Saturday, April 28, 2012

Elijah Jude Turns 8!

For the longest time, years actually, we worried about our little Brown Bear. 

"Don't poke the bear!"  Has been spoken commonly to ward off any would be attempts to pester Brown Bear.  He's quiet, yet fierce.  If you wronged him purposefully or accidentally it didn't matter.  The punishment was the same.  He would retaliate, maybe not now but someday when mom's back is turned...pow! 

Thankfully our prayers have been answered.  We have noticed a real change in his demeanor.  The one who would find the dark cloud within ever silver lining:

Has begun to allow the sweet, loving, spirit within emerge and we see Sweet Lijah more and more and Brown Bear is becoming a dwindling memory.
He's so funny, and quick witted. 
He really allows himself to give into the fun.  He prays at night thanking God for his brothers and his baby sister.
Is it the constant prayers of his parents praying for him?  Is it having a baby sister to love and nurture?  Is it just time and maturity?

Yes!  We are so proud of who he is and whom God is cultivating him to be.  It's such a precious blessing to see him grow and develop and show God's love to others. 

We love you Elijah Jude.  We are so blessed to have you as our Sweet Lijah.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Angus AKA Gus Gus

It was three years ago this past March since our Maury died.  He was my little "fluffernutter." I begged and pleaded for him and just 2 years later he and Sophie dug out and he was hit just a block from my house.

After many many many discussions (we're talkers in case you hadn't noticed) we finally decided to replace our fluffy family member.  I should say, Jared finally gave in after some serious sweet talk. 

We decided to do some research and pick a pup that would ensure success.  Maury was a Havanese Poodle mix and he was small yet sturdy.  With 5 kids we need a breed that isn't frail.  I searched for a "Havapoo" (no kidding that's what they're called) and the only litter I found was spoken for. 

Finally I found a Yorkipoo.  He is a Yorkie Poodle mix and insanely tiny because he's only 8 weeks old.  He's all black much like our Maury.  He will be around 8lbs grown and we are already smitten.  He hasn't had an accident yet and is taking to his kennel slowly.  Putting a tiny piece of cheese in the back helps ;)

Here are some pics of our new babe:
My sweet Tanner and baby Gus

His head to the left, tail to the right

That is short grass, yes he's that small

Can you say LOVE?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Growing A Green Thumb

My new gardening motto, "When in doubt...Mulch."

I have to admit I may have enjoyed spending yesterday morning working in my yard.  I have transplanted, divided, and weeded the front.  Apparently a lot of what we have out there multiplies and needs to be maintained vs let to grow and grow.  We had mums and daffodils shooting up inside monkey grass and my monkey grass was so big it was all running together.  You couldn't tell where one thing ended and the next began.

Here's a couple before pics

Even sweet Joyce D seemed slightly overwhelmed at the sheer volume of green :)  After much work and mulch this is what I have now:

It's so much better and now we just have to grow some grass!  We put some fertilizer and weed and feed down, so hopefully things will start improving and we'll seed come fall. 

Now to the back yard where Joyce informed me we have a poison ivy field growing under our trees. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Grass Is Definitely Greener

I am not a fan of gardening. 

We moved into a beautiful house in a nice neighborhood where people are very particular about their lawns.

Jared and I have always been of the mindset that while we had young children we would have a yard.  As the kids move out and we have less traffic on the grass, we would start working towards a lawn.

See the difference?  A yard is a collection of different plants/weeds/grasses that are green and soft to land on while playing ball.  A lawn is a well manicured carpet of only one type of grass that is preferably weed free.

Moving has changed our timeline. 

The previous owner had a lot of landscaping put in that is high maintenance.  Since I don't know what it is, which is weed, or how to manage it, the front of our house looks a bit jungle-esque. 

We are fortunate to have people in our lives who do have some knowledge on the subject.  This is a blessing our I would seriously take a shovel to the front yard and pull it all out. 

Joyce D. came over the other day and walked me through the emerging foliage.  She had asked if I was excited for all the surprises blooming this Spring.  Apparently I had a bit of the "deer in the headlights" look.  Excited didn't exactly describe my feelings.  Try overwhelmed, somewhat apathetic, or even denial. 

I am so thankful for her advice.  I took copious notes and have started slowly working on the different ideas.  Jared has offered to turn over the dirt on the North side of the house.  We have huge amazing tiered stones with soil in between the tiers.  We are going to make that our vegetable garden.  I've begun yanking some of the bulbs from the front and even transplanted some "monkey grass" today. 

Maybe it's because my skin sizzles in the sun, or because I don't like getting dirty.  Not sure why this doesn't appeal to me.  My guess is the tediousness of it all.  I like instant results, instant proof of my hard work. 

I'm learning, and while I'll never likely earn Lawn of the Year, maybe God is trying to teach me a little patience.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lego Table

In a previous blog I shared the link to the amazing Lego storage/table.  I was determined this would be an amazing solution.

Our boys' bedroom is typically littered with Lego's and Bionicle pieces.  So much so you would swear they were tethered to the carpet somehow.  We had a large drawer that was supposed to roll under the bed with pounds and pounds of pieces.  The drawer was too tall to fit under their bunk bed so it just sat in the corner of the room. 

Here is their new Lego table (I still need to attach the 3 large Lego squares to the top, I'm having trouble finding them):
Their room was beautiful.  We vacuumed and had all the Lego's collected and in their designated drawers.  This morning I went downstairs to wake Brennan up and here's my reality:
Oh well.  I guess it will take time to change behaviors to playing on the table top vs the floor.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lunch Idea

For the last 4 weeks I have been plugging away at the old Weight Watchers program.  I have iWatcher on my phone and can easily journal my foods.  My goal was just 15lbs to get back to my WW goal weight.

The first couple weeks went great.  I lost 6lbs but then over Easter I gained even though I didn't eat ONE, not ONE piece of Easter candy.  Anything I did eat I planned for and used my points, so to have a gain was a bit upsetting.

Yesterday I took the day off from journaling.  I didn't eat anything crazy but I did just enjoy some chips and salsa without guilt.  Today I'm back on track and ready to make some progress.

I have  a couple things that I am really enjoying that I hadn't had before.  First off, VitaTops.  These have been around a while but were mail order only.  Now they're popping up at Cosco and Target.  My favorite are the chocolate chocolate chip.  I have one every morning with my coffee.  I really look forward to it.  If you see them on sale or have coupons you won't use please let me know.  They're a bit pricey. 
I have always loved Reuben sandwiches. My Dad would order them for me at his favorite little deli.  I've had the Arby's one once or twice and it's pretty good but costs a whopping 19 pts. No thank you.  So I decided to make my own turkey Reuben at home and I LOVE them.  They're smallish and I can have two for lunch for a total of 8 pts.  All you need is a can of krout, some deli turkey and these:
I toast the flatouts in my toaster, heat the turkey and krout in the microwave, spread half a wedge of swiss on each flatout, add a heap of the turkey and krout, then top with the dressing.  They are delicious.

Anyone else out there counting points (my pts values are old WW not Points Plus)?  Lets share some lunch ideas!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Michelle My Belle

My sweet Michelle (yes she's mine, she and I have agreed on this) came over the other day to let the kids play.  While she was here I told her about my dirty little secret.

For those of you who have been through my house, you have see the amazing large closets.  I'm talking, could be a bedroom size closets (LOVE).  My secret is that I have had a tendency, over the last 7 months, to toss stuff in the back corner and shut the door.  In our older house, I had things pretty well organized simply so we could fit in our space.

Part of it is due to the depression.  I have generally felt overwhelmed to do much more than keep up on the laundry and vacuum.  Part of it is laziness, and part of it is 5 little people working against my every move.

So I took my sweet friend through the deep recesses of our home and said, "Look at this!  I don't even know where to start."  Michelle loves to organize and label things.  Her children have their toys in labeled tubs.  One tub comes out to play and it is returned to it's space before another tub is removed from the closet.  That's the kind of plan I need.

She wandered around saying, "What would I do with this space..."

The first idea I have already implemented.  My laundry area is typically a mess.  I don't love to do laundry and the way our space is designed, if I get too far behind we are trapped in our house.  The piles cover the door to the garage.

 Our pantry joins the laundry space and Michelle said, "I would use all this for laundry stuff.  There's plenty of room in here and you could put baskets here.  One for each child.  As their basket fills, they take it and put it away."

Here's the before:

There was all kinds of clutter stashed there.  I went through it all and put some away, threw some away, and sent all the painting supplies and tools to the garage.

Then I headed to Wal-Mart and picked up 4 (I already had one) laundry baskets at $2.97 each.  There are five baskets for the kids and one larger black basket on the bottom for Goodwill.  So as I sort through, anything I don't want to keep I just toss in the black basket.  Before I always had a black trash bag next to the dryer.  This looks much better :)

While I was hanging out in the pantry I decided to take out the laundry cart that has been just sitting in there.  I had every intention of using it and I never really did.  It just sat back there in the way.  Once that was gone, I organized all our food and baking dishes and pans.  I'm so excited!
I am actually excited to do laundry...GASP.

Next project is Brennan and Tanner's closet/storage room.  I've already started on the Legos.  Michelle sent me this LINK for a great idea for Lego organization and I found the sets of drawers on sale at Wal-Mart for $7 each vs $15.  SCORE! 
Today we'll pick up the rest of the supplies.  I am determined and finally feeling up to taking it all on.  Thank you Michelle, all I needed was a little motivation and some awesome ideas!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

From The First Tear Cried

He speaks to me!

Lighter Fare

After a couple dreary blogs I decided to share something I've been keeping somewhat secret.

I am addicted to Kohls.

Please don't judge me.

It appeals to my bargain frugal side like nothing else.

That little receipt that says "you saved $xxx.xx today"  makes my heart flutter.

We have always been a family of hand me downs, thrift stores and garage sales.  The bulk of our wardrobes are second hand.  So you can imagine my excitement when I realized I could go pick out something brand new for  the same prices as Goodwill!

I am very careful about my purchases.  I only go when there is a sale (when isn't there really?) and I have a 30% off additional coupon.  I shop the clearance racks and pick up stuff off season.  The perk about that is that Kansas can't decide what season it is so we get to wear some of the stuff right away :)

With Easter approaching I went yesterday to pick up clothes for the family.  Four new shirts for the boys.  Two pairs of jeans (one for Tanner, our biggest and one for Graham, our smallest).  Anneliese has a new dress and adorable pair of sandals for the summer.  Jared needed a new pair of navy dress slacks and I purchased all of that for the cost of the original price of the jeans.  Plus I received Kohl's cash that I will use with another coupon at another sale for some summer shoes for the boys.

I saved....$178!

I only go when we actually need something in order to avoid the "it's such a great deal!!" purchases.

It's such a blessing to be able to just go get what we need when we need it.  Thank you Dave Ramsey! 

Monday, April 2, 2012


I really appreciate all the encouragement and messages I received after my last post.

Several people contacted me privately to tell me they could relate and it encouraged them in some way.  That is the primary reason I wrote it.  It's difficult to share such a private struggle so publicly.

Years ago God called me to an authentic life.  Basically meaning you get to see me warts and all.  Why? 

There is no ministry in piety or falsehoods.  Ministry happens when you see that I am broken, damaged, and desperate for a savior just like you.

2 Corinthians 12:9
New Living Translation (NLT)
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

I am getting better with each day.  It's been a bit of a struggle adjusting to the medication.  There have been a whole lot of tears.  In fact, I thought I was getting worse until I read that it's common at first.  I believe the side affect was listed as "severe bouts of extreme emotion."  Yep, that sounds about right.

My doctor explained that this will be a long journey for me.  The process of correcting the chemical imbalance will take time.  I'm thankful to live in a world that help is available to me and I don't have to suffer unnecessarily.  

God is good regardless of my circumstances.  I pray that if you are struggling that you will seek out help.  I didn't realize how bad it was until it started to fade.  

I am excited to see how God will use me now that all of my emotional energy isn't being eaten up by this.