Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When it's really real. Or, life in the tundra.

It's still very much winter and I'm very much feeling fed up with myself. Life is real, people. Real around here. My kids may have eaten at least 2 meals a day in front of cartoons...for the last few days. We are a mix of toys, blankets, markers, scraps of papers, clean and dirty dishes, misc art supplies, baby dolls and empty yogurt cups. All in the name of keeping entertained. 

Life in the tundra is taking it's toll, even though I have tried, prayed and cried to avoid it. But I feel as if maybe I'm adding to my stress. We mom's do that ya know!

#1 - Because it's been sooo cold, every day, I haven't been able to finish any of my organization projects. Mostly because they involved painting or spray painting something. So my breeze way (where shoes, coats, etc would go) is 50% or less finished. It's now looking more like a garage storage closet with a fine mix of recycling, Christmas decor, a baby changing table that hasn't moved up yet, and just life. It annoys me every day - but, alas, I value my fingers and have to wait til its warmer. 
#2 - We need to move our 2 year old in with our 5 year old...and soon. However, the dresser I need for their combined room needs to be spray painted and is waiting in the freezing garage. And the dresser I need for the new nursery is serving currently as the 5 year olds dresser.  We also haven't found bunk beds yet - or bedding - or really figured out how we are realistically going to do this and keep our sanity. :) So I have two bedrooms upstairs that are a bad mix of 2 year old, 5 year old, and newborn things. It's bad, people. Bad. Add to that the fact that my 5 year old is rapidly outgrowing everything she owns so I'm constantly pulling clothes out of drawers and closets to put away, only I'm out of bins to store it in so it becomes piles upon piles in already too filled closets. Claustrophobia is real. And this theme of disorganization seems to be spread out through several spots in our home simply because I'm exhausted and don't have an extra ounce of energy to do it after children are in bed. We will not even be discussing my linen closet or basement right now. 

#3 - My 5 year old seems to be struggling with making friends and being a friend. Last night after everyone was tucked in bed the stress of the day just washed over me and I cried like a baby on the couch. It's PAINFUL to watch your child learn and grow through difficult times. It seems my girl needs constant attention and redirection and somedays (lately most days...) it's more then I can bear. Last night we prayed together through tears and she asked God to change her heart (and from what I could hear the entire personality of the other party who caused her grief) and it reminded me how BIG this job is - there is never an off day. She's not at a place of understanding yet...but I pray the Lord continues to soften her. 

#4 - Pregnancy. I'm tired. A lot. 
And lately I'm waking up with the birds, literally, and then dragging through the day. NOT GOOD. I'm hungry at weird times but never sure what for and though I don't "feel" super pregnant, things don't fit right - even maternity clothes. Another not pretty reality. 

#5 - I miss my mom and dad. 
My family is 12 hours away and sometimes I feel that more then others. This time in my life I'm feeling it so much. What I would give to spend a day with my parents - to let my kids hang out with their grandparents. I miss them, I'm homesick for them, and selfishly it would be such a blessing to let the girls go to grandma's for the weekend. Specifically this weekend as my husband is set to leave again on another trip, that I could go on, but can't find overnight child care. Bah. I'm envious of the families here that all have each other - even though I know it's not always easy. I'm feeling very alone and sometimes forgotten. 

It's been a difficult last few days and I know it's going to be ok, just part of the refining... it's just a bad combination of life right now and feels a bit overwhelming. I'm thankful for the moments of quiet in God's word to settle me, or the kind texts from friends and family far away. It'll be ok - I'm just feeling reality right now more then usual. And I'm not sure I like it. 

Also, did the price of diapers go up?! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

If I had a million dollars.

Years ago that annoying song by BNL (I can't even handle that bands name) came out with the catchy tune,
"If I had a million dollars, I'd buy yer looo-ooo-ooove". 

Carry on many verses and choruses peaking of buying ketchup packets and mini refrigerators, etc. If you aren't familiar - you aren't missing much. But growing up in the high school years it seemed to be on the radio, constantly. Ah, who said the 90's were all that bad!? :)

Anyway, after doing some browsing on some of my favorite shopping sites this morning - I have the chorus in my brain. Is it just me or did the cost of EVERYTHING go up substantially over the last 5 years?! Perhaps I'm just more sensitive to it now as I begin to plan and prepare for this June baby.

Browsing through this morning I was "oooohing" and "ahhhhing" over these darling little sets, and then remembering... oh yea, bottles. And onesies. Paci's. And we should probably splurge on a new baby tub as ours is... gross. So if we had a million dollars I might be tempted to go ALL NEW with this little one. Good thing we don't. A good thing there are a million other things we could spend a million dollars on - more important things. :)

These little laced trimmed bodysuits....


Or what about this fun pink and brown stroller?! We are having another girl, so it wouldn't be horrible to buy a PINK stroller, right?

But, back to clothes... I don't remember things being so cute 5 1/2 years ago with our 1st girl. And there was def NOT an anchor theme, which seems to keep catching my eye. And, furthermore... all these cute summer time clothes are making me itch a little for the sun.

So yea, if I had a million dollars set aside for just baby stuff I think I could find a way to use it all. :)
But since I don't and I do have the wonderful joy of having TWO girls who have come before - we'll be thrilled to use our bins of girls clothes again, and maybe splurge on one or two little things for little miss before she arrives. And hopefully I can figure out a nursery idea before she is here. Pinterest has been helpful, of course. I'm eager for some warmth to show up so I can work on painting and creating! Here's an idea I've found:
This nursery would be WAY different then the normal pink/brown I always do. But I keep coming back to it and something about it just gets my attention. I already have a small brown dresser, and our crib is brown - so it would be easy. I dunno.

But then I get back into my frugal thinking - we already have SO much pink and brown, it would be easy to just throw together a simple nursery and then add little touches. I even have that very ottoman that goes with the recliner rocker.
Pink and brown nursery 
 Fun to dream. Fun to plan. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Documenting a Morning.

We are watching a storm blow in!

It started this morning as fog, then a light rain, then the fun stuff. Mini ice balls! 

My girls thought this was the coolest thing, ever. We collected some and I let them eat 'em up - even more cool. Seriously, I'm up for an award for that one. :) 

The hail has now turned into big, fat, fluffy, snowflakes and it's steadily coming down. As most of you already know (and don't roll your eyes), I love it. I love that there is no where to go and nothing to do aside from being home. Warm and cozy. It's a fuzzy slippers and sweat pants kinda day and it was just the thing this tired momma needed. The goobers stayed in their jammies and dress up clothes all morning and I plan to lay them down for naps in exactly the same thing they woke up in. 

As a special snow day treat - my biggest girl and I made Gingersnaps, daddy's favorite cookie!

She loves the hands on activity part and I love the one on one, which she seems to so desperately need... all...the...time. 

Nothing terribly exciting, but a morning to enjoy for sure. So thankful for these children, this warm home, and the little blessings along the way. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Life on the river... wait, you didn't know we had one?!

It's 51 degrees today in Iowa, so all the snow we've been getting...and getting...and getting has started a slow melt. Normally not a big deal and super exciting to be reminded about what grass looks like, right? That is - until you look into your back yard and admire the small river you've acquired over the course of a few days. And then the panic button sounds as you realize what you just thought... "what a nice river... in our yard?!".

It's our first pre-spring in this new house and so in all honesty we have NO idea what to expect once the real melt down begins. I may have had a mini-freak out thinking this was our septic tank exploding or something. My hubby assures me it's not. {whew!} So, for now we get to enjoy this beautiful river flowing right through the back yard. My 2 year old thinks its the best thing in the world. It certainly compliments the river in our driveway, too! I feel like an island almost.
And what's this I hear? A blizzard coming again this weekend? Well, then we can all go ice skating! :) Ah, life on the river... it's beautiful.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Turn off the discontent box... and WOOT, a project finished.

This afternoon I was feeling pretty sleepy, even after getting to sleep in this morning. I'm sure it's just baby growing away in there making me feel the drowzies - so I got all cozy on the couch with my 10 favorite blankets {don't judge} and the TV remote. I enjoy the HGTV channel and can usually find a few minutes of something interesting before I close the eyes and doze, and today was no different. There is a new show called "Flip or Flop" where this young couple buys foreclosures, fixes them up with high end materials, and flips them - thus making a fortune. They make it look so easy and the longer I watched the more I noticed myself feeling discontent with where I live. Oh, granite this and that. Soaker tub in the master bath. Pool in the back yard and what's that you say?... a hot tub under a fancy side porch. Well by all means, yes please. What makes this more interesting is that I have ZERO interest in granite, pools or even soaker tubs at this point in my life because all I can see is... you guessed it, more work. Ha! I gave the show a few more minutes and realized I was just laying there having a pity party at the {wait for it} STAGING in the house they were selling as compared to my modestly decorated home. Bah! So I turned it off. What's more is I decided to get up and DO something, anything. I know myself well enough to forecast an even bigger pity party if my surroundings didn't change and QUICKLY. Am I alone in this? We watch these shows and sink into a discontent, pouty, pathetic person instead of looking around and seeing the HUGE blessings that we live in. The very story of how we got and moved into this house is an amazing God story by itself. Oh how evil these bodies of flesh can be. So my advice for today is simply this, turn off the discontent box. :)

Which leads me to this - my FINISHED project! A few days ago I shared a picture of what I was hoping to do as far as a curtain for my over the sink kitchen window. It's not perfect or even HGTV-worthy, and maybe that's why I feel so happy about it! Hard work, some sweat {yes... even that}, and frustration equals a product made with love. It has a story and adds just the right touch in my kitchen.
 I took this pic with the flash off - because...well...the sun is shining and it's in the HIGH 30's today. Love the sunshine pouring in.
You can find a very cute tutorial and blog over at eleven Magnolia Lane here. She has such cute ideas!
Hey, enjoy your day today! I'm heading to catch some more of this sun - even if it is just by sitting at the dining room table. :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine Style & Sharing daddy.

I've never been one of the non-sugar moms. Maybe I should be, but I'm not. Especially because 1) I enjoy sugary things myself  and 2) I just kinda think...all things in moderation makes more sense. And when it's the week of a very fun, very pink and red, very great Holiday - we take a few extra liberties with our sugar. :) This girl (above) was enjoying a package of M&M's she got at cell group last night, while it was all of 8am this  morning. {sigh} Oh, and I know you appreciate my open and disorganized coat closet and pile of coats on the floor. That's how we roll, people. That is how we roll. 

Today was deemed Valentine prep day so the girls and I were out the door early this morning to pick up the needed essentials and set to work. 1:39pm now and I have two napping girls, a calm messy house, and this bowl of chocolate literally screaming my name from the dining room. 
I'd say it's been a pretty profitable morning by the looks of things around here. 
I'll let the pictures do the telling. :) 
 One of the many construction paper heart garlands we'll have hanging up. 
 I love my 2 year olds "writing". She hunkers down reeeeel close to the paper like she's focusing in on each letter. Adorable.
 Goodies for my teen girls tonight! :) All packed up pretty and ready to bless! 
 Valentine crafting station #1. And our special lunch of Lunchables. 
(I added blueberries to round it out, ya know). 
Craft station #2 for all the homemade pictures, scribbles and testings crafts the 5 year old invents. 
She's amazing.

We finished our busy morning by watching Angelina Ballerina's "Be my Valentine" movie. Eh, it was ok. At the risk of sounding like one resistant to change... I prefer the old Angelina to this new hip-hop-whatever they show now. :) Valentine prep day has come to a close. Because my husband is a pastor - from time to time our special holiday celebrations get to be celebrated earlier or at different times, due to his schedule. Last night we had our Mommy/Daddy date night out for some yummy vietnamese food. While it's not always easy - I ty to explain to my girls that we get this really great opportunity to share daddy sometimes, so that other people can learn about or see Jesus working. Brad will be working at a middle school retreat this weekend about an hour or so away and won't be home until Sunday afternoon. The girls, especially Ava, is starting to pick up on the idea of "Sharing daddy". And when I sit and think about it real hard - I just cry. What a sweet life we have that my husband gets to go out, share Jesus, love on teens, and be poured out like that. How could I not rejoice?! {well, trust me, I don't always...}We are happy to share our daddy this weekend, Valentines weekend, and celebrate at home with just us. I have some special things on the menu for the girls - including french toast roll ups for dinner, and maybe even letting the bigger one camp out on my floor again in her cool sleeping bag. I'm also really hoping (and praying) for an opportunity to have the girls sit down with me so we can talk about God's love for us - the reason we celebrate this fun holiday. :) 

On a totally unrelated note:
While shopping this morning I noticed newborn diapers were on clearance for $7/pkg. While I still have several weeks left before we'll need them... I couldn't resist. I had forgotten how tiny they start out. We mom's forget this as we are potty training these seemingly huge 2 year olds. Ha! I just held this little thing and got all misty eyed thinking of how grateful we are for this new girl coming our way, her tiny bottom, and the life change ahead of us. 
Happy Valentines week and weekend to you all! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A little creativity... and the stack of books.

Last week my husband, along with our entire pastoral staff from church, went to Moody Founders week in Chicago. They always look forward to that time of great preaching, worship, and just getting away to refresh. Unfortuneately for my husband - he ended up being sick the entire trip :/ But for the events he did get to join in on, he had a great time. With him being gone for 5 days I had my evenings free and lots of "free" time to finish up some projects I had lying around. Tho, once I saw all the projects I knew I should just pick one and do it really well - the energy still isn't 100%, and my two girls won't have momma working on projects all the time. :) So, I decided to finish my massive frame project. In December my parents drove out from Ohio and left this HUGE framed mirror with me. It was a sturdy frame but the glass wasn't in great shape. So I set to work removing the mirror, cleaning up the wood, and I'm thrilled with the results.

 I painted it white - it was honey oak colored, distressed it, hung some jute cord and now I just (continue) to wait on Shutterfly to deliver my pictures I ordered... in early January :( But for now some oldie family pics work just fine! And with the nine bajillion babies being born in our church - happy to hang some pics of our new friends, too.
A simple, easy, and kinda quick project that I was able to stay inside to finish. It's a lovely addition to our front room and goes great with our newly finished buffet. Now we wait for warmer temps to finish the rest of the DIY's I have lying around. Ha!

As most readers know, I really enjoy a good book that I can learn something from. My stack for 2014 has already grown a leeetle out of control, but I'm excited to crack open each book. My read through the bible chronologically is going well - even though I'm still on January 18th, bah! But I'm so enjoying going through Genesis and the early people of the faith. Hoping to catch up on my 100 pages that I'm behind in the next few days during nap time.

This weekend a package arrived on the porch from Nelson books - it was "Daughters in Danger" by Elayne Bennett. A few weeks back I had applied to be a book blogger for the program at If you aren't familiar - you apply, check the book types you enjoy, and once you read the (Free, shipped to you) book you do a quick write up on your blog. I thought I had chosen a smaller book, but nope, this 295 page book in pink is waiting for me at some point... 
I've never heard of the author and from what I can tell it's not written from a biblical point of view. But I'm interested in reading and reviewing. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have a review up. Hopefully. 
What kinds of things are you reading right now? 

Before I end this today I just wanted to share my heart for a minute. 
The Lord has brought such amazing women into my life that I just need to give thanks for today. Lastnight I met with our pastor and staff wives for a time of prayer and encouragement. We try to meet every month but it doesn't always happen. I am so thankful for those nights to gather together and share what the Lord has laid on our hearts. There are usually tears, hot coffee, and good time spent going before the throne of Grace together. I love the time. I need the time. As women, I think we so often feel like what we are going through or working on is unique to only us - only to find out, we are just struggling side by side. It's neat to sit and listen and watch as women share victories and pains and weaknesses and realize the the Lord truly is at work not only in our individual lives...but in our church. I'm blessed to listen to the older wives that have already gone down the road I'm on - and share stories of hope and encouragement. I'm blessed to hear the younger ones be vulnerable and remind me to keep tender. My cup was full to brimming last night as we prayed and cried and encouraged each other on in this ministry life. It reminds me that not everyone has this in their lives and that is a difficult place to be, though God does give us Grace to make it through even then. Rejoicing for these ladies of faith who challenge me every time, and I'm praying for those of you who don't have a circle to pray with. 

Happy Tuesday! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Snowy Saturday - these are the moments I don't want to forget!

In the words of my 5 year old, "This has been a perfect day". She said this at approximately 10:30am, and I couldn't have agreed more! My husband got home very early this morning, and while he is still sick and very tired - just having him home makes us all a little more happy. I think, him, included. On top of daddy's return we had fresh fallen (and still falling) snow and it was a Saturday with no where to go and little to do. Triple decker day! So yes, my Ava girl, a perfect day indeed!

Normally I would make the girls wait until afternoon to head out and enjoy the snow. I'm not keen on going out myself but that's what makes our fenced in yard all the more attractive :) So, I suited up the big girl and out she went even before 9am made it's appearance.

Little sis, who tends to be a little more indoors-y with snow like her mother, preferred to watch from the window.
But one can only handle such a fun temptation for so long... and out she went, also. :) Leaving me with a quiet dining room, camera in one hand, hot coffee in the other - drinking in the sweetness of two sisters enjoying a snowy day together. {and not fighting}
I don't want to forget these days - where its calm over chaos and I can feel the blessings in my life.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

This, that and the other thing.

I did a little online shopping this afternoon and now we wait. While online shopping is so great for scoring deals, etc., the waiting part is difficult, ya know? Today I was on a search for fabric and let me tell you... that, my friends, can be a dangerous game. We've lived in our home for 4 months now and are still using the metal mini blinds in the bed rooms, and nothing everywhere else. When we moved in we promised ourselves we would settle and make it HOME, but in the middle of the busy there just hasn't been time for the small touches. Since I have a new built in deadline (Aka: June baby), and after a visit in my friend's amazingly put together (on a budget) home, I'm feeling the motivation.

I'm hoping to try this easy, diy faux roman shade in the kitchen. I found the idea on Pinterest and I'm really, really, hoping it's as easy as it explains. Fingers crossed. Expectations low. I'm hoping to turn THIS burlap fabric (Shalimar Burlap natural)...

47" Shalimar Burlap Natural

Into THIS roman shade...
burlap jute twine curtains- these would look cute just above the window above the sink in the kitchen
Seriously. Be still my heart, how sweet is that?! I pinned it months ago thinking I might find something better...but nope. Still sold on the simple, pretty look. And since I'm still hoping we can replace our counter top SOON - the color will go really well with anything we pick. A bonus is that the burlap was on sale for under $4! 

I'm also still collecting ideas for our downstairs play/guest room. I'm still leaning towards a yummy buttery, gold yellow and dark brown. And this dandelion print would be perfect for the cornices I was thinking of making. So I just ordered a swatch to maybe pin up and observe for awhile. :)
Premier Prints Dandelion Slub Yellow/White

If you have never looked at the site (don't go), you should do so today... right now. 

So on this, another freezing and snowy day, I'm taking some time to dream and plan and prep while the kiddos nap. I'm looking forward to the little bit of added energy and hoping to conquer some of the small indoor projects while I can. :) 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Little Interrupter.

This girl has a special radar that she was born with. She could be playing quietly on another floor of our house, outside on the swing set (in the summer) or even napping, but it seems that as soon as I brew a cup of coffee and sit down with my bible -

One could argue that I could get up earlier to have my reading time or stay up late if I really wanted the quiet. But honestly, she has become a part of my daily routine in this way and I love it. {grin} What a sweet and precious gift our children are!

I've been doing so much thinking about my children recently and sometimes I just end up in a hot mess of tears. Wondering if I've used the time wisely thus far and if I'm doing damage to them with how I live my life. Sometimes these are silly emotion-filled moments that thankfully I can just preach to myself and move on, but sometimes I really do wonder. Am I doing any of this right?! When we found out this new baby is another girl I cried... mostly because I find myself questioning if I'm even good at teaching little girls how to grow into young women?! I never feel up to the task and I see my failures so very often. Then I remember our sovereign God and His work in my life - and His promise to finish what He's started in me. And I remember that these precious girls are in His hands and He loves them and has a plan for even them. Then I can breathe again.

Today I'm thankful for another snowy day to be "stuck" at home with my little girls. This time next year I'll have one in Kindergarten, a 3 year old, and a wee babe... a whole new world. So we'll take today and give thanks!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The doldrums of winter ( 3 update)

February 4th and the sky is full of beautiful, falling, snow... again. I had read one of those Facebook articles that said Iowa would see snow every day for the next two weeks and I just chuckled. Seems people are starting to feel some cabin fever/snow crazy, and the snow just keeps falling. Kinda reminds me of the movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" when it snows for months and months.

We are doing ok here.  Even though I'm down to ZERO groceries and ZERO motivation to get groceries - we are enjoying a snowy morning at home (I will regret this at lunchtime!). My hubby left today for a trip to Chicago with our pastoral staff. He'll be gone until Saturday and I actually cried when he walked out the door. It's been a while since I've done that. Blame the doldrums of winter, two busy kids, and preggo hormones. :)

My eldest seems to take after me in that she's emotional. She is especially fond of her daddy and it's harder for her to go days and days without him. So after daddy left we turned the dining room table into a craft zone and the girls set to work. They have been on a "Brave" kick so I scoured Spotify and found some new Irish and Scottish music to work by. It was a quick and easy distraction, thankfully! And now daddy has a stack of cards to come home to.

Yesterday we got to have an ultrasound for baby #3 - it was a wonderful experience! We had a great tech who took extra time to get good pictures and was really chatty with us. Baby even gave us a big mouth open shot, a first for us to see! We had never gotten any shots like this one, either! Very exciting day. I love the little hand up rubbing the eye, precious.
This peanut is already a pound (and 4oz!) and was just as busy as can be moving all around. Don't you just love those lips?!? The tech also commented that she has never seen such long toes and fingers before on a 23 week old unborn child! (Thank you Pausley side...) We are in love.
And it looks like very soon my hubby will be even more outnumbered as we welcome BABY GIRL #3 in June! I can hardly believe it, still. I actually cried when we found out. And then cried because I felt bad about crying. I am so thankful for this little girl and can't wait to kiss those smoochy baby lips. Now to think about a girl name... well, at least we have time. :) And, all the clothes.

Winter rolls on and I suppose I should get out of these comfy Jammies and get something accomplished today. I just know that all too soon the crash of spring and summer busy is upon us, so maybe I'll sip the coffee a while longer, linger in my bible reading, and let the girls play in dress up dresses until nap time. Happy Tuesday, friends.

P.S. In the spirit of Valentines day, take a minute and go listen to the song "Together" by Steven Curtis Chapman. Ah, so good. Be prepared to cry - especially if your hubby is traveling and you won't see him for 5 days. {Sniff} I'm thinking of doing a giveaway this month of this album - if I can find it.
Am I the only one on earth who still listens to CD's?! :)