The "Master" Bedroom (Before We Move)



This house will officially no longer be ours on Friday.   I thought I better get a move on and show you the last couple rooms!  

This is our "master" bedroom.  I put "master" in quotes because it doesn't have a bathroom actually attached, but it's the biggest bedroom in the house.  It's gone through a few transformations over the years, and this is what it looks like now, right before we are about to leave it.

This wall color is a good example of how a color can be scary until it's finished, just like our house color.  When we painted the outside of the house gray, we were afraid we made a mistake until we added the white trim.  When I painted this room "Ice Cube" by Behr, I was afraid I had made a mistake!  I wanted something that could feel airy, but could also feel cozy, and when I got this color on the wall it just felt...chilly.  But I persevered, and once I added all the furniture and wall decorations back in, it hit that balance of airy and cozy and colorful that I was going for.  

I'll probably go with a different color in our new master bedroom, because it's much bigger and I think this color would actually feel cold in that room.  But here, I've enjoyed it!



















I don't have a linkup going anymore, but PLEASE comment below if decide to join in and show us your home!

My Morning Routine, If You Can Call It That



One of my goals for this year has been to develop a better morning routine.

I have had visions in my head of getting up before the kids, accomplishing my devotions and a ton of writing work before they even get out of bed, then graciously closing my laptop, giving my darling children a kiss, and going upstairs to make everyone a picture-perfect breakfast.  I look adoringly at my troop while I drink a cup of hot coffee.

Yeah.  That hasn't been going so well.

This is closer to what our mornings actually look like.


6:30 - The sun starts shining through the window, and wakes me up, but I am still exhausted from the night before. This isn't even just Georgie's fault - the three youngest and the dog all conspire to wake me up at least two or three times a night.  I turn my head and try to go back to sleep.

6:40 - I hear little feet pounding around upstairs.  I roll out of bed and call up the stairs, telling the kids to go read books in their room for a while.  I stumble back to bed and fall asleep.

6:55 - More foot-pounding.  I ignore.

7:02 - A child starts to come downstairs.  I want fifteen more minutes of sleep.  I remind them to stay upstairs and try to squeeze in a few more minutes.

7:10 - I realize it is futile to resist and get up.  I brush my teeth and wash my face, put in my contacts.

7:20 - I go upstairs and make the kids breakfast, while reminding them they can't actually eat it until they make their beds and get dressed.  Breakfast used to always be cereal, but then I realized the kids where a little calmer if I didn't hype them up on simple sugars first thing in the morning, so now sometimes I make them oatmeal.  After I make them breakfast, I remind them to put their dishes in the dishwasher.  I go back downstairs to fix my makeup and get dressed.

7:40 - I finish my makeup and go back upstairs.  All the bowls are still on the table.  I remind the kids to put them away again, and then tell them to go play while I drink some much-needed coffee.

7:50 - I sit and read or type or listen to a podcast and try to get motivated to actually start the day.

8:30-9:00 - Georgie wakes up.  I make her a bottle and go downstairs for some snuggles.

9:30-10 - We actually start some sort of school.


Give or take 30 minute on all those time slots, and that's how our morning usually goes!

While I still think it would be wonderful if I could manage to get up before the kids and get some of my own stuff done before the day, our actual morning routine isn't completely terrible.  I would like to be more productive, but there is a part of me that truly loves this slow start to our day.  I'll probably continue to try to drag myself out of bed early, mainly because I would love to be able to squeeze in morning devotions on a regular basis, and I think that is something that truly would be worth making a change for.  As it is, I do my daily devotions at night, which is also fine, but ideally I'd like to refocus my day right from the start.

Do you have  morning routine?  Do you wake up before your kids?  HOW did you become disciplined enough to wake up before them (especially if you have early risers)?

Scrunchy Faces And Kisses - Georgie At Ten (And Eleven) Months



Shortly after Georgie turned ten months old, we figured out we were probably moving, and all the craziness that comes with that ensued!  By the time I had a minute to sit down and write her ten month post, it was really too late to share it.  So today we're combining her ten month and eleven month updates!  Thankfully I remembered to take her ten month photos though, so we can still compare!



Ten Months

This is such a fun age for Georgie!  She is so snuggly and loves me so much right now.  Her face just lights up every time she sees me, and it warms my heart.  She is still scoot-crawling, and she tries so hard to go fast, pushing herself with her right leg all the time.

Poor little thing is still teething, so her sleep hasn't been as great this month (though still pretty good).  It's so sad to see her cry and start to chew on her finger.  She still has those two little teeth in the front, and I'm waiting to see when the other sill pop through.

She does a scrunchy-face smile when she is really happy, and it is the cutest thing to me.  She has started to say "mama" and "dada" to me and Derek, so I think she is figuring out what those words actually mean!

Gwendolyn and Georgie look so much alike, and when I compare their baby pictures, it's almost like i"m looking at the same baby.  This month Georgie's hair has started to curl at the ends, just like Gwen's did as a baby.  She also likes to be turned upside down, just like Gwen.  If she is having a fussy moment, I'll just tip her backwards, and she immediately starts laughing!

My favorite thing right now is to give Georgie her bottle, because she tucks her little body against mine, like she's trying to get as close as possible.  I love it so much.  Georgie is such a delightful baby, and Derek and I have said multiple times this month how we wish she would never grow up.



Eleven Months

Georgie's personality is really starting to show, and she is just so funny!  This month her favorite thing to do is shake her head back and forth to make us laugh.  She also has started tilting from side to side to music - it's so cute to watch her little dance!

This month I really started to see the sister relationship between Clarice and Georgie grow.  They sit right across from each other in the car, and Clarice will often talk to Georgie or reach across the car to take her hand.  Georgie laughs almost as soon as Clarice notices her, and I can see her picking up some of Clarice's facial expressions and habits.  It's so cute!



One expression that I know she picked up from Clarice (because Clarice used to make the exact same face as a baby) is a funny scrunched-nose open-mouthed expression.  It kind of looks like a disgusted look, and I can't help but laugh every time she does it, which probably only encourages it!  She's cute when she does it, but I'm trying to train her out of it at the same time.

She has also started "talking" a ton.  She makes little humming and sing-song sounds, and if you make the same noise back at her, she just lights up at the "conversation".  She has started to say "hi" and "bye", "Mama" and "Da".  Her "hi" sounds a lot like Gwen's baby "hi", with a little southern lilt to it, and when she says "Bah", she waves her little hand.  It's adorable!



Unfortunately I think our bottle-snuggle days may be coming to a gradual end, because Georgie is so wiggly now.  She wants to see everything!  Now when she gets her bottle, she prefers to look out at everything that's going on around her.  This makes me really sad, because I miss our snuggles!  Occasionally she'll still fall asleep on my lap, and when that happens, I don't put her down.

---

Georgie Bea,

How you have grown and changed over the last two months!  You are growing into your own personality, and I love to see it, but it's bittersweet to see my little baby looking so grown up.  Still, I'm not completely sorry, because you are becoming even more fun.

I realized recently that when I kiss your little cheek, you make a kissing noise back to me.  You lean back, look me in the eye, and say "Mmmwah!".  The other day, you even gave me a "Mmmwah!", and then leaned in and pressed your little open mouth to my cheek.  You leaned back again and looked so proud of yourself for figuring out your first kiss!  It was such a present moment.  You made my day, little one.  I'm so blessed that you are mine!

Love Always,

Mama.




Why I Don't Daily Plan In Our Homeschool




"You are a type A personality, aren't you?" my doctor asked as I packed away the papers full of information I came to discuss with him.

"Yeah, I guess so," I replied.  Everyone always pegged me as a type A, especially doctors, because I love to research subjects that are important to me, and I liked my house relatively clean.  So I always just assumed that's what I was, a classic Type A.

It was only after I had kids that I began to consider that maybe "Type A" wasn't exactly a perfect description of my personality.  I always viewed things like cooking and sewing as more art than science (not very Type-A), and I was never very into planning (also not Type-A).  But after I had kids, I realized that I had a spontaneous, let's-just-do-something-fun today side, which is far more descriptive of a Type B than a Type A.  During the baby and preschool years, I loved having my days mostly wide open, and being able to fill the hours with whatever struck my fancy.

I admit, as my kids grew older and homeschooling requirements grew more immediate, I mourned the loss of my newfound spontaneity.  Because you can't really be spontaneous when you have a list of things to be done each day, can you?

But this is my second official year of homeschooling (sort-of third year, but Kindergarten is only part time in our house), and I have learned that I still do not like to have my days planned out.  When I have a list of have-to's for each day, I feel the pressure and stress rising in my chest.  If I don't feel the freedom to run errands, grocery shop, or just declare a spontaneous field trip day, homeschooling can quickly start to feel like house arrest to me.

So my solution?  I don't daily plan our homeschool.  Instead, I plan weekly.

In my homeschool planning pages, I have a spreadsheet that includes all the different subjects, and what lessons and pages should be done each week.  I don't care how much we get done in any given day, as long as we do some school each day and get everything done that I have assigned for that week.

This has been really freeing for me, and allows me to still play with our weekly schedules a little bit.  If I realize we have no food left in the house, we might go grocery shopping and only do two subjects that day - then the next day we'll catch back up.  If math lessons are humming along really well, we might do two or three lessons in one day and give ourselves a couple days off of math the rest of the week to focus on history instead.

(Or freedom to gather chicken eggs with friends?  Just trying to make the pictures work here.)

So far, this weekly planning has been working much better for our family and my personality than daily planning would.  I imagine some adjustments will be needed as the kids get bigger and their workload increases, but even then, I remember handling my own schoolwork much the same way when I was homeschooled.  If I felt like doubling up on a few subjects and giving myself a lighter workload the next day, that's what I did.

So I don't know if I'd technically be a Type A or Type B, but I know as far as daily planning goes, as long as the weekly work gets done, anything goes.  I love that I can still make homeschooling work with the side of my personality that loves freedom in my schedule.

Do any of you daily plan (in homeschooling or just in life)?  Would you consider yourself a Type B or Type A personality?





The Main Reason We Don't Celebrate Halloween

(This photo has nothing to do with the post, the boys just decided to go "fishing", and it was so cute.)

I didn't realize when I started this prompt series that one of the first subjects would end up being such a touchy one, at least when a person has my angle on it.

I've never celebrated Halloween.

Growing up, we always went to "harvest festivals" sometime during the month of October, but we avoided events on the actual day, holed up in our home with pizza and a movie.  We never got Trick-or-Treaters because we lived in such a rural area.  None of my friends really celebrated Halloween either.

As I became an adult, I not only never felt the need to celebrate it, but I also actively campaigned against it (you long-timers on here might remember a strongly worded blog post back in the day).  As a Christian, I didn't feel good about Halloween, and for a long time I had a hard time understanding other Christians who had no qualms about the holiday.  

I like to think I've grown quite a bit in my understanding of Christian liberty over the years.  (Read Romans 14-15:6 - that whole thing.)  I get now that a lot of Christians view Halloween as just an innocent kids' holiday, an opportunity to make memories and meet the neighbors, and they have freedom to celebrate it.  The Holy Spirit convicts us in different ways on these non-essential issues, and that's okay!  It's not something to argue about, or think less of anyone over, no matter which side you stand on.

As I've come to recognize that Halloween most likely falls under the umbrella of Christian liberty, and as I've had children who I've had to explain this whole issue to, it's forced me to further iron out my reasons for not celebrating Halloween.  I get that a lot of holidays could have pagan origins or connections, and I'm not one to abandon Christmas because pagans a long time ago worshipped trees or something - so the pagan origins of Halloween are a factor for me (because it's so strongly rooted in paganism), but not necessarily a reason by itself anymore.  We still live in a fallen world, and sin still contaminates everything; evil, neutral, and good.  So why do I still choose not to celebrate it (besides having sensitive kids who wouldn't be into it anyway)?

First let me lay a little groundwork for my personal reasoning - as Christians, we know that Jesus came to give us life, eternal life, life more abundantly!


The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10


He came to free us from the consequences of our sin when we trust inHim to save us, to take our punishment, to defeat death by rising again!



So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-56

So the bottom line for me is this: if all that is true and Jesus came to give us life, I just don't have a desire to focus on a holiday that, at it's root, glorifies everything to do with death.

When I talk to my kids about why we don't celebrate Halloween, that is what I say.  I say that some people believe in Jesus and think Halloween is fun, but for our family, we want to focus on light and life, because that is what Jesus gives us.  So far, they get it, and we just do our own thing on October 31st!  (This year I think we are actually going to celebrate Reformation Day, at my kids' request, since it also falls on October 31st.)



To finish this off, I'd just like to say if you love Jesus and enjoy the innocent parts of Halloween, I'm not here to argue or persuade you to give it up.  Like I said, I believe this is a non-essential issue that each Christian should prayerfully determine their own stance on, and I'm fine if you disagree with my take on Halloween.  I know there are even a lot of Christians that use it as an opportunity for evangelism, which I think is wonderful and needed.  I won't judge you, and I hope you won't read into anything I said either.  But that's how I handle Halloween.

---

Next up...well, I'm skipping meal-planning and daily-daily planning, because I don't do either of those things well, so next will probably be an update on my littlest lady!  She just turned eleven months old, which means birthday planning is in full swing!


How I Handle Things

(The colors out there are just gorgeous right now!  Seriously, the in-real-life colors look just like this.)

Something about October makes me want to write.

Last year I started a 31 Days Of Writing project, even though I had a baby due at the beginning of November.  I wrote about Memory Keeping (you can read all those posts here), and I definitely didn't get to all the posts I had planned because I was in pain and huge and Georgie arrived before the end of the month!

This year we are moving before the end of the month, but I'm still going to try another October writing project, because the trees and the cool air and the candles and the hot drinks make my inner self scream "Pull out that laptop and write!".



I saw this little image floating around Instagram the other day, and I thought, why not?  Let's do this (except I'm writing here instead of on Instagram)!  It'll give me an easy way to scratch the writing itch.



I've missed the first few days (you're not missing much - my answers to how I handle those first two are "Um...I don't?"), but I think there are some good subjects coming up.  I reserve the right to skip any days that are too busy or for which I have nothing to say.

However, PLEASE let me know if there are any subjects on this list that you are especially curious to hear my thoughts on!  
It'll help me know what to prioritize when I get writing time.

First up - tomorrow you get to read my take on Halloween, which would probably be a highly requested one anyway, because if you've been around a while you might have noticed we don't celebrate it. (For you super-long-time blog readers, I've mellowed out about this subject in more recent years, don't worry).  Check back in tomorrow if you want, and please do tell me what else on the list sounds most interesting!

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.)

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