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!

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

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!

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!