Showing posts with label About Me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label About Me. Show all posts

Why I Watch The Bachelor




Writing this post strangely feels like writing a confession, but here it goes - I watch the Bachelor.

I was really late to the Bachelor train, since I only started watching with Sean's season.  Derek was traveling at that time, and every Monday night I would snuggle on the couch with a newborn Gwen and tune in.  I did the same in 2014 when I was pregnant with Clyde, and again in 2015 when I was pregnant with Clarice.  And now I nurse Clarice every Monday night while watching Ben make his picks (I'm not holding my breath on him finding a wife, but you never know).  I even rope Derek into watching with me, and my sister and I talk on the phone to discuss the Bachelor happenings.

Is There A Purpose To Your Reading?





When I was in first grade, cliques were a big deal.  It mattered what group you belonged to, and once you were in a group you really couldn’t associate with other groups without risking being banned from your own group (I know because I was banned from my group by associating with someone who didn’t fit in).  The level of peer pressure that was placed on my little seven-year-old self by other seven-year-olds is actually a little disturbing when I think about it.

Anyway, we called these cliques “teams”.  And I still remember in first grade, forming my very first “team” with another girl based on the fact that we both read the Saddle Club books.  Books have been a big part of my life for a very long time.  

It was cool to be a part of our book-based group in first grade.  I’m not sure the book group would have been the cool group had our Saddle Club “team” survived until high school, but thankfully I was being homeschooled by then anyway, and me and my bookish friends all continued to read together.  We even wrote our own stories and read them aloud to each other - a writing club of sorts, and it was all so much fun.

I’ve carried my love of reading into adulthood, but I have to admit, it’s harder to stay motivated these days.  When four little kids are calling for your attention all day long, it is terribly tempting to use your moments of down-time to just veg and watch TV.  But it’s important to me to keep reading, to keep learning new things, even though I don’t have to anymore.

I love how Whitney has specific goals for her reading.  Instead of just setting a number of books as a goal or 2016, I have taken a cue from her and decided to be a little more intentional about my reading as well.




My goal for 2016 is to read one book for each of the following categories each month:


One Book To Strengthen My Relationships.

This could be a marriage or parenting book, a book about friendships, or a book to help me know myself better in an effort to improve my relationships.

One Book To Improve My Spiritual Health.

This could be a book that will instruct me biblically, a book on theology, a bible study, etc.  (One book I hope to read for this category is “Your God Is Too Small” - my pastor mentioned it a few years ago, and I have been wanting to read it ever since!)

One Book To Grow Intellectually.

I’d love to include a few more academic books on my to-read list.  This could include books about science, history, politics, or culture, or classic fiction.

One Book To Entertain.

I still have to fit some fun fiction in.  That’s where my love of books all started, after all.



The point of setting category goals like this is to hopefully stretch myself to read books that I am not always naturally drawn to, and to read books that will help me draw closer to Jesus and the people in my life.  I think it is perfectly acceptable to pick up a book that is easy to read, but I don't want to only pick up easy-reads.  The more you read, and the more difficult material you read, the easier it is to tackle those "hard" books that make you grow as a person.  I want to get to the end of this year being more capable of getting through a difficult book.  When you are working out physically and you want to see improvement, you have to push yourself to do something a littler harder each time.  It works the same way with reading.




If I stick with my goal, this should mean that I will read 48 books in 2016 (at least), and hopefully make it through some of my ever-growing to-read list! I am going to try to write a post each quarter to update you on my progress.  I am not worried about hitting the 48 book goal, because that is less than I read in 2015, but I do think it will be a challenge to stick with my categories.  It's a worthy challenge though.  Hopefully I’ll have some good, strong books to recommend to you throughout the year.

To see a few of the books that I hope to read this year, check out my shelf on Goodreads.  I'd also love to hear your recommendations for me!


Do you have any specific goals for your reading?  What was your first favorite book?







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Also, A New Linkup!

I also have something fun to share with all of you - I am going to be a co-host for a brand-new linkup this year!  With Grit & Grace will be a monthly linkup to share goals and accomplishments with each other.  

There is something about writing out goals that helps me be more tenacious in actually accomplishing them.  At the same time, if some goals don't get accomplished because more important things - like family - take precedence, that is okay and even healthy.  We want With Grit & Grace to be a goals community that encourages each other to work toward our goals but also give ourselves a break when life happens.  

I am looking forward to sharing my main goal for February along for the first linkup this Wednesday, the 3rd!  If you are a fellow blogger, share your goals on your blog and then head back here to linkup with us!



10 Favorite Books From 2015



It has been a good reading year.

I remember the year before I had Wyatt, I read 19 books.  That is pretty low for me, and I remember thinking that it would only get worse after I had kids.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually the opposite - I actually read more books in the days after I had a baby!  For one reason - nursing.  There is not much to do while sitting there, feeding your newborn, so reading books just happened without my trying.  

Every year that I have had a baby has been a good reading year, and this year was no exception.  My original goal for 2015 was to read 52 books, about a book a week - and I'm on track to beat that goal by five books!  

For me, these books were the highlights for me in 2015.  I'm sharing my favorite five fiction books, and my favorite five non-fiction books!  In no particular order...

Bullying

Growing up I was never bullied by anyone, per se.  The worst experience I had with other kids was a time when I felt like I was being made fun of by some kids in my class.  The next week, I tried on a million different outfits and ended up crying in the bathroom to my mom because I was sure that no matter what I wore, the kids would make fun of me.

She let me stay home that day, but the next time I went I was laughed at for something again. I went home and cried in bed that night while my mom tried to console me.  My brother came in, and I remember my mom pointing to me and saying "See what those kids are doing to your sister?  You don't ever laugh at anyone or make them feel like this, do you understand?"  And I think he did.

Even though being laughed at was pretty traumatizing to my 9-year-old self, I can't even imagine what it must be like for kids who are maliciously bullied.  I find it so disturbing that bullying seems to be such an increasing problem today, and it makes me scared for my own kids.



That's why I really appreciated the book "You Can't Sit With Us" by Nancy Rue.  This story is about a girl named Ginger, who is manipulated and bullied by a girl in her class named Kylie.  The story line shows how bullying can affect kids, but it also shows ways to fight against bullying and help your kids resist it.  I think this would have been a book I would have loved when I was younger!

The one thing I wasn't crazy about in this book had to do with a lesson Ginger learns about God not causing bad things to happen to her.  I think the author was trying to address the "if God is good, why do bad things happen?" question, but I think her wording made it sound as if God is not in control of everything - and we know that He is.  God is sovereign, and He works everything out for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28).  I didn't really like the way the author explained that issue, though it is a tough one to tackle.  I feel like this is one topic that should be discussed in further depth with your kids, for clarification.  I wasn't satisfied with how the book left it.

Overall, I think this book is one that middle-grade readers would enjoy, and I think there are a lot of great conversation starters in these pages.  I would recommend parents reading this book with their kids, so the issues it addresses can be discussed between parent and child.  To me, starting conversations is the real value in this book.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of this book for your child, you can enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form below!  Prize is provided by Tommy Nelson, and this giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only.

Blind As A Bat

I call the year I turned twelve the year that I fell apart.

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In a period of about six months my hair turned frizzy and I had to get braces.  Then I learned that I need something to correct my vision too!  All in the midst of middle school.  Even though I was homeschooled and didn't have to deal with traditional middle school culture (thank goodness), it was still a nightmare!




Thankfully, I think my awkward phase only lasted a couple years (that's not too bad, right?).  By the time I was fourteen, I was starting to figure out my hair, my braces came off, and I was starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin.  My eyesight, on the other hand, never recovered.

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You wouldn't necessarily know, because I almost always wear contacts, but I am technically legally blind!  With astigmatism too.  I am told vision can get much worse.  I believe it, because I have compared prescriptions with a friend who was much worse eyesight than me, so I can't complain too much.  But I honestly can't imagine having worse vision than I do.  Without corrective lenses, I can just start to make out words when I am about three inches away from the paper.  And even then it is hard to focus, because my eyes don't focus together correctly (because of my astigmatism)!  I usually have to close one eye and squint to be able to see anything, even three inches away.  All I can say is thank goodness I live in an era where corrective lenses are available and affordable!

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I usually wear contacts because I never particularly liked how glasses looked on me, but recently Firmoo offered to send me a pair of prescription eye glasses, and I think I have changed my mind.  I had so much fun searching through the options on their site!  They have so many different frame styles.

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I stuck with the same shape that I have gotten before, but these glasses are a fun color, and they are a little bigger than my other glasses (bigger glasses are back in).  I feel so trendy, and I think these glasses make me look bookish, in a cute, funky way!  I actually wore them out the other day, and unlike with my other glasses, I felt confident being seen in these ones.

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Firmoo's prices are also very affordable - even cheaper than the cheapest place I have purchased glasses before.  And it was easy to enter all the specifics of my prescription.  The next time I need a new pair of glasses, I will definitely be ordering from Firmoo!

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Who else out there wears glasses or contacts?  Come on contact people, admit it.  There is no shame.  Your vision is most likely not worse than mine!

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And because I know there will be comments on the snow - winter has come upon us with a vengeance!  Derek took these last week, and it was so cold.  At least it gave me a chance to wear my new coat.  It did the job nicely.

Yellow Coat: Target
Animal Print Scarf:  Walmart
Floral Tunic: Forever21
Pants: Forever21 
Taupe Boots: JustFab
Burgundy Glasses: Firmoo

Note: I received a standard pair of glasses from Firmoo for free in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.



Snapshot Of A Saturday

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Listening . . . To Clyde complaining at me from the living room - he wants me to pick him up so I will be typing most of this post one-handed.  But if we are talking music?  I have been listening to Taylor Swift radio on Pandora.  I'm trying to get a sneak peek of her new songs, since I want to wait until after Christmas to buy 1989.  I've heard three of them so far - thumbs up to two of them, and thumbs down to "Blank Space".  Singing about purposely letting a player take advantage of you?  Really Taylor?

Eating . . . Caramel Brownie Cheesecake.  My own invention.  It's really rich, and really fattening, and really good with a cup of tea.

Drinking . . . Water?  Not as much coffee lately, because I'm trying to wean myself off the caffeine.  I skipped my weekly Starbucks before work the other week, and I felt like I was in a fog all day.  That's when I realized I may have a problem.  I did drink a little tea today though, in my fancy tea cup, because I felt like it.

Wearing . . . Jeans, a green sweater, and a plaid infinity scarf (see, in the picture below?  I thought we needed a visual).  I was never much of a scarf person before, but I am really into them this year! It helps that I got an amazing deal on some clearance scarfs at Charming Charlie earlier this fall - 4 for $10!
 
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(That's the top of Wyatt's head behind me, in case you were wondering.)


Feeling . . . In limbo.  I feel like I am just waiting for situations to change, waiting for things to make sense, waiting for some direction from the Lord on what we're supposed to do next.  I feel like this in-between stage has become my new normal right now, and I have never been good with uncertainty.  The stress is getting to me.  I found a gray hair the other day and promptly plucked it out.

Weather . . . A gorgeous fall day, though a little on the windy side.  Good sweater weather.  And hopefully good hunting weather since Derek is elk hunting as I type this.

Wanting . . . To get all my Christmas shopping done.  It's a tight budget year, so I want to get everything bought and wrapped and off of my to-buy list.  That way I can start putting something aside for those unexpected Christmas expenses that always wreak havoc on our bank accounts in December.  I really sound like a scrooge right now.  I love Christmas, but I hate budgeting.

Needing . . . I don't know.  To quote Wyatt and Gwen's Little Angels movie "Wanting and needing are not the same thing." (Can you tell we've watched that one too may times this week?)  I suppose I need some time to finish some researching and writing, and I need to buy milk.

Thinking . . . I can't wait for my friend, Heather, to get married next weekend!  You might remember me mentioning Heather and Hazel before.  We grew up together in the same church, and even though they moved 3+ hours away, we still try to keep in touch. I was so surprised and happy to get a letter this summer from Hazel telling me Heather was engaged!  We are driving out on Saturday for the wedding, and I can't wait to see everyone.


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Enjoying . . . A lazy Saturday afternoon.  The kids are still in that mellow mood left over from nap time (though Wyatt didn't really nap - I think he's just tired).  They are laying all over the floor, playing and talking quietly.  The sun is streaming through the blinds right now and shining on my face.  Harvey is barking at something outside.  The plan for the rest of the day?  Watch a little TV, read a little of my book, and make something hot for dinner since Derek will probably be hungry when he gets home.

That Time I Gave Facebook Another Chance


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If you missed part one of my giving-up-Facebook story, you can check it out here!

My break from Facebook was really healthy for me.  I honestly don't remember much about it, except that it felt like a really easy detox.  There were times when I missed Facebook a little bit, but I honestly didn't think much about it.

But there were things happening in my heart.

I know there were hurts that I was holding on to, and having a break from Facebook allowed me to let those go.

I know I learned a lot about pride through the process.  I realized one of my main reasons for resisting the break from Facebook was my pride.  I wanted to show off my life, especially to those who had hurt me in the past.  While that may be a natural desire, it was boasting, pure and simple.  I was trying to prove something to people, prove that I was worth knowing.  I was putting the opinion of people ahead of the opinion of the Lord.

Scripture tells us we shouldn't boast, except in the cross of Christ, and I knew that my desire to impress everyone on Facebook did not fit with that.  Giving up Facebook gave me the chance to get out of that habit, and it took away my avenue to keep failing in that area.

Mostly, it felt like a breath of fresh air to be off it.  I didn't have to think about what everyone else was doing.  I didn't have to feel frustrated every time I got on Facebook.  I could do my own things, develop the relationships that were important to me in person, and it surprised me how little I thought about it.

However, there did come a day when I realized that maybe it was time to give Facebook another chance.  I had been off of Facebook for almost a year, and something big happened in my life.

I got pregnant with Gwen.

That little blessing made it abundantly clear to me that Facebook did have some benefits, such as being able to announce our new addition to everyone I loved at the same time.  So after careful consideration, I created a new Facebook account.

When I decided to get back on Facebook, I created a few boundaries for myself.

For one thing, I decided not to be friends with any guys, except for those who were in my family.  It's not that there were any problems with any of the males I was friends with before, but I wondered why I had never instituted that rule for myself when I was on Facebook the first time.  The stories of marriages breaking up because of connections made on Facebook are rampant, and though I never expect that to happen to me, I wondered why I should even take the chance.  Now, most of my Facebook friends are women, and the few men that I am friends with are relatives.

For the first several months I was very strict with who I decided to add as Facebook friends.  I mainly wanted to be friends with people who I actually saw regularly in my real life, or people who I would like to be closer friends with.  I didn't see the benefit of giving a closer glimpse of my life to people who I never actually heard from outside of Facebook.  My friend list was probably about 50-60 people, and that was how I liked it.

If I felt like I was starting to get annoyed with someone's posts, or if someone was just being a little too negative or controversial for me, I just blocked their posts from my newsfeed - sometimes for just a little while, and sometimes permanently.  I knew if I was going to come back to Facebook this needed to be a safe place, and something that was going to improve my real-life relationships, not hurt them in any way.  So if blocking someone's posts would contribute to that goal, that was what I did.

When I knew that my posts would only be going out to those whom I already knew and loved, and vice versa, it was much less tempting to try to show off.  I thought more carefully about what I wanted to share.  I didn't write posts to brag so much as to just share a little bit of my daily life with people who were already close to me.  It was a much healthier way for me to do Facebook.

I was also on Facebook much less because I was out of the habit of checking it so often.

I rejoined Facebook almost two years ago, and I feel like it has stayed on a pretty even, healthy level since then.  My friend list has grown to 115 people.  I have loosened my standards a bit on accepting friend requests from people I don't know very well, mainly because I was reminded of a few people who I would not be friends with at all if it weren't for a connection that was originally strengthened by Facebook.  There are some benefits to Facebook, and this is one of them - I think if used properly, Facebook can not only enhance and strengthen existing friendships, but it can also cause friendships with certain people to form when they may never have otherwise.

My goal continues to be to keep Facebook a safe place for myself.  I have recognized that I don't have to leave my feelings at the mercy of posts on Facebook, and I give myself permission to limit it where I need to without feeling guilty (such as when I block certain posts).  Facebook can be a very useful tool, or it can cause problems in my life, and I think I am the one who decides where on that spectrum it is going to fall.

Within my boundaries, I have found there are things that I love about Facebook.

I love that it does let me keep up with friends that are not in my same state.

I love that it opens up opportunities to connect with some ladies on a more personal level, particularly when it gives me the chance to suggest a get-together that may not have otherwise happened.  It's a lot more natural to suggest getting together for coffee with someone through Facebook than through cold-calling or hunting down someone's e-mail.

I love that it allows me to share pictures with people who don't get to see my kids as often, because it has become apparent that I am ridiculously bad at sending out e-mail updates.

I love that I can announce happy news, like pregnancies, so that everyone who is important to me can know at roughly the same time.

My break allowed me to recognize the problems with my own heart that were being perpetuated by Facebook, work on them, and come back with a fresh perspective.  I feel like Facebook contributes much more positively to my life now.

So it took me 2+ years to share it, but that is the story of the time I gave up Facebook.

Have any of you ever struggled with your Facebook use?  Have any of you ever taken a break from Facebook?  What kind of boundaries do you have for yourself on Facebook?

That Time I Gave Up Facebook


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A couple of years ago I gave up Facebook for several months.

There were several reasons I decided to cut myself off from Facebook, and there were several reasons I decided later on to give Facebook another chance.  The whole experiment taught me a lot about other people, and a lot about myself.

I never really wrote about it, though I considered starting a post on my decision several times.  The words just never seemed quite right.  However, recently a current Facebook friend of mine posted on her decision to give up Facebook for a little while, and it made me think of when I did the same - so I thought that maybe the time had come for me to write about it here.

I went back and read a rough draft that I wrote at the time about all the reasons why I wanted to get off Facebook - and though reading that did refresh my memory about a lot of the things that I don't particularly like about Facebook, there is a general tone of exasperation to that post.  I was just done.

I think I first started to realize there was a problem when I would close my browser feeling dissatisfied or annoyed.  I was friends with a lot of people that I had known in years past.  You know the ones that I'm talking about - friends from high school, "friends" that had rejected me informally long ago, though thankfully without severing the relationship with a dramatic de-friending gesture.

But I was still connected with all these people - people who might have hurt me, or people who had always been competition to me, whether in reality or just in my own head.

I got to see their lives play out on cyberspace.  Graduations.  Marriages.  Pregnancy announcements.  Houses.

Sometimes it hurt because I was sad that these friendships ended.

Sometimes it was jealousy spurred by something that someone else had, and the frustration came because I wanted that thing, or thought I had worked much harder for that thing.  The whole comparison game that it is so hard not to play.

Then there was just the general negativity from people who always seem to want to air their gross laundry where everyone can see it.

I felt beat down.  I felt dissatisfied.  I felt I felt inadequate.  It left me wanting to post about everything fun I was doing to prove to everyone else that I was doing cool things too.  I was someone interesting, and they were missing out if they weren't friends with me.

As in real life friends.  Not Facebook friends, because "Facebook friends" can mean anything.

Looking back, I think these things were largely a heart issue, and I can't blame Facebook as much as I blame myself.  Pride was a huge factor here.  The bottom line is that I wanted to feel good enough, and I thought Facebook made me feel less than.

I just ran around in circles like this for years before I started to realize that maybe there was a problem here.  Ironically, the effect of Facebook on my own pride was just an afterthought at the time, though now I realize that pride was the biggest problem I needed to recognize with my Facebook use.  But that is not what made me give it up.

One day I realized that a lot of the girls who I really wanted to be friend with, but that I didn't really see outside of Facebook, actually thought that we were friends.  They thought that keeping up with me on Facebook meant we were friends, even though our interaction only consisted of an occasional "like" or comment on one of my posts.

I didn't want cyber-friendships with these people.  If we were going to be friends, I wanted to be real-life friends, and I started to wonder if Facebook's tendency to create a false sense of friendship was getting in the way of actually forming real friendships with these girls.

I started to hear stories of gossip and drama that people had experienced on Facebook.  I never experienced much of that personally, but I started to feel a bit convicted.  Even though I had never started an actual rumor based on information on Facebook, I would be lying if I said that I had never drawn incorrect conclusions or gossiped to my husband about something someone said on Facebook.  I may not have let anything escalate to the level of traditional, rumor-spreading gossip, but I did judge people's motives and invent narratives in my own head about situations I had no actual information about.

I also realized through comments from extended family and friends how much information about my life people got from Facebook.  It seemed wrong to me somehow that these people got to know these things about my life without ever actually talking to me.

True friendships can't form without conversation, but on Facebook you don't have to have that.  People don't have to put out any actual effort to be friends with you, because all the things they might want to know about you are probably on Facebook.  I started to wonder if people might be more likely to reach out in real life if they didn't know everything that was going on with me already.  It made me feel a little "spied on", to be honest, but how could I blame anyone but me?  I was not only providing the information, I was encouraging the "spying".

The final straw came when someone who I rarely saw gathering a little bit too much information about me from Facebook.  It freaked me out a little, and all the other things that had been bothering me came rushing to my mind.  In that moment I made a decision that it was time to take a break.

I deleted my account that same week.

Click here to read the rest of my Facebook story!

Currently

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(Harvey and me.  I love him, even though he drives me crazy.)


Listening . . . I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately - I think my favorites at the moment are the "How They Blog" podcast (when I need blogging inspiration), the "A Way With Words" podcast (about the English language - does this make me sound like a nerd?), and "Grace To You" (which is John MacArthur's sermon podcast).

Eating . . . Watermelon!  I cannot get enough watermelon - even though it's supposed to be the start of fall, watermelon is still the thing that is hitting the spot.  This makes me sound like I'm pregnant, but I'm not.  I'm just really into watermelon.

Drinking . . .Lots and lots of coffee.  I don't know why, but we are going through a really rough sleeping patch with all of the kids in the last couple weeks, so coffee is keeping me sane.
Wearing . . . If I'm supposed to list what I'm wearing as I'm typing this, that would be a navy blue t-shirt and gray pajama sweatpants.  But that's not very interesting, so earlier today . . . I was wearing a white t-shirt with an aqua layering tank underneath, light wash jeans with a couple of holes in them, brown sandals with gold trim that I got at Target for $5, a brown belt, and my brown leather jacket that makes me feel like it really is fall.  You know, to offset the sandals and the watermelon I'm eating.

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(Me, just being a dork.)


Feeling . . . I'm feeling lonely and emotional.  Derek is gone again this week, and I miss him like crazy - found myself crying on the phone earlier just because I want him to be home.  I'm also watching the new episode of 19 Kids and Counting, and it's totally making me cry with all the talk of daughters getting married and such . . . I clearly have a lot of hormones wreaking havoc at the moment.  I feel like a big baby.

Weather . . . It's twilight right now, and it's still and cool outside.  Dogs are barking in the distance, and everything has that gray look to it.  It's pretty peaceful.

Wanting . . . I'm wanting a new bag!  I'm telling myself I need one for the Tommy Nelson meet up at the end of this month.  You know, to carry my laptop and . . . stuff . . . on the plane.  Okay, I really don't need a new bag, I just want one.  I'm eyeing these two from Target:


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Crossbody bag with diamond print design.



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Cognac tech tote.



Needing . . . Derek to be home.  To get more sleep.  To wake up early so I have some time to study my Bible since it is just not happening otherwise. Lasik eye surgery. More hours in the day.  Sleep (wait, I already mentioned that).

Thinking . . . I'm thinking a lot about theology lately.  I've been reading some heavy-duty, exercise-my-brain books about theology, and it feels good to keep things that truly matter in the forefront of my mind more often.  It also inspires me to spend more time with the kids/be a better mother - when my mind is more focused on Jesus, I am constantly reminded that showing Him to my kids is my most important task - not just for right now, but for my whole life.  I want to be faithful in this.

Enjoying . . . My kids. Playing with watercolors.  Hot baths.  Pumpkin spice lattes and salted carmel mochas (because if I'm going to waste money on $4 cups of coffee, I'm getting something sweet!). Yankee candles.  Derek's scent on his pillow at night, even when he isn't home.  Doing preschool with Wyatt this year (he is so smart), watching him learn something new before my eyes.  Gwen's happy dance and sweet little girl twirls that remind me that her toddler days are numbered. Clyde's grin around the edges of his bottle, because he is constantly smiling, even when he is eating.   My life.

A Day In The Life With Three

2:00 AM - Wyatt hears a noise and wakes up.  I bring him downstairs to sleep in my room.

6:00 AM - Clyde wakes up - I go into his nursery to feed him.

6:15 AM - Wyatt comes into the nursery to find me.  I tell him it's not time to get up yet, and I bring Clyde back into bed with us so he can finish eating.

6:30 AM - I put Clyde back down in his room.

6:35 AM - I go back into Clyde's room to give him his pacifier.

6:40 AM - Wyatt tells me "I'll be right back, I need to go get my stuff".  He comes back a few minutes later with multiple noisy toys.

6:47 AM - I go back into Clyde's room to give him his pacifier again, and realize he has a dirty diaper.  Change diaper.  Put the pacifier back in his mouth.

6:50 AM - All the kids quiet down, and I get a little more sleep!  It is cloudy and rainy, and that make it seem earlier than it is.

7:33 AM - Gwen starts making noise from upstairs while I drift in and out of sleep.

7:50 AM - Wyatt turns on his noisy toy.  Clyde wakes up.  Gwen starts getting upset.  I roll out of bed.

8:04 AM - I get the kids some oatmeal for breakfast, and go downstairs and listen to a sermon podcast while I finish brushing my teeth and fixing my hair and makeup.  Clyde starts crying, and I get him up and dressed.

8:15 AM - Get Gwen out of high chair, and find oatmeal in her hair.  Try to clean it out with hand soap.  Her hair is sticky and stiff for the rest of the day.  Wyatt chooses his favorite shirt to wear.

8:30 AM - Teeth are brushed, makeup done, hair fixed.  Kids are dressed and fed.  I sit down with a cup of coffee and a FiberOne breakfast bar. Gwen sits at the table with me and shows off her vocabulary.  Wyatt plays with toys and talks to Clyde.  Clyde lays on the floor and observes and coos.  I read Compelling Interest off and on, because Gwen is distracting me by blowing kisses, and I return every one.  One of our few peaceful moments during the day.

9:15 AM - Clyde is hungry.  I settle down with my book and cover to feed him.  Gwen decides to climb on the table and drink the last of my coffee.  Wyatt starts drawing on a paper (and his shirt) with my green highlighter.

9:45 AM - Clyde falls asleep in my arms, so I finish my book.  Wyatt dumps the toys out of his toy basket.  Gwen is up to something suspicious in the bathroom, and I tell her to come out.  Wyatt decides to change back into his pajama pants.

10:15 AM - I put sleeping Clyde down, and pick up the toys that were dumped everywhere.

10:30 AM - Clyde is awake again.

10:45 AM - I take off Wyatt's highlighted shirt and spray it with Shout.  Start a load of laundry.  Write quick Goodreads review of Compelling Interest.

10:53 AM - I decide that we're going to go visit Grandma at her work.  Change Wyatt back out of pajamas.  He decides he wants to wear his winter football hat, and I let him.  Put Clyde in carseat.  Grab a trash bag to take bathroom trash to the dumpster on the way out.  Find the roll of toilet paper completely unrolled on the floor.  Gather up the toilet paper and put it on the bathroom counter for later use (it's still clean, right?).  Get kids into car.  Ralphie jumps in the car while I'm strapping the kids in, so I just decide to bring him.  Run back inside, change into a more presentable shirt, throw a couple bobby pins in my hair.

11:08 AM - We depart.

11:13 AM - Forgot my jacket (it's raining), my purse, and Wyatt's "little blankie".  Now we depart.

11:15 AM - Forgot Clyde's wubbanub.  We depart (really).


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11:20 AM - Stop to get mail, half of which is soaking wet from the rain.  Note to self: Get a waterproof mailbox.  I received two new books!  Wyatt thinks one of the packages must be books for him, and I have to tell him they are books for mama.

11:24 AM - I see UPS guy in our neighborhood on the way out and hope they aren't going to my house because I left Harvey out.

11:35 AM - Arrive at mom's work.  Spend a few minutes visiting while the kids dig into the box of toys they keep in the lunch room.


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11:45 AM - My sister shows up to visit with my mom too!  Great minds think alike.  Spend some time visiting with my sister while mom gets back to work.

12:05 PM - Mom leaves for lunch.  I decide last minute to go grocery shopping today instead of tomorrow morning like I planned.  Maybe if I hurry the kids can still get a short afternoon nap in.

12:10 PM - I leave mom's work and turn on Rush for the drive to town.

12:14 PM - I pass a truck on the way up the hill and realize it's my dad.  I don't think he recognizes me.

12:30 PM - It occurs to me that if I don't get back in time for naps, I may not get to take the bath I was wanting to take during naptime today.  I step on the gas a little.

12:46 PM - I arrive at the grocery store just as a close spot opens up - score!  I open the back door and remember that I have Ralphie with me (he is so quiet back there).  Thankfully it's a cool, rainy day, so he'll be safe in the car.


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1:05 PM - Wyatt talks me into cinnamon donuts and new sippy cups for him and Gwen.


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1:20 PM - We check out.  Clyde is crying now.  I get sympathetic looks from passersby.  The clerk talks to Wyatt and tells me how cute he is, and I wholeheartedly agree.

1:25 PM - We stop at the in-store McDonald's and I get the kids hamburgers with no ketchup (to save their shirts - learned that one the hard way).  I get a frappe and spicy chicken sandwich.  Gwen licks all the whipped cream off my frappe before I even touch it, but it's kind of cute, so I let her.


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1:35 PM - Kids are loaded in car with their hamburgers, groceries are loaded in car. I feed Clyde and check Facebook.  Get Clyde buckled back in and and head over to Target to get a present for Danae's baby shower.

1:55 PM - I hear a screech and glance back to see that Gwen has spilled her entire cup of water on her lap.

1:59 PM - We arrive at Target, and I get another close spot!  What are the odds?  I open the car door to tiny McDonald's onions and pickles spread all over the back seat.  Gwen is in a surprisingly good mood for being soaking wet.  We proceed into the store.

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2:12 PM - I find what I need pretty quickly, and we wait in the checkout line.  Clyde is crying again, but I know he'll be fine when we get back to the car.  "Look mama!" is repeated over and over as Wyatt shows me multiple toys and candy bars that he finds in the checkout aisle.  I exclaim over each one, but remind him that we have donuts in the car.  As we walk back to the parking lot I tug Wyatt's hat down around his ears, and he is excited when I tell him I am going to look for a new winter hat for him.  I grin at his enthusiasm.

2:19 PM - We are back in the car and it occurs to me that Clyde might need a diaper change.  I realize I forgot the diaper bag at home since we were originally only supposed to be gone for a half hour.  I cross my fingers that he'll be okay until we make it home.


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2:35 PM - Last stop - the Christian bookstore for a book to add to my gift.  We form our usual "chain" on the way into the store - me carrying Clyde's carseat, Wyatt holding my hand, Gwen holding Wyatt's hand.  Wyatt finds a bunch of toys and movies that he loves, and I secretly wish I could buy everything for him.  I add a new Bible song movie for the kids to my cart.

2:50 PM - Kids are packed in the car.  Clyde looks at me as I'm lifting his carseat and laughs.  We finally head home!  I play Seeds of Faith for the kids and listen to a podcast with my earbuds.

3:25 PM - I glance back and see that Wyatt is asleep.  Gwen is wide awake.

3:44 PM - Gwen and Clyde are asleep, and we arrive home.  I unload groceries, unbuckle the kids.  I would really like to wash my hair because Derek is coming home tonight.  The kids are cranky, so I try to put them down for a short, late nap (after peeling off Gwen's wet clothes).  I get Clyde out and change his diaper, and I discover that he has indeed had a diaper leak .  I rinse out his clothes and remember that I need to throw the laundry in the dryer.

4:04 PM - I sit down and feed Clyde, hoping he'll drift off again.  Watch Mental Floss on a recommendation from Felicia.  Wonder why I have never heard of this before.

4:29 PM - Clyde is clearly done eating, and is wide awake, grinning at me.  We play for a couple minutes.  Wyatt comes out of his room, and Gwen makes a noise.  I give up on naps, settle the kids on the couch with Silly Songs Countdown and one powdered cinnamon donut each.  I buckle Clyde in the swing and hurry downstairs for my bath.

4:44 PM - Type up part of this post while I wait for the bathwater to fill.

4:53 PM - Hear Gwen knock on the bathroom door just as I'm about to step in the tub.  I wash and blow dry my hair quickly.

5:09 PM - Get dressed, take straightener upstairs so I can keep an eye on the kids while I fix my hair.  Gwen brushes her hair while I fix mine.  We dance around to silly songs, and I am thankful again that I get to stay home with my sweet kiddos most days.


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5:33 PM - Unload groceries, start boiling noodles for dinner.  Fill up bathtub again for the kids.  Throw laundry into dryer, start a new load.  Grab the baby carrier and strap Clyde in.

5:50 PM - Get kids in tub.  Blow bubbles for them and let them play for a little while.  Wash the stickiness out of Gwen's hair.


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6:25 PM - Kids are clean and eating dinner.  Clyde is settled back into his swing.  Wyatt asks me where Harvey is and gets upset when I tell him Harvey is outside because "Harvey is scared of the rain!" Kids love the pesto noodles and ask for seconds while I evaluate whether I should make more for me and Derek. Clyde falls asleep and I think I may regret it later, but I let him snooze for now.

6:45 PM - I try to call Derek to see where he is, but when he doesn't answer I decide to go ahead and get the kids ready for bed.  Realize that Gwen has pesto in her hair - decide I'll give her another bath tomorrow. Change Gwen and read her a Bible story.  Sing her "Trust And Obey", pray together, and tuck her in.  Wyatt wants his polar bear pajamas, but they are in Gwen's room, so the shark ones will have to do.  Read him a Bible book.  Read him an alphabet book.  Pray and sing him "Jesus Loves Me".  Practice John 3:16 and praise him when he says the whole thing by himself!  Kiss him goodnight.  Come back a minute later to help him "fix his tractor".  Kiss him goodnight again.

7:04 PM - Clyde is crying.  Feed him again while I read Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs (review coming soon).

7:22 PM - Clyde is asleep, and I hear Derek pull up, so I sneak Clyde into his crib before the dogs bark and wake him up.  No such luck.  Ralphie barks right as I lay him down and his eyes fly open.  I smile at him and say goodnight.  He smiles at me right before I turn out the lights.

7:26 PM - Greet Derek.  Heat us up some noodles, and pour myself a glass of orange juice.

7:30 PM - Derek goes in to give Wyatt a kiss (since he's still awake).  Then we settle on the couch with our dinner and watch the Bachelorette finale that I didn't get to watch on Monday.  We cuddle, eat ice cream, and I draw Derek into discussions on whether Andi will pick Josh or Nick.  He humors me, because at least we're together, even if he does have to suffer through the Bachelorette.

9:30 PM - Bachelorette and After The Final Rose show are over.  She picked Josh (thank goodness).

9:45 PM - Brush teeth, use my semi-new facial products to wash and moisturize my face (more on that soon).

10:00 PM - Read in bed together before we turn out the lights.  I do my devotions now since I didn't do them in the morning today.

10:30 PM - Lights out.

11:05 PM - Clyde wakes up crying.  Feed him again.  He drifts off to sleep.

11:30 PM - Lights out for real this time.


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Note:  This was a busier, crazier day than normal, and I feel like it's so hard to get an accurate idea of a day in my life right now, because each one looks so different.  Still, this was one of our actual days with three kids under four years old, and I think it will be fun to look back on someday when I no longer spend my time picking up toys and trying to salvage rolls of toilet paper!  What fun these days are, even if I do collapse into bed every night.  It's a good kind of exhaustion - I'd rather be exhausted from spending a day with my kids than form anything else!

An Old Fashioned Soda Fountain (Giveaway)

I have always kind of wished I lived in the 1940's or '50's. Everything just seemed so wholesome back then.  And one thing I wish still existed today - soda fountains!  Whenever I watch old TV shows, and a soda fountain is involved, it just looks so fun.  Like a place to socialize with everyone in town while drinking delicious concoctions.


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(This isn't one of the float recipes in the book - I just had to use what I had on hand, but I used the techniques in the book to make it!  Isn't is pretty?)


When I saw a book called "The Soda Fountain"  (by Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman) up for review, I knew I had to request it!  Maybe I could recreate some of these old-time drinks in my own home!

This book was really interesting, and included a lot more information than I thought it did.  It starts with several chapters on the history of seltzer and soda fountains, which were actually really fascinating.

The authors are actually a brother and sister who started their own old-fashioned soda fountain in New York, and they have worked to resurrect a lot of these old drinks.  The book tells the story of how they got started in the soda business, and it's really inspiring - it makes me want to go out and start a soda fountain (or at least find one where I can buy a float).


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The rest of the book is recipes for everything from homemade sodas (so far we have tried the homemade blueberry and strawberry soda recipes - they were so good), to floats, to sundaes, milkshakes, and ice cream toppings.  They even have a chapter on egg creams, which I had never heard of, but it's kind of like an Italian soda.  I definitely want to try an egg cream next.

Derek and I have been having a lot of fun with this book, and I am determined to try several of the soda and sundae recipes when he is home for the next few months.  It will be like having our own soda fountain right here at home!  

If you have ever wished that you could visit a real soda fountain, definitely check out this book!  These are real recipes that the Brooklyn Farmacy uses every day, and it is so generous of the authors to share their "secrets" with us.


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And here is a big bonus for you - Blogging For Books accidentally sent me a second copy, and told me I could keep it.  So . . . I have one to give away to one of you!  Enter below for a chance to win!

Note: I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.


On Books And Me (Vlog)

A couple months ago Michelle, from I Hope You Dance, gave me the Sunshine blog award!  I have known Michelle for years (in real life), and I like following her blog, reading about her life, and about all the books she reads!  She is like a super-reader, and I am always amazed at how many books she can read in a year. She shares my love for reading, but she's better at it than me!

I always think these awards are fun, and it's a good excuse to do a vlog.  So watch the video to hear my answers to the following questions!




What's your favorite book genre?
What's your favorite time of year and why?
What made you want to start blogging?
Favorite time to read?
How do you find out about new books? (Goodreads, blogs, friends, etc)
Beach, mountains, or in between?
What is the best movie you have seen lately?
Do you mark (highlight/underline) things in your books such as a good quote?
Predictable books or more mysterious?
What is your favorite snack?
What is your favorite book of the year so far?



Excuse my rambling, and the fact that I am wearing pajama shorts.

I'm throwing this post together at 10:30 at night (and I still have to squeeze in a shower), so I'm not going to take the time to tag individuals now - but keep an eye out on Twitter, because I might tag a few of you there!  I'm sticking with the same questions, because I like the ones Michelle came up with, so if you are tagged (or if you just want to) write a post or do a blog with the same questions I listed above!  I'd love to hear your answers!

Snippets

-I'm really horrible at thinking of crafts to do with Wyatt.  I really don't have an excuse since there is always Pinterest, but I guess my talent is just not kid's crafts.  All I can ever think of is coloring, and Wyatt can only take so much of that!  Anyway, last week at MOPS we had a "pick two" meeting, where you could pick two speakers to listen to for a half hour each.  One of the ones I chose was "Crafts You Can Do With Your Kids".  Afterward I was so inspired I went out and bought a bunch of craft supplies!  They had so many fun ideas that I think Wyatt would really like to do!  Plus, let's face it, my house needed some more craft supplies.  I'm hoping to get to work on one of the crafts with Wyatt this week - I'm thinking if we do it right we could even use the finished product as part of Gwen's birthday decorations!  I'm excited.

-Speaking of birthday decorations, I also picked up supplies to make Gwen's party invitations.  I'm not sure why I do that to myself.  It would be so much easier to just buy invitations.  But I like being able to personalize them and make them match my theme.

-While I was at it I finally bought stuff for our gender reveal party invites and I mailed those out this week!  I can't believe it's only a month (actually less than a month) until we find out the gender!  Usually my doctor's office makes us wait a ridiculously long time to find out, but I talked my doctor into letting me come in a couple weeks early!

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-I'm in such a crafty mood lately.  I think it's because I've spent so much of my spare time on the computer lately that my mind is screaming for a break.  I have this really fun sign-making idea.  I won't say too much because if it turns out well I'll post about it later.  I'm just waiting on my dad to cut up some of his spare wood for me and I'm going to get started!

-My nesting urge is in full swing this week (I think it might also have to do with the fact that we have so many parties coming up).  The goal this week is to completely de-clutter and organize, work on setting up Wyatt's room, and deep-clean the bathrooms if I have time. Oh, and repaint a wall  That might be a little ambitious, but whatever doesn't get done this week gets moved to the weekend, so the more I can finish the better.

-Last weekend I got together with some friends and we did one of those wine-and-painting classes!  Obviously no wine for me (I don't drink alcohol anyway), but I really enjoyed it!   They had snacks and non-alcoholic drinks for free, and all our paint supplies were ready to go.   It's been a long time since I painted anything, and it was kind of scary getting back into it.  But once I figured out what I wanted to do, it was really fun, and not as intimidating as I thought!  Makes me want to break out my paints at home sometime.  I thought it was also cool that no one at our table actually followed what we were supposed to be painting with the instructor - we all improvised.  The instructors came around and told us that they decided they thought all of us must be going to art school on the side.  Anyway, here are our paintings!

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(Please excuse the excessive watermarking.)

And here's a closer picture of mine.  I really like the way it turned out!  The painting we were supposed to be doing was really heavy and dark, and it just wasn't my style.  I just knew I couldn't do it the way it was, or I wouldn't want to hang it in my house.  This one is so light and airy and me.  I'll actually hang it somewhere.

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-On Sunday Wyatt woke up, climbed into bed with us, and started talking about "Christmas snow" and "pretty lights".  It baffled me, because we hadn't even been talking about that to him yet this year!  Maybe he had a Christmas dream?  So we decided to head off to the Christmas store to buy some ornaments! Wyatt picked out a tractor ornament, and we got a new family ornament and one for Gwen's first Christmas.  It was a really fun trip!  He doesn't look too excited here, but he loved looking at all the Christmas things.  A couple days later he climbed into bed with me again and said he wanted to "Go see Christmas!"  We settled for Christmas movie instead.

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Just some snippets of life this week.

Some Q&A (About Me)


It's been a weird blogging week.  Mostly because I've been fiddling with different ideas for my blog design, as well as working on helping one of my blogging friends with her design.  In the end, I couldn't come up with anything for me that I like better than my current design, so I'm just going to stick with it!

Edit: I take it back.  I did change my header.  I finally figured out how to get it the way I want it.  Check it out!  It has rollovers.  Spiffy, huh? 

Anyway, on to more interesting things - my friend Jessica at Memoirs Of A Mommy tagged me for the Sunshine award!  Jessica writes about all kinds of things on her blog - life in general, her business, tips, and her journey to become a mom.  She is a "real life" friend of mine as well, and is so sweet.  Go say hi!

The Sunshine Award comes with a list of questions, so here we go.

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1. If you had one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Hmm.  Do I get to dress it up differently?  Probably not, huh?  I'm going to say lasagna.  It would probably take me a long time to get tired of lasagna.

2. What is your greatest fear?  

My greatest fear would be my kids not coming to know the Lord.  I can do everything I can to teach them and train them in the way they should go, but in the end I can't really control it, and that's scary.  So I just pray a lot and try to leave the rest in the Lord's hands.  On a lighter note, I also used to be terrified of geese.  A friend's big white goose chased me and my sister around their yard, and I saw the damage those beaks can do!  I wasn't bit myself, but it scared me to death, and for a long time I was pretty skittish around geese. I'm happy to report that I am now over it.

3. Favorite Bible verse/quote.

My favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.  It's a great reminder to me every time I read it to focus on things that will last.  

Favorite quote?  Sheesh, I have so many.  But the one that immediately springs to mind is "We are all worms.  But I do believe I am a glow worm." -Winston Churchill

(8x10 Printable - Left click, then right click image and save to your computer.)


4. What do you want to be when you grow up?  

A microbiologist.  Or a wedding dress consultant if I didn't have the pressure of actually selling anything.

5. If you were an elephant, what color would you want to be? (I would want to be a pink elephant with green polka dots.)

I'm going to say pink and white striped, with the option to change to aqua, red, and white stripes when I get wet.

6. You are an Olympian....what sport are you competing in?

Synchronizing diving!  I think that is the coolest thing . . .

7. If you have 5 minutes of free time at home, what do you find yourself doing?

This week?  Fiddling with my blog design.  On a normal basis?  Usually reading blogs or reading a book.

8. Top item on your bucket list.

See my kids come to Jesus.  After that, it's "Go To Italy".

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9. What one feature sets you apart from everyone else?  

Physically?  Probably my hair and my height.  Ever since my hair decided to frizz up in middle school I've been a hair non-conformist, in a conformist type of way.  No crazy colors, but I just don't know that many people who keep their hair short.  I tried the long hair thing last year and it just wasn't for me, so it's back to my short 'do now.  The other thing is my height.  I'm only 5'8", but you'd be surprised how many people you are taller than at that height.  Especially when you wear heels (which I do).  But I don't know, maybe you guys should tell me?

10. Are you a crier, screamer or in-betweener? Describe how you most commonly express your emotions.  

Negative emotions: I'm ashamed to say probably both, depending on the situation and what exactly is upsetting me.  Positive emotions: Probably both, depending on the situation and what happy thing has happened.  So I guess that makes me an in-betweener!  But most of the time I'm neither crying nor screaming, which I think is probably a good thing.


And it is super-late, everyone is in bed except me, so I'm not going to list recipients here.  But here is a list of questions, and I'll tag a few people on Twitter!  If you don't follow me you should!  There's my little self-promotion plug for the day.

Feel free to snag these questions and answer them on your blog or in the comments, even if I don't tweet you later!

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1. When were your "awkward" years (come on, we all had them).  What made you feel awkward?

2. Favorite memory?

3. If you had an hour, all to yourself, what would you do, where would you go, who would you see, what would you eat?  (An hour may not seem like a long time to some of you, but when you have preschoolers, it is!)

4. Favorite book/magazine?

5. What has been the defining moment of your life so far?
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