Showing posts with label Random. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Random. Show all posts

On Spying On People I Used To Know | Short Thoughts #1

I sat down this morning to write a chatty post and realized that each mini-section was ending up too long for my typical "tea on a Tuesday" type post, so I'm going to try something different this week.  I'm splitting up what could be a very long post into "short thoughts" posts.  So expect a few of these posts this week, because I've had enough on my mind lately.  Here we go.


Yesterday, while not feeling well because of some sort of ear infection I have brewing, I picked up my phone to zone out for a while and somehow found myself looking up people that I used to know on Facebook.  Not to friend them, just to poke around and see what became of them.

I know I am not the only one who does this, right?  But after looking up two or three people I suddenly became aware again, and asked, "Self, why are you doing this?"

I didn't really want to be friends with these girls again, so I had no intention of adding them on social media.  And it's not like they were the mean girls and I needed to prove something to myself either (well, not too much anyway - maybe a tiny bit).

I was mainly just...curious.

What a weird world that we live in, where we can remember someone from 15 years ago and immediately go spy on them on social media.  It's the kind of world that makes high school reunions obsolete, and that kind of makes me sad.

I think I would rather go 15 years without the ability to know anything about a person at all, and then run into them in the flesh at a reunion.  Catch up on their life all in one go, hear it from their own mouth, make note of the look in their eyes as they tell you what they've been up to.  Physically and emotionally see if there is any hope for a friendship left there, or if it was a good thing it faded in the first place.

And then I thought, I wonder if people that I used to know are spying on me.

That is a weird thought.

In many ways social media and blogs are a blessing - they let us keep in touch with people that we care about who may have faded away otherwise.  But they also allow us to keep people in our lives that it might be better to have fade away.

Perhaps it requires a lot of wisdom to know the difference, and to know how to handle these current times.  It's hard being the first generation to really figure out how to navigate the social media era with wisdom and grace and proper boundaries.

And as my little exhaustion-induced spying proves, I clearly have not figured it all out yet.

I guess if I have anything else to say about it, it would just be to encourage you (and myself) to evaluate whether it's worth reconnecting with the people that come to your mind - and if it is, reconnect!  Send a quick message and say hi.  Social media can be a wonderful way to naturally rekindle friendships.

And if you know that person you are curious about is not the kind of person you should reconnect with - well, try to pretend social media doesn't exist, mind your own business a bit, and let it fade.  Some people are only meant to be in your life for a season, and with social media now, sometimes we have to actively choose to keep it that way.

Have you ever spied on someone you used to know on social media?  (Come on, guys, 'fess up.  I know I'm not the only one.)

Why did you look them up?  Do you think it would be better if we didn't have that option?  

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.  


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!)

Nothing Too Interesting

(I did not take this photo today.  Obviously.)

You know how I wrote that post about "spring" in the mountains last week?  Well, it's snowing.  That's about right.

You know how people ask you, "So, what have you been up to?"  And you respond with "Oh, nothing too interesting."  Well, that's this post.  Nothing too interesting, but life isn't always edge-of-your-seat, is it?  Life is made up of a whole lot of nothing-too-interesting, so I see no reason why I shouldn't still take time to write about it.

The last couple weeks have felt so busy to me, but not with anything very substantial.  No, I've been busy with things like creating a spreadsheet with all the groceries that are in my cupboards, making muffins for the kids for breakfast to save money on cereal, and cleaning my house.  All helpful, good domestic things.  All things that, dare I say, I have surprisingly found rather fun.  

Once again, not things that are very interesting to write about, but that won't stop me from trying! Because guys, if you have never created a grocery-cupboard-spreadsheet, I feel like you should give it a try.  This was a particularly hard month when it comes to grocery money, so the spreadsheet was born from my desire to see how long I could make it without going to the grocery store.  I had no idea how much was hiding in the dark recesses of my freezer!  I've barely gone to the store at all this month - I've spent probably around $200 on groceries for April.  For seven people.  

I laid all the items in my cupboards out on a spreadsheet and then put together meals with what I had, and it's been amazing.  I saved so much money!

And we've actually been eating pretty well, if I do say so myself (thanks in large part to this cookbook).  We've had braised meatballs in wine gravy, spicy chops with sweet potatoes, skillet steak with peppers and cheese, barbecue roast, raspberry hazelnut chicken with potatoes (not as labor-intensive as it sounds, I made it with salad dressing).  And for breakfast we've been having these (amazing) nut muffins, banana muffins, cranberry muffins, pumpkin pancakes, and hard-boiled eggs (instead of the cold cereal we usually have).  

My grandma told me once that when you have less food to work with, it's easier to get creative and you almost end up eating better than when you have an abundance.  I must say, she was right.

I also realized about halfway through the month that I had read hardly any books, so last week I buckled down and finished FIVE books.  Pretty good, right?  And I'm halfway through three more that I'm hoping to finish before May!  

I've been having a lot of fun making videos with my recently read books this year, and watching other bookish videos on Youtube.  My friend Felicia has been on "booktube" for years, and I love watching her videos.  It's quicker and easier to talk about the books you've been reading, rather than sitting down and compiling a post with mini-reviews (at least it's easier to me, I don't know why).  So if you want to keep updated on books I'm reading, you need to stop by my channel.  Or you can also follow me on Goodreads, because I'm still writing reviews on all my books there (how is that easier than writing review posts on my blog, you ask?  I don't know, it just is!).

Speaking of May, we booked our vacation!  We are flying out to North Carolina this year to visit Derek's family!  The last time we went to North Carolina I was largely pregnant with Gwen, so it's been quite a long time.  We have four more babies on the outside than we did then.  I'm not going to lie, I'm a little nervous about flying with five young children.  The airline assured me (multiple times, because I asked the same question, worded slightly differently, repeatedly) that we would be sitting with our children on the plane.  "Are you sure?" I said.  "Because there are four of them, and one in my lap." But they assured me this would be the case without any extra seating fees.

Now I have the monstrous task of digging all the kids' summer clothes out of the closets, and sorting through them to see what will be acceptable North Carolina attire in May.  Southeast people, what's it like out there in May?  Because the last time I went on a May vacation somewhere that I thought it would be warm (ie. ARIZONA), it snowed.

The spring snow, I tell you.  It follows me even out of state.

Sweater Weather Musings

You know how I never really got to finish my memory-keeping series in October, since Georgie was born sooner than expected?  Well, one of the things I was going to observe about that challenge of writing for 30 days is that somewhere along the way I've made blogging way too hard on myself.  

Back in the day I used to just type something up and post it, and there was something really freeing about not having to make every post completely perfect before sharing it.  It also seemed that those on-the-fly posts were the ones that recorded things that I would genuinely be interested in remembering later.  They are more enjoyable to write and relatable to read, and they are surprisingly quick to pound out on the keyboard.  

There is something to be said for "quality over quantity", but then, there is something to be said for just quantity too.  I've found over the years that the more I write, the more I want to write, and the more ideas I have for what to write.  So maybe every post doesn't necessarily have to be ground-breaking or perfectly polished.  Maybe it's sometimes valuable to quit tinkering with an idea until it loses it's life and just put something out there, even while it's still rough around the edges.

So all that to say, that's what I'm doing today.  Just putting things out there, because after taking it easy the last month (having a baby and all that), I need a little quantity over quality to get this blog running again.

Snow And Christmas Cards

It's supposed to snow again today, so I'm breaking out the winter mug and sweaters again!  We have had unseasonably warm weather the last couple weeks, and I'm kind of over it.  It's winter, darn it!  It should be cold enough for me to wear a sweater, and I want some pre-Christmas snow.  Every year I try to get everyone dressed up in their Christmas clothes before the actual holiday so I can take a family Christmas photo - then I don't have to worry about trying to capture a family photo amidst all the presents and chaos of the Christmas gatherings.  It's nice if my little Christmas family photo happens on a day when it snows (like the last couple years), so I'm anxiously awaiting some cooler weather.

Speaking of Christmas, on the agenda today is ordering some Christmas cards!  Receiving Christmas cards is one of my favorite parts of December, so I really wanted to try to send some out even in a year when we have a newborn.  I did not get address labels written before baby like I was hoping, so I think I'm just going to send a reciprocal card out for each one I get in the mail, for the sake of ease and spreading out the work load.  So if you want a Christmas card from me, send one my way!

How's It Going With Five?

We have settled into something of a rhythm for our at-home days over the last couple weeks, which mostly consists of feeding the baby and goofing off.  I did some schoolwork with the kids last week and probably felt way more accomplished than was warranted.  Today I am hoping to make some pumpkin bars. Pumpkin bars were supposed to happen last week before Thanksgiving, but they just didn't.  I've found a lot of things being migrated forward on my to-do lists lately.  I also hope to watch Hallmark Christmas movies and perhaps read some Christmas books from the enormous stack that I picked up from the library.  (It really is enormous.  I was in pain carrying them to the car with my already-injured shoulder.) 

Speaking of my shoulder, I don't know what is going on with it!  I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I slept on my neck wrong and my shoulder and neck were hurting.  I had a chiropractic visit that seemed to help, but I slept funny again last week and now I seem to have full-on tendonitis.  I decided I didn't care if my blood was too thin and I've been taking ibuprofen because it's really the only way I can make it through the day.  I can't lift things up from the floor, raise my arm above my head, or turn my head to the right without a jolt of pain through my shoulder blade.  I really am not sure what to do about it either, aside from ibuprofen, ice, and hoping it heals quickly.  I'm drinking ginger tea because I read that it helps with inflammation.  It's not terribly convenient to have shoulder pain when you have a newborn and two other children who occasionally like to be picked up.


(Some affiliate links here, to help me buy more books...)

The first couple weeks with Georgie I went through the first four seasons of Cheers during nursing sessions, and then I finally decided that maybe there was a better way to spend all this time than watching a show that was on television before I was born (though it's very interesting to see the hair styles that were fashionable back then).  So I've been trying to read more, but it's hard to land on the right type of book during this phase.  I either want non-ficiotn that gives me something to think about without straining my brain too much (because you know, sleep deprivation), or fiction that keeps me turning the pages but without much cussing or other smut that makes me feel yucky while feeding my sweet innocent baby.  Suggestions?  So far I am working through Okay For Now, The Austen Escape, The Vanishing American Adult, and World Religions And Cults Volume Two. (That last one was written from a  Christian perspective, and very interesting, and only $3 for Kindle today!)


I should say something about Thanksgiving, shouldn't I?  We had a great dinner with Derek's mom and dad.  The kids ate hardly anything, Georgie got lots of grandparent time, and we played Yahtzee. I lost both rounds and was the only person to not get a Yahtzee.  When I was pregnant with Georgie I won almost every single game Derek and I played.  It was uncanny.  I joked that the baby must be lucky, and indeed, it seems since she is no longer on the inside the luck has left me.  Rats.

What have you all been doing, reading, watching lately?  

The Last Thing I...

(You may be wondering why I have a picture of pants as the headliner photo for this post.  It's a good question.  I'm adding an extra element to this post by adding the last photo in my phone.  See "The Last Text I Sent" for a full explanation.)

Back in the good ole days of blogging, one person would post a q&a, and the post would resurrect itself throughout Google Reader for the next week, each person filling out their own answers.  So for a little blogging nostalgia, that's what I'm doing today.  I saw this on Erin and Michelle's blogs, and if you like it, feel free to grab it too!

Last thing I ate: Creamy Chipotle Potato Soup.  From a can.  I think it was Campbell's?  I used to eat cans of soup for lunch all the time when I was working, and I have rediscovered the joy of a ready-made hot lunch.  Don't tell me about all the chemicals in canned food, because "ready-made" means a lot more to me at this stage in my life.

Last thing I drank: Leftover Vanilla White Mocha from Caribou Coffee.  Sometimes I buy an iced coffee and take two sips of it, and then don't finish it until the next morning.  Thank goodness for modern refrigeration.  We've also been trying to branch out from Starbucks lately, because Derek and I are both a little bored of it.  Introduce some new syrup flavors, would ya, Starbucks?  I feel like they just recombine the same drinks they've been doing for years, and they are all starting to taste the same.  If I had to suggest a flavor, I would point them in the direction of orange and Mexican hot chocolate.  Do something with those!

Last text I sent: To my friend, Kellie, in reference to my capsule wardrobe project (you may have seen a sneak peek already if you follow me on Instagram): "Yeah, I have been thinking about doing it for a while, because I typically only wear things I really like at any given moment anyway, and then I get bored of those items and feel like I want new clothes.  Having stuff that can go together gives me a lot more options for outfits with those things I like to wear, and being limited helps me be a little more creative with the things I already have."  Stay tuned because I have a whole post about my capsule wardrobe in the works (hence the picture of pants)!

Last book I read: (#afflink) I'm in the middle of Code Name Flood by Laura Martin, which is a middle grade novel set 150 years into the future after scientists have brought back the dinosaurs and the human race has been mostly destroyed and is now living underground.  In line with what we know about the future (and the past) via the Bible?  No.  Imaginative - yes!  It's a page-turner!  I've been on a middle-grade novel kick lately.

Last time I laughed: I have been mostly holing up in different rooms of the house and organizing things for the last couple days, so...I don't know?  Probably something cute one of the kids said or did.  

Last thing you bought: A stuffed animal net for Gwen's room.  See the answer above about holing up and organizing things.

Last movie you saw: Sense And Sensibility, which I watched as part of a watch-along with Hillary Manton Lodge (author), and I learned that the actress that played Elinor married the actor that played Willoughby!!  What?!  Also, I did not win the watch-along giveaway (rats).

Last TV show you watched: Everybody Loves Raymond.  I just appreciate that show so much more now that I'm an adult.

Last thing you googled: "Laura Martin Books", because I forgot the name of the book that I was reading.  Is it weird that I remembered the author's name but not the name of the actual book?  This happens to me a lot.

Old-Fashioned Blogging

This past fall my eight year blogging anniversary quietly passed by.

I’ve been blogging for eight years.  Do you know how ancient that makes me in blog years?  

I didn't start at the very beginning of blogging (there are some out there who have been blogging five years longer than me), but I remember why I started at the time.  I had just gotten married, the first of my friends, and I wanted to connect with other young married women.  Since there were none in my immediate circle, I turned to the world wide web.

Back then, that’s why people blogged - just to connect.  And we wrote about silly things.  Much of it was neither profound nor pinnable.  It was glorious.

I remember, after a year of blogging, telling my mom how I had 20 followers now, and I hoped I wouldn’t get much more than that, because if my blog grew too big, how would I reciprocate by reading and commenting on more than 20 blogs every day?  Everything about that sentence tells you how blogging has changed.

I remember when it started to change - it was the year I had Gwen, and all of a sudden there was a crop of brand-new bloggers, and with them came change.  Their blogs grew rapidly, companies started sponsoring posts, and before we all knew it, blogging purely to share your life became no longer relevant.  It’s nice that your child started walking, but how many pageviews did you get last week?  It’s nice that you went on vacation, but when was the last time you got a sponsored post?  It’s nice that you want to share what you’ve learned while mothering, but why don’t you turn it into a link-up?

(Do you see the time that I am publishing this?  That’s because I wrote it in the parking lot while waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and I published it as soon as I could connect to wi-fi after I finished writing it.  I didn’t schedule it for tomorrow morning.  I’m posting on Tuesday, the slowest day of the blogging week.  I didn’t even take time to create a highly clickable post title, or create a pinnable image!  Do you know how many modern blogging rules I am breaking with this post?)

Adapt or die, that’s the survival of the fittest rule, and it seemed to apply to blogging.  Those who had no desire to adapt to this new blogging scheme slowly petered out.  And those who did adapt lost something.

I want to bring it back.  Just a little.

I want to tell you I bought a Christmas graphic tee.  I’m tempted to turn it into a mini series about how to style a Christmas graphic tee, and I might.  But why can’t I first just tell you I bought a fun t-shirt that I like?

I want to tell you that this fall I helped to host a women’s Bible study at church.  Four months have gone by and I’m just now telling you that.  I want to tell you how fun and encouraging it was, I want to tell you about the quirky ladies.  I want to tell you about how I had to quit, and how one of the ladies gave me a Starbucks gift card as a farewell present (bless her, just bless her, she knows I need my caffeine!). I want to tell you all this without having to turn it into a “Ten Reasons You Should Join A Bible Study”, or some such impersonal silliness.

I want to tell you about how I had the kids packed up, and I walked out the door this morning to a chorus of muffled howls coming from the car because I took too long to get the kids their Pop-tarts (our breakfast-on-the-go of choice).  How I felt slightly bad before I broke out laughing because it was so cute and ridiculous.  And there is really no way to turn that into a post either pinnable or clickable, but I want to share it, these little bits of life.

So let’s do this again, shall we?  Let’s take some time to share bits of life and a cup of tea on a Tuesday.  See you at the same time next week.  

(Or not, because I am going to be wild and crazy and not schedule a post ahead of time!  Just check back sometime on Tuesday and I’ll have something up.)

What I’m Drinking: Dirty Chai tea from Celestial Seasonings, mixed with a hot chocolate packet. It is delicious.

Also note: This spur-of-the-moment post prompted by Cassidy's post on blogging like the old days.  I'm not the only one who misses it.

Update: Please read this blog post on more about how we lost old-fashioned blogging, and how to get it back!

Snapshot Of A Saturday


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!
Photo 1 23

(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.

Photo 2 25

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.

A Home Wish List

Derek says I have been in a "mood" lately - one of those I-hate-everything-in-my-house-and-I-want-to-change-everything moods.  I call it post-baby nesting, but the truth is that this happens at least once a year.  Unfortunately budget prevents me from doing everything I would like to do (especially since buying Gwen a "big girl" bed is something we will have to do sooner rather than later).   I have done a few things here and there, but I have so many ideas!

However, there is no reason I can't dream and plan a little, right?  Here are a few things I have been eyeing lately.


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I would never even look at this type of coffee table normally, but I saw a picture on Kaitlyn's Instagram feed that made me like it!  I like the rustic feel of it.


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These are classic books that have beautiful illustrations on the covers.  I love the idea of decorating with books, and these ones would be so pretty on an end table.  Rifle Paper Company also has gorgeous journals and prints.


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Aspen We Will Serve The Lord Watermarked

I really couldn't pick just one print from this shop!  These are my two favorites, and I will probably buy both of them at some point (or maybe if I feel brave, try to paint my own).  One of my goals is to incorporate more Scripture into our home decor, and I love these.  They are so appropriate too, since we live in the mountains!


This is not from a shop, but I found this TV stand that I think we need.  We still have a hand-me-down TV stand from when we were first married, and I think it's time for something new.  I like how this one fits into corners, because our living room is laid out in such a way that the corner is the only place where we can put the TV.


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I already made my own striped curtains for our dining room, but these chevron ones caught my eye on Etsy the other day.  I'm thinking when I decorate our downstairs family room someday, these might be perfect.  If I can scrounge up 100+ dollars per set.  Oy.  I'm generally a cheap curtain person, but I might make an exception for these.


And that is it, my friends!  Maybe someday I'll get everything on this list.  At least now I have a record to remind me what I really want when budget allows!  Any other favorite shops for home decor that I should check out?

Note: I received no compensation for mentioning these shops - I just like their stuff.


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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:

Crossbody bag with diamond print design.

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.

Time For A Staycation

(Watermelon limeade that I made the other week.)

I had grand plans to get a bunch of posts scheduled this week, but then last week happened.  I tell you, I'm not sure I've ever had so many bad days happen in one week.  Here's a taste of what we had to deal with.

-I forgot Clyde's circumcision appointment (thankfully we were able to reschedule).

-I ran out of gas on the same day that I forgot to bring my wallet (thankfully a sweet gas station attendant loaned me ten dollars of her own money so I could get home!).

-I had a really rough day at work.  I don't even want to go into it.

-I forgot to bring my pump to work on Friday, and it was too late to turn around, so I had to stop by Walmart and buy another one (there goes 30 bucks).

-Harvey hurt his leg, and we had to take him to the vet.

-I got a flat tire.  A nice man helped me change it.  Then the spare was flat.  I had to wait 1.5 hours in a hot car for AAA to come tow me.  We had to buy a whole new set of tires.

-We decided to wait at a Target across the street for Derek to come pick us up, and we held up an entire line of traffic through a green light trying to cross the street (Wyatt lost his shoe, and I had to carry Gwen, tug Wyatt along, and try to manage a stroller all at once.)  I was ready to cut my losses and leave the shoe, but a nice guy ran back and grabbed it for Wyatt.

-Gwen almost ruined two outfits (but she loved that ICEE while we were waiting at Target).

-I lost the opal in my right-hand ring (I think they should be able to replace it.)

There were a lot of silver linings and helpful people, and I know it was the Lord trying to tell me everything would be okay!  But still, I'm pretty much exhausted.

This week Derek is on vacation, and we decided to make it a staycation!  We've never had a staycation before, but we decided we better save a little money since we had to spend so much last week. (We also had to get Derek's truck fixed, get our septic tank pumped, and get my camera fixed - that plus the tires and the vet added up to about $2,000.  Yuck.)  I think it will be fun though, and I'm going to try to treat it like a real vacation as much as possible.
So I'm signing out for the whole week after posting this, and I'm not blogging at all.  I'll be back next week with a recap!

It's Gone

 My DSLR camera that is!  I'm not going to lie guys, I feel kind of naked without it.

Last week we were at the zoo and a dark line started showing up on my photos.  I played around with it a little bit and realized it got darker the higher the ISO, and changing lenses didn't help.

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See, on the left?

My sensor.  My poor sensor is dying.

I knew this was probably coming since I've been using my camera pretty heavily since I got it 2 1/2 years ago, but I was hoping to have more time.

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My niece was born last week!  Sweet little Chloe.  She is pretty much adorable and has the most gorgeous head of dark hair. This is my sister looking perfect after her c-section!  How she looks fresh as a daisy after waking up at 4:00 AM and undergoing major surgery is beyond me!

And of course this had to happen right before my niece was born. It figures.  I pulled out my old point and shoot to use in the meantime and I was reminded of why I took the plunge to buy a DSLR in the first place.  It's just not the same.

And wouldn't you know, I couldn't find a camera shop around here that fixes Nikons!  I'm not sure why.  Are they really difficult to fix?  Or expensive maybe?  I had to send it off to Nikon headquarters, and I'm just praying they don't lose it and can fix it quickly.  I need my camera!

So it's going to be point-and-shoot and phone photos for a little while.  I forgot all my tricks to make my p&s pictures look okay, so I'm going to have a learning curve.

I'm feeling lost without it.

Camera, come back!

It's kind of weird to get so attached to an inanimate object, isn't it?  Please tell me I'm not the only one!

P.S.  Please excuse the mess, I'm in the process of tweaking a few thing with my blog design!

THE COLD, And Other Ramblings

I've been a little MIA this week, and that is because the kids and I have a horrible cold!  Not just a head cold, more of a head+chest congestion+achy muscles kind of cold.  And of course we all had to come down with it at once.  I really don't know what I would do if Derek wasn't here right now, because I've been feeling miserable.  As in sit-on-the-couch-without-sleeping-thinking-about-how-miserable-I-feel miserable.  Thankfully we seem to be on the downward slope, as evidenced by the fact that I am actually typing out a blog post!

Aside from The Cold, not much has been going on.  We went to a doctor's appointment for Gwen on Monday and I made the mistake of not letting her bring her blankie in.  I just don't trust those medical building floors.  She cried the whole time, and wailed "dain-dee" (which is how she pronounces "blankie"), and collapsed on the floor whenever I required her to walk, while other patrons stopped and laughed about how I have my hands full.  One lady actually offered to help me to my car.  That's how pathetic and frazzled I looked.

My mom says that I should cut her blanket in half (because of course she picked the biggest blanket she had as the blankie), and I think after the doctor's office incident I just might do it.  That way she can take the one piece in, and I can give her the other piece in the car while I stash the contaminated portion to wash later.

I also wanted to let you all know that I have adjusted my photo blog concept a bit.  I found out that Blogger apparently has a limit on the number of readers you can have for a private blog - bleh! So I made my photo blog public, but just hid it to search engines.  I don't want to link directly to the blog from here, so I'll still have you fill out a request form if you want access, and then I'll send you the link (see the button on the right for the request form)!  I'm hoping this will make it a little easier for you all to follow as well. If you already requested to follow it, I sent you an e-mail, so check your inbox or e-mail me again!

(Clyde, looking adorable at the park last Saturday.  This was before The Cold hit.  Also, I'm in love with his hat.)

Oh, and we'll probably go to the zoo on Friday with my mom and sister - I'm glad I finally have a day nailed down, because Wyatt has been bugging me for weeks to go back to the zoo.  He keeps talking about the "elephants", and "giraffes", and "peacocks" (imagine the ends of each of those words going up, as in a sing-song voice).  Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Wyatt: "We're going to go to the zoo!"

Me: *laugh* "You want to go to the zoo?"

Wyatt: "Um, okay, sure."

Me (realizing my mistake): "Oh, we can't go to the zoo today, honey."

Wyatt: *silence with a horrified look* or *whimpering that evolves into crying*

Me (in an effort to avert an incident): "We'll go to the zoo soon though, okay?  We'll go soon."

Wyatt: "Yay, we'll go to the zoo soon!"

My friends, "soon" has finally come.  I had to push off "soon" too many times.  Any more promises of "soon" and the first "soon" will turn into a lie.  I already feel guilty about it, so it's this Friday for sure!  I think The Cold should have left us by then.

What have you all been up to this week?

P.S.  Follow me on Instagram to keep up with me on the days I don't blog!

8 Randoms

I'm just going to ramble a little today, okay? Okay.

1. Our Valentine's Day was pretty much awful.  I had a bad back day at work - I could barely get up out of my chair at one point it was hurting me so bad.  I clearly need a chiro adjustment.  

Then I thought I'd surprise Derek with Qdoba for dinner, but when I stopped to pick some up, the car started smoking!  A mechanic happened to see it and tell me (which I'm really grateful for, because if he hadn't noticed I might not have either, and I might have ruined the car).  One of our hoses was leaking coolant everywhere.  

So I had to wait there for Derek to come get me and the kids.  Kind of ruined the surprise.  Then we were really worried that I ruined the engine, because I don't know how long I was driving like that or how hot the car got, because my temperature gauge is broken.  But we got the car towed, and had Qdoba for dinner anyway, so it was okay.  Though my car has been in the shop, and the kids and I have been stuck at home most of the week.  I finally got it back just in time for MOPS!

2. Despite the Valentine's fiasco, our actual Valentine celebration on Saturday was fun!  We went out to see The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.  I was skeptical, but it was actually a really good movie!  Then we had Japanese food for dinner and went to the mall for a blended chai.  It was a nice date.

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3. Derek surprised me with this for Valentine's Day:

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Yes, my friends, that is a Keurig!  I've been wanting one for a while, and Derek just showed up with this on Saturday morning!  I was a little shocked, because I thought we'd have to save and get one for ourselves next Christmas.  I'm super excited about it.  First stop - Target to get some mocha coconut K-cups!  Mmm.  I also want to try the iced coffee varieties, and I like that I can also make tea or whatever with it.  Any tips for me?  I'm still figuring the thing out.

4.  I bought this little book for Derek and me:

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It's been so fun so far!  We've been filling out the questions together every night. It basically asks you a question a day, and you each write out a short answer.  It's a fun getting-to-know-your-spouse-better project.

5.  I got the kids this CD for Valentine's Day:


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Although I got it late because I totally slacked and didn't order it in time for Valentine's.  So poor Wyatt had to wait for his Valentine.  I think he was expecting something when Derek gave me my present on Saturday, and I felt so bad.

But about the CD, it's pretty much a classic.  I listened to it myself growing up, and I still remember certain verses because of the songs on this album!  Like Philippians 4:8.  I can list all the "whatevers" only because of the song I learned with this. Wyatt sings to certain songs, so I thought this would be a great way to help teach him some Bible verses, and begin "hiding" the word in his heart!  We're going to listen to it today on the way to  MOPS and I think he'll like it!

6. Our church is re-organizing and attempting to get the congregation more involved and connected with each other.  So they've started offering "equipping classes" on Sundays and "growth groups" during the week.

Derek and I have been wanting to get more involved at church for a while, so we're kind of seeing this as our opportunity!  We start our growth group this Saturday - it's basically like a small group, but the discussions will be focused around the sermon topics.  We signed up for one that was organized according to life stage, so I'm also excited to start meeting more couples at church with young children.

We've been going here for several years, so you think we'd already know a lot of people, but it's a big church.  I grew up in a very small church where everyone knew everyone by necessity, so it's been hard for me to figure out how to get more connected in a larger church setting.  I'm proud that the church elders saw the need for better fellowship and are taking the steps to make it happen!

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7.  We're also taking a class on Global Outreach with our church.  We had our first one this past Sunday, and Derek and I are both pretty excited about it.  I'll probably write more as the class continues, but I think it will be good!

8. I dropped off the baby quilt to get quilted last week!  I think I already mentioned that, but I'm just rather excited about it.  I can't wait to get it back and get his nursery all set up!  We're at T-minus 8.5 weeks until EDD!  But I'd be pretty surprised if Baby Boy didn't come before that, so it really is probably less.  That's kind of crazy.

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31 week belly, via Instagram.

Okay, that's all I have. Ramblings at their finest.  Okay, not really, but thanks for reading!

Fun Happenings

We've done a lot of fun things with the kids over the last month, so I'  doing a little catch-up post now!  I'm also catching up on my Project 52 photos of the kids.  

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(40/52 - Eyes)


A couple weeks ago we went to the zoo!  My friend Danae has season pass, and she was sweet enough to invite us along.  We had a fun time, and Wyatt couldn't stop talking about the "El'phants and G'raffes".  Unfortunately by the time we got around to them he was so tired he didn't even noticed!  We still had a great time though, and it was a nice visit!

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Danae and her sweet daughter.

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Gwen's face!  She was in a grumpy mood, and her little friend just wanted to play with her!

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Grandma and Grandpa stopped by briefly the other night, and they played a round of "Grandpa Horse" with the kids.  Wyatt thought it was so fun!

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We took Wyatt to his first movie on October 6th!  We went to see "Planes".  I told Wyatt we were going to see an airplane movie, and so when a preview came on he bolted straight up in his chair and said "Oh no!  Airplane movie!"  We assured him it was just about to start!  I think he was a little worried there!  He did great, and loved the movie and popcorn - it was a fun memory, taking him to the movie theater for the first time.

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(41/52 - All Dressed Up)


Every year our church rents out one of our local corn mazes.  They have a lot of food, and free drinks and kettle corn, and a lot of the kid's activities are free!  It's a really fun time, and we went with my family this year.  (My sister was there too, but some of the pictures turned out blurry - argh.)  As you can probably tell by the fact that we are all bundled up, it was pretty cold!  We had a fun time though.

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My dad and Wyatt sitting on the bouncy pillow.

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My mom and Gwen.

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My brother and his wife Olivia.  And I haven't mentioned it before, but Olivia is pregnant with their first baby!  We're really excited for another sweet niece!  Olivia is due about six weeks ahead of me.


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(42/52 - Cold Fall Day)

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