Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Spirit? Anyone?

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I think I'm finally officially in the "Christmas Spirit."

I feel bad though, because up until now I was too stressed to really get excited about what Christmas is supposed to actually be about.

I feel horrible that it wasn't until all my gifts were purchased, wrapped, and under the tree that I could allow myself to see Jesus in this season.

This morning before I got up I gazed out the large window above our bed at the beautiful sky and the trees and fields and it made me think about Mary.

How she might have felt this day all those years ago.

Was she stressed? Was she worried about the days to come? Did she inwardly complain about the task at hand and wonder why God had chosen her? When she realized that she wouldn't be having her baby in comfort because there wasn't room for them to stay anywhere in town, did she worry that maybe she was in over her head with what God was asking of her?

Or was she calm, trusting in the Lord to supply her every need as she prepared to give birth and raise God's Son? They ended up in a barn. She gave birth to her baby next to dirty farm animals and laid Him in hay where cows and sheep fed. Did she worry then? Did she then question God's plan?

If Mary can go through all that and trust in the Lord, then I can certainly go through the holidays and simply praise Him for all He's done for me without worrying.

God is good. All the time. His goodness does not change depending on how convenient our circumstances seem to us at any given moment.

He was good and faithful to Mary while she was giving birth to the Son of God in a barn. And He will be good and faithful to all of us no matter our circumstances, too.

I pray that you find (MAKE) time to thank Him for His goodness this weekend. He is certainly deserving of all our praise. All the time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A little emotional. (Okay, a lot.)

This morning I had to change sheets on the bunk-beds for the zillionth time this month and I hit my head on the top bunk when I was climbing out from tucking in the top sheet. (There's a goose-egg on the back of my head). And I cried. Not because of the pain, but because hitting my head gave me a reason to.

I spilled my coffee all over my alarm clock this morning when I was gathering up the dirty dishes that were piled on my nightstand (don't ask). I'm not sure if I was more upset by the alarm clock getting soaked or because the inside of my coffee cup was suddenly unoccupied. Either way, I cried. Again.

I realized (as I was trying desperately to organize our space in the upstairs of my parents house) that no matter how many times I rearrange all the crap stuff in our bedrooms, we simply do not have enough space for me to not feel claustrophobic not to mention the fact that we're adding another CHILD to the mix in a few months. And I cried yet again.

Then I remembered last night when we were laying in bed and listening to our three older kids deep breathing in their sleep (in the room connected to ours by a wall that goes 3/4 of the way to the ceiling) that my husband put his head gently on my belly and whispered sweet words to our baby as he held my hand. And I cried some more.

I might be an emotional wreck lately, you guys.

(Still living vicariously through me, Jackie?)

Monday, December 12, 2011

*Might Have* Monday

I might have taken my kids out to Chinese food for lunch yesterday after church knowing that they'd get extra sleepy, hoping that they would take a nap all the way home so I could enjoy my coffee (and my music!) on the way home in peace...

I might have realized this weekend that Christmas is only two weeks away (did you know that, you guys? TWO WEEKS AWAY) and I'm no where near ready. All the presents we've purchased are still piled in the back of the closet where we've been tossing them as we've brought them home. I really have no recollection of what's in there, much less what we might still need to get. (But for the love of Dave Ramsey, don't tell anyone how bad I was this year with making things such as Christmas lists... and a budget. Ahem.)

I might have a pile of laundry that's bigger than my car (and it's a big car) waiting to be washed, but since I was up all night coughing and my throat and chest hurt pretty bad today, I'm choosing not to care. And I might have set up the DVD player so Jack could watch his favorite DVDs over and over again while I attempt to make up for some of the sleep I lost last night.
And last but not least:

I might have felt the baby move. You know, the baby that's residing inside me? Yeah, I can feel it in there. I forgot how amazing that is. So right now I don't really care that we're unprepared for Christmas, or that I could get a full-on workout just by climbing my mountain of laundry because the little person that I've been having a hard time grasping the concept of  kicks me. And I like it. A lot.

Monday, December 5, 2011

procrastination at its finest

I'm a procrastinator. Do you like how I say that as if you guys couldn't already tell that just from how amazingly well kept my blog is? Ha!

Anyway, yeah, I put stuff off. Semi-important stuff... like ordering gifts online in time.

I'm awesome at ordering stuff off the internet (I mean, I do have my debit card number memorized) but I'm not awesome at taking note that just because I order it at night doesn't mean it will be there the next day in the mail.

We had decided to get the boys new Bibles for Christmas. I went to a couple of different places to look at them but they weren't on sale so I decided to look online. Last night. I found exactly what I wanted so I quickly ordered them and was happy to be done with it.

...until I read the email they sent me after I had already placed my order and paid.

"Expected arrival date will be between December 18th and December 28th."

Uh... oops.

Also? I ordered our Christmas cards online this morning.

I knew that since we haven't done it before now there was NO way we'd have time to dress all cute and pretend to be all happy as we pose for the perfect Christmas card picture (and lets be honest, nothing can top last year's "Ugly Christmas Sweater" edition) so... I just used our pumpkin patch picture.

Is that bad?

I guess if there's anyone who would use a pumpkin patch picture as their Christmas card, it would be us. So, there you have it.

Hopefully my procrastination will make you feel better about your own Christmas progress. How's it all going for you?

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's sharing day.

It's my birthday today, but because I'm feeling generous I've decided to share something with you for my birthday. (You're welcome.)

We're due the beginning of June.

And no matter how shocked you think you are right now, I guarantee it can't top our shock (and we've known for a couple of months!).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You know, what I've been up to and all that...

Ever have those days when you wake up and you just know you're not going to get anything productive done so why bother?

I'm just going to call that... November.

{Thus the cobwebs on my blog.}

Natalie and Jack both had birthdays (Happy Birthday!) right before Thanksgiving so that was crazy and I'd love to share pics of their party with you all, but I haven't seen my camera for 3 months and counting (do you know where it is!?). So yeah, there's that.

Then a few days later I decided to be brave totally got roped into Black Friday shopping with Jeff's sisters and mom. We only agreed to go if we didn't have to get up before 6 am much to Jeanna's dismay, I'm sure. Turns out when you get to all the stores as the crazies are heading home for their mid-morning naps you can have a really decent time shopping! We all got great sales ($420 for a $1000 washing machine anyone?!) and seriously had a great time (especially since we were all coffee'd up). I hadn't ever gone before well since that one time when I was 9 and was forced by my friend's Mom into Fred Meyer at 4am to get socks on sale... NOTHANKYOU and I'm actually looking forward to going again next year. (Thanks, Jeanna, and sorry for ever doubting you.)

Other big news? It's SATSUMA SEASON! Please tell me you're as excited about this as I am. Seriously you guys, we have to have a "satsuma budget," especially since they come into season the same time the holidays do. It's rough, real rough, I tell ya.

So, I'll be back (it's okay, you can laugh) to tell you guys all about the creative crafts and projects I'm doing with my children to get into the holiday spirit (I can't even type that with a straight face) - but you know what I mean... (And I hope you do, because I'm not so sure that I do.)

Hugs and holiday joy all around... and stuff.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October Overview (because I'm *that* lame)

Well, this month just flew by, didn't it?

It seems like October just started (possibly because the wonderful "October weather" I love so much finally showed up this week) and now it's almost over! How did that happen... and where was I!?

The second weekend of October I had the privilege of attending Women Of Faith in Portland with my mother in law, sister in laws (more commonly known as "my sisters"), my brother in law's girlfriend (you follow?) and another friend (related now through the initiation that was hanging out with all of us for the weekend and living to tell about it).

It. Was. Wonderful! I loved every minute of it. It was my first time attending and lemme tell ya, if you ever have a chance to go (and you're a woman) GO! You will NOT regret it. I promise.

While I was kickin' it with my girlies, my husband was at his parent's house (sans his Mom, she was with me, remember?). Him and his Dad held down the fort with our kids and they had a weekend of camping. In the driveway. They were planning on taking the kids camping (away from home) that weekend, but something came up at work and Jeff couldn't take Friday off like he had planned, so they ended up camping at home. They made a campfire and roasted marshmallows. They slept out in the camper in their sleeping bags. They laid on the floor of the living room and watched the stars through the skylights. They had a wonderful time and I am SO blessed to have a husband who encourages me to go and do things knowing not only will him and the kids survive while I'm gone, but they'll all have an awesome time.

The next weekend the five of us (hubby, kids and I) travelled up to Portland to visit our great friends who just had a new baby girl. It was wonderful getting to see them (and meet their precious baby, Raegan). Renee (another bestie) flew down to Portland from Alaska that week (to also meet the baby) so it was double the fun that weekend! Good for the soul, I tell ya, real good.

This last weekend was filled with card games at Jeff's parents' house, chopping and stacking firewood, church, and raking leaves. Good times with the family, that's for sure.

During the weeks we've had homework and soccer and I've been trying to keep everything together in my head (you know, who has gym on what days, when library books are due, what papers I'm supposed to correct and which ones I'm just supposed to sign - they don't make it easy, folks, they sure don't). I'm loving this life though. Feeling unbelievably blessed to have such a wonderful family.

How is your October going?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


This morning was one of those kind of mornings.

The kind where everyone around me wishes they, well, weren't.

The kind where I hear my own tone of voice, my own harsh words, my own impatience, and just wish I could change it, but for some reason I feel incapable of that seemingly impossible task.

I'm not overly tired. I do not have a tough schedule today that I am unprepared for. I was not up all night with littles.

I do not have an excuse.

However, I realized that...

I have not been in the Word.

I have not spent much time in prayer lately.

Even though my life is not particularly difficult (thisveryminute) it feels difficult because I feel disconnected from Him. When my relationship with Him is suffering (because of me, it's never because of Him) every relationship I'm in suffers.

So, after apologizing to my family (via the drive down the driveway to the bus stop, and an email to my husband) I'm calling a do-over.

Starting fresh with forgiveness.

Because after all, wasn't that His whole purpose from the beginning? We all need Him and we all need His forgiveness.

We all need a do-over.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Being Female

I love being a woman.

I love crying at commercials for no apparent reason. I love feeling guilty over *everything*. I love worrying (when my kids are the ripe-old-ages of 8, 7, and 3) that they might not choose to live as respectful, responsible adults who work hard and love the Lord. I love constantly criticizing my body, even things that I have no power to change (unless I had $10,000 and a good surgeon laying around). I love that I'm only 30 and already I forget what I was going to get in the time it takes me to walk across the house. I love feeling like I should be contributing financially to our household, but realizing that it's not really possible (but again, still feeling guilty). I love not being taken seriously when I'm talking to someone on the phone about our mortgage or something else of equal importance (no, you do not need to talk to my husband).

I love being a woman.

I love the memories I have of each of my babies kicking me from the inside and the amazing wonder of it all. I love that I can cry and I don't really need a reason. I love that I get to greet each of my kids with a smile every day when they get off the school bus. I love that I can trust the Lord (He knows my heart) and fully trust Him with my children and their futures. I love that as I fold my family's articles of clothing in the middle of the day I get to say a prayer for them and their day individually. I love that I don't regret not being around for each of my kids' (many!) milestones and that I have the priveledge of remembering vividly each "first." I love having a husband whose arms fit around me just so and whose hands hold my heart. I love that when I look at my body I see wrinkles from laughing so hard so often and stretch marks from growing three beautiful babies.

I love being a woman.

Monday, September 26, 2011

*Might Have* Monday

I might have fallen so in love with my new gadget (the BodyBugg) I got this past week that I would totally marry it (you know, if I weren't already married. Minor details.).

I might have dyed my hair ala "box method" a couple of days ago. Carter looked at me (right when I was getting started) then back at the box and says, "Um, Mom... Even if your hair ends up the exact color as this girl's, you're still not going to look anything like her." Thank you very much, son.

I might have fed my kids cereal for breakfast before church yesterday (sans milk - what? we were out...). Followed by McDonalds after church for lunch. Followed by pizza for dinner. I know. Not winning.

I might have been a little disappointed when I woke up this morning and realized that it was a weekday... beings that I forgot to pack lunches or even get backpacks and lunch boxes out from under the pile of crap in the back of the suburban from last Thursday when I threw them all back there but since the weather is FINALLY showing signs of fall, I'm still happy - on a Monday! Monumental, I tell you!

What might you guys have done lately???

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New(est) Addiction

It's going to be bad, you guys... Real bad.

I'm not going to get laundry done ever again I know, NOT new information. I hope I still have time to bathe my kids...

I've been introduced to PINTEREST.

Where I've found stuff that makes me choke on my coffee, like these:


And great crafty ideas like these:

Anyway, amidst this new found LOVE, I'm realizing that my time is precious (hello!? I NEED Pinterest!) and:

So, try it out. It's addicting though. REALLY addicting. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Honesty is the *best* policy? Really?

We've always taught our kids the importance of being honest. Even if it means there are consequences (the consequences for lying will ALWAYS be harsher than being honest about something you've done wrong) - but can I be honest? Sometimes I wish we didn't stress this quite so much... For example:

When I was working out to a circuit training video, Jack looks at the people on the video and then back at me and says, "Are you doing what they're doing, Mommy?"

While trying to see the computer screen through the sweat dripping in my eyes I reply, "Yup."

"Well, it sure doesn't look the same..."


And then this morning while I was painting my toenails:

"It's okay, Mommy, you just need a little more practice... then they will look good."


Now that I think about it, I'm wondering if we should just change our "Honesty Policy" to:

 "Silence. Give it a shot once in a while."

Monday, September 19, 2011

*Might Have* Monday

We might have taken the kids to Costco after church yesterday and considered all the free samples they ate their lunch.

I might have let Jack sit on my lap and steer the car down our (long!) driveway this morning after Talie and Carter got on the bus. I might regret this in the near future (like the next time we get in the car).

I might have gotten unreasonably excited when my parent's gave Jeff his belated birthday present this weekend and I found out it was tickets to the civil war football game in November. Like SO excited that I'm not even sure he wants to take me with him anymore.

I might have taken three or four breaks this morning during my 30 minute workout and checked FaceBook because I SO didn't feel like working out. You know how many of my friends post something new in a 30 minute time frame in the middle of a Monday morning? None. The fact that I know this? LAME.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Getting Nailed

You know how sometimes the things your kids say can knock you over faster than if you got hit by a bus?



The conversation looked a little (or exactly) like this:

Carter (completely out of the blue): "So, Mom, did it hurt the first time you got nailed?"

{I'll just give you a minute to collect yourself - although I was not granted such a gift...}

Me: "I'm not sure I know what you mean..."

{I surprised myself at how good I apparently am at pretending to be calm... and also at how fast I can start sweating...}

Carter: "No, I think you do. So... did it hurt? I heard it does."

Me (wondering if I taught them how to use my cell phone lest they have to call an ambulance after my heart attack): "Son, I really don't know what you're talking about."

{If I deny it convincingly enough will the fact that I do know go away???}

Carter: "Just tell me, Mom - does it hurt when you get nailed?! I know you've done it! ...You've used the hammer and missed the nail and hit your finger - so does it hurt?!?"


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alrighty Then

It's been a monthandahalf while, blah, blah, blah.

Moving right along.

No, really, we moved right along. I just didn't document it on my blog because I've been a bit busy. Moving, remember?

So, yeah, we have renters in our house, we're done with all the remodeling (until next summer) at my parents' house, and we're settled in. Eating fresh blueberries and other wonderfully organic food out of the garden, playing outside in the glorious sunshine (okay, shade, it's been over 90 degrees this week!), having lazy afternoons down at the lake, and making plans to get cows and chickens in the spring (seriously, and I'm SO excited!) - I think we can handle this.

Natalie and Carter started school today (6 minute bus ride instead of the 45 minute bus ride they had last year - HOLLA!) and I feel like there is FINALLY some semblance of routine and normalcy around here besides the fact that I say "Goodnight" to my parents before heading to bed, like I did when I was 15.

Also? Our summer flew by (did yours!?) - somehow I lost our summer bucket list somewhere in the middle of June (and by "lost" I mean purposefully disregarded it because it was depressing to think about all the things we didn't seem to be getting to while we were doing the much too adult-like job of throwing drawers full of junk stuff in boxes and duct taping them shut for the storage unit). But there was a lot that we did get to do and I'm very thankful for that (more on that later).

So anyway, friends, this is pretty much just an, "I'm back and I'm sorry for the lack-of-blogging this summer. There are no excuses. (Well, there are, but I'm too tired to make them up right now)" post.

It's good to be back, I missed you guys!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Alrighty, friends - some crazy stuff is happening around these parts.

We're moving.

Wait for it...

To my parents house.

Yes, I did just say that.

We're putting our house up for rent and moving to the country (gonna eat a lot of peaches... ahem) and we are really excited. My parents have over 40 acres of room to run. We plan on living there for about 2 years until we find a place in the small town they (and Jeff's parents) live in to buy or some property to build on.

It's an adventure, that's fo-sho!

So, now you know why I've been mostly MIA the past couple of weeks months. We've been (sort of helping) remodel part of my parents house (including two bathrooms) and trying to pack up our house and put it up for rent.

Lemme tell ya' - what. a. chore.!

But we're so excited to live in the country. We're excited to help my Dad with the garden and help my Mom with the house. The kids will live within a mile of the school they go to (instead of the 45 minute bus ride they had last year). They can run around and be kids without the constant, "No, you guys. Hey - you're being a little too loud. The neighbors don't want to hear you guys fighting over that. (Etc. etc. etc.)" They'll get to hear, "Yes!" more than, "no." And we're all excited about that.

There is NOTHING wrong with raising kids in the suburbs (that's where our house is now), but it's not where we grew up. I guess we're just not used to it. We were - dare I say - spoiled - growing up and we want the same memories for our kids that we have from our childhoods.

So, there you have it. Our craziness (who am I kidding - part of our craziness) in a nutshell... We're moving in with Mom and Dad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Random Inspiration

As I was running this morning I was listening to a CD with this song on it. The song started playing right at the very end of my run. I ran in intervals (which KILLS!) and literally felt like I was going to die at the end, but the lyrics of this song REALLY got me thinking a bit (you know, in between the wanting a paper bag to breathe into and feeling like I was going to fall off the treadmill).

Anyway, it made me realize that every day that I don't take full advantage of (in every aspect of my life) is one more that's just.... lost. And how it's important to recognize that EVERY DAY has potential to be something great. It's just up to us to make it what we want it to be.

Most things in life aren't just handed to us, we have to work for them, and more often than not it's... HARD! Often in order to get something we want, there's something we have to give up (time, money, sweat, etc.) but if we give up something we'd rather not have to, we appreciate what we worked for all that much more.

This song was just the reminder I needed to appreciate what I have and to think about the things I *want to have* and to not let another day go by just wishing - but to start TODAY working towards making them a reality.

What are some of the goals you've set for yourself - and what are some of the things you'd be willing to sacrifice to reach them?

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Kid Quote

Because tomorrow would have marked two whole weeks since I posted last, I'm going to throw something up today (kid quote anyone?) and not continue to feel bad for neglecting my blog.

And because it's been unbelievably crazy lately I will leave you with a pinky-promise to write about all of the exciting happenings around these parts soon.

SOON, people!

December 30, 2009:

Carter: "So... if you find a girl that you wanna marry... do you, like, say something?"

Friday, July 1, 2011

I need therapy.

If you've been a reader of Family of Five for any amount of time at all you probably already know how much I despise doing laundry. 

However, you might not know (and I'm not even joking) that I love to vacuum.

I thought for a while it was because I love the lines it makes in the carpet - making the huge rug in the living room look crisp and clean when someone walks in our home (and it is about that a little, I'll be honest). I also thought for a while it was because I hate dog hair so much and vacuuming the whole house (the wood floors and the carpeted bedrooms) on a daily basis keeps it at bay.

Today I realized the real reason I love to vacuum.

When the vacuum is going, it's so loud that I can't hear my kids arguing, yelling, and screaming at each other because it's summer and we all have a tendency to get overtired and cranky. It drowns out the, "BUT MOM, HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO KEEP MY TOY FOREVER AND NOT EVER GIVE IT BACK!"

I mean, come on. Forever? Really!? You share a bedroom, for the love of Jack Johnson, where is he going to keep it from you!?

So, for my sanity's sake, I'm doing vacuuming therapy over the summer.

For especially nice days, when we're outside and the screaming is louder, I'll move straight on to mowing-the-lawn therapy. A louder, longer, more therapeutic version of vacuuming.

It just makes life a little more pleasant for a while. Lines in the carpet lawn and all.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

{If I had to pick one picture of each of my kids to display their personalities as best as I could, these would probably do it.}

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I swear...

There are some things I really wish I didn't have to learn the hard way.

Like how difficult it is to scrub slug slime off a six year old boy's fingers.

And how uncomfortable it is mowing a lawn for 2 1/2 hours in 80 degree heat. In rubber boots. With no socks.

And that my daughter, getting drug (dragged?) across the lawn by a dog (she wouldn't let go of the dog's collar),  will cause grass stains, a rug burn type sore on her knee, and tear filled eyes, but that she'll still look up and say, "She didn't mean to hurt me, Mom" in the dog's defense.*

And that (after many tears and a thorough WebMD search) gasoline in my toddler's eyes will be irritating, but apparently will not cause any serious damage.*

*Once again I feel the need to remind you that I am not up for any Mother-of-the-Year awards. With good reason.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's going to be "Father's-Fifteen-Minutes" instead of "Father's Day" around these parts...

At the risk of my husband spending the last half hour of his SUPER BUSY work day reading my blog (just the thought of that makes me laugh) I'm going to post pictures of the adorable card the kids and I made for him for Father's Day. We're going to have him open his presents and read his card right when he gets home this afternoon because we're headed to the lake for the weekend.

We had a huge sheet of poster board (left over from garage sale signs), some crayons, a sharpie and 20 minutes. This is what we came up with:

 I feel that it should be noted (because I'm type-A sometimes) that Natalie's hair is wet from a bath, not greasy. Okay, now that we're clear we can move things right along... Proceed.

On the very top I wrote out the verses (Psalm 127: 3-4): "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"

This is what the kids wrote (what they love about their Daddy):

Natalie: He kills meat that tastes really good!

Carter: He  wrestles with me.

Jack: He always has gum and he always shares.

Natalie: Sometimes he brushes my hair and it never hurts when he does it.

Carter: He takes us camping and I LOVE camping!

Jack: He takes us hunting in the mountains!

Natalie: He always makes sure we're safe. It's really good to be safe.

Carter: He always reads to us in special voices, like the "huffs and puffs and blow your house down" book! That's the BEST!

Natalie: He prays with us a lot and that's really good.

Carter: He likes the Ducks more than the Beavers! JUST KIDDING! Bwahahaha!

Jack: He loves it when I wrestle him, but he traps me sometimes, and it's HARD to do trapping!

Carter: Daddy is a good Dad because he has really good kids... That's us. We're his kids - and we're good.

When he gets home we'll give him his card and gifts. The kids and I went and picked out a pair of Keen sandals (now I just need a pair!) for him, and Carter has a few gifts he made for him before school was out. I They can hardly wait for him to get home from work! It's adorable.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our Summer Bucket List

We brainstormed (doesn't that word make you think of elementary school?) and made a few family goals for the summer. Fun goals - not work goals. Here are a few of them. Seriously can't wait to start checking them off!

- Picnic lunch at the "big park" at least 3 times.

 - Random trips to the beach (at least 2 times) - even if it ends up being just me and the kids in the middle of the week. It needs to happen.

 - OTTER POPS. Enough said.

 - Portland Zoo with Uncle Zach.

 - Blueberry picking at the local farm (at least 3 times) with our sunhats on and little buckets in hand. ($1/pound u-pick - can't beat it!)

 - BBQ corn on the cob. Can't wait to try it!

 - Campfires at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

- Newport Aquarium with the family.

- The kids spending a week in central Oregon with my Birth-Mom and her family. The kids and I look forward to this every summer!

- Splash water park with all three kids (Natalie and Carter got to go for their last day of school trip and they LOVED it - we can't wait to take Jack, too!).

- Jeff and I taking a weekend away somewhere to celebrate our 10 year anniversary - how can that be right?! 10 years. Wow.

- Help Grandpa with his garden and make lots of yummy salads out of all the veggies.

- Go running OUTSIDE while the kids ride their bikes alongside.

- Carter's 7th birthday party! Yay!

- Catch a "cheap theater" movie on a really hot evening with the whole family.

- Camping in La Pine (at least 2 times).

- Strawberry picking with my Mom. Oh, the memories this brings back!

What's on your family's Summer Bucket List this year?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garage Sale? CHECK!


What a crazy-busy weekend! After I (finally!) got off my tail-end and started on my freakishly long list of things to accomplish, I'm proud to say that I can officially take "garage sale" off our to-do list!

I stayed up until after midnight on Thursday (which is late for me - I know, I'm such a wild one) baking cookies for the kids to sell at the sale and then we got up at 5am on Friday to start setting everything out, which was a good idea because apparently people come early to garage sales. Especially when there's outdoor activities equipment (hunting, camping, hiking, etc.). I couldn't believe it! We were set to begin at 8am and hadn't even put out the signs yet (but we had advertised on Craigslist and the local paper) and we'd already made $150 by the time 8am on the first morning hit - CRAZINESS I tell you!

So, it was a super tiring weekend, but it was really wonderful at the same time. It was fun hanging out with my Jeff, and the kids plus my parents (who brought a ton of stuff to sell as well). The kids had a great time selling the cookies and they worked together wonderfully at the table. It was adorable.

Overall, it was a definite win-win. We got rid of a lot of extra stuff and people actually gave us money for it! Who knew!?

Oh, and since it is Monday and all I have this for you (because I might have caught my husband on camera as he was doing his best fat-guy-in-a-little-coat impression - you know, from "Tommy Boy" - while he was trying on one of the shirts my Dad brought to the sale). I know. You're welcome (Katherine!).

And of course I had to add one of the kids with their "cookie table." Because, well, obviously!

And there you have it. It was fun, we got rid of a TON of our junk stuff, and I hope to not have to do it again for a VERY long time. How was your weekend?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Procrastinating. Stalling. Generally avoiding all responsibility.

You know those days when your to-do list is SO LONG that you can hardly keep from falling apart and you don't even know where to begin, so you find yourself sitting at the computer writing a blog post that has no apparent focus because the whole point is simply avoiding the start of it all? Well, I do!

{You're shocked, I'm sure.}

Because we are absolutely crazy have a ton of stuff we don't NEED we're having a garage sale this weekend (because obviously we aren't busy enough already). We're combining all of our junk stuff with my parents' junk stuff and it's going to be a doozy. I've got a garage FULL of stuff to price out, a house that looks like we're having the sale right here in our living room, cookies to bake (for the kids to sell at the garage sale so they don't see us selling their stuff), and the list goes on and on and on (I've got lists to organize my lists).

I'll let you know how it all turns out. It's our first garage sale, but we're hopeful that it will be a great success. You know, assuming that at some point today I actually get off the computer and start on my list and all...

{Oh, and in honor of our garage sale, I thought I'd share with you our first FIND of the season - my Dad actually found them - he's my partner in crime when it comes to garage saling}:

Kid's Keen sandals. All three (practically brand new!) pairs for $12. UH-Mazing!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It was fun. I promise.

We went camping over the holiday weekend along with pretty much everyone else living in Oregon. Here's the run-down:

We got a little bit of a late start and once on the road we quickly realized that ALL of the kids had diarrhea. I SO wish I was kidding. We ended up stopping a million times quite a few times on the drive and every.single.stop was "it's an emergency! Seriously - you have GOT TO STOP THE CAR!" so the kids could go to the bathroom. Only they never had tummy aches at the same time, so what should have been a 2 hour drive took us almost 4 1/2 (poor kids). I'm pretty sure that between all three kids, we used every public restroom between our house and our camp site. We stopped for coffee on the way and right after pulling back into traffic after the coffee shop stop, I realized that mine was pretty much just espresso with luke-warm milk (they forgot the flavoring and didn't really heat the milk) - so instead of actually drinking my "coffee," I just held it and practiced the lamaze breathing I never got to use during labor to get through the never-ending drive.

When we finally got there, it was wonderful. Our sweet family had the campfire going hot and we had about an hour of blissfulness before unpacking our stuff in our trailer and turning in for the night. The next morning fun was had by all (except when I realized that the batteries for my camera were dead and I would get ZERO pictures of the whole weekend). The weather was wonderful and we had a nice morning and lunch outside. Then it started to hail. Like the kind of hail that will bruise your skin if you're not wearing long sleeves. For about an hour.

And then, after the hail, it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. For the rest of the day and into the night. Luckily, Jeremi and Shane (Jeff's sister and her husband) brought their big fifth-wheel and we all piled in for some warmth, cards, and a hot dinner. All was going as well as can be expected when it's freakin' snowing during your camping trip great until Jack decided to randomly projectile vomit all over me and proceeded to dry heave for the next half hour.

The next day we woke up to a COLD morning. The snow was still covering the ground, but at least it was dry out. We decided that after being cooped up in the trailers the whole day before, we should go garage saling for a while (and yes, there were plenty, even in the snow in the low 30's - nothing stops Central Oregon from their garage sales) and in search of a coffee shop (that ironically didn't make coffee any better than the cup I had bought on the way over). Papa (Jeff's Dad) gave each of the kids a dollar for the garage sales, to buy something loud and annoying for the car ride home special, and they had a blast holding out until they found the toy that would push their parents over the edge perfect thing.

It's funny, because when I write it all down, it sounds like it was a horrible experience. But when all the less than desirable stuff was happening I just remember laughing... and thinking, "Seriously? This is REALLY happening right now?" followed immediately by, "Yeah, you can't make this stuff up."

But mostly, when I think about this weekend, I just remember having a great time with a bunch of people I love being around. Certainly a weekend none of us will soon forget, even if there aren't any pictures to remind us.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

He thinks he's SO funny.

So, Jeff and I have a weight loss challenge going on between the two of us. If I reach my goal before he reaches his then I'm going to get my nose pierced again (it's been a while, but I have had it done before - twice, actually). If he wins then he gets to buy a new pair of Danner boots that he's been eyeing.

I can't believe that he agreed to this (he's never been fond of the whole nose ring idea), but he did. We shook on it (agreeing not to purposefully sabotage each other), and off to the races we went! Like I mentioned in my last post, I've been trying to make lifestyle changes (yada, yada, yada) and add regular exercise into my routine to help boost my weight loss (and obviously, "boost" means "begin").

The other night I decided after eating 3 pieces of Papa Murphy's pizza that I should finish my day with a run, so I went in my bedroom to change and then headed out to the garage to hop on the treadmill.

This is what I found: 

While I was changing into my workout clothes, my husband (oh-so-lovingly, I'm sure) went out and placed a freaking CUPCAKE on my treadmill.

So much for the no-sabotaging, eh'? Anyway, I'll keep you updated (via Fit Friday posts) as to how it's all going. It could be a long road (it will be), but I'm in it to win it (and be healthier and stuff, too, I guess obviously).

{Despite what the photo might suggest, I feel the need to report (for the record) that there was no cupcake eating in the making of this workout session.}

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fit Friday {some stuff I've learned so far}

I'm (obviously) no expert on weight loss although I should be, I've been at it for years but in the past few months I've been learning a few things. I decided to write some of them down on here - partly to share them with you guys in case you need encouragement or tips and partly just because I don't want to forget them lest I find myself pulling into the parking lot of a Taco Bell.

Okay - here they are:

 - It's worth the effort it takes to feel healthy, to look healthy, and to BE healthy. No one is going to hand me a new and improved edition of my body wrapped in ribbon for Christmas - if I want it, I have to work towards creating it.

 - Don't make decisions about how your eating for the day will go before you've had a healthy breakfast. When I'm running around the house trying to get everyone ready for school, (lunches packed, teeth brushed, shoes on, etc.) my brain feels swollen and I feel unbelievably emotional. Because I'm so tired/hungry/stressed by the time everyone is actually out the door all I want to do is immediately excuse myself from my "healthy lifestyle," give myself a million reasons why I deserve to have a "day off" and immediately binge on sugar cereal and a mocha with whip cream (neither of which we have in the house, but you know what I mean). I've found (after much dismay and disappointment when I give in) that all it takes is one rational decision to start my day off right. If I can just get through a healthy breakfast, my head is cleared, my stomach isn't angry at me anymore, and I am able to think more clearly and remember what my goals are and in turn actually care about taking the steps it takes to reach them.

 - Keep a journal. I've never been good about writing in a regular journal (you know the "Dear Diary" kind? - well, unless a blog counts...) but I have been pretty consistent about keeping a food journal. I write everything in it. Every bite I eats goes in that journal. I take it everywhere with me so that I can be reminded of my goals when I'm away from home and in a more vulnerable place (where I'd be more likely to throw caution to the wind when it comes to making healthy choices like, say, Red Robin... mmm, cheeseburgers). Anyway, I've just found this is key in my accountability. 
I took this picture at about noon. {Also? I might be known for putting smiley face stickers on the page at the end of the day if I did a good job... I said I might.}
 - Water. Drink it. I don't love drinking water at all. I've always preferred soda (I know, it's terrible) but lately I've made it a priority to drink more water. I write circles on the bottom of my daily page in my journal and each circle represents one cup of water. This week my goal has been to drink a gallon of water each day. (Can I just say that the bathroom and I are friends? Because we totally are. We're tight these days.) I also bought a new water bottle because the 13 others that we own aren't good enough I wanted one that was MINE. One that I take everywhere (my water bottle is married to my journal) and one that my kids know is just Mommy's. I bought one with a built in straw (Camelbak) that I love because I don't have to unscrew a lid and spill all over myself when I'm driving. Simple and probably just a mental thing? Definitely. Is it working so far and thus totally worth it even though it was frivolous? YES.

 - Even though walking isn't running, it's better than sitting. I've had shin splints lately and running has been p.a.i.n.f.u.l. so I've been "power walking" on my treadmill. Yes, it takes longer to burn the same amount of calories, but I'm surprised at how much I still sweat (especially when I carry weights!) and I find that I feel just as good as after a run because even though I couldn't do what I hoped, I still chose to do something.

Okay guys, that's all for now. When I come up with more, you'll be the first to hear about them. What are some tips you have to share? I'd LOVE to hear em'!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


{Kid Quote AND Wordless Wednesday. That's right folks, I'm goin' all out today.}

Quote from February 20, 2010:

Carter: "Begging isn't whining. It's just asking really, really hard."


Sick or not, some days you just have to gear up for battle.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I *Might Have* Monday {Semi-Extended Version}

I might have slept in past 9am both mornings this weekend. It's been years since I've slept in so late (two days in a row) - so if, in fact, it actually did happen - it might have felt a little like heaven.

Today, I'm paying for all the sleep, though. My house looks like a family of five was here all weekend hanging out, relaxing, cooking, not cleaning, and generally having a good time making a disaster of their home great memories all the while forgetting not caring that there will be a time when it all has to be cleaned up again. Wait. Yes. That's exactly what happened.

Knowing that today was inevitably cleaning day, I made a to-do list (as I do every morning because I'm weird like that). I squeezed "make a to-do list" on the top (right above blaze-a-trail-through-dirty-laundry-to-the-washing-machine) so that I could cross at least one thing off before I (technically) got off track doing something that wasn't on the list (coughbloggingcough).

So, all in all, I might have had a great weekend. I got good sleep, I had fun with my family, and we made memories (which is way better than keeping the house clean). Now I have to go make a check-mark next to "detox the house from this weekend disaster."

Alrighty, I'll catch y'all later... like say, when I get bored of cleaning.

 ::Spoiler Alert:: I'malreadythere.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The "rules" no one writes down.

So I saw a post on FaceBook this morning that was titled, "25 Manners Every Kid Should Know By Age Nine". I agreed with the article, but it got me thinking, too.

We've always tried hard to instill in our children a gratefulness and appreciation for the things they have. We've worked at teaching them manners to be used both at home and in public (not that they readily remember them when the time comes). But there are a few things (rules, per se) that weren't on the list so I thought I'd add a few...

  1. Don't try to wipe your boogers on your siblings. Use a tissue and wash your hands.
  2. Don't lick the dog. I don't want to have to pull the hair out of your mouth... again.
  3. When I'm on the phone with a doctor, a grandparent, a social services employee, or anyone from your school please refrain from acting like a herd of monkeys - or at least be quiet monkeys until I'm off the phone.
  4. For the love of Mark Ruffalo flush the toilet!
  5. Don't smear your banana covered fingers on the sliding glass door. The dog licks it off and it makes me want to throw up.
  6. If, during bedtime story, you find that I'm skipping pages or only reading the first and last sentences of each paragraph, just go with it. It's for my your own good.
  7. Sidewalk chalk is for the sidewalk. Not the carpet in your bedroom, the bumper of the suburban, or snack.
  8. When you're flossing your teeth and you find something in there, feel free to not show everyone.
  9. Announcing "number 1" or "number two" is not necessary when you're heading to the bathroom. No one wants to know.
  10. House-plants drink water. Not juice or chocolate milk.
I can think of MANY more, but this is a good start. What are some of your house rules?

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    There. I said it.

    I don't like Mother's Day. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm unbelievably thankful for all of my mothers... {{The one who gave birth to me and then being amazingly selfless, chose adoption and gave me to another... The one who prayed endlessly for me to come into her life, then gave me a childhood most people only dream of having... And the one who through patience, love, and  undoubtedly lots of prayer raised my husband to be a respectful, loving, sensitive, strong, and Godly man... I am crazy-thankful for these women.}} but seriously, I don't like Mother's Day.

    There's so much pressure. So many expectations (is it just me, or does everyone expect to not have to give kids baths or vacuum out the car on Mother's Day?) and often times (in my life anyway) it just doesn't work like that. Our morning wasn't ideal, by any means. It wasn't the typical breakfast-in-bed-and-handmade-cards that you think of when "Mother's Day" is near. 

    But really, not liking Mother's Day has nothing to do with the fact that mine was different than "normal" or less than what I had expected. (We did go to Portland and had a wonderful afternoon with my parents and brother.) I don't like Mother's Day because I find so much more joy in every day than could ever possibly be packed into one day with a "Mother's" label on it (throw up in your mouth if you have to, but it's true for the most part).

    Every time I hear my kids laughing with each other, it's more beautiful to me than a bouquet of flowers. When my husband randomly tells me he knows it's not an easy job, but he really appreciates how hard I work for our family, it's better than runny eggs and burned toast served on a platter in bed.

    I realize that when I really think about it, getting woken up at 4:00am to change wet sheets, give a hug, and whisper, "it's no big deal" to one of my children doesn't make Mother's Day "less-than." It makes every single day Mother's Day because every day I am nothing but blessed to just get to be my kids' Mommy.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    I guess I'm *that* kind.

    I know I've talked about this before, but seriously, sometimes I hate that I'm that kind of girl. You know, the kind that needs a guy to do the stereotypical "guy" jobs...

    Today I bought spackle. And a spackle applying tool. (Can you tell I have no idea what I'm talking about here?) But, I did. And I used them.

    A few days months ago we took out a set of cabinets in our kitchen to open up the space into the dining room. It was great but the walls (where the cabinets were) were white, and all the walls in our house are a cream color (I know, how boring are we?) and there were big holes where the cabinets were nailed to the walls... and something had to be done about it. Today (my opinion)But Jeff has been busy (hence the 7 month waiting period to get a project done) and I just didn't want him to have to think about it anymore. I wanted to help ("help" - obviously it's gotta be in quotes, right?).

    So I went to the store and bought the stuff I thought I'd seen used on HGTV I needed and I went to town on it. I spackled (is that even what filling in the holes is called?) and let it dry. Then in the garage I found all the spackling materials I needed that I had just bought at the store old paint from the previous owner of the house and painted the whole thing the same color as the rest of the room. I felt accomplished. I had been adventurous and took the initiative and did it. And best of all, because I did it, Jeff didn't have to. WIN!

    Only, it looks weird. I don't think I did it right. The colors aren't matching (can paint in a gallon "bucket" fade a little over time?) and I don't want Jeff to come home and act all proud of me for doing "such a great job" while secretly wanting to re-do the whole thing the right way. I did it so he wouldn't have to. But I think I did it wrong and I'm not really sure how to fix it.

    Anyway, like I said, I hate being "that kind of girl" - especially when I really (really) wanted it to work out.

    But at the same time, the fact that it didn't work out means that my husband can (clearly) see that I need him. For spackling... and other stuff. Plus, I'm not just that kind of girl I'm other kinds, too. Other kinds that are WAY more important.

    Like the kind that tries. The kind that wants to help her husband out, not so that he feels guilty that he didn't get it done earlier, but so that he can just take a deep breath and know that it's one less thing on his plate. I'm the kind of girl who loves her husband so much I went WAY out of my comfort zone and into a hardware store...

    I'm that kind of girl. And if nothing else, that is something I can be proud of.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Wordless Wednesday

    ::::  "Krista" is my younger (24 yr. old) sister.  ::::

    {Could this be any sweeter? I think not.}

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Kid Quote!

    From March 16, 2010

    Carter: "So, when a lady's ready to have a baby, she just wishes for one. Then she lays an egg whenever she wants to because she's nocturnal, not diurnal."

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Is he really sick? (Or am I?)

    I know this is going to sound terrible, but I love it when my little guy (Jack) is sick.

    I know, it's terrible.

    But seriously - I do (don't tell).

    When he's sick, I'm the only one he wants - and honestly? I love that.

    When he's not feeling well, my little three year old actually slows down long enough to snuggle and I have a good excuse to not do the dishes and just sit on the couch under a blanket and hold my "baby."

    He also wants to wear his footy pajamas all day and as you guys know, those pj's are freaking adorable. And I'm afraid he's going to outgrow the "footy pj" stage before I even finish writing this sentence.

    I think it's adorable how he drags his blanket around the house behind him and the way his eyebrows are constantly furrowed making it look like he's always concentrating on something.

    No one else likes it when he's sick (because they have a heart?). He won't go to Jeff for anything. Natalie and Carter are annoyed that he's so whiny... because obviously they never struggle with being whiny. {Ahem.} But I'm enjoying every minute.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not some sick person who likes it when my kid is suffering. I am, however, a Mommy who is terribly sad that her "baby" is three and a half already. It's hard enough that most of the time I feel like all Natalie and Carter need me for is for reading cursive, making french braids, and paying for stuff - the least Jack can do is stay little. Seriously, is it too much to ask?

    Okay, I don't really love it when he's sick (obviously, I'm not completely demented). But I do love getting to coddle cuddle him without having to bribe him for it.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a sick child who might need some attention.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    The one with all the Easter confusion.

    So this morning as I was driving the kids to the bus stop we started discussing Easter. Natalie was asking questions about Jesus dying on the cross. I started to explain to them how after Jesus died while he was hanging on the cross they brought his dead body to a cave (tomb) and put a big rock in front of it and guards stood watch so no one would try to steal the body. And that Jesus laid there for three days and then...

    "...and then they sent him to a lion's den!" (Carter)

    "No, buddy. That was Daniel, not Jesus..."

    "Oh, right."

    "So, like I said, after three days--"

    "... and then after the three days Jesus ended up in a BIG fish's mouth in the ocean and God saved him!"

    "Uh, that was Jonah, buddy."

    So, after noting that we need to have a major Bible story review with Carter, ASAP  I continued on to explain to them how after the three days Jesus became alive again and went to heaven and will one day come back to take all the people who love him to heaven with him. I talked to them about what a gift it was for Jesus to die on the cross so that we can go to heaven when we die even though we do things that make him very sad sometimes. He loves us so much that he chose to die so we can be forgiven.

    After the long explanation Natalie states simply, "I don't know if I want to go to heaven."

    "Really? How come?"

    "Well, you said that Jesus will come back for all the people on earth and we'll get to live in heaven - but I think I'll just stay here."

    "Why do you want to stay here if everyone is gone?"

    "Well someone needs to stay here to take care of all the animals!"

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    I "Might Have" Monday

    A lady walking on the sidewalk might have yelled at us that our music was too loud while we were driving by.

    But we couldn't hear her very well.

    Because our music was too loud.

    {And yes, we do listen to Michael Jackson. And dance to "Thriller." In the car.}

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Kid Quote

    From August 27, 2010:

    Carter (looking at the picture on the lasagna noodle box and then back at my lasagna): "Is that what you're making?"

    Me: "Yes, it is."

    Carter: "No offense, Mom, but... are you sure?"

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011


    [I don't really know how else to preface this post except to say that these are mostly just random thoughts on being "joyful" that have been marinating in my brain the last couple of days. Coherency is not guaranteed, so read at your own risk.]

    Is there a difference between happiness and joy? Can you still have joy while being sad, upset, disappointed, or frustrated?

    Through weeks of frustration and trying to find "joy" even in less than desirable circumstances, I'm realizing that it all comes down to what I'm focusing on. When I feel like my circumstances are not ideal, I focus on them {how to change them, then feeling guilty that I'm complaining about them when really they are nothing compared to what others face, and it goes on and on}.

    When it comes right down to it, I'm being selfish. Plain and simple. I'm trying to take matters into my own hands and "fix" everything, when it's not my job. I wasn't designed to be a fixer, I was designed to need a fixer. And that's where the "joy" part comes in...

    When I'm focusing my attention on Him and not on myself or my circumstances I can't help but be joyful. I mean, seriously, the God who created the universe calls me His own child. Is that not amazing!? He cares about me. He cares about my circumstances and He wants to be a part of every single thing I do, think, and say. He wants to be my best friend. I just have to let Him, and when I do, all the other stuff sort of just falls away and I can get a glimpse of how little it really matters...

    ...But it's when I have my eyes focused on myself that I really struggle because lets face it. I mess up all the time. PERIOD. Life happens. Kids are disobedient. My patience gets lost somewhere between toothpaste smeared all over the tile grout and kids using spatulas as drum sticks on the bottom of upside down tin buckets. If I tried to find joy in my own strength I would {and do} fail. Epically.

    That's why I need to have tunnel vision. I have to have my heart open to His will and my eyes and ears focused on His truths, and believe them for myself! When I simply seek Jesus, my daily circumstances  end up having nothing to do with my heart's contentment because my heart ends up being so filled with the joy of the Lord and so set on what a gift it is to simply be His child and live in the grace Jesus provides that the temporary happenings of this earth can't touch the depth of joy in my heart. When I think about it - about HIM - how could I not be filled with JOY? Are you?

    "May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:11-14

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Kid Quote

    From December 15, 2009:

    Natalie: "Mom! When I went to teach Jack how to play this game, he already knew how to play!"

    Me: "Yeah, I play it with him when you guys are at school."

    Natalie: "That's amazing! He's actually learning something from you!"

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Let this be a lesson to... me.

    I realize that what I'm going to write about happened this last weekend, but honestly it's taken me this long to be able to laugh about it. Now you get to as well. You're welcome (in advance).

    So, on Saturday Natalie and I had a "girl's day." We went out to lunch, went shopping, and we went to see Tangled in 3D. While we were shopping, I decided that Natalie could buy a candy treat to take to the movie because I'm too cheap to buy $8 popcorn. While she was pondering her endless choices in the candy isle of Target, I started to get a sugar craving. As you know (maybe you don't) I've been "off" refined sugar for the past 4 weeks, so candy is out... or is it? While I was waiting for her to make her choice seriously, she is SUCH a girl! I saw the "sugar-free" section of candy (although "sugar-free candy" seems like quite the oxymoron) and I thought, "Maybe I CAN have a little something sweet in the movie... I'm going to try it!" So, I bought these...

    Perfect, right? It was so nice sitting in the theater eating these little Jelly Bellys one at at time, totally savoring each unique flavor (and even though they are sugar-free, they tasted pretty good to me because I've all but forgotten what sugar tastes like).

    We finished the movie and started making our way home by way of a few thrift stores. On the drive home my stomach started cramping up a little and by the time we got home it was WAY more than a little bit. I could hardly stand up straight and I thought my stomach was going to explode it was so bloated.

    Jeff could tell I was completely uncomfortable and started going over what I had eaten that day that would possibly make me so miserable. I told him exactly where and what we ate for lunch (Mucho Gusto - heavenly!) and then what I had eaten at the movies. I said that it had been hours since eating anything and this sudden pain just didn't make any sense!

    I wondered if there was any way I was possibly allergic to something in the Jelly Bellys (since I've had Mucho Gusto salads a number of times before, I ruled that out and possibly because I simply refused to have something from there cause the pain as it's my FAVORITE place to eat). I grabbed the Jelly Belly wrapper from the car and Jeff and I read the ingredients...

    ... most of which we couldn't even pronounce (never a good sign). Then we saw it. The WARNING on the bag. What the bleep kind of candy has to have a warning on it!? (And why isn't it written bigger - ON THE FRONT of the package!?)

    This is what it says, "WARNING: Consumption may cause stomach discomfort and/or laxative effect. Individual tolerance will vary. We suggest starting with 8 beans or less."

    Seriously, WHAT!? 8 BEANS OR LESS!? Yeah, I ate more than 8. Come on - who eats 8 tiny Jelly Bellys and thinks, "Yes. Totally satisfied." - NO ONE except possibly my sister Jeanna, but she's kind of weird like that (love you Jeanna!). So my stomach? It totally felt it.

    I didn't feel better until I woke up on Sunday morning - God bless my sweet husband who lovingly sympathized with me over the pain while laughing hysterically at the whole situation and I vowed to never eat sugar-free Jelly Bellys again. EVER.

    And if you do choose to partake in those evil, gut wrenching, candy-of-doom-that-are-sure-to-cause-death, don't say I didn't warn you. Or at least don't eat more than 8 of them.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    {Not} Wordless {At All} Wednesday

    The kids and I have been really struggling in the evenings (you know, getting through them... ahem) on school nights. The kids are tired. I'm tired. They have an afternoon chart to follow to help guide them through the transition from "school mode" to "home mode" but as soon as they're done with the chart, more often than not it becomes melt-down central around here.

    Yesterday I decided that something needs to change. Before Jack and I left to go get the kids from the bus stop, I made a list (it's what I do. I make lists...). I wrote down what the kids were going to make for dinner. Yes, they were going to make dinner. All of it. I assigned each kid a food group and made a list of what they would be doing (including every detail so they felt like each task was a HUGE deal to accomplish). Then I set out everything on the counter that they would need to set the table so that they could keep busy doing that while I was prepping for them to get started with their cooking.

    Can I just say TOTAL SUCCESS?! The evening went great! They were so excited to cook (they usually only help with baking) and they were each even more excited to taste what the others made - they even wanted to take the leftovers to school today in their lunches (WIN!)!

    Carter cleared the table after dinner and Natalie loaded the dishwasher while Jack, uh... supervised. No attitudes, no whining, no melt downs and no time-outs the whole evening. It was amazing! However, since I'm really good at procrastinating and generally not planning ahead, I'm going to have to make a few a lot of changes if I want to keep this up (which I do!).

    So, there you have it. I officially have my kids making dinner and cleaning up afterwards. HOLLA!

    {Jack's job was the green beans. He claimed it was the best part of the meal.}

    {Carter was on "baked potato duty." I'm pretty sure our water bill will be doubled this month, but the potatoes were definitely clean...}

    {Natalie did the lightly breaded baked chicken breasts. She LOVED it!}

    {If you could kindly look past my disastrous kitchen to simply take in how adorable these kids are working together it would be much appreciated, mmkay? Thanks.} ;)