the ears were on top of it’s head. I forgot to take a picture before I cut them. I cut the ears off with a bread knife. I then inserted toothpicks into the ears, then into the side of the head, like a monkey’s would be.

The icing covers up the features of the bear. You can then just frost the bear in whatever you desire. As it was about midnight when I was frosting this cake, I found I didn’t have chocolate icing. So, I googled how to make brown icing. The directions are here. It turned into a rather lovely brown. With some tweaking here and there, that is.

After you frost it manically, because it is getting later and later, and your birthday girl takes a thousand pictures of you out of excitement for her cake….

Draw the face out of a lighter color of frosting. (I just mixed up the brown with white to make a tan.) Look into your craft stash for some googly eyes, ribbon, and buttons…to make it a girly monkey.

And there you have it! A beautiful girly monkey perfect for the little monkey girl in your life!

I think she was pleased with her cake and decorations. It was all pink and girly and monkey. Just like her!

Linking up, for the first time. EVER!


IT’S FALL, Y’ALL!

My favorite time of year! The leaves are beginning to turn into their delicious reds, purples, and yellows. The air is brisk and seems cleaner. Going outside is a delight.

My Autumn sedum is burgundy and gorgeous!

I had bought lettuce in anticipation of eating it in some yummy salads. Sadly, I forgot all about it. It was wilting and so pitiful. So, as part of “school” today we planted it. The girls weren’t really interested in planting it. They were eating their italian ices. We had been outside for awhile and had gotten hot by the time I remembered the lettuce. I just let Genevieve help me plant it instead.

As you can see, she had fun. She loved the feel of the cool potting soil. So much so, she had to taste it. MMMMM. Delicious.

My lettuce is already perking up!

Happy Autumnal (is that a word?) Wednesday!

rainbow rice

rainbow rice

Do you need something to do on these rainy days when the children are driving you CRAZY?! Make rainbow rice! It is so fun.

Put 1/2 cup of rice and put it into a ziploc bag. Add a couple drops of rubbing alcohol and a couple drops of food coloring. Then SMUSH! Actually, let the kids smush.

Spread it out onto plates and allow to dry. It takes about an hour.

Put the children at the table and let them go to town.

I put glue on some paper with the rice, thinking they could make a picture. It really didn’t work. The rice just stuck to their fingers….

Then I pulled out the play doh and let them roll it around in the rice….

That was fun.

Lots of different ways to have fun. But the most fun was just pouring it from one bowl into another, mixing the colors while getting rice EVERYWHERE. Thankfully, it vacuums up easily. When they were finished playing with it, I put it in a ziploc bag for storage. I let them play with it in their play kitchen until it eventually all got vacuumed up. They enjoyed cooking it, pouring it, stirring it, and just rolling their fingers in it for months.

Fun stuff!

outdoor wednesday: children’s garden and planter

childrengarden
I would rather be outside or at my sewing machine, if I had a choice. Being outside is just easier these days because the girls can come, too. It is hard to find time at my sewing machine. (Even though I have gotten to get to it some this past week.) The girls love to be outside, too. They wanted to plant their own gardens this year. I let them do almost everything. I broke up the ground with the hoe for them and made some rows, but they did everything else.

We thought it would be fun, if their gardens had signs. So, we asked Daddy to make us one. He cut a board, sanded it, and nailed it to a a small post. I had the girls paint it whatever color they chose. I then painted their names on it. Adorable. The girls thought they were awesome.

Kate’s garden is growing faster than Isabel’s because it gets more sun. Now I know and next year, I hope we can equalize it a bit.

Here are the first few blossoms. So exciting. I think I am more excited about their flowers than they are.

Here they are today. A lot of their flowers are falling over from all the rain, so we cut some of the heavy ones to bring inside. See how tall the sunflowers are? They weren’t supposed to get that tall. Some of them have blooms all the way down the stalk. I can’t wait for all those to bloom. That will be gorgeous. I think sunflowers are my favorite.

Not to be outdone, Mommy had to make something different this year, too. I have pinned on Pinterest, two different topsy turvy planters. I knew I had a pot or two behind the shed, so on one of Brian’s many trips to Lowe’s, I asked him to get me a pole. The wonderful husband that he is, he bought me 2 different ones, so I could choose which one I wanted. So, one day, I painted my pots and put them together on a pole. Actually, you start with the pole in the ground, then the bottom pot, threaded with the pole through the hole. Fill your pot with dirt. Thread the next pot, but tilt it, then fill with dirt. Continue until you get to the top. I used these wave petunias I purchased on clearance, hoping they would wave down the planter. They aren’t waving down it, yet. But, I have hope.

I never really have an original idea. Almost all my ideas are from somewhere else. I will see something, then add my own little flair to it. I have been doing this forever (or so it seems). Pinterest just makes it so much easier to keep track of my ideas. I still bookmark a bunch of other things on my computer…I don’t know why, I should pin those. Maybe I will. Hmmmm. Maybe in my spare time.

Happy Wednesday!

smiley face

KateIsabelGenevieve

Life. Whew. Never boring. I think some days that we are finally settling into a routine, then the next day the baby won’t let me put her down. EVER. For the whole day. FUN.

The next day it rained and rained. Flooding our yard and around our house. Now we are in the middle of a huge landscaping project. Fun.

I have ordered books to begin our homeschooling this year. That is definitely going to be fun.

Brian bought me two little silkie chickens a few weeks ago. A rooster and a hen. I named them Harry and Harriet. When I finally get around to posting some pictures of them, you will “get” their names. These sweet, precious, little chickens needed their own coop. So, we got them this darling little coop that I decided needed to be painted yellow with white trim. NOT fun.

How weird would it be if people winked in real life as much as they did in texts and on facebook comments?

Brian and I are taking our CWP class on Saturday (that means concealed weapon permit). How fun is that going to be? Playing with my gun and shooting all day? With NO kids? SO MUCH FUN!

Kate and I went to a lady’s house yesterday, so that I could play with her Mary Kay stuff and place an order. Marie had all her stuff set out as if we were having an actual makeup party. So, Kate and I had facials, then we put on all the makeup. I got to see future teenager Kate…kind of fun, but kind of strange. She is going to be gorgeous. Then again, I may be a little partial.

My girls love to carry Genevieve around while they are playing. Genevieve loves all the attention. She just lays on the floor and with these huge blue eyes watches their every move. They sing to her while she giggles. They dance and jump around for her while she cackles. That might be the most fun thing ever. Watching my precious girls play. Isabel will say, “I need to kiss my precious baby sister.” Fun girl.

I’ve made and did so many things I have seen from pinterest, one day I am going to start posting about them. I really like pinterest. Fun stuff. I really want to get back on a blogging schedule. Maybe next week?

Brian downloaded a radio 5-0 app onto his iphone. His idea of fun is to listen to the police scanner 24 hours a day. Not really very fun. There are some sad, disturbing things going on in our little town.

Kate and Isabel’s gardens are bursting with flower buds. In a few days they will be blooming and beautiful. I can’t wait. I envision some cute pictures of it all. Fun for me, not for the girls. I have to bribe them to get pictures. A few weeks ago, the sunflower field near here was in bloom. I had to get Brian to go with me to get some pictures. That was FUN! I just love a sunflower field. I would love to plant rows and rows of sunflowers up by the road one day.

I have had to get a root canal this month. Not fun at all. Unless you count taking valium fun. HAHA! I had to get my tooth worked on twice. Rough stuff. I thought it was all done, but I still have to go to the regular dentist for a filling. Another shot. That is what hurts so bad. The shot in the jaw. My jaw is still sore from Monday. Not fun. Not fun at all. Brian had fun taking pictures of me with his iphone while my mouth was stretched open, though.

I really really really like Instagram. I also really like my iphone! Do you have any app suggestions for me?

Tuesday night, we went with another couple to eat sushi, then we went to Yogurt Mountain. Have you heard of that place? You get your frozen yogurt, then you make a mountain with all your toppings. Take it to the counter, where they weigh it, you pay by the pound. Brian’s was almost $10. Mine was like $4. Hilarious.

Brian says I switch topics in conversations without warning. A friend of mine does the same thing. So, we can talk, have a nice conversation and cover a myraid of topics seemingly without taking a breath (according to our husbands). Brian now says I have to say “switch” when I change the subject of the conversation, so his brain can follow. Otherwise, he gets lost. We were talking last night at church and kept doing it. Switch! It was amusing. Sort of like this blog post. Maybe I should have put “switch” between each paragraph.

One of Brian’s favorite little sayings is, “Happy fun time is over.” That makes me laugh.

The end.

our outdoor kitchen

outdoor

When I was a little girl, my Papa built my sisters and me an awesome playhouse. I mean it was really awesome. There was a trapdoor that led to the roof. There were logs for chairs and tables. We had a door with a latch. I remember playing in that playhouse for hours with my sisters and with my cousins when they came over.

We had the best backyard at that house. There was a winding creek with a “deep” part. (It was probably a foot deep, there. HAHA!) Another part of the creek had these really cool roots for climbing and exploring. Across the creek were three trees that had been cut down and went from one bank of the creek to the other. My sister could RUN across those logs, but I could only scoot along on my bottom. I remember this one log in particular, it had a branch on it still at one point that made scooting along very difficult.

We had so many adventures in that backyard. We played “little house on the praire”, got lost in blizzards, and other wind storms. We played house, mommy and daddy. My sister was always the daddy coming home from work. We had a tree swing that would go SO high. It was the absolute best backyard in the entire world.

Because of those memories I have of my childhood backyard, I try really hard to create things like that for my girls. One of the reasons I wanted this house so much is because of the creek. (We can’t get to it right now because of the overgrowth, but we will one day.) I built the girls a little playhouse perfect for them about 2 years ago. I really want to paint it. Brian will build them a better one when they get bigger. But for now, it is perfect.

Since it is so small, I have been making them an outdoor kitchen area this summer. I wanted to share it with y’all because it isn’t picture perfect like all the ones you see in internet land. The girls have so much fun with it, and to me that is what is important. (We now have a mailbox that needs a post for installation. The girls said their mailman hadn’t been delivering their mail, since they had no mailbox.)

I do have some plans to make it more pleasing to the eye. Right now though, it works. The girls are happy, so Mommy is happy.

Fancy shelving

Hilarious, really.
The dishes are mainly thrift store purchases. Some bowls are from my kitchen that I don’t use anymore. The spoons are the cheap wooden ones you buy in a pack from the dollar store. I do need to get them a few more bowls and utensils. I have it on my list.
Kids do not need fancy store bought toys. A few things here and there and their imagination completely takes over. I wish more parents realized that.
Happy mud pies!

lessons learned – june 2012

grandma

Blog? Who has time to do that? Much less shave legs or wash hair some days. I honestly didn’t think adding a child would really add that much more to do. I completely forgot how much time a baby needs. It really does get overwhelming sometimes. We are slowly adjusting. I thought I would try to get back into blogging by doing my “lessons learned” posts. I have a lot of fun with them.

#1~ Have Grandma come to visit more often. My mother-in-love came to stay with us for a week. We had a lot of fun. We visited the Children’s Museum, the Columbia Zoo, and downtown Greenville for ice cream. It was fun for the girls to have their Grandma here every morning. It was also nice to have adult company in the house for a change.
#2~ Ask Kate what she wants in her garden, before we plant it. I usually let the girls help me plant my flowers and veggies whenever I am working outside. This year, I decided to let the girls plant individual gardens for themselves, intending to just have them plant sunflowers and zinnias. Fool proof plants, guaranteed to grow. When we were finished, Kate said she didn’t want a flower garden. She wanted a food garden. OOPS! So, she planted some cucumber plants in the middle. Then we planted some pumpkins for her in my veggie/sunflower garden.
#3~ When letting the girls paint, just let them paint. I try to direct their painting efforts, and it usually doesn’t work. I get frustrated and then they don’t want to paint. I need to just let them go. They like to paint just for painting’s sake. Not to create things, not yet anyway. In time, they will.
#4~ Sisters last forever. Teach them to love each other unconditionally. Something my sisters and I were never taught.
#5~ Always be ready for Brian’s return. Brian had been telling me that he wasn’t coming home until June 25. I was a little upset with him, for the week before his scheduled return was our VBS at church. I was in charge of the craft time, and I really wanted him here to help and encourage me. The Monday morning of VBS week, I was running around trying to get to church. We were making fossils at VBS that night, and I needed to make clay for around 80 kids. Get all the trays made out of tin foil, etc. I put the girls in the car, ran back into the house to get whatever else I needed. I locked the house down, ran back up to the car, put everything in the back, walked around the car AND their stood Brian. Literally. I was so surprised, ecstatic, hysterical, crying, jumping up and down, crying, laughing, hugging him. It was the best surprise I think I have ever had. It was wonderful.
But, later that day when we were all home and the excitement had worn off, I kept thinking about everything that I hadn’t done, that I should have done. The shopping, the cleaning, the normal daily things that he expects me to do when he is gone. I was disappointed in myself for not pleasing him but doing the little things. I was thinking about all of this and was reminded of how we should always be ready and watching for Jesus’ return. Even though we will be excited upon His return. I expect that when we get to heaven, we will be saddened by all the things we should have done for Him that we didn’t.
#6~ Plant more zinnias.
#7~ Gentian violet is the cure for almost everything. We put it on cuts and scrapes. Genevieve and I had thrush. The nystatin that the doctor prescribed wasn’t working after a week. I googled thrush and home remedies. Evidently, years ago, doctors used gentian violet for thrush, but discontinued it’s use because of it is so messy. I used it in her mouth and on myself. IT IS SO MESSY! But, it works!
#8~ When, I feel like my emotions are out of my control, they might be! For example, I struggle with handling daily frustrations in a godly manner. But, sometimes life seems to be so very CRAZY and OUT OF CONTROL!! One day, I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t understand my thoughts or my actions. I tried to talk to Brian about it. (He was still away.) He was no help. Another lady told me to pray more and to memorize scripture. Which is a good idea, but I knew that that wouldn’t help. There was something just WRONG!
I called the herbalist who we have gotten things from before. She asked me a series of questions. By my answers, she believed I had a low level of progesterone. She suggested I get to a health food store and purchase some immediately. So, the next day I did. It comes in a cream. The scent reminds me of an old lady. I felt relaxed in just a few hours. Instead of tense and frustrated. It was wonderful. Not relaxed, as in drugged, but in control of my mind and my emotions. It was wonderful. I kept putting the cream on, whenever I felt that frustration build in my mind. It was wonderful. It IS wonderful. It took a few days to figure out how much to put on. But, I have been using it for weeks now, and I will never stop using it. NEVER! It really does help.

Did I mention my husband was home? It has been so nice having him home again. I forget how much I need him when he is gone. Not to DO things for me, but to just BE with me. He is my best friend and I really love him. On that note, look at the rooster he bought me. I mentioned I wanted some chickens for the girls and I to play with. Fun chickens. So, he bought me a Silkie rooster and hen. Isn’t he adorable? I named him Harry.

Happy happy!

these days…

DSC_0530

Are rough. Absolutely mind numbingly rough. Sometimes, in the night, Genevieve will be crying, and I will think to myself, what in the world is that noise? Oh, please stop making that racket! I am trying to sleep, here. Oh, wait! The baby!!

You think I am kidding? I am not.

Right now it is 5 am. I have been up for an hour and a half. I finally got the baby to go back to sleep, but now I am up. I have to be up soon, anyway. So, I might as well get some things done.

I had forgotten how absolutely, utterly tiring newborns are. Combine that with an energetic 4 and 2 year old and you have a recipe for exhaustion.

I am enjoying my new baby. Everything is just RUSHED! I have to hurry and accomplish things while the baby is sleeping or happy. For example, I feed the girls, then nurse the baby, get her settled. Jump up and clean the kitchen as quickly as possible, because someone will need me. Whether it is a letting the dog out/in, someone on the potty, an owie, disciplining, reading books, whatever. There is always something or someone that needs Mommy.

Genevieve is finally taking a long morning naps, so I am getting a little bit of quality time with the other two girls. But, with Brian gone, evenings are long and bath time/bedtime is a nightmare. Slowly, but surely, we are settling into a new routine, change is just hard. Hard on all of us.

I get frustrated looking at some of the blogs that I follow or pinterest. Hardly anyone in the internet world is truly honest about their daily lives. I know that their lives aren’t picture perfect, so why portray them that way? As much as I enjoy sewing and crafting and cooking, there is only SO much perfection I can observe. Most days, I don’t even get around to getting dressed, much less craft/sew/shop in a coordinated outfit, down to the matching flats. I usually get spit up down my back within 30 minutes of my morning, just like with Isabel, my new perfume scent is called Glorious Motherhood.

Click on that link. Look at Isabel and Kate. How little and precious they were two and a half years ago. Now look at them.

I read that post, before I linked it up. I realize I had a difficult time adjusting to 2 children, just like I am having difficulties adjusting to 3. It’s just that I am lonely in the evenings. During the day, everything is fine. But almost every single dinner time, someone spills a whole glass or bowl of something. Isabel spilled her bowl of hot soup on her lap Saturday, burning her little legs. I was trying to calm the baby when it happened. So, I put the baby on the floor quickly, jerked off Isabel’s shorts, stuck her in the sink to spray cold water on her. While Kate is calmly dumping an entire box of crackers on the table to eat with her soup. Genevieve is still screaming.

Last night, I accidentally deleted the pictures on my camera from the past 2 weeks. It included my baby shower pictures. So upsetting. I had also taken some precious pictures of the girls Sunday morning after church for their Daddy. Sunday night, we lost the keys to the house and were locked out after church for about an hour while we waited for someone to come help us break in. A lady that I really admire reminds me weekly “to stay above the chaos.” Sometimes that is seems so difficult. I am so afraid of becoming that crazy, frazzled mother who yells and screams at their kids. I am terrified of becoming a bitter, hateful wife because I am alone 6 months a year. So, I turn to the only One who can help. I was encouraged this morning when I read Psalms 77. He says:

In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran into the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled I cannot speak. 

I am so thankful I am not the only one who thinks this way. I am not the only one who feels despair and cannot even vocalize it to the One who can help. Further down in this passage he says:

I will surely remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all they work, and talk of all thy doings… Thou are the God that doest wonders.

I just need to focus on my blessings, trusting in Him. He has been faithful, taking care of me and my girls time and time again while Brian is gone. I just need to remember that.

My blessings:

More blessings than I deserve….

FINALLY!

newbaby

On March 19, 2012, after having been in labor for way over 2 days, my beautiful baby finally came. Never have I been more excited, well 2 other times I have been just as excited, but on this birth, I finally got my wish. As soon as my precious baby came out, they placed it directly on my chest. What a wonder, this precious little child.

We got another girl. Imagine that! Her name is Genevieve Louise. She weighed a whopping 8 pounds 9 ounces.

See how she is sucking her thumb in this picture? Isn’t it adorable? I know I wanted a boy, but when I saw that it was a girl, I was beyond excited. Almost relieved, in a way. I know how to be a mommy to girls, but a boy would have been a challenge that I am not sure I am up to. (How is that for a run-on sentence?)

Proud Daddy.

This is just going to be a picture post. Mainly. I don’t really have much to say about it, except that I am so glad it’s over. I was so miserable the last 5-6 weeks of my pregnancy, thinking it would never be over. I was just so, so big. I mean SO big. I really gained a lot of weight. A lot of it was water, I was so swollen, my feet and legs were just huge swollen things. I couldn’t even wear shoes. My face was really swollen. I felt so ugly and yucky. Then my labor pains were so frequent, but not real, it was just so discouraging. I am so relieved and happy that it is over. I am so thankful to God for a happy, healthy little baby. He is so good to us.

My husband was being so goofy that night when it was all finally over.

Little smooshed face. Don’t you just want to kiss it? Such a sweet little thing. I am so blessed.

The girls took right to their little sister. They both know exactly how to hold her and how to be sweet and gentle. It is fun to watch. Isabel kept calling her “my precious baby”.

Which is exactly what she is….a precious baby.

the cow jumped over the moon

cow

This is what false labor looks like:

I have thought 3 separate times that we were in labor. Every single time the contractions have stopped. So, yes. I am still with child. So, yesterday, I made this fabric art wall hanging thing that I keep putting off. For some reason, I have wanted a “cow jumping over the moon” picture. I have seen a few online, but none of them really “speak” to me. (HAHA.) For Christmas Brian bought me the Silhouette Cameo. It is a cutting machine. It cuts out anything. It is the neatest thing. You hook it up to your computer, get your picture, send to machine, and tada! It cuts it out. Granted, I might have simplified it just a bit, seeming as how every time I go to use it, I get just a tad bit frustrated. But, there is a learning curve, and I am pregnant.
But, anyway, what was I saying? I used my Cameo to cut out this cow. I did the rest using printed fabric that I already had.

Isn’t it adorable? The chickens are cheering the cow on.

I used this ugly canvas thing I bought when I was pregnant with  Kate. I don’t think I have ever hung it. I never liked it after I got it home. I covered it with fabric.

Added some rolling hills.

Ironed “wonder under” onto all the other pieces, then cut them out.

Ironed them onto the canvas, where I thought they should go.

Found some googly eyes for the cow, to make me laugh, admired it, called it “art”, then hung it over the baby’s bed.

Since I had everything on hand, it was practically free. I really like it. By the way, what do you think of the big, fat chicken? Doesn’t it just make you smile?

Well, I sure hope I have this baby before I get the urge to blog again, don’t you?

cravings and other such nonsense

orange
Today is the due date. No sign of baby at all.
The one different thing about this pregnancy than the other two has been my cravings. (Hopefully, that means it is a boy.) I craved chocolate ice cream with the girls, with this one it is all things citrus. Key lime pie, mainly, but oranges and pineapples, too. The thing with the oranges, though, I could never figure out an easy way to cut and eat the things. I don’t like peeling the peels off. The skin would get under my nails. YUCK. Then you have all that white stuff, pulp-I guess, surrounding all the good, juicy part. So, I was really excited one day, when I figured out this way to cut my orange and eat it, really easy like.

Cut off the ends.

Cut in half.

Then slice it like this, long ways.

You can, then turn each slice up on it’s end to cut off the stupid white stuff, if needed. Not all slices will need it.

Once you are finished, you enjoy….

The girls and I can eat 2 whole oranges at one sitting. We like the little cutie mandarin oranges, too. But, those are easy to peel. Not stressful at all.

The other thing that I can’t seem to get enough of is Perrier with lemon. Brian introduced this to me about a month ago.

I fill up a tall glass with crushed ice, squeeze the lemon all over the ice, pour the Perrier over the ice. Stir. I can’t seem to get enough of it. Brian says it is an expensive habit. I think I am worth it.

*smirk*

The other thing I can’t stop doing is making these little baby hats out of t-shirts. Look at how cute they are.

I made two with the little knots on top, one plain, and one with cow ears. So easy and so cute! Let me know if you want me to show you how. It is super easy and fun. I made all of these in one afternoon.

Maybe next post will be a picture of my new baby? One can only hope.

baby preparations

clothes

I am finally getting around to showing you some of my baby things, I have made. I know it would probably be easier to buy these things, but I sure have enjoyed making them. I have just been sitting around enjoying false labor, sewing, trying not to be too impatient while waiting on this little munchkin to make an appearance. I don’t remember really thinking about the babies, necessarily. I remember worrying about labor. (HA!) But, this one, all I can think about it holding it. I can hardly wait. I can’t wait to find out what gender the baby is, either. I keep thinking it is a boy with curly hair OR a really fat girl. We will see soon enough, I reckon.

Okay, you didn’t come here to read my rambles, today….here are my baby things:

The blanket I made. One side is minky squares, the other is just a quilting cotton that I liked. In hindsight, I wish it was flannel, but oh well. It is still so pretty.

At least, I think so. This was the first time I have ever used satin blanket binding. I did it the “right” way, as opposed to the “cheater” way I bound the blanket I made Brian for Christmas. It turned out so nice. Granted, I had to find a you tube video showing me how, but I did it. Woo hoo!

The next thing I made was this swaddle wrap blanket. I used the teddy bear for the model. He looks happy in it, huh? This is basically just a triangle shaped piece of flannel with ties sewed to the back. I got the pattern from the book One Yard Wonders.

I learned how to use this kind of binding AND how to sew a french seam on this blanket. Brian is a big swaddler of babies. He can make the blanket perfect around that little squirmy baby. I, on the other hand, can’t get it on there good enough to stay. So, since he will be leaving and won’t be around to help me swaddle, this blanket is going to come in handy. I really like the colors, especially the orange, for some reason.

I made a bib to match the swaddle blanket. This was the first time I used piping, the buttonholer on Lucy, and the button threader on Lucy! So exciting to learn new things. The back is a soft brown minky, very luxurious.

Here are the “big sister”shirts I have been stressing about! This picture really isn’t a very flattering one of them, but the girls wanted to pose with them. I even made head bands to match. New baby has a coordinating bib, with brother or sister able to be put on with velcro once we know what it is. I will sew it on permanently later. The girls are so very excited about their new sibling. They are constantly kissing my tummy/baby.

Here is a little bit better of a picture. I used my new Sihouette Cameo that I got for Christmas to cut out the letters and flower. That is why the letters look so professional. *grin*

I covered the wipes box with fabric. Because I am silly. I just used fabric and hot glue.

Here is the baby’s corner. Since I don’t have a dresser, I am using the bottom drawer of the crib for stuff. But I also covered some boxes with coordinating fabric to put on the changing table shelves. They have the baby’s clothes in them. One box even has baby toys. Everything has turned out so very cute. I still have to hang the mobile. Well, Brian does.  I am happy with our little baby corner. Thanks to my sister for letting me use her beautiful crib.

Here I am in all my big belly glory! I cannot believe how huge my tummy is. Let us hope it is all baby and fluid….not the other that will be so hard to get rid of.

Now I am working on presents for the girls to receive when they come to meet the new baby. I am making crayon rolls and new skirts. I bought them each a puzzle, coloring book, and new set of pj’s. I also still want to make the diaper bag before the baby comes. We will see. My due date is for Monday, March 5. I am betting that I go at least another week after. Fun, fun.

pregnancy brain

clothng
Does not work as well as non-pregnancy brain or even mommy brain for that matter.  Seriously. Sometimes I can’t even remember why I went to the bathroom. I went to the laundry room to get some chicken out of the freezer for dinner, instead I switched laundry, wiped off the washing machine, and cleaned the dryer lint. Went back into the kitchen and remembered the chicken. Headed back to the laundry room….couldn’t find any chicken in that freezer. Went back into the kitchen to get a glass of water, still not remembering to look for chicken. I think it took about an hour for me to finally look through the freezer for some chicken.
I am supposed to be doing a read-a-long with some other bloggers, but my brain isn’t working well enough to process the information. I just can’t concentrate on serious. I found a book in one of my boxes called Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde and read it instead. Way more entertaining. It is about a girl named Thursday Next who lives in 1985, but in a completely different sort of world than ours. You can jump in and out of books. It is lots of fun. So much so, that I had to get the sequel from the library, Well of Lost Plots. I was looking for it in fiction, but it was in SciFi/Fantasy, if you are interested. Lots of fun. You need to suspend your disbelief while you are reading. Lots of fiction characters come to life. I wholeheartedly suggest you read these books for some mindless fun.I routinely burn dinner or over boil a pot of water. Ugh.

We just celebrated my birthday. I turned 34. Here is a picture of the girls and me on my special day.


Brian made the best steak sandwiches for our dinner. He bought some filet mignon and had the guy shave it. He then cooked it, melted mozzarella on top of that. Cooked up some peppers and onions, then we had it all on a hoagie roll with baked potatoes. Yummy. Even the girls loved it. I made the cake, chocolatey chocolate cake. Delicious.

He got those “happy birthday” candles. Cute, but they melted really quickly. The “h” was almost gone by the time I blew it out. Kate even joined in singing the birthday song with her daddy. It was sweet. I wish I had thought to turn on the video camera. But, alas, my brain is not working.

Brian tried to move the old chicken coop when he first got home. He lifted the handles and it literally fell apart it was so rotten. So, Brian built a new chicken coop. It is very nice and much bigger. It really isn’t moveable like the other one, though. You need two people to move it. Very heavy. It looks so professional. He did a really good job. He used treated lumber for the parts that aren’t painted yet, which is why the paint isn’t finished. You have to wait like 6 weeks or something before you can paint treated lumber. Looks good, though, huh? The chickens seem happy.

I have been meaning to show y’all some of the things I made the girls for Christmas. I haven’t really gotten a picture of everything yet. But I finally got one of Isabel’s dresses. It is a t-shirt dress. Literally. It is made from strips of old t-shirts that I got at a thrift store. They were 50 cents a piece. It is topped with a shirt I got from Wal-mart.

She really likes it. It is all cotton jersey, so it is very comfortable. I think it is adorable. I didn’t hem it because I like the way the t-shirt rolls up on the bottom, making a cute hem by itself. She enjoyed posing the other day before church. Then sister Kate had to get in on the action.

Silly sisters. I love to watch them play together and love each other. It really is precious. I just love being a  mommy. I can’t wait for new baby to come. That is going to be even more fun (and tiring).

Here is a precious moment I captured a few days ago, they are playing baby and mommy.

I only have 4 weeks left to this pregnancy, if all goes according to schedule. Yeah, right. Like that ever happens.

peanut butter randomness

Peanut butter
Today is National peanut butter day! Who knew? I didn’t, well at least I didn’t until the Huffington Post told me. And I always believe what they say. (Ha!) But, I thought it was a good enough reason to have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch today. Boy, were they good. 
Peanut butter is always in this house. If there is no peanut butter, there is definitely something wrong. I eat a lot of it. It is one of my favorite things in the whole world to eat. Just smear some peanut butter on half of a piece of bread, fold it over, then enjoy. Nothing better. My Uncle Toby agrees with me, too.
Sometimes we might just eat it with a spoon. Yummy.
(pictures from lunchtime)
 In other news, I have joined my bloggy friend, Jenners, and her friend Jill, and a few other people in a read-along. I am supposed to blog about each chapter on Mondays. We just finished chapter 2 for this week. The book is Howard Zinn’s classic history book, A People’s History of the United States. So, far I agree with some reviewers I have found that it is from a very liberal viewpoint. BUT, like all historians, Zinn has an agenda. I really would like to read some other viewpoints, before I come to any conclusions. I do, however, realize that what he says is true, to a certain extent. He just makes the first 2 chapters sound HORRIBLE and the founding of our country on the deaths of all the peoples who were here first. Really, was it that bad? I don’t know.
Also, life is pretty much the same with my 2 crazy girls. I am curious to see how adding one more to the bunch will change things. Here is Kate with her new obsession. 
Her gun, her holster, her ear protection, and her horse. I need to get her a hat, a cowboy hat.
 
Isabel still loves to swing. Snot and all. Snot is just a part of our daily lives in the winter, I guess. Yuck.

Well, on that note, I will go. I am purging things from the guest house. I have a huge box for the trash and another box for goodwill. I need to make more room for storage. We are slowly running out of room in our main house. I save too much. I need to just THROW AWAY.

Don’t forget to eat some peanut butter in celebration of today, this important holiday.

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

new baby preparations

babyprep
Were basically nonexistent, at least until Wednesday, anyway. I had an ob appointment where they told me I was pregnant. Which I already knew. I really don’t understand the point of all the appointments. It is really annoying and stupid. Yep, you gained weight. Yep, there is a baby in there. Okay, see you in 2 weeks. Ugh. Really? What a waste of time.  I already knew all of that. Yesterday, though I took advantage of being in Greenville~45 minutes away in the big city. I had lunch with a friend. Then I went to Babies R Us. I am sure I could have gone to a trendy little downtown baby store, but I was hoping for a sale or two.

I was able to get a stuffed cow for half off. Koala brand blankets were buy one get one 50% off. So, I got a nice brown blanket with polka dots and a puppy luvvy half off. I had already purchased the cow sleeper earlier this year. The cow sleeper is what has given me my inspiration for the new baby’s stuff. Cows and brown. I already liked brown and cows, so why not use them for new baby? Kate’s colors were yellow and red. Isabel’s were light blue and light green. Since we never know what the gender is, I try to use gender neutral colors for their “stuff”.


So, new baby’s colors are brown and brown, with some blue or whatever thrown in there.

Now, I really need to sew some for new baby. I have plans for a taggy blanket, big blanket, and a stuffed animal. I want to make some stuffed letters, but since we have no names picked out for our gender neutral baby…..I need to wait. I also want to make big sister shirts. Is Kate the BIGGER sister and Isabel the BIG sister? How does that work, anyway? Do you know?

All  this talk about cows reminds me of this post. I was 32 weeks pregnant with Isabel at the time. I am twice as big as I was then.

See?

Now, I am going to go cut out new baby’s blanket.

thank you, danke, gracias, arigatou gozaimasu

thankyou

I think it is very important to teach my children to be thankful for everything. We talk about being grateful. I try to explain to them how very blessed they are. Since they are so small, still, one of the easiest things I do to reinforce thankfulness is to have them make thank you cards.

I found this adorable Melissa and Doug sticker book that I gave them for Christmas. They used it along with crayons to say “thank you”. I printed up the words “thank you” in different fonts and colors for them to cut out and glue onto their cards. The cards themselves are pieces of scrapbook paper that I use for lots of different crafts.

The girls had lots of fun making these. I did, too, actually.

It’s a tea party! Each item is a separate sticker. The girls created their own “scene”. Kate’s is on top, Isabel’s is on the bottom. Adorable.
It took a bit of explaining to get them to realize what I wanted them to do. They really just wanted to put stickers EVERYWHERE! But, once I showed them all the different themes, their imagination took off. They made several more, I just didn’t photograph them all.

new year

newyear

Well, we have already had an exciting start to our new year. Brian has been home! We have really just been enjoying his presence. We have been spending a lot of time just being together. It has been really nice. Granted, it was a bit busy right around Christmas with him just getting home and doing stuff at church. But after the holidays, we have been just relaxing.

We are trying to finish up the playroom right now. I hope to have it finished next week, I will show it to you, then. I also have a few more projects that I really wanted completed before new baby gets here. In case you have forgotten, there will be a new baby arriving in the beginning of March.

This week, Brian is actually out of town for training, so I am trying to get some sewing done. It is hard to sew while he is here, for some reason. I want to make a baby blanket and stuffed animal/toy. Floor cushions for the reading area in the playroom. Skirts for the girls. Dress for me. Diaper bag. Do you think I can get all those finished? Plus, I have a small stack of things that need fixed/finished/repaired/made to wear.

I did not make any resolutions this year. I just don’t think it would be wise to try to have resolutions with new baby coming. New baby is going to take up a lot of time at first. Who knows how life is going to really be with the new one? Wild at first, I am sure.

It is getting closer and closer to time for new baby, actually. Less than 2 months are left. I think I am 32 or 33 weeks along. I forget. I am getting a bit nervous about the delivery. The other two’s births were far from normal. I really do not want an ambulance ride or emergency anything.

We have a lot to be thankful for. Last year was a great year. I learned so much about being a godly wife and mommy. I am looking forward to this new year and all the wonderful things that will be in it. I have a several things on my mind that I want to begin and to do. I hope that I can even with the new baby. But, I am not making resolutions for any of it.

I actually have a lot on my heart and mind right now….but I don’t think I need to blog about any of it. If any of you that read this are pray–ers, pray for me. I really want to do the Lord’s will. I want Him to have preeminence in my heart and life. I want Him to soften my heart and help me to love others. Really LOVE them. I struggle in this area (amongst others). I would like to get back into reading His Word daily, not just sporadically. I would like to grow spiritually.

And on that note….our Christmas morning family picture.

(Don’t the girls just look thrilled?)

Happy (late) new year!

some homemade goodness

homemade
Brian will be home tomorrow.
This year for the girls’ presents I really wanted to either buy used, really cheap, or make them. I have done a little of it all. I am going to show you a few things I have made so far. I am really excited about them. I have seen felt food tutorials all over the internet and have quite a few bookmarked. But my mom gave me a pattern that she picked up for a dollar, so I just used that.
Felt fruit:
2 bananas, an apple, and an orange. I went scavenging in the outside toys and found this tin bucket I am going to wrap it all in. Cute! My bananas might be a little wonky, but I don’t think they will notice. I really like the stem and leaf on the apple.
Brian will be home tomorrow.
Cupcakes with decorations:
I only made 4 cupcakes, because I thought the muffin pan I was going to package them in was for 4. But as you can see it is for 6. So, I need to make 2 more. In the purple envelope is a bunch of different colors of hearts, flowers and butterflies. They all have velcro on them for easy decorating. The cupcakes themselves have velcro, too. The pattern showed the decorations sewed on, but I thought the girls would have more fun decorating them the way they wanted to.
Brian will be home tomorrow.
Bow tie pasta:
I am going to take all the credit for the creativity of this one. I was given these pinking shears a few months ago. In my cutting felt for flowers, I thought how it kind of looked like bow tie pasta. So, I cut up a bunch of little rectangles then tied them all in the middle with thread. A tad bit time consuming, I will admit, but worth it. So cute! Then I made this little bag with the see through window, remembered I had the twine and tad a! Bow tie pasta. But we call it hair bow noo noos (noodles). Hair bow noo noos are the favorite noodle of choice around here.
Now I need to figure out how to make some black olives. The girls love black olives. I want to make some with out sewing….so, if anyone has any ideas please let me know!
Here are a few more things that the girls and I have done this past week.
Brian will be home tomorrow.
Homemade snow globes:
These have been a BIG hit in this house. They were a lot of fun to make. The second picture is a closeup of Mary and baby Jesus. We have an angel, carolers and a snowman. We gave the snowman away last night. I need to make a few more for presents. They are really attached to these. Now I am not exactly sure where I saw this particular idea. It may have been on pinterest or it may have been one of the thousand crafty blogs I follow. Who knows. But, if you want to know how, here is what we did.
Glued our figure to the lid of the jar. Filled the jar with hot water. Added some glitter. Added some glycerin. (We have a  huge jar left over from when we made bubbles.) Screwed the lid on. Flipped over. Some we had too much water and made a mess. Some we had too little water and had to add water. Some we had too much glitter. ETC. It was definitely a learning process. There is no formula to making these perfect. It is all trial and error. Which is how I do everything anyway.
Brian will be home tomorrow.
We finally took our fall tree down from the playroom. We needed to put up our Christmas tree. I picked up a yard of green glitter felt at Hobby Lobby. Who even knew they made such a thing? I was just going to get some green felt, but the glitter looks so sparkly, like lights. I cut a tree shape, eyeballed it, of course. Hot glued and pinned it to the door. The we cut out a bunch of felt ornaments. I just cut out what was ordered. Hearts, bells, birds, looks like we have Easter eggs, pinecones, balls, etc. I had some ribbon that looked like candy canes, so I used it to cut out candy cane shapes. At the end, Kate wanted a star, so we did that, as well. Then we hung her angel up over the tree. She made that angel in children’s church and was so very proud of it.
Then yesterday we finally got the presents under the tree. Just in time for Daddy to come home.
It turned out really cute. If I do say so myself. The garland is bead necklaces hot glued on. I think it really adds some Christmas cheer in the playroom, along with the lights we have strung around the room.
I am going to put a side note in here. I don’t consider myself one of those overachieving moms who goes out of her way to make things just so for her children. I just want to make their lives filled with fun and creativity while they learn new things. I am learning new things all the time. I want to pass that love of learning and doing on to them. I like it when they see mommy can’t do something the first time, and then I figure it out. Or I love it when I hear them playing and they say, “I have an idea!” Because I say that all the time…I am always having ideas that I jot down.
I really just want them to love life. To love living and doing. That is why I do the things that I do. I love it when they say, “My mommy made it.” Because they know that I put in that extra little bit of love to give them whatever it is they have. Instead of just going to buy it at the store. I like it when they see how things are done. For them to make a mess in the kitchen with mommy making dinner or cookies or whatever. To me that is what life being a mommy is all about. What is the point of having these little things running around with you, if you aren’t showing them how to do things? Kate got a sewing machine for her birthday. She loves to sit beside me and “sew” while I sew. It is really great fun for both of us. (Until her needle becomes unthreaded for the 50th time, then she is done. HAHA.)
Anyway, I hope you don’t mind my side note….I just don’t want anyone to think I am bragging about what I do. I just like to show you. I think some of the stuff we do is cool. I mean, half the time, I have no clue what I am doing. I am just winging it. Then when it turns out good, it is exciting. Like the playroom….I still am not completely done redecorating it. But, I have never painted a room for kids before. So, it was all new. And it turned out awesome, if I say so myself. I will show you the complete room when it is finished. I still have some finishing touches I need Brian’s help with.
Did I tell you? Brian will be home tomorrow. Brian will be home tomorrow!
Woohoo!
Happy, happy, joy, joy!

snowmen SC style

snowman
Christmas decorating has been going on full speed ahead around here in the Armonat household. Once we got our tree up and decorated, we haven’t stopped crafting and making and playing. It has been fun.
I really like snowmen. I have a few here and there, but not nearly as many as I would like to have. And of course, it isn’t like we get the kind of snow down here that you can make a real snowman. So, I have figured out how to make snowmen myself. Southern style. Thanks to the internet and Pinterest. You can follow me here on Pinterest, if you want to.
Snowmen jars!
First, get some jars and paint them white. We let them dry overnight. While we had out the white paint, we actually painted lots of things white. After they dry, add your hats, faces, and accessories. This is the best part.
Here is the final product. In order from left to right: Daddy, Kate, Isabel, Mommy. Hilarious, huh?
Snowman pumpkins!
The next snowmen project, we used our leftover pumpkins from the fall. We painted them white and left them to dry overnight.
As you can see, we really, really like to paint. After they were dry, we stacked them and added their faces and accessories.
Here they are outside in the flower garden. They look pretty happy, don’t they?
I have had this snowman doorstop for years. I usually just put it by the front door on the floor. Which is where it is. Well, the other day, Isabel said he needed flip flops. So, she gave him her flip flops and asked me to take his picture.
For some reason, she thought this was hilarious. She left them there for a few days and would laugh every time she saw him. It was funny. She is such a little clown.
Here is the snowman made out of plastic pumpkins covered in white fabric. She is in the living room this year.
Kate and Isabel read books to her.
I hope you are having a wonderful December so far. We are! We are counting down the days for daddy to come home. We are in the single digits, finally. Another cause for celebration is all my presents have been purchased! I am just finishing up a few homemade projects and I will be finished. Woohoo! Now to wrap them all and mail some. So……
Happy shopping!

farewell fall

fallshirt

I came across these two pages in a magazine and thought they summed up my feelings of fall, perfectly. I really do love this time of year. The colors of the leaves, the decorations. It always makes me a bit sad to put up my Christmas stuff. Fall is just my favorite. I find winter so dreary and cold.

Even though the first official day of winter isn’t until December 22. I always feel like December 1st is. I don’t do like some and put my tree up the day after thanksgiving. I wait until it is December.

I am excited this year to turn the calendar over to December, though. Now we can begin our countdown for Daddy’s homecoming. When he first left, I was flipping through the calendar….page after page….month after month. I didn’t think December would ever get here. But yet, here it is. Tomorrow. Where has this year gone?

I think we have made the most of our fall. Trips to the apple orchard, playing outside, planting our pansies, putting up our scarecrow. Fall treasure hunts, watching Papa blow all the leaves away. Here are some things I might not have shown you from our fall fun.

Kate’s fall tree shirt
sweet sisters
I’m a scarecrow!
Do you want my boogy?
My hummingbird
Farewell fall….parting is such sweet sorrow.
(I know. I am a dork.)

thanksgiving blessings

turkey

Thanksgiving was wonderful this year. We have so much to be thankful for. I couldn’t even begin to list them all. Brian’s parents came down for the week to help us celebrate. It was a nice time. Jason, my stepson (I have never really thought of him like that, I don’t know why. But he called me his stepmom this weekend. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.) In preparation for the week, the girls and I made this lovely thanksgiving banner you see above. each letter is comprised of something different. Beans, feathers, ribbons, etc. Then we added glitter for fancy fun. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun the girls had with this project. Kate for one, is really into letters and what they are and the sounds they make. I think she is ready to learn to read.

Here they are, with their supplies we have gathered…ready to GLUE!!

 

Gluing away….what fun for little ones. Who knew?

Thanksgiving day itself was fun. A lot of work, but fun. Even the girls helped prepare dinner. Here we are breaking beans. We had fresh beans instead of green bean casserole. Delicious.

bean mustache
Sometimes they just sat on the steps and watched Grandma and mommy work.
While the turkey roasted and other things simmered, the girls and I talked about thanksgiving as we colored pictures. Grandma and Grandpa read magazines and watched us. Jason had to give Molly some loving.
 
 
 I tried to explain to them why we set aside a special day for thankfulness. Who we thank and what we are thankful for. Then I asked them what they were thankful for. If you know Kate, you know she just listens, takes everything in, and doesn’t really participate. So, I went around and asked everyone what they were thankful for. Everyone said stuff like: health, family, food, etc. When I got back around to Kate, I asked her again. She told me she was thankful for Jesus dying on the cross. As I type this, I tear up again. We hadn’t even discussed Jesus, not then, anyway. But, that is what she was most thankful for. My sweet Kate, who hit the nail on the head and said the very thing I was thinking but was too chicken to say in front of my in-laws. I was so proud of her. My special girl.
Soon dinner was ready. Isabel got to the table. And before anyone realized what she was doing, she helped herself.

This girl loves olives.

Jason had the honor of carving the turkey. He did a really good job.

Once Grandma Judy stopped badgering him, that is…..she was a good sport, though when Grandpa called her out on it.

It was an almost perfect thanksgiving. Obviously the less than perfect part comes from Brian not being able to be with us. But, we are thankful for his job. This next picture is for him.  I wasn’t able to get one with them all smiling. They were worse than children. Talking, laughing, looking down. I think this one was the best, though.

The day was truly a blessing.

fancy birthday tea party

bdaycake

My precious little Kate turned 4! (last week) She is such a fancy, dressy, girly girl that I wanted to make her party something that she would love. So, we had a fancy tea party.

The decorations:

Those hearts and flowers in the back are princess wands. I thought those turned out especially lovely.

Here is her cake in all it’s glory. When I would ask her what kind of cake she wanted, she would reply, a pink cake with sparkles and blue, and purple, and flowers….FANCY!!! I googled fancy cake and found a picture of something similar to this and tried my best to duplicate it. The one online was 6 or so layers with fondant. Mine is more like 3 layers with butter/cream cheese frosting. Messy but tasty.

We even made sure the inside was fancy.

Here is the fancy birthday girl. Ready for her party. Notice her accessories?

We decorated crowns and made pearl necklaces. Here are the party goers showing off their princess/fancy attire.

The tea set and me….ready to serve.

Having tea. All the girls really enjoyed the tea. It was a raspberry tea. Decaffeinated, of course. The girls were so careful with the fancy tea cups and saucers. It was really cute.

Ready for presents. She got completely spoiled on dress-up clothes. Now she and Isabel have no need to fight over things. (right?)

The happy birthday girl with her fancy cake. I think the party was a success.

Happy birthday, Kate!

rambling randomness

rings

We were at Walmart the other day and came out the wrong door. As in the door on the other side of their HUGE parking lot. Of course, I didn’t realize what I had done until we were wondering around the HUGE parking lot looking for the car. Ugh.

Then the next time we were at Walmart, I did it again. Yep, sure did. I told the girls we were on an adventure and the first one to spot the new car got a lollipop.

Sometimes I forget I am pregnant. Then I try to work like a man, all day. Then I can’t get up the stairs that night. Wow, I am so out of shape. Like yesterday, I made a coat rack, painted 3 things, fed and watered chickens, planted pansies, hoed one of the flower beds, gave the dog a bath, then made dinner.

I cannot wait for Brian to be home. Hopefully, by then ALL my projects will be completed. I am trying so hard for them to be done. I really  need to start on the few things I am making for Christmas presents. The playroom redo is almost where I can show you. I am waiting on something in the mail. I have to make two more things. Then it is done. I am so over this room. It has taken much longer than I expected. It is really cool, though. The coolest play room I have ever seen.

Brian’s parents will be here next week. So, I will be slaving like a mad person over the weekend to make sure everything is perfect. I am looking forward to their visit. I get a little crazy with just toddlers to talk to sometimes.

Isabel is a funny, funny girl. She has the most hilarious sense of humor. She sees the world in such a unique way.

 

This is her new thing…she does this, then says, “see my rings?”  Cracks me up every time.

I am getting pretty good on Brother Lucy, my sewing machine. She and I have learned to really work together well. I am getting closer and closer to deciding to open an etsy or not. I made this shirt for my nephew’s birthday. He is into trains.

His “don’t take a picture of me” face. I debated whether or not to put a ‘4’ on the train (4th birthday), but decided not to. It is a big shirt, hopefully he can wear it next year, too.

By this time in my other pregnancies I have usually picked out a “color” for the new baby’s blankets and such to be. Kate was yellow and red. Isabel was blue and green. We never know what the gender will be, so I always go for neutral colors. I think I want brown and light gray. I know that isn’t very bright, but I keep thinking if it is a girl we can always add pink. Then if it is a boy, we can add something else like navy blue. What do you think?

Part of me wishes we knew what we were having. If this baby is a boy, he is going to have to wear girl baby clothes. HAHA! I do have some green and yellow stuff, but because the girls wore them, I think of them as girl clothes, you know?

Want to know what the best alarm clock in the world is? Realizing at 6 am that you left your camera outside ALL night long.

Spray paint is very awesome. I spray painted a few things for my kitchen yesterday. Things I had bought at the thrift store that were total 80’s style. Now they are nice and updated.

Every meal time a little person HAS to go potty. Every time it is a potty that requires mommy assistance. Really? We aren’t past that stage yet? At least we are out of diapers. But, not for long. I never in a million years ever once thought my life would consist of conversations that begin like this “Did you pee pee or poo poo?”

I am loving pinterest! Here is a link to my boards. I am just getting started on this thing. It can be consuming at times.

Well, enough of this rambling. I leave you with Kate’s new facial expression for the camera.

My children are a bit strange. They must take after their daddy.

fall craft FAIL

tree

I had in my mind that the girls and I would go on a fall treasure hunt. We would then take what we had collected and craft with it. Well, best laid plans…..

We did go on a treasure hunt. That was fun. Well, it was fun after we got out of the briars. I tried to walk in the woods which did not work at all. The woods have overgrown quite a bit. So, there were lots of briars and yucky things. We ended up just walking around the edge of the woods finding neat things.

The next day was my planned crafting day. I wanted to iron wax paper on the leaves then make a fall tree for the play room. For some reason, the wax paper did not cooperate. It did not look pretty at all.


See? The wax paper leaves are in the background. My pretty leaves are in front. Since that didn’t work, I googled it. It said not to use dry leaves. So, I sent the girls back out to get more. It still didn’t work. Oh, well.

I remembered how to take your leaf and put it under your paper, then color with a crayon on top. Getting the leaf outline. Remember doing that in elementary school? I showed the girls what to do.

So pretty! Right?


This is what they did. No cooperation with mommy at all. Scribble scribble. That is all they wanted to do. UGH! Maybe they are too young to color that way? I don’t know. So, I left them to their scribbling, found some colored card stock, and began to CUT OUT leaves. I cut out about a million. Made a tree trunk with branches out of brown paper, stuck it to the door with sticky tack. I then let the girls go to town sticking the leaves all over the tree. I was bound and determined to have my fall tree in the play room, obviously.

When we were finished, they said we needed a bird. So, I made an owl for it. After it was all said and done, I had tired fingers and back from sitting on the floor cutting out the million leaves. A messy play room, but two happy girls.

officially fall

wreath

Well, fall is officially here at our house. The scarecrow has been put up. And isn’t she pretty?!

We have also been working on quite a few other projects, hence no time for blogging. I think I want to blog, I sit down, and there are no words. Just exhaustion.

I took this $10 dresser, sanded and painted it.

Before
 
After 
I am still not quite finished with it. I bought these plain wooden knobs after seeing tons of cute knobs on etsy that had been painted with butterflies and flowers and such. But, I put them on plain because we needed knobs on there desperately. Kate keeps changing her mind what exactly she wants. So, I just need to paint something. Eventually it will be done. But, I am taking a break on this dresser. It turned out cute, I think. We bought the little plants on clearance at Lowe’s. They get the morning sun in their window, so they needed a few plants. Two of them are in shiny pink pots from breast cancer awareness month. Which makes me chuckle since I bought them for two little girls. But, that is my cheesiness coming out, I guess.

I have been making headbands and hair bows galore, as well. We now have one in every color, and then some. This is just a few of them. But we had nowhere to put them. I had an empty oatmeal canister in our craft box that I noticed was about the same size. So, we covered it in pretty paper and tada! A headband holder!

I also redid their closet. (Is redid even a word?) Well, if it wasn’t, it is now. This is what it was before. I should have taken a picture with their clothes in it, but I wasn’t thinking…

You see how high the hanger bar is? Then there is a shelf above that, with just enough room to put a diaper box. Which is what is on the shelf. Diapers ranging from newborn to size 3. I have been saving them. Anyway, I painted, added a lower hanger bar and added another shelf. I was going to take the higher hanger bar down, but it was NAILED in. I could not get those stupid nails out. So, the hanger bar stayed.

I covered the two by fours with some cool duct tape. I was so tired of painting. I had bought the duct tape for something else, but I think it brightens up the closet.

Here it is with clothes and such. I think I am going to add another shelf above the hanger bar, for more storage. We can never have enough shelves to put things on, right?

When the cooler weather finally came, I decided to go ahead and put out my fall decorations. I have been seeing these felt wreaths all over blogland. I had to make one. What do you think?

CUTE! Huh?
I also had several sweaters and jumpers that I really liked the colors of, but couldn’t wear. So, I saved them thinking they would make nice pillows. AND they did….

 Every season, I take the stuff off my wreaths, then make new ones with whatever I have on hand. These are my door wreaths this fall.
front door
side door
(Please excuse the sideways pictures.)

 

This year, Kate and Isabel made their own wreaths. It was lots of fun. They did all their own work. I only put glue on the wreath, so what you see is all their own. They are becoming quite creative.

The bottom two are Kate’s (I don’t know what is up with the feather, but that is what she wanted.) The top two are Isabel’s. Cute, huh?

 

 The woods beginning to show off their fall beauty.
The last two times we have gotten milk, this is what greets us on one of the roads. It is like the beginning of a joke. Why did the turkey, guinea, and chicken cross the road?

To amuse Kate and Isabel, of course.

Right. I know. It wasn’t that funny.

Well, happy fall, anyway!

last week

DSC_0355

Was horrible on so many levels and in so many ways.

I cannot even begin to tell you how rotten it was. But I am going to try. It started out with me being absolutely exhausted. Mama and I had a yard sale together at her house over the weekend. We went to church Sunday morning, but I could not seem to get out of my chair for church Sunday night. Plus, Kate and Isabel took extra long naps and still weren’t awake when it was time to leave. When Kate finally did awake, she was very hyper. She likes to dance in front of the mirror. So, this night she is dancing and twirling, completely out of control. She trips and falls forward. She landed with her neck wedged onto the edge of a wooden stool, bruising her neck and throat. Needless to say, it scared me to death. She is choking and making these strangling noises. She is drooling all over me while hysterically crying. She has this huge mark across her throat. When I finally calm her down, she can only whisper. She says she can’t swallow.

Then, I made a mistake.

I googled bruised throat, then called my mom.

Of course, she says, RUSH HER TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM!!!

I say, I don’t know. I am think I am going to wait. It is about the time that Brian wakes up over yonder, and sometimes we skype when he gets dressed. So, I told Mama I would call Brian and ask him.

While we are skyping, Kate is in my lap. He is watching her, but she doesn’t realize it. She keeps swallowing and smiling at him. Her voice is still hoarse, but she seems okay at this point. So, we decided not to take her.

The next day, Isabel and Kate are taking a bath. I keep hearing lots of splashing, thumping, and giggling. So, I decide to see what the commotion is. They are both standing up, Kate has her leg up and Isabel is holding it…..then somehow they both fall in slow motion. I see Isabel’s mouth smack the edge of the tub, blood spurts EVERYWHERE! I pick her up and wrap her in a towel. We rush into the kitchen where I pour sugar all in her mouth and under her lip to stop the bleeding. (A trick I learned from my Aunt Trudy.) Poor Isabel ends up with a huge fat lip for several days. It was even black on the inside.

She liked showing it off.
Isabel got into the vaseline and spread it all over her body and clothes. While I was attempting to clean up slimy, greasy vaseline, Kate was skyping with daddy. Well, she was sitting in the office chair in front of the computer. Wait, let me rephrase that, she wasn’t just sitting there, she was twirling the chair around and around. She accidentally hit my coffee cup and coffee went everywhere! All over the desk, computer, bills, letters, papers, and pictures I had just printed out to mail to Grandma. UGH!
This was also the week I decide to redo a dresser for the girls’ bedroom (more on that later) AND their closet AND wash all the winter clothes. All with a serious bad attitude on my part. The girls did not want to cooperate with me at all. Disobedience was the norm. Then, I sliced my finger open on a knife. We also had several more falling downs and other such injuries.
Every single time some disaster occurred, it would frustrate me to no end. Every little thing annoyed me. I wish I could blame it on single motherhood. But, that isn’t true. I had this attitude problem at times when Brian was home.
Everything and everybody was getting on my nerves. I didn’t feel like making dinner, breakfast, or lunch. I don’t even think the girls brushed their teeth but a few times. One day, I literally just screamed and screamed. No words, just screams. Then tears. The poor girls just looked at me. Kate then ran to the playroom and cleaned it up. It was almost spotless. I have to admit I was really proud of her cleaning job.
The Lord has been working on my heart about this again. I get so caught up in myself and my selfishness. I stop reading His word. I stop praying. I take my focus off being what He wants me to be and instead do what I want. I then become a miserable mess. I react to things in a way that is displeasing to God and to those around me. I become a horrible mother and wife.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that reading my Bible and praying every day makes everything hunky dory and no annoying things happen and all of a sudden I am a perfect little mommy. (Like that horribly long sentence?) I am still human and my children are still bad at times. But, when I make my focus pleasing Jesus instead of myself, my reactions are usually calmer.
I couldn’t have a higher calling than to be a mother. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to be allowed to do. That is what God wants me to be. A keeper at home. A teacher of my children, a helper to my husband.
Titus 2:4-5 says,
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

I have been working on a Bible study entitled Holy Women. It goes through Proverbs 31, Titus 2, and lots of different women as examples. It has truly been a blessing and a help. Lots of things I didn’t even know. Not only am I learning them, but I am learning why. I also recently read a book called, Created to be his Helpmeet  by Debi Pearl which really helped me a lot the last few weeks Brian was home.

So, this week, I have been focusing more on God and the girls instead of me, myself, and I. Once again, this has proven to be the way to live my life. Now, the girls still fuss, argue, scream, and get hurt. But, I seem to be handling it better. Because I spent time this morning (and another morning or two) in His word and in prayer. It wasn’t hours and hours, but it was enough to help me to focus on Him.

For you other young girls and mothers who seem to be struggling and have days or weeks where all you want to do is scream and pull your hair out, cry and pitch a fit. I suggest getting up in the morning before your children do and spend some time with Jesus. Then you can truly enjoy moments such as these instead of thinking about all the mess they are making, and all the work you still have to do.


Happy mothering!

summer recap, part 2

swim
Fourth of July was celebrated by shooting guns….

Mama and her cane while shooting = hilarious

Playing badminton….

Eating watermelon….


And spending time with family and friends.

During this month, I was asked to make a cake for my Uncle Anthony’s surprise birthday party. It turned out so pretty, I just have to share it with you.

Cute, huh? He plays the ukelele, so his daughter requested a ukelele cake. I had no idea how to do it. I used 2 sheet cakes and cut out the shapes. I used candy and thread for the top, Hawaiian looking flowers for the edge.

I canned lots and lots of pickles and tomatoes.

Kate had her first taco. And LOVED it. Now, every time I mention having tacos, she gets very excited. She likes to dip them into a salsa and sour cream mixture. We always have root beer with tacos. It makes it even yummier.

We went camping on the hottest weekend of the year. It was fun, but so hot!

Putting up our massive tent took some patience and some time.


The girls danced around the fire.

We learned to make cowboy coffee. Delicious! I suggest if anyone tent camps to try it. It is worth the wait.

~BOAT RIDE~
  ~swimming~
 ~jumping~
~walks along the lake shore~
~grilling burgers lake side~
 ~eating more watermelon~
 ~enjoying sunsets~
~enjoying full moons over our campsite~
~having strange things happen~

Kate learned how to do a flip on the swing set. She loves to show off.

 Isabel still hasn’t quite learned how to pedal her tricycle, much to her frustration.

We ate lots of blueberry pancakes. LOTS.

~popcorn and movie nights~
The back vegetable garden

The front flowers on the other side of the driveway. Next year, hopefully, I will remember that the sunflowers face AWAY from the house. They don’t look quite like I want them to, because they face that way. Oh, well.

front flower bed

another view of the front
Stay tuned for August!

summer recap, part 1

DSC_0066

Fall is here, officially by the calendar anyway. The first day of fall was last Friday. I had every intention of posting something about it, but for some reason, life keeps getting in the way of this blog.

I love this time of year. I really like the cooler sweater weather. I told Kate the other day that I was ready for sweaters, because I was tired of sweating. I had to laugh at myself. She didn’t get it, but she laughed with me. Because she is 3 and doesn’t “get” corny, yet.

In celebration of fall, I thought I would recap our summer for you. I was going to do it all at once, but I was going into picture overload. So, I will just do one month at a time…

JUNE
The beginning of June involved getting ready for Daddy’s homecoming. We painted signs, cleaned and cleaned. Did lots of yardwork. And just generally wore ourselves out. 
Daddy’s homecoming was a very special day. We got the the airport extra early.
And we waited, and waited. Surprisingly enough, Kate ran to her Daddy. Isabel was too busy eating her french fries to be bothered. But, Kate was beyond excited.

She kept giving him these precious, little hugs. Quite adorable, really.

This is Brian and me on his first Sunday back. There are several of these pictures and in several of them a head or something is cut off. This is one of the better ones. We look cute together, I think.
After Daddy came home, life took on a different pace. There was lots more laughing and lots more horsing around.
I goof off with them and play with them, but NOT like Daddy does.
We went on a plane ride to Grandma and Grandpa Armonat’s house for Father’s Day and Grandpa Armonat’s birthday. Brian celebrated his Father’s day by buying himself a present. Which was  a good thing, because in the planning and packing for the trip, I completely forgot about Father’s day.
Here Brian is posing with his present. He is probably going to shoot me for putting this picture out there. But it is hilarious. Every time it scrolls through the screensaver, I laugh.
We got new baby chicks. Mama hen sat on 14 eggs. I think 6 hatched out. Baby chicks are so much fun to watch.
I accidentally grew a cantaloupe. I used my homemade compost around my blueberry plants. A vine began to grow; I left it alone. I watered it when I remembered. Brian and the girls enjoyed it. I thought it tasted green. Still neat, anyway.
We went on several boat rides. I love this picture of the girls holding hands. Just look at the way Isabel is gazing adoringly at her sister.
We also had several breakdowns and other issues that took a little bit of fun away from lake-going.
But, we still managed to have lots of fun, anyway.

 

And capture some nice pictures.

No caption needed….sister love.
The vegetable garden in June.
The front flowers in June.

I wish I could tell you I learned lots of lessons during the month of June, but I don’t think I did. I wasn’t feeling my best a lot of those days. I had a bladder infection one week, then a stomach virus the next. So, not really the best of months to look back on in that regard. But, one thing I am learning daily is to make the best of whatever life hands you.

I hope you enjoyed this look back on our month of June.

I did.

new shoes

flipflop

My sister had given me these shoes last year. I liked them, but I really didn’t like the color. They were the pair of shoes I had in my closet that I tried on most days, but rejected because they just didn’t quite go.

See, Clemson orange, or Tennessee, or wherever that has a bright orange as their color. UGLY!

Well, one day, I thought what if I painted these shoes? If it doesn’t work out, I don’t lose anything. It’s not like it will be wasting a pair of shoes. I have seen all over blogland people paint everything. Including shoes.

So, I did. Cute, huh? Now, if you look closely you can still see some orange. But, all in all I am pleased. I have worn them many more times than I did before.

I only wish I had painted them black. I already have brown sandals. Oh, well. Maybe one day, I will paint them again.

When we were on our vacation, Kate spotted a pair of flip flops that had glittery sea shells on the straps. Oh, how she loved them and wanted them. I looked at them and at the $40 price tag. Thought to myself, I can do this. So, when we got home we scoured Target, Wal-mart AND K-mart for flip flops. Of course, it being the end of August, there was hardly any to be found. We did find boots. Lots and lots of boots. Ugh. We finally found blue ones at K-mart and pink ones at Target.

Daddy knew we were going to be making this project. So, when he was on his sea shell search (say that 5 times) he purposely picked up itty bitty tiny ones. It took a few days of drying time, but we finally got them finished.

I must tell you, the girls did the glitter all on their own. I glued the sea shells onto the straps myself. The girls can’t have all the fun.

Here is Isabel modeling her’s. If you have met Kate, you know why I don’t have a picture of her modeling her pair. They absolutely love these flip flops. We get lots of compliments whenever I let them wear them in public (which is rare….neither one can walk well in flip flops). Which leads me to the thought that I should dress up their flips or other plain play shoes more often. Make things more fun to wear.

Happy shoes!

happy birthday, Isabel!

books

Sunday, September 11, we celebrated and remembered something other than what happened in NYC.

Isabel.

She turned 2. My little monkey, who hasn’t been a baby since she was 8 months old and began walking, is officially a toddler. She is a character and a true joy in our lives. She with her hugs and kisses taught me how to be a more loving parent.

Here are a few pictures from her birthday celebration.

It was a simple celebration. Lunch with Grandma and Papa, our babysitter Heather and her husband. Then cake, ice cream and presents with them and Aunt Jada and cousins. Everyone had lots of fun.

Isabel really got bored with opening her presents which was kind of funny. But I had saved the best 2 presents for last. She wasn’t interested in either one of them. So, I unwrapped them for her. We got her a new baby doll, one just like Kate’s. For she loves Kate’s baby and is always taking it. Since giving her new baby, she hasn’t put it down.

She even sleeps with her.

The present that I was most excited about was a handmade one. Made special for her by Mommy. Some call these quiet books, some call them busy books. I call it a quiet book, because that is what my mom called the one she made for me when I was small. Which I still have by the way. The one my mom made is a lot more detailed and has a lot more pages. But I am really thrilled with how mine turned out.

Rather than show you each page individually, I made a little collage for you. The top left picture is the cover. The rest are the pages in order. A buckle, snaps, tying shoes, buttons, overall buckles, velcro, and a zipper.

Isn’t it adorable? I really like it.

But it isn’t nearly as a adorable as my little Isabel. The whole day Sunday, she sang, “happy birthday, Idabelll….!”

I leave you with some more pictures of the birthday girl.

 

The only thing missing from an otherwise perfect day was a hug from daddy.

Happy birthday, Isabel.

where has the time gone?

throw
Wow. It has been so long since I have blogged. I just can’t seem to find the time to do it. We have been really busy living life this summer. The girls make life exciting. There is never a dull moment around here.

Another reason I can’t seem to find time to blog (or clean or make dinner), I have morning sickness almost all day. Yep, you read that right. We are expecting our third baby. The precious blessing will be here some time in March. We are beyond excited (when we aren’t tired).

Happy Tuesday!

my new shades

glasses

I remember my mom wearing glasses like these when I was little. She always had huge sunglasses.

And, of course, like everything else, they are back in style. With a vengeance! I got a pair of contacts for the summer, so I needed sunglasses when we go to the lake. I went shopping for sunglasses one day. All I could find were the big ones. It was as if that was all they had, except for the aviator ones.

ala-Tom Cruise~NOT my style

I didn’t really like all the big ones, but finally found a pair I liked.

I thought they looked pretty good, until Brian looked at me and smirked. He asked if maybe there wasn’t a bigger pair I could have gotten. (Brian doesn’t like anything that smacks of trendiness.) So, I went rummaging around in the girls’ toy box and found these…..
Do you think these are big enough?

outdoor wednesday: veggie and flower gardens

garden

I know, I know, it isn’t Wednesday. But, Wednesday and Thursday were CRAZY around here. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off both days trying to get the yard and house looking nice for a certain someone who arrived home Thursday night. I really wanted to share with you the yard stuff I have been doing, but I didn’t want Brian to see some of the stuff I have done. I wanted him to be surprised, you know?

First, the vegetable garden:

Here it is when I first planted it, the week of April 17.

Here it is this past week, just 6 weeks later. You can’t really tell in this picture, but there is lots of grass between the rows.

zucchini
yellow squash
banana peppers
Remember the front flower beds? Here is is before:

My perennials  have begun to grow back here. This is also before I put down the new soil, but after I had raked up all the leaves, mulch and black plastic.

Here it is with organic garden soil and some new perennials. I have also planted lots of zinnias and sunflowers in this bed. They are coming along nicely.

This is along the front. I have added some begonias, coleus, and impatiens for color.

This is Kate and Isabel’s garden. It is doing so well. Every day we see a new sprout of green that gets everyone excited.

Here is a close up of the climbing spinach we planted. We also planted some mammoth sunflowers with it, hoping the spinach will climb the sunflowers. We will see.

Here is their strawberry patch. It is supposed to fruit in June, but I was late in getting them in, so who knows when it will. But, they are looking good, don’t you think?

I planted zinnia and sweet william seeds amongst these peonies so that we would have some color in this bed throughout summer and fall. Zinnia never cease to amaze me. They just GROW with no help at all. I can’t wait until they are in full bloom. It is going to be fun.

Here is the rock wall that is on the other side of of the driveway. I added these sedum, petunias, and other perennials. It looks nice, too. It will look even nicer when they are all in bloom. I even added lots of zinnia to either side of these rocks.

Here is a shot of our morning entertainment. We have really been enjoying my birthday present. Aren’t they cute?

I still have a few other things to finish before I share them with you. But in the meantime….

Have a happy weekend!

counting down

couple

Today it has been 16 weeks exactly since Brian left for work.

This is the last Sunday. Sundays seem extra lonely. All the husbands and wives sitting together at church make me miss Brian more. I can’t begin to describe how excited I am that he will be home this Thursday. This Thursday at 9:30 am to be exact.

When he first left I felt a bit of freedom. In little ways, like staying up late and sewing, or watching movies I know he would just make fun of, or going to my parent’s house and staying all day….that kind of freedom. I enjoyed it for the most part.

Then it began to get to me just a little bit, so I worked. I worked in the yard, I rearranged the house, cleaned out the guest house, put in some flower beds, put in the garden, sewed and sewed. I stayed up too late sewing, actually. I read tons of books. We have had ice cream and popsicles for dinner. I have even let Isabel eat a plate of bacon for lunch.

It began to get to me some more, just in time for Brian’s mom to visit. We had a lovely time together. Mother’s day preparations and celebration also helped to fill in some time. We have gone to the park, we went to the zoo.

We planted Kate and Isabel’s garden.

We have had folks over for dinner. We have invited ourselves over to my sister’s to play and eat. We have kept ourselves so busy that we are exhausted. All of us.

A few weeks ago I really didn’t think I was going to make it. I was talking to my daddy on the phone and this analogy came to me. It is kind of crude so beware:

Sometimes on my way home from somewhere, I will have to go potty. I have to GO! I don’t think I am going to make it home. When I finally get home, I don’t think I am going to make it to the door. It will be difficult getting the girls out of their seats. They won’t have their shoes on, they won’t get their things. We finally get to the door and I can’t find my keys, so I don’t think I will be able to make it through the door. Finally get the door open, run in the house, drop my purse (and whatever else I am carrying) on the table, run to the bathroom. When I finally see the toilet, I don’t even think I will be able to get my pants down fast enough. But, I do. I always make it. I haven’t had a peepee accident. Not yet, anyway.

That is where I was….I was feeling as if I wasn’t going to make it. Brian would never be home. I would have to be alone forever. I was having bad dreams. He kept dying in my dreams. It was horrible. I am feeling better now. He will be on his way home Wednesday. I can’t wait.

The saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true. I believe that his absence does make me love and appreciate Brian even more. I think he loves me more and more each time he comes home. It has drawn us closer together because no one truly understands but us.

This is the picture we took when I dropped it him at the airport. Every time I think about going to the airport to pick him up again, I tear up. I can’t wait to have my best friend home with me again.

mother’s day

mama

My mother’s day weekend was really wonderful. I was able to participate in our Mother’s Day brunch at my church. That was a lot of fun. I helped decorate for it. I was also in the skit. Which I think was hilarious and was actually a big hit.

I wanted the girls and I to wear blue. I didn’t really have a blue dress that I thought looked nice on me. So, I made me one. It is really lovely if I say so myself.

I almost look skinny!
(Check out my cute shoes~Kmart)

Mama took some pictures of me modeling it. I did not use a pattern. I just copied another dress I had, made it more A-line, added a ruffle at the neck, and a tie at the waist.

Here is a picture of Mama and me at the luncheon.

It always surprises me at how much I look like her. Same nose, same mouth. Funny. I was glad to be able to spend both Saturday and Mother’s Day with her. Even though we only live 30 minutes from each other, we rarely get to spend time together.

It is so hard to get a good picture of me and my silly girls. Here is one from the luncheon.

Here is Mother’s Day. I really like this one. We set the camera on a table and used the timer setting on the camera.

Brian bought me a beautiful necklace and earring set. He also bought me an incredible coffee maker. It makes the coffee at 200 degrees! HOT coffee, finally! I have not really had hot coffee in several months. I bought myself a hydrangea, because I have wanted one for years. It turned out to be a nice weekend. It would have been better had Brian been here, but we can’t have it all. Can we?

Here are a few other pictures from the day.

Mother’s day gifts:

My attempt at embroidery for my mama.

Making stepping stones with hand prints for the grandmas.

Finger print flower cards for the grandmas with pipe cleaner stems.
My sister and her daughter and Kate.
My cousin, Jody and me
a scene from the skit
(that’s me choking the poor girl who is actually Mrs. Heather, our babysitter)
My sister, Jada and me
( I put it in sepia because the color was off. Really a good picture, huh?)
Becoming a mother has really been the biggest blessing of my life, besides my salvation and marriage. No other job could bring me greater joy. I am so thankful to be a mommy.

I dreamed of being a missionary

I dreamed of being a missionary in foreign places, bringing to God great numbers of swarthy-faced souls. But God set me among familiar scenes, and gave me dirty faces of my own children.
I dreamed of being a nurse. But God made me a scrub woman, a kitchen maid, a washer of greasy dishes, dirty clothes, and smeared windows.
I dreamed of being musically trained. But God gave me the noise of crying babies and the clamor of quarreling boys.
I dreamed of being a landscape artist and God gave me a kitchen window to look out of and diapers to hang against a summer sky.
I dreamed of writing poems. But God gave me baby records to keep, excuse blanks to fill out, report cards to sign.
I dreamed of being a teacher, but God chose to let me learn the hard way, through the discipline of daily chores, through the tribulation of hard to manage children, through the restriction of freedom to come and go as I wished, through the confines of an ever-tight budget.
I dreamed of being faithful in great things. But God asked me to be faithful in the little things~tying shoes, wiping noses, putting wheels on trucks, getting that “one more drink” of water, applying band-aids, removing gum from blonde hair.
I dreamed of being a saint. But God gave me children.
And so it was that my dreams died. Or did they die? Ah, rather I should say…so it was that my dreams became realities.
For I am a missionary. In my keeping are living souls~ no less precious to God than the souls of the Indians and Africans that I hoped to win. From me they can best learn the strength of love, the power of prayer and the effectiveness of a strong faith in Christ. 

~anonymous 

Thursday’s randomness

DSC_1101

Sometimes I am daunted by all that I need or want to do. Sometimes I miss Brian so much it aches in my throat. Sometimes I just want to sit on the couch with a good book and pretend that all my projects are already finished. Like Monday, when I tilled the entire garden, TWICE. Then Tuesday after an entire morning of running here and there. I needed to buy all the veggie plants and seeds for the garden, a part for the weed eater (got the wrong one), and a dryer. Came home, ate lunch, put together Kate’s new wheelbarrow, so she can help mommy.

By then it was going on 2pm.

I really wanted for the girls to play in the dirt while I planted the garden. I was envisioning the really fun day of all of us together playing and getting dirty.

It was a wonderful idea.

Until the gloves wouldn’t cooperate with little fingers and the wheelbarrow kept tipping over and the shoes wouldn’t stay on little feet and the SUN! Oh, the sun was just so hot! And Isabel won’t stop looking at me! Then Isabel wouldn’t stop crying. Then Kate’s whines turned to cries.

So….

My wonderful vision evaporated into a mist of tears.

The girls went to bed. They were asleep in minutes.

I went back outside to begin the hoeing. I stood at the edge of the garden and literally wanted to cry. The thing is huge. And I need to hoe it into rows? You have got to be kidding me, right?

Instead of crying, I took a picture. Took off my shoes to better feel the sun-baked dirt, picked up my hoe and went to work. About 2 hours and a couple of breaks later, I had this.

 

All in rows with my plants laid out where I think I want them. Granted, it isn’t straight. I just eyeballed it. Brian uses string and stakes and makes his rows perfect. Um, I am not that much of a perfectionist. Then I took a nice long break, drank some ice water in the shade and called my mom for a chat.

Then I planted it. Along the left row up there are 12 tomato plants. The back row and at the end of the rows on the right are cucumbers. The 2 rows of green plants there in the back that you can barely see are a variety of pepper plants. The 3 rows at the bottom are zucchini and squash. Makes me all happy inside thinking about the wonderful fresh veggies that are to come.

Admiring our work.
(Do you like the wheelbarrows?)
Now that the job is done, there is such relief in my mind. While I hoed, I prayed. As I planted, I let my mind relax. It truly made for a nice afternoon. Almost as much fun as planting flowers.
In other news, I have been making aprons for our Mother’s day luncheon. Another lady in our church and I are making these. Aprons to give to all the girls age 10 and under. I have 10 made and another 13 or so cut out to put together.
The other day at Mama’s, I looked out the back door and saw this:
What a good  Papa!
Yesterday, my niece and nephew came over for a few hours. We made spring chicks. It was fun.
{*grin*}
Today, I am going to begin putting together a dress I cut out for myself last week. I also need to make something for me to wear on Sunday. The girls are wearing pink, so I need to figure something out to match them. I am thinking about a variation of this here. But with an A-line skirt. OR this one. I am leaning towards the second one because it it just 2 seams. I think I could embellish the neckline with a ruffle, though. What do you think? I have some really pretty dark pink knit with flowers I am going to use. Anyway, whatever I do it will be a first. I made a dress for myself YEARS ago that Brian said looked like a tablecloth. But I was very proud of it and wore it several times. My sister has it now, it is a bit small on me since the girls and all.
One more thing, remember when I told y’all about my new working out plan? I have still been working out. I haven’t been doing the video every day because it was making my muscles in my legs too big. But, I have seen a bit of shrinkage in my waist and hip area. So, I have been doing cardio stuff a couple of days and the video a couple of days. I feel stronger and more energetic. Honestly, if I had not begun the video when I did, I would not have been strong enough to till and hoe the garden. I haven’t lost any pounds, yet. But, muscle does weigh more than fat. (I have to keep reminding myself of that.) Also, I have been trying to dress differently to make myself look thinner. It seems to be working. Well, I think so, anyway. The last 2 Sundays at church I have gotten lots of compliments which made feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
On that note, I think I should run/walk before the girls get up.
Happy Maundy Thursday.

lessons learned…march edition

I kept thinking I needed to do a “lessons learned” post from March. But, if you want to know the truth of the matter, I don’t know that I learned anything. Not anything new, anyway. I made all the same mistakes over again. As I was thinking about this yesterday morning, how I keep seeming to fail, I began to pray about it. Really, truly pray. Because honestly, He is the only One who truly cares. Others may listen and care, but they have their own stuff, you know? When I am in ‘that moment’ of utter despair and can’t seem to shake myself out of it, I never think anyone else understands. So, as I was praying this song came to my mind with this part, “His peace fell around me, the same as yesterday. And even though my tomorrows may have sadness and sorrow, I will still be no stranger to grace.”  And it did. His peace fell around me. ME! Little old me. And I think I am finally getting it.

So, I began typing this post and looking through my pictures of March. I realize I did learn a few things.

#1 One mistake I made last month that I have never made before and doubt I will make again, is bringing a new to us, yet old dog into our lives. That poor thing was absolutely miserable.

Look at this poor girl. She just wants to lick and jump on Isabel. But yet, I won’t let her. Or she wants to run away. And run, she does. As soon as she feels some slack in her leash she takes off. Sadly, she took off one day last week. When she came home, she discovered my chickens. She killed 2 hens and my rooster. So, Nanga girl went back to her previous owners. I can’t have a chicken-killing dog. Evidently there are ways to break a dog from doing that. But, I just don’t want to put the time into it. I just can’t do it.

If we EVER get another dog, it will be a puppy.

#2 Brian said when he was home last time that he was implementing an “only cook on 4 rule.”  Another lesson. Always cook on 4! It will not burn that way. I have a bad bad habit of beginning to cook dinner, then getting sidetracked with something else, in another room, even. But lately, I have been taking Brian’s advice to only cook on 4. It seems to be working. I haven’t burned anything lately. See, we have this STUPID glass top stove. I really hate it. I have always had a gas stove. They just make more sense to me. Water burns on this stupid thing. If a pot of water over-boils, it burns on the stove top. BURNS! It makes a huge mess. Almost every time I make rice, I over-boil the water and burn it. UGH. But, I have been doing better. Thank you, Brian.

#3 When it rains, make something messy with the girls. We made rainbow rice.(I will publish a full post with directions, later.)

#4  After the rain, go for a walk while looking to find some flowers to smell and enjoy.

#5 Take a roll in the dirt.

Sadly, a few of these including the rooster, were murdered last week. 

#6 Enjoy the simple things, more. Like peanut butter and popsicles.





#7 Don’t forget to get the eggs.

28 total

#8 Have a pajama/hat/dress up Molly day.

#9 Smile more…



 And on that note, I bid you, good day.

Happy living!




water water everywhere

We have had water/drain issues since last spring, but have not really had the money or inclination to do anything about it. Well, a few weeks ago we lots and lots of rain, and this is what happened.


the front

the side steps
In the front, the water just sat on the front porch area. Then it seeped under the front wall into the living room and soaked the carpet. (YUCK!) My drainage area was clogged. Evidently the rocks I thought were for pretty were actually a type of french drain. My cousin’s father-in-law came by and showed me the problem. I was going to pay him to come and repair the problem, but some guys from my church came over and did it for FREE. Woohoo!

There was lots of discussion, to figure out the best way to do things….and lots of holding up shovels while propping up of feet in the distinctive manly way.

They dug a trench all around the front porch area. Then filled it with gravel.
They angled the trench deeper towards these pipes, directing the water into them. They then topped the gravel with the river rocks, making it purty again.

testing

water!
It still works. We have had lots of rain since this was repaired and it works beautifully.
I also put in a little wall to help prevent water from rushing down the hill towards the front. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I just had a basic idea of what to do and a theory. I mean I do watch Bob the Builder with Kate every once in a while. 

I first dug a trench along side the driveway where the water runs down the hill. As I was digging, I found where there used to be a wall of some sort, but half of it was rotten. I made sure it was level, then I lined it with gravel. What made this little job extra hard, is that I had to shovel up the gravel from the back yard. It is very difficult to shovel gravel.

(breaktime)

Then I attempted to drill holes through, to make hammering the spikes easier. But in my excitement of using a power tool without supervision, I broke my bit.

ARGH! Notice my manly gloves? I feel like I can do any kind of manly type work, so long as I have on some gloves. It was about this time that my sister calls, wondering if I need any help. I say if you have a big drill bit, then YES! I can use all the help I can get. She said she would be right over.

So, Jada comes to save the day with the BIGGEST DRILL BIT I have ever seen! I had to laugh. And we had to try….but the thing didn’t even fit my drills. So, we just used a small one. I drilled through all 3 boards.

(This has to be the most disgusting picture of me, EVER. But, I feel tough!)

Put the spikes in, attempted to hammer them, and my hammer just bounced right off. So, Jada, with her huge muscles, tried.

 She did good. Until we started laughing….

she missed!

and FINISHED!

It looks good, don’t you think. But, it doesn’t really “go” with my landscaping. It sort of sticks out like a sore thumb. So, I have been trying to blend it in….

Don’t look at my house, it is so green, I am getting it pressure washed soon. But, doesn’t the wall look better? Blends in nice, huh? Now if you look on the right, by the tree, I need to extend the wall down more. Water still goes down that hill right there, and flows onto the porch. I also got the boys that help me around the yard to dig a trench at the top of the yard, to help divert even more water.

This seems to really help the water situation, too.

Now that water is rushing along side these rocks, I am hoping to actually GROW something there. See all the new spring growth in my flower bed? Wonderful! Every year I think spring is my favorite season, until fall comes around, that is.

I have been doing lots more in the yard, I will get around to showing it all to you eventually.

Until then,

Happy spring!

fatty mcfatty

Would be my nickname if Brian were here to see me. (He’s not mean, he would just totally agree with me.) I had the idea the first time Brian left that I would lose some weight. HA! Who was I kidding? We celebrated Kate’s birthday twice, then thanksgiving, then Brian’s homecoming, then Christmas, thousands upon thousands of desserts and getting togethers to eat, my birthday. I was thinking over all of this….when I realized all summer I ate homemade junk food almost daily. Blueberry pancakes, homemade bread, jam. All of that adds up to me weighing almost as much as I did when I was PREGNANT! Not just a month pregnant, oh no, 9 months pregnant. Needless to say I am DISGUSTED. Seriously disgusted.

All over blogland, I read about people exercising, trying different diets, etc. I always thought they were silly. Well, now I am one of them. I bought this:

It is a 20 minute workout, not including the warm-up and cool-down. It is intensive. I am actually on day 5. 

I am on a mission. I measured myself. I measured each calf which is an appropriate name for what I have. I measured each thigh ~ each one measures the size my daddy’s waist was when he got married. Now granted he was a very skinny man, but you don’t want two of him as your legs. My hiny is huge! I look 6 months pregnant. The only body part I have that looks normal size would be my neck.

It is my goal to eventually wear a size 12. Dare I hope one day to wear a 10? I don’t know if I should dream that big or not. Right now I am a large 14 or a small 16. I would like to lose 40-45 pounds. In a perfect world, this would all happen by the end of May when Brian comes home. Now I know that isn’t realistic. But I do think I should be at least halfway towards my goal by then.

I have already stopped eating my ice cream every night. I bought some light ice cream and some fudge bars for when the craving is more than I can handle. I have been eating salads for lunch with lots of protein. I have increased my fiber and lowered my sugar intake. I did all of this back in February when Brian first left. I lost about 5 or 6 pounds but that is it. I have not lost any more than that. So, I think I need to start this horrible exercising thing.

I absolutely hate to exercise. I really do. I think it is so boring. It also makes me feel even grosser and fatter than I am. All that jumping around makes my fat jiggle in a very disgusting way.

I thought I would share all of this with you….you know so you can laugh along with me. I am serious about this. For many other reasons besides size. My mom and my nannie both have diabetes 2. So, I am prone to get it. I don’t want to get it. Diabetes is a horrible disease. I want to be able to run and play with my girls. Right now, I don’t have the energy to run to the mailbox like Kate always wants me to.

Maybe just maybe if when I succeed, I will show you the before and after pictures.

Wish me luck.

Happy shredding.

these days

Life has seemed so difficult these past two weeks. I am not sure why exactly. I was able to go to a ladies conference the weekend before last, then I was sick. I have been struggling with my mind, again. Just feeling despondent and alone. I don’t feel like blogging. I don’t really want to let it be known that I have a rough time, sometimes. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or anything like that. But in an effort to always be honest here, I thought I would blog about it, anyway.

My sister, Jada, keeps wanting me to blog about the “mini-wall” she helped me to build. But every time I sit down to blog, I just want to whine. I miss Brian, and I hate being alone. I get overwhelmed by everything that I want to do. So, sometimes I just don’t do a thing, but enjoy these crazy girls.

I have been getting lots accomplished. I just don’t really like doing it by myself. I like being able to learn new things. I like feeling independent. I just want to feel independent during the day, then be dependent in the evenings, with Brian home. Does that make sense?

Because of my despondent, emotional roller coaster these past 2 weeks, I really haven’t been spending time in prayer and in my Bible like I should. So, that compounds the anguish. Today, though, I was able to read. It was wonderful. I just finished the Old Testament last week. So, I went back to the New Testament. I left off in Hebrews before. So, I started back there. It was so neat to see…Malachi ends in a curse, literally. God is frustrated by his people’s lack of desire to live for him. Then, 400 years later, we have JESUS sent to be the ultimate sacrifice for us. Hebrews talks about how now we are the priests. All who believe in JESUS can boldly come to the throne of grace. We no longer need a priest to intercede for us. It was just a blessing reading it chronologically like that.

Life does go on, however, no matter how much I want to just crawl under the covers and sleep it away. Meet the new addition to the Armonat household:

This is Nanga. Isn’t she beautiful. She is lots of fun.

Packages get mailed to Afghanistan, weekly. And it never fails, I leave something out of the box, have to open it up, to put it back in. Here I left out Brian’s rub. See how nice and neat the box is? ARGH!
Sometimes, I hide upstairs on the computer to catch up on my blog reading. Only to hear lots of giggling going on downstairs, come down to find THIS! URG!! Powdered sugar EVERYWHERE! 
 
 
Isabel getting psyched up for her boxing match.
Kate with her ever present umbrella. For you never know, it just might rain. 

Happy loving each moment in life, no matter what comes your way…..

Food on Friday

In an effort to help my friends who need some good and easy recipes, I want to try to post on Fridays some of my favorite things to make. Today I am going to give you the recipe for my absolute favorite chicken casserole. Now, this might not be exactly the way Grandma made it, but it is how I make it.

Grandma’s Chicken Casserole
Chicken, cooked and shredded ( I use whatever kind of chicken I have on hand, but I usually boil it until it falls apart. )
Put your chicken in a shallow casserole dish.
Cover with a cream of soup and a can of milk. You could use cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery. (I make my own creamy sauce, by boiling some chicken stock with half and half and flour and seasonings.) 
The best part is the topping.
Take this Pepperidge Farm stuffing, put it in a bowl with an egg, some chopped onion, and enough chicken broth until it is like a mush. Good description? About 1-11/2 cups of broth, maybe? I eyeball it, usually. Spoon the stuffing on top of your chicken mixture. This last time I made it, I grated some carrots and mixed it with the chicken mixture, to hide some vegetables. 
Bake in oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. 
Serve with broccoli or green beans. Yummy in my tummy.

Happy eating.

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

With our new life, time flies by so quickly. Every week I say to myself, I am going to blog more regularly, I am. I really am. Then I don’t. But, I find that I don’t really care. I kind of enjoy just blogging whenever I feel like it. Ya know?

I have wanted to blog about these books for a few weeks now, though.

Bodie and Brock Thoene are the authors of these marvelous historical fiction series. They have several different sets of series. I have been reading The Shiloh Legacy series. (I wonder how many more times I could say “series”?) I am so excited about these books. I know that I have read some of these when I was younger. My Grandma has them. I don’t know how I could have forgotten about these wonderful authors, but I did. A wonderful lady at my church has a mini-library. She loaned me these. I have got to purchase every single book that this awesome husband/wife team has written.

He is the historian. She is the writer. How neat is that?

Their books are of the stuff of life which is what I love to read about. Tragedy and laughter, pain and joy, the dramatic and the ordinary. Through it all ~ over it all ~ is the sense, the wonder, of faith that moves mountains. 

–from their website
I have really enjoyed their books. It is wonderful knowing there are books that I don’t have to edit before I allow my girls to read them. As you know I have been trying to change my reading habits. I am so glad to have “refound” these books. I absolutely love historical fiction. To find the type of books that I love that incorporates love and faith in my God just really thrills me.  
If you have read any of their books, or if you read any of their books, let me know. I would love to hear which ones you like. 
Happy reading!

Lessons learned…February ’11 edition

Monthly, I try to evaluate and list the lessons I have learned. Sometimes I get around to blogging about it. Sometimes, I don’t. Here are my lessons for February in no particular order:

1. Do not move the chicken coop in the mud/poop.

2. Just give Isabel the jar of peanut butter.

She loves it.


3. When sewing strips of fabric together (for whatever reason) use a 1/4 inch seam, just like the directions tell you. Remember Kate’s skirt?

It fell apart.
4. I am not as crafty as I think I am.
I tried to make a pedestal thingy that I keep seeing all over blogland. I shouldn’t have used a plastic plate and a glass candle holder. 
5. We have had mud deposited onto our river rocks in front of the house.

I had 2 helpers last week doing yard work. Removing this mud was one of the projects. First we scooped up the rocks and put them in the trailer with the not so brilliant idea of rinsing them with a hose. 

We ended up dumping all the rocks out on the ground, where they still sit. Water did not work. So, we got out the blower, to see if that would work on the remaining rocks.

It made a dust storm, that is for sure. We just had another rain, and no more mud has appeared, so I believe the blower is the way to go.

6. Do not take vitamins on an empty stomach. (no picture needed.)

7. Buying children’ books at the thrift store is the way to go.

This is but a fraction of the books I have recently purchased.

8. If I suspect something is getting into the coop, figure out how immediately.

 Otherwise, a chicken will die.

9. Ongoing practice I have been learning to incorporate this YEAR is to enjoy each day to it’s fullest. Making that effort has really paid off. The girls and I have really been having a nice time these past few weeks.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the month of February.

Here’s to hoping my March is as wonderful as my February was.

sew much fun

Nightgowns….

Horrible pajamas, that are loved anyway….


If you look closely, you will see one leg is upside down. I don’t know what I did wrong on these pajamas, but they are really horrible.

She wanted a cow on the front.
Skirts in all colors. I have made a denim one, a purple one, and these two. She will say, I need a “whatever” skirt. So, I will see if I have the fabric to fulfill her order. Haha.

This one however, is the ultimate twirling skirt…

I just made this skirt. I am especially proud of it. I found the pink heart fabric as a clearance yard at Walmart. Because it wasn’t enough to make an entire skirt, I cut it into strips. Found the little red heart fabric at Mama’s, cut some of it into strips. Sewed all the strips into a big piece of fabric, then cut the skirt out of that. It makes for a neat skirt, I think.

Matching t-shirt dresses….


I found this marvelous polyester at a thrift store. YARDS of it. I think it is gorgeous. I have so much of it. I have no idea what I am going to do with it all. I even made another one of these dresses for a friend at church. I even made a skirt for my niece out of it.

On everything I have made, I have learned something. Either how not to do something. Or a better way. Or to NOT do it that way…

I have bought some fabric for a fabulous table cloth. I just have to make it.

I have also bought the fabric to make Kate a quilt for her bed.

Then I found this in my stash! I am going to make this little fabric book for Isabel. Funny, huh?

The project list is endless. Thank goodness I have Lucy to help.

birds and flowers

Spring is right around the corner. I just can’t wait. See what is blooming in my yard, already?

DANDYLIONS!
Isn’t that just dandy?

Brian gave me the two marvelous bird feeders for my birthday. It has been a regular bird party out there. We have really been enjoying watching the birds. Isabel pulls a chair up, so she can watch, too. I need to get a bird book, we don’t have a clue what we are looking at. Well, I know what a cardinal is.

a finch, maybe?

a cutie, whatever it is.

a male cardinal and a something

a female cardinal and another something

another something, too cute
Here are a few pictures of me playing with Ethel and her various settings. Lots of fun.


Pansies really are one of my favorites. Such happy flowers with their big faces.

I like this one best.
Happy Wednesday!

My Saviour’s Love

On this Valentine’s Day (the invented holiday for companies to make money) I thought I would share with you the song about love that has been on my heart this past week.
I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me, 
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
How marvelous. Oh, how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous. Oh, how wonderful!
Is my Saviour’s love for me.
For me it was in the garden He prayed: “Not my will but Thine.”
He had not tears for His own griefs, 
But sweat drops of blood for mine.
He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered, and died alone.
When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see,
“Twill be my joy through the ages 
To sing of His love for me!
How marvelous. Oh, how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous. Oh, how wonderful!
Is my Saviour’s love for me.
~Charles H. Gabriel
1856-1932
Romans 5:8 
But God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!

John 3:15-17
That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

chicken poop, mud, and a dumb hen

My brain is not working. I can’t think clearly. I think I might just be a little tired. I don’t sleep well when Brian isn’t here. I have been working on this post for days, but it just isn’t flowing well. So, I thought I would just finish it and post it. ARGH!

Brian replaced the wheels on the coop for me, so that I could move it more easily. Or I guess I should say, move it, period. I wasn’t able to move it at all before. He even put some handy dandy handles on the front, for easier grasping.

So, the other day after I got the mail, I thought I would feed and water the chickens “right quick” while the girls were napping. (Side note: I can never do anything “right quick”.) Well, it was a poopy, muddy, nasty mess inside the coop. As I slipped and slid in the muddy poo, my genius brain said, “why don’t you just move the coop ‘right quick’!” Ha. Now so you can picture this accurately, I was still in my pajama pants and house sweater. I wasn’t not wearing work clothes. I still thought I could do it. So, I squatted in front of the coop, grasped the handles and heaved. Up we went. I was thinking, “oh wow, this is easy!” I took a step forward and SLIPPED in the muddy poopy mess. I didn’t just slip. Nope. I fell. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. It was so gross.

However, I was not to be deterred. Not at this point. So, I just got up, tried again. Fell again. Yep. Now I am covered in poopy mud. Little I finally got that dadblasted coop moved. I was not going to let it defeat me. Thank goodness I live in the woods (kind of), I had to take my yucky clothes off outside. I was a mess. Now I know NOT to move the coop after a hard rain.

Whilst I was struggling, one of the hens got out. I couldn’t get her to go back in until nightfall. This was hilarious. I am so glad I thought to bring my camera. I just opened the coop door, I knew she wanted in to go to bed. But she couldn’t figure out how. She did this several times. Walked around the coop and tried to fly into the nesting box from the outside. Instead of going in the door and walking up the steps. Silly chicken.

She sees the door to the nesting box.

If you look closely, you can see her on the outside of the coop. She had flew up, trying to get into the nesting box.

She gave up and is walking around the coop.

Finally, she sees the door and walks in. One happy chicken.
Just another day in the life of Christy. Oh, well. All’s well that ends well. Right?

How old am I?

Seriously. I had to subtract 1978 from 2011. I couldn’t remember. Unfortunately the number is 33. I really can’t believe how the time has flown by. Wasn’t it just yesterday when my mom threw a surprise party for me when I turned 16? I even remember what I wore that day.

Birthdays cause me to reflect on my life. No matter how wonderful my birthday is (and it was a good day) I am always a little sad that day. I think about friends who have come and gone. I think it is a shame that only one or two of my friends have lasted through the years. I am not even sure why some are gone. Others are gone through no choice of their own. Either way, I don’t like it. I wonder why I behaved certain ways and wish with my whole heart I could right all the wrongs I have done.

I think it is a shame that I had such distorted views and priorities for so many years. I really pray that I instill into my girls a firm steadfast belief that will keep them from my mistakes.

I was feeling as if I was a huge failure and that my whole life was one big stupid mistake after another. Knowing that was wrong, but unable to shake that feeling, I began looking through some pictures. I was trying to jog my memory, to remember the wonderful things. I thought you might enjoy looking through these with me. Ready?


 newborn

 4 months

18 months

21 months


21 months 

4 years
5 years

4 or 5 years

6 years

3rd or 4th grade
(because we cut my hair in 5th grade)

6th grade
(the beginning of the ugly phase)

9th grade

that’s me in the green shirt with the huge thigh muscle

#44-that’s me, executing a strange jumpshot/layup…it probably careened off the back board.

me-getting the ball in the face

10th grade-dressed up on a Friday night. What a hoot. Check out my black boots.

10th grade

the beginning of my acting career-10th grade

Senior year or a year or so after

1999
My sister’s wedding

waitressing at camp-1996

1996

I know this looks like prison uniforms from the 1950’s but it isn’t. This is the uniforms for the dining common workers at college. My cousin and I changed the rule there to ALLOW the girls to wear rubber boots in the kitchen. Thank the Lord. Remember that, Jody?

One of my many moves….
with many boxes of books
My downtown apartment and my kitty-Vesta
good times in that apartment.

coffee and cigarettes
(back when I smoked)

Accepting an award after flight attendant training. One of the longest months of my life.

Learning to put out a fire in flight attendant training.

traveling alone to Paris

The most important events of my life yet:

Kate’s birth

Isabel’s birth

our wedding

I have had a good life, I must admit. Thank you, Lord. Life has been so good. I can’t complain.

the loves of my life
The reason I get up every morning

Back to my birthday…

I made a delicious chocolate cake to celebrate my birthday.

Yummy.
I put the strawberries on there at the last minute, to dress it up. It turned out right purty, huh? The strawberries and the chocolate make a good combination.

The girls were excited about the candles.

A little too excited maybe, Kate blew them out in the middle of the birthday song. I thought it was funny, but Daddy did not. Hence the tears in the next picture.

Happy birthday to me.

God sure is good.

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS


 

Our life these days. This book over and over and over. Isabel finds it no matter where it is hidden. Give it to you, climbs in your lap, clasps her hands and patiently waits for her favorite line. When you get to it, she shakes that finger up and down while saying, “no mah monnies, no mah monnies!”

 

It was bedtime. So five little monkeys took a bath. Five little monkeys put on their pajamas. Five little monkeys brushed their teeth. Five little monkeys said good night to their mama.

AND……

Five little monkeys jumped on the bed! One fell off and bumped his head. The mama called the doctor. The doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

ETC>

It really is fun. The whole family gets into it.

We were at my parent’s house last night. They even had a copy of this book. Isabel found it, of course. (With a little help from her mama.)

So, Papa read it. It was fun.

My favorite part is the last page.

Even though I only have  3, whoops  2 little monkeys, I feel this SAME EXACT WAY when mine are asleep in bed. Because this book is so fun, Daddy bought these for her, as well. They came in the mail today.

Fun, huh?

Happy reading!

Food on Friday

I really like to cook, I just don’t really like to do it every day. I only cook about 3 times a week, maybe 4. I make a big pot of something that we will eat for several days, then I either freeze or give the remainder away. During the snow storm, Brian and I both were sick, so I made this yummy chicken noodle soup. We (including the girls) really enjoyed it.

Kate likes to sip the soup off her spoon and say, “yummy….strawberry cordial.” Silly girl.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Step 1: Boil a chicken for an hour or two, until it is falling apart. I season my  water with salt, garlic powder, and pepper.

I think it tastes better if you use a whole chicken, because of fat and skin just gives the broth such good flavor, but use what you have. I have used chicken legs, a rotisserie, boneless skinless breasts, whatever I have had on hand.

Step 2: While the chicken is boiling or cooling, cut up some carrots and celery. I never measure, I just guesstimate.

Step 3: (The annoying part) After chicken has cooked, let it cool, then pick it off the bones. Put the meat back into the broth and put it back on the stove to simmer. Season with whatever seasonings you like. I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary, sometimes a little basil or oregano. Whatever I am in the mood for at the time.

Step 4: Add your carrots and celery to your chicken and broth, bring to a boil then let simmer until veggies are soft.

Step 5: Add your noodles. You can use egg noodles or whatever noodles you have on hand. Add a little at a time, stirring as you go. You can tell when you have enough. Let simmer until noodles are cooked through, however long it tells you on noodle package, usually 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: (You can leave this step out) Add fresh spinach before serving.

Enjoy!

Thursday’s randomness

Finally, this week, I am back to my normal self. I have seriously been sick since the week of Christmas. Not always enough to keep me in bed, but enough to make me unhappy. Not feel like doing anything. My house was a mess, I was a mess, the girls were a mess, everything was just annoying. Brian did his best, but he doesn’t do things the way I do. He is excellent at the laundry, though. That is the one thing he does way better than I do.

I am just so glad to feel better. No cough. No runny nose. No achy muscles. But, now that I am feeling better, I realize just how chubby I have let myself get. Yuck. I really need to get outside and get to moving. I hate hate hate to exercise. But I really enjoy yard work. So, that is what I am going to get back to doing. The girls are tired of being inside all the time, too. They went outside to play today and had a blast.

I also really want to get some bookshelves. I am so ready to get my books unpacked. Then I want to get the guest house organized. To actually BE a guest house and not a junk house. I want to organize all my fabric. It looks like a fabric store vomited in the guest house. There is fabric everywhere. I don’t even know what I have.

I have already begun organizing the house. It feels good to get things cleaned and neat. Once I get things organized, I want to make everything pretty. Put the “Christy look” to it all. Who knows how long it will take, though. I’m not in a hurry, I am just feeling motivated. So, I am making a list of what I want to do. Helps keep me focused.

Brian is still home. We aren’t sure when he will be leaving. But, in the meantime, we are just enjoying his company. The girls and I love having Daddy home all day. I dread the day he leaves. Right now we are waiting on some paperwork to come through. Brian was saying that God allowed his stay home to be dragged out because I was so sick. God’s timing is perfect. Who knows if that was the reason but regardless, I am glad he is still here. We are getting a lot done while having a lot of fun.

I am enjoying the sunshine that we have had yesterday and today. It is supposed to be in the upper 50’s all weekend. How wonderful! A little taste of spring. We have big plans to plant some trees. I am sure it will be cold again, but this is nice weather. I really despise the cold. I don’t know how people live in the snow. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I am not made for the cold weather.

Brian and I have been playing Yahtzee. Fun game. It is such a game of chance, we let Kate play the other night. She would have won had she finished it. She got tired and went to sleep.

The girls’ schedule has been off kilter, so my schedule has been off kilter. I am kind of ready to get back to some semblance of order. That probably won’t happen until Brian leaves.

In the meantime, I got this in the mail today. I can’t wait to play with it, with Kate of course.

 

Doesn’t this look like so much fun? Stamps and a drawing book. I foresee lots of fun stamping in the future.

Ethel and I have been learning a lot about each other. Here is a sample of Ms. Ethel’s best work.

She does a good job, huh?

Well, tata for now. Happy Thursday.

mind control

Last week when the Ladies’ brunch was held at my house, I was privileged to share from God’s word. I wanted to share it with you, too.
I talked about what I struggle with daily. My thoughts or controlling my mind. Here are some examples of stuff I think about that generally ruins my day:
~Replay a conversation in my head over and over. Thinking about all the things I could have said or should have said. Or how stupid I was to say what I did.
~Dwelling on a situation, trying to figure out a solution. 
~Reliving the past, sometimes a memory flash of something really bad or dumb will just happen. How I choose to react to those thoughts is almost always different.
~Dreading the future (Brian’s leaving, not getting pregnant again-ever, putting the garden in alone-ugh, being alone for 3 months)
~Thinking I am not “good” enough to ________________.
I mean, I would do my chores just thinking about ________ until I would get my self all worked about it. Ruining my whole day, mentally and spiritually. Then I would have a hard time focusing my energy on being a good mommy. Because I “was in a bad mood”. But I came across this book titled, Loving God with all your mind  by Elizabeth George. The whole book is good, but what stood out to me is the main verse she used.
Philipians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK on THESE things.

God commands us to think on good and lovely things. Not just whatever our little mind lets us. We are commanded to think on good thoughts. SO…
God knows our thoughts. I know we all know that in our minds. But when you actually start looking up all the verses that tell us that, it gets exciting to see with our hearts. I don’t know how to explain it. Except for before I was saved I had the knowledge of the things of God. But now that I am truly saved, I now have a different sort of knowledge. I guess it is because the Holy Spirit is inside me showing me.
Job 42:2
I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
Here it is just a statement from Job to God.
Another statement, this time from David, acknowledging God’s omniscience.
Ps. 94:11
The Lord knowed the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
I Corinthians 3:20
And again, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
I found numerous passages throughout the gospels that said, and Jesus knowing his thought or their thoughts and said….which always astonished whoever He was speaking to.
Psalms 139:1-2, 4

O Lord, thou has searched me, and know me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

Here David is saying, Lord you know me. You know what I am going to do before I do it. I have some notes scribbled in the margins of this passage that I took during a sermon, that says these verses mean God knows are character, contemplations, and conversations. (heart matter)
This passage leads me into another point, our thoughts emerge from our heart.
Proverbs 23:7
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…
Matthew 15:18-19

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Here is the story of the Pharisees being appalled that Jesus’ disciples sat down to eat dinner without washing their hands. Which I can see being grossed out about. But in reality, the Pharisees had wickedness in their heart. And Jesus, just gets right to the crux of the matter. He knew what was in their hearts.
I also think it is interesting that God lumps evil thoughts with murder and adulteries and lying.
Even foolish thoughts are sin. Which surprised me a little bit when I discovered this verse.
Proverbs 24:9
The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to man.
Foolishness got me to thinking about childishness. I will reprimand Kate. I will say, Kate don’t touch that. That is whatever…She will then come back and say, But I want….she stops and then thinks and almost always randomly spouts out something. Like one day she said her elephant necklace, another day she said, her nail polish, another day, she blames Isabel. She is childish and foolish. How often am I that way when I am talking to God? Whining and complaining to Him. Or just praying selfish, needy prayers. When instead I should be praying with a heart of thankfulness and praise to Him. Or begging forgiveness…..or begging for the salvation of others.
Worry is sin, as well. This is just running over and over in your mind something that you have no control over. This can be over any number of things. I really like this verse, when I start to worry about money or other physical things like that.
Luke 12:22-34

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Philippians 4:6.
Be careful for nothing….
We are commanded to control our thoughts. Chaos and confusion is of the devil.
II Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Here it says if your thoughts shouldn’t go against the knowledge of Christ, this to me implies that you should have some knowledge of Christ.
Another commandment:
Matthew 22:37-38
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
Ask Him for help….if you really want to get down to the nitty gritty.
Psalm 139:23
Search me. O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me to everlasting.
This brings me back to:
Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

When you begin to be bogged down in your thoughts, quote this verse. Then ask yourself: is it true? Is it honest? Is it lovely? If it’s not, turn on some music and turn your thoughts heavenward. Think on the wonderful things He has done.
Happy thinking….

day dreaming

I dream sometimes of having a huge kitchen.

One of those dream professional kitchens. In my dream kitchen I would like to have a lunch counter. I just think it would make lunches easier. A lunch counter right across from the sink. In a perfect world. In that perfect world I would have these wonderful adjustable bar stools to go with my lunch counter.

Chintaly - 0710-AS - Adjustable Height Stool

Isn’t it cute?

I also want lots of windows in my dream kitchen. Lots of sunshine pouring in.

Ooh, while we are dreaming, can I please have a microwave? My microwave has been broken for months. Ugh.

Well, happy day dreaming.

new year’s goals (finally)

Last year I wrote out an elaborate list of goals. Part 1. Part 2.  Elaborate. Detailed. Long. I did not accomplish very many of them. When I reviewed this list and realized this at the beginning of this year, I beat myself up a bit. Then later as I was looking through my thousands of pictures from the year 2010, I wasn’t as disheartened. For I focused on what was important. My relationship with God. My girls.  My relationship with Brian. Along the way, I did achieve some of my goals. But not as many as I had hoped.

So, this year I am not listing so many specific goals. Don’t get me wrong, I have a few. For example, purchase a book shelf and unpack my books. Sell or trade out some books. Design my flower bed and vegetable garden BEFORE I plant it. But, that is about it….maybe. I have some decorating stuff I want to do inside, but they are just some foggy ideas yet. Nothing concrete. But you know that is normal, everyday life stuff. Not life changing stuff. I want to grow. Grow as a Christian and as a wife/mommy/sister/friend.

My goals for this year are quite simple.

  • Learn more about my God who loved me and gave his Son for me.
  • Enjoy each day to it’s fullest, no matter what comes my way.
  • Read through my Bible. (Which really means, don’t go to the library as often.)
  • Do more for others.  
  • Memorize scripture.

That is it. I think it will be simpler for me. This is something I can post on my refrigerator and refer to it often to keep myself on track.

So, that is it. My 2011 goals.

Now for your enjoyment, here are a few pictures from our snow days. 

Snow bunny girls.

Play doh girl

Silly glow stick girls

happy girl

my new friends

First, I want you to meet my new friend, Lucy. She is awesome. She is a little complicated. I have to take it slowly with her. We got off to a rough start, but now we are getting along splendidly.

Isn’t she pretty? She can do so many wonderful things. I am very excited about getting to know her better. We made this lovely dress this week.

She helped me put in my first zipper. Not too hard, just time consuming. Kate has been wanting something dressy for church, something she can twirl in….

I think she likes it. Here is a closeup of the fancy stitching Lucy can do.

It is so pretty. Now, I am working on one for Isabel.

Lucy can do over 200 different types of stitching. Letters, pictures, embroidery, heirloom, several different kinds of button holes, all by the touch of a button. Isn’t technology great?

My other new friend’s name is Ethel. She is pretty awesome, too. We were instant friends. As a matter of fact, I teared up a little when I opened her. 

Brian gave me this for Christmas. He even got the zoom lens to go with it. So awesome. I just love this camera. I have been having so much fun with it. I am learning how to do some pretty neat things with it. But, nothing is ready for public viewing, yet. I am still working out the kinks in my brain on how to set up the manual stuff. It is really easy to use, though.

Isn’t my husband wonderful? Not just because he bought these for me. But the other morning I came downstairs to this:

A nice surprise and a yummy breakfast.

Well, must get back to Lucy…..I foresee she and I spending lots of quality time together.

new year

In spite of the fact that I have not been able to breathe without having my mouth open since the week of Christmas, this is really looking to be a great year. We had wonderful holiday celebrations. We are enjoying a pajama party almost every day. Daddy is home and will be home for at least another two weeks. We have been spending time with family and friends. We haven’t really accomplished much that was on my list of things to do when Brian comes home. But it just doesn’t seem important. I am sure it will when I can breathe normally. But right now we are just enjoying spending time together.

Happy new year to each of you. I will be posting more later, when life is a little more “normal”.

(whatever normal is.)

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

I was browsing the children’s section of the library, which completely confuses me, by the way. It makes no sense to me the way it is organized, but that is neither here nor there. Somehow I found myself in the poetry books with illustrations. Wonderful, truly. I brought a lot of those home, but found that some were a little above Kate’s head right now.

But, these two in particular are awesome. The first one I want to tell you about is this one:

Now this one is the 1978 illustrated version. The newer ones are a bit different. I am partial to this one. It is absolutely beautiful and captures a snowy woods perfectly. Just look.

But, by far my favorite illustration is this one. It reminds me of my Daddy.

I really like this book. I think I might have to buy it.

The next book that we really enjoyed is called Little Dog Poems. It is written by Kristine O’Connell George. It is cute and hilarious. Now Kate wants a “little dog”. Our Molly isn’t little enough, I guess. It is just a fun, fun book if you enjoy dogs. Or just little things.

Happy reading.

My crafty Christmas

I can’t seem to stop decorating.

It must be an addiction. After decorating the tree, I decorated Kate’s playroom. (Well, Kate and I did.) Then I realized that my bannister needed some holiday cheer, but only after I made several wreaths.

I even decorated my blog. (haha.)

Anyway.

What with my decorating addiction and baking addiction, I can’t seem to get any of my sewing for Christmas finished. I really need to get with it. But I wanted to show you some of my decorations before I started sewing today.

So, without further ado, here are my favorites….

I made the snowlady on the left. Her name is Ethel. And she loves hats. It is made from white fabric and plastic pumpkins. Cute, huh?

This is the wreath at the side door. After much trouble with this thing this year, I am so happy with it. All the greenery is real, but the flower and berries are fake. (Just so you know.)

This is the front door wreath. Again, the greenery is real. The red is fake. I really the bells.

I put this little swag thing over each window and put pansies and purple cabbage in my window boxes. Precious.

Here is my tree. I am really proud of it. This is a picture without the lights. It is a real tree. I bought it and brought it in all by myself. Without Brian. He said I did a good job.

With the lights.

This is what they are doing while their crazy mama goes around taking pictures of everything. Reading books and picking noses. Fun, fun.

The bannister! Gorgeous.

The kitchen island.

 Pinecone addiction.

The table next to Brian’s chair. I have always wanted a Christmas cactus. Now I have one.

Now for some playroom pictures……

The top of Kate’s “refrigerator”.

I just strung up ribbon, and hung ornaments from the ceiling with fishing line. Too cute.

Bathroom door cheer.

Pantry door cheer. (I got this at a thrift store for $2!)

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my Christmas decorations. I have so much fun decorating. Now I really need to get sewing.

Crafty Christmas

Kate really enjoys doing what Mommy is doing. I have been busy decorating the house for Christmas and Brian’s homecoming since the week after Thanksgiving. Well, Kate being Kate wants to help. So, I scoured the web and my brain for crafty things Kate could do to help Mommy decorate for Christmas. These are a few of the crafts we have had fun with.

These are her pine cone trees. None of them really want to stand on their own, so I glued them to a piece of green card stock and wrapped a broken bead necklace around the bottom, trying to make it look more elegant. She painted 4 trees. One big one is green, a medium one is red (it’s in the back falling over), a gold one, and a mulitcolored one. I bought these little felt balls that she glued on for decorations. Even Isabel got into this craft. They both really had a lot of fun putting the little felt balls on the “trees”.

Thanks Aunt Jody for the wonderful idea.

Here is another one. I had a lot of fun doing this one.

These are borax crystal ornaments. They are so much fun to make. You begin with pipe cleaners, to make your shape. The color of the ornament, is the color of the pipe cleaner. You mix a solution of 1 cup hot water and 3 tablespoons of borax. Now, I did all of these ornaments at once in a huge rubbermaid container. I ended up with 18 or so cups of water. Just so you know. You let it soak in the solution for 8-12 hours. And abracadabra….crystal ornaments. They are so very pretty. Here is the link if you would like the exact directions. It is so easy. But more importantly so much fun.

This isn’t necessarily a Christmas craft, but we did it this month anyway. Kate and Isabel love Mary Poppins. So, when I mentioned making birds, she was very excited for a bird to sit on her finger. Like they do on the little old lady’s finger, while she sings feed the birds. She kept saying, I want a bird to sit right here. Anyway, here is the craft. We had tons of fun with this one too. All you need are coffee filters. We got this idea here.

Trace out the dove on a stack of filters, cut out, and enjoy. Easy.

Isabel had to get in on the action, too. She wanted a bird on her hand, so….

Here they are flying proudly in the middle of my kitchen, Kate loves to watch them “fly”.

Happy crafting.

hahahahahaha

This makes me laugh…..everytime.

This was the first thing these people put up when they moved their trailer out here. Then it fell down and there it lies (lays?).

The way Kate eats her gummy worms.

Regular life with children.
Look at Isabel.

Now she is trying.
Almost got it.
Success!

Happy Wednesday!

Lessons learned…November edition

I had an entire list of lessons that I learned but I lost it somewhere. The majority of my lessons this month all seem to revolve around how not to lose my cool, or how not to completely blow my top, or don’t kick at the dog and miss….

Seriously. I am not sure why this month has been so tough. But it really has. God is still good and in control, but I just seemed to forget it most of the time. We did have a busy month. We went to visit the grandparents for a week. Kate had a birthday that she go to celebrate twice, then Thanksgiving. Honestly, I have been staying up way too late reading books or blogs. I haven’t been getting up early enough to have my quiet time. I have been trying to do more than I can then wind up getting frustrated because I can’t do it all.

Now, I am not complaining. Not at all. I am just stating facts. All the things that have gone wrong have almost all been my fault. My reaction has been the wrong one. Then it escalates into something bigger and by then I have allowed everything to just get out of control. The biggest lesson that I have had to learn this month has been the most painful one as well. This day that I am about to tell you about was by far the worst day of the month, but I have had a few days that were eerily similar. So, I haven’t learned this lesson yet.

I got up early one morning and decided to sew Kate’s pajamas that I wanted to make her. I had already cut everything out a few days ago. Now keep in mind, I have never sewn pants before. So, I sewed the sides of the legs, then the crotch, realized I had sewed the wrong things together, I ripped the stitches out of the crotch. Resewed it, thinking I was on the right track. Sewed the pants all together, thought I was finished. So I took them in to Kate and had her try them on. Somehow I had sewn them upside down. Meaning that I had sewn the legs in such a way it was like the waist area and the waist and crotch area were sewn into legs. So, the legs were WAY too short and the waist was Way too high. Does any of that make sense? To top it off, the pattern on the fabric was upside down. So, one leg has cows facing up and the other leg has cows facing down.

UGH!

SERIOUSLY!!

How in the world did I do that?! So. I say to myself, I am going to rip it all out and do it again. I sit down to start ripping it out and Isabel decides she needs attention. But I can’t be bothered. I am so frustrated by my mistake that I am fixated on redoing it. Right then. In my mind I had to finish it then. Isabel is getting fussier and fussier. Kate then starts to cry because Isabel is crying. I am still so stupid and selfish, I don’t put my sewing down to take care of the girls. I went into the other room. Of course, they followed me.

(They are fussing because they are hungry. It is past time for breakfast.)

I explode. Literally. I am yelling and screaming. Acting like a complete idiot. I am not really yelling at the girls. I am just yelling in frustration. Molly, our dog, is looking at me. She is crouched down, with her ears back, looking at me with this look she gets. It is such an annoying look. Especially when I am already angry. This look is sort of like a I am so disappointed in your behavior look, yet it is an I am scared of you look, too. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, this look. I tell her to get out. Get OUT! NOW! I opened the door to let her out. She won’t go. So, I pull my foot back to give her a swift kick out the door. (I don’t want to hear it about dog abuse. She is fine. I don’t kick my dog, normally. Okay?)

Well, right as my foot would have hit her, she darted out the door. My foot slammed into the door frame. The pain was so intense, I peed my pants. Literally. (Just a little.)

I cried and cried. Out of pain. But also out of shame.

What in the world came over me? Seriously? What is wrong with me? Honestly, I don’t have a clue. But I will tell you this. When I am too caught up in myself and what I want to do and ignore the needs of my children, I get frustrated. It happens every single time. But there is nothing wrong with being frustrated necessarily. Where the sin comes in, is my reaction. Needless to say, I should not have reacted that way. I should have just put the sewing down, fed the girls their breakfast, and carried on with the day. But, since I did not, I now have a toe that is oh so tender. I am losing the nail on that toe. The slightest little bump hurts like you would not believe. Isabel steps on it a gazillion times a day. It is by far the most painful lesson I have yet to learn this month.

You want to know what is funny, but not haha funny? More like, unbelievable, I guess. I lost my temper again today. Ugh. I guess this is going to be my struggle. My issue or whatever you want to call it. My thing that I have to pray about EVERY SINGLE DAY. Because it is those days that I don’t pray about it that it gets me. And it does get me. I wish I could blame the devil on it. But it isn’t him. It is just my old sin nature rearing it’s ugly head at me.

So, if you ever pray for me, this is something you could pray for with me. (Not my toe, but my anger/frustration.)

I hope if you struggle with this sort of thing, now you know you aren’t alone. Or if this was you in the past and you have learned how to gain control, share some thoughts on how you trained yourself. I could use all the advice I can get.  There has to be a practical solution, besides running into the yard screaming to let it all out. Right?

Because that is what I did today.

I hope the neighbors didn’t hear.

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

Or alternately titled,

Why my house is filthy.

I stopped going to the library for a few weeks. It was pure torture. I had to go out the guest house and dig through my boxes of books to find stuff to read. (All of my books are still boxed. I need shelves.) So, I have been going to the library again, regularly. That means, my house doesn’t get cleaned during nap time, sewing is not getting done, and I stay up WAY too late at night.

I really enjoy reading. Even when we would watch tv, I would watch with a book in my lap to read during commercials or when the show was boring.

If any of you ever remember my favorite book OF ALL TIME, Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett.  It is a beautiful book. The entire book revolves around the building of the Kingsbridge Cathedral. It is set in 1100 AD and chronicles 2 generations. It is just a brilliant work. The writing captures the beauty of cathedrals; the hardship of this time period; the character’s religion, their love, agonies, victories and defeats. The first line of the book is:

The small boys came early to the hanging.

What a line! What an opener! It captures your imagination from the beginning.

Anyway, I tell you all about this particular book to tell you that Ken Follett release a new book. The first of a trilogy. It is almost as good. It is called Fall of Giants. He follows 
 the destinies of five interrelated families – one American, one Russian, one German, one English and one Welsh – through the earth-shaking events of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. It is an amazing book. I could not put it down. I cannot wait until the next to are released. I am going to be waiting awhile, though. They are scheduled to be released in 2012 and 2014. Oh, well. It is something to look forward to.

On another note, Kate got some great books from the library. She loved the I love my mommy because and I love my daddy because books. She wanted to read those over and over. But my favorite of the books we got for Kate from the library is called Bob. It is a story about a rooster learning to crow. Along his journey he learns and hears all sorts of sounds.

My favorite part of the entire book is when Bob is walking through the forest at night, he hears someone call out, “Whoooo? Whooooo?” And Bob, not wanting to be rude Bob whispers, “Bob! Bob!” Every time I got to this part of the book I would laugh and laugh and laugh. So funny.

Happy reading…

Dying to Self

I came across this post at A wise woman builds her home this morning. It really spoke to my heart AND to the root of all my “issues” that generally make me a miserable person.

When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ.

~THAT IS DYING TO SELF~

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence.

~THAT IS DYING TO SELF~

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any unpunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to-face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility-and endure it as Jesus endured.

~THAT IS DYING TO SELF~

When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God.

~THAT IS DYING TO SELF~

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown.

~THAT IS DYING TO SELF~

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances.

~THAT IS DYING TO SELF~

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart.

~THAT IS DYING TO SELF~

Are you dead yet?

I can honestly say, nope. I am not dead yet. Most days I am not even thinking along these lines. I live selfishly each and every day. Sometimes, I do. But it is a rare moment. And then, I negate it all by thinking how godly I am. (haha)

I really needed this reminder this morning.

Shutterfly awesomeness

Shutterfly is giving away 50 free photo cards to bloggers who blog about them. If you want some too, here is the link.

I have used shutterfly since Kate was born and that is a fact. I used them for her birth announcements. I was very pleased. Then because I bought announcements, they gave me a free photo book. I turned that into a present for Brian. I think it initially came with 20 pages or less. But, I needed to add a bunch more. I also made a photo book for him to take with him overseas. We really like the photo books. I am not a scrapbooking person. So, the photo books are what I do instead. I plan on making one for each of the girls’ years of life. (Does that make sense, that sentence?)

I have also always wanted to send out Christmas photo cards, but have never gotten around to do it in time. Maybe this year it will happen.

Here is one I really like.

 Or these:

Oh, my it is too hard to decide. Maybe this one?

I don’t know. I do know that I really like them and look forward to mailing them to everyone that loves my girls.

Shutterfly even has wonderful Christmas present ideas. Including wall calendars, mugs, key chains, ornaments, you name it. You are only limited by your imagination. One year I sent thank you cards out using the holiday photo card. I put the pictures of Kate with the presents each person had bought her. I thought it was a neat idea, more personal than just a thank you. I really like this idea. I am going to have to do it again.

If you have never used shutterfly, you receive 50 free prints when you join. I have always told everyone about the awesomeness that is Shutterfly. Now, I am hoping to get something in return. HA.

Happy photo card shopping.

Four questions

Septembermom from My Voice, My View tagged me for a fun little question game. I thought I would play tonight. Since, I don’t have anything else to do. (note the sarcasm) 

What is your favorite toy from childhood?

No particular toys stand out in my memory from my childhood. I do know I loved my babies for a little while. I remember my sister and I had matching strollers. We had the greatest backyard and basement in the world, though. Before we moved to where my parents are now we lived in a house with a basement. It had metal poles, I guess they were holding up the house or something. (Who knows in my kid mind what I thought.) We would roller skate down there. We would hold the poles to turn the corners. Wheeee! We had a couch and some chairs for a sitting area. We had a “school room” where I “taught” my sisters school. 

The basement was great. But the backyard. Let me tell you. It was awesome. Out the back door was a hill leading down to a creek. We had a little bridge crossing the creek. We had a swing set with a slide. The slide had a wooden platform that had rotted over time, and my leg went through it one day. I still have the scar where a nail cut it as I fell through. We had a tree swing. We also had the best playhouse in the world. My papa and daddy built it. There was a trap door in the ceiling where we could climb onto the roof. So much fun. But the best part of the entire backyard was these three trees that had been cut down. They went from one hill to the next, crossing the creek. These trees (in my mind) were massive. It was great fun to cross them. It took me awhile to get the confidence to cross them on my feet. I would much rather straddle and scoot. 

The backyard was a great source for our imagination. We played “Little House” the most, but I am sure we played all sorts of other fun stuff, too. We waded in the creek and just had a grand time. I loved that backyard. It was great. 

Did you ever have one of those embarrassing Candid Camera moments in public?


The only thing I can remember tonight, happened at college. Well, most of my embarrassing moments happened at college. I left the dining common and walked all the way back to my dorm, spoke to several people, laughed with others, all the while, I had chocolate pudding on my nose and no one told me.

Another time, I was being goofy in the dining common line and walked backwards while talking to my cousins. (We went to a private Christian college.) Anyway, the line was between tables where people were eating. I was walking backwards, like a total dork, and a very cute guy pushed his chair back right as I was stepping backwards and I sat right down into his lap. I was mortified on so many levels. We were at the Christian school where touching a boy was severely frowned upon, much less sitting on a boy’s lap. Oh, the shame. I was truly dying. I couldn’t run away fast enough. I was a very awkward college freshman. A total dork. I was always doing dumb stuff like that.

Do you like dancing those silly dances (Chicken Dance, etc.) at weddings?

I don’t know how to dance those silly dances. Most of the weddings I have attended have been church affairs. We don’t dance at weddings. Even though, I really wanted to dance at my wedding. I wanted to dance to the song by Rascal Flatts, Bless the Broken Road. And if we had had dancing at our wedding, we would’ve had to do the chicken dance, because it is just so funny. Brian and I did it one time in Helen, Ga, during their fun Octoberfest. I am not very coordinated though, so I am sure I looked as silly as I felt.

What is your favorite food to cook?

I like to cook anything and everything. But I especially like to try new things. I really like to try out recipes that sound a little weird, but good. Exotic foods are fun to try. I enjoy baking. I learned to make a smack your mama this is so good cheesecake this year. I finally found a yummy and easy from scratch chocolate cake. I miss cooking for Brian. He is always a willing taste tester for anything I scrounge up. I always ask him if it is a make again dish. It is fun to let Kate help. She loves to be my helper girl. She is a good scooper and stirrer. Now that Isabel can climb, she has to get right up on the stool with Kate. Fun, fun. 

I am supposed to tag people and make up my own questions…..but I don’t think I will tonight. Maybe next week. 

stuff I made

I have been sewing, just for fun sewing. I haven’t been sewing any more clothes for the girls because I needed a break from it. It was getting to me. When I can’t seem to do what I am trying to do all the fun is gone. So, sometimes I have to stop trying and just have fun.

For Kate’s Sunday school teacher’s birthday last month:

Kate really liked it. So, I made this for her birthday:

I picked the flower up at walmart. It was in a bunch. I took out all the plastic and just hand sewed it on. I thought the purse needed dressing up. Isabel likes it, too. So, now I need to make her one. (maybe for Christmas)

I made these cute little diapers for Kate’s baby doll. Hopefully, she will stop getting into Isabel’s diapers now.

I even put some velcro on there. Cute, huh?

For my nephew’s birthday, I whipped this up:

But only after I tried to make him a cute pillowcase that just turned out all wonky. I am not even going to show a picture of it. It is too humiliating. 
I made this bonnet for Kate to wear to old-fashioned Sunday, but it was too small. She likes to play in it, anyway.
Then I made these two blankets as presents. They really turned out nicely. I am very happy with them. 

Aren’t they so cute? I almost wish I had that chicken blanket. But then again, I am partial to things with chickens. Now I need to fix the pajama pants that I have been trying to make. They are really dumb looking. But, I am just going to finish them and try again another day. I also am going to make Kate some jumpers. Eventually I would like to make fancy Christmas dresses. OOOH. Just typing that makes me nervous. Well, practice makes perfect, right? And live and learn! Ha. If you don’t try then you will never know just what you can do.

Happy trying.

Kate turned 3!

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I brought my sweet, little, baby Kate home?!

She and I had a rough start. My water broke almost 24 hours before we finally had an emergency c-section. Then the next day we were told she was born with a heart defect and would have to have open-heart surgery at 4 months old. We had the hardest time nursing. She wasn’t gaining weight. All kinds of new baby struggles that I wasn’t prepared for AT ALL. Now we have toddler struggles that I am not prepared for either. I guess that is all part of being the first born. Getting practiced on.

Well, now she is a big girl. With her own opinions and ideas. She knows exactly how she wants her hair fixed to what shoes matches her outfit. She is very headstrong. But such a helper. Always willing to help mommy. My helper girl. She even sees things that needs to be done and will do it. She is very observant.

We celebrated her birthday this year with Brian’s parents. It was a lot of fun. Every year, I try to get a picture of the girls when they first wake up on their birthday. Kate was already out of bed this year, when I realized she was awake. I sneaked in her room and said, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” This is her reaction:

Birthday breakfast:

Birthday outfit:

Birthday shopping trip with Grandma.

While they were gone, I finished the cake. It was so much fun to make. First she wanted an elephant cake. Then a puppy cake, then a blue cake. Well, she got a puppy cake last year. So, I made her what I wanted.

She kept saying she wanted a cake and balloons for her birthday. I wanted to get a picture of her reaction, thinking she would be excited about her cake and balloons. This is what I got:

Not really impressed. But she was thrilled when it was time to sing “happy birthday”!

I didn’t get many pictures of her opening her presents. But I was thrilled at how sweet she was while she did it. She said thank you and looked at each present thoroughly before wanting to open more. It really was precious. Here she is with her 2 elephants. She calls them mama and baby.

This birthday was a lot more fun for mommy because she knew it was a special day. A special day for my special girl. I look forward to many many more.

Happy birthday, sweet Kate.

vehicle saga


Since Brian has been gone, I have gone from driving my van.

Which I am so sorry I ever complained about driving. But you see, we paid it off, so it decided to die. (Brian thinks he might be able to fix it when he comes home. We will see.)

To driving this:

I don’t mind driving the truck at all. It was fun, actually. Kate and Isabel really liked it. What I didn’t like was how loud it is or how dirty it is inside. But it is big and safe. But then, this happened.

Thankfully no one was hurt. But, ugh. Seriously? Can you believe it? I can’t drive this until it is fixed. So, I have been driving this:

Little bitty, tiny, tiny thing. Now, I am not really complaining. I am just telling you. I miss my van. This car is so small. I bump my head an average of 3 times every time we go somewhere. Trying to get the girls car seats buckled makes my back hurt. There is no radio. Every single bump is felt. All the way up to the top of my head. Oh, there is a pebble in the road, let me swerve around it, otherwise I might bang my head on the roof when we drive over it. But at least I have it. Right? Right. Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble?

On the positive side of all of this car swapping. I had made plans to visit Brian’s parents. So, we rented a van. A fancy van. I didn’t take a picture of it. So, I will show you a stock photo.

Fancy, huh? I am going to have a hard time giving this baby back.

Happy cruisin’.

Lessons learned…October edition

My last “lessons learned” post was in July. Mercy. That was a long time ago. Honestly, I can’t even begin to tell you how wild these past 2 months have been. I don’t even remember August. Not really. Where did all the time go? I seriously thought I would have extra time to do all the things I put off while Brian is gone. Ha. Ha. Funny. The joke is on me. It seems I have even less time. If that is even possible. My lack of posting anything is proof of that.

Anyway. On to my lessons….(or observations)

#1 Messes on the floor are really no big deal. Even if I did just mop and it is milk. All over the floor. Or jam. Or coffee. Or something else equally annoying and literally everywhere, like rice. Just clean it up and sing a song about it. But, when you know it is going to be a mess, just go outside and let them be as messy as they want.

#2 I can manage without Brian. I really can. It is just that I don’t really like it. Not at all. But it does makes me feel tough, sort of like a renaissance woman.

#3 Take time to enjoy the flowers. Literally.

#4 It is more important to play with my children than it is to have a clean house. Plus, who wants to clean when you can go play? Kate and I have been having afternoon “coffee” which has really turned into a special time between us. Something that just she and I can do together.

#5 I am a homebody. I overscheduled myself at the beginning of Brian’s absence. I was trying to help the time to go by more quickly. That just exhausted me and made the girls unhappy. We (the girls and I) need a daily routine with just a weekly outing. It makes us all much happier girls.

#6 I can do most anything I try to do. For example, Kate wanted a “house,” so I made her one. Somehow I forgot how resourceful I can be, not to toot my own horn or anything. I am planning an entire post on the “house” when it is completed, but here is a taste of it.

come play with me!

#7 Allowing Kate to watch a movie is not a bad thing. It is actually a good thing. If I am frazzled, I can let her watch 30 minutes of something. Or we can sit and watch it together. I have introduced her to Dumbo (elephants), Winnie the Pooh (poo poo bear), and 101 Dalmations (puppies). It is so fun for me to watch her enjoyment over these movies. She is now absolutely head over heels in love with elephants. Loves them! Talks about them. Sings about them. Precious.
#8 If I can’t find either Isabel, she is probably with the chickens.

 
Look at how she is staring at the white chicken. Funny girl.


#9
Kate is a helper. She thrives on being the helper. She is the helper in her Sunday school class and in the nursery. She loves to help clean and do the dishes. It makes her proud.

#10 The most important thing I have been learning these months (September- October) is in 2 Peter 1. God has freely given to us eternal life, if we chose to accept him. But, we are to

 ADD to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

We don’t automatically become the perfect Christian with Christ-like qualities. It is up to you to add these things. For some reason, I never realized this. I always assumed that if you read your Bible, pray, go to church, etc. you will become the Christian you are supposed to be. But that is not so. You have to consciously make the decision daily to add these qualities to your life. I think that is so interesting.  
Favorite pictures from the month:

After falling down the hill, while chasing daddy. He is on the lawnmower in the background.

My mommy said fat babies can’t smile, I’ll show her. 
SEE!

On the way home from church.

Gettin’ the mail.

My Kate is becoming quite the photographer.

I am planning on getting back to my blogging schedule. So, stay tuned. 
Happy Friday! 

Lia Sophia Jewelry

Attention dear ladies. I had a jewelry party at my house last night. It was so much fun. We laughed and giggled. Played games, ate some yummy food, ordered jewelry.

I like this jewelry so much. I wanted to order this specific bracelet that is lots of money. But if you host a party and meet a certain amount in sales you can buy it WAAY cheaper. Alas, I have yet to meet the amount needed. I am almost there.

So, I thought I would share this link with you, my friends. If only you lived closer and could have actually came to the party. Oh, what fun we could have had. Anyway, here is the link:

https://www.liasophia.com/sites/amyamidon/catalog-intro

Put in my name Christy Perry as the hostess to get started shopping. Christmas is coming! (HAHAHA) Also, if you buy 2 items you get the third (the most expensive) half off. Then you are eligible for up to 3 more items half off. What a good deal!

The jewelry comes with a lifetime warranty with your receipt. So, if it breaks or anything, you just return it for a refund or exchange. Wonderful. I personally have an entire makeup bag filled with broken jewelry just waiting for something creative to be done with it.

Well, enough of my commercial. If you do shop and order, let me know, so I can thank you personally. If not, I promise I won’t hold it against you.

Not too much anyway.

singleness and some randomness

Being alone is yucky.

Just so you know. I do not really like it. Not at all. I do not really like it. Not one bit.

My wonderful husband made it safely overseas. He seems to be enjoying himself right now. It is a bit dusty over there. We have been enjoying skype. It would be much more difficult without technology, I can tell you that.

On the other side, though, is single parenting, single grocery shopping, single bath time, single EVERY meal, single going to church. Some days are okay, others are not.

I haven’t yet found my groove. I can’t seem to get it together. It is almost like I am just biding my time waiting on his return. I don’t think that is exactly what I am doing. It is just so weird him not here. I still need to do stuff. Which I am, kind of. But, not like I really want to. I just can’t seem to get the energy. He has only been gone for 2 weeks. This week is definitely shaping up to be a much better week. For that I am grateful.

A few random things, just for fun, though:

Mailing a package overseas, is not as simple as it sounds. Especially when it weighs 106 pounds.

The post office lady told me I could NOT mail pork. When I laughed, she looked at me like I was stupid. I said, don’t you think that is funny? She didn’t reply. I guess she didn’t get it.

Do you get it?

My children have learned how to drive me crazy.

I am learning how to not let my emotions get the best of me. To walk (or run) out of the room.

Sometimes cereal for dinner is really okay. I mean, who will know?

I miss Brian a million times more than I thought I would. Seriously. I knew I would miss him, but sometimes he gets on my nerves a little, you know? But, I even miss that.

I don’t miss cleaning up after him, though.

Kate and Isabel are learning to play together so well. It is so cute to watch them. They are hilarious. I finally remembered the video camera today, when Kate was reading to Isabel. She was reading this little book about fingers. Drumming her fingers on the book like I do, when I read that one.

Kate is really coming into herself. Putting things together in her mind. For example, she wanted lemonade. When I told her we didn’t have any, she thought for a minute. She then said, well, we should go to the store and get some. She thinks about things, wants to know “why?!”, learning to joke and tease, pays attention, understands consequences. Growing up, in other words. I asked her why she was growing so fast, she said because she wants to.

Isabel is a climber. On everything, then falling off everything. She has a never-ending knot on her forehead. I keep thinking we will take her 1 year pictures, but her face is marked. I might just have to get them taken and pay the extra to airbrush the bruise or scrape away.

I have lost 5 pounds.

I finally cleaned off the desk.

I have yet to plant any pansies. That is on my list for next week. I am looking forward to playing in the dirt while adding color to the yard. The leaves are starting to change.

I made a reading corner for myself. I really like it. It is so inviting.

Isabel comes to me and shows me her nose when she needs it wiped. She also thinks it is really funny to stick her hand up my shirt to tickle me.

I am not getting enough sleep.

I am learning to lean on God more than ever. Because I can’t call or text Brian with every little thing, I have been praying more. I look forward to praying even more. It really, really helps. Kate has been asking to pray, too. When she is upset or missing Daddy, she asks to pray for him. I think that is precious.

The other day, Kate quoted ON HER OWN the Bible verse we have been working on. I John 4:8, God is love, I John 4:8. She said it just like that, then looked at me and smiled. She has learned her alphabet song and sings it constantly. Constantly. I find that I have it going through my head occasionally. And now since I have typed that sentence it is in my head again.

ABCDEFG, HIJKLMNOP, QRS, TUV, W X Y Z…..
There. Now it can be in your head, too. 
I wonder if we should just eat leftovers for dinner, tonight. I am already getting hungry. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you something! Brian’s son, Jason, brought me a new-to-me dehydrator. I am very excited about it. I am trying it out right now. I am drying apples, oranges, and bananas. It should be good. We will see. Isabel really enjoys dried apples and bananas. I haven’t ever had oranges like that, but the picture on the box showed oranges. So, I thought I would try it. 
Well, that is it for now. Kate is making Isabel cry. I really should go see just how she is torturing her.
Happy Wednesday.

Isabel turned 1!

Last Saturday. Our reason for remembering 9/11 is the birth of our crazy redheaded climbing girl.

That picture makes me laugh. It is a self-portrait taken when she was just a few days old. I just love the expression on her face. I just can’t imagine our lives without silly, little Isabel. She is such a joy. To us all. It makes Kate’s day when Isabel wakes up. For in Kate’s mind, Isabel exists solely to play with her. “Isabel, play with Kate? Come here.” she says. Adorable.

I could post some adorable birthday post filled with mushiness, but I am just going to share some pictures of the day. It was a good day. We celebrated with both sets of grandparents. We grilled out and had cake. Lots of fun.

The balloons arrived. Isabel was so excited over her butterfly. She wanted to hug it.

Where’s my birthday girl?
There she is!

My masterpiece. Can you believe this is the only picture I took of it?

Isabel wanted to grab the candy off the cake to eat. Brian was trying to hold her hand away.

Isabel can blow. So, I really thought she would try to blow out the candle. But the candy was too great a distraction.

So, big sister Kate took care of the candle. She is a helper girl.
 The cake was a hit. Give me MORE!!

Feeding her baby. She is so smart.

She got two babies. One from each grandma. Which is hilarious, because they each bought Kate the same music table for her 1st birthday.

Silly sisters. Drive each other crazy. Isabel always pulls Kate’s hairbows out.
Look how pretty my hair is in this picture. *grin*
Here are some pictures from Isabel’s entrance.

And she’s OUT!

How precious!

Daddy love.

 Mommy love.

Sister love.

Happy family, then.
Now. 
I have been working on Isabel’s car blanket for her birthday. I am very excited about it. It just isn’t finished. I will show it to y’all when it is completed. Here is Kate’s blanket I made her for her first birthday.
We got her a set of Mother Goose nesting blocks and a shape toy. You put the different shapes into their cut out in the wooden box. She likes stacking and putting things inside and on top of each other.Other Grandma got her clothes and books and a baby. Grandma got her a baby and bottles.  She is so funny. But she loved her babies best.
It was such a good day.

a new normal

Here we go again.

Another drastic change in our life. If you know me or have been reading for awhile, you know we don’t do anything halfway. It is all or nothing. Well, sometimes.

Brian’s current job, though stable now, may or may not be stable in the future. Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes they have work. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes he gets overtime. Sometimes he doesn’t. When he doesn’t get any overtime, we live paycheck to paycheck without being able to save anything. Just pay the bills. Which is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. I am so thankful that I don’t have to worry about that. But anything extra, nope we don’t get it.

Like vacations, or pictures printed, or new shoes for me, or new anything for me, or anything that isn’t a necessity. Seriously. I don’t shop. Because we can’t afford it. I only buy groceries and every once in awhile, I buy a $3 clearance shirt at Target. OOH! I did splurge and buy myself a new lipstick. I was very excited. I haven’t had new makeup since Kate was born. Seriously. I still wear the same exact eye shadow that I wore in college. The same exact. Not the same color, but new. It is the same. Not that I care. I only put on makeup on Sundays and shopping days.

Anyway. What was I saying? Oh, right. We have such wonderful plans for this house and land, but yet we haven’t been able to do anything. Money is just a little tight. We firmly believe that unless you have cash to pay for something, then you shouldn’t buy it. Period.

Today is Brian’s last day at his current employer. This Sunday, September 12, he begins a new adventure. He leaves for training for his new job. His new job is almost like his current job, working on airplanes. Except he will be in Afghanistan.

Yep, you read that right. After his two week training, he will go overseas. We aren’t exactly sure when he leaves for overseas. But the HR lady said they were short-handed over there, so he would be shipped out right away. We hope he gets a week home, then leaves the first of October. We will see, though.

He will be overseas for 60 days then home for 30 days. This will be our new life. A rotating schedule. Brian is really excited. We will be able to save so much more money. Thank God for providing this job. It is funny how He worked everything out perfectly. In His time.

Now for me? I have lots of plans. Lots to do. I am going to do some traveling with the girls, myself. Get the house organized. Get on a schedule. Begin a little bit of schooling with Kate. Get the yard gorgeous for fall. Hopefully exercise. Sew. Read.

Basically just keep busy.

I know the separation will be harder than we think it will be. We plan on skyping. That should help the girls. Other than that, it is just going to be one day at a time. Adjusting to our new normal.

So, if you think about us, pray for us. We have some adjusting to do. God will help us. For that I am so thankful. Without Him, I could do nothing.

fire ants and guineas, oh my!

When I was a youngun’ I sure don’t remember being afraid of ants, do you? However my Kate is. She sees an ant, she tells me for she is so afraid of ant bites. I am, too. Those things hurt. Brian even warned me, don’t let the girls in the grass. I ignored his warning and let Kate SIT on the grass last week to paint. She ended up with about 20 ant bites PER arm. A few weeks ago, they got into my shoe. Holy moly. OUCH! They are creepy, you know. You don’t realize they are there, because they are so small. Then you feel hundreds of stinging bites that make you want to scream, jump, around, rip off your clothes or shoe and beat yourself to death, trying to get them off.

(Sometime last summer I posted something about being pregnant and fire ants and weed killer, but I can’t find it. I am going to find it and put a link, here.)

Then Sunday afternoon, we were all outside and Kate was sitting in the rocks. In the rocks! I didn’t even know they would be in the rocks. The fire ants swarmed up her leg and into her shoe. Poor baby. Now she has bites all over her foot and legs. YUCK.

We didn’t have this problem until recently. Remember our guinea? I think I told you about her.

She kept the entire yard, not the woods, but the entire yard free of fire ants. She was wonderful. You could walk anywhere in the yard, barefoot, with no fears. Somehow, she disappeared. We think our crazy redneck neighbor took her when he moved away. The one with all the animals. She would go visit him at feeding time. But, who knows? Guineas are tough and fast. They can generally get away from the predators that attack chickens.

Well, after she disappeared, we were on the hunt for some more. Brian got some from a crazy farmer who had hundreds, nay thousands of bird. Coops and cages everywhere. As far as the eye could see. It was funny.

Aren’t they cute?

So fun.

A few weeks later.

yesterday

They are getting so big. They now make the guinea sound. I don’t know how to describe that noise to you. Except that it is loud and annoying. Even more so with 8 of them making it. But they make good watch birds. What in the world does that mean? Well, when somebody drives up in the yard they make a racket! A huge, loud, annoying racket. (When they get in the yard, that is. They are still in their cage.)
When we were at Hollywild on Friday, guineas were everywhere. Every time Kate saw one, she would get excited, point, and say, “Didney!” (guinea).

See? Here is one. I took it’s picture, since we don’t have any pictures of guineas….hahaha.

What is the point of this post? Well, I am looking forward to the day, when our gaggle of guineas are running free in the yard, eating up all the stupid, annoying fire ants. I don’t like my youngun’s being afraid of walking barefoot in the grass. That is crazy. I don’t think Kate and I have been fire ant bite free the entire summer. I understand that that is part of the price to pay, living in the country. But, if I can change it, then I will. So, there you go. On the bright side, the days are beginning to be cooler, so these little demons will soon go into hibernation, right?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day. What is Labor Day anyway? And why do we celebrate it? I need to google that in my “free” time. Ha. This week is going to be crazy! I have Brian’s parents coming this weekend. Isabel’s birthday on Saturday. A birthday cake to make, sewing to do, cleaning to accomplish, and some mental anguish to get over. (I will tell you all about it later.)

Happy Monday, I mean Tuesday.  (It feels like Monday.)

saved to the uttermost

In an effort to continue to write as honestly as I possibly can about everything that I live and learn, I want to share something with you.

When I was a kid, I got saved. Or I said I did. I prayed a prayer that my teacher told me to pray. I prayed this prayer because I was scared of going to hell. But, I don’t remember there being any difference in my little kid life. As far as I know, I was still a selfish little brat.

Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I had a boyfriend. He didn’t want to be mine, anymore. I remember thinking how DESPERATE and HORRIBLE my life was. Maybe I should get saved. That will fix everything.

Um, it doesn’t work that way. Not at all.

Still I don’t believe there was any change. None that I remember. I do know that I tried to read my Bible and pray and stuff. But, I don’t think I did any of the “christian” stuff because I loved Jesus and wanted to please Him. I think I tried to do stuff that other Christians were doing. Because, you know, that is what Christians do. They say stuff like “Lord willing” and “I prayed about it”.

Fast forward some more.

I lived a horrible wretched godless life for several years. Got pregnant. Had a baby. Lived with a MAN. Got pregnant again. Tried to read my Bible and pray. But never ever ever saw any fruit. I wanted to please God somehow, but I kept just trying to do it on my own. I even blogged about it all the time. Still never having any victory over my sin or fleshly desires or anything that even remotely seemed godly. I just really don’t think I was going anywhere in my spiritual walk. My heart was FILLED with anger and bitterness. I don’t know why. I just know that I was an unhappy person. The slightest little thing would set me off. I would just blow up. No one and nothing seemed to make me happy.

I listen to sermons, read my Bible, and pray. But it was all intellectual. I just don’t think it was real. As in really in my heart. About two months ago, I just couldn’t stand the turmoil anymore. I talked to Brian about it. I don’t think I had ever truly been saved. I don’t think I had ever asked Jesus to come into my heart to save me.

So, I did. I asked Jesus into my heart to save me. To forgive me of all my rotten sins. To live in me. So, that I could live for Him. And you know what?

He did. He came into my heart. Now there has been a change. The anger is gone. The turmoil is gone. For the first time in my life I can honestly say I know for sure that I am going to heaven when I die. Without feeling any little lingering doubts whatsoever. Who knows? I might have been saved when I was a little kid or when I was a senior. I don’t know. But I do know for sure now. Amen.

It is interesting that I was planning on posting this sometime this week anyway. Today, I got the news that a young mother who was also a wife, daughter, sister, and friend passed away this morning. She hit a tree and died instantly. How sad for her family. But how wonderful for her. She is now in heaven. She went to church last night. She got up early this morning, to do her normal Thursday morning stuff. And now she is in heaven. That fast. She is gone. The thought sobers me more than I can even put into words. That could have been me. Or you. Or my mom. Or one of my sisters.

Do you know where you would go if you were to die right now? Right this very instant? Is your heart right with God? If you were to die today can you say you would go to heaven?

Okay. I just wanted to share this with you today. It was on my heart and mind.

God is good.

ALWAYS.

sew fun

My Mama gave me her old, but loved sewing machine. The one that she has used my entire life. The one I went to sleep listening to. The one on which she sewed all my costumes. The one she on which she sewed my and my sisters matching dresses. (Oh, the horror! We hated them when we were older.) The very machine that she used to teach me me to sew.

I had it in the guest house, thinking that I would use it out there during nap time. But for some reason, I can’t make nap time occur simultaneously. So, we brought it into the playroom. And oh the fun I have had playing on it.

Let me show you some of the fun things I have made recently. I started out with these fun dresses.

 Remember the puppy shirt? Well, I could never find any shorts to match it, so I added a skirt to it. Turned out nicely, if I say so myself.

 I had this cute stripey shirt that was begging for a skirt and a flower. I made the skirt out of an old sheet, so I didn’t have to hem it. I hate hemming. After it was all finished, I was looking at it and noticed that the front of the dress is BACKWARDS! I was so excited about not having to hem it, I didn’t really notice when I sewed the sides together, that I didn’t turn it around. Oh, well. It isn’t noticeable at all. But to me, of course. I was NOT about to take it apart and redo it.

After my semi-successes with these adorable t-shirt dresses, I thought I would make an entire dress. Scary stuff….

I made Kate and Isabel matching ones with a skirt to match for Mommy. I love it.

Isabel likes to model her new clothes. Kate on the other hand, does not.

A close up of Isabel’s cute dress. Kate’s looks the same, just bigger.

Then I got real fancy. Kate had this bathing suit from last year that she kept wanting to wear. But it was too short. It would pull down on the top, or ride up on her hiney. I saw another sewing mama do this, so I thought I would give it a try.

I turned a one-piece bathing suit into a two-piece.

I just cut the panties off, under the skirt. Added elastic to the panties, and abracadabra….it fits. You can’t even tell it is a two-piece when she wears it. It did fit and she did enjoy wearing it…until somehow it got into the whites during the bleach cycle. So, it is no longer purple. So, Kate won’t have anything to do with it.

My next project was coordinating dresses for the girls. Same fabric but in “their” colors. Isabel’s color is turquoise and Kate’s is yellow. I really like how these turned out.

Isabel’s is a little too big. So, I ended up putting a button on the back cross piece. She needs a little t-shirt under it, too. Otherwise, she looks naked. The way the dress moves when she runs and stuff. Adorable, though, really.

And Kate’s…of course, it is a little too small. We have to be careful pulling it over her head. (No picture while wearing it, she won’t let me.) I am still working on my sewing skills. But I really like this pattern. I think it would make an adorable jumper out of corduroy for the winter. 

Then I made this adorable little t-shirt, frilly dress for a little girl’s birthday.

Cute, huh? The only thing I think I should have done differently, is to make each “layer” a little narrower, for it is a little too long. But this little girl adores long flowing dresses, so no big deal, really.

I do enjoy sewing.

I did learn some very valuable lessons these past few months while sewing, though. Very valuable sewing lessons. READ the directions, then read them again. Then read them one more time. IRON your seams. It really does matter. IRONING your seams makes it easier. WASH your fabrics before sewing. TAKE YOUR TIME. Use good thread. Have fun, don’t stress about it. Only sew while the girls are sleeping or otherwise occupied. If they need me, don’t put them off. Put the sewing down. You see, if I don’t put the sewing down, and take care of the girls’ needs right then, I make a mistake in the sewing. Never fails. Last but not least, don’t show Brian anything until it is finished. Period.

Happy Monday.

a little sadness

Last week I was planning how to break the news to you. I was so excited. Trying to think of a fun way of sharing our latest news with everyone.

But, I miscarried.

I was about 6 weeks along.

If we weren’t trying and if I hadn’t been taking a pregnancy test every week, I probably would’ve never known. All the research I have done says 1 in 5 pregnancies are miscarriages. Only about half of the women even realize.

I wasn’t going to share this bit of news. But changed my mind. Since I share all the wonderful happy things in my life, I should also tell about some of the sad disappointments as well. I know I am not alone in suffering this way. I am not the first to have a miscarriage. But that doesn’t lessen my pain or heartbreak.

God works in mysterious ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor his ways our ways.

I am so thankful that He took my baby on to heaven instead of leaving him here to suffer in some unimaginable way.

I am so thankful that He took him on home now instead of later, as He did with some dear friends of mine. Who actually held their baby after months of pregnancy only to have him go on to heaven.

I am so thankful for the two girls God has already blessed me with. Who bring joy and laughter to our lives.

I am so thankful that God reminded me of all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for.

Ironically, the day of the loss, I was reading about mature Christians and how they respond to life’s trials. God brings circumstances in our lives for many different reasons. We don’t always need to know the reasons, though. I usually try to figure out what lesson I am supposed to be learning. All the whys and wherefores. When in reality God might just want to see my reactions. He might just want me to prove my faith. Prove my trust. Without knowing any reason for it.

Prove it.

Put my money where my mouth is, you could say.

Prove I know that He is in control.

And even though the phrase, “I just flushed my baby!” kept repeating itself in my head. The song my Grandma would sing was much louder.

I don’t know about tomorrow. I just live from day to day. I don’t borrow from its sunshine for its skies may turn to gray. I don’t worry o’er the future for I know what Jesus said. And today I’ll walk beside him. For he know what is ahead. Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow. And I know who holds my hand.

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

On a Wednesday.

Because I kept forgetting to come upstairs and blog yesterday.

Oh, well.

I haven’t gone to the library like I said I wouldn’t. So, I had all this free time on my hands. (Not really.) But I do spend more time reading books when I have them, than the average person. For example, if I had a book to read, I would not be blogging right now. I would be lying on the couch, reading.

I was over my aunt and uncle’s house last week. He was reading The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. I picked it up, read the first sentence and immediately knew I had to read this book.

The last time I saw Laurent Jammet, he was in Scott’s store with a dead wolf over his shoulder.

Who wouldn’t want to read this? Right? That sentence just GRABS me.

Because I am tired, and because the book jacket always sounds better than I can write, I am just going to copy that for you, here:

The year is 1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory, when a man is brutally murdered. A local woman, Mrs. Ross stumbles upon the crime scene. Within hours she will regret that knock with a mother’s love–for soon she makes another discovery: her seventeen-year-old son Francis has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect.

In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the crime and to the township. Andrew Knox, Dove River’s elder statesman; Thomas Sturrock, a wily American itinerant trader; Donald Moody. the clumsy young Company representative; William Parker, a half-breed Native American and trapper who was briefly detained for Jammett’s murder before becoming Mrs. Ross’ guide.

One by one, the searchers set out from Dove River following the tracks across a desolate landscape–home only to wild animals, madmen, and fugitives–variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for seventeen years, and a forgotten Native American culture before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good.

I could not put this book down. I enjoyed it that much. But, I am proud to say, I only read while nursing Isabel or while the girls were asleep.

It has everything I enjoy. History, mystery, intrigue, a little scandal, humor, you know…life.

It was fascinating. I liked her writing style. Or her voice, you could say. The different perspectives was interesting to me. She doesn’t tie all the loose ends up into a pretty bow, like some authors do. Which to me, makes the book more true to life. I was a little annoyed about one aspect of the book. The relationship between Jammet and Francis. But her writing is just fabulous, so I just quickly read over a few parts. And tried not to imagine the scene.

Here are a few random sentences from throughout the book.

I don’t pretend to be particularly brave, and, in fact, long ago gave up the notion that I have any remarkable qualities.

She wakes before it is fully light. The fire is out, a sodden charred mess; the air is wet and smell of thaw. She looks around. She cannot see the horses; they must have moved off behind the shelter, foraging for food. No sign of Espen–but then, she didn’t really think there would be. She pushes herself onto her elbows, her eyes becoming used to the grayness. And then she sees the trampled and stained snow only twenty yards away. 

I wait behind my mask for Parker’s soothing words of reassurance. He is thinking about them, choosing them carefully, it seems. 

They don’t come.

And then Parker turns back to the dogs and the sled, and keeps walking and so do I.

For what else can any of us do?

See? Isn’t it great? Also, the way she describes the cold frontier, you feel like you are there, freezing right along with the characters. I found myself cheering for several of them. Changing my mind about others. 

Here is a marvelous review I found. And here is another review that sums up the book, but wasn’t thrilled with the ending. Bloggers who write much better than I do. You might like to read their opinions. 

Let me know if you decide to read it.

Happy Reading.

Outdoor Wednesday-DEER

Brian has had the privilege of hunting this summer with a friend from church. Our friend works on a watermelon farm. The owner of the watermelon farm has a special hunting permit that allows hunting out of season with a spotlight, etc. (The deer damage his crops which is the reason for the special permit. Just so you know, we ARE legal, here.)

All that being said, they got one deer earlier this summer. Brian skinned it and cut it into roasts which we have been enjoying. But a few weeks ago, they got two! Boy, were they excited.

Silly boys. Brian is probably going to be embarrassed that I posted this picture, so let’s not tell him, okay? Hilarious, huh?

Here is the traditional hunting: I am a MAN pose. I kill things. Here me roar

They got a buck and a doe. Or as I like to say, they got a mommy and a daddy. Morbid. ::grin::

Aren’t they sweet? Snuggling in their death pose. The buck’s antlers were covered in the softest velvet.

Since they got two this time, I made a call to my awesome, talented Uncle Anthony. He came over and demonstrated his talent. He is an excellent butcher. It was a beauty to watch.

He cut some cube steak pieces, stew meat, tenderloins, chili meat, and beautiful roasts. Yummy. I know some of you are thinking, ugh. Deer meat. I will never eat that. I had it one time and it had hair in it. Blah, blah, blah. Well, something wasn’t done properly if you had hair in your deer meat. Anyway. Look at this beautiful meat.

Fun stuff.

If we had a grinder, we would’ve even gotten ground meat. You know for burgers, meat loaf and other yummy dishes. I should get one.

Thank you, Uncle Anthony for coming to help us!

Now we have a freezer full of yummy deer meat. We will not be needing to buy any meat for awhile. What a wonderful blessing.

God is good.

Even in this strange way.

Happy Wednesday.

Lessons learned…July edition

or alternately titled, Observations or Randomness
or Dumb Things I Do 
or Why I haven’t blogged in forever

You should not eat blueberry pancakes with maple syrup almost every morning for breakfast for about a month or so. You could gain approximately 10 pounds. Even though it is oh so very yummy. I can eat four. Yes. Four. But that is at 10 am after I had already been up since 5 or 6. Does it count that I am extra hungry in the morning?

Balsamic vinegar is not, NOT interchangeable with red wine vinegar in the Italian dressing mix I use. It was nasty.

It is a good thing to have the Poison Control hotline saved into your phone. Because when your daughter sucks on a paint brush soaked in yucky green outdoor paint, you might want to call them, to make sure she isn’t going to die or something.

Keeping smarties on your desk is a good idea because you can feed the children while you blog.

I am so very glad that I keep my kitchen floor spotless at all times. That way, when I spill $20 or so dollars worth of walnuts on the floor, I can just pick them up and put them in a jar. Not worrying about dog hair or my hair or crumbs or dirt or anything. Yep, spotless at all times.

If you take a coleus cutting, stick it some dirt, it will grow. Awesome.

People will constantly disappoint you. But God will not. 

Black clouds and rolling thunder doesn’t always mean it is going to rain.

My husband is awesome. One evening, I forgot to thaw something for dinner. What I came up with was gross. I’m talking, GROSS. We didn’t even make Kate eat it. I gave her ice cream later. My husband did not complain AND he gave the girls their baths that night. 

I can live without a microwave.

Did you know that hot liquid and cornstarch put in a shaker will cause an explosion? Neither did I…until last night.

Rice heals almost all wet electronics. Or mine anyway. I have washed my cell phone, put it in a bag of rice. It fixed it. Absorbed the moisture. When I dropped my camera in a small wave in Charleston last week, we stopped and bought a bag of rice. It was working, then it wasn’t working. Now it is working again. We will see how long this lasts until a new one MUST be bought.

I don’t like not having a camera at all times to take pictures of dumb things.

Like this: at the lake when I finished eating my apple I tossed it and it bounced and landed…in the little tiny tree. Because I knew it would never happen again, I took it’s picture.

Like this. This is dumb. Do you know what it is? If you are the first one to guess, you get a prize. What kind of prize, you ask? I don’t know. Something fun. I will think something really good. :*:grin:*:

After washing the car seats, it is probably not a good idea to “let” the girls help put them back together. (That is a post all by itself.)

The outdoor painting with food coloring ice cube idea that I have seen all over the blogosphere is not for almost 3 and almost 1 year olds. AT ALL.

There is no better way to start your day than sitting down with a nice hot cup of coffee, your Bible, by yourself…….

……..until you spill your coffee. All over the laptop, lamp, table, sewing stuff carpet, chair, and whatever else happened to be nearby.

When sewing, READ THE DIRECTIONS! FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! (Now, another quiz…who said that?)

And last but not least, it isn’t necessary when leaving the house and forgetting my phone to turn around and get it because NO ONE CALLS ME (besides my aunt and that’s at 7am.).

I leave you with this…to make your day:

Happy Monday.

Outdoor Wednesday-garden update

This is how tall they are. I am roughly 5’5″. Don’t look at my gross outside working clothes.

Before the two tall ones bloomed.

After.

More are blooming, now.

Busy bees.

Look at all the blossoms on this stalk.

My favorite. Because it is different. It has petals in the wrong place, yet it is still beautiful.

Now, for the garden out back.

Kate took this picture. I wanted to show you how tall the tomato plants are. This is the smallest one. Cool, huh?

This sunflower is planted beside the cucumber. If you look closely you can see the cucumber vine climbing the sunflower stalk. There is a little cucumber and some cucumber flowers.

Up close of the cucumber. Funny, huh?

Same cucumber a few days later, right before I picked it. I think I should make something next year for the cucumbers to climb. This cucumber is a perfect shape. Most of the ones on the ground are curved a little. Or a lot. Which only matters when we make pickles. I kind of like the cucumbers to be more uniform to cram more in the jar. We made the best sweet pickles. They were fun and easy. Kate helped, of course.

Some cute little mushrooms Kate found one morning after a rain. They were so delicate and pretty.

She thought they were neat.

A little bit of summer sunshine IN the house. You know, for fun. And we had company coming, so I needed an arrangement. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Happy Wednesday.

silly Isabel

Eats brownie crumbs off the floor, then acts surprised when caught.

Hangs onto my legs almost all day long.

Has to be where the action is.

Is a climber.

Cracks me up, daily.

Loves playing outside, getting dirty.

Is the silliest baby I have ever seen. (Which isn’t saying much, really. Since I have only really been around 2.)


Gives the sweetest hugs and kisses to her mommy.

Follows Kate’s every move.

Loves to play, “where’s Isabel?!”

Goes out into the lake all by herself and just sits there.

 
Tried to give her Papa a heart attack, running on Aunt Jada’s trampoline.

Is beautiful.

I can’t believe she is 10 months old. How the time flies, especially when you are having fun.

got milk?

Every 2-3 weeks we go “to see the baby cows.” In other words, we go to the dairy farm to get milk. We started drinking raw milk about 3 years ago. We tasted it and really liked it. Raw milk is just so much better for you than pasteurized. If you don’t believe me, google it. (I don’t feel like it right now, or I would.) Plus, it just tastes so much better to us than the other milk. Just like tomatoes fresh from your garden are better than store bought ones. Fresh eggs from your own chicken are better than store bought. (We call store bought eggs “cancer eggs”. HaHa!)

Anyway. Kate really likes to see the baby cows. She gets so excited when we go. Isabel likes them, too. She just doesn’t know enough to get excited yet. A few months ago, I took the camera to get some pictures of the girls and the baby cows. It was hilarious.

Here they are looking at the cows. Everyone is happy. So far. Do you see that cow in the middle back there? With it’s ear up? She is saying, Hmmm, what do we have here?

Kate ran away. The cow to the far right licked her and she ran away, scared. Isabel is holding on for dear life. Uh oh. Here they come…

Isabel is now crying. Trying her best to get away from those big, scary cows. Keep in mind, this is before she could walk. So, she is just hanging on.

Kate decided to come back and help Isabel. But Isabel wouldn’t have anything to do with her. So, I am holding her, now. See how far away Kate is from the gate? Now when we go to see the baby cows, we stay in the van.

They have the sweetest faces, don’t they? I think cows are just wonderful. I want one for a pet. Brian says the only way we will have a cow is for meat. I will just have to settle for looking at them every so often when we get milk.

BUBBLES!

Wanna make bubbles that big? Well, thanks to the internet, I found the best make your own bubble recipe ever! I am so thankful. I have wasted time and money on those silly bubbles from the store. I even have a gallon of the tiny bubble, bubble popping, hard-to-make-bubbles-with bubble mix under the sink.

1 gallon water
2/3 cup dish soap
2-3 tablespoons glycerin

Fill gallon jug with water. Then add your soap and glycerin. If you do it the other way around, you will have a huge sudsy mess. (How do I know? Because that is the way this dummy dumb did it.) Let sit overnight, or for even 2 days. The longer it sits, the better the bubbles.

Then pour into a flat pan of some sort. I used my 13×9 baking dish. Grab your cookie cutters, plastic bracelets, etc. Anything, really. Let your imagination be your guide.

Take outside and PLAY BUBBLES!!!

My nephew really got some big ones. He had a lot of fun, as you can see. Kate, on the other hand, didn’t really get the concept.

Oh, but she tried.

She watched the professional.

And tried again. 

Then she didn’t try anymore. It is so much more fun to just get your hands all soapy, then run to the pool and rinse them off. And get your hands all soapy to go to the pool to rinse them off. 

But the professional? His bubbles just got bigger.

and bigger

and bigger

Such fun was had with the bubbles. If you decide to make your own and can’t find glycerin or have no idea what it is, I got mine through the pharmacist at the grocery store. He ordered it. I got a bottle for about $5. Let me know if you make any. They really are fun.

Happy Thursday.

a package!

We just got a letter (and a package).

We just got a letter (and a package).

We just got a letter (and a package).

Let’s see who it’s from!

Grandma!!

YAY!!!

PLEASE smile for Grandma and Grandpa! This is all I could get. Smile-wise. I am sorry.

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Armonat! We really like our new outfits, but we especially like the SHOES! You should see Isabel strutting in her new sandals. Laughing the whole time. Kate kept saying, “I have new RED SHOES!”. She has been wanting red shoes. Yay! Thanks again.

(The “song” in the beginning is from Blue’s Clues. I sing it when we get the mail. Because I am a dork. My oldest nephew loved Blue’s Clues. That is the only thing I remember from the show.)

Lessons learned…May/June edition

You know the drill. Unless of course, you are new to this here blog. (Said with a southern twang, please) In which case, monthly or bimonthly (when I remember) I try to list the lessons I learned throughout the course of the month. And, yes, I know it is almost the middle of July, but if I don’t post this now, I won’t ever get to it. I also like to show my favorite pictures I took throughout that I didn’t have a reason to post. If you would like to read other such fun posts, you can click on lessons learned in the side bar———–>.  

1.   Kids will play with everything.

Those summer storms sneak up on you, you know.

Yes. My Kate is in a bucket. Filled with water. Having the time of her life. Singing about being in a bucket filled with water.

2.  Trying to save money by shaving with cheap razors and old lotion is NOT worth it. Buy the good razors and shaving cream!

3.  I don’t drink enough water. We used to buy bottled water by the case when it was on sale. I probably was drinking about 3 or 4 liters a day. Now that we have a well, our big wonderful idea was not to buy water because we have our own delicious spring water. Except, now I don’t drink enough. It is hard for me to drink water out of a glass. It goes down so much easier out of a bottle.

4.  Get outside in the morning, when you know it is going to be a hot day. (Common sense for most of you, I am sure.)

5.  Flowering broccoli is nasty. We grew our own broccoli this year and were so excited about it. Broccoli takes FOREVER to grow. FOREVER. We watered diligently. I got so excited when I saw the first baby broccoli appear. But then it rained for like 2 days and itgrew so fast! One day, we discussed picking it. But we got greedy. Let’s see if it will get bigger, we said. And it did. And it was nasty.

It started to flower….did you know broccoli flowered? Neither did we. Little, yucky yellow flowers.

6.  Don’t rinse my potatoes in the side of the sink with the disposal. It is very hard to get a whole potato out of the disposal. Very hard. As I stick my hand in the disposal to retrieve the potato, that scene from that movie, plays in my mind EVERY time. Scary.

7. Buy my perennials from a local nursery or store, not at the annual flower show. That way, if they don’t grow or something, I can take it back. I wasted a little bit of money on these perennials this year. I planted these 6 weeks ago and they still look like this. The bottom one is actually even smaller, if that is possible.

 The 3 plants that are in the middle making a line like this:\, are the ones I am talking about. Oh, and the one to the far right in the middle. It is just a dot of green. Do you see it? I had envisioned such beautiful flowers for this spot by now.

8.  Fertilize. Fertilize. Fertilize.

9. Don’t overwater the veggie garden. We ended up with some powdery mildew on our squash, so they didn’t produce as much as we were hoping for.

10. Peaches are not good in pancakes. They are good in oatmeal, but not in pancakes. Blueberries, though…they make the best pancakes in the world.

Favorite pictures of the month:

Happy Monday.

a rant and a toy

Scientists are beginning to document the effects of digital exposure on the brain. They are finding that everything from phone calls (remember those?) to e-mail and text messages exacts a toll on the brain’s ability to concentrate and focus. Furthermore, they have identified a physiological reward for digital stimulation — a “dopamine squirt.” That little squirt of dopamine in the brain serves as a physiological pay-off for digital stimulation, and it can be habit-forming.

This is an excerpt from an article found here on Albert Mohler.com. I have been thinking about this phenomenon for awhile now. Everyone is on facebook or twitter. Everyone has an email account. People rarely pick up the phone to say hello…instead they “write on your wall”. Because that is so sincere. (dripping sarcasm)

Honestly, I think this causes problems when people eventually try to interact IN PERSON. There is no backspace button or delete comment option in real life. I know that since I have become a work at home mom, I have a harder time interacting with people. I have found solace in my blog. I have found enjoyment while lurking on facebook. Even if deep down I think it is stupid. Facebook, that is.

But, technology is here to stay and we must use it wisely. Like everything else.

I just miss the sincerity of a phone call. Or the thoughtfulness of a card in the mail. I want to really fellowship with people. Not just one day a week at church. Nor by looking at what they choose to post on facebook. Nor by effortlessly clicking the like button on someone’s status.

But then maybe all this stems from the fact that being a work at home mom is lonely. And too much time can be spent wondering what people “really” meant. Which is wrong, too. The Bible says, think on whatsoever things are true (Phil.4:8). Not think on whatsoever things your mind wanders to and from. The devil wanders to and fro….(Job 1:7)

People are just so busy, caught up in their own busyness. They have no time for anyone but themselves. But people have time to get on facebook, watch tv, go to movies, shopping, or whatever it is that people do. So long as it isn’t interacting with others or ministering to others.

So, if you think I am talking about you, maybe I am.

But probably not.

I just want one friend. ONE!!! That is all. One who lives near and drops by for coffee and my latest dessert. One who calls JUST TO SAY HEY. One who isn’t afraid of me and my obnoxious opinions.

That is just my stupid little rant for the day. Now, after all of that, do you want to see what I made for Kate to play with?

her very own laptop

I got the idea here. I am not that creative. I just copy others.
She says, “I need to check my email.” So funny. Right. I know. Go ahead and say it. Christy, you are a hypocrite. Well, I know that I can be. But, it is just a little toy. 2 pieces of wood, old keyboard keys glued, an old mouse, and some shiny paper.  She doesn’t have her own facebook account. Not until she is older. At least 16. Maybe. 

sunflowers!

Remember these pitiful little sunflower seedlings?

Well….

Aren’t they getting so big? It is so exciting. I can’t wait until they are all blooming. In preparation for the many blooms we are going to have, Kate and I made a sunflower yesterday.

I got this wonderful idea from the Frugal Family Fun blog. She has great ideas. I get lots of inspiration from her blogs.

Here is our first bloom in our “field o’ flowers”.

While I am on the subject of flowers, did you know that eggplants make the prettiest little purple flowers? I didn’t. See how pretty they are? I don’t know if we like eggplant or not, but we are growing it!

And while we are talking about growing vegetables, look at this HUGE, ginormous zucchini! That is what happens when you don’t go out every day to pick your garden. This is going to be made into yummy zucchini bread….with blueberries.

Our tomatoes are going to all ripen within the week, so I will be canning next week. I am a little nervous. I am going to make pickles, too. It should prove to be interesting.

Happy Wednesday.

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

Lest you lovely readers think all I do is sit around reading novels and eating chocolate cake. I thought I would share with you today what I read every morning. Well, every morning that I have by myself before two crazy girls wake up…

As you may or may not know, I have been trying to read through the Bible. Beginning to end. Genesis to Revelation. I got bogged down in Isaiah, remember? Since then, I have read through the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I began reading Acts this week. I cannot even begin to tell you what I have learned. I have sat at Jesus’ feet while he taught. His daily ministry and life has become so real to me these past few months as I have immersed myself into HIS Word.

I wrote the above on May 20 of this year and saved it. I never posted it because I haven’t gotten around to finishing it. But, mainly because I didn’t want to sound prideful. As in, look at me, I am so godly, I am reading my Bible.

Then, a funny thing happened…well, not that funny, strange, I guess, I stopped reading my Bible. I mean, I stopped. Completely. I didn’t pick it up for anything but church. I, instead, read my library books. Books that consumed my mind. Distracted me from what was important. And then you know what happened?

My attitude got nasty.

Really nasty.

You know why?

I can’t make it without regular, quality time with HIS Word and prayer. Because, I can’t do it on my own. I can’t be the maid, the chef, the laundress, the chicken farmer, the gardener, the mommy, the wife, the sister, the daughter, the friend without God helping me.

If I don’t lean on Him, then I can’t do anything. Well, I can be a selfish little brat, but who wants to be around that?

So, I am taking a book break. I am not going to check any books out of the library for a little while. I still have quite a few books to tell you about. I will do that every Tuesday (when I have time). But, right now, I really need to concentrate on my spiritual walk.  So, I am not bragging on my godliness. I am far from being godly. I want to be godly, though. I want to be like Jesus. I want to be that Proverbs 31 lady, like my Grandma was. That won’t happen if I don’t read His Word.

I am now in I Corinthians. And it is a toughie. Whew!

What about you? Are you reading your Bible? I encourage you to. It will change you.

Happy reading.

beebops

Kate’s purple flip flops. She calls them, “Kate’s beebops.”

When we were shopping for her some new shoes, she found these. Put them on, immediately. Had to have them. HAD to have them. It was like pulling eye teeth to even get her to LOOK at other shoes.

At first, I thought, oh how cute. Kate and her flip flops. The best dollar I ever spent.

Then she couldn’t get them on. She kept putting the strap between the wrong toes and falling. She would get so mad. SO mad. Try again. Putting them on the wrong feet, wrong toes, etc. Then she had to have them while she ate, while she was in the tub, while she was on the potty. You name it, she was concerned about her pupple beebops.

It was kind of annoying.

Now that she can put them on properly, she can’t walk in them. At all. She trips. If she is outside, dirt gets under her feet, so she has to take them off, wipe her feet off, then put the shoes back on….

See how her toes are clinched? So funny. Yet so annoying. It is all she can do to keep them on when she is walking. Much less run with them on. They are absolutely ridiculous. Dumbest thing I ever spent a dollar on.

The first thing she asks when she wakes up is “beebops?”

When we leave, “bye chickens, bye beebops!”

When we get home, “beebops?”

I wish I could throw them away. But she would be so broken-hearted. I’m not that mean. Or am I?

She isn’t the only one with the weird, toe issues…

This is what happens to Isabel when she crawls around in outfits with buttons. It drives her crazy.

Makes me laugh.

housework, christy style

First, some blogging business: I have been so slack at emailing you sweet commenters back. I am so sorry. I really enjoy the interaction of “commenting”. I check my email and read the comments thinking I will email them later, and then never do. Then a lot of you commenters and new followers, don’t even have an email set up with their blog. So, I have found myself emailing noreply@ blogger.com. Annoying. I really encourage you to set up an email with your blog. So then you can get reply emails. I really enjoy getting those reply emails. Often I find myself not commenting on other blogs because I never get a reply. Which is hypocritical on my part, I know, since I haven’t been replying, myself. I just think it is way more fun to comment when you know you will get a reply. That is all. So, from here on out, I am going to do better about emailing you commenters, back. I promise.

Secondly, I have some new followers and haven’t been able to communicate because of the no email thing and because for some reason I have been having troubles commenting. For example, if you blog has some comment as thing at the bottom, my computer won’t let me comment. I don’t know why. I even turned my ad block thing off. September mom…I have tried to comment on yours several times and it won’t let me. I don’t know what is wrong. I am sorry. There is a few others like that out there.

Anyway, I have been meaning to give you an update on my goals I set for myself for 2010.

If you are interested, I posted those goals here and here. Then I posted and update way back in February. Wow. I am a slacker. Seriously. Back in February? I bet y’all forgot all about my stupid goals, huh. Oh, well. I am reminding you, because I didn’t.

The main thing I have truly accomplished is my housework, stuff. I thought I would tell you what I have done.

First, I made a list of all the stuff I wanted done every single week. Then I split it up into different days and put it on the fridge.

In case you can’t read my pencil scratchings it says:

M= Library, stairs, UP bath, one laundry
T=down floor, kit floor, one laundry
W=UP floor, sew, water, one laundry, Kate’s room
T=down bath, windows, blue room, one laundry
F=wipe out micro and fridge, down floors, one laundry, Mama’s

This plan really works for me. That is my chores for each day. Not including the kitchen, because we all know that the kitchen has to be cleaned a gazillion times everyday. I try to clean my kitchen really well every night before bed. There is nothing like a clean kitchen to greet you as you pour your coffee first thing in the morning.

Now, the key I have found is not to stress. For example. Not a single thing on the list has been done this week.

Oh, well. So, what is today? Wednesday. I just do what is on Wednesday’s list. Not what is on the previous days. I just do what is on the list for that day. Unless I know in advance I am going to be gone all day. Then I try to do it earlier in the week Or not at all. No big deal.

Once I get my chores done for the day, then I can play. Whether it is going outside to work in the yard, or playing on the computer, the chores must be done first. Sometimes it takes all day to get the chores done because of one thing or the other. Sometimes I don’t even do the chores because I play with the kids. But this works for me. 

Then other thing I do is put the kids to work. Never to young to pull their own weight, I say. I mean, I should probably have some more, less work for me…

Kate does all the baking.
And she cleans the floors.
Isabel is learning to weed.
Just kidding. Isabel doesn’t do anything, yet. But Kate does. She feeds Molly every day. She picks up her toys. She is my “helper girl”. She does whatever she can to help. Usually without complaint. She enjoys pulling the chair over to the sink to wash dishes. Or to the stove to cook. She pushes the clothes into the dryer, after I put them on the door. Fun stuff, having Kate help. Plus, we sing a lot of songs while we work. Singing makes everything fun. 
You have to make housework fun, because:
truly it does…
Well, on that note, I will leave you.
Happy cleaning.

stupid rain

I know we aren’t supposed to say things like that. But seriously. This rain has really made me mad. Not only did it flood my foyer which I am still trying to clean. (By the way, does anyone know how to clean a rock floor? River rocks. They are COATED with red mud. Yuck.) But, the rain also flooded this beautiful area.

All those little dark brown circles are not cow patties. They are sunflower seeds covered in good garden soil. This picture was taken last week. I had such high hopes for a field of gorgeous sunflowers. The back row was supposed to be 16 foot mammoths. Then the next rows were 10-12 foot ones, the next rows were 7-10 foot ones, the front lines were 4-6 foot autumn beauties.

Then the rains came.

And did not stop.

Now I have a mud hole. Some of the seeds are still there. But most of them floated away. To who knows where. I might see sunflowers growing all over the yard, for all I know. I am so frustrated. But, I am going to get some more seeds, today. Try again. I will not be defeated.

I used to say that all the time, when I couldn’t do something. Something like get the nut off my oil pan under the car when I was a single gal doing my own car maintenance. Saying that made me remember. I am so glad I have a husband for things like that now.

Anyway.

The veggie garden doesn’t really look any better.

Our squash didn’t come up. Nor did some beans. I am going to cheat and buy some plants today. It is such a mud hole. I know you really can’t tell what you are looking at here. But on the right are the tomato plants in the middle there are the beans. The bottom was supposed to be the yellow squash. The back row is the zucchini. Only 2 of those came up. Oh, well.

On the plus side of all that rain…

This morning’s sunshine…

Isn’t God good, anyway?

Happy Wednesday

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

It is Tuesday, right? I always try to write this post and realize it is Wednesday or Friday, not Tuesday, anyway. I like having a blog schedule just because I like schedules and order. I just have been having a difficult time following any schedule at all.

Anyway….

I thought today I would tell you about a few books that are so good they have caused me to neglect my children, housework, Bible reading, and husband. Books that entangle me into their story and writing style. Books that I can’t for the life of me put down for anything. For example while I was reading one day. Kate had completely undressed Isabel, diaper and all. Kate then went potty….and took care of it herself. We had a poopy mess. It didn’t even bother me, not until I finished my chapter anyway. It bothered Brian a little bit, though. (a lot a bit, actually.)

Anyway, what were we talking about? Books that I can’t put down, that’s right.

Etta by Gerald Koplan

The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, action, adventure, romance, daring rescues and escapes, history. Did you know the Sundance Kid had a girlfriend? Not much is known about her. This book is a sort of fictional account about her. I would call it historical fiction with a lot of facts thrown in, for fun kind of book. My kind of book. I want to buy this book and read again. I really really enjoyed it. It was that much fun.

Click here to look at the pictures of the characters. It will make the book come alive when you read it.

Red Rover by Dierdre McNamer

This book is about the author’s uncle. A real-life mystery story with some fiction thrown in to make it more exciting and to paint a better picture. In my humble opinion. I really enjoyed this book, too. To save time on my part, I am just going to have you click here to read about it. A NY Times book review does way better than I can. It is a must read. I think this book has it all, too. History, mystery, FBI stuff, war, crazy people, good stuff.

Landsman by Peter Charles Melman.

This is a story about a Jew from New Orleans during the Civil War. I have never once thought about Jews living in America then. But, they did, evidently. They were discriminated against in America back then. I didn’t know that. Did you? Anyway. This is a good story. A little bloody, if I remember correctly. Action packed. But it is a Civil War novel. I enjoyed this book. It is superbly written. I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. Click this review to read more about it.

The Missing by Tim Gautreaux

Want to read a good book that doesn’t really have a happy ending? Ha! Just kidding. It has a good ending, just not what you WANT to happen. This book is also historical fiction, imagine that, huh? The main character comes home from World War I or The Great War and goes back to his job. He makes a mistake and spends the entire book trying to atone for it. Very good read. It takes you up and down the Mississippi on a steam ship. A party boat that does “tours”. I never knew anything about that. I enjoyed the writing style of this book, too. Except there is just a lot of sadness in this book. So, if you can’t handle that…don’t read it. This book really depressed me for a few days. Other than that, though, a good book. Does that even make sense? This book is so good but it depressed me? HA! Oh, well. Here, read this review.

Well, these books don’t really fall under my “new book reading policy”. But I enjoyed them all. I enjoy historical stuff. Most history doesn’t uplift. Unless you try to learn from other people’s mistakes. I guess.

I don’t know. I am just rambling, as usual. If you read any of these let me know.

Happy reading.

rainy rambling Monday, again

Mud is really hard to get out of cheap carpet.

If you let your towels sour in the washing machine, you should probably just wash them again, not put them in the dryer, hoping the smell will just magically disappear.

Why do dogs scrub their backs into your freshly vacuumed floor?

I saw a squirrel fall out of a tree, the other day. It was the weirdest thing.  I heard rustling above me then a plop in front of me. The squirrel ran away in embarrassment and climbed the nearest tree.

I can’t wait for these stupid baby birds to fly away. They are pooping all over the back porch. Yuck.

Kate pointed these out to me the other day. I thought, wow! She is so smart. She saw the baby birds and knew what they were. I bragged about it to Brian. He said, Yeah. I showed them to her. 

I am so hungry, today. I just want to eat ice cream.

Brian won’t let me live down killing the rooster.

One of my favorite things about this house, is all the flowers that keep popping up in the yard. I now have peonies, lilies, white daisies, yellow daisies, and sweet william. Fun. Everyday, I pick myself a bouquet.

I am really hating facebook these days.

I finally made these for Kate:

She won’t wear them. Oh, well.

I made this, too. She likes it.

I call it a flower tree. Because Brian said…what is it supposed to be?

Why does a clean, wet dog smell as bad as a dirty, wet dog?

Isabel’s teeth came in. She loves showing them off.

Or not.

She cracks me up.

She is such a goat. Climbing on everything. The steps, the dishwasher door, you name it. She also eats paper. Likes to eat paper. All kinds of paper. That is what she is trying to get to here. Paper.

Picking strawberries in the 90 degree heat with an infant and a toddler is really not as much fun as it sounds. Not at all.

I didn’t realize my shirt kept hiking up in the back, so I have a sunburn stripe right below my waist. Feels great. Matches my sunburn stripe on my forehead.

My Mother’s Day photo, with my two loving girls:

At least the daisies are happy.

Could they look MORE miserable? Do you like Kate’s “wet look”? She used neosporin for her hair gel and window paint, etc during naptime that day. And Isabel. What is she thinking?

Oh, well.

At least our dresses are pretty. Right?

The rain has finally stopped. I am so glad we didn’t float away. We did have a mini flood in the foyer and living room. I am tired of drying towels.

Well, the dishes won’t wash themselves. Unless you know something I don’t…

Happy rainy Monday.

Mama

Who fought my calling her Mama every step of the way. She wanted to be called Mommy. I thought I was too grown up to call her mommy. I mean, I was in the 7th grade for pete’s sakes. Nobody called their moms, mommy. It was mama or mom.

Daddy and Mama made so many sacrifices for us growing up. I didn’t even realize how many, until I became a mother myself. Somehow they put all 4 of us girls through a Christian school, every year. Thousands of dollars. My mom raised every kid within 10 miles of our house (or so it seemed, at the time) so they could make ends meet. We had kids at our house all the time.

My mom wanted us to have everything she never had growing up. She had nothing growing up. So, she wanted us to have everything. She scavenged yard sales, thrift stores, sales, you name it. She could make anything look new. I wanted a typewriter so bad one year. She found me one. I wanted an aquarium. She found me one. All before Craigslist and ebay, of course.

Mama taught me that I could do anything if I just tried.

Some of my earliest memories are the smell of marigolds and roses on a warm summer day. Kneeling with Mama in the dirt, planting flowers. Mama leaning over my shoulder showing me how to cross-stitch.

Mama instilled in me the love of reading and learning.

Mama could make anything. She sewed doll clothes, our clothes, costumes, pillows, curtains. She made our house beautiful with her sewing machine. She made our birthday cakes. She took whatever she could to make our birthday cakes unique and special. Birthdays were always a big deal.

Mama taught us to love and serve Daddy. Daddy got the biggest piece of meat at dinner. Daddy got the best chair. Daddy got whatever he wanted and needed. Mama got what was left over. Daddy was first. Because she taught us that our whole lives, she gets left out a little bit, still. To this day.

I hope to remedy that.

I remember one time I truly hurt her. I saw it in her eyes, right before she slapped my face. It was deserved. Ugly words at my mom had spewed from my mouth. I don’t know if I ever really apologized for that moment. It still pains me to this day.

I never really appreciated Mama until my own children came along. I never appreciated her sleepless nights of worry. Or her love. Or her struggles.

Most of my childhood, Daddy worked 7 days a week. I cannot imagine how she did it. We four girls were quite the handful. I was stubborn and strong-willed. The rest of the girls were just brats. (Ha. Ha.)

I am more like Mama than I always care to admit.

Now that I am older, I am so glad I can call Mama, my friend.

I love you, Mama.

My HS graduation.
I have always loved this picture.
Mama and my first born, Kate.
Mama and my second, Isabel.

 

My wedding day.
Oh, sweet, crazy Mama. You mean the world to me. Thank you for being my mommy.
Edited to add:
DSC_0404-001
We took this yesterday ~ Mother’s Day, 2014.
Since Carrie’s passing and Amelia’s birth, I have grown even closer to Mama. I count her as my best friend. Love you, Mama!

gloves=tough

I am so thankful for these…

I feel so very tough in them. I can handle all sorts of things without any worries or fear that my hands will get nasty on them.

When I remember to wear them, that is. Ha!

My tough gloves help me to feel tough, though. I can pick up worms or other bugs to show Kate. I can clean up yucky messes, like this:

or put beautiful things together, like these:

sunflower seedlings and red petunias
in the bucket
Or I can take care of this and it not bother me. Not one bit.

Well, this might bother me a little bit, considering I killed the poor thing. Oh, well (as Kate has learned to say). What are you going to do? Just another part of “farming“.

I can pick up chickens and and spray on their owie medicine.

I can also till and hoe a section of ground in preparation for my sunflower area and get no blisters!

before sunflowers
By July, I am hoping to have quite a few sunflowers here. I can hardly wait. 

 

Now, don’t you wish you could be as tough as my gloves? HA!

Happy Wednesday

Outdoor Wednesday

The garden is tilled and planted. This was such a chore this year because we started with grass. Brian has been having back troubles. Rain and more rain. One week, he started then that weekend it rained. Blah, blah, you know? One thing after another.

Brian tried again last week. But his back just wasn’t letting him wrestle the tiller like he really wanted. So….

Brian’s genius at work. 
When I was using the tiller, I kept thinking how much easier it would be to have a horse in front of it, to help control it. I guess Brian thought the same thing. Too funny for words.
I drove the lawnmower very slowly over the garden as he held onto the tiller guiding the tines. It was fun. Teamwork. 

These pictures don’t really do the experience justice. I had to keep both hands on the wheel, so I couldn’t take a picture unless we were in a holding position. Look at that rich awesome dirt. Wonderful land. Makes me happy. Every garden I have planted with Brian has been in red clay.

Isabel wanted in on the excitement.

The finished product…seeds and a couple tomato and pepper plants that are difficult to see.

Leave to us to have some silly story on how we got our garden in. How do you do it?

Happy Wednesday!

Lessons learned…April edition

I have such wonderful plans for my blog, then LIFE keeps happening. Kate got poison oak on her face for the 100th time since we’ve lived here. The itching wakes her up. Isabel has been teething. One finally broke through, now she is working on another. Isabel is also trying to walk. Hilariously trying to walk. She lets go of the couch turns to grab the whatever, falls, boinks her head, cries. I think this is the 4th bruise on her head in the last 2 weeks. It really puts a damper on the pictures that I want to take of them. I might just have to have a picture with the bruises. Kate even fell and a huge bruise right in the middle of her forehead. She has to match her sister.

Oh, well. Life with little ones, right?

On to the lessons…

#1   Baking lesson 

Grease and flour your pan. Don’t use the stupid baking spray. Let the pan cool completely before trying to dump the cake out. Otherwise you end up with an ugly mess. A yummy, ugly mess. But a mess, nonetheless. Also, when adding fruit to a cake, roll the fruit around in flour then fold into your batter. That way the fruit doesn’t end up just at the bottom. Grandpa said it did not matter to him. Nothing was stopping him from moving his fruit around on his plate. *haha* But, it is really all about the presentation.

#2   Grocery shopping

Read labels. Read labels. Read labels. I am tired of coming home with tuna in oil, whole bean coffee when I wanted ground, etc.

#3   Listening

Brian has told me upteen times how to close the front door. I know you are probably thinking how hard can it be? Well, it must be pretty hard, since I haven’t been doing it. He was so mad at me the other day. Just fussing. He kept saying, you don’t listen when I talk. I tell you things and in one ear and out the other! Everything I say to him when I am mad at him. It made me laugh so hard. I don’t know why it struck me so funny, but because it did I am less likely to forget this particular instance. Hilarious.

#4  Anticipation

Do not get excited about something that MIGHT happen, until it happens. We have been hoping to get our land cleared for a month or so. The tractor is finally here, but we don’t have the operator yet. Maybe next month? Maybe?

#5  Goal setting

Goals can be set in every area of my life. Not just things to accomplish, like house and yard goals, errand goals. I can set goals for my spiritual life as well. I hope this will help. We will see. Some girls in my family and I began last month a Bible study together. Holy Women. It has been a real eye and heart opening experience and we’ve only completed 2 lessons. I really look forward to seeing God work throughout the rest of the lessons.

Favorite pictures of the month

Grandpa soothing Isabel 
spoiled Molly
spring portrait 1
spring portrait 2
Kate sorted by colors…on her own :)
smallest and biggest egg
mmmmmm chocolate ice cream
RAIN!!
watching sister
my Grandpa and my husband 
deep discussions
April was a good month. The fog cleared. Spring arrived. Flowers planted. Nails dirtied. Wonderful. Life is good. God is good.

Books, how I love thee…Tuesdays

I go through reading spurts. Days where all I want to do is read, read, and read. Ignoring housework and children and husband. Reading. It doesn’t last very long. Obviously because you really can’t ignore your children for very long. They usually get your attention one way or another.

A few weeks ago, I went through one of those spurts. I couldn’t put these books down. They were that good. Well, I thought so, anyway. I just love a good, quirky character. I found her in these.

Mairead O’Clare is an orphan who becomes a lawyer in a big firm. Becomes disillusioned and quits. She quickly finds her niche with Sheldon Gold, a defense attorney, who has an interesting history of his own.

These books are fast paced, courtroom thrillers. They are each about different things but all of them are fun.

I suggest reading these in order. Because they refer to each other a little. I think it is annoying when a book refers to a previous one and I haven’t read it.

Another good one I read during this time is John Grisham’s Ford County Stories. I really enjoyed it. some of the stories made me laugh OUT LOUD. Others made me sad, of course. That is John Grisham’s way.

Well, let me know if you read any of these. I must go. To quote Kate: “baby CRY.”

Happy reading.

fish fry auction

Last week, Brian and the girls, my parents, my nephews, and I went to a fishy fry and auction held at the fire department near my parent’s house. It was tons of fun. First of all, we stood in line with the setting sun on our backs, wrestling and fighting with 2 crazy girls and 2 crazy boys. It was worth the wait to get our freshly fried fish, french fries, and coleslaw. Yummy fried goodness. I have been craving that for awhile.

While we ate, we were serenaded by many different gospel groups. The music was loud, but enjoyable. They played some good, old favorites and some new stuff.

The auction started around 7. We got our bidder number. Number 6. It was interesting, to say the least. When we first got there, we had scoped out the stuff for sale. They had several things we had our eye on. Brian kept saying he really wanted the double wood rocking chair someone built by hand then donated. I really didn’t believe him.

We had never been to an auction like this before. So, we didn’t know what to expect. It was fun and funny. They had everything that you see in people’s attics, yard sales, and garbage cans. Literally. Someone donated 12 plastic hanging baskets that their ferns or something came in. The lot went for 5 dollars. A box of junk no one was bidding on, so the auctioneer said put something else with it. That got the bidding started. Up to 5 dollars. One time, a vacuum and lounge chair (the kind by a hotel pool) went for 7 dollars. Old exercise equipment couldn’t be given away….this

went for seventeen dollars. This was the best picture I could get. It is a fish with scary, sharp teeth and horns. Hilarious.

Then this:

I think it went for fifty or so dollars. I can’t remember. But the bidding was back and forth. So much fun. Boxes of holiday decorations went for 5 dollars. I got these wonderful suitcases for 2 dollars:

I might use them for storage in the girls’ room or just use them as suitcases. Once cleaned up, they will look brand new. I really like the 70’s orange.

I got these wonderful baskets for 5 dollars. I want baskets everywhere. So, I am now on my way…

I have one turned upside down and am using as a plant stand. I got that idea from my aunt. I think it is a great idea.

This went for well over a hundred dollars. It is REAL. (Sorry for the poor photo quality.)

We really enjoyed watching all the things go through. Some silly and some just plain ridiculous. You know? A commercial floor polisher, a broken weed eater, a kid’s John Deere jeep that went for sixty dollars, an ab lounger, etc. Hilarious.

We kept wondering, though, if the one thing that we really wanted would ever come up for bid. Or would we have to wait until the very end. Well, it finally came up. I think the bidding started around fifty dollars. And it kept going. While Brian is bidding, I’ve got my eyes closed. I was so nervous and excited. It got up to one point and no one was bidding. The auctioneer guy kept saying this number over and over. I was thinking to myself, If you will bid that, why aren’t you bidding this? Just BID already. BUY it. (Screaming in my head with nervous excitement.) Then the auctioneer says SOLD to bidder number 6! It was us! I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited. I yelped and screamed a little.

So, we are now the proud owners of the most beautiful double rocking chair.

It is built locally by Moon’s Woodshop in Honea Path, SC. Contact me if you would like the address or phone number. He makes swings, gliders, loungers, and picnic tables. He also takes orders. 

I really like it. It is going to last forever. It is going to be the center of so many memories, you know? I just think it is wonderful.

Here we are…so very pleased with ourselves.

I think we need to hit up some more auctions. Who knows what we could come home with.

Happy Sunday!

new day

Life has just been overwhelming these past few weeks. My Papa was really sick at the beginning of March. Then he died. The events that happened during those few weeks really threw me off balance. Then Daddy got sick. He was in and out of the emergency room, until they finally admitted him. He is doing better now. But when we didn’t know what was wrong with him, my mind went off the deep end. Imagining the worst. You know, because that is what we do.

Daddy is better. They found several things wrong with him. Nothing that a serious change in his diet, a few pills, and some exercise won’t help. Not cure, but help.

On top of that, I still have girls to raise, a house to clean, laundry to do, a husband to care for…LIFE. Sometimes it seemed that I was accomplishing nothing but the barest minimum. I didn’t blog, write in my journal, read my Bible, pray, or anything. I just read my books and fed the girls. Burying  my head in the sand, hoping I would not have to deal with anything else.

Slowly, I got back into His Word. I made a chore list. I began to pray.

Things are starting to get back into shape. I am still learning to trust in Him with everything. I guess I just forgot for a little while. AGAIN.

I really hope the things I learned will come to mind when the real tough times come. These past few weeks were nothing compared to what they could have been.

I am so very blessed.

So, even though the girls and I were up at 3:30 this morning. It is okay. I am not going to go back to bed. I have showered and am dressed. It is a new day. His mercies are new every morning. Hallelujah. I am not saying that I won’t get bogged down again. I am human, after all. But, this particular bog was not as deep as most. Maybe because I am learning? Maybe because Isabel is so funny? Maybe because I still tried to be thankful on most days? Who knows? Maybe because it is warm outside?

I do know it is over. I am back to feeling like myself again. I have so many blog posts running through my head. I am hoping to have a giveaway (hoping).

Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

 Whether it is a “good” day or a “bad” day. You can choose which day you are going to have. So, there you go. God is good.

Happy Wednesday.

dumb and dumber

As I trip along through this crazy life of mine I am constantly doing things that aren’t very bright. Side note: my sister’s last name is Bright. When she was pregnant with her first, my uncle told her to name it Notso.

Ha! HA!  Get it? Notso Bright! HA! HA! I laugh about that every time I think of that. I am laughing now, as a matter of fact.

Anyway. I thought I would share with you a few dumb things I have done these past few days. For example:

#1   Kate loves “Nemo”, but then again, who doesn’t. So, when shopping for hand soap for her bathroom the other day, I got her a “Nemo” one. When I put it in her bathroom, I made a big deal out of it. I then put a step stool in there. I thought it was time she started washing her own hands.

Fast forward a few days.

Soap in Isabel’s hair.

Soap on the back screen door.

Soap AND the hand towel in the toilet.

The step stool is back in the kitchen where it belongs. Mommy washes Kate’s hands, now. 

#2 I bought a new bag of flour. Instead of dumping it into the container with the old flour. I thought I would just put the bag in there, use up the old, then pour the new into the container. As I try to scoop out the old, I tilted the container over, holding the new bag up (still in the container) with my elbow. Somehow, the bag dropped and WHOOOSH. The new bag of flour fell into the old causing a flour avalanche all over my kitchen. Why, oh why, didn’t I just dump the new bag into the container to begin with?

#3 Brian began tilling the garden the other day. But really hurt his back. So, he’s been taking it easy. I thought I would finish it for him. I start the tiller up. Get it down to the garden. Till it. Then take the tiller up to the front yard to begin my sunflower area. The ground isn’t breaking up. I can’t figure out what is wrong with it.

Brian comes home that night. I am explaining everything to him. I did this and that. I tilled the garden for you. Etc. He then reaches down and adjusts the lever which LOWERS the tines. The whole time, the tines were moving ABOVE the ground, about 4 or 5 inches. I didn’t accomplish a thing.

#4 We have a mouse situation. The cost of living in the woods. I have traps and poison out. But, sometimes they still get into the house. I hate mice. More than I hate anything, I hate mice. I get the heebie jeebies when I know they are anywhere around.  I usually tear apart everything, siccing Molly on them, saying “Molly, get the mouse. Get the mouse, Molly.” She goes crazy looking for it. One day, the mouse was running around the kitchen. Molly had it cornered. When it ran out, Molly caught it. I SCREAMED like a little girl, scaring Molly. She dropped it, and the mouse ran away.

#5 I put Kate to bed one time without a diaper. Every morning when she wakes up her diaper is dry. I thought maybe we could get away with it. Of course not. Soaking wet, the entire bed and all her friends. You know what I then did at naptime? Put her to bed without a diaper. Trying again.

You guessed it. Soaking wet, again. Not anymore. Diapers at bedtime.

Well, we are off to a fish fry and auction at the fire station near my parent’s house. The fire station that was the first responders when I had Isabel. Remember that?

Happy Saturday, y’all.

Outdoor Wednesday

One of the fun, exciting things about living in a new place is you never know what is going to bloom. The downside of this is I don’t know what is a weed or flower. So, I am hoping you will help me. Please?

weeds or flowers?
up against the log…weed or flower?

I have lots of this, but it is surrounded by this:

green, monkey grass-like stuff
I don’t know what to do with any of it. Pull it or leave it and hope it turns into something pretty. I do know that going outside and playing in the dirt makes me want to buy some flowers and put them in the ground. 
I have had one blooming flower, so far this year.

My solitary daffodil standing guard by the door. My sister had one lonely daffodil, too. I would love to plant a ton of these and tulips and other fun bulbs here, instead of all that ivy. I have tons of ivy that is being taken over by something. It is scary looking. I don’t even want to start messing with it.

Our newest edition to the family…a loud, squawking guinea. Kate loves to chase it.

Which of the following pictures do you like best?

cheery and colorful
soft and subdued
I think soft and subdued is more my style. I hope everyone is enjoying the springtime weather. I know we are. Grilling out, playing in the dirt, neglecting housework. That is what I’m doing, anyway. 
Happy Wednesday

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

As I slowly ease my way back into blogging, I thought I would tell you about a few wonderful books I have read lately. I have tried to change my reading habits. Trying to find good, wholesome books that don’t dwell on sad or horrible things. Books that encourage, books that make me smile, books that I could recommend to other Christians without shame or remorse.

The first such set is a trilogy set on St. Simon’s Island in Georgia. They are by Eugenia Price, who has written many books, both religious and fiction. I really enjoy them.

Drama, love, slavery, murder, struggles, dependence on God, betrayal, searching for God, pursuit of dreams, you know…the stuff a good story is made of. All of these books are based on real people and real events. I really enjoy stuff like that.

I hope you check them out and if you do let me know. In the meantime, Happy Tuesday and happy reading.

fearless wonder

Yesterday was so beautiful and sunny after 2 days of yucky rain. I just had to get the girls out of the house. We went to the library to meet a friend and her girls and off to the park we went.

Kate loved the swing as always.

And to my surprise, so did Isabel. Cackled with glee, she did.

Off to the distance was one of those tall, medal slides I haven’t seen since childhood. I was hoping Kate wouldn’t notice it. It looked way too tall for her to climb. But, she did. And before I could run over there to protect and catch her, there she is at the top.

Then she was sliding down. Loving every minute of it.

I can’t believe my little, tiny two year old shows no fear while her mommy was hysterically running towards her, scared. She is so tough. I love it.

Happy Wednesday.

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

I love to read. I mean I love to read. I have always read books. Punishment when I was younger was not being allowed to go to the library. Torture! When we used to watch tv, I would read my book during the commercials. That is what a big dork I am.

I am trying to instill that love of reading into Kate. She loves to crawl up into my or Daddy’s lap and “wee book” (read books). Right now our favorites are:

“Left foot, right foot, feet, feet, feet, feet. Oh, how many feet you meet!”

“Eye, Eye. My eye. His eye. Blue eye. Pink eye. Wink eye, wink eye!”

“I see noses every place!”

“He can go like a rooster, COCK A DOODLE DOO!”
“Plain hair, striped hair, polka dots. Curls and braids and beards and lashes. Whiskers, eyebrows, long mustaches.”
“Do you like my hat? No. I do not like your hat.”

I love to make all the noises and facial expressions. Really get into it, you know? We have so much fun reading. I hope it lasts and lasts.

rainy rambling Monday

I loved the Carpenters when I was younger. I would sing along with my tape player at the top of my lungs while cleaning my room.

As I was eating my delicious lunch of nutella from the jar, peanut butter from the jar, and chocolate almonds, I was thinking about WHY I haven’t been so thrilled about blogging lately. Part of it is I am so tired. I have been so tired since January, it seems. I think I need to exercise, yuck. Anyway, back to what I was saying. I also think I have gotten to caught up into other blogs and feeling a little jealous.

Surprising, I know. Me, jealous? I guess I wish I could have 5,000 or more followers. Then I would put ads on my blog and make thousands of dollars every month, just by being me. How wonderful would that be? Can you believe that actually is happening? I am not sure what I think about ads on blogs. Maybe if my blog were more generic and not so personal. I think I am a little offended by ads. But I am not sure why. It isn’t like I even look at them. It’s just knowing they are there.

I think another reason I haven’t been blogging is because I am seriously stupid these days. I can’t even think of silly little words like spatula or high chair or lawn mower.

Then we had that horrible week or two…that I wish I could blog about, but I can’t yet for fear of sounding ugly and bitter. And I’m not, I am just disappointed and a little confused about. Maybe in a month or two.

I have started some seeds for the garden. They are in the window. Some are looking really good, others I think are dead in the dirt.I am even trying to grow some paper whites. FUN!

I have been working on my goals. Mainly my house cleaning, organizing, and spiritual ones. More on that another day. Books have been read. More on that tomorrow.

I changed my profile picture, like it? I think my eyes are hidden in the glare. I need a different one, I think.

I made Kate a PUPPY shirt. She is really into puppies, any kind and size. She loves them more than she loves her sister, I do believe.

This is how it looked last night when I finished it. But Brian said the daisy button eyes were stupid. So, I followed his advice and used googly eyes.

What do you think? Would you buy this shirt for your little girl or boy (if it was in boy colors)? I am trying to think of some stay at home money making ideas. Here is a close up of the puppy. I think the polka-dotted tongue makes it.

I think it is adorable. Of course, there are some imperfections, but that is what makes it so wonderful. Seriously, what do you think? I think the next project is Big Sis, Lil Sis shirts. One for Kate and one for Isabel. I think that would be cute.

Oh my goodness. I am so tired. I think I need to go have a snack and start thinking about dinner. One day when I am rich, someone else is going to do all the cooking and cleaning.

Happy Monday.

Happy First Day of Spring!

My attempt at a beautiful “happy spring” picture did not go so well, as you can see. Isabel choking on clover, Kate putting clover down Isabel’s shirt, neither girl wanted to look at mommy. Oh, well. Life with children.

We really enjoyed our first day of spring. It was really warm all day. Brian cut grass. I planted some mums, finally. With Kate and her new tools’ help! 

We had our first picnic of the year. Kate kept putting her feet in the plate. Isabel wanted to eat leaves and dirt. One day, maybe we can get a picnic table?

Molly chased her ball.

Mama hen is sitting on some eggs again this year. I am so excited. In about a week or so, we are going to have 6 new baby chicks running around. How fun. She does not like it when we open the door. She is so happy and content, sitting on those eggs.

I am so very glad warm weather is here. I didn’t think it would ever come this year. This has been such a wet, cold, nasty winter. I really enjoy spring. It is so new. A fresh start for everything. I love it.

Happy Spring.

prayer request

On Tuesday, at 7:30 am, my Papa went to heaven.

He was my mom’s dad. Please pray for my family during this time. I wish I could give you the details. But, I can’t. So, just pray for us. Pray for my mom. Pray for my Nannie (grandma). We are in the South, you know. It is Papa and Nannie, not Grandma and Grandpa.

I guess it still hasn’t really hit me that Papa isn’t here.

I am sure he is enjoying heaven. Sitting at the feet of Jesus. No more pain.

The funeral stuff is tonight and tomorrow.

God is good.

Thanks for listening.

random ridiculousness

Several things ridiculous keep floating around my head. But nothing that is worth one whole post. So, it is randomness today.

I lost my library card. I don’t really like having the librarians do anything for me but check out my books. They do not use common sense. I am talking about the ones at the library I go to. They really get on my nerves. Anyway. I went through the hassle of explaining why my last name is not the last name on my drivers license. Showed her my marriage license. Explained several things to her over and over. Checked out my books. All of this took 20 minutes while I was holding a fussy Isabel and ignoring all the annoyed looks because of my crying baby AND I had to go potty the entire time. Only to find my library card upon my return home. Made me want to scream. :) But I didn’t. I smiled. Then threw the old card away. Oh, well.

I finally bought stamps. Now, I can send out some cards. Finally. I have needed to send out some card since Christmas.

I was following a chicken truck, the other day. One of those 18 wheelers with a thousand cages on it’s trailer with 10,000 white chickens squashed into the cages. On the side of the truck I saw one struggling as if it were trying to get out of the cage. I began to cheer it on. You can do it! I said to the chicken to myself. All of a sudden the chicken was free! It plopped onto the road. I stopped the van, watching to see if it was alive. It was. It slowly got to it’s feet. There was some blood on the road, so it was injured. And do you know what I thought? I honestly sat there and thought about getting out of the van, picking up that stupid chicken, and taking it home.

Crazy thoughts. Who does that? Picks up a hurt chicken that escapes from the slaughter truck, only to take it home so there husband could use it for target practice? I mean I didn’t think that far ahead. But after telling Brian about it, that is what he said he would have done with it. I like to think the chicken made it into the woods and is living happily on bugs and grass. Skipping and frolicking happily. Not dead on the side of the road.

Instead of organizing all my bills and other pieces of paper that is lying around the desk, I moved things around in the kitchen yesterday.

I am reading a book that is just so good, I have a hard time putting it down.

Kate is hilarious. Isabel is sitting up like a big girl.

Happy Friday.

Books…how I love thee, TUESDAYS

I think I am going to make Tuesdays, all about books. So, every Tuesday, or every other,  will be a post about books. Books are such a big part of my life, I hate not talking about them. So, here we go. A list of books I have read recently, and a few thoughts about them.  Because my opinion is so very important, you know. :) But if you are looking for a good read…

Bleeding Kansas by Sara Peretsky

I really liked this book. It was very interesting. But as I sit here and try to think about this book (I didn’t write down any notes on this one.) all I can remember is a lesbian moves into the small town and chaos ensues. It is almost as if this lady changes the entire dynamics of the entire town just by her mere presence. There is small town prejudices, war protesters, farming, dying, laughter and suspense. Everything that makes up life. I think if you liked Empire Falls, you will like this book.

Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
I enjoyed this. It was my nonfiction choice last month. It is a mother-daughter story. One chapter is written by the mother, and the next is by the daughter, and so forth. They travel to Greece then later to France. The book is a diary of sorts about their travels and their lives. It was good. Different. I rolled my eyes at a few things, but otherwise I liked it. I think it was because of the mother-daughter dynamics. You see them experiencing the same exact thing, but in totally different ways. Very cool. I thought, anyway.
Roma by Steven Saylor
If I had a star system, this book would get 5 stars. I loved it. It begins in 1000 BC and ends in 1 BC. This novel spans 1000 years and follows 2 families who witness the history, sometimes even play key roles, of Rome. Linking the generations is a talisman, a golden amulet that resembles the fictional god, Fascinus. There is a slave, a vestal virgin, friend of the emperor, mass murderer, you name it! I love love loved this book. 
The Dead Place by Stephen Booth
I have read some other things by this author. I think one of the main reasons why I like him is because he is British. So, there are British words and references. I enjoy the different vernacular. This a murder mystery with police detectives. Very enjoyable. It is a psychological murder suspense type book. I liken it to an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
I did not like this book at all. It was about a women “searching” for herself. So, she has an affair with a monk. Really? A monk? I didn’t like this book. I don’t understand why in this modern world books and movies act like an affair is common place and doesn’t have any long term consequences. I did not like this book. 
I have so many other books to tell you about. But I always seem to run out of time. So, until next time.

Happy Reading!

Lessons Learned…February edition

Last month, I began a monthly post listing the lessons I learned throughout the month.  I have been jotting down things all month, in preparation for this day. *smile*

Are you ready?

Lessons Learned

1. Don’t make your own birthday cake out of an untried recipe. It wasn’t ready on time. It was ugly. The icing did not turn out well. It did taste good after I added more and more sugar. It was kind of like a dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing. It did end up yummy. I just wasn’t able to have any on THE day. It was the next day.

2. Buying off-brand toilet paper is not worth it. Even if it is WAY cheaper. To quote Brian, “It tears when you look at it.”

3. Finalize the video camera disks. I had videoed my Grandpa telling his story. We had finished, and I had put the camera up in the bag. He went to the bathroom, when he came out he said, I should have told the story of when I was almost killed by a bull! As he began to tell me, I said WAIT! Let me get the camera. I grabbed it and put it on the tripod, and when I adjusted it….I dropped the camera on the floor! My stomach just lurched. I had a feeling it was broken. The camera and the disk. But the camera wasn’t broken, the disk on the other hand….was erased. It even says in the manual, DON’T DROP. Data could be lost. Oh, well. We did it again. It was much better the second time.

4. If a houseplant is looking puny, don’t just keep watering it! Especially if the pot doesn’t have a drainage hole. I had watered and watered and watered my favorite plant, thinking that was what wrong with it. I moved it around the house, thinking maybe it was in the way of the heat register, you know getting heat blown on it, drying it out. That didn’t work, either. Then one day I got to thinking….dangerous stuff, me thinking, I know. So, I repotted it! In a pot with a drainage hole, of course. It was root bound and water logged. Nastiness. The plant is looking much better now. 

5. Last but not least, Do not give Kate a meat tenderizer mallet to play with! (Common sense for most people, I’m sure.) Kate and I made play doh the other night. See how much fun she is having:

I was thinking of different things to give her to play in it with. I gave her cookie cutters, an orange peeler, and a meat tenderizer mallet. The biggest lesson I learned this week, is not to give a child a meat tenderizer mallet to pound on the gorgeous handmade wooden island. It now has little round dents in it, with play doh wedged in the holes. Horrible.

 (see it lying there, looking innocent?)
Favorite pictures from the month

What a good month we had. We celebrated two birthdays, had snow twice! Much time spent reading books, coloring, painting, baking, running, and laughing. Life is good. God is good.

vitametavegamin

Hello, friends!
Are you tired, run down, listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular?

This is one of my favorite ‘Lucy” episodes. I kept thinking about this, so I looked it up.

My Vitametavegamin lately has been reading this book entitled Early Will I Seek Thee by Eugenia Price. Wonderful, wonderful book. It was like reading my own thoughts. I loved it. It has been such a blessing to me. I am going to get some more of her stuff. Evidently she also wrote historical fiction. Also, right up my alley.

My other source of energy has been yummy carrot juice. I finally broke out the juicer and have been juicing and juicing. What a boost! Better than drinking coffee in the afternoon and much healthier.

I hope you enjoyed the laugh.

Happy Friday.

Outdoor Wednesday

Is it Wednesday already? Where did the week go? Or last week for that matter. Do you ever feel like life is just racing by while we merely watch? I do.

Saturday, though, I participated. My marvelous aunt, took my sister, my cousin and me to the Biltmore House in Asheville. It was a gorgeous day for an outing. We had so much fun. It was so nice to be with other girls, relax, and just be for a little while.

You couldn’t take pictures IN the house, so we had to settle with taking pictures OUTside of the house. Here are some pictures from the day…

 in the car on the drive up 

 silliness, chocolate, and smiles

my favorite part
It was such a good day. I really enjoyed laughing, eating, and looking. But mostly I enjoyed the company of some of my favorite people. We are going to have to return when the outside flowers are in bloom.
Happy Wednesday.

my thought for the day

I think some time spent with the wood glue is in order. Don’t you?

my desk chair

 my dresser

the stair railing

the girls’ dresser

I bet, if I tried real hard, I could find a couple more things that need to be glued. Oh, well. Maybe one day, in my spare time. 
Happy Friday.

Goals…an update

Remember when I posted my goals for this wonderful new year? I thought I would let you know how well badly I was doing.

Relationships

I have been spending time with both my Grandpa and my Nannie and Papa.

I have had a couple of half days with my mom, so that counts as a day. Right?

I am spending the day Saturday, with my aunt. We are going to the Biltmore House. Heard of it? It is going to be so much fun.

I forgot to buy birthday cards for my mom and my sister and my nephew. So, not doing so well in that category. But am working on it. I think I need to buy a box of generic plain ones and create my own. (You know in my spare time.)

Housekeeping and Organization

I got the kitchen organized and pretty. Now I need to make a table cloth, curtain, and a few decorative towels. To make it perfect.

I am not doing so well in the housekeeping part of this section, so I am just going to skip to the next one.

Hobbies

I began Kate’s journal.

I started organizing my sewing corner.

I have been writing down my craft ideas…now to find the time to do them.

I have been reading some nonfiction. Not as much as I planned, but some.

My family projects are coming along nicely. I will post about those one day.

Finances

We have been doing well with saving, giving, and paying the bills. :) This one is easy, because Brian tells me what to do and I just do it. No thinking involved.

Spiritual

My Bible reading is coming along splendidly. I have a journal for that, I jot down thoughts and verses that pop out. It is fun.
My prayer journal is just beginning, but I have already gotten to mark answered on a few. Very cool.
Parenting
Kate is offically potty trained. Hallelujah. We have been wearing big girl panties for a few weeks now. Not to bed, of course. She still wears a diaper to bed. It is usually dry when she wakes, though. I really enjoy only having to change one kid’s diaper.
We have been singing a lot. 
We have all been sick on and off for the past 3 weeks or so, so play time and learning time hasn’t been what I envision for the future. But, we are working on it. We are all almost 100% better. So, we will see how next week goes.
I realize it is just February, but I think I am a little behind in some of these. I really need to stop laying around reading books during naptime. But I am tired. I really don’t want to do anything else. So, I’m not going to. That is one of the perks of being an adult. My house if clean enough. Laundry is folded, not put away, but folded. Dishes are clean. Dinner is cooking. I can go sit on the couch with my book and chocolate almonds and coffee if I want to, right?
Happy Thursday.

the art of making friends, revisited

I wanted to share another old post with you, today. This is something I still have not done. But, I think I need to work on this still. Especially since I am still lonely for female companionship.

This was posted on December 9, 2008

I admit I am at fault. But the thing is, I don’t know how exactly to fix it. I can’t make friends. I became a mother and my social skills went down the toilet. I think part of it is I am home alone all day with an infant. I don’t know. Every job I have ever had worked with people. There was rarely a day when I wasn’t surrounded by people. Flight attendant, waitress, bartender, substitute teacher, bookseller (at Barnes and Noble, my favorite job). After work, I would hang out with friends. My apartments were usually filled with people, all talking and laughing, playing cards.

Now, it is just Kate and me, Brian in the evenings (asleep in his chair straight after dinner). I talk to myself in my head all day long. Crazy sounding, I know. But that is what I do. So, then when I am around people, I am still talking to myself in my head, over-thinking everything they say, over-thinking everything I say. So afraid of looking or sounding stupid, I usually clam up, stand there, panic, then leave.

So, how do I overcome this? Do I invite someone out for coffee? I am not sure what to do. I have started this blog as an outlet, but I really could use some good old fashioned girl talk. The kind where once you get started laughing, you can’t stop…tears are running down your cheeks as you try to breathe. I think about emailing different girls asking them over, I just don’t do it. I want to, I just don’t.

Why not? You ask.

Well, fear. Fear of rejection, fear of derision, fear of embarrassment. I am so afraid to put myself out there, to be vulnerable. What if they don’t want to be my friend? What then? Do I ask someone else? Or if they do come over, how do I not completely make a fool out of myself?

In a weird way it’s like dating. How often do you contact them? What if they don’t call you back? Do you call them again, or just let it go? I’m not sure how to answer any of these questions which is why I haven’t called or emailed anyone to come over.

So, I am putting this out there as a way to challenge myself to email or call someone to get together. That I will stop putting it off and just do it. The greater the risk, the bigger the reward, RIGHT?

Wish me luck and pray, this is going to be a tough lesson to learn.

 I think the Lord has put a project of sorts on my heart regarding this. Pray with me as I figure out if it is what God wants me to do or what I want to do. As soon as I figure it out, I will let you know.

Happy Saturday.

Outdoor Wednesday

Winter doldrums and mommyhood does not go together.

Not at all, not at all.

I long for the days when it is warm. Thankfully, no rain today. Everyone else in the country is getting buffeted by blizzards while we are being drenched by monsoons.

The river behind our house after days of rain.

 Our creek feeds this river.

When it rains like this, our spring gets this muddy. So, the water in our house gets this muddy, sometimes. Like when it rains for 3 or 4 days straight. One day, this problem will be resolved. It is on the list. (Brian’s list, that he requested I make for him.) That list gets longer every day. Let me tell you. As Brian says, “Home ownership is overrated.” I love owning our house, though. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that if I want to paint a wall or hang a picture, I don’t have to worry about the owner.
I digress.
Winter doldrums….caused by too much time in the house because it is so very cold outside while everyone in the house has a runny nose, cough, and general feeling of malaise. 
I have been trying to get out and walk on days the sun is out. This is us….walking.
See Kate and Isabel looking at each other?

It is really good exercise. I push Kate in the stroller and wear Isabel in the carrier. I am so worn out by time we get back it is all I can do to make lunch. Hopefully, after a month of this I will be skinny (skinnier, anyway *smile*).

Happy Wednesday

if you’re happy and you know it…

Septembermom tagged me last week?!? I think. It doesn’t matter when, it is just wonderful that she did. Anyway, to make a happy list.

 
I thought I would finally get to it today. It is funny how life gets in the way of your hobbies, isn’t it? Total randomness from the top of my head that makes me happy.
1.     Being married. I love it.
2.     Hearing my roosters crow.
3.     Sewing. I made Kate an apron for Christmas. Remember? Here she is modeling it for Daddy.

She noticed that the kids on her apron were riding a stick horse, so she got on her’s that day. She galloped all over the house. Too cute.
Here is a pair of slippers I finally finished for her yesterday. They are too small, so I am going to put them up for Isabel and make Kate a new pair.

 Cute, huh? I need a pair, too.

4.     Reading. I love, love, love, love to read. I need to post my books read and thoughts on them….one day this week. I have read some really good ones. 
5.     This:

 she is reaching for the cake.

6.     Kate’s fashion sense. She insists on dressing herself. And picking out her own outfits.
7.     Watching Isabel jump!

8.     This:

9. Knowing that I am going to spend the day with my Grandpa, today.

10. My red house.

thoughts while home on a snot river

-I don’t like staying home on a Sunday.

I really wanted to go to church yesterday. But, Brian decided it would be best if the girls and I stayed home. For even though Kate is better, Isabel is not. Or rather she wasn’t yesterday. She is doing much better this morning, thanks for asking. It is good that we didn’t go, though, because I didn’t wake up until a little after 8, so we would have been rushing around frantically…then ended up being late, etc. So, instead I spent the morning in my Bible, writing in my journal, having a huge, long, late breakfast with Kate (who ate and ate and ate, finally), and listened to sermons. It ended up being a marvelous Sunday, in it’s own way. Without an actual worship service. The girls and I worshiped at home. We even sang a few hymns. Kate “played” the panpan (piano).

-Why do I get so bogged down in other people’s my family’s problems?

When I’m told of problems or issues or difficulties that my family is facing, I immediately want to fix it. I hand out advice, like ibuprofen, as if that is going to solve anything. I say things like, “what you should do…” then proceed to tell them all the ways they are doing it wrong and if it were me how perfect I would do everything. Then when they don’t do what I suggest, I get very offended and annoyed with them. Because if they had done what I told them to, the problem would either have gone away or would be fixed.

How ridiculous is all of that? I mean really! Who died and made me the fixer of all that is wrong in my family? I should just listen. And listen some more. Then pray for them and with them if they want. IF and only IF they ask me what I would do, should I even begin to give them my 2 cents. Because that is all my advice is worth. 2 cents. Maybe not even that.

I think I just end up alienating them. So, they don’t even want to come to me anymore. I am going to pray about this.

-I really need to write a new book review post. I have read quite a few books these last 3 weeks. Some really good ones. Maybe tomorrow.

-I also need to give an update on my goals, maybe Thursday? Does it even matter when? I am doing pretty good on most of them, thank you very much.

-My desk is a huge mess. 

-I did not know today was Super Bowl Sunday. 

We were probably the only people in America last night who did not watch the Super Bowl. I didn’t even realize it was on last night, until Brian said something about the Saints winning because it was rigged. (You know, New Orleans and all.) You see, we don’t have tv. Well, we have a tv, we just don’t have reception to get any channels. (GASP!  Are you surprised?) I was sad for a second about it. For I do enjoy Super Bowl commercials, but they just get stupider and raunchier every year. So, I doubt I missed anything. But that is why we don’t have tv reception. We don’t want our children exposed to things like that. Judge if you want to, it is just our way. You have yours, we have ours.

-Another thing my mind kept focusing on yesterday…I find it interesting and a little sad that we who claim to be Christians get so uncomfortable talking about God. 

Why is that? We trust in Him to get us to heaven. But, yet we don’t trust Him enough for our daily needs? Or heaven forbid we talk out loud about what God is doing in our lives. Or how He is testing us. Or how all I want is to get to know Him more and more. Does anyone else want that? If they do, why aren’t we talking about it? Or if you are, where are you? I want to be your friend. I don’t want to always talk about what the kids are doing or what other book besides the Bible I am reading. I want to talk about the Bible. I want to talk about how hard it is to pray. Why is that, anyway? Why is it hard to pray? Does anyone even try to pray? I honestly feel like if I mention this, people think I am trying to impress them or brag or be fake or something. But this is my heart. Is it in anyone else’s? I want to talk about how much I am enjoying reading the book of Matthew. Did you know that Jesus fed the 5,000 and the 4,000? I didn’t. Not until I read it last week.

Aren’t you glad I shared with you a few of the things that roll around in my brain? And this isn’t even the half of it. *grin*

Anyway. That is enough of that, huh? I probably just lost all my readers. Oh, well. Sometimes I just need to get it all out. I just want everyone to have what I have. So, I have someone (besides Brian) to share it with. Each day, I try to record in my journal something I am learning or that God is trying to teach me. I want to share it with you, too. (Hence the title) Okay? Any thoughts? Please email me, let’s make this a 2-way street. Let’s share in this Christian walk.

Well, I must get to work. I have a desk to clean off, a few bills to pay, 2 baskets of laundry to fold, slippers to finish sewing, a bathroom to clean, breakfast to eat….

Happy Monday.

Outdoor Wednesday

It’s that time again. I want to get back into the habit of posting this every week. I do so love this day and post.

You never know what I am going to feel like sharing, do you? Well, today dawned a gorgeousness that I needed. (is gorgeousness even a word? well, writer’s liberty.)

the real view out my window, this morning.

Since we have moved here, our neighbor has been a source of amusement and much conversation. I have tried to capture it on film, but had yet to get a good picture. We went on a walk today, something else I need to get in the habit of doing, and I got some good pictures. Instead of showing all of them one at a time….I made this collage. Take time to look at every picture. It will be worth it I guarantee it.

thankfully, you can’t see this from our house

On the edge of our property, top corner if you are looking from the house, is this tree. I love this tree. I have already taken a million and one pictures of it. There is something about it. Even when driving by, I go slowly and just look at it. It really is one of the coolest trees on our property. 

I am sure some of you heard about the HUGE snowstorm (haha) we got down here over the weekend. Now, some people got some ice and a little bit of snow. This is what we got:

Kate kept asking where the snowman was. (We have been reading a book about building snowmen.) Poor thing wanted to go play in it. Nothing there to make a snow man. Well, I guess we could have made little tiny ones. But as soon as the sun came up and touched the snow, it was gone.
Happy Wednesday.
If you would like to view more outdoor photos…go check out Susan at A Southern Daydreamer.

best laid plans….

It is my birthday today.

This morning at 1 am exactly. I know this because I had just heard the cuckoo clock “cuckoo”. Kate woke crying, “Mommy….hold. Mommy….hold.” Usually she drifts right back off. Not this morning. It was because it is my birthday. And of course, there is no sleeping in on your birthday when you are a mommy to little ones. So, I got up and got her. She was burning up with fever. Of course she was. Because I actually have a babysitter tonight. For my birthday. So, we sat up, sang songs, read books, and watched a “moomoo” (movie).

Then 3 am, Isabel is screaming. She is in bed with Daddy. So, I run up there as fast as I can, so she doesn’t wake him. She is also burning up with fever. Wonderful.

4 am. They are both finally fast asleep.

5:30 am. Isabel crying, again. Poopy. I change her diaper, get her settled again.

6:30 am. The alarm. Brian nudges me. Are you getting up? Which actually means, are you going to make my lunch? I finally roll out of bed as he is getting out of the shower, run downstairs to make his lunch when I remember, there is no bread, no yogurt, no cheesies. What in the world is the poor man going to take to lunch? A tangerine and a granola bar. (I haven’t made it to the grocery store, yet.)

7 am. Pouring down rain.

It’s my birthday and I will cry if I want to.

But I’m not going to. Instead I am going to pretend I am these people.

They are in Hawaii, by the pool.

And then I am going to pretend that this is what I see out my window.

And I am not going to be jealous of the fact that I didn’t get to see this in real life. Maybe one day I will. But in the meantime, I am going to enjoy all the wonderful gifts brought back to me. 

and that’s not even all of them.

Even though, my wonderful plans for today and this evening are being flushed down the toilet. It’s still my birthday and I will not cry even though I kind of want to, a little bit. Because even as I sit here typing this, Kate is still burning up with fever and Isabel is screaming her little head off.
 
Happy birthday to me. 

monthly musings or lessons learned

I want to recap lessons I have learned throughout the month, every month. I really wanted to do it on the last day, but I had technical issues yesterday and all day (during naptime). I’m also going to show my favorite random pictures of the month. I am not sure what to call this monthly post. But I think monthly musings sounds like I am talking about Aunt Flo…if you know what I’m saying. *sheepish grin* So instead of pondering over the name of this monthly post, I am just going to write it.

Okay?

Okay.

Lessons Learned

Here we go, but not in order of when learned:

1.     When taking Kate to potty on a big potty, in a public place, take off her panties, pants/tights, and shoes. Then stand clear. For some reason, on the big potty, her the pee arcs out, lands on panties, tights, shoes then runs down Mommy’s dress into her shoes. On Sunday morning. Right before church. THEN right after church, again. Yes, then AGAIN a third time. We ran out of underwear and had to go home early.

2.     Rinse off all dishes, regardless if I feel like it or not. It is one of Brian’s pet peeves. I wish he cared about my pet peeves. So, I am going to lead by example. (Notice the sarcasm in that last sentence?)

3.     “Whatsoever things are true, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
This is another whole post in and of itself. I just finished reading a book titled, Loving God with your whole mind. It has changed my way of thinking dramatically. I need to read it again and take very detailed notes. I loved this book.

4.     Let Kate help cook dinner. We had been having problems with her not eating dinner very well. Then she wakes up in the middle of the night, starving. So, Brian let her help him one night. She ate like a champ. Since then, that is what we do. It is so sweet to watch her stir whatever is cooking. When she eats what she “cooked” she rolls her eyes saying, “nummy, nummy.” Hilarious.

5.     Prayer really does work. Sometimes it takes awhile to get an answer, and sometimes that answer isn’t exactly what you were wanting. But, prayer does work. A long, lost friend finally contacted me. I still am not on a texting basis. (Ha. HA!) But it is definitely a start, yes it is. I cried such happy tears that day.

6.     If you have an issue with a company or product, email them. Brian bought 2 packs of Fruit of the Looms back when the baby was born. 3 pairs did not hold up well when washed. Brian emailed them, didn’t get a response right away. He emailed them again, they requested his address and size. They mailed him 4 packs of replacement underwear. In the wrong size. But Brian was in Hawaii. He didn’t know that they had sent the replacements. So, in the meantime, he sent them the correct sizing information. They sent him 2 more packs of underwear. Isn’t that crazy? Never in his life (or mine either for that matter) has he owned 30 pairs of brand spanking new underwear.

7.     Take some time for myself at least once a week that isn’t blogging or reading. I mean a big chunk of time doing something I want to do. Whether it is taking a bath or planting some flowers, this needs to be done for my sanity. Otherwise I begin to resent Brian and dislike my children.

8.     Blog at naptime, so that it gets done. It seems like if I don’t do it then, I never get around to doing it. I am so tired at night, I don’t feel like it. So, naptime blogging is a must.

9.     Keep my makeup out of Kate’s reach. Enough said.

See how very proud she is.
 She did such a good job outlining that eyebrow.

10.     Pray and read my Bible every morning, before I do anything else. I have made this my number one priority this last week, and what a difference. Words cannot adequately express how much more at peace I am when I daily die to self. (This one will probably be there monthly, since it is so hard to learn.)

Favorite Pictures this month

 the night Brian came home

Isabel

Kate
sisters

self-portrait

watching chickens

I think this could be fun each month. What do you think? Does anyone want to join me? If so, let me know and next month I will add a linky at the bottom. I think this will help give my blog more of the focus I intended when I started.

Selfish Saturday

Growing up, we weren’t allowed to play until our chores were done. I think this is a good habit, actually.  But sometimes I think I can take it a little too far. For example, I don’t allow myself to do anything until certain things are done that day. Like the kitchen has to be clean before bedtime. At least all the counters have to be cleaned off and dishes in the dishwasher. I will allow a few pots and pans to “soak” in the sink overnight. I never never ever go outside to play unless the house is clean. The downstairs part of the house, anyway. Pajamas have to be hung up when taken off. Shoes must be put away in closets, not left lying around to stumble over in the dark. Etc.

But today? Today I let all my little rules and idiosyncrasies take a back seat. I was up all last night coughing with a fever. So, this morning I let all my chores slide. There is laundry everywhere. Clean, but still everywhere. Dishes are in the sink and they aren’t even rinsed! Both the girls went down for a nap at the same time. (Hallelujah! Thank God for even the small blessings.) So, you know what I did? I still can’t believe it….

I took a bath! I never take the time to just soak. It was wonderful. I put vitamin E and lavender oil in the water. Hot, hot, hot water. Made a huge mug of chamomile tea with too much not enough honey. Sat there and read my book for an hour! A whole hour! I even used my homemade lavender foot scrub. (I made some for presents at Christmas time.) I just got out and am feeling a  little better. Still a little congested, but no feelings of guilt whatsoever. And to top it off, the girls are still asleep. Wonders never cease today. I am hoping now to polish my nails while drinking yummy Kona coffee and eating chocolate/coconut covered macadamias straight from Hawaii. Luxurious.

Here’s to a selfish Saturday!

one step forward and two steps back

Is my life.

For example, the girls and I are getting ready to go somewhere. Anywhere. I take a shower and then get halfway ready. Then dress Isabel and help Kate get ready. She went downstairs to potty and being the helper that she is, she took her potty to dump the pee in the toilet. She tripped on the bathroom rug and got pee EVERYWHERE. Meanwhile, I am upstairs trying to get Isabel ready again. For though, she was dressed and ready to go….she pooped in her diaper and had a blowout up her back. Yuck.

So, I have poop everywhere upstaris and pee everywhere downstairs. By the time I get all of that cleaned up, I need another shower. Granted I don’t take one, I don’t have time. I am already late. So, I throw the rest of my clothes on, grab my makeup and the diaper bag, and run out the door to start the van. Run back to the house to get Kate and Isabel. I put them in their car seats, get them buckled. Run back into the house to get my purse, water, coffee, and whatever else I have forgotten.

Finally pull out of the driveway, get halfway down the road realizing I forgot my list. UGH!

That was last week….twice.

Then this week. I am upstairs when I hear the chickens making a huge commotion. I look out the window and see a hawk swooping and flying around the coop. Trying it’s best to get in to get some lunch. I run down the stairs and out the back door. Hoping I can scare him off. I do. I count everybody, to make sure he didn’t get one. Everybody is safe, huddled in the top of the coop. I am so relieved

I get to the back door, you know to go in, and the screen door is locked. The main door is shut. I look through the window and Kate is nowhere to be seen. I bang and bang on the window, trying to get her attention. She finally comes around the corner with such an innocent little look on her face, until she sees big, angry, scary Mommy in the window. Poor Kate. She has no clue what she has done. But try as she might, she can’t get the door open. She tries and tries, but she can’t. I am so frustrated that I run into the yard and scream and scream and scream. Hoping and praying it will make me feel better.

Of course, it doesn’t.

Now my throat hurts. I am so cold. I have to pee. I am so mad. Not at Kate. Not because the door is locked. But because I lost control of my emotions. When I couldn’t get in, it was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just lost it. All the anger and frustration just poured out.

I go back to the window to see what Kate is doing. The poor thing is still trying to open the door. She is crying and trying and crying and trying. So, I just took all my anger and used it for good. I karate kicked the screen door. It broke the latch holding the window in, allowing me to reach in and unlock it. Hallelujah. Thank the Lord, the main door was unlocked. So, I went in and took my precious little crying girl in my arms. We sat on the floor and cried and cried and cried.

We got up and had a snack.

I feel like I am doing okay. Like I have it all together. Spiritually and mentally. Then that happens. And I realize I don’t. I am trying to do everything on my own. Again. 

I really don’t know why I let life’s little ups and downs affect me so.

On the days when I am feeling selfish and want to do this, that, and the other thing for myself instead of for others, I don’t get anything done. I feel rotten the whole day. But when I put God first by making time to read my Bible and pray in the morning, do things for and with Kate and Isabel. Everything else seems to fall into place. I still get my chores done. But somehow, they don’t seem so important.

God has been trying to teach me this on several different occasions. Like here and here. It doesn’t look like I am learning this lesson very well, does it? So, the day I got locked out, Brian came home to rescue me, well, after I begged him to, he did. He let me leave Kate with him.I took Isabel.

You see, I haven’t been reading my Bible. Not since around the middle of December. So, I went to Chick-fil-a, sat in the far corner and got back to my Bible. I had gotten stuck Isaiah. It is such a difficult book to read. Sitting there, even with my heart willing, I still couldn’t read it. Sitting there feeling like an idiot,I made a decision. I decided instead of trying to slog my way through these hard books, getting defeated and discouraged, I am going to put a bookmark there and skip to Matthew. So, since I made that decision, I am in love with the Bible again. I am not giving up on the Old Testament, just setting it aside for a little while. This has proved to be helpful.

So, there you have it. One huge step forward, two tiny steps back. I don’t think the two tiny steps equal my one huge step….so I am making a little progress. (Or that is what I am going to tell myself. Because it is my world, after all.)

Let’s see how long it lasts, shall we?

changes

I apologize for the changes that are about to take place. I hope it doesn’t get on anyone’s nerves. I am trying to find the perfect template that “looks” like me.

I think I might have found it…..

brain freeze

 I have many wonderful posts swirling around in my head. But I can’t seem to get them to come out. Then I had a brilliant thought. Since I have so many new people who enjoy this little blog, I will repost some of my old posts. Ones that I really liked. Because they still hold true. Also, I will add what I have learned in the meantime since that post.

I will start with this. My first post.

The Point

My life has been a series of really bad decisions mingled with a few good ones. I never seem to learn from my mistakes. I continue making the same ones over and over.

Since Kate was born, I see life so differently. I see the point. FINALLY! Aunt Sue is probably saying. She has been praying for me for years. I understand that my life isn’t about me. It is about my glorifying God.

I am going to use this blog in a way like my awesome cousin, Mary, uses hers. I follow hers and really enjoy it. I want to chronicle the “lessons” I learn. Whether they be spiritual or otherwise. I really enjoy writing, also. So, I am going to practice my writing skills here. One day when I have published many books, you can say, “I used to follow her blog. She is a very interesting person. Maybe I should buy one of her books.”

This was posted November 20, 2008. That makes me laugh. I am still making all the same mistakes. Over and over. I thank God that He never gives up on me. Ever. Well, that is all for today. We are going to the library.

Happy Tuesday.

Outdoor Wednesday

I love being outdoors. There is nothing like the feeling of warm sun on your face especially after days and days of being cold.

I think the roosters have been enjoying the sun, too.

Feeding time!

I know the girls have. Look what they leave for me every day!
Isn’t that a beautiful sight?
Hello, dear.


They are always so thirsty.

Chickens are so very funny. We even have a groupie of sorts. This little hen has been hanging out in our yard around the coops and cages for a couple of months now. I call her the rooster’s girl friend. Even though they can’t get to her, it doesn’t stop them from trying. Every day.

Isn’t she pretty? She blends right in with the leaves. I wish I could catch her. But she is way to fast for me.

On a much different note, my Molly has been mouse catching again. What a good girl.

Happy Wednesday!

I gave in…

It was time.

It was looking ratty. It reminded me of a dirty trailer park child.

So, I made the appointment.

It was hard to watch all those golden locks hit the floor, only to be swept up and thrown away. It’s a good thing it will grow back.

It looks so good. I absolutely love it. It was worth it! Thank you so much, Ashley!