Showing posts with label Update. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Update. Show all posts

Currently | December 2018



Currently I'm...

Listening...to Sawyer Brown's Christmas album and the sounds of my kid's giggling, and a story from Gwen about what happened when they played with bubbles (in the bathroom, because that's where bubbles are restricted to in the winter).

Drinking...A cup of coffee.  I had another epiphany last night that while I am very diligent to teach my kids about the Lord with words, I'm not doing so great at backing it all up with actions on a day to day basis.  I get irritable and angry often enough that I'm embarrassed about it, and they almost never see me cracking open my Bible because I've been squeezing it in during the evening after they are in bed.  So I'm too often treating them like a nuisance and never visibly reading my Bible, but I still preach at them?  Sounds like a recipe for raising hypocrites to me, and last night I was so convicted about it.  So I am radically changing up my daily schedule, and part of that is waking up BEFORE they do and starting the day with God's Word.  It's better for me to start my mind off on a God-centered foot first thing in the morning, and good for them if they catch me at it.  But...waking up before the sun...yeah, I need coffee.

Scheming...about surprising Derek at work today.  I felt like our relationship is really taking too much of a back burner these days, and the wear is starting to show.  So we are going to go pick up some cheap decorations, and surprise Daddy at work with Christmas music and hot chocolate while we decorate his office!



Thankful... that this cold that I was afraid was the flu (please see my Instagram post and video for more info), seems to in actuality be the mildest cold that we've had in a while.  I had visions of sick children lying about the house, but even little Georgie is perky and cheerful this morning.

Planning...a Rube Goldberg device.  You know, one of those set-ups where you push a marble, and after a bunch of stuff being knocked over, your cup of coffee is poured for you.  Examples here.  Sometimes I'm not sure what we got into with our co-op, because I have no idea how to build a Rube Goldberg device with a seven year old and five year old!  Let's be honest, it will mostly be me building it, but I think I'll read the chapter and have the kids draw a Rube Goldberg device...and then I'll just show them the one I come up with, ha!



Slacking on...sending out Christmas cards.  What is wrong with me?  Usually I have them out the week after thanksgiving, but I can't get my act together this year.  Which is a pity, because people need our new address to send US Christmas cards!  I really need to get on it.

Reading...alot of things, as per usual.  I'm reading Fool's Gold by John MacArthur, about discernment.  I'm re-reading The Lord Of The Rings.  I just started the Fellowship, and it's just as delightful as the first time I read it (or more, since I know the story now).  And I picked up Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, which is the book that inspired the movie Christmas With The Kranks.  Which happens to be one of our favorites (it's just so relatable as an adult!).

Waiting...on the photos to transfer off my phone and onto my computer.  I only have to do this about once a year, but oy, it's a chore.

Excited...about the book bucket I put together.  For years I've been wanting to wrap up Christmas books and open up and read one each day with the kids.  This is the year it finally happens!



What are you all up to currently?




One Month In - Home Remodel Update!



I told Derek last night that this week is the cutoff.  Once we get to December 1st, we are officially on break from renovating until the New Year!  He didn't take much convincing.

This has been a whirlwind month, and the house doesn't even look like the same house anymore.  I haven't blogged through the process as much as I'd like, but I thought I'd do a little update now that we're about one month into our new home!  This is what we got done, and what we still need to get done.

(Sidenote - If you want to actually see how far we've come, go on Instagram TV and watch my house tour videos on there (@callienicole7)!  I have one "before" video, and a "halfway through" video.  I'll share before and after pictures on here after we finish everything!)

What We've Accomplished

New flooring - You might remember the old flooring was mostly pink carpet, even in the bathrooms. There is no more pink carpet, and we've replaced it with a nice grieve carpet and (vinyl) wood floor downstairs!  The carpet was installed for us.  Derek did the wood floor.  We had $1000 worth of wood stolen from us though (we have our suspicions), which is a bummer because it's really throwing our budget off now.

New paint - We originally thought we'd paint everything ourselves to save money, but we changed our minds.  We decided to hire out the paint in the entire house (except bathrooms), even though it wasn't originally in the budget, because doing it ourselves would take forever, and I've realized I loathe painting.  I have to say, that painter was worth every single penny.  I'm so glad we didn't try to do all that ourselves, and the painter said he'd come back to touch up anything we weren't happy with, even up to a year later!  I knew I picked the right guy for the job.

Painted the kitchen cabinets - We went with white on the upper cabinets, and navy blue on the lower. I may have panicked a little bit when we first started painting the blue, but now that it's coming together I think it's going to look great when it's done!

Kitchen backsplash - Derek just finished it last night!  It's a nice tile with copper/gold/brown/grey/ivory pieces.

Granite countertops - They installed them last week!  However, as soon as they were in, Derek and I decided to prioritize the kitchen, because with the color of the cabinets before, the granite didn't even look that good.  It's amazing how much cabinet color affects the look of everything else.

New fridge and dishwasher - It had to be done.

Demolished the master bathroom - If you recall, there used to be carpet in the master bath.  We are now down to bare wood floors, the shower and tile is ripped out, and tub will be going soon.

Painted the downstairs bathroom walls and cabinet - I did this myself.  I tend to be a little sloppy with painting, so it's not as pristine as the painter's work, but it'll do.

Bought and assembled new furniture, hung curtains -  Most of our old furniture works just fine in the new house, but we did need a few new things.  I spent a ridiculous amount of energy searching for just the right furniture.  We found an entertainment center that we love a couple months ago, and I picked out desks for the school room, bookshelves for my "library", and new curtains for the playroom and the kids' rooms (blackout curtains - yay!).  I also ordered a new couch, because we are overdue; our other one is in that too-soft-droopy phase.  The new couch comes in January!

Unpacked 90% of our stuff - This is no small feat.  I have a few boxes of kitchen stuff, a few boxes of books, and toys left to organize, but I unpacked everything else and hung all our decorations throughout the house.  It's starting to feel like home now!

Set up our Christmas stuff - Very important.















What We Have Left To Do

Finish the master bath - I fully expect this project to take at least a month - we are saving it for January so we can enjoy Christmas without projects hanging over our heads!

The upstairs bathroom - we have done exactly zero things in the upstairs bathroom.  We want to paint the walls and cabinets, replace the pink toilet, replace the floor tile.  We are still trying to determine if replacing the shower tile (also pink) is in the budget.

Finish the downstairs bathroom - It still needs a new (not black) toilet, new countertop, and new faucet and light fixtures.

Buy kitchen curtains - There are a lot of windows in this kitchen, and the glare is serious!  We need something for the windows.

Finish kitchen island remodel - We want to put a faux brick with a German schmear-type look around the island to finish off the kitchen.  Right now the island just looks like painted plywood (which it basically is).

Buy and install wood stove - I so miss my old wood stove!  We decided we need one here too, and luckily, all the pipes are already installed for one - so we just need to install the rock backdrop and the stove itself.

Kid's playset - Derek wants to build the kid's a playset this spring, since we left the old one at our other house, so we budgeted it in.

Finish unpacking/hanging curtains - I have a few boxes left, and few rooms with now curtains yet - we're getting there.

Clean out garage - The garage has become the holding area for everything.  Can you believe I still haven't even parked in it?

We've accomplished a lot, but it still feels like there is a lot to go!  However, the main living areas of the house are mostly finished, so it's nice to not feel like we are living in a mess anymore.  It's coming together, and it's so nice for the kids (and my sanity) to have the extra room!  We haven't gotten into a good routine here yet though, and I'm looking forward to a little more normalcy during our December break!



An Update, With Thanksgiving



Over the last week or so, I have heard several people mention how Thanksgiving is a hard holiday for them.  Maybe they lost relatives around that time of year, or they moved and are away from family.  To be honest, I think I could have dedicated more thought to this over the years.  I haven't had any sort of major traumatic event happen close to a holiday in my life to this point, and I can see how that would kind of ruin a holiday.

I bring this up only because our church is going through some hard stuff right now, right before Thanksgiving.  I wouldn't call any of it "traumatic", but I can see a little more personally how some holidays may become difficult after a major change.



But it also seems to me that Thanksgiving specifically would become a little more important in those circumstances as well.  I think in our American culture, we get so caught up in the trappings of Thanksgiving - the family, the turkey, the football, the pie - that we forget what the whole point of the holiday is.  It's for giving thanks to God for all He has blessed us with.  Sometimes it might be harder to see those blessings in the middle of all that is lost.  But they are always there, and how insulting to the Creator if we throw all His good gifts aside just because we don't have that one gift that we want.

All that to say, I'm thankful for many things this year even though this November has been filled with more heartache and stress and loss, in my own life and those around me, than some in the past.

I'm thankful for my precious children.

I went upstairs today to clean up the boy's room, and found a stack of papers all about fish beside Wyatt's table.  They are crinkled and bent from multiple readings.  He's his own little person, and I love seeing who he is becoming.  It just was a tangible little reminder at how much of a privilege is to raise and shape five precious and unique individuals.  I love that I get to do things like pick up dirty socks, change dirty diapers, and straighten wrinkled papers for all of these precious people.



I'm thankful for my husband.

Derek and I haven't been getting much couple-connection time lately, because he has been so busy tearing out flooring, putting more in, tearing apart bathrooms, and painting kitchen cabinets.  He's been working so hard to bring our vision for this house to life, and still doing his best to take care of the kids and me (especially since we all came down with a stomach bug last week).  He's something special.

I'm thankful for this house.

The remodeling process has been rough, and we've had multiple setbacks - from unforeseen delays, to ordering the wrong thing, to contracting a stomach bug, to even theft (someone stole $1000 worth of wood from us - how does that even happen?)!  I think I have finally accepted that I am not going to get the entire house put together before the Christmas season, and the Christmas decorations are just going to have to go up while we are still moving in.  It's a messy Christmas, and that's okay.  It'll come together eventually!



I'm thankful for my family.

This is a season of upheaval for us, in our house and in our church, but the people are the same.  I'm so glad I have my family (and friends too!) to lean into right now.

I'm thankful for my church.

Aside from the aforementioned upheaval, I can see that so many people are trying to handle everything in a godly way.  Maybe we won't always completely succeed, but the heart is there, and seeing that lets me know we are in a good place.



I'm thankful for my Bible study group.

So many of the ladies made me meals and watched the kids during the move!  They have showered me with love during a transition year, when I was sad about the need to quit our MOPS group in favor of homeschool stuff.  I needed the help with this unexpected move, and they stepped up and filled the gaps.  They've been such a blessing to me.

I'm thankful for audiobooks.

With the way the last three weeks have gone down, I'd be out of luck for my book club if we didn't have audiobooks!  Time to read a physical book I have not.

I'm thankful for the Hallmark Channel.

When you are really in a Christmasy mood but can't decorate (aaah!), Hallmark Christmas movies fill that Christmas-shaped hole.  We signed up for Fubo this year during the month of November and December specifically for football and Christmas movies.  You don't even need a major satellite subscription anymore to watch the channels you want!  What an age we live in.



I'm thankful for Christmas cards, and all the people who send them.

It's easy enough to keep up with people through social media these days, but it's not the same thing as when someone sits down to write out your name and send you a Christmas card.  There is so little of the personal touches anymore because of social media, but at Christmas everyone suddenly remembers that the mail exists, and there are wonderful people at a mailbox on the other side of the line.  It's a special thing.  Christmas cards, don't you ever die out.



I'm thankful for Christmas.

I'm thankful for all the fun Christmas trappings, and most thankful for the Savior who we celebrate.  The gift of our salvation through Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection - that's the greatest gift, and He is the only thing that never changes.



Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends!

I'm hoping to get back to a regular posting schedule soon - I've got something about "The Anatomy Of A Hallmark Movie" in the works in my brain, so stay tuned! 


Moving And Other Realizations



Do you ever have one of those weeks, where you feel like you were busy all week, but someone asks you what you did, and you can't think of anything?  That's kind of how moving is.  You feel like everything is crazy and you are constantly doing something, but when you think about it you realize all you've really done is sign paperwork and occasionally leave the house for an inspection.

A Quick Moving Update And Reminiscing 

Speaking of inspections, everything went well, and things are moving forward nicely.  We are closing on our current house on the 18th, and we close on our new house on the 25th!  This week moving started to feel real to me, and the bittersweet nature of leaving our first home is starting to twist my stomach.  Our leaves are starting to change, and the weather is starting to cool down.  It's beautiful here right now.  This would normally be the time that I would utilize our wood stove to warm up the living room, but we're supposed to keep it clean for the new owners.

I think that is one of the things I'll miss most about this house.  That wood stove.  When we were first married, we lit a roaring fire in it and decorated for Christmas.  My sister came over to help and took a picture of me and Derek, still newlyweds, in front of the fire.  When the power goes out, we heat the house with it.  One wintery day when we had a couple feet of snow outside, the lights flickered out, and I even cooked on it and made us grilled cheese sandwiches and caramel fudge on top of that stove.

I'll miss it.  I'll miss warm winter days, snuggled in the wood-warmed living room with my babies.

Birthdays And Photo Sessions

We celebrated Clarice's birthday last weekend, and it hit me that this is the last normal family birthday we'll have here.  We are having Georgie's big one year old party here before we move, but that feels different since we'll have all our friends and family present for an official party.  Clarice's birthday was the last time we'll decorate with simple streamers the night before, and light candles and sing happy birthday on an actual birthday in this house.  We'll celebrate Georgie's actual birthday in a new home.

Clarice's birthday was nice though.  We went to church, then the zoo, where she requested to see the "eweh-phants".  We came home and gave her birthday presents, and she exclaimed "I WUV it!" and "I a'ways wanted dis!" over every one.  Three years ago, she was the baby who kept me waiting after my due date, and I cried because I wanted to meet her so badly.  She hasn't made me cry with sadness again yet (except at the thought of her growing up).  She is such a delightful girl.

(Clarice and me, at the zoo!)

I'm trying to get Georgie's one year old photos done before the madness of moving really starts, so I took some pictures of her today, and on Wednesday we'll get her cake pictures, family pictures, and Christmas card pictures done in one fell swoop.  I get excessively stressed over taking our own family photos, which is why I decided to split them up this year.  However, I'm convinced Georgie's little session today took twice as long as it would have if Daddy had been around.  Daddy is where it's at these days, and he's the one who reliably gets Georgie to smile.  I did some pretty ridiculous things to try to coax a grin out of her today, and nothing.  Thankfully siblings were around to help me, and the blubbering lip trick still worked.

 (This is about how Georgie felt about our photo session today.)

But What About Packing?

I haven't started packing yet, partly because I don't want to live amidst a bunch of boxes for our entire last month here, partly because we can move over most things in the drawers they are already stored in (there are really only a couple closets and a cabinet that needs packing - I think), and partly because I am having a terrible time just keeping up on regular old things like schoolwork.  We are ahead in reading and math, and about a week behind in everything else.  And why?  As I established at the beginning of this post, all we've really been busy with is paperwork.

I guess in September I've learned that paperwork can take up a ridiculous amount of time and energy, fall makes me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and never move or let strangers into my house again, three is one of the cutest ages, my baby prefers me to hold her but prefers Daddy to make her smile, and selling a house makes you feel like you spent all week working yourself exhausted over a few signatures (because that's exactly what you did).

Oy vey.

(On a hike with dear friends last week, one of the few substantive things I can say we've done lately!)

What I'm Drinking: Pumpkin Spice Tazo Chai, steeped in coffee, with cream and Stevia.  Mmmm!

Has fall finally fallen in your neck of the woods?  What fall goodness are you drinking? Should I be concerned that I haven't packed anything yet?  Why are we moving again?

(I'll be glad we did all this about two seconds after we're moved in, just wait.)

7 Things About Our NEW HOUSE!



Well, what do you know, we are moving!  For real this time!

A few weeks ago, we were driving home from a weekend outing, and something in our conversation made me pull out my phone and check our local real estate website.  I don't even know what we were talking about, but I looked at the web page and saw a new house had popped up for sale.

I kind of liked it.

I showed Derek and he liked it too.  We drove by it.  We called up our realtor, and we went to see it.

It was weird to think about moving again, because as you all know, we put in an offer on a different house a couple months ago that was rejected.  The whole experience reminded me of all the things I loved about our house, and I expected to enjoy another quiet fall in our family home.  But Derek and I both agreed we'd still keep an eye out, because even though I love where we are, we are crowded.  The kids are only going to get bigger, and sometimes I look at our small living room space and squint my eyes, trying to figure out how we could fit another couch in there so we could sit seven people in the living room.  It would be nice to all be able to sit together to watch a movie as the kids grow older.

After mulling it over and praying about it, we decided to put in an offer on this new house.  This house would check most of our boxes, and it would be a little bigger for our family, which is something we knew we were going to need someday.  We made our offer contingent on selling our own house, because as I wrote a couple months ago, I don't want to leave a house we love without having another house we love to move into.  I wasn't confident it would be accepted, because contingent offers are not as desirable in this seller's market.

But what do you know, they accepted our offer!

(Georgie behind the very dusty glass door at the new place!)

(Our kids running around in what will soon be our land.)

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, but also not as terrible as I would have thought.  We had ten days to sell our home, and the Lord brought us a buyer in less than four days of our house being on the market.  Everything is falling into place in a way that gives me confidence in what we are doing; I think the Lord is working things out for us!  People have told me that moving is one of the most stressful life events to go through, and while I can see why, it hasn't been as much stress as I expected.  Now I'm just looking forward to getting into our new place at the end of October!

Now to the part you all are REALLY interested in - what's the new place like?



The carpets are pink.

Yes...pink.  It was built in the early 90's, hand in hand with the 80's, when pink carpet was a thing.  When we visited the house for our inspection, the current owner was there, and the first thing she asked was if we would change the carpet.  She was so glad when we said yes, and told us she has just been telling herself it's beige.  Ha!

The toilets are black (and pink).

The bathtubs are pink. Basically there is just a lot of pink in this house.

It's about five minutes from our current house.

When we have considered moving in the past we have always hoped to get closer to town, but over the last year I have felt my heart settling into our small mountain community more.  When we saw this house, we decided we wouldn't mind staying in our current area for the time being.  The benefits to this are that we can get a better place for the price here, we are in my favorite part of the mountains - and this is where our roots are.

We can walk to the local library!

Even though our local library is nothing to write home about, obviously this is perfect for me.

A guy down the street is basically building a medieval castle.

I kind of want to knock on the door and ask him to give us a tour since we're studying the Middle Ages this year.

We have three acres.

I am pretty excited that the kids will have a bigger area to run around and explore!  The property also looks like great Capture The Flag terrain.  Derek already has plans to build the biggest, most glorious swing set you ever did see.

We will be remodeling.

We decided that this time we would do some updates right off the bat (instead of waiting five years like we did with our current house).  First thing to go - the pink carpet!  We hope to paint, update the kitchen, update the bathrooms, and replace all the light fixtures - we will see how far we can stretch the budget.  I am not looking forward to the remodel, because our last remodel was so much work, but I'm hoping to have the bulk of it done by Christmas (this may be definitely is optimistic).



---

Overall, I'm quite excited about the new place, but honestly a little sad to leave our old house as well. We've lived in our first house for ten years, and we have so many memories here.  The new place will be in rough shape for a while.  But I feel prepared for that, because over the last couple years, the Lord has really been working with me on contentment.  Those lessons on being content with what I have are not going to go to waste just because we are leaving the place God used to teach me. I feel blessed to have a new place in which to practice being happy right where I am.

Any questions about the new house?  Do some of you veteran movers have some moving tips for this newbie?

(This is the first time I have actually moved in my adult life - packing up my bedroom at my parents house when I got married doesn't count.)




Donuts And Peanut Butter Cups: Currently



Thinking: I had so many posts planned, and everything has fallen to the wayside!  It has been a crazy couple weeks.  More on that to come soon (not pregnant, though I'm not going to lie, I miss my itty bitty baby!  Georgie is getting so big).

Feeling: Quite excited about our upcoming Seattle trip!  Those of you who follow along on Instagram saw that we scheduled our 10-year anniversary trip to visit the Pacific Northwest.  Of course along with all the other craziness, the whale-watching tour we booked was cancelled, so we've been scrambling to see if we could find another one.  I am really hoping we see some whales, because Wyatt is very into marine biology right now and is so excited for us to report back how many orcas we spot!  He's cute.

Reading: Books about reading.  I have three books about books going right now: Anne Bogel's I'd Rather Be Reading, Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson (I'm reviewing this one, so stay tuned - I have mixed feelings so far), and Lit! by Tony Reinke, who wrote another book I love, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.  So far my favorite is Lit!, but I'm less than two chapters in for all of them, so we'll see which book wins.  I'm still pretty sure it's going to be Reinke's book.

Listening To: A lot of audiobooks, in particular Middlemarch by George Elliot.  It's a chunker, so it's a great one to listen to on audio! (Bonus!  Audiobook only $5 right now!)  I started watching the BBC series, and then stopped watching and started the audiobook.  Confession: sometimes I like to watch the movie first, especially on difficult books, because seeing the movie makes me want to pick up the book.  I'm trying to stay just ahead in the BBC series of where I am in the actual book, and it's been a lovey experience so far.  I'm going to feel really accomplished when this one is done.  Middlemarch immediately gives you all the reading brownie points, right?  It's long.

Buying: A new purse and a couple of new shirts for our Seattle trip.  The purse was very needed (I haven't bought a new fall/winter purse in years).  The shirts were just for fun, because it's nice to have a couple new things to wear on an anniversary trip I think.  Plus, all the plaid is calling my name!  Hello fall!

Drinking:  Venti iced coffees with pumpkin spice instead of classic syrup.  It's my work-around to the pumpkin spice latte, because $5 for a three-sips-size-cup is ridiculous.  I don't think they even charge me any more for substituting pumpkin spice in my iced coffees, and I still get my taste of fall.

Eating: Too many donuts from King Soopers and peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's.  Have I mentioned it's been a stressful couple weeks?

Working On: Getting our homeschool routine re-established.  We had one good week before things happened and life got crazy, so our routine has gone to the dogs.  Somehow we are ahead in reading and math, and about a week behind in everything else.  Next week will still be nuts because of our trip, but after that I just want to focus on getting back on track.  We started so strong!  Why does this always happen, even when I think my homeschool plans are really realistic? Oh well.  Se la vie. I'm giving myself a little bit of a break, and I think we'll catch right back up really easily after our trip.

( Me and my TWO school-aged kids!)

Loving:  The way it feels like fall is in the air.  Usually it still feels like summer here until closer to October, but it has cooled down quite a bit in the last couple weeks.  I don't hate it!  The leaves are on the verge of changing, and I just feel like this fall is going to be a good one.  I'm looking forward to cooler weather, baking, candles, and reading by the fire.

Wishing:  Kids didn't have to grow so fast, and life didn't hurry by so unrelentingly.  Every now and then I'll look at my little bunch, and I just get this bittersweet feeling.  I wish we could just freeze them here for a while longer.  I'm trying to slow down so I don't miss it.

What are you all up to "currently"?

Currently (June 2018)





Currently, I am...

Wearing:  I simple green t-shirt, and my favorite pair of shorts from H&M that I bought two months ago and am already wearing out.  Clearly I should have purchased a back up pair.  They were only $10!

Making: Body butter. A friend of mine posted on Facebook a couple months ago about this homemade body butter that she makes for herself and her girls.  Well, I happen to be a little obsessed with body butters, but I can't seem to find one that I really like since Bath and Body Works reformulated theirs, oh, 5+ years ago.  So I thought, "hey, why not?"  I finally got around to trying it this afternoon.  I added some essential oils to make it smell good, but I'm thinking that might be a wasted effort.  This particular recipe contains cocoa butter, and oh my goodness, the smell is strong.  It's cooling right now, and my whole fridge smells like chocolate.  I'm not mad about it.

Drinking: Peach-Pear La Croix.  I long ago learned that I don't love pop so much for the sugar as for the carbonation, so a flavored sparkling water will do!  The latest flavors I picked up were Coconut, Passionfruit, and this Peach-Pear.  I think Peach-Pear might be one of my favorites.

Eating: Nachos for lunch.  Not the healthy kind (is there a healthy kind?).



Cooking: I'm cooking out of the Fix It And Forget It Lazy And Slow Cookbook.  When I flipped through it at the library, I had to have it.  Basically the cookbook is broken up into weeks for an entire year, and each week gives you the menu, the shopping list, and directions on how to make the meals each day with the minimal amount of effort, using your slow cooker.  It's basically a ready-made year-long meal plan.  I've never been good at meal planning, so I'm all about someone doing the work for me!  I've made two recipes from it so far.  one was stuffed peppers, and it was great.  The other is Chicken Vegetable Soup.  I think the name of that recipe is generous, because there are literally only two vegetables in it - chopped up celery and corn.  We ended up having a change in dinner plans for the day I made it, so I haven't had any yet.  Derek had some for lunch and said it was more flavorful than you might expect for a vegetable soup recipe that only has chicken, celery, and corn in it.  I'm skeptical.  We're going to have the leftovers for dinner tonight.  I'll report back on Instagram or Facebook.

Reading:  Right now I am finishing up Voracious by Cara Nicoletti.  I am loving this book!  Each chapter is a little mini-memoir about her experiences with different books, and the food in those books.  Then she includes a recipe inspired by each book.  I'm not a food-memoir type of person typically, but this book is right up my alley!  I definitely recommend it.

(Remember how I was reading it before vacation when I hurt my knee?  I'm finishing it up now!)

Listening To:  Right this very minute I'm listening to the audiobook of Renegades by Marissa Myer.  You might know her as the girl who wrote the Lunar Chronicles.  I have to confess, I only made it through the first two books in that series, and I haven't felt compelled to pick up the rest - mainly because there are some weird experiments on humans (or human-like creatures?) that are ethically horrible, and I was a little weirded out by it.  Renegades, however, is funny and interesting so far - basically it's a superheroes story similar to X-Men, and some of banter between the villains and heroes is cracking me up!  I don't know if it's meant to be funny, but I am amused and loving it.

Also listening to Georgie fussing from her crib, so I'll be back.

Wanting: More time to read!  I just visited our local library sale, and I have too many books now.  I wish I could whole up for a week and knock a few off my list!  I'll try to show you guys what I found soon.  I got everything for probably an average of $1 a piece.  Not too shabby!

Buying:  This probably deserves it's own post, and you guys are going to laugh at me...but I bought a grain mill.  You know, so I can grind my own flour.  Ugh, I feel like a weirdo just typing that.  Basically, I like carbs.  I like bread, muffins, cookies, and cereal.  Since I like my carbs so much, I thought I might as well make them as healthy as possible.  Enter the grain mill.

I promise, I'm not turning into a crazy health food nut that won't eat white bread (we've already established that I love carbs).  But this is a fun kitchen project that is bringing back my love for baking, and I'm excited to give it a try!

And no, there's no hand-crank.  It's of the push-a-button-and-the-flour-is-ready-in-4-minutes variety.

Watching: The Bachelorette.  I just can't help myself.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that one of the contestants is from my (tiny) home town!  We actually saw the film crew while they were here.  And thankfully the guy is representing us pretty well so far, so I know who I'm rooting for!

Thinking: I've wasted a lot of years being discontent with where I live, and I feel really dumb about it now.  It's beautiful here!  How many people get to live in the mountains?  No, there's not a Starbucks around the corner, but there is a cute little down-home ice cream shop that sells coffee.  No, there's not a Target I can go wander around when I need to get out of the house, but there is fresh air and wildlife and hiking trails, and all those things are free.  Yeah, a lot of people left, but a lot of people came.  For the first time in my adult life I feel entirely content with my my house and town, and it's a lovely feeling.

(The only thing I'm bummed about is that our church is so far away, but it's not even a big deal to drive!  And we're making friends there too.  I've just started focusing on what I have instead of what I'm missing, and it's making all the difference.  Contentment is a wonderful thing.)




Loving:  This lovely summer weather!  I don't know why, but summer seemed to come all in a flurry this year, and the novelty has not yet worn off.  I'm sitting outside to type this!  It's so pretty!

Praying: For rain.  I love the warm weather and all, but I don't love wildfires, and that's where we might be headed if we don't get some rainy days.

(Also trying out this linkup here!)




Let's Catch Up - Vintage Books, Etc.

 


Time for a good, old-fashioned life update post!

The last couple months have been so busy, mainly because of one thing: vacation.  First I spent a couple weeks getting ready for vacation, which took a lot more effort than normal because I injured my knee.  Then we were gone on vacation.  Then we were home and recovering from vacation.  Now we are finally settling back into a routine at home, so I have some time to sit down and write!

Vacation And Last Day Of School

Speaking of vacation, I will eventually get around to writing a post and sharing some of my favorite photos.  It was such a nice getaway, and so needed!  My philosophy of vacationing is that we get away so we are happy to come back home again, and our fun-filled week left me with just that feeling of being full and happy to be home.  It was so nice to go visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in North Carolina, and they are fantastic hosts who really made the whole thing relaxing.  We left feeling refreshed, and we are bringing that vacation feeling back home with us into the summer.  

I think I officially love vacationing in the middle or end of May.  We get back right in time for warm, beautiful weather in the mountains. It's been so warm and lovely the last week, and I've spent a lot of time lounging and reading on the porch in the sun.  May vacations kick off the summer with that vacation vibe to set the tone, and now I'm in the right frame of mind to make this summer relaxing and adventurous for our family!  I sat down last week with my bullet journal, the library calendar, a cookbook, and a kids' activity book and laid out a summer plan.  I'm hoping to fill this summer with good memories and good food!

We also finished up our last day of recorded school for the year last week (I say "recorded school" because we'll probably continue some casual schooling through the summer).   I'm kind of shocked about how easy it was to cross off 172 days, in retrospect.  That's a lot!  But it didn't feel overwhelming at all, even with having a baby.  I'm working on a post with all the lessons I learned in our first "real" year of homeschooling, so stay tuned.

Of course, when I told Wyatt that it was our last week of school, he got rather sullen and said, "But Mom, I don't want to stop school in the summer."

I was baffled.  "Why?"

Wyatt: "Because I like it."

"Why do you like it?" (I was expecting an answer having to do with seeing our Bible study friends on Wednesday or something.)

Wyatt:  "I just like it.  I like doing school."

I tell you, after a year with some frustrating moments standing out in my memory, it's encouraging to know that from his perspective, he is just remembering the joyful parts of learning that we've had.  I guess I'm not failing him after all.

Nancy Drew And My 30th Birthday Party

My 30th birthday is this month.  Starting way back when I was 25, I informed Derek that I would like a birthday party for my 30th, and this past weekend he delivered!  

We started off the day with some family time first and we went shopping at our local antique mall.  I've mentioned before that one of my favorite series to read as a girl was Nancy Drew (for me and every other girl I know).  Well, I found out recently that though the Nancy Drew books were originally written in the 1930's, they were re-written after 1959 to make Nancy and her pals more "modern".  In my reading about this, I learned that this was done in part to correct some racist language in some of the books, but there is some anecdotal evidence to indicate that the rewrites weren't completely for the better.

So obviously now I feel like I HAVE to read a pre-1959 book.  Are the new books noticeably different?  How exactly did they make Nancy "modern"?  DO I EVEN KNOW NANCY DREW AT ALL?

Well, I am happy to report that I found a Nancy Drew printed in 1948 at the antique mall!  I'll try to read it soon and report back with my findings.











(I also found one of these "Best In Children's Books" volumes.  This is a vintage book series with excerpts from children's literature, short stories, and some early writings from authors like Richard Scarry and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I'm sort of casually collecting them.)

After the antique mall we made a quick stop at our Sunday School class picnic.  We switched churches last year (it's still a little fresh to write much about it), but we are feeling so happy and settled at our new church now.  We found one of the rare churches that still does Sunday School, and it's a model that really works for our family since we have to commute a bit to get to the church.  It's nice to get to know the people while we are there on Sundays, instead of feeling a bit excluded with a small group model that we can't participate in on a regular basis.

But anyway, back to the topic at hand - my 30th birthday party!  



Derek sent out these pretty invitations to my close family and friends, and we all met to have dinner together at Olive Garden.  It was lovely to have all the people who are dear to me gathered together as I prepare to enter a new decade.  Derek also played Ben Rector's "I Like You" (which is currently "our song"), and he gave a really sweet, short speech and said a bunch of nice things about me.  I tell you, I could have cried, but I was too happy.  My heart was full.


 (Me before dinner.)


(We tried to get a quick family shot after my party - this is as good as it got!  Not pregnant, that's just a food baby - ha! )

Other Worthy Of Mentions

Guys, I went to our annual library sale last week, and I got SO MANY BOOKS.  It's a little out of control, honestly, but I see those bags of good books waiting for me and I get so excited!  I also made a second trip on Sunday for their final bag-of-books-for-$6-just-to-get-rid-of-everything sale, and grabbed a bunch more books, which came out to dimes a piece.  My goal for the next year-ish is going to be to read two of those library sale books a month.  Maybe I'll write a post soon sharing all my finds, and you can help me pick what to read first.

Speaking of books, I feel like my reading is way too subject to my momentary whims.  I am definitely a mood reader, and for that reason I either fly through a book that interests me within two days, or I start a book and abandon it before I reach the halfway mark because something else catches my fancy.  This is why I usually have 10 books going at any given time - I have bookish ADD.  

THIS IS A PROBLEM.  

I feel like these bad reading habits really affect how much I enjoy any given book.  And when I start and stop a book several times before finishing, it also makes it difficult to give a good, thorough review (you may have noticed some of my reviews are dashed off a lot more haphazardly than others on Goodreads - this is why).  I'm trying really hard to be more disciplined about finishing the books I start, or giving a book a fair chance (at least 100 pages) before I decide I'm not enjoying it and pick up something else.  Am I the only one who has this problem?

Maybe I should start a support group.

What are you all doing to welcome in summer this week?  (I know, summer doesn't officially start until middle June, but in my book, if it's warm and green, it's summer!)


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