Friday, February 28, 2014

Eye Surgery and Date Night - Rolled into One

Odd as it sounds, Doug had his second laser surgery in Fort Collins yesterday so we decided to take the opportunity to have a little 'get away'.

We reserved a room at the Embassy Suites and stayed overnight -- away from the kiddos -- just the two of us.


The surgery went well.  The pooling blood in his eye had subsided some, but the doctor noted new bleeding so he wanted to get the eye treated as much as possible to try to cease that leaky vessel.  80% of the eye was able to be 'lazed', as the doctor put it.   We'll return in 3 months to try to 'finish it off'.  (Who knows, maybe another 'night out'?) 

I guess it was a little weird, since he JUST had surgery on his eye.  However, when you have 6 kids..... you grab opportunities wherever, whenever you can.

Checking into the hotel, his eye was actually taped shut.  Probably a funny looking sight, but we sure didn't care.

As we arrived, they informed us of the 'Manager's Reception' going on from 5-7:30 in the dining area.  This included free drinks and snacks.

FREE!!!  Did I mention that?

You bet we chose to head down once we had all our stuff lugged into our room.

I had no expectations as to WHAT the snacks might be, but... boy was I still surprised.

First it seemed simple enough.  Tortilla chips, salsa, a little hummus, and guacamole.  Then we noted the fancy 'pita chips'. Even better than that?  The hot spinach artichoke dip.  One of our favorites.  Even some chunk cheese.

What a dilemma I had.

I've been trying to 'be good' on my healthy eating adventure.  These snacks?  Yeah, they didn't exactly fit into my menu options.

I decided to give myself a 'free pass' and to just 'go for it'.

Probably not the BEST decision, but it sure was a YUMMY decision.

I was careful to keep my portions small and didn't have TOO much.

Much of the enjoyment came from the experience of sitting across from Techno, my wonderful hubby, and soaking in the moment.  Holding hands as we talked.  Listening to and watching the water feature beside our table.  Blissful, romantic, memorable.

We called the kids from our hotel room once we finished eating our 'snacks'.  (We may enjoy a little time away, just the two of us, but we still miss our precious gifts back home.)

Settled in for the evening, we simply enjoyed the time together.  Watched a little TV, chatted, snuggled.

What more could a girl ask for?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Little Miss Trinity

It's hard to believe that it's been 8 years since she was born.

I remember her pregnancy and birth quite clearly.

Tests came back showing a distinct possibility that our precious bundle of joy could have Trisomy 13.  A chromosomal anomaly that was incompatible with life.

Fear.  Uncertainty.

We went through several months not knowing 100% if our 4th child would live or not.  The ultrasounds seemed positive, but the doctor's continued to monitor her progress regularly.

In hindsight, we now know that was God's protective hand upon her all along.

As my due date approached, the babies growth slowed.  Even ceased.

The OB ordered yet another ultrasound.  This one showed that our little bean had gone from the 90%tile for growth for gestation to the 50th.

Not a good sign.

Bedrest for a couple weeks to see if any improvement occurred.

This was a tall order as we were moving into our second home at that same time.  I rested, but only AFTER I'd cleaned a bit, helped (mostly watched others) paint, packed a little, supervised the movers (while sitting on a chair), etc, etc, etc.

When I went to my follow up, not only had the baby NOT grown, but the amniotic fluid levels had also dropped. He wanted to induce me.

We were hesitant.  All our other babies had been born naturally, on their own, in the timing God had planned. That was our goal with this pregnancy as well.

The doctor's only other option was full bedrest IN the hospital.

Well, given the fact we had 3 other children at home - ages 4, 6, and 9 - and Doug working full time, THAT. wasn't. a. feasible. option!

Induction was scheduled for that weekend.

I was nervous.  I feared the pain and duration of an induced labor.  My natural labors had all gone quite quickly -- the first barely six hours, the second only an hour and a half, and the third about five hours -- with no pain medication what-so-ever.  I had heard horror stories of LONG, AGONIZING inductions.  We had also heard of the possible risks to the baby from being induced.

But... our alternatives were limited.

It took a little while for the pitocin to kick in, but once it did, as per my norm, labor progressed rather quickly.  Especially the actual pushing and delivery part.

A little girl - Trinity - entered our world, our family that day.

Merely 6 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long, she looked SO tiny.  (Especially since our last baby was almost 9 lbs.)

As the doctor examined her placenta and umbilical cord, he held it up for us to see just what had caused the odd shift in her growth and my fluid levels.  Before my eyes I beheld a complete KNOT in the life giving cord that connected her to me.

A catch in my throat, tears began to stream down my cheeks.

God truly was watching out for our girl.

Had we NOT allowed the doctor to induce me a couple weeks early..... this precious angel that we just celebrated, most likely would have been born without breath.  Our lives would have still changed that day, but in a drastically different way.

Thank you, Lord, for the wisdom you provided.  For the 'false positive' test that resulted in stress and a myriad of ultrasounds.  If it weren't for all those ultrasounds, we may have never noted her significantly smaller size and drop in fluid levels.  We wouldn't have been induced.  We most likely wouldn't have a special 8 year old to have a birthday for TODAY!

As we celebrate you, Trinity, we give thanks for your life.  We thank God for guiding us so you could be here with us now.

You are such a joy.  Such a treasure.  Such a gift.  We're grateful to be your mom and dad.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting in Shape is Hard to Do

It's been almost a month since I began my healthy quest.

I've had a lot of successes, but I've also had some struggles.

I started out strong on ALL fronts.

60 - 80 oz of water a day....

Limiting my meals to lean protein, fruits, veggies, and a small portion of complex carbs -- each and every meal....

Actually EATING breakfast -- not just drinking a couple pots of coffee.....

Incorporating 3 small snacks of either fruit, veggies, or lean protein -- you know a palm full of nuts; an apple; carrots; etc....

Eliminating coffee and junk food from my diet.....

Exercising for 30-60 minutes 3-5 days a week!







Last week!

I managed to keep my diet on track.... for the most part.

With the carnival and a 4H pizza dinner before set up, I did go 'off course' for a couple meals, but I DID manage to keep my portions small.

I guess I can't be too upset with myself. This is L-I-F-E! I realize that not ALL food I eat will ALWAYS be the most healthy.  Not all will fit into my little formula.  Plus, I have lost 10 pounds in this last month.

It's ok.

As long as it doesn't become the 'norm' again.

Today I recommitted.

My focus is on getting the exercise in as well as watching the overall content of my nutritional intake.

I tried to make excuses as to WHY I should skip my workout.  I have to clean, do laundry, bake Trinity's birthday cake, chop up pineapple to freeze.

The list could continue.

I could nap -- after all, tomorrow we will be 'on the go' all. day. long.

However, I resisted.  I forced myself to change into my exercise clothes.  Walk to the back porch.  Put in the workout DVD.  And complete the workout.

I'm so glad I did. I feel more energized. More alert.  More ready to finish all those 'excuses' I made before.

Today's workout of choice?  Biggest Loser Bootcamp -- week 1-2 workout.

Only 30 minutes, but a good combination of cardio and strength training.

Now... to bake a cake for a precious little soon-to-be 8 year old.

Monday, February 24, 2014

All Things New

The snow continues to fall.

I watch Techno and the boys shovel - again - so we can make our way to town.

My heart is still heavy.  My eyes are swollen.

My mind continues to travel to the surreal event of the recent loss our family has experienced.

It's so close to home.  It's so real.  Yet, I wish it weren't.

I hurt for Laura.  It's easy to put myself in her shoes.  To dare to imagine how she is feeling.  How I would feel in her situation.

I want to use this event as a catapult for my own life. My own interactions with my family.

Time is too short to worry about the little infractions that cause irritation, that raise my temper levels.

Life's short span should not be lost on aggravations over crumbs on the floor; on kids' toys strewn about; on dishes left in the sink.

The snow outside is serene.  It blankets all the imperfections of the landscape.  All the rocks, bumps, divots.  At this time, they appear gone.  No longer present in our yard.

It reminds me of how Jesus has covered all my flaws.  He's forgiven me for all the wrongs, the mess-ups, the outbursts.  He's made me new.


Just as the blanket of snow makes this winter wonderland scene seem so new.  As the snow melts, the water it produces will help make things truly new.  New life.  New buds.  New grass.


This tragedy makes no sense to me.  This loss of a loved ones life.  The grief for those left behind baffles me at best.

Yet.... I know.... God will make all things new.

He will use this event; this heartbreaking, mind-numbing loss of life to grow. something. new!

In us.  In Laura and her children.  In all those who have ever known and loved Jim in one way or another.  Even in those who simply cross our paths.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

With Great Sadness

As I write, my heart is breaking.

Yesterday we received news that Techno's cousin's husband had had a heart attack or at least some sort of heart incident and was in the ICU.

Later that evening we got the call from Doug's dad that Jim had passed away.



Jim was my age.  He and Laura have 5 children similar ages to our children.

My heart wept as tears flowed from my eyes.

It's still very surreal.

I can only imagine the grief Laura is feeling.  How she must be reeling.  It happened so fast.

Life is precious.

Life is short.

Hold those dear to you close.

Let them know how special they are... today... now.  You never know what day is your last.  Their last.

As I awoke this morning, my heart heavy, I thought about all we had to do today.  It all seemed so insignificant given the situation.

Yet, it is our life.  I'll do laundry.  Techno will work.  The kids will do their chores.  We will go to the 4H carnival.  We'll have fun.  However we'll still remember. We'll still think of Laura and her great loss.

This made me think of how the rest of us - those who know and love this family - will continue.  Life will go on as usual, even though we'll remember, we'll mourn; but life won't necessarily be changed dramatically.  Not like it has already for Laura and her children, her family.

No, we won't forget.  But... it's different for us.

I'm glad they have HOPE!  The hope of eternity with Jim one day.

Yes, that hope is there, but the day to day - here on this earth - will continue to be hard. To be a struggle.

My prayer is all reading this would have the same hope.  The same knowledge that THIS life is not the end.  Eternity is available to all who believe in Jesus. To all who accept his gift of salvation.

This event was such a reminder that today is the day to make the choice.  Ask Jesus into your heart.  Don't delay.  You just never know if tomorrow is guaranteed.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Techno's cousin and her family.  May God's comforting arms embrace them during this time of grief and loss.

We love you, Laura!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sometimes you have to break your own rules

It was 3 am.

The dog was barking in the hallway.

Since he'd gotten into chocolate, I knew it was best to 'let him out' despite my sleepy state.

Up I dragged my half-asleep body.  Feeling around in the dark, I found my warm slippers.  (It was way too cold NOT to grab those.)

Stumbling to the door, I tripped over my cowboy boots I had left near the side of our bed.  (Another good reason to keep ones room tidy.)

Finally, emerging from our bedroom, I walked out to meet the dog and lead him to the door.

He was resistant.

Can't say I blamed him with the snow and wind blowing at high speeds.  But, I was persistent and out he went.

Returning to bed once he came back in, I heard a little voice.

"Mommy, I had a bad dream."

"Where are you?"  My eyes had not re-acclimated to the middle-of-the-night-darkness after having turned the lights on to let the dog out.

"It's me, Charity." Came the response.

"Ok, Charity, but where are you, sweetie?"  I could still NOT see anything.

"Right here."

I stretched my arm out toward the direction of her voice.

Contact.  I felt her hair brush against my fingers.

"Do you need to snuggle a bit?"

With that she crawled into our bed.

Rubbing her back, I asked, "What was your dream, sweetie?"

"I don't want to say it."  She replied.

I simply hugged her tight.

"Can I just sleep in here for a while?"

We aren't co-sleepers.  (Outside of when the babies were super tiny and I was nursing them multiple times over the course of a night, our kids have ALWAYS slept in their own space.)

Techno and I made the choice early on to make our bed, just that, OURS!  So, as a general rule, we don't allow the kids to sleep with us.

This night, however, I could tell she. just. needed. us. close.

"What do you think, Daddy?"  I whispered.

To lighten the moment he responded, "Well, if I fall sleep, my snoring just might keep you awake."

Charity was prepared, "That's ok.  I'll just put my head under the pillow."

Stay she did.

Daddy's snoring did seem to 'jolt' her a couple times, but...... she did fall asleep and slept soundly, with no more 'nightmares', until the morning.

Yes, we broke our 'rule'.

I decided it was more important to send the message that "Mom and Dad are always available. When I'm scared I can go to them.  They will comfort me." rather than to 'stick to the rule' of kids sleep in their beds and parents sleep in theirs.

Granted, this doesn't mean that our bed is an open invitation, but it does mean the kids needs will be evaluated on an individual basis.

This morning..... she was able to finally tell me WHAT she had dreamed.  The comfort she gained from sleeping, safely, with mom and dad made all the difference.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wyoming Wind

Driving to Fort Collins for Doug's doctor appointment, we were vividly reminded of the phenomenon that is.............  'Wyoming Wind'!

We were also acutely aware of the looming winter storm that seems to be lingering 'just over our mountain'.

You see, as we drove away from our little section of the world, the snow began to cease. The wind died down - to some degree.

As we passed the state line, entering into Colorado, it was as if the wind stopped completely.  No more drifting snow on the roads, no more swirls of white wisps across the pavement.

Here, the snow is on the ground NEXT to the road.  Not being blown ON to the road.  Astonishing.

While in Colorado, the temperatures were mild, the wind virtually non-existent.

As we drove home, we experienced similar happenings as we did on our way to the doctor's office.

Only this time -- in reverse.

We passed the Wyoming border - wham!  The wind started blowing.  Immediately snow patches covered the road here and there.

Driving through Laramie things were pretty good.  Fairly dry.

Heading toward Centennial all seemed decent until we hit a certain spot.  It was as if the snowstorm cloud hovering over our little mountain simply engulfed us.

Slick snow and ice covered the roadway; visibility dropped to zero; the winds pushed against our truck; Welcome Home!

This phenomenon has become a regular thing for us.  It seems our little corner of the world, our mountain, is perpetually stuck in this wonderful snow storm.

Overall, we don't mind.

Our community needs the water this snow will provide as it melts; the ski area is certain to be seeing some wonderful revenue from such great 'powder'; our beloved little town is getting great business as well from all the snowmobilers that are coming to enjoy this epic snow.

In the meantime, we'll just keep shoveling our lovely drift out of our driveway.  It builds character, you know.

Yes, another topic for another blog post.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Easy Black Bean Chili

Having started a 'healthy living' eating plan (I'm avoiding the use of the word diet - it's a mental thing. LOL!) I have been seeking easy, yet healthy meal ideas.

This week I came across a recipe for Easy Black Bean Soup.

I didn't have all the ingredients this recipe called for, so..... I 'winged it' and came up with a darn good 'chili' - for lack of a better term.

If you are looking for a hot, easy, quick, yet healthy meal to serve your family on these cold snowy nights (in case you live in a place that's getting walloped with snow like we are) this meal might be right up your alley.

Key words that I liked in that description?  EASY, QUICK, HEALTHY!  Hot is pretty good too.  :-)

Black Bean Chili

Ingredients:  I made a huge batch - I am feeding 8 people, after all, and we like to have leftovers.
3 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cans diced tomatoes (I used chili ready/spiced)
1 can rotel (because we like spicy foods)
2 boxes chicken stock/broth
3 cups cooked rice (give or take depending on how 'thick' you want your chili)
Additional spices to taste - I added garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and no salt seasoning
Optional - avocado; sour cream; shredded cheese

Add all ingredients into large pot except rice, avocado, sour cream, and cheese. While rice is cooking allow 'soup' to simmer.  Once rice is cooked add it to the pot with other ingredients.  Let simmer till heated through.  The longer it cooks/simmers the more the rice will absorb the liquid and it will become more of a 'stew/chili' rather than a soup.

Serve in bowls with a little avocado, sour cream, and shredded cheese on top.

I just had a little avocado and a small dollop of sour cream and it was REALLY yummy.  Helped cut the spice a bit and gave a little 'creaminess' to the dish.

Techno added cheese to his with some Sriracha sauce and thought it was GREAT!

He went so far as to say this meal could be added to our 'rotation' of items I could serve on a regular basis.

Whoohoo!!   That means it was a hit.

Charity had seconds; the boys both had seconds; Techno had seconds; I had my full bowl and it was tasty enough that I would have LIKED to have had seconds, but.... being good I stuck to just. one. bowl.

I will add, it was quite filling.

As leftovers:  It was ok.  Had a small bowl tonight heated in the microwave and it was still tasty, but a bit mushy.

Still... giving this easy, go to recipe a thumbs up for a quick, hot, weeknight dinner idea.

What are some of your favorite 'go to' meals?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Pinterest Win!!!

Bethany is going to do a cake decorating project for 4H.

Due to that, she will be attending a 'cake decorating class' on Sun with her friend from our local 4H group.

In order to participate in the class she needs to bake a cake in which to decorate.

Since she is going to the class with her friend, we decided to have the girls bake their cakes together this week.

More fun when you do things with friends, right?

That means:







Not a chore I enjoy.  One I put off quite readily, actually.

Comical, really, as we have a 'SELF CLEANING OVEN'!!!

Alas, taking the oven racks out, I start the cleaning cycle.

Originally, I was just going to soak the racks a bit, using soap and water to wash them.


I haven't given them a thorough scrub since we moved in (over a year ago) and I can't guarantee WHEN they would have been scrubbed before that.

Needless to say.... they are in dire need of deep cleaning.

To Pinterest!  In search of the best way to clean said kitchen apparatuses.

One intriguing idea is to simply soak them in the bathtub with dawn dishsoap and dryer sheets.  Yep, dryer sheets.

I am game.

In the tub they go.

A couple hours later, I decide to check to see if the gunk is budging.

Guess what?  IT IS!!!!!

According to the Pinterest instructions:  
Submerge the racks in super hot water, add dish soap, and several dryer sheets.  
When done soaking (after several hours to over night) use the dryer sheets to 'scrub' the racks.

When I did this - with a little elbow grease - the once baked on food began slipping right off revealing the shiny silver racks underneath.


I plan to let them sit overnight to make the 'scrubbing' easier.

It's so exciting to have clean oven racks, I'm not sure I want to bake anything anytime soon.

Hmmmm.... sort of defeats WHY I began this cleaning journey in the first place, doesn't it?

Now that I know what to do..... might as well throw caution to the wind and let it get messy again.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Making Time for Fitness! Better Yet.... Making Fitness Fit Your Time

Weight loss and exercise are not NEW to me. I've dealt with my weight to some degree or another most of my life.

Several years ago, when our littles were 'VERY little' I was part of a small group of women who challenged one another to get daily exercise.  We kept tabs on one another via texts and phone calls.

This little group was such a Godsend for me.  I didn't really lose a ton of weight during this span, but I maintained and got much more physically healthy.  My fitness level was greatly impacted by this band of ladies.

Another thing I garnered from this group was how to make exercise fit into my limited time schedule with homeschooling multiple children and living a fairly hectic and busy life.

Something I'd be willing to bet many-a-woman finds difficult.

It all began with a challenge.  A challenge to do 25 push-ups, sit-ups, and leg lifts.  Expanding to 100 each over the course of a month.

At first this was difficult.  I would come to the end of the day only to remember I had yet to complete my 75 reps.

I devised a plan.

BEFORE getting out of bed each morning, I'd complete my sit-ups and push-ups. Then as I was brushing my teeth I'd work on the leg lifts -- side, front, and back.

As I did this, it hit me.

I. Could. Do. Exercises. Throughout. The. Day!

All while doing the mundane tasks that seem to 'get in the way' of fitting in exercise.

That's exactly what I started doing.

While cooking, I'd do leg lifts.  Sometimes I'd do push ups on the counter.  Other times I'd do 25 squats or lunges while waiting for the water to boil or the microwave to finish.

Gradually I expanded this idea.

I began wearing wrist and ankle weights as well as a weighted vest while I folded laundry.  I'd walk in place; all the while getting my chores accomplished.

It was amazing.  I didn't have to take an extra half hour to an hour AWAY from my day to accomplish exercising.

I could combine chores WITH exercise.

Novel idea!

The best part?  It actually worked.

I will admit, I have gotten away from that model.

However, as I realized I needed to be INTENTIONAL with getting fit and healthy, I decided to take a different approach to enable me to multi-task with exercise.

I set my girls up with independent work; I grab a book I want to read; and I jump on the treadmill.  I usually walk for 45 minutes to an hour and accomplish reading 2-3 chapters of the book - depending on the length of the chapters.  (It's not super easy to walk and read while on the treadmill.  My pace of reading is impacted by the combination.)

I'm teaching our children to work independently, working on my relationship with Techno-genius, AND getting an hour of physical activity logged.  Simultaneously.  Without taking too much from each task.

Whoo hoo!

As I get stronger, I imagine I will add in the weight bearing exercises I had grown so accustomed to doing during those challenge days, several years ago.  Or, I may alternate days on the treadmill with days on the bow flex or doing DVD's that focus on strength building.

How do you manage to 'get fit' while managing a home, a job, kids?

Although not conventional, this way is working for me........ for now.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting Fit

Having gained more pounds than I'd like to admit since moving here; my blood pressure and cholesterol being on the 'borderline high' side of things; having energy levels at an all time low.....

I decided to FINALLY make a change.

Interesting how suddenly one can just 'be ready' to make a life change.

So..... I decided to try the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge.

I will admit, I was skeptical.  I've tried other 'programs' before.  Some with success, some not so much.

Tending to NOT stick with things if I don't see immediate and fast results, I was nervous.  This was probably perpetuated by the fact that I USED to lose weight quickly on 'fad diets'.  (as well as gain back what I lost just as quickly, sometimes.)

I knew this had to be different.  I needed to make a REAL change.  This new way of eating needed to become my new LIFESTYLE.  It was not to be a diet.  It was to be a Way. Of. Life!

My adventure began.

I ordered the 24 Day Challenge.

What I liked about this program wass the focus on eating healthy and altering your mindset as well the supplements offered.  Granted the supplements help you succeed and stay on target, but for me, it was more about changing my 'thought patterns' regarding food and eating.

I like food.  It's tasty.  It's comforting.  It's also fuel.  It's hard NOT to eat more than I need.  THAT had to change.

Since starting this journey 2 weeks ago, I have lost 8 pounds and 1 inch each off my waist, hips, bust, and thighs and 1/2 inch off my arms and calves.

If that's not motivating, I don't know what would be.

I'm using food to fuel my body.  I'm being mindful of what I eat, when.  I'm avoiding high fat, fried foods.  I'm sticking with 'clean eating' for much of my calories.  I've eliminated coffee -- for now.

I'm.  Being.  Successful!

In addition to healthier eating, I've committed to daily exercise as well.  Not only for weight loss, but for my heart health. Especially in these higher altitudes.

My goals are lofty - I'd like to lose 50 pounds - but I know with God's help, I can be successful.  I've committed to staying the course.  Techno and the kids deserve a healthy, happy wife and mom.

Not saying it's been easy.  Some days are rough. Some days I want to eat 'junk'.  Some days I just. don't. want. to. exercise.

But..... I'm determined to persevere.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.

ONE.  DAY.  AT.  A.  TIME!!!

Want to join me on this journey?  I'll be posting my progress here, periodically.

Accountability IS a good thing, after all.

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Furniture and Rug

It's here!  IT'S HERE!!  IT'S HERE!!!

Several weeks late, but our new sofa, chair, and ottoman FINALLY arrived at our home.

It was quite the adventure.

The delivery truck called around 10 am to state they were leaving the warehouse in Cheyenne and would arrive in about an hour.

Looking out the window, I made my own adjustments.  Realizing the weather would most likely deter their arrival time if not prevent them from arriving all together.

After lunch, the phone rang.

The delivery truck was on the main thoroughfare of our subdivision, but they had already gotten 'stuck' on the unplowed road and had no idea where to go. Could I drive out to meet them and 'lead them in?'  (Comical as I could see their headlights from our front window, but.... if you don't know the area, it's not clear where our road turns off from the 'main' road.)

Donning my coat, boots, ear muffs, and gloves, I grabbed the keys and trotted out.

After a 15 point turn in the middle of our snow covered dirt road, I managed to lead them back to our house.

The furniture is big.  Our doorways are not.

After much maneuvering of items in our house; removing the cushions and legs off our furniture; they finally managed to get the monstrous pieces into our space.

I pointed out where I wanted them placed.

There and there.


Once they left, however..... I really disliked the look of our room with the sofa and chairs in the spaces we had previously mapped out.

So..... Jacob and I moved them!



Three times......

Four times........

Finally the fifth configuration won the vote!  Thanks to Bethany's insight on what she thought would look the best.  

The ONE way I really didn't think would work.

Here's the final resting place of our new furniture including our new cowhide area rug.
The couch, the cowhide rug, my old leather recliner, and the oversized chair and ottoman!

A different view -- the entertainment center is going to be replaced with hanging wall shelves.
The hope chest will go under said shelving.
The nice big couch!
All the kids can fit on it.
They are thrilled to NOT have to sit on the floor anymore.
My big oversized chair.
All three girls and I can fit here.

We're excited to simply have furniture again.

We whisked our old furniture away several weeks ago!  Maybe a bit prematurely.  But.... we wanted to be prepared.

The floor has been the kids 'couch' since then. (I think they may be even more excited than I am.)

Next up:  hanging our 'entertainment shelves' and eventually getting new curtains that don't look like they are straight out of some by gone era.  ;-)

Upon seeing our new furniture, what recommendations do you have for decorating our walls to give it a rustic/cabin feel?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Colds and Tummy Bugs

The top 10 things garnered from our bought with upper respiratory infections and the stomach flu:

1)  Little ones are so pitiful when they are sick.

2)  It's a wonderful era in parenting when all 6 of your children can now 'make it' to a trash can or the commode when vomiting.  (No more middle of the night sheet and comforter washing!)

Can I get a HURRAH?

3)  No matter their age, they still like mama's attention when they are ill.

4)  As I age, it's harder and harder to get up with them when they do get ill.

5)  Having an independent, helpful, caring teenage daughter is a Godsend when multiple littles are sick.

6)  As I wife I also need to care for my ill hubby.  (He needs his wife's attention as much as the kiddos need mama's attention.)

7)  Buying 'barf buckets' for each child at Christmas was one of the best investments..... ever!  They've gotten their use these past 2 weeks.

8)  Delsym is a FABULOUS cough medicine.  I'm not sure Elijah would have gotten any sleep last week if it weren't for the wonderfulness of that medication.

9)  Nyquil has it's benefits for adults as well.  Techno has finally been able to get a couple nights of sound sleep thanks to that coughing-aching-sneezing-so-you-can-rest medicine.

10)  When this mama's the one not feeling well, the best remedy is ----- SLEEP!  A couple days of good napping and so far I've staved off the worst of both ailments.  (Knock on wood.)  :-)

Here's hoping we're rounding the corner and both illnesses are on their way O-U-T of our home.

Overall, however, I can't really complain.

Although we've had varying degrees of both bugs infecting our house for a little over a week, it's not been unmanageable.

Generally speaking the littles have not been sick with the same ailment at the same time.  The oldest 2 children were hit mildly (for the most part) and Techno and I have managed to avoid the stomach virus thus far.

Fortunately, the stomach virus portion does seem to be relatively short lived.  The upper respiratory thing, on the other hand, appears to be a bit more hardy and is holding on longer.

How do you deal with multiple illnesses hitting your family at once?  So far we're just hunkering down and muddling through.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A New Schedule

As time has progressed, our tidy little chore schedule has deteriorated.

Granted, the house is still maintaining some semblance of order, but not quite at the level I'd like to see.  

The crumbs hiding in the corners, 
the myriad of toys and items stacked here and there to 'neaten up' but not really being put away, 
the counters being 'wiped down' but not really scrubbed under/around/in between canisters etc. 
are beginning to take their toll.

I know some of the reasons:  School kicked in and we all got busier; we've allowed ourselves to get back into the habit of 'sprint cleaning'; Hunter's Safety Class took us out of the house multiple nights a week; we have no furniture so we KNOW we won't be inviting people over so 'what's the point, anyway?', basically, we 'got lazy' in our approach.

Well, with my goal of being more intentional, I realized (again) that keeping our house tidy should be as much for us - those that live in it - as it should be for guests we invite to join us in our home.

I've been pondering why the chores have lagged so much.  On my part.  On the kids' part.

The old routine was working so well. What happened?

In a nutshell?  Time and change.

It was just not the right fit any longer.

So.... back to the drawing board I went.

My new approach?


Yes, we've done something similar in the past, but all the kids are older, more capable now.  This will be a little different.

Each child will have a room for which he/she is responsible.  Throughout the day that room may need to be picked up, wiped down, swept, etc.  Each child will have to keep tabs of their particular zone.  (This will make it much easier to see who did NOT complete their zone, their chore, their responsibility.)

In addition, we'll have set days to 'deep clean' or at least more deep than the 'straighten and spit shine' that one does for that unexpected guest that just called to say their going to stop by.  :-)

I'm still working on the logistics, but I have high hopes.

No, I'm not expecting perfection.  No, I don't expect our home to be spotless.

But, I do believe it's possible to keep our home cozy and inviting by simply investing a little time, several times a day so that all can enjoy -- not only our guests -- but our family as well.

How nice it will be to walk through and have a warm and inviting feeling rather than one that induces stress.

Stress?  Yes!

Stress for me as my blood pressure rises from the 'mess'.  Stress for the kids as they can't find the book, hat, shoe they need/want.  Stress for Techno as he steps on a small toy - again - sending shooting pains from his toes to his nose in an instant.

Instead, all will have a place and be in it's place.  If it's not, we know who didn't do their zone that day and it can be addressed.

Yep, I'm adding more 'work' for myself in implementing and carrying out such a chore design, but.... like the toys in toy jail, it's worth it for the peace and calm that should result.