Friday, February 6, 2015

Christmas donkeys, obstacle courses, and talent

asher was donny the donkey in the school play:
"donny the donkey."
my son was the lead in the school play.
i think it's because he actually had no lines and the teacher knew i had five kids. 
running lines during Christmas season?
ain't nobody got time for that.

so above you see the cutest, most precious donkey ever. 
and he did amazing. 
he's quite the comedian. 

i know these pics look like they're posing for cute pictures. BUT in reality, my sons are practicing obstacle course type stuff outside all the time in preparation for their upcoming obstacle race in march.
they are stoked about it. they are running it with the hubs and maybe even grandpa and an uncle. it's a fun way to see family and do something new and exciting. 

they already have a traverse rope and a pull-up bar in the back yard.
they also want tarzan rope swings. 
i am excited they like being active but momma likes her beautiful yard. 
maybe we'll find a compromise somewhere.

we have been inundated with sickness and activities and church events and crafting projects...
the list never seems to end. 
this time of year is usually a bit slower. holidays are over, but spring stuff hasn't begun yet.
not so this year.
asher's at a kinder program that does a new activity every day, has a field trip once a month, has class parties, and makes a huge igloo out of milk jugs we get to collect. 
-not to mention the 100th day of school, bringing in pringles cans for star gazers, and beginning readers and spelling tests. 
it's a bit overwhelming. 
but when you see the culmination of their space unit is a kid who can sing about planets and wear this adorable space suit he made, it makes it seem worthwhile.

gabe was part of a team at school where they built rube goldberg machines. 
you know, cause and effect. a marble drops down a ramp, hits dominoes, they hit a car, the car hits the balloon, and the balloon pops. 
it's an after school program that has been going on for 10 weeks and gabe has enjoyed it so much.

so this week his school had a science night. 
he got to show off what he and the team have been working on.
i'm tellin' yah, guys, he lit up like a Christmas tree.
he LOVED it.

at one point he was the only kid left demonstrating and all the other kids from the team had left. 
he was kind of a one-man-show. 

it's so great to see the boys' passions and talents and how different they are. 
judah loving art, elijah loving to write, gabe loving science, and asher loving puzzles.
we tell them they can do anything.
and it's exciting to see how they carry that out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

organizing my time

recently a blog i read posted this about organization and i found all of these links to be helpful.
i really enjoy organizing and getting tips from others, but i find it's such a personal thing based on how your household runs. you have to take the stuff you find helpful and add in your own stuff, too.

this link about time management was so helpful! it's part of a series you should totally check out. i used her ideas to schedule my day. she also has free printables which i didn't use but they look cute and useful.

since reading that, i've typed up a schedule and put it in a page protector on my desk so it's extra durable but also accessible.

i've only done this new routine for a week or so but i'm finding it to be easy to manage.

daily tasks:
1. make bed
2. start laundry
--older kids to school---
3. quiet time/ bible study
4. fold laundry if needed (see my previous post about kids helping)
5. dishwasher: empty or load or both

now don't judge me on the next part. i am not a clean freak. i just do what i can so i'm not totally embarrassed by my home.

clean out fridge

vacuum upstairs and down

1x/month: (i said don't judge)
shop at costco

1. load dishwasher
2. clean sink
3. wipe down counters
4. wipe down table cloth or put on new one
5. defrost meat for next day in fridge
6. boys' chores

i've also been taking about 10-15 minutes each evening to make my next day's to-do list and set out clothes for myself for the morning. around here, mornings can be uncertain and rough based on the amount of sleep we all had or lack there of. i've noticed anything i can do to make the morning run smoother has a huge impact on how the day goes.

and this concludes my organizational skills. also, do you like the random photos of flowers throughout this post? i couldn't find any photos relating to organization and i thought, hey, flowers make things feel clean and pretty, right?

today, in the midst of being unorganized and stretched too thin for a few weeks, i am diffusing jasmine oil and listening to acoustic guitar music so i can trick my brain into relaxing. i guess the study i've been doing on sabbath hasn't taken hold yet.
happy organizing, peeps!

Monday, February 2, 2015

kids as helpers

so i mentioned in my last post that i have started a new sort of schedule thing to help me organize my day and help get the kids involved more around the house.
we've always given the boys responsibilities but as they grow, they need more. i want them to be active helpers in keeping the household running. things like, "what are you making us for dinner?" and "where are my clean clothes?" send me over the edge. so i'm putting the ball in their court as much as i can.

our boys are 8, 6, 6, and 5 (a tiny 5, which makes it hard to be a helper when he can't reach things).
in our family, we have days of the week assigned to different people. gabe, the oldest, has mondays, which means he does his laundry that day, picks which way we do discipleship time, prays at meals, showers first, gets to pick the book we read together as a family, etc.
so i've sorted the chores into four categories and each kiddo does a set based on what day it is.
this sounds confusing. i'll just show you:

but a not-so-quick side note:
laundry. this will change your life. i decided back in september that i was wasting so much time folding the boys' clothes when they just shove them in their dressers. also, the boys would fight over whose clothes were whose. AND i would wash the clothes, dry them, fold them, divvy them up for each kid, and put them at the base of the stairs for the boys to put away and they had the AUDACITY to complain about the work., sirs.

so i bought them each a dirty clothes hamper, had them label them with their names, and instituted this new method of laundry.
it has saved me so much time and i don't resent laundry so much. so here you go.
on their day of the week, one boy will take off their sheets, blankets, and pillowcases and bring them downstairs first thing in the morning before school (little tiny 5 year old gets help from a brother because the sheets are heavier than he is). i wash and dry them during the day, and after school the boy gets them from the dryer and takes them upstairs. i make their beds, but they put their clothes away.
"do they fold them?" --you may ask. probably not. the boys take care of their dressers how they please. some like folding their clothes so their space is more organized, others shove the clothes in every nook and cranny. the only rules are: no clothes on the floor and no complaining that you can't find what you need. they have more ownership of their space in their rooms. i don't oversee it. i figure we all have a way we like our own space to be, and this lets them figure out how they like their space. it's been so freeing. then on fridays i do the baby's laundry and my husband's and mine. it's wonderful.

ok, back to chores:
here's what our chore chart thingy looks like:
kid 1: laundry put away, clear table after dinner, wipe down bathroom counter and clear it of junk
kid 2. take out recycling, help me with dinner, straighten the game room
kid 3: take out compost bin, vacuum under table (little handheld vacuum that stays in kitchen), straighten bedrooms (they share rooms so it's only 2 to straighten)
kid 4: take out trash from cans in each room if needed/take out kitchen trash, feed the dogs, straighten game room if it's extra messy or straighten the craft room

---so on monday, gabe is kid 1, judah is kid 2, elijah is kid 3, and asher is kid follows birth order. on tuesday, the line moves up and judah is number 1, elijah is number 2, etc.
 it rotates, which helps the kids not get sick of stuff. it's been a bit challenging keeping it all straight. even with it written down, the hubs and i seriously ask each other which kid does what like 7 times each night. so i have big plans to have a friend make me a beautiful chart complete with days of the week and a cute pic of each kid so it's easier to manage.

we usually do our chores after dinner and before showers because after that it's just crazy time with reading and logging books and such. doing all this with a baby to feed and put to bed in addition to my own after dinner chores has been challenging but we're finding our groove.

i'll post more on how i'm organizing my time soon.

a few of my favorite things

hi friends.
it's been a bit busy around here. science fair projects, oh joy of my life. super bowl parties for our life group, seriously a hugely wonderful time with new friends. cold weather one day and then nice weather the next which pushes us outside to run around and enjoy it for too long and then the rush to finish school stuff before bedtime. too few hours in the day to get it all done.

but i thought i would share with you a few of my favorite things. things that make a day just a bit lovelier.

1. flowers from my sister when we were all sick with the flu:  it was awful, but like i always say (and so does meg ryan) "daisies are the friendliest flower."my sister sent these to me to cheer me up and who doesn't feel happier with lovely bright flowers to remind you that the sickness won't last forever.

2. a new bible study, breathe, by priscilla shirer: it's all about creating a sabbath. i'm only on the first week but am enjoying the time dedicated to how to practically do this in day-to-day life. as a mom of 5, rest sounds pretty amazing.

3. my lemon tree, full of lovely smelling buds: we call it lulu the lemon tree and sometimes we sing to her to get her to bloom. last year we had....guess how many...ONE lemon. this year we are hoping for a bountiful harvest. haha. we shall see, folks. no matter how many lemons she gives, she smells amazing.

4. little miss and her new toothy grin and crinkly nose: so our little lady has 6 teeth now and let me just tell you, she's even more adorable. didn't think it was possible, but it happened. she's growing so fast. she's such a tough, sweet, feisty gal. i enjoy her so much. even when she decides that she wants to communicate by screaming in restaurants. she's a precious blessing. maybe not to those sitting near us, but we're pretty fond of her.

5. the boys. they are stinking hilarious! the things they are saying and doing crack me up. yes there are moments, whole days sometimes, where they drive me nuts and i struggle to be kind and patient, and i put them in separate rooms so i don't have to listen to the ridiculous fighting about legos and taking turns and who stole whose toy. but there are moments where i just have to stop and enjoy how funny and smart and clever they are. and sometimes how sneaky they are. i'm learning not every moment is a teaching moment. sometimes you just gotta laugh and shake your head. otherwise you'll go crazy.

5. a new plan/schedule for cleaning: i can't remember where i found it. it was a link on a blog i read. but it gave great organizational tips. so i've set up a schedule (a loose one) with tasks to target morning, afternoon, and evening. along with chores for the boys to do. each one has three each evening. and although the boys are feeling a bit overwhelmed by their new responsibilities, i think it's going well.

i've been writing in a thankfulness journal for several years now. and when life seems to get me bogged down and i can't seem to figure out what of the many tasks need to happen next, it's helpful to stop and think of the things i'm thankful for. some of my favorite things.
that should be on my to-do list everyday. stop and list things i'm thankful for.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

living it up

well, hello there.
sorry i've been away for so long.

how was your halloween?
new year's?

we are doing great here. finding our groove again after the holidays and then being sick with the flu. 
it ravaged our house.
all 7 of us got sick.
there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

nothing much to report.
the boys are growing so fast, they're starting to shave.
i kid, i kid.
it was just a fun Christmas present.
there's no blade.
don't fret, pet.

one time i went to visit my sister with my kids and we fed horses only the horses were gone so we sat outside a gate throwing carrots to "imaginary" horses. i make fun of her for it a lot.
"way to go, auntie! you promised them just didn't clarify they were invisible!"
this time when we visited her, there were actual real live horses. 
and we fed them.

sometimes around here, life feels stressful.
i talk non-stop all afternoon and evening trying to get the kids to take care of business and get things done and finish homework and clean up. 
we are instituting a new system around here where each kid is responsible for three things after dinner, such as cleaning the bathroom counter (was there any toothpaste on your toothbrush or did you just pour it all out on the counter?), feeding the dogs, and clearing the table.
as with all new implementations, the kids are learning slowly and seem to enjoy making me repeat myself.

it's exhausting. 

some days you just need to roll around on the bed wrestling with children who like to smoosh up your face into awkward positions.

i'm terrifying, i know. apparently i like to eat children.

this went on for like 30 minutes. if you see me with more wrinkles next time, it's because my children like to make my face look like a melted wax sculpture.

(staring contest. i always lose. always.)

we still have little miss. she's growing fast and doing so many amazing things. 
we like her. 
we hope we can keep her.

i'm in the middle of organizing my desk and my schedule and all that so that maybe i can feel more productive at the end of the day.
but on days when i don't quite get it all done (daily), kids smooshing my face works ok to relieve stress. 
that and a hot bubble bath.

now go take a nap or eat some chocolate.
hey, we have to live it up when we can, folks. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

panera and hoosier cabinets

oh man, i've been away awhile.
i assure you, we're alive!
we've been having tons of fun this season, as well as some challenges.
such is life

in september, my husband's work took their employees to an amusement park. 
for the first time, asher was big enough to ride more rides. 
and he's already pretty animated to begin with, so add in the whole "i'm feeling like a big dude because i can ride fast and tall things" and he was a force to be reckoned with.

at the log ride, i waited with the baby while the boys went first, then they came back around and asher wanted to ride again. the entire first half of the ride was just him yelling in pure excitement about what would happen on the ride. he was pumped!

then in october we headed to the state fair. 
it was awesome.
dog shows, free samples of pickles, a bmx stunt show, and fried foods. 
--not to mention that my parents' power was out for the first 48 hours of our stay there. i'm not gonna lie, it was lovely. the only thing that was difficult was the whole no-hot-shower thing. but other than that, the lack of electricity was actually pretty wonderful.

a few weeks back, asher's school went on a field trip to a local museum.
this picture was after several attempts at a serious picture. 
he likes to make weird faces.
i have to admit, so do i.

then my in-laws were in town visiting and one of my sis-in-laws wanted to take my MIL and i antiquing. i found a lovely hoosier cabinet. i fell in love. but i thought we didn't have room for it in the house. i had been looking for one to be a craft cupboard for the boys with the intention of making our formal dining room a crafting and creating room.

i debated. 
i loved the colors and original pulls and such but the three bottom compartments were actually pull out drawers like a flour bin and although it made it different and fun, it wasn't super practical for my purposes. 

forget practical.

i spent a whole day cleaning and rearranging the house so we could buy it.
and i talked the guy down more than $100.
and here she is.... my beautiful crafting cupboard:

the boys have loved having a space to spread out and work. 
there's a table in the room too, so they can grab their supplies and leave them out if needed instead of the mess being all over our kitchen table.

then yesterday was my birthday.
i celebrated with the fam.
i ate panera on friday.
i went to a fall festival on saturday.
i ate mexican on sunday.
i drank yummy coffee on sunday.
i think i might have a food issue.

it was a beautiful day complete with a lemon-filled cake that the boys and i made.

the baby is doing great. she's crawling now and hates being alone. she wants to be in the middle of everything. i was the same way as a kiddo.
we are enjoying our little girl.
court is coming up next month but it's still early and it's quite possible nothing of any importance will be decided then. 
we are praying for her to be safe, no matter where she ends up, and that she would grow up learning about the love the Savior has for her. 

so there's the update. over a month of fun activities.
i left out all the discipline issues we're having and children refusing to take responsibility for their actions and what not.
who wants to read a post about children being belligerent?
i live it every day.
let's pretend life is full of panera food and hoosier cabinets where kids clean up their messes. 
ah, that would be the life.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

her cute room

i have like 17 blog posts in mind. 
there are several i never got around to.
like first day of school, our 10 year anniversary trip, our family reunion, and i think i made up a post about a family camping trip and never put it up here. 
so i'm super on the ball.

today the stars aligned and we have a longer day with the boys in school, and it's just me and little miss at home. and it's raining. this day is amazing. 
she's awesome.
but right now she's screaming in her crib. 
she's tired but won't admit it.
besides that and pooping up her own back, she's a doll!

i painted her room and decorated it before she came. although she won't sleep there until a few months from now, it's ready for her except her crib, which will be moved once she's ready to be upstairs and sleeping wonderfully all through the night. 

so this is the before picture.  
i never remember to take these. 
i start out thinking about a project for months and then when i finally decide to do it, i'm rushing to get it done. 
white walls, a bed, and a bookshelf are in the room. nothing else. the room wasn't functional because there was no surface area to put stuff. 
the room also started out with forest green and cream curtains and matching pillows. very hunting lodge. and while they were nicely done, it wasn't our style.

i found a can of paint in our shed from the previous owners. it's a light aqua kind of color.
i tried it on the walls, i liked it. the hubs got me some more. and now this is the room:

 bed: estate sale
bedspread: my mom-in-law
wreath: homegoods

 below is my splurge! i always wanted a dollhouse when i was little but never had one.
i found this one on etsy and fell in love!
it's tin, vintage, and is so precious. i will start accumulating furniture and people for it soon.

hat box: my grandmother
painting: my sweet friend amanda jo. she's super talented. and should open an etsy shop to sell stuff like beautiful paintings and cute things she finds at garage sales. *HINT HINT, amanda jo!*
crochet elephant: my dear friend stormy
and the rest was stuff i just had lying around.

below, the room looks super green. it does not look like that in real life. 
pennant banner: etsy (with reds, aquas, and blues)
print: katy daisy on etsy
white curtains and rod: homegoods
toy box: my great grandfather actually made this! it's been in our family for quite awhile

dresser: my sweet mother in law
lamp: target
art: hobby lobby
and the picture: my grandparents' wedding photo

so the biggest purchase was the paint and the rest was kind of pieced together. 
i wanted the room to be fresh and vintage. 
i love how it turned out.
i hope we get to raise little miss so she can have fun growing up in this room.
we will know more about her case in november. 

next project: i'm thinking gray. 
i'm wanting to paint our powder bath and a wet bar area in the living room.
and the hubs, who usually has strong opinions on how things should look, is saying, 
"you can choose. it's up to you." 
--which i think is some sick kind of joke he's playing on me. i'm totally second guessing myself on colors. i think i see him secretly smirking at me.