8.15.2017

Bedroom (+ the office) Makeovers

If you've followed the blog for any time, you know that we have had any number of bedroom configurations. Two years ago, I even had all four kids together for a period of time. It's not an exact science and my kids' needs are constantly changing, so our bedroom situation is also constantly changing. But I think we have found a solution that will last for quite some time. Hallelujah!

A week ago a friend of mine (after seeing this picture of the boys' beds all in a row) offered us her bunk bed for free.  Josh's parents agreed to bring it to us during their trip last weekend, and now (!!!) the boys have a fully functioning bedroom.  What an amazing community effort.  I am so grateful!

(Thank you Brittany!! Thank you Carl!!)





While we're in Vancouver next week I am going to hit up IKEA for some cute little bookshelves for the top bunk, which I think the boys will enjoy.  Currently Wyatt is on the top bunk, Jack on bottom, and Logan gets the loner bed.   I told the boys we will rotate every couple weeks.  That's what we did when they shared a room in Alaska and it worked well.

I also made the transition more workable/permanent by moving Wyatt's wardrobe into there as well.  That way he has access to his clothes all the time, no matter when Carly is napping. 

By far, Carly's room has been the most fun to redo. Both because all her stuff is so cute (!!!) and because the logistics of one kid in a room is just so much easier!  My mom made her the quilt you see draped over the rocking chair as a surprise for my baby shower, and the night I found out it was a girl, I ordered the blanket on the end of her bed.  They match, like they were made to coordinate, so when I was shopping in the fall for Wyatt's new comforter at Ross and found this coral one for $14.99 (!!!) I knew I had to buy it.  Now I'm so glad I did!






I am feeling much more settled with the bedrooms (and office) functioning again as we prepare for one last trip and then school starting. 

Here's some quick (poorly lighted) photos of the office as it's coming along:

I can't tell you how good it feels to be able to move around in there and have a majority of the work done. I got rid of the extra twin bed we didn't need any more and also the filing cabinet we didn't need.  I am hoping to pare down what we have in here and get everything to fit in a way that makes sense.



***



8.14.2017

100 small things: year 2

Last year was my first year doing 100 Small Things and I learned a lot. I learned not to list specific books I am going to read. I much prefer to follow what I want to read on a whim.  I think it would also be smart to post my 100 small things list somewhere in my house, like maybe in the office, so I can look at it and plan different ones to accomplish each week, as well as check them off as I go.  As I looked at my last list and discovered I hadn't accomplished 30 of the items, I had to remind myself that the list still had its intended effect-- I accomplished far more than I would have without it. And that's the whole point.

All that said, I was excited to write a new 100 Small Things list for this school year (being married to a teacher and having three elementary age kids means I live my life according to the school calendar, not the regular one. Haha!) So here it is!


"EMBRACE" GOALS: 2017

**these are my New Year Resolutions for 2017 that help me "embrace" this life I'm living.**
  • 10pm bedtime for myself (9:30pm "turn in")
  • No swearing
  • Read 50+ books
  • Good bedtime routine with the kids (read chapter books, sing songs, say prayers)
  • Blog 3x weekly--map it out


HOME
  • Organize the office- set up my stamping stuff (!!!)
  • Get rid of all.the.things (esp. baby stuff)
  • --Specifically the filing cabinet
  • Buy sheets for Carly's bed/set up her bed
  • Purge old makeup
  • Learn to coupon
  • Buy wool balls for the dryer
  • Make new pantry shelves to utilize space more efficiently
  • Burn candles/Scentsy as much as possible
  • Clean house every Sunday
  • Sort/Purge/Organize every closet & cupboard in the house
  • Replace rose bushes out front
  • Take out arborvitae bushes
  • Spread rocks along the perimeter of the yard & beside the house
  • Paint both bathrooms
  • Put flower boxes inside closet door for mittens & hat storage
  • Clean the stove top twice (every six months)
  • Clean dishwasher
  • Make our new desk location work for us-- reorganize drawers
  • Read Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin


BODY
  • Hike with my dad & boys
  • Kayak with my mom
  • Workout 3x week average (156 days in 2017-2018)
  • Walk the boys to school whenever possible
  • Do 20 push ups everyday


SOUL

  • Afternoon tea, oil or meditation to center myself before dinner (aka "witching hour")
  • Gratitude journal at least once a week (make accountability sheet)
  • Read bible weekly (make checklist)
  • Meditate daily (keep track on the calendar daily)
  • Journal nightly re: eating & parenting (answer specific questions)
  • Listen to music daily in the shower
  • Spread kindness- tell strangers kind things
  • -Be helpful generally
  • Write out inspirational quotes to hang around the house
  • Try more essential oils


MIND
  • Screen-free weekdays for kids
  • Afternoon=sacred kid time (no distractions!)
  • 1 weekday screen-free for me
  • Media-free mornings for me= more reading books!
  • Cell phone lives on kitchen counter, not in my pocket
  • Watch 3 documentaries
  • Delete old phone contacts
  • Make password notebook
  • Write out prayers to rid myself of anxiety
  • Write out some body positivity mantras


MOTHERHOOD
  • No yelling (keep track on calendar with stickers daily)
  • Drive myself (+ kids) to Vancouver
  • Monthly meal planning
  • Try new meats: shrimp
  • Try new meats: fish
  • Make 3 Pinterest meals
  • Haircuts- 6 weeks
  • Print some recent photos
  • Get a bike for me
  • Get a bike for Josh
  • Create a family photo book
  • Celebrate Mother's Day for those around us
  • Celebrate Father's Day for those around us
  • Read 10 chapter books with the boys this year
  • Color with my kids- put up an art show


CHILDREN
  • Eat outside
  • Kids memorization of addition facts
  • Figure out memorabilia system for kids
  • Chore system- keep it up, add more responsibility (meds/diapers)
  • Library visit 1x month (Love this reasonable goal, Tab!)
  • Monthly "crafternoon" (Brilliant Ashley!)
  • Thank teachers & staff at the boys' school
  • Continue "family grooming day" Sundays- cut nails, etc.
  • Try brownies in a cup (thanks, Ashley!)
  • Rotate consistently who sets the table & helps with dinner


HUSBAND
  • Trade bedtime duty once a week
  • Play Rummikub
  • Trade backrubs
  • Make his lunches
  • Make weekly date night a priority


FRIENDSHIP
  • Small group get together
  • Keep track of birthdays/anniversaries & send cards according/make calendar
  • Call someone (have a list to choose from) when I'm feeling down
  • Send 3 surprise packages + Send 10 snail mail letters
  • Get together with 3 friends' families in town



TRADITION



BLOG

  • A Week In The Life
  • Introduce "Alaska Living" page
  • Month-long blog writing challenge
  • Share favorite books: kids + mine weekly
  • Write one chapter of my book each month this year
  • Finish my blog story (Part One + Part Two)
  • Share how we do chores
  • Share 2017 reading "bookshelf" from my journal
  • Empty my dashboard of Drafts (all.of.them) by August 2018
  • 100 Small Things quarterly updates


8.13.2017

100 Small Things: Year One Wrap Up

1. Plant a succulent

2. Make a dirt pit for the kids
3. Clean the windows inside & out

4. Read Brave New World
5. Read Lord of the Flies

6. Blog Weekly Update
7. Register to vote

8. Get WA state license
9. Make pumpkin muffins
10. Make a cobbler

11. Get a vanity for me
12. Buy a desk for the boys
13. Blog twins: separate classrooms
14. Finish re-reading One and the Same
15. Jamberry my nails
16. Meal plan weekly

17. Buy wool balls for dryer
18. Choose one "grooming" day/week
19. Haircuts every 6 weeks all year

20. Small group get together
21. Order Home Field. Read it
22. Read When Breath Becomes Air
23. Read What Was Mine

24. Read Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
25.. Read Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings

26. Read Bird by Bird
27. Read Boys Should be Boys
28. Read The Rocks
29. Read Flight Behavior
30. Read The Shack

31. Read Brain Rules
32. Read Tuesdays with Morrie
33. Read Snow Falling on Cedars

34. Find a doctor
35. Find a pediatrician
36. Find a pediatric dentist

37. Find a chiropractor
38. Follow up with an OB

39. Learn to coupon
40. Meditate everyday for a week
41. Wash kitchen cabinets

42. Read Believing God
43. Read Mindsight
44. Read Don't Let Me Go
45. Read Deception Point
46. Read Iron & Silk

47. Purchase & read Winter Storms
48. Find a dentist for us

49. Read Dave Ramsey's book
50. Find an eye doctor
51. Choose a pharmacy
52. Find a way to display my rock collection
53. Paint the whole house interior
 54. 3 playdates with new friends
55. Find a Hanford documentary
56. Go over insurance with new insurance lady

57. Workout everyday for a month
58. Walk the boys to/from school
59. Have Paul & Lynn over for dinner
60. Plant a lilac bush
61. Find a used BBQ
62. Sort Holiday decor into totes

63. Don't eat out for 1 month
64. Arrange "Tucker Family" sleepover
65. Establish family move night

66. Establish date night
67. Read Kon Mari. Clean house accordingly.
68. Read aloud chapter books

69. Make 3 pinterest dinners
70. Plant pansies
71. Make carrot cake from scratch
72. Decorate for Christmas

73. Make a book for Pansy/Jerry's birthdays
74. Write a poem about motherhood
75. Write a poem about twins
76. Write a poem about Logan
77. Write a poem about Jack
78. Write a poem about Wyatt
79. Write a poem about Carly
80. Take a pajama walk after dinner

81. Meal plan monthly
82. Collect Box Tops for school
83. Save toilet paper rolls/paper towel rolls
84. Attend MOPS group
85. Try 3 new parks with the boys
86. Read old journals
87. Share bits of old journals on social media
88. Decorate master bedroom
89. Deep clean master suite
90. Put contact paper in laundry room
91. Spider bomb the house
92. Establish Quiet Time activities
93. Organize kids craft supplies
94. Make blog calendar (monthly)

95. Have a trampoline sleepover with boys
96. Volunteer in boys' classrooms
97. Buy outdoor chairs
98. Read old writing (from jr. high/high school)
99. Make m&m cookies
100. Make a cake from scratch

I ended up skipping thirty of my small things, 14 of which were books I didn't get around to reading. I don't feel too bad about that since I was still reading all year, just  not those particular books.  I'm sure I'll get around to them eventually!

We might still have a post-dinner pajama walk, a trampoline sleepover and write poems about each of my kids, and have Josh's Uncle Paul & Aunt Lynne over, which would cross off 9 more.  The others I failed to accomplish-- 3 Pinterest meals, working out for a month, learning to coupon, meditating everyday for a week, cleaning our kitchen cabinets, & purchasing wool balls will just be moved to next years 100 Small Things List. 

What I loved about the list was that any day I was feeling a bit down or unproductive, I could take a look at the list and find something to cross off it.  Doing so instantly made me feel better about the day.  

My next 100 Small Things List is in the works.  I will share it just as soon as I get it done!
I could use some inspiration, though. What are some small (or big) things you are hoping to accomplish this school year? 

***

8.11.2017

Around Here: Week 32



{Uncle Steve}




(August 8, 2003-- from my wedding scrapbook)






Dinner Plate Hibiscus in our front yard-- we love this thing!


 Reading... (listening to) State of Wonder and reading The Chocolate Touch to the boys at bedtime.

Finished... It's Not Summer Without You.  Waiting to read the third in the trilogy.

Enjoying... dressing Carly, per usual.  Also enjoying the beautiful flowers in our front yard, and the garden we put in for Wyatt in the backyard.  He's particularly impressed with how our little pumpkins are growing.

Visiting... with my grandparents and Uncle when they came into town for a night.

Hearing... Carly call "mama" over the monitor for the first time.  Heart melting!

Watching... as she figures out how to tell the twins apart.  They are thrilled!

Celebrating... our fourteen year wedding anniversary with sick kids & a busy week now that Josh is back to work.  So often I still feel like those teenage kids who fell in love in sign language class. I can hardly believe it's been 14 years since we said "I do."

Worrying... about the upcoming school year; Wyatt's current level of clinginess; Logan's epilepsy and everything about sending them off into the world. I shared some of the things I tell myself (things I learned last year) in a post about sending your little ones off to school. If you've got kids going back to school in the next few weeks, check it out!

Praying... over sick kids. First Carly, then the twins, and now Wyatt. Just praying Josh and I are spared!

Failing... at dieting this week.  I worked so hard last week and lost nothing. Nothing! I stayed exactly the same. So this week with the kids sick, I was like, "Why even try? I'm not successful anyway."  So I ate whatever I wanted, and now I'm scared to step on the scale for fear it will tell me I gained.  I decided, though, to give myself grace until the kids go back to school and I actually have some time to myself again.

Imagining... what I want my days to look like once life gets back to normal after summer ends.  It's going to be hard, but I want to wake up before the kids to work out and get ready for the day.  I am such a better (read: more nice) mom when I'm not rushing around trying to get ready while the kids also rush around trying to get ready.  I also want to try and meditate or do a short bible study everyday to sort of center myself. I have slipped back into yelling and swearing (darn it!) and don't like how it has me feeling about myself.  Change is definitely in order.  So instead of dreading the end of summer and the return of the whole 'school routine', I am looking forward to an opportunity for making some changes. It's gonna be good.


Feeling... grateful for so many things in my life:

  • My sister in law for buying me a replacement bracelet for the one Wyatt broke. (For the whole story, check out my Instagram.)
  • My neighbors who took care of my boys while I took care of Carly.  One neighbor had the twins all day, fed them lunch, and sent them over with some soda for their poor, exhausted mama; and another neighbor shopped with Wyatt for Pedialyte popsicles, fed him lunch and entertained him so I only had to take Carly in to Urgent Care.  I am so grateful for the village we've created here.
  • My husband who works so hard for our family, at our house and who always has patience for me. He's the best. 
  • That I'm a stay-at-home mom and never have to choose between working and taking care of sick kids.  I am so thankful my first experience as a mom was as a working mom because it means I never take staying home for granted. I am always so happy to be able to stay here with them, without having to decide how sick is "too sick" and if I need to call in.
  • That I can choose my attitude in life and change that attitude at any time if it's no longer serving me.

***

8.10.2017

Carly at 18 Months

 Carly is absolutely the LIGHT of our lives.  She brings so much joy to us, and truly reminds me to delight in the little things, like going OUTSIDE.

 She loves to pick up rocks, touch the flowers, and talk about what she sees.

 She can sign "outside", "flower" and "bye bye".

 In addition to making us smile,
she makes us LAUGH.
She has recently gotten really (really!) goofy. The boys call it "spazzy". 
She will run around the house (especially when we have company over) and ram into things and say, "Ohhh!" really loud.  Then she crashes and laughs. Such a goofball.

***

 She is kind of (A LOT) into EVERYTHING, so when I shower, I still have to stick her in here if Josh is gone.  She pretends to hate it, but by the time I get out of the shower, she's pretty happy with all the cool toys.

 Once I'm out of the shower, I usually get her out and let her hang out with me while I do my hair and makeup.  She will pretend to put on my blush, etc and sometimes she even gets the eye shadow open and applies it to her skin.  
She's a trendsetter. I'm just sure years from now eyeshadow on the chin will be a thing. ;)
Today, however, instead of getting fancy with mommy, she threw my makeup mirror in the toilet.
Not sure what to think of that. Little stinker.

***

 She's a little fish and loves the water when we go to the pool.  She'll tolerate being held in the deeper part of the pool for a little while, but then she points to the kiddie pool (with the baby slides) and signs "swimming, please!".  It's pretty darn cute. 
She knows how to hold her breath, so when she falls she almost never comes up coughing anymore, and she has tried to get in swimming position in the super shallow water (imagine trying to be like a crocodile) and it's so cute.
I'm grateful she loves it so much considering she's had basically zero exposure to the water until this summer.

Sidenote: I cannot say enough how much I love her little Saltwater sandal tan. She wears those things like 24/7.  The pair she wears was Logan's, and then Wyatt's, and now hers. The shoes are indestructible!

***

 I am still nursing Carly.  At this point with Wyatt, he'd been weaned almost a month.  But I am nowhere near wanting to quit with Carly.  This week as she came down with a stomach bug I was particularly grateful that I am still nursing as it's such a great comfort and so full of what she needs when she's sick. 

She is for sure our last baby, a realization I have come to slowly over the past year and a half, but one that I have peace with (hallelujah!) and I have even sold some of our baby things this week.  (The boppy, some baby sheets and our beloved bath seat.) I still have my cloth diaper stash for sale (let me know if you're interested-- it would be a great deal for someone just starting out, and I have everything you need!)
Just yesterday was the first time she woke up and didn't cry or talk to herself, but called "Mama! Mama!" which came through the monitor loud & clear.  It made my heart swell.

She often wakes up from her naps kinda hollering, and if that's the case, this is often what I walk into-- her legs stuck in the bars of her crib.  It's usually not hard to get them back out, so I wonder if she's just playing around, but a few times she's been stuck past her knees, and then it gets more difficult!

She has worked her way down to one nap this summer, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me! This has made keeping the kids quiet so much easier (only once a day, not twice a day!) and is going to make school drop off and pick up so much easier as well!!!
The only bummer is if we get off schedule.  For instance, one morning she woke up too early, and I ran to the store mid-morning. Well, she fell asleep on the way there and would not wake up. So I had to carry her around Walmart (I had no blankets as I had just cleaned out/vacuumed the van and I didn't want to lay her on the cold metal of the cart) while Wyatt pushed the cart and did all the shopping.  Thank goodness for little helpers, amirite???

 My favorite picture of our girl from Josh's sister-in-law. 
I sometimes can't believe she's real, and she's ours.

 This is "the spot" where I do her hair everyday. We comb it with water, then style it.  I am working to grow it all out and am not interested in giving her bangs (I'm just lazy to have to cut it that often. I already cut all three boys + Josh's hair every six weeks, and am not interested in adding this little lady to that rotation that often!) so I have to comb it back to keep it out of her eyes as it grows.

 When I'm lazy, she rocks the "side pony"... She's not thrilled with it. Ha!

 This girl has given me my share of sleepless nights, worry over whether I am doing things right, and has just generally added to my overall workload (hence looking exhausted & harried) but when she looks at me with all that love, or pets my hair as she says, "sweeeet... sweeeet"... I know in my heart that life wouldn't be nearly as full or good without her.

Having four kids is no joke, and I feel like that truth just keeps smacking me in the face (like this week when I had one sick baby, one sad (missing daddy) six-year-old, and two want-to-do-all-the-things and have-all-the-fun nine-year-olds) and the one ME that exists to serve all FOUR of THEM just can't.keep.up.  It's exhausting.  I work from "son" up to "son" down, as they say, and often the hours in between as well.  I told Josh I could work from when my eyes open until they close again and I would STILL not be done with everything on the list. 
I am learning to balance it all.  To do some chores, some work, everyday, but to also stop and "embrace" this crazy chapter in life where the kids are all going to different directions. 

***

  Thankfully Carly isn't just a mama's girl. (I mean, at bedtime she wants me and only me, but the rest of the time, she adores daddy.)  When Josh gets home from work, she excitedly says (and signs) "Dada!" and runs to him. Then she gives him the most heartfelt hug, with her head resting contentedly on his shoulder, and I just can't tell you how heart-melting that reunion is everyday.

 She also loves the twins.  She is able to tell them apart (most of the time) as of this month, and that is super exciting. This was the age at which Wyatt was able to tell them apart as well.  
Logan worries about her, a lot(!!!) and Jack loves to care for her.  Logan will do her hair; Jack will feed her.  Logan will keep her out of trouble; Jack will do anything to get a laugh from her. 

She is going to grow up so loved and adored because of those two. In their eyes, she can truly do no wrong. I will so enjoy watching their relationship grow as they age.  

 Speaking of aging, man do they grow out of the clothes quick these first two years!  I feel like every  month or so I am going through her clothes, getting rid of what no longer fits, and moving in new stuff.  Last week I sorted through all her drawers and came away with a giant hall of adorable baby stuff to pass on to a friend of mine here in town. 

It's hard because I tend to be overly sentimental, so getting rid of clothes is hard, but knowing they are going to a good friend with a sweet baby girl of her own helped me let go of things that would have been harder otherwise.

Carly is getting to be a girly girl, wearing her purse everywhere, stuffing things in it,

and being the sweetest mama to her babes.
She has two babies-- a cabbage patch doll she got for Christmas;
and an American Doll baby I totally forgot about that I found at a thrift shop for $8.00!!
She prefers to carry them both around, hugging, kissing, patting and feeding them. 

Seeing her play like this makes me so excited for doll houses and barbies!




Josh's sister has two daughters and they had so much fun chasing Carly around, playing with her, and watching her sign.  I loved seeing the three of them together.

***




Every time Carly walks by the bathroom, she steps up on the stool and asks to brush her teeth.  "Brush?" as she signs brush with her little pointer finger. We turn on the water and she stands there alternately wetting the brush and sucking the water out of it. 
Often times she will ask the boys, and they will set her up brushing. It's so sweet.

***




I think Carly's favorite person right now would have to be Wyatt.  He makes me laugh, he's super sweet when she's crying, and she always knows he's Wyatt (as opposed to Jack & Logan, whom she still mixes up). 



 Carly is Miss Independent!  She loves when we go outside and I just follow her around, letting her call the shots.  She marches everywhere she goes with such determination!

***
She got really sick earlier this week, as I said, with some kind of stomach bug.  I'll spare you the details, but there was lots of vomiting and diarrhea and one sad, tired, dehydrated girl.  I am so happy to report that as of yesterday she is on the mend and back to her old self. As much as I loved the extra snuggles, and spending so much time just holding her on the couch, I was ready for her whining voice to be turned off, and to quit being her full-time binky. (Joys of being a nursing mom!)






Carly, you are just my favorite little girl, 
and not a day goes by where I don't thank God for you in my life.
Thank you for making our summer so fun & full of giggles.
You're just the best.

Love,
Mommy