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

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! :)

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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.}

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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.

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*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.

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.

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

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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.

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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?

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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…..

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.