Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

A New Family Formula

Words are escaping me for the start of this post, so let's just cut to the bottom line!

We are expecting an addition to our family!  Baby #5 calculated to arrive in November!

Details coming next week!

Why You Should Give The Antique Mall A Chance

Wow.  What a roller coaster of a week it has been!  You may have noticed that this old fashioned blogging is a day late, and that is because of the afore-mentioned roller coaster.  I'll get around to sharing the whole story soon, but for now, let's focus on one highlight of the week, which was a trip to our local antique mall with my mom and sister on Saturday.

All About Antique Malls And My Love For Them

Just in case you don't have an antique mall near you (which I'm sure you do, they are all over), a bunch of antique dealers can rent space in the mall to sell you their finds.  Because of the range of sellers, you could literally find anything in an antique mall.  You can never know what to expect, what you may find, or how much you may spend.

The very first time I ever entered an antique mall was with my grandma when I was perhaps eight years old.  My grandma used to take each of her grandkids out for their birthday and buy them whatever they wanted for a gift, followed by a sleepover at her house.  It was a great tradition, and one that my mom continues with her grandkids today.

This particular year, I wanted to find more Bobbsey Twins books.  This was a great old series about four siblings, two sets of boy/girl twins, and their adventures.  I had a couple of the books, but the additional titles listed in the back cover always intrigued me.  With titles like "Bobbsey Twins On Blueberry Island" and "Bobbsey Twins In Tulip Land", my eight-year-old imagination was running wild.  I had to read those books!

So my grandma took me to an antique mall to see if we could find any.  After browsing for quite a while, I spotted not one, not two Bobbsey Twin books, but the entire series!  In my haste to bend down and see the price tag, I failed to notice a broken ceramic washbasin, and sliced open my knee.  My grandma whisked me out of the store, applied hydrogen peroxide, and I later got a stitch.  I still have a scar.

And I never did get those Bobbsey Twins books.

How I Shop At Antique Stores Now

Still, that whole adventure seemed to attach the invisible thread that would draw me back to antique stores later in life, and when I grew up and went to the mall as a newlywed, I figured out that there are actually a bunch of other interesting things there besides Bobbsey Twins books.  This is what I usually look for:

1. Unique teacups.  All the china has a certain appeal to me, because they just don't make a lot of these things anymore!  But teacups are so dainty, and also practical, so I find myself scanning the shelves for them most.  My criteria for teacups is that they must be unusual and speak to me in some way.  Even amidst the unique field of teacups, you'd be surprised how often a rose pattern shows up, and then all the rose patterns start to look the same, so I go for the unusual or even odd-looking ones.  I'm also a happy camper if I can find one for less than $15.  Over $15 is usually more than I'm willing to spend, unless it's something really special.

2. Old books.  This cannot be just any old book, because with the advent of Amazon, you can find almost anything online.  In order for me to buy it, it must be an unusual title that I know would be hard to find or cost a fortune online, or it must be a good price, or an edition of a classic that has a cool look to it.

3. Records.  I keep asking for a record player for my birthday and Christmas, but so far no one has taken the hint!  Still, I am convinced I will get one someday, so I keep my eyes peeled for any good old records.  Especially if it's an Elvis record.

I definitely recommend going into the store with a few items that you want to hunt for - otherwise it can get overwhelming.  The search is what makes it fun!

Antique Store Haul

My mom and sister and I had a lovely time browsing the shelves last Saturday, after my mom treated us to breakfast (thanks Mom!).  There is so much in this antique store.  We only made it through half the aisles!  We decided we'll have to go again in a few months, and I'm already looking forward to it (and trying to remember to hold some money aside, because I always end up buying something).

(Doesn't everyone need a ceramic Robin Hood head?)

 (My Beautiful Mama.)

(Haha, my sis.  Can she strike a good pose or what?)


This is what I ended up getting:

-Peach pearlized teacup.
-Delicate mint and pink daisy teacup.
-Green flower teacup.
-A book for my dad (which I won't specify here, in case he's reading).
-A hardcover copy of The Boxcar Children ($3!).
-A Peter, Paul, And Mary record ($2), which I will play someday on my future record player.
-Two pretty handkerchiefs (one from my mom).  Why don't people carry hankies anymore?  I guess because of the whole disposable tissues thing.

I'm most excited about the teacups and hankies, because they are so pretty.  You can expect these to be making appearances when I have to stage photos for the blog.  Can you believe I got all three of those teacups for $20?  I thought that was a pretty good deal.  

It was so fun to spend the morning with my mom and sister and find some treasures!

Have you ever been to an antique mall?  What would/do you hunt for in antique shops?

I highly recommend making a trip to your local antique mall, for a few reasons.

1. It's amazing the amount of interesting things that can be packed into one building!

2. You never know what you will find, but you most likely will find something that speaks to you.

3. If you don't find something cool for yourself, teacups and old books make great gifts!

4. It really is a great outing for bonding with family or friends, especially if you go from someone of a different generation than you.  It was so fun to hear all my mom's stories, keep an eye out for interesting items to swoon over or chuckle at, and see everyone's tastes!  It's one of the best destinations I can think of for quality time, and definitely was a special day with my mom and sister.

Old School Blogger Shoutout

Last week I somehow snuck in quite a bit of blog reading time, and found a few new favorites!  This week I thought I'd point you to Rachel at The Random Writings.   I feel like Rachel's blog pretty much embodies everything good about the long-ago days of blogging, and she is also a wonderful social blogger who will return your comments.  I am loving her blog and looking forward to getting to know her better!

What I'm Drinking: As you may have seen yesterday on Instagram, hot chocolate with Irish cream syrup.  But as you are reading this today I am off to the Children's Museum and have probably picked up a white chocolate iced coffee (my on-the-go go-to).

If Sisters Were Flowers, I'd Pick You

Did you know that last Thursday was Random Acts Of Kindness Day?  I didn't know there was a such a day, but I think it's a fun idea.  It's nice to get something special on special days, but there's something different and maybe even better about getting something special on a day you didn't expect it at all.

Proflowers offered me a free bouquet to send someone a bouquet of flowers in honor of Random Acts Of Kindness Day, and when I thought about who I wanted to send them to, I decided on my sister!

I am so proud to call this sweet girl my sis!  She inspires me in many ways.  She is so thoughtful and loving toward her family, including me!  She is the kind of person you can always count on, and she always does what she says she will do.  There are not as many people like that as you might think, and I'm lucky to have someone so reliable as my sister.  She also is so good at standing up for herself and what she believes in - I've occasionally recruited her to make a phone call for me to a difficult company, and she knows how to get things done (a relic of her office manager days collecting payments when we used to work at the same dental office!).  I want to be more like her in all these ways!  I'm so lucky to have not just a sister, but a best friend.

I think sometimes we don't take the time to really tell those closest to us how much we appreciate them and what we love about them, and I'm guilty of this too.  That's why I wanted to send the flowers, because I don't tell her enough how glad I am that we're sisters!

I'd encourage you, in honor of the month which holds Random Acts Of Kindness Day, to do something special for someone in your life too - just for no reason!  And if you do, here are a couple ideas:

1. Send flowers.  You can do what I did here and have a bouquet sent!  Proflowers was so easy to order from, had a great variety of flowers, and even delivered to my sister's rural address, so I'd recommend checking them out if you want a swift and easy way to deliver some botanical happiness!

2. Mail a card.  People don't send enough snail mail anymore, and there's something so nice about getting a non-bill piece of mail - especially when you put some thought into telling your friend or family member what is special about them!  We all need some encouragement sometimes.

3. Stop by with coffee.  Especially if you are surprising a mom with young kids, but really, who would turn down coffee?  Except those crazy people who don't drink caffeine, by whom I am continually puzzled.

Have you ever done anything for Random Acts Of Kindness Day?

The Best Classroom Valentines

(Some affiliate links in this post.)

Last week I shared our crayon-melt valentine gifts, and some Minted Valentine's cards to go with them.  Well, after much deliberation, I made up my mind and chose some cards for the kids to hand out to their friends! Minted had some great coloring/melted themed cards, but in the end, these are the designs that were calling my name for the kids, and I just decided to go with it.  

I was not disappointed!  The cards came and they are so cute! The quality is also excellent, and I'm almost sorry to waste them on preschoolers (but their moms will appreciate them).

Clyde is so into anything transportation-related, and I thought this message was adorable for all his little two-year-old classmates! 

I did let Wyatt have a choice between a couple different invitations, and this is the one he picked!  He liked the airplane on it, and I thought this was the perfect card for a six-year-old boy to hand out to his friends!

And then Gwen's.  I just knew it had to be pink!  My favorite part of this card is the gold pressed foil lettering on the front.  It's so fancy! For Gwen's card I also decided to try out the tic-tac-toe backer, and now I'm kind of regretting that I didn't choose it for the boys too - it's so fun!

So there you go, those are the cards my kids will be handing out to their friends! If you are ever in the market for classroom valentine cards, keep Minted in mind!  Their quality can't be beat, and these designs were just a few of the dozens of adorable options!

Where do you buy valentines for your kids? Are you going with a theme, or just whatever strikes your fancy (like me)?

Note: I received the above valentines for free from Minted in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.

It Was A Good Year

Each year on this little blog I finish off the calendar year with a year end post.  I love that I have eight years of these posts to look back on now (and it comes in handy when I forget when we went on that vacation, etc).  This year, my year end post might include some personal life details that I never got around to sharing through my apparent blogging mid-life crisis this year.  I want all that to change in 2017, because those life details are the things I want to remember when I look back on this blog someday.  I think they are the reason my kids will read it.

I give you our year in bullet points!


-January was a hard month for me this last year.  Looking back (no, even in the middle of it), I realize that after having Clarice I dipped into some mild postpartum depression (my 2016 word hinted at this).  It was never serious or scary or anything like that, but it did make it hard for me to enjoy my life for a while.  Unfortunately I have few pictures from January, except a few I shot at the end when I realized Clarice was going to turn four months old and I had barely photographed that month in her life.

-We took a lot of trips to Starbucks.  At least once or twice a week, when I was feeling overwhelmed by life, I'd pack up the kids and drive to Starbucks, and splurge on an iced coffee.  Is it really splurging if you do it twice a week?  I shudder to consider my Starbucks bill those months, but if a car drive and coffee helped me make it through hard days, I think it was money well spent.

-Gwen had a little trip to the ER! I woke up one morning, thinking the kids had let me sleep in a little, and came upstairs the find an empty bottle of children's Tylenol.  I wasn't sure if they had drank it, or how full it was or anything, so I called poison control and they determined that if the bottle had indeed been full and Gwen drank it by herself, that would not be good.  So off to the ER we went to determine what happened.  Thankfully she actually only had a tiny bit in her system.  Needless to say, I put the medicine further out of reach.  In my defense, they dragged chairs over and climbed up the shelve sin the closet to get it.  I didn't know they were capable of that!  We had a good talk about not touching medicine ever again in their entire lives, or something like that.

-Clarice turned four months old (and I couldn't even get up the motivation to write her a post, so I combined months four and five).

On The Blog: I shared about not ignoring the news in 2016 (still applicable for 2017), and I talked about why I can't quite drop the word "probably" when people ask me if we're done having babies.


-In February we decided to take the plunge and do a remodel of our house!  We had been considering moving to a different area in late 2015/early 2016, but we finally decided we'd be pushing our budget in moving, and we'd be better served by refinancing with a lower interest rate and taking out enough for a remodel.  So we started planning.

-I took a bunch of pictures of the kids for Valentine's Day.  I really love Valentine's Day, and every year I find myself wanting to take some pictures of the kids that involve pink hearts.

-Derek got me a museum membership for Valentine's Day.  He knows the way to my heart.

-I went to a women's retreat with my church, and happened upon a booth for a local pregnancy resource center, which was the start of my journey volunteering with them!  This was something I had been praying about on the previous New Year's Eve, and I felt like the Lord answered my prayers by bringing me to that booth.

-It snowed a lot, and the kids loved playing outside in it!

-The Bachelor started back up (which is obviously a highlight).  I shared why I watch the Bachelor.

-The Broncos won the Super Bowl!

-We celebrated Wyatt's fifth birthday!

-Clarice turned five months old!

On The Blog:  I shared some of my love for Valentine's Day here and here (P.S. I really love it), and I shared a friend's Etsy shop (she makes adorable baby shoes!).


-House remodel in full swing, and I was just sure we'd be done by summer (ha!).

-My sister surprised me with a pedicure!  For no reason! I pretty much have the best sister ever.

-I repainted practically our entire house.  We ripped the trim off everything.

-We went to a friend's wedding in several inches of snow.

-Our family and my sister's family took a lovely visit out to our friends' ranch!  The snow melted, Springtime showed it's pretty face, and the kids loved seeing all the animals.

-Clarice turned six months old.

On The Blog: I finally shared about how Wyatt asked Jesus to be his Savior (which happened September 2015)!  I wrote a letter to newlyweds who might be scared to have a baby.


-A pretty quiet month.  We stayed home a lot and baked cookies.

-My new nephew was born!

-We celebrated Clyde's 2nd birthday!

-I tried out a couple vlogs.

-I finished repainting the entire house!  It was a long project.

-It was an unseasonably warm month, and I may have broken out my summertime music.  I also read on the porch!  In April! This spring was almost good enough to make me like the season.

-I got a head start on Clarice's first birthday party.

-I got my first load of laundry to wash for the pregnancy center.

-Clarice turned seven months old.

-I finally felt like I was pulling out of my postpartum depression.

-We had to leave the house for a few days while Derek finished some remodeling jobs, and one day I did a little rainy springtime photo session with Wyatt while the other kids napped in the car.  He was so cute!

On The Blog: I shared Clarice's first birthday invitations (I got them way early!), and I shared three photo-printing apps I've tried.


-We went to a picnic with my whole family on my mom's side.

-I started a blog Instagram account (another way to keep up on blog posts).

-I started getting into audiobooks!  What took me so long?

-We celebrated Mother's Day.

-Took several trips to the zoo, and I drank a lot of iced coffees.

-I started on a lot of yard work around our house - the thistles and dandelions were out of control.  The thing about living in the mountains is that no one really notices or cares about yard work, so it's easy to let things go too far.  This was a particularly terrifying specimen, and made me think about how the Lord cursed the ground with thistles.  This one definitely looked cursed.

-Clarice turned eight months old.


-We celebrated my birthday.

-I went to the libraries used book sale for the first time - and I am a fan!  I got so many good ones!

-We celebrated Father's Day.

-Our car broke down right before we left on vacation. We delayed our trip by a day and bought a new car.

-We went on vacation to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole!  We tent-camped in Cody for most of the trip and had a great time. (Though I wouldn't let any of us get out of the car to explore Yellowstone because it FREAKS ME OUT. People die there every year you know, and I just can't really imagine a worse way to go than boiling to death.)

-Clarice turned nine months old.


-We celebrated the 4th of July on the road!  It didn't stop us from dressing the kids up and breaking out the sparklers.

-We spent a lot of lazy days at home with our kiddie pool and makeshift water table (wheel barrow with water and bath toys).

-Lots of trips to Home Depot and the science museum while Derek worked almost every weekend on the house!  We wanted to get it done before Clarice's birthday, so the countdown was on.

-Gwen seriously informed me that she wanted to believe in Jesus, and prayed to ask Him into her heart!  She'll understand more and more as she grows, but this was a sweet moment and big day!  She was so excited about the "big girl Bible" I gave her the next day and I often catch her in her room "reading" it.

-Clarice turned ten months old.

On The Blog: I shared my homeschool mom reading list, and I wrote about how I explain the gospel to my kids.


-Frantic weekends trying to finish up the last details on the house! I helped Derek put new white wood planks on our ceiling during a couple of these weekends.  Talk about back-breaking work.

-The kids and I explored some new parks while Derek worked on house stuff during the weekends.  We also ate a lot of watermelon.

-We finally took a break from our house project and went on a trip to our local (five hours away) peach festival! Derek's mom came with us and it was a fun road trip!  We're hoping to get back into this as a yearly tradition (we missed 2015 since I was nine months pregnant). We learned that Clarice loves peaches.

-Clarice turned 11 months old.

On The Blog: I shared all my plans for Clarice's birthday party, and someone asked me how I "do it all", so I wrote a response to the "how do you do it" questions.


-We took several gorgeous fall hikes.  Despite being such a busy month, I think this year was one of my favorite Septembers.

-Start of football season, and we kicked it off with going to a college football game!

-We started homeschool Kindergarten with Wyatt, and I wrote about our homeschool philosophy.

-More house projects.

-Debate season! (I am a politics nerd and actually enjoy these.)

-We repainted our house, one of the last projects before Clarice's party.  I helped Derek with this as well.

-Clarice turned one year old, and we celebrated Clarice's first birthday!!  I took her first birthday pictures (planning on sharing them ASAP on the blog).  On her actual birthday we went to the Children's museum as a family.  You can read my birthday letter to her here.

-We had a woodland themed birthday party for Clarice (it turned out even better than I had pictured!)

On The Blog: I watched part of a show that made me question what kind of things we as viewers are allowing on TV, and I wrote a guest post on Save The Storks about what you need to volunteer at a pregnancy resource center.


-We decompressed from all the house projects and birthday party prep to go on a late anniversary weekend trip.  The main event was going to an amusement park!  It's been forever since Derek and I were on a roller coaster!  It made me feel like a teenager again (when I wasn't sitting on a bench with my head in my hands waiting for the nausea to dissipate).

-Luke's Diner day! In which coffee shops all over the country turned into Luke's Diner from Gilmore Girls.  It was so fun!

-I started my Christmas prep, because I was determined to finish everything early this year!

(This snow only lasted one morning.  But it was pretty.)

-Clarice started standing and even taking a few tentative steps.

On The Blog: I shared 18 ways I would style mustard yellow leggings, wrote about preparing kids for Thanksgiving, and I shared about my literary society (and how to start one) - we are still going strong!


-I got a new iPhone!  An iPhone 7 Plus, and I am quite impressed with the camera on it.

-I took the kids out to drop off our ballots on Election Day!  I know it wouldn't be fun to stand in line with four young kids, but I kind of wish we weren't forced into only doing mail-in ballots.  I had to hunt down my "I Voted" sticker.  I stayed up far too late watching Election coverage and giving (in my own head) keen political analysis to any of my family members who cared to listen as the (surprising) results came in.  It was a good day.

-We finally got some more snow!  We went to MOPS in the morning and built a blanket fort at home in the afternoon.

-We set up our Christmas tree right before Thanksgiving!

-I got to try out a great photography program, and I still highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn their DSLR.  Read more here.

-Celebrated Thanksgiving with breakfast with Derek's parents and dinner at my parent's house.


-We started advent! I made an advent playlist.

-All my Christmas prep was pretty much done before Thanksgiving, and it was a good thing because we hit December running!  Three different Christmas parties in the first week, with other events scattered in, including a trip to a Christmas parade that we do almost every year!

-We went to a magnificent walk-through light show with my family!  They have this huge tree (like fifty feet tall) completely covered in lights!

-We went to see "cowboy Santa"in our little town.  Clarice was not a fan.

-Around the middle of December it slowed down and we had some time to bake Christmas cookies!

-My friend Cassidy wrote a post on blogging like the old days, and it served as an epiphany to me. I wrote about old-fashioned blogging, and now that's what I'm doing on Tuesdays.  Old-fashioned, tell-a-story blogging, with blog reading and commenting galore.  I've missed it.

-We made a gingerbread house together!

-We celebrated Christmas!  Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas Day at home, day after Christmas with Derek's family.

-We celebrated Derek and Gwen's birthdays!

-We went to see Rogue One.  I had opinions.

-We got our act together and had a game night on New Year's Eve!  This has been a slow hosting year for our family since we were remodeling for the first nine months of 2016, so it was fun to have some friends over again!  We are hoping to do more things like this in 2017.

-Our party ended early for kiddo bedtimes, and we rang in the New Year by cuddling on the couch and watching New Year's Eve (one of my favorite movies).  We counted down at midnight with sparkling cider in hand.

On The Blog: I shared our upstairs Christmas decorations and our brand-new downstairs Christmas decor, and I shared three winter outfit ideas (Christmas parade outfit, Christmas cookie exchange outfit, New Year's Eve outfit).


That was our 2016!  I know it was a rough year for a lot of people (or is every year just "the worst year ever" for some?), but for us it was a really good year.  I feel finally settled in our home after eight years of living there, the kids grew and thrived, and it ended better than it started.  I don't know what the Lord has planned for us in 2017.  Maybe it will be a straight-forward year, or maybe we'll get a few surprises!  I love recording the years here though, because then I can look back and see everything significant that has happened in each year of my adult life...and how the Lord is working in all of it, the good and the bad.

But if I had to guess now, I feel like 2017 is going to be a good one.

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