Saturday, October 15, 2016

Busy Weeks Ahead...and Behind

I'm not sure about you all but my week was super duper busy. And trust me, we did not end easily. I have had lots of things to keep me busy, which I guess is a norm when you have 4 girls and another baby on the way but I feel like the days just start so hectic and end even more so. Yesterday, Friday, was the busiest of the week for me! I usually plan for Fridays to be a bit easier on my schedule but not this one. Let me recap what's been happening here.

This week has been full of many things. Schooling with the girls (an everyday thing), a toddler causing mayhem (also an everyday thing), we also had apples to can (which was held up by a bad stove), a yard to prepare for winter (like picking up all the toys and stripping down all my tomato plants), and, as you may have already read, I am in the midst of an  organizing challenge for my craft space. I am also doing a crochet along which gives me a new part to my surprise creation every week. Oh, and add to this list my wonderful idea for our Halloween costumes.This is just a glimpse of all the things I put on my list everyday, some good and exciting, some stressful and exhausting. Bottom line, I'm filled to the max.

After this week, and especially last night (we fixed the stove and canned all...night...long), my back hurts, my feet hurt, my brain is on overload, the project list seems to be multiplying, and all I really want to do is put my feet up, take a lot of naps, and maybe read or watch some movies or just be creative...really, do anything but work my tail off.

That being said, I am so excited about what we have accomplished! We have a big storm rolling in, which means I am skipping my planned trip to get some of the needed supplies for Halloween, and I'm just going to focus on my family, the things I can do, and resting. Sometimes God sneaks in a few moments that force us to slow down. This seems to be one of those days. Normally, this might drive me crazy but today, I am relishing in what has been accomplished and resting in the fact that I have plenty of things to keep me busy. (I might also be praying we don't lose power so I can watch the Cubs in the first game of the NLCS but I digress.)

I was going to give you a list of all the things I accomplished this week but I realized that this list is more for myself and the most important of things was this: the whole family survived another week of school, activities, and life. We had food to eat every day, I can't even count the number of disastrous mishaps we have narrowly avoided, and we may have managed to clean a few things as well. Did I say the whole family survived another week? Cause this toddler of ours is making the whole family second guess our sanity and ability to be a parent (or sibling).

Bottom line, enjoy today. Enjoy the weekend. Rest. And revel in the lovely chaos of  life. (Also, enjoy a couple of pics of my accomplishments.)

Happy Creating~

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Passions and Pennies

As we embark on this new stage of life with the expectation of our new baby coming in a few months, I have been on a mission to get more organized so I can enjoy my passions. Let's be honest. I'm one of those women that has many passions including but not limited to scrapbooking, crocheting, sewing, card making, and lots and lots of other things. So organization is a must...especially in a small space. No, I'm not nesting. I've been working on downsizing, organizing, purging, and whatever else is called for to accomplish this great feat for quite some time now. I would say this all started last year sometime and I have been doing an okay job. But, baby number 5 in roughly 1100 square feet is a challenge when you don't craft. Add that in and it can get overwhelming.

Currently our 4 daughters share a room. This room has just enough space for the 4 beds and clothing. Then our old bedroom is the playroom with guest bed and the smallest of rooms is what we like to call the 'bonus' room. "Bonus" in the sense that we get to store all the fun scrapbooking, crocheting, sewing, and office items in one space instead of out in the living room or bedrooms. Creating this bonus room came on the heels of moving our bedroom out to the garage. It was a wonderful idea that quickly turned crazy. As much as I adore my husband, he often uses my bonus room as a dumping ground for anything he doesn't know what to do with. Let's just say that is a lot of stuff. We are working to change that. 😁

Over the summer while we had our break from school I did some major reorganization of my scrapbook paper. I wasn't quite done but as the school year neared I ran out of time to focus on it. I was desperately trying to do this reorganization on a budget since we are always looking for ways to cut back. I bought a few new things but not too much but ended up getting stalled after a time. Then a friend of mine suggested I get involved with Totally Tiffany's Get Organized Challenge. It had me intrigued. It is a free 8 week course on totally reorganizing your craft space to make everything more accessible. I was optimistic that this could be the final push I needed. So, I plugged in last week, watched the video, and to my joy found that her techniques were right on the track I was already doing! What?! How amazing to find a group that encourages us to get things ready to go. But, does this push you to use their specific organization tools and supplies? Nope! Tiffany does share the products she uses at the end of each course but she does it in that way so that if you don't want them or don't need them, you can just turn it off. Wow...I am hooked. She shares tips on everything from how and why to organize in specific ways to purging... and all in great detail. Each week focuses on a specific area of organization. For that geeky organizer in me, well, let's just I am STOKED!!! Haha. So, I am full fledge in this movement. It is week 2 but you can join in at any time and I highly encourage you to do so. These techniques are just was the crafter in all of us needs in order to be able to craft with joy instead of stress and guilt (I should be cleaning,  I can't find my table, maybe I should burn this room down, ya know, that kind of stress). Once completed we can finally enjoy the freedom to craft when we want instead of the dread of looking for the floor. 😳 Click on over to the link I included and get involved! Remember, it's totally free and gives fabulous tips. You don't have to do the whole thing but even just glean tips for future use. Plus, it's always fun to have others invested in the journey with you. In the meantime, enjoy these horrific pictures of my messy scrapbooking's hoping I can find just the balance and space to really enjoy this room in the near future.

I'll keep you updated on my progress. You let me know if you join the group!

Happy Creations~

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Messy, Crazy, Exhausting Life: Learning to let go of perfection

Wow. Well, it has been a super duper long time since I've posted anything on this blog. Not that the thoughts haven't been there, penned, recorded, photographed...I just haven't gotten it all down yet. To be perfectly frank, I'm tired. As summer is in full swing and the kids are playing non stop I keep seeing all the things I need to be getting done. Yes, maybe some of this mindset is coming from the urgency of the baby coming in December but I feel caught up in the rush to have a clean(er) house-let's face it, my house always needs work, to be a more playful, fun mom, a better planned/organized mom. In the midst of knowing that all of that is just my own insecurities shining through, I still find the struggle to be real, pressing, stifling.

I have long struggled with the appearance of having it all together and I pray continually to overcome that. I grew up in a home where everything was always picked up and put away every day, and the house was cleaned every Saturday from top to bottom. My sister would spend what seemed like hours getting her bed made so perfectly that there wasn't a single wrinkle in it (and I did love to run in and jump on her bed after that perfection was reached-that didn't go over too well). I was the ONLY person in that house that had a messy room. My closets weren't organized, my shoes were thrown together, my drawers were stuffed full, my bed was always unmade, and my floor was always a tripping hazard. Don't get me wrong. I love all things organization. I like having a place for everything, I just don't always get it back there. When I put a book away it didn't just go on the bookshelf. The entire bookshelf was reorganized by author name, size, color...whatever. Trust me, I still work to overcome these instincts. With 4 kids and another on the way I have learned to become the person who just gets it put away and, if there is time later, we re-organize the bookshelf/toy bin/closet. But my family comes from a long line of perfectionists and I wasn't one of them.

My older girls playing outside creating their own messes.

I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal. I don't feel the need to know the gender of my baby ahead of time, I like the surprise and figure there will be plenty of time to figure out clothing. I generally plan a trip and then we kind of wing the details. I set up our homeschool lessons but we don't always start at the exact same time. Sometimes I just wake up and we throw some stuff in the car and hit the road for the day, or weekend. I love spontaneity and I really enjoy the go-with-the-flow mentality. This doesn't mean I don't plan, it just means the plans are always lose. Very few things are completely restricted. This makes the family I grew up with absolutely crazy. Thankfully my husband is similar in this mentality so we don't butt heads too often. In fact, I am more detail oriented than he...and that's saying something!

I get exhausted just thinking of visitors. I worry what they will think of the house. Is it clean enough? I may have a cleaner house than I have had in months but all I see are the things I didn't get to. Not the things that are done. I'm very good at saying, "if you want to visit me, come whenever you want. If you want to visit my house, make an appointment." I'm very good at saying those things and generally I mean it but I also have a part of me that cringes at the thought of people truly seeing my messy house for what it is. My messy house that reflects our messy lives. Our fun-filled, stress-filled, over-packed, just a touch on the insane lives. I always worry what people leave thinking. What comments will I receive? Will my guests be uncomfortable? And I stress that our tiny, messy house will be judged. We have MAYBE 1200 sq feet of living space and a whole lot of family inside it. All. The. Time. That equates to a big mess. I suspect, however, that were I given more space it would be a mess too because that's just who I am.
My youngest brought her bike inside all on her own and rode it straight into the living room. I had literally just cleaned or there wouldn't have been room for her. Most of my pictures of the kids inside have some kind of mess around them, I guess I caught one with a clean background! Woot woot!

I am striving to be better. I am striving to be more disciplined but I will never put cleaning above all else. I just can't do it. And I'm okay with that...most days. I know that one day my house will be clean all the time. It will be quiet. I will have time for lots of reading, lots of crafting, lots of time...and I will truly miss this crazy, messy life I am currently living. In the meantime, I will do what I can to get through my days without feeling too much guilt. I will try to value my time with my kids and wishfully watch my friends take vacations to exotic locations while I But, I will know that I was very blessed to be given such a life filled with 4 beautiful daughters and another coming addition, a truly loving husband and wonderful father, an interesting slew of animals, and a very often messy house. I will take a break from the worry, allow myself to relax, and just enjoy my life...messy, chaotic, unorganized, and...amazing. I know I'm not alone...I pray I'm not alone. Who's with me? Let's agree to quit wearing ourselves out and just enjoy life.

Here's hoping for more from me in the future!

Happy Creations~

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Encouragement Through Disappointment

The last few days have been a bit of a roller coaster for me. Things and hearts have been broken. Mine is among them. I'll bet you didn't know that, did you?

Some of that is just part of the everyday of raising children but the pile up of unexpected disappointment can get overwhelming for anyone. And I am definitely being counted in that number. I can deal with most everything life throws at me. Most of us are pretty resilient when life throws hurdles in our way. But we may not always feel like it. We may not always want to put a smile on, pull up our boot straps, and march forward. Sometimes, things get the better of us.

In the last few weeks I have been struck by the loneliness. It has taken me a bit off guard. My husband travels for work and TH is season has been especially grueling when it comes to his being gone. I usually handle it in stride but with all the downpour of crud it is a little harder. I love and adore my children but, try as they might, they cannot provide the companionship that my better half provides. The daytime is always easier but the night is when one becomes abundantly clear that the buck stops at you. I honestly don't know how single parents do it! I have such respect for any parent who has to go it alone.

I find that when I'm at my loneliest I search for connection. I am on Facebook longer, Pinterest longer, I text a little more. I am reaching out for a connection to someone else. And guess is everyone else!

The thing is, pain and sadness have a funny way of making someone feel alone, like they are on the outside looking in. Sometimes Facebook makes me feel worse. Like when I see my friends conversing with one another and I wonder why I haven't been included. At times I am emotional and irrational, I worry what others think, thay I hurt their feelings, that I said something wrong, that I looked the wrong way.. In the light of day, after the storm has passed, I know that those thoughts are silly but not everyone can do that. Does that mean that every post or every conversation has to be carefully planned so that everyone is included? No. That would be exhausting!! That would be impossible. But that is why, in this age of technology and everything at our fingertips we should be even more aware of how little we personally reach out to someone. I like to see that funny video but I LOVE personally getting a text or even (gasp) a phone call.

But this isn't about me...not really because what I've realized in this stage in life is this: you never know what is going on in a persons life. I, for instance, have the personality that looks at things matter of factly. I certainly can't change my husband being gone, and I can't fix every problem immediately so I put on that smile, I pull up those boot straps, and I march forward. I do that because I realize that sitting in my house crying or whining doesn't make me feel any better. Don't get me wrong, I do those things. I just try not to do them for too long. I know that the longer I sit in that state the worse it is for me. So, I smile at my friends, I reach out to anyone who seems to be struggling, I help a stranger out. It makes me feel better for doing it. It makes me realize how small my issues might be.

I am a people watcher, an analyzer. Sometimes I am blinded by my own issues but I try to see what is going on behind the eyes. And I want that in return. So here is what I suggest when you are struggling: write out the sadness, call a friend, find a funny video, watch a sad movie, but move. Move forward. And when you are not sad (or even when you are), send a friend a text just to say hi (because maybe telling someone what is going on is too much).Tell someone how much you appreciate them (because you never know who needs to hear it). Smile at the clerk at the store and tell her you like her earnings (the last customer may have really been hard on her). Pay for someone's coffee (because they might be having a horrible day and you just tipped the scale-in the right direction). Really listen to what someone is saying (no one may have listened to them for quite some time). Don't instantly chastise someone for snapping (it's possible they were up all night with a sick child). Basically, always forgive, always love, and always look for the best in people (I work on this every day).

Above all, remember not to judge what someone is struggling with. One persons struggle is not another's. The same thing that breaks one person may only cause someone else to stumble-or maybe not even notice it at all. Likewise, remember that just because someone is used to going through something doesn't mean they are totally fine with it. Take my husband traveling for instance. Just because he's gone a lot doesn't mean I don't feel lost or sad when he leaves. So I encourage you to reach out, whether you are the one in pain or you are having that perfect shiny day. Ask how someone is and then wait to hear the real answer. Because I can guarantee you that almost everyone is going through something.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Girls, Gum, and Hair

Yeah. You read that right. I've got a little lady that decided to submerge some gum in her hair. It was especially upsetting because this is the very same girl that decided grabbing a pair of scissors and cutting extremely close to her head was a fun thing to do. Eek!! It took nearly two years to get all her hair back to the same length. She was completely short for a while, then we started to let it grow a little bit longer and once we got it to a certain length we just trimmed all the rest while that previously cut hair slowly caught up. It was very sad for me because she was the only one born with a full head of hair and the only one who had beautiful long hair at a young age. Maybe she takes it for granted but this child can and will cause havoc, especially when it comes to her hair. (Did I mention she cut her hair twice before she finally learned her lesson?! Sigh...she's a stubborn one.) 

Anyway, tonight was just another night in what I can only imagine will be a long line of hair troubles for this one. 

So this is how it all started. Cecilia was playing with her sisters with a mouth full of bubble gum. I suggested that she spit it out. She thought that didn't sound like fun. Let me clarify that I didn't tell her she had to. I actually just said she might find it smarter to get rid of the gum. In hindsight, I should have told her and not given her the choice but...

So anyway, she didn't get the gum stuck in her hair while running around with her sisters. Rather, she managed to get it all stuck in her hair in about 15 seconds while sitting on the couch. Yes, sitting on the couch is quite wild what with all the...I don't know...sitting...still...and calmly. However it was accomplished, the deed was done. 

I just put my hands over my face and said, "I can't do this!" In a near sob. Then I pulled myself together and said I would NOT cut her hair and I would put the effort in to getting it out. So...I started the preparation while dad worked on getting all the rest of the gum off her hands. It was EVERYWHERE!!

I have tried a few methods over the years (I do have two older daughters after all) but found that peanut butter or ice didn't really work. So here is what to do if you find yourself in a similar predicament. 

(Don't be fooled by that sweet look, she's a trouble maker.) 
So. I started by gently pulling away any hair that wasn't already entangled and put it up. We don't want to add to that clump if at all possible. 

To keep her clothes from getting oily and creating more work for myself I just grabbed a rag and put it over her shoulder. Then I got a small bowl and poured a decent amount of olive oil in it. I knew I needed to get the area pretty covered and thought it would be easier to dip that chunk in and let it set for a minute rather than trying another method. I also kept my hands a little least for a while. Lol 

The next step is to just dunk the hair and gum in the bowl of olive oil. Let it set for a minute. You want that oil to work its way through. 

The next step is to just gently start pulling away the hair and the gum. I also had a paper towel that I put the gum on after removal. If you feel a lot of resistance from the hair, it's not quite ready to come out. Soak in oil some more and try again. I was very surprised at how easily I was able to get the gum removed. After getting some of the bigger chunks of hair out I decided to start pulling out the gum and it came out pretty easily. 

After getting all I could see (or at least reasonably pull out) I used a fine toothed comb to work out the rest of the sticky pieces. You know, those little black combs that we used to get with every school picture we had taken. Those horrible, unrealistic combs that only people with short, fine, hair use? Or men? Yep. It actually has a use now! They are super cheap at the stores. I would suggest you buy a few and keep them around for different uses. Anyway, after combing through her hair several times (and after working through some of the knots in her hair) all the gum was successfully removed! This is what was taken from her hair. 
There is a bit of hair that comes out with it but it is waaaay better than cutting it out. And honestly, some of the hair is from knots in her hair, not just the gum. 

That's it. All done. And all this took me only about 5-10 minutes. Not too bad!

So next time you start to see clumps of hair stuck in a strange colored mass don't fear. You don't need to envision either bald spots or large amounts of time wasted. Just be liberal in the oil and you will have it all out in no time. 

Good luck parents. If this hasn't happened to you yet, it will. And if it doesn't? NO FAIR!!!

Happy Creations~

Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Birthday!!

So it's a little late in the day for some of us but...I'm finally posting a web based Happy Birthday to my little princess! I cannot believe that it was 6 years ago that you came into this world and surprised us by being all girl! We were so expecting to have a boy. Imagine our surprise and joy at having another daughter for us and a sister for your big sis. You were absolutely or groups at birth and have only gotten more so as you have grown. 

You lead with emotions which can be a struggle at times but can also be the most blessed of ways to see the world. We cannot imagine a single day without your smile and your love. 

You definitely are a princess that is full of grace and love, more so than even than Cinderella. We love you and hope you have a fabulous birthday! You certainly deserve it. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Busy, Buddies, and Bruises

We have had such fun being so busy with our dear friends from Michigan. They are off visiting with other friends but we are so excited to have them back in a few days. It was such a joy to see our kiddos playing together. And Little Miss Princess has found a new bff in their little girl. And their little girl has a huge love for Little G. 

Little G is turning one in less time than I'd like to admit. And she was having quite the rough week. I think she has a teething problem and has struggled to be her normal happy self. I am hoping that pain is ending soon and we can have our little girl back but in the meantime she was getting lots of love from our guests...including her "one day husband" who is just a month or so younger. These two wee ones have their ups and downs but so do my husband and I so I figured that's normal. Wink wink...

Little Miss Princess just loved getting to rule the coop a bit and have a friend around that just adores her. Even though big sis has still been 'encouraging' everyone in proper play etiquette it seems Little Miss was the girl to be. That has made her chest stick out a little further and she has been such a happy girl. You just can't beat seeing that. 

After our friends left today we had a rough night including Little Miss getting her finger stuck in the door and pulling it out!! Ouch!!! She came in screaming with blood pouring out her poor teeny finger! I sprang into action supermom style and managed to heal what once was broken (spirit wise), but she will be feeling the physical pain of that one for a while. Sigh...I felt awful since I was the one that asked she shut the door to the van. Even though it is something she has done a hundred times without incident I will probably be holding off on that request for a long time to come. A little medicine and some tlc made the evening settle into a calm. I'm praying for lots of healing throughout the night. 

As far as LMPs upcoming birthday and gift? Well, we'll have to take a reprieve from the updates since I may have to come up with a plan b (on both the gift and the party), but I need to get back to it so in the meantime, 

Happy Creations~

(PS-there will be pics to come but today...just words)