Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Other Side of the Fence

It's amazing how life can mold and change you in astonishing ways.  It can open up your perspective and attitude in an instant, changing your very opinions.  Circumstances of life do this.

Years ago I remember being shocked and annoyed when I heard that schools were removing peanuts from lunches and banning any peanut products from the school grounds.  Peanuts?!  I grew up eating a PB&J sandwich every day in my lunch for school.  I love peanuts!

In my narrow perspective, I didn't understand why the rest of the kids had to "suffer" because there might be a kid with an allergy.  And I scoffed in my mind what they defined as an "allergy".  I had definitely known people who used the term loosely describing anything from "feeling funny" to indigestion to full blown anaphylaxis.

So, of course, God threw me a curve ball.  My child is allergic to peanuts.  On the RAST scale (a diagnostic blood test), he scores a 5 out of 6.   That means Hayden's body produces a very high level of allergen specific IgE (anitbodies to a specific allergen, in his case peanuts).  And in the real world - not a blood test - we have seen this in action several times.

Let me put this as clearly as possible:

My son is severely allergic to peanuts.

After just one (ONE) Reese's Pieces as a baby he broke out into hives.

After just one bite of a peanut butter cracker last year, I had to take him to the hospital.  He was vomiting everything he drank/ate up (including the benedryl which he needed) and his entire body was covered in hives.

This weekend after church, his entire neck was covered in hives - and he didn't eat anything known to have peanuts in it.  We can only assume what we ate for lunch or something else he consumed had been contaminated with peanuts.  Whatever it was, it was only trace amounts, yet still he reacted to it.

I have a confession to make:

I live in fear every day.

As Hayden gets older, he is exposed to more and more opportunities to accidentally ingest peanuts.  Even in situations that I have felt he was safe, there have been "slips".

This kind of "slip" is not an oops.  It could mean that my son might die.

He is aware of his allergy, but he is also four.  And he trusts that what you serve him is ok to eat - although now we have gotten him to the point of always asking if something has peanuts in it.  (He even asks me!  As if I would give him peanuts, HA!).  But there is also a certain ignorance about what does and does not have peanuts in it.  Many products, although they do not directly have nuts in them, are made right along side peanuts and the manufactures admit (right on the package now) that they may have peanuts in them.

And in other situations, people simply "forget".  Hayden attended an AWANA Christmas event where they could "buy" treats with their AWANA dollars - and Hayden came home with a candy cane filled with REESE'S PIECES.  My heart dropped.  What if he had opened this before I saw it?  This was not a parent-involved event.  I wasn't there.  They had assured me at the beginning of the year that they served no peanut-foods.  His allergy is clearly indicated on his enrollment.  He was wearing his medical bracelet indicating his allergy.

Their response?  We can't watch every kid.

He's four. What am I supposed to do? Not let him be involved in anything?

They said I could stay and help him next time.  And yes, I gladly would have...if I had known that the environment wasn't safe!  I had trusted in their promise of no peanuts.

My next confession:

I trust no one any longer with the safety of my son.

Not to say I don't let Hayden join in activities.  I most certainly do.  But I'm the parent pestering each time about what they are serving for snack, what they are doing, if food is involved, if other kids have food, etc.  I'm the one bring up allergies in meetings for ministry and over emphasizing care and responsibility for allergies.  I know I come off as a nut sometimes.

But don't you see I have to?  What if I didn't?  What if there was one time that I forgot?

My last confession:

I do my part and let God do His.

My part is being an advocate for allergies.  And not just my son's but all allergies.  If we serve something at church, I'm there to think through the allergens and post what we're serving so the parents can approve it.  I rummage through the snacks for special events.  I ask to remove peanut products.  I'm annoying I'm sure, but I do what I need to do to keep Hayden safe - to keep them all safe.

And God takes care of my son from that point on.  Yes, I had been assured his AWANA program was peanut free.  I did my part.  But God kept Hayden from opening that candy.  He watches over him when I can't.  And I trust Him.

So please excuse me if I get a little crazy at snack time, ask to see the packaging, or want to know what's being served - these are the things I must do.  My hope is that I can build a little awareness about the subject and this knowledge can help us keep all our kids safe and maybe one day help with the fear that we as parents have to live with because of allergies.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sneaking in Some Fun

So, as you can imagine, homeschooling a 4 year old with a 2 year old running around can be a challenge.  Some days we have to sneak out during nap time to have our fun.  It's a special time for just Hayden and I to be silly without worrying about what Corbin is up to!


Yesterday, we worked on sequencing and drawing out the days events on his very own "crown".


He ran over to the mirror and wanted to see his crown!


Which, of course, turned into - take my picture!!


And, make silly faces Mama!


And then, make a mad faces Mama!

Fun 7

How could I resist that?


Monday, March 28, 2011

A Journey

Last week cracked open a piece of me that I had forgotten was even there.  It's amazing how you can forget who you are in the busyness of life.  You can stop growing, learning, and creating.  You just start surviving.

It's only been week one of our homeschooling journey, and yet what a week it was.  My approach is not just directing, but diving all in with Hayden in this voyage of learning.  I'm learning and creating right along with him and I love looking at it all through the lens of his complete awe of life.

One of the many activities we did this week was a collage.  I wanted to give him an example of a collage and thought I remembered an old one I had made up in my art stash.  As I was digging through all of it, I was coming across piece after piece of my own art and sketches - and they felt foreign to me.  As if I was looking at a stranger's work and not my own.  It made me stop and think...Who am I now, and where did I go?

Am I really so busy that I don't have time for the passions in my life?  I have time for things like books, TV, and Facebook.  Or am I busy trying to be someone that I'm not?  Or my idea of who I am?

I need to just be.  Be me.

So I sat down with Hayden, and while he made his farm collage - I let my inner artist loose for a minute and remembered a bit of who I am.

Collage 3_Lomo

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Thoughts

  1. I have found my new favorite Etsy shop!  Right up my alley.
  2. Stephanie over at The Candid Pastor's Wife convinced me to sign up for E-Mealz.  Check out her awesome post as well as a code for 15% off!  I chose the Weight Watchers version of the meal plans and I can't wait to try them out.
  3. So I've made more baby steps in The Quilt Along.  Many, many eons ago we were tasks with ironing and cutting.  As you know, previous to this, my only progress was picking out my fabric.  Now I'm proud to say I've washed one of the fabrics I'm using.  Baby steps.  Maybe next week I'll iron it! ;)
  4. Yesterday was one of those crrrrazy days where I just wanted to scream and crawl under a rock.  So I packed up the kids and headed to the YMCA.  It's days like this that I'm so thankful that I have the blessing of a membership there.  Free childcare rocks.  Okay, we'll technically it's not free since we pay for the membership, but still, it's on demand and makes days like today survivable.  
  5. I also love that I took my frustrations, hormones, and mental issues to the gym instead of my fridge.  Ok, well first I took them to the fridge, and then I worked them off at the gym, but whatever.
  6. After the Y, we went to McDs for dinner and as I was being crawled all over by Corbin I looked over at another poor soul who also seemed to be have "one of those days", but with 6 kids instead of two.  Regardless, I still felt sorry for myself.  My hormones don't allow empathy.
  7. Can we say an Amen for Friday?  
Happy Freakin Friday!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wedded Wednesday

I remember back when Hubby and I were dating there were times when I just wanted to be near him.  And it didn't matter what I needed to do to be with him, I would do it.  Walk across campus? Sure.  Walk across two campuses (we didn't go to the same college!)? Sure.  Raining? That's what umbrellas are for, right?

And sure, eleven years later I still want to be near him - but do I really go out of my way to do that?  Not always.

Except for Friday.  I knew he had to work late, blech.  I knew I missed him.  I knew I was pretty lonely at the house.  And all I wanted was to be near him.  So what was I going to do about that?

I dressed the kids.

I packed a picnic.  (I love how that's only 4 words typed out - seems simple enough - but the activity seriously took me at least 30 minutes!)

I loaded the kids in the car.

I drove to his office.

We surprised him!  (After work, of course.  I doubt this would have the same reaction if you showed up at say 1pm).

And hubby and I sipped cold beer as the sun set and the kids ran wild in the grass.

What are you willing to do to be near him?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

At The Farm

I mentioned last week that we are homeschooling the boys.  I've been looking forward to getting all our materials for a couple months.  At last they are here!  So I guess this is our first "official" week. I took a bit of time and made a wall sized mural for the background of our farm.  As we learn about each part of the farm, we'll add it to our mural:

Mural 3

Of course, instead of opting for a true mural, I decided butcher paper would be just as good (and easier to change).  Hayden will get to make the barn, silo, equipment, and animals to add to it.

We also put up a new calendar that Hayden has been loving so far.  It's all Velcro-affixed.  Each day he gets to change the date, weather, day of the week (he picks out today, yesterday, tomorrow), and once a month he gets to set the whole thing up for the next month.  We've had a lot of fun with it each day.  He especially looks forward to "forecasting" the weather.

Friday we worked on spelling his name and he picked it up in about 2 minutes.  We "quizzed" him out of the blue on Sunday and he nailed it again.  Makes me glad I didn't try to force this "knowledge" on him earlier - clearly he's was ready to learn it now and it showed.  From an early age, Hayden has shown me that he doesn't "do tricks" and learning neat little pieces of knowledge to impress the grandparents has not been an interest of his, haha.  I have learned to embrace that willingly and let him go at his pace.  Just one of a million reasons we've chosen this path.

Monday, March 21, 2011



What better way to celebrate the anticipation of Spring than a trip to The Natural Gardener?


All of God's blessings were waiting to be unwrapped and appreciated.


If you live in Austin, I highly recommend a trip here.


Thanks go to Erin for recommending it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Quicktakes

Check out other quicktakes on Conversion Diary!

  1. Last week Hayden got to race his car in the AWANA Derby.  I'm proud to say he placed second!!  He got his first trophy ever and has now surpassed his mom in lifetime achievements (I've never gotten a trophy for anything, HA!).
  2. We had an awesome week with Mark's Mom in town for Spring Break.  The kids got lots of grandma time, and Mark and I got two date nights! Woohoo!  
  3. Some of you may know that we decided to homeschool the boys.  I've been anxiously awaiting all the books so we can begin, and we've just about gotten everything, yay!
  4. Our first preschool theme is "At the Farm", so yesterday I spent the afternoon creating a wall-sized mural for the background of our farm.  As the weeks progress we'll be adding the barn, silo, crops, and animals as we learn about them.  The kids really love this!
  5. I'm behind on most things with company here the last few days, but hopefully I can catch up on some of my projects like The Quilt Along, my hooping, and continue simplifying our house!
  6. We've been doing Friday movie nights with The Fam and I'm looking forward to another tonight!!  Any movie recommendations?  Last night at RedBox we were really coming up short.
  7. This weekend we'll be working on the garden again!  Can't wait to post a few pics when we finish.  I think we might head over to The Natural Gardener this weekend - it should be an awesome visit for the whole family!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Mark and Hayden


We're Irish All Year Long!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guy Time

As a mother of two young preschoolers, I know well the benefits of "Girl's Night Out".  Whether it's with just a friend, or a group of my girls - it's a much needed break and release from the pressures and stresses of motherhood (like wiping booties and cleaning up pee at the McDs playground - thanks Hayden!)

But guess what?

Guys need a night out too.  And going to work doesn't count.  Yes, yes, I know they actually get to leave the house and no one ever sits in their bathroom stall at work (I hope) and watches them pee, and they aren't forced to answer the same question fifty times (Is it "good morning" time yet momma? - No! Go back to bed!!).  But, they do work hard all day and then often come home to a crazed and irritable wife and kids that are howling like banshees with a can of soup for dinner (or is that just our house?  Hmmm...maybe so).

And if your husband is anything like mine - he may not even ask for it.  Day in and day out, working, taking care of the man-stuff around the house, putting out the "domestic fires" - but never says a word about needing a little "guy time". 

He does.

And he (you) will be so much happier for it. After a night out with "Da' Boys", I woke up to Hershey's Hugs and Kisses on my pillow with a thank you.  If that doesn't say "I need a guys night out", I don't know what does.

So from now on baby, I promise that I won't forget - guys need nights out too!  (By the way, you could use another night out!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reliving My Childhood

I totally forgot how much fun Lincoln Logs were!


I also forgot how expensive they were too!


Which is why we bought generic Lincoln Logs at Ross, hehe.


It was the perfect addition for our story that week - The Three Little Pigs.


Corbin, of course, was The Wolf.


Hayden didn't really appreciate his "theatrics" 
and ran off crying shortly after his house was "huffed and puffed".


Either way, I had a lot of fun.  Which made me think:  
If I'm not having fun with the toys I'm buying them, 
I'm probably buying the wrong toys!
Because this was fun...really, really fun.

Monday, March 14, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

Friday was hard.  It was hard for about a dozen different reasons, but nevertheless, it was hard.  I made it through somehow to nap time, and then I was left with my thoughts.

For a minute, I kind of just wandered around - not sure what to do.  Should I eat my troubles away? No, that wasn't the answer.  Should I throw on the TV?  I just really didn't think distraction would cut it.  It was so quiet in the house.  The quiet felt good.

My soul was empty and I was needing a refueling somehow.

I walked outside.  Outside is always good for me.  It was a beautiful day.  I did what I always do - check the mail.  There's really not much else to do out there to "look busy".  Otherwise, I'm just some strange homemaker standing out in her driveway.

And there it was - a little something for my soul - a package of books I'd been waiting and hoping for.  It couldn't have come at a better time.  In it was One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

Over the months, I'd heard a lot about this book.  But I'm not one (at all) to jump on the latest fad book bandwagon.  But when it was recommended on this blog, I knew I had to pick it up.

And miracle of all miracles it came on this day.  A day of tears.  A day of sadness.  A day of desperation.

It was only one o'clock, but I grabbed a wine glass, poured some plum wine and headed outside.  I dragged my comfiest chair out onto my front porch and didn't really care what I looked like to the passerby.

I read the first chapter...I cried.

I kept reading.

Slowly, bit by bit, a weight seemed to lift off of my heart.  The weight of my sorrows, of other's sorrows, of a broken world, slowly lifted until I felt like I could once again breathe.

One thousand gifts.  What a picture.  God's gifts in the everyday, in the the sadness.

The real problem in life - in my life - is lack of thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks - take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks - and He miraculously makes it more than enough.  I have beheld suds in the sun, and I have known miracles like that. ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
It is enough.  What I have is enough.  Who I am is enough. 

There are gifts waiting to be unwrapped right where I am - I don't have to seek them out, they are there in front of me if only my eyes could see them for what they are - God's blessings.

The sunshine as I read.
The cool, crisp taste of the wine.
A conversation with a friend.
My favorite song comes on the radio.
Hearing the wind as I fall asleep.
The smell of popcorn filling the house.
The excitement of my boys in anticipation of movie night.
Relaxation from a hot shower.

It is enough and it is abundant - His gifts.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Quicktakes!

  • Here's another great post on saying "Yes" at Conversion Diary.  More food for thought here!  Although I have definitely been a "no" person - I was certainly a "yes" out of fear person!  Neither of those is a healthy option.
  • I'm seriously considering getting Hayden one of these...his mid-lunch booty-wipe calls are getting old.  
  • I got my hoop last week, and I'm happy to report that I have secret, hidden hooping skills!  As a 10 year old, the hula hoop was not my friend - but as a wider-hipped, mother of two...I'm rockin it!  Even Mark was impressed with my ability - woot!
  • I am, of course, behind on the Quilt Along - but I hope to remedy that a bit this weekend.  But, hey - at least I picked out fabric!
  • Spring Break is next week!  Now, this generally means nothing to me - as my kids aren't in school - but my MIL is coming to visit and I'm so excited!  Yes, I love my mother-in-law. :)
  • I had to laugh at myself this week while I was typing up PreK activities for MissionALL (you're going, right Crossroaders?).  I seriously looked up the rules for Duck, Duck, Goose just to make sure I remembered it right, HA!  In case you're can find the rules here.  It was more or less as I remembered it, hehe.
  • I'm thinking of buying a Bubble Machine - any suggestions?  Otherwise, I'll be picking one at random from Amazon.
Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Do It

As I've mentioned before, I am in the process of simplifying and purging.  As I was tackling Bin #3, I came across last year's planner and I froze.  You see, last October my husband bought me a new phone and asked if I would switch from my paper calendar (which I loved) to the online Google calendar that I could share with him.  I mean, yes, it makes perfect sense.  I can update this calendar wherever I am (as long as I have my phone) and Mark can easily see what I'm doing that day if he needs to make appointments when I'm not there to give my input.

But...I really like writing things down and seeing them all written out.  And it took me a long time to find a planner that really suited me and had enough space for all I wanted to jam into my day!  Inputing it all in my phone just didn't give me the same satisfaction.  Yet, because it really did seem illogical to continue my "paper ways", I reluctantly switched over.  So here I am with my beloved paper planner in my hand reminiscing on the "good old days".

Can I throw it away?  It held a whole year's worth of "life" in those pages.  I've grappled with this decision several times over the last few months (since October really) and in the end I always decided to hold off on tossing it so I could be sure I got all the important dates (like birthdays) out of it and transplanted into my phone. I would tuck it away in some "pile" in my office or bedroom or wherever and forget about it.

I think it's time I dealt with it.

Something about sitting down and going through each page to get all the info I need out of it seemed daunting.  I have so many other things to do, it seemed silly to waste 30 minutes on this task.  Yet, by putting this off, I've continue to have "mental" and "physical" clutter over this thing!

I needed to just do it.

So, I finally sat down, opened up my planner, took my sentimental journey through 2010 and transfered anything important into google calendar.  Honestly, it didn't take that long.  It also wasn't as sentimental as I thought it would be (although there were still "memory lane" moments).  And I had no issue throwing away my precious planner once I finished.

Why didn't I do this six months ago??

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Date Night - Just Do It

I have to say, that one of the single most important things that Hubby and I do is have a regular date night.  And when we don't get out for awhile, I can definitely feel it.  In the daily grind, you can get in the habit of relating to each other as roommates, parents, and servants instead of what you really are - lovers.

Conversations fall into one of these:

You wouldn't believe what Hayden did today!  He totally peed in the McDs playscape.  You need to talk to him about "Nature calls".


I think we should plant a garden, go to Lowes, buy plants from the nursery, clean the garage, blah blah.


I'm tired, cranky, (fill in the blank).

Pretty soon you're each doing your own things each night and only talking about home logistics and complaints!  The smiles are few and far in between - and affection is running low!  (By the way, who's doing the Kissing Experiment!?!  I admit, I'm shamefully behind...I guess I'll just have to go maul Hubby and catch up...hehe)

And that's where Date Night comes to the rescue.  I remember the first time we went out on a real date after the kids were born and it was like finding an old friend!  We had completely forgotten how much fun we have together and why we're together in the first place!  Oh yeah, I really love this guy!! (I do!).

So if you have kids - how do you do this??  Babysitter?  If you can find one and can afford one, maybe.  We're not always that lucky.  But we have found a great solution that has been such a blessing to us:

Find another couple in your same season of child-life and trade babysitting!  We actually do "couch-sitting", hehe.  Meaning, we watch each other kids after they've already gone down for the night so really we're just chilling out on the sofa watching Netflix for the evening.  We both get to have date nights without the cost and hassle of finding a paid babysitter!  Plus, we never have to feel guilty about asking for babysitting because we both enjoy getting a date night.  It's an awesome solution.

I bet if you ask around there is someone who desperately needs this same arrangement too!  I actually started  this with one friend (who ended up moving out of state), and then found another friend who thought it was a great idea too!  I mean, seriously - who couldn't use another date night, free of charge?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tackling Clutter

It's no big secret that I've been on a Simplifying kick since 2010.  And...apparently I'm a clutter bug.  Not that I like clutter or anything.  I just don't deal with clutter.

Something in my way?  I just put it in a pile...out of the way.

Company coming over?  Throw it in the closet...the office...our bedroom.

Junk mail?  I'll shred it later.

Magazines?  I'll read them...later.

Random part of something I'm not even sure if we own anymore?  Put it in a drawer, I might need that one day (I never do...until the day after I throw it out of course, which is about 10 years later).

I think you get the picture.

This month I've gotten really serious about tackling the clutter.  And not just in the main areas - but everywhere. My goal is to get the entire house in order.  As in, everything has a place.  No more "piles".

Honestly, I've never had that goal before.

Some tools that are helping me in this?  Storage bins!!

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not justing throwing everything in bins. Haha.  That would be too easy, and believe me I've already tried doesn't actually solve the problem.

No, I'm taking a cue from the experts and cutting down on the running around and decision making process that gets me bogged down and limits my progress.

I have 4 bins and a trash bag.

Bin #1
Things that already have a place, but just need to be put away.  

This bin is for items that I can quickly put away without having to "assign" a home to.

Bin #2

Paper is my enemy.  There is just SO much of it.  Junk mail, bills, flyers, coupons, Christmas cards...argh.  And each piece I have to look at and think...Do I need to keep this?  Do I want to keep this?  Can I throw this away?  Do I need to shred it first?  Blech...makes me tired just thinking about it.  So I made a big bin to dump all my papers in without having to make ANY of those decisions.  Then, when I am refreshed and have time to do JUST paper sorting, I can pull the bin out and make some progress.  By the way, this is a great activity to do while watching a movie or something.

Bin #3
Things that DON'T have a place.

As I'm sorting, I'm coming across a lot of items I just don't know what to do with.  Keep it?  Toss it? Donate it?  And if I'm keeping it, where does it go?  Again, I throw all those items in a bin and deal with it when I have more energy to tackle just that task.

Bin #4
Kids artwork

You wouldn't think that you'd need a bin just for that...but I do.  The kids make LOTS of little crafty things at home, not including all the stuff they make at church and other activities.  It's sentimental and can be difficult to sort through.  I love being able to put it all together in one bin, and then go back later and deal with the decisions of what stays and what goes.

The trash bag.

Self explanatory.  Anything that I can immediately judge that it can be thrown out, I toss.  If I have to think about it, it goes in one of the other bins.

Once my bins are full, I stop my sorting for the day.  If I still have energy, I tackle the bins in the following order:

1. Put things away that have a place - that's usually the easiest job because there's not much thinking involved.  I already know quickly where each item goes and I just have to return it there.
2. Paper - I rummage through first and make decisions on what can be trashed.  Then, I shred whatever needs shredding.  If I have papers that can be filed, I file them.  If I need to make a new file folder, I do that.  If it's something I need to do - like pay a bill - I handle it right then.
3. Kids artwork - when it's all together in one place, it's easy to pick out the treasures from the scribbles.  Any ones I don't absolutely love, I save for the relatives and let them have their pick of the kids "Masterpieces".  Whatever doesn't get taken goes in the trash.
4. Finding homes.  The hardest job for me, is deciding where things are going to "live".  So I save that job for last.  It's usually the most time and thought consuming.

I don't start another sorting session if any of my bins are totally full.  That way I'm continually moving forward, but not getting "stuck" in the process.

I cannot tell you how much this system has helped me.  I used to get frozen in the details of it all.  Stressed by all the decisions.  Running around from room to room trying to put things away.  Piling things in other rooms because I hadn't yet decided where something goes, I just knew it went in that general vicinity.  Ugh.

Now I'm making progress and feeling energized about it.  I love that when I "quit" for the day, I'm not sitting in the middle of a pile of junk, but can quickly close the bins and stack them off to the side of the room.  They aren't in the way and keep the room neat in the midst of de-cluttering.

I'd love to hear about your methods for decluttering!  I'm no Martha Stewart or Flylady, that's for sure - but I love finding something that finally works for me!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Family That Gardens Together...

Garden 1_Lomo

Another weekend of working on our garden!

Garden 2_Lomo

Everyone got in on the action.

Garden 5_Lomo

Dirt and gardening tools - a boy's paradise!


We believe in slave labor. ;)

Garden 4_Lomo

While the boys worked in the garden...I hooped.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday's Inspirations!

7 Quick Takes

  1. Over the years I've heard a lot of recommendations to keep a Home Management Notebook.  A Stranger in this Land brought that idea to me again and it is definitely something I know would be so helpful, but I've yet to do.  Maybe this is something I can tackle slowly over time.  Do any of you do this? I'd love to hear what you include in your notebook if you do!
  2. Watching this video on Permaculture really piqued my interest in this subject.  I'm definitely diving in deeper and seeing if I can translate a bit of this to our suburban yard and garden.
  3. Hubby and I started building our raised beds last weekend for our garden this year.  We had a lot of fun digging in the dirt!                                                                                                          IMG_20110227_180255
  4. Loving this site for picking out what varieties of veggies to grow in our garden this year.
  5. The Zilker Kite Festival is this weekend.  We've loved going each year!  Anyone heading out for this?  We're still undecided as it's on Sunday and that's a busy day for us.  But here are some pictures from last year's adventure and 2008 (pre-Corbin, hehe)!
  6. Are you doing the Quilt Along?  I'm excited to begin!  This week was picking out fabric.  I finally decided on a few simple patterns with some solids.  Man it was hard to choose!!!                                                                               Quilt Along Fabric!
  7. I loved this guest post on Walk Slowly Live Wildly!  In fact, I asked my hubby what his "two things" were and he's getting back to me on that after some deep thought.  Have you ever asked this of your hubby?  What were his two things?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Day of Yes

Inspired by this post, I decided to try a little experiment she called "A Day of Yes".  My rules were simple, whatever the kids asked of me, I would say yes.  The only exceptions being decisions that would affect their safety or lead them into disobedience.  This day was not about ER visits or creating spoiled brats - so let's just get those comments/reactions off the table.

I learned a lot about myself in this experiment.  First, I learned that I often say no out of convenience.

When Hayden asked to go to the park (which we were driving right by), my first reaction was no.  Not because we didn't have time, but because it was overcast and looked like rain.  I didn't "feel" like hauling the kids out and then chancing that we might all get wet and I'd have to wrestle them back into the car.

When Hayden asked to eat inside the restaurant instead of running through the drive-thru, my first reaction was no.  I didn't want to deal with waiting in line and handling trays with two small kids.

In both cases, I corrected my "instant no" to a "yes" and we had quite an enjoyable afternoon that would have been missed because of my own laziness.

How many other opportunities am I missing out on because of my resistance to the unknown?  Sure, it could have rained - but it only sprinkled.  Eating in the restaurant could have been a nightmare, but it wasn't.  Am I willing to take the risk or do I choose to do nothing because of the difficulties that might arise?

Second, I learned that I often say no without really thinking over the decision.  My first reaction is always no.  I'm not sure I like that.  I caught myself saying no without hesitation all day.  Most conversations that day went like this:

Hayden: Can we do X?
Me: No.  I mean, umm, yes.

Before I even realized I'd said no, it was already out of my mouth!  I think I am passing up great opportunities left and right because I have been a "No" person.

I don't want to be a "No" person.  So this week I've been a Yes person - and that has made all the difference.

Yes, we can play at the park.
Yes, I will have a lunch date out with a friend.
Yes, I will learn to hoop.
Yes, I will learn to quilt.
Yes, we will plant a garden.
Yes, I will live my life!!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mix Tapes

Okay, I'm dating myself a bit here...but did you ever make mix tapes when you were a kid?  You know, on a cassette, bonus points if it got recorded off the radio.  What about mix tapes for your true love?

I dare you to try it.  Of course, now it's called a CD, but whatever.  On this weekend's date night I made my baby a mix tape.  Woot!

Here were my selections (don't judge):
  • Gotta Have You - The Weepies
  • Eet - Regina Spektor
  • I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
  • Beauty in the World - Macy Gray
  • Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
  • Send Me On My Way - Rusted Root
  • Why Georgia - John Mayer
  • Mellow Mood - Slightly Stoopid
  • Sunrise - Norah Jones
  • Your Body is a Wonderland - John Mayer
  • Que Sera, Sera - Sly & The Family Stone
  • Winter Song - Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
  • Moondance - Jonathan Rhys Meyers
  • Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
  • Carbon Ribs - John Mark McMillian
  • This Time - Jonathan Rhys Meyers
  • Bolero - Maurice Ravel
  • Suffacated - Orianthi
  • Something Beautiful - Needtobreathe

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Simplifying the Toys

Okay, so I finally cracked.  Went crazy might be a better description.  I was just tired of it all.  It seemed like 10 toys were getting broken A DAY and I was constantly tripping over something and there were little pieces of this or that everywhere!!!  On Saturday, I finally lost it.  I grabbed 3 big bins I had just bought for organizing our office and headed to their toys.  I threw everything in there just so I could breathe!

If I felt that claustrophobic in that room, I'm sure they we're feeling just as crazy.  In fact, I know they were because they were acting crazy.  The toy chaos had gone too far.  Reminded of what a peaceful environment could be - I started the task of simplifying their room.

It felt good - so good.  I grabbed whole bins and buckets and just dumped them into the large bin I was collecting all their toys in.  Finally, it was all safely contained in one corner of the room:


Then I pulled out a few good quality toys I know they like and left the rest to rot in those bins.  Just kidding, my next step is to rummage through there and donate most of it.  I will also rotate a few toys in and out as well.


But once I was done (about 2 hours later) something amazing happened.  I looked over and my two "crazies" were doing this:


Coincidence?  I think not.  This scene alone spurs me on to continue in this process.  Quality, not quantity.







Ever since then, cleanup has been a snap(like literally less than 2 minutes) and they've been completely content playing with the scaled down version of their room.  Awesome!