Dec 31, 2010

2010 year in review

2010 will officially go down as the suckiest (what? it's a word.) year on record. That's not to say I didn't learn oh-so valuable life lessons, but still, in a nutshell- it wasn't a good year.

Here are my Top 7 Reasons Why:
1. Moved away from family and friends and everything I've ever known
2. Sold our first home at a tremendous loss
3. Moved to a new, cold, cloudy, rainy, sunless state

4. Marriage crumbled

5. Hit my all time personal low in life
6. Dad had a heart attack
7. Felt God had abandoned me

Now, having stated that I learned a lesson from each and every item above. It was painful but I learned and I grew. Here's how:

1. Being away from everything familiar has forced me to branch out of my comfort zone in so many ways. It has forced my little family to band together.

2. It was our first home but it wasn't filled with happiness. Not even close. Took a $30K hit and we're still paying it off. It's been worth every penny though to have relationships restored in the resulting move. We're now living in a rented house with mauve carpet and a matching mauve kitchen. But it's a pink house filled with peace and love. Wow, that sounds cheesy.

3. Ok, if I'm being completely honest I'm still struggling to to find the lesson in moving here. I miss the Colorado sunshine. I miss the 300 + days of sun per year. I miss real mountains. Sigh. I am learning though that home is where my family is. My husband and kids and I are together and wading through the transition as a team. It's pretty cool.

4. My world fell apart at the beginning of last year. Oh so slowly though, we're rebuilding what was ruined. Whoa boy, this was a tough one. I've learned to love is a choice, to trust is a choice and both decisions have to be made daily. Sometimes multiple times per day. Sometimes multiple times per hour. I'll probably be learning this for the rest of my life. I've learned powerful lessons on forgiveness and grace and mercy. To quote Mahatma Ghandi- The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. I am stronger than I ever gave myself enough credit for and I'm not too modest to claim that.

5. Oh yeah, spent months in sweats or pj's, on the couch, barely functioning. I cried from June to October. This one is very personal and made me come to grips with my thinking that depression is a spiritual problem. I no longer believe that. I reached out to my church and got paired up with a counselor.  I knew I had to do something though, to be able to come back to the land of the living before my kids are all moved out. Don't get me wrong, living in lala land has it's pros such as baggy, comfortable clothes, a nice indention in the couch that fits you perfectly, being on a first name basis with the pizza delivery person- but it's not how I want my kids to remember me. I also discovered NCIS during the my days on the couch. I now love that show. Oh Leroy Jethro Gibbs, make my heart go pitter pat!

6. This one scared me. I am thankful though that I was close enough to drive to be with him and had the resources available to be able to afford it. We live on the Dave Ramsey plan so we had an Emergency Fund established. The day I left to be with my dad, my husband and I were separated and barely on speaking terms. I spent a week with my Dad, away from my husband and by the time I made the drive home, for the first time in almost a year, I actually missed my husband and felt the tiniest bit of hope for saving our marriage. I also developed a new friendship with my elderly neighbors, one that I cherish. They stepped up and opened their home to my kids before and after school while I was gone. I'm not sure I would have been able to make the trip to see my dad had they not been willing to help in that way.

7. This forced me to go looking for him. Again. I've found him in a fresh, new way. Of course during my search, I discovered He in fact never left me in the first place.

So, while I'm not at all sad to say goodbye to 2010 and I'm looking forward to 2011, I'll always look back on this past year as the one that changed everything.

Happy New Year!

Dec 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Feeling so very blessed this morning.
For friends & kind, honest words
for the birth of a child, my All, my Savior
for family though they are too far away
for my husband and second chances
for nieces and nephews who I know and love, and the ones I don't know but still love
for moody teens who still want to snuggle
for messy rooms but clean hearts
for lessons learned and thorny sides
for questioning 10 year olds and unconditional love
for toddler tantrums and eskimo kisses
for sister best friends and memories to help the hurt
for snowy Christmas Eve mornings.
Life is good.

Dec 19, 2010

E's descriptive writing prompt

This is what E wrote at school about his bedroom:

My Little Kingdom

When you walk into my room, you will smell the Axe man spray that I scent it with everyday. My room is a mess, but not cause I like it like that. It's messy and scented with Axe so my sisters won't come in. My bed is untidy because what's the point of making it if you just mess it up again? I have a bookshelf that has my entertainment, and is right next to my bed. Across from my bed is my comforter which gets thrown there everyday. My walls are littered with pictures of Star Wars characters, sea monsters and trolls (aka my sisters). Clothes- the number one thing that makes my room dirty. Yeah- they make it to the basket...but that's when my mom makes me. My closet on the other hand is pretty clean. Just a Revolutionary War battleship and some clothes hanging up. As you can see, my room (in my opinion) is like a kingdom!

I will definitely be saving this one!

Dec 18, 2010

A little slice of peanut butter heaven

I found this recipe for a Peanut Butter pie on a blog that I follow, Thrifty Decor Chick. I changed it just a little and man oh man is it good! The best part is it's totally easy too!

Hoss said it's better than the one his mom makes. (!!!) Although, with his next bite, mumbled through a mouthful of pie, he said he would deny having said that until his dying breath.

Here's the recipe:

3/4 C confectioners sugar (today I learned that confectioners sugar and powdered sugar are the exact same thing. Who knew? Oh yeah, me too...I was just checking...)

6 oz. cream cheese

1/2 C peanut butter

2 T milk (I use Almond milk and it worked just fine)

One container of Cool whip (I made my own, an extra step but worth it)

Graham cracker crust or chocolate graham crust.

First, beat together the cream cheese and sugar.
Then add the peanut butter and milk, mix together.
Then fold in (almost) all of the whipped cream. You'll save a little to top with later.
Next, dip your finger into the bowl to make sure it tastes ok. Roll your eyes in blissful abandon, savoring this moment. *ahem*
Repeat last step. Slap your own hand so you stop eating the pie filling.
Then plop it into the crust and make it smooth and pretty. **
Let it chill for a few hours then top with the leftover whip cream.

Drizzle with a little chocolate syrup.
Skip your next 2 meals because you just split a half of a pie with your husband.

This baby is even better the next day and makes a yummy breakfast accompanied with a cup of coffee!

**(I chopped up some mini Reeses pb cups and mixed those in after the cool whip is folded in before the plopping into the crust. I also halved some more pb cups for garnish before adding the choco syrup.

Dec 15, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year.

It's Christmas time! My favorite time of the year. We hunted down our own tree this year and it has made the house smell sooo good. It was fun hiking and hunting for the perfect tree. Cold, cold, fun, but fun still. We learned that some of us like tall skinny trees (wrong) and some of us like short, full trees (right). It's decorated with years and years worth of handmade ornaments from preschool, Kindergarten, church, and school. I love, love, love them. Little handprints of my kids that aren't so little anymore, hanging next to numerous Baby's First Christmas ornaments. One of my favorite things to do is sit in the dark and look at the lights twinkling on the tree. I like all white lights but the kids out voted me and put multi-colored lights on this year. I still have my little 4 foot tree that I keep out year round, so I put white lights on it. It looks just like it's full of stars twinkling in the night. So pretty and peaceful. The big tree is bare on the bottom. It started out full of ornaments but slowly I've started moving them up out of Kiwi's reach. Maybe next year he will be old enough to ignore the temptation to grab every one. He hasn't broken any, he just likes to take them off and look at them or show them to us, in case we haven't seen them before. He is also the reason that I won't be putting any presents out early. I will have to put them all out on Christmas eve, otherwise he would unwrap each and every one!

Dec 1, 2010

The mystery of the vanishing blog.

I cleaned up my blog. I took a few days and deleted all the ugly posts that had been filling it up. I basically got rid of anything that I wouldn't want my kids to read. There were many many posts written about how much I hated my husband and detailed the reasons why. 4 months of personal counseling and 2 months of marriage counseling have helped me change my ways. I have seen the light! I feel like this is where a man in a periwinkle suit prays over me, slaps me on the forehead and I fall backwards into the welcoming arms of Periwinkle Mans entourage.
I'm in a completely different marriage today. I finally feel like this is what marriage is supposed to feel like. I'm in on the joke now. I'm still married to the same person. He still puts his job first. I'm still high maintenance (his words, not mine). Whatev. I like to think of myself as being passionate and opinionated about things that are important to me. Anywhoo...
There's nothing I can say except it's only by the power of the Holy Spirit and His grace that I am still married. Forgiveness and grace are my best friends these days. 6 months ago I had both feet out the door and a plan in action of how to move back home. I still want to move back to Colorado, but now I want my husband to come with me.

There is so much more I want to say about this topic. I'll save it for a later time.

Aug 27, 2010

Bye Bye Binky

When Kiwi was about 4 months old we had a binky emergency. It went missing. Everybody in the house searched high and low and couldn't find it. I made a trip to Target to get a replacement and couldn't find the kind he had been using so I just grabbed one and headed home. He refused to take it. We ended up buying every kind of binky sold at Target to get him to sleep and he just would not be comforted. It was a very long night. First thing the very next day I went to the hospital where he was born and bought 8 or 9 binkies because that was the kind he liked. We just opened his last one. I'm not going to buy any more so that means it's time to start weaning from the bink.

Two of my kids sucked their thumb and the other two used a binky. Ana was 14 months old when she handed me her binky one day and never asked for it again. It was the same thing with her bottle, just handed it to me and was done! It's not going to be that easy with Kiwi. This kid loooves his binky. He is only allowed to have it in his bed at nap or bed time. He tries to sneak it at other times but doesn't get away with that too often. In fact when I try to take it out of his mouth he clamps down on it with his teeth and trying to pull it out is like wrestling with a pitbull. He loves that "game"!

I'm not sure how to go about it though. Should I just take it and make him quit cold turkey? Or offer it to him only at night? Only give it to him if he asks for it? Well that last one wouldn't work because it's the first thing he grabs when it's bedtime. As soon as I tell him it's time to get ready for bed he makes a beeline for the drawer we keep it in. He won't say prayers until he has it firmly in place.

This is going to be an adventure.

Aug 25, 2010

How low can you go?

Music seems to be the only way I feel God lately. My Bible? I read it. Church? I go. Tithe? Check. Devotions with the kids? Yes.
I cry and cry and cry and I ask and I ask and I ask. The response?
**Crickets chirping...**

It's frustrating. Definitely at a low point right now. A valley.

"The pathways are broken, and the signs are unclear, and I don't know the reason why You brought me here. But just because You love me the way that You do, I'm going to walk through the valley if You want me to. 'Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step and I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet. So if all of these trials bring me closer to You, then I will go through the fire if You want me to. It may not be the way I would have chosen when You lead me through a world that's not my home but You never said it would be easy You only said I'd never go alone." ~If you want me to by Ginny Owens

Aug 6, 2010

The OH SO terrible two's...

This morning E asked me why Kiwi was being such a brat. I explained the phenomenom of the terrible two's to which E replied "Man, I hope he turns 3 soon!"
I hate to say it but lately we all look forward to Kiwi's daily nap time.

Don't let this sweet innocent face fool you:

Look closely at this face, you see it don't you?:

Mar 3, 2010

They call him the Streak

At least 3 times every week, I go into Kiwi's room in the mornings and he is buck naked. I am greeted by the cutest little full moon you'll ever see. He has learned how to work zippers, snaps and velcro. So far though, on the mornings he decides to be a Chippendale, he has only peed. Now, I am all for letting my children express their artistic nature, but I feel I'm pressing my luck. I don't want to walk in one morning to a masterpiece he has "painted" so I think I'm going to start putting his pj's on backwards. There is no way he can figure that out.


Jan 30, 2010

From the mouths of babes

I sat the 3 older kids down tonight to have a talk.

Because I've heard things.

Things I needed to clarify.

Apparently my kids and my sister's kids have been talking to each other. My kids have been asking their cousins what they know about the things that are going on around here. Did they have any info? The cousins were sent out on a recon mission. Their mission: to find out what their mom, my sister, knows about why Dad moved out and to report back any news. The only thing I told them on the first day he left, was that there was something broken between Mom and Dad and we are going to try to fix it. I told them it had nothing to do with them, they did nothing wrong,

My son has spent the last 2 weeks since my husband left thinking that Dad moved out because he was lying to Mom about eating junk food. He says he has been eating healthy when really he's been lying and eating junk! That is what my son has been thinking all this time.

So I assured him that we wouldn't have separated over a lie about food. They asked more questions than I was expecting. I answered as honestly as I could without giving details. I did finally admit that yes, Dad lied to Mom about something very serious and something that has hurt me and Dad has to figure some things out before we will live together again. I also made sure to say how hard marriage is and Dad puts up with a lot from Mom, and Mom puts up with a lot from Dad, that's just a part of being married. But there are some things a person just doesn't have to put up with. I hope I didn't say too much.
K broke out in tears. Apparently she was terrified that she was going to have to leave too because she got in trouble for lying a few nights ago. This broke my heart. Of course an 11 year old would see it that way. We had a good cry, and many hugs and yes, I turned it into a lesson about lying. I reminded them that No Lying has been our number 2 family rule since each of them was very little. No Hitting is our number 1 rule. It was a good talk.

Jan 24, 2010

18 month well check

Looking good! Kiwi had his 18 month well check last week. He weighs 24 pounds and is 33 1/2 inches long. I think he will be tall like his dad. Probably too soon to tell. His iron count was on the low side. Barely. He has been eating spinach smoothies and beans in absolutely everything since his appt. I'm not kidding. I have been mixing black beans in his yogurt even. Is it wrong that I told him they were blueberries? Actually, I think I was just telling myself that because it was pretty gross- beans in yogurt. Whatever, he gobbles them right up! He is trying hard to talk. He clearly says Mama, Dada, Ana and doggie. That's pretty much it for his vocabulary though. Not sure what that is about, but I'm not going to stress too much about it quite yet. It probably is just the fact that he is the baby of 4 kids and his older siblings will pretty much do anything he wants anytime he just looks cute. We know he can hear fine, so it's not that. He is completly vaccine free and is my healthiest kid by far! It seems his pediatrician has finally accepted that he's not going to get any vaccines. She didn't even give me her usual speech about 'the risks I'm choosing to expose him to'. Or maybe she could tell I was having a really rough day and just let it go this once. My husband had moved out of the house the morning of Kiwi's appointment. I think it may have been obvious I was having a really bad day. Here are some pics of my healthy, growing boy!

Here he is cleaning out one half of a spaghetti squash by himself. The kid loves his veggies.

At his check up. So cute.

His usual sleeping position. I'm not kidding. If it makes anyone feel better, his hands are not actually inside the diaper, just inside his pj's.

Jan 12, 2010

Like nails on a chalkboard

That's it. I've had it. I'm fed up! My older kids are bickering so much with each other lately that when they are doing it I don't even enjoy being in the same house as them, let alone the same room. It's gone beyond normal sibling pestering I think. I was sitting outside on my porch a few weeks ago waiting for the kids to get home from school and I could actually hear my kids before I saw them. A full 5 minutes before I saw them. They were 1 street over and I heard them yelling at each other. When I told them about this E said maybe their voices were carried on the wind and that's the only reason I heard them. (Good thing that kid is cute sometimes!) Seriously, who wants to be those kids' mom? These aren't the kids I've raised. I almost wonder if they are just acting out because their Dad is working so much, who could blame them really? I'm acting up because he's gone so much. Back to the issue though. I have made numerous attempts to end it. I have:

-calmly set them outside and told them they are more than welcome to come back in the house once the bickering is finished because I choose not to hear it.

-sat the offenders together, facing each other and told them they have to name 10 sincere things they love about the other person before they can get up.

-bound their wrists together with a bandana so that they are forced to work together as a team with whatever activites they have to accomplish for the rest of the night. Usually it's homework, eating dinner and doing their dish chore. This one is actually kind of fun to watch. I do let them take it off for bathroom breaks.

I think all of the above ideas are great, creative ways of making it their problem and not mine to solve. But it's just not working. Some brilliant, genius idea needs to come into my brain within the next few days or I'm just going to buy a pair of boxing gloves and lock them in a room together. That's how over it I am. Somebody remind me again why I'm so excited for Kiwi to start talking?

Jan 1, 2010

Top 22 list why 2010 will kick 2009's butt!

1. I will look in the freezer before I go grocery shopping, no more buying items in triplicate.

2. I will listen to the hearts of my children during unemotional times. Find out who they really are and why.

3. I will no longer deny that Friday is my favorite day of the week because that's when the mailman delivers my People magazine. There is no shame here.

4. I will not adopt a dog this year. I can't allow the amount of 4 legged children I have out number my 2 legged kind.

5. I will get my photos off the computer and into photo albums. This will probably be a year long project but I'm up for the task.

6. Quit trying to win approval from that one elusive relationship. Nothing I do will ever be good enough so I will stop trying. I will enjoy the freedom that comes with this release.

7. Dust my ceiling fans more than 2x's per year.

8. Quit grumbling every time I buy clothes for my husband. It's not fair that I should pay more for a "little" extra fabric to cover his bigness and tallness. I've married a giant, it's a reality I've got to come to terms with.

9. Give in and buy a new T.V.- 1989 called, they want their boob-tube back. And while I'm at it I will also get rid of dial up internet service.

10. Take a family vacation. Even if that means I have to get on an airplane.

11. Not audibly* sigh every time someone says "Well, at least he makes good money" when I complain about my husband being gone so much with work. Really people, you have no clue. *This technically means I can still sigh inaudibly.

12. I will aggressively fight back and win the battle over my health. I will do everything possible to avoid a hysterectomy. I am putting away the welcome mat and posting an eviction notice- Shad, Rad, and Bennie (what I've affectionately named my tumors) you've got to go. Sorry boys but my uterus is no longer your humble abode.

13. I will write more. Make plans so that when Kiwi enters kindergarten, I will go back to school and pursue my passion of writing. If my mother-in-love can do it in her 60's then I can do it in my late twenties.

14. I will be a better neighbor. I bake cookies when someone shovels my walk or mows the lawn but when is the last time I invited them to church?

15. I will clip Kiwi's nails more often. Seriously, he's going to take an eye out.

16. I will call Kiwi by his given name more often. I don't think the boy knows his real name.

17. Quit trying to hide that I say "Dude!" and "Awesome" a lot. Be a proud child of the 80's/90's and let my freak flag fly a little higher this year.

18. Spend more time with my children individually. Really single them out and zone in on my favorite.

19. Cut my hair. I only keep it long because my husband likes it that way. New deal: when he quits chewing- I'll wear my hair long.

20. Find a theater group for E to join. Help my husband realize that our son is not going to be an all-star athlete, but he may just thank us in his award acceptance speech and buy us that dream home of ours.

21. Not 'venti' size anything this year.

22. Quit denying that I have a 2nd strong willed child in my life. Obviously God has more faith in my parenting abilities than I do because I am the proud mother of not 1 but 2 of these blessed little beasts.

Happy New Year!