Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happiness Is...

So, it has been a while since I posted a list. I loooove a list, and I am feeling pretty happy today, so I decided I would post about a couple of the things that are making me smile.
1.We have a squirrel. She comes to the back door about 3 pm every afternoon to beg for food. It is really pretty cute. We think that the people who lived here before us must have fed her. Of course we couldn't say, "no" to that face, so we now have a bag of nuts that we keep by the door for afternoon snacks.
2. I can't resist these faces either. There are days that are more frustrating than others, of course, no child is perfect. But they have been really great friends lately and sharing a room is coming along nicely. That definitely makes me happy!

3. These faces make me happy, too, but really this is because Carson used the potty. I think we will really tackle potty training after we come back from my mom's in March, but he was so excited about going he wanted his picture taken. I will take any small victory that comes along, because Carson being out of diapers will definitely make me happy!

4. My new bedspread. It was kind of a spur of the moment purchase. We had a gift card to Target and it was $20 marked down from $80. I am obsessed with the gray/yellow color combination and it went nicely with the black things I already have in our room. The sheets match better in real life than in this photo. I really like it!
5. Bargains! I have gotten some STEALS lately- for instance: the bodywash was $0.59, the Gain was $1.18, the donuts were $0.50 and I had a $1 coupon for the liners, so I actually made $0.11 on them! I have also gotten free Triaminic, ibuprofen, and more liners this week. It is so fun!
6. My new jeans. I really, really love them because they were FREE! Another coupon deal- I got a $5 off a pair of jeans coupon from Target and these were $4.98!So truly, after the coupon I paid $0.00 for them. This one was too good to combine with the other bargains- it makes me super happy! My mom said with the holes in them she wouldn't have taken them for free, but I am not looking this gift horse in the mouth. No way.

7. Photo books. This is my latest one, from Walgreens, and I love it. It turned out fabulously. I have already made two this year and have another that I will be finishing shortly. I never had any desire to scrap book, but making digital books fits me perfectly. I am finally getting caught up on our photos and that makes me happy, too.
So what is making you happy?


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review: Indivisible

Some things in life are inexplicable. You can't necessarily put into words how or why they have affected you. "Indivisible" by Kristen Heitzmann is like that. She weaves a tale full of complex, unusual characters caught up in bizarre situations and makes it all come together skillfully.

The story starts slowly, and I will admit, I was often frustrated by the allusion to certain details concerning the back stories of several characters. If books are paintings then Ms. Heitzmann is a master of pencil sketching. You get enough lines to see the pictures but it is mostly outline. The finer points are left to your imagination. However, enough information is provided eventually to completely pull you into the story and entice you to see it to its completion.

The story follows two main characters: a shopkeeper named Tia and her old flame, Jonah, the small town's chief of police. The title of the book represents the indivisibility of several aspects of the story and the relationship between Jonah and Tia is one of them. Both have been badly damaged in the past and instead of allowing their pain to unite them, they lash out at each other, but when gruesome crimes start happen they are drawn together.

It may start slowly, but it gathers speed after the first several chapters. I thought it was worth the wait. Ms. Heitzmann has a different style, but I grew to like it. She paints her characters as both aggravating and amiable. In a word, they are human. I admired how she wove a Christian view point in without being patronizing or preachy.

I would definitely recommend this one. If you are willing to patiently invest in the initial story development you will be rewarded in the end. Ms. Heitzmann uses that as build-up to give you a better understanding once the story picks up. Once she hits her stride you won't want to put it down.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
P.S. If you click on the book cover above it will take you directly to the publisher's site where you can find more info on the book and purchase it!
P.P.S If you aren't sick of me yet, could you PLEASE take the time and rank my review below? Thanks!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day!

I know I am a little late in posting this, it seems like everyone else had their post up on the 14th! However, better late than never. I have been working on a photo book for the last couple of days ( in the midst of unpacking and a million other things that have demanded my time in the last week) and this was a little lower on the priority list! However, the big V-day wasn't.

I decided, after seeing a $3 package of pink chocolate chip pancake mix at Wal-Mart, that I could do that myself for cheaper! They turned out great, it is a little hard to see in the photo, but the kids loved them! They really were a beautiful shade of deep pink. It was easy, I just added food coloring to the water the recipe called for, making sure that I didn't increase it at all. It took about12 drops of red to make my 12 small pancakes pink, but it was totally worth it. The kids really loved the little piece of Dove- candy for breakfast was extra special.

I made sure to set the table all pretty. My girly-girl noticed it right away. We can't light candles around Carson, though. He thinks everything is a birthday candle and immediately blows it out!

Another special touch was sparkling cider in "real" glasses. My mom always had sparkling cider on special occasions and I love carrying on that tradition. Between the kids and I, we consumed a whole bottle for breakfast! Like the unpacked box in the background? Well, I can unpack any day, but Valentine's day comes but once a year!
We had purchased Papa Murphy's heart-shaped pizza in the past, but Joel especially loves my homemade pizza. I thought about being crafty and trying to shape the crust, but in the end I decided to just stick with arranging the pepperonis. This is the one for the kids.

And this is Joel's. He loves his pizza in a rectangular pan, so I don't think he would have been that impressed with a heart shaped crust, and I probably wouldn't have pulled it off very professionally! It took him a minute to figure out what I was showing him. We don't exchange Valentine's gifts, mostly because of my birthday and our anniversary, but I like to do little fun things for him. He surprised me with a box of chocolates, so this was his little happy. Especially since I really wanted to do the BOGO at Qdoba's...
We had a really busy day, lots of errands to run, so we decided to wait and give the kids their Valentine bags at night. The kids always get a "stuffy" for Valentine's and I couldn't resist these matching sock monkeys. So cute!

They didn't know we had presents for them, but we sent them to their room to wait. They both decided to snuggle in Carson's bed. Now that they are sharing a room I am on the lookout for gender neutral bedding, but obviously it hasn't happened yet!
They were so surprised when Joel walked in with the bags! I love how simple things bring them such pleasure.
Attacking the gifts! They each got a sock monkey, a little box of chocolates, a lollipop bouquet (another tradition) and....

Band-Aids! I don't keep fun Band-Aids for scrapes. Band-Aids are for when you are bleeding, and plain ones serve fine for medical purposes. Besides, my kids think the cartoon ones are stickers. So believe it or not, they were really excited to get their own box of Band-Aids to do whatever they wanted with. Carson was very eager to show off his "Woody and Buzz Yiteyear" ones!
They fell in love with their monkeys. Josie named hers "Rosie" and Carson decided on "Blueberry". They have slept with them every night. It makes me happy.
So that was our little Valentine's day. I love having it so kid-centric for right now. Joel and I have been really good at making sure to have a date night at least once a month, and as neither of us is especially romantic, celebrating as a family is a perfect fit. These little guys are the best Valentines anyway, gotta love those faces. I hope you had a wonderful Happy Hearts day, too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wandering and Waiting

Clearing housing was a bear- much worse than I thought it would be. However, none of that matters in the light of the fact that we passed! Now all the fun of moving in begins. We are somewhat ahead in the game, considering that since we moved in town we don't have the piles and piles of boxes. Instead, we have piles and piles of loose stuff! In some ways that may be worse.

This house is different in a lot of ways from our other one. It has a basement and a garage, which is nice. It has a teeny, tiny kitchen and two bathrooms. And lots of other small things. So, I was standing in the shower yesterday (I do a lot of good thinking with hot water running over my head) and I started thinking about how I was frustrated with all the work to be done. It is hard dividing things in between different spaces. I have no room in my kitchen- precisely, no drawers, and weird lazy susan cupboards that hardly hold anything. Also, since we only had one bathroom before, I had everything all together in our big linen closet right next to it, and now I have to figure out how to split it up between two bathrooms that aren't close to each other. It made me crabby. And I thought to myself, "I wish I only had one bathroom, that was so much easier. And less to clean, too."

Now, don't get me wrong. There were definitely days that I tried to be thankful about only one bathroom. But most of the time (especially when I was pregnant) I would complain about it to no end. And I would dream of the day when I would have two bathrooms. I wouldn't have to share with the kids and all their bath toys, and there would never be a line for the toilet. I also thought of how wonderful it would be to have a basement or a garage to store all the Christmas decorations and JBF stuff that I always had to put up with in the laundry room.

I was not being thankful for what I have in my new house because I want it to all be put together and organized NOW. I don't want to have to put up with the slow process of sorting everything out, trying one spot and then needing to move things to another. I don't want to have to decide what I should keep in one bathroom and put in the other. I don't want to tromp up and down two flights of stairs 45 times a day. I don't want to find things while losing others. I want it to be my way ASAP. I don't want to wait.

That was when I realized: gratitude and patience go hand in hand. I can't be thankful for what I have now, because I want what I know is coming, or what I know can happen. I don't want to endure any temporary pain, or even discomfort. I want it right, right away. I don't want to have a journey to my destination, I want to tele-transport like Star Trek. Instant gratification.

Which is an oxymoron. You can't truly appreciate something until you have something to contrast it with. Truly, apart from God, we can not understand pleasure without pain, good without bad. But that requires patience. I couldn't help but think of the Israelites. Whining and complaining in the desert. Moaning and groaning because "things were so much better in Egypt".

"Didn't we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Exodus 14:12

"The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
Exodus 16:3

Doesn't sound very grateful to me. Doesn't sound very patient either. The Israelites had just been rescued from slavery. And not run-of-the-mill, do my laundry, cook my dinner, slavery. Not that that would be so great, either, but they had been under a firstborn killing, make bricks with no straw, complete disregard for religion, backbreaking, soul-stealing, regime of forced labor of the worst kind. And they wanted to go back! And simply because they weren't getting what they wanted when they wanted it.

The first quote is when they were standing before the Red Sea. I will cut them a little slack in this situation. But God performed a mighty, amazing, death-defying miracle. The second quote however, is once the journey had begun. The people were angry because they were hungry. They wanted to be satisfied instantly. They were so impatient and focused on themselves that they couldn't remember every mind-blowing thing that the Lord had already done for them. They couldn't remember the exultant exit from Egypt, departing with all the riches of the land. They had already forgotten the dual triumph of the Red Sea, when they walked across on dry land and the "horse and his rider were swept into the sea". All they could think about what their present sufferings, which were really nothing in comparison to what they had already endured. They could not find contentment in their current circumstances because they had no patience to wait for what was to come. They ended up wandering because they wouldn't wait. They were forced to wait until they learned some gratitude.

In light of all that, I have to choose to be thankful for what I have and remember the oh-so-recent miracle of passing our inspection. I have to be patient and believe that it will be revealed to me in time. I need to be grateful for the chance to organize two bathrooms and a basement- because I need to be able to find joy in the here and now, without demanding perfection. It will all come together in time, but there can be gratefulness in the waiting. I don't want to have to learn the hard way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Better Get Moving

I will be so happy when all of this moving mess is done with. We have never moved "in town" before- every move I have ever made has been across multiple state lines! It is odd to not be surrounded by boxes- to save money we decided to buy 10 boxes and some packing paper. We have been re-using the boxes. Some have made as many as four trips! I also have a plethora of laundry baskets so we are using those and my reusable grocery totes, too. We pack up the Explorer and Joel drives over and unloads, and then we do it all again.

I am torn between wanting to be here, at the old house, packing and cleaning, and wanting to be at the "new" house unpacking and organizing! I keep telling myself that I need to work on this house and getting it turned over because I will have plenty of time to deal with everything else after that is done! I hate living in limbo, though. I just want to feel settled. I am such a whiner-we have only been in the processing of moving for a week. I think it is hard to know that it is so close, but there is so much left to do!

Also, I am little tiny bit of a control freak when it comes to moving. I really don't even like Joel helping, but he seems to think he must. I just want to do it all myself! But, I can't. Maybe if I had tons of time, or money, (or both!) I could, but it just isn't possible right now. Probably isn't helping that Carson is a little petrified that we are going to forget him. But hopefully, this time next week, I will be sitting in my "new" house, in front of the fireplace with my feet propped up-hey a girl can dream, right?

But, for now, I still have 5 sets of blinds to clean, some baseboards to scrub and about a million odds and ends to throw in laundry baskets and grocery bags. Better get moving...


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