Monday, December 29, 2014

4 AM ramblings...

Well I'm wide awake at 4 am so I might as well blog. :)

Now that Christmas is over I'm in a purging and planning sort of mood. My mind is on hyper overdrive (hence the reason I'm wide awake at 4 am). It might also be close to my time of the month, my hormones do crazy things. I get way more frantic and my mood swings are usually ridiculous. But what ever, I'm getting side tracked.

I've been organizing like crazy since the day after Christmas. I bought my weight in storage tubs and tackled the clutter/extra stuff like a mad woman. I started in the playroom, then moved on to the kids bedrooms. It's not perfect, especially the kids rooms, but it's better. I so want to do a major over haul on the kids rooms, but now is not the time. Although I don't know when is! We've been talking about it on and off since we moved in over 6 years ago! It just keeps being pushed to the back for more important stuff. Next on my list is more storage tubs for my closet mess. I have to get a game plan going and do some serious organizing in there! I also want a new larger desk in the playroom, I need more space to spread out as a teacher, and I've always got a million projects going on or different things that I'm researching so my little computer desk is just cluttered/littered all the time! It's ugly, awful and needs to change.

I think because it's close to the new year my brain is ticking off all the things that I want to get done, all my goals. House goals, personal goals, yard goals, goals, goals, goals. I need to just stop and write them down like usual. It helps me to stop obsessing over them and it focuses me better. But I'll mull them over here a bit first. ;) Then I'll read last years, cross off what did happen and re-prioritize what I want to happen in the next year.

One big thing my husband and I discussed last night was what our plan is for this house. Originally we had a five year plan, after five years we were going to move. It seemed like such a long time when we first moved in, ha ha! Well long story short, we suffered financially right after we moved it, Ryder got laid off for a really long time, we had to start putting lots of stuff on credit cards in order to pay the bills and have cash for the mortgage (which was now double what we were use to paying). Then the market crashed and our house went way, way, way, under water. It was all really depressing and overwhelming. We were in debt up to our eyeballs. We still had a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, but moving was out of the question, and we were feeling the financial squeeze. For a while there I lost focus of our blessings and how awesome this house really is. I saw it as the problem and wanted out before we lost it. At one point we almost made the choice to walk away. But I just couldn't do it, it didn't feel right. I started looking at cheaper houses for sale, or rent,  thinking that a different house would solve all our problems I guess, focused on the negatives of living here. Watching my husband work himself silly over the years trying to pay down our debt and thinking that if we just didn't have such a huge mortgage things would be better.
Well in the last two years things have slowly changed. Through hard work and a bit of financial luck we have been able to pay off all of our cards and vehicle loans. Yes ALL! We only have the trailer loan (It was so hard to apply for that loan after paying everything off! But we needed to figure out a solution for J living with us and just didn't have enough room in the house.) and the house mortgage now. Ryder has been working like a mad man for the past year. Often seven days a week! (His work is so all or nothing!) So we have been able to sock away as well. It makes such a huge difference not having to pay all those high credit card bills! I never, never, never, want to be in debt again! Life happens, and I'm glad we were able to hang on even though it required getting in debt, but I am trying to take safety measures now in order to never go down that road again. I all depends on Ryder's work though to an extent. When he's able to work it's great, but man when he gets laid off, ouch! Our goal is to have at least three months worth of money saved to cover all expenses. This was the first Christmas in a long time where nothing went on a credit card and we didn't dip into savings! That felt good! I started early, in September, which helped a lot. Breaking it up into smaller, more manageable chunks. :)
Anyways back to the main reason why I brought up the discussion between Ryder and I. We decided not to move for a while. I'm thinking we will live here 12 years total. We've been here over 6 now. We are going to focus on continuing to fix the place up (finish the kitchen, bedrooms, flooring in parts of the house, etc…) and then after about three years, if all of that is done, we are going to start keeping a close eye on the market. We don't want to buy at a high this time, so we might turn our house into a rental and buy when it's low if we can. I've come to realize how much I do love this house, and there are so many perks of living in this area. I started focusing on the blessings and realized that I wasn't appreciating what I do have, but instead was thinking the grass was greener on the other side. I don't like that. I strive to be happy where I am at, and if I'm not happy I strive to solve that by fixing what I already have. I don't like to throw in the towel, although there are times in life to move on and let go, they are far and few between. It felt good to say out loud that I don't want to move and I love this house. After so much confusion and stress, as I said I was focus on moving being the answer, it feels nice to embrace this home. We both feel that it will be too small for three teenage boys and a teenage girl though, so we will be moving. Just not yet. It's perfect right now for where we are at. I like the homeschooling network we have found and don't want to take my kids away from that. They love the Monday school, and if we moved out of Skagit (which we probably will when we move) we might loose that. We are close to our church, Awana, sports, etc… I don't want to isolate them from these things, it's so important for homeschooling children. When we do move we don't want to settle for any ol' thing, it will have to be perfect, which for us would include more space and be farther out in the country. When I really started thinking about that, with life being so busy and the kids still so young, it just didn't fit for where we are right now. As much as I wish they had more property to explore, it would get lonely to be so isolated. Not that we couldn't keep doing social/fun things, but it would be harder. Who wants harder? Right now I'm super close to everything and yet live on the edge of town, which is nice. Right across the street there is an amazing walk along the river with birds all over the place to spot and the dogs/kids can run and explore. There are so many places to go hiking/exploring. So many parks to go to. Even though they can't venture out on an adventure into their back yard there are still many, many options. I want to be able to enjoy my newly remodeled kitchen, which should be finished soon! I love my gardens, and I'm proud of the work we have put into them, I'm not ready to say goodbye yet. I feel so thankful that we are not drowning under a finical burden anymore. That I have the breathing room to embrace what we have and invest into it. I feel like this coming year is going to be a good one.
I have a lot of personal goals as well, and some plans for the outside, but I won't go into those, at least not right now as this blog post is way too wordy and not enough pictures. ;)
Maybe I should get up early more often, it might end up being the best time to blog. I was unaware that my brain could work this early in the morning. Well maybe not work, but definitely ramble, ha ha!
Here's to an amazing New Year, full of plans! Lots and lots of plans! What's life without goals really!?! Ha ha!
I keep my husband's life interesting. ;)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmasiness and a crazy story. :)

Tis the season and now it's past! Wow! What a whirlwind! I made a lot of gifts this year and spent way too many nights saying up way too late. Last night the visitors were gone, kids were tucked in bed, there was nothing to make, tree was already down and I'd spent a good portion of the day organizing, so I sort of crashed. I was talked out, touched out, and tired out. I grabbed a (big) bowl of coconut milk whipped cream and some home made berry sauce, topped that with a little coconut milk ice-cream, grabbed the remote and totally zoned out on the couch in the dark. It was beautiful. :) This introvert can be social but boy do I crave my down time. And the treat was soooooo good, if I'd had more I totally would have continued to stuff my face.

Pre-crash photos… :)

Holiday aprons make the baking more fun. :)

This doesn't really have anything to do with Christmas but it's so cute! I could do a whole post filled with pictures of my kids snuggled up during their "sleep overs". I can't help myself they just look so darling!

Christmas Eve spent hanging out with my weird family. ;) We had a nice visit with my husbands dad and his wife at our house, then we headed of to a really nice, very packed, Christmas Eve service at our church. 

The kids got to open their one present on Christmas Eve (Which is always festive pj's, ha ha!) and hang their stockings with care. Then off to bed! 

Everything is all ready for Christmas morning! Even J got a stocking. :) And I bought tall gift bags to make stand in "stockings" for my mom and my sister, since they were both with us on Christmas morning.

My kids are made to wait in their rooms until I tell them we are ready. It builds the anticipation. :) And keeps from getting up at 3 am. ;) Also I get to take one of these cute pictures every year.

Stockings are the best part. :)

Crocheted my husband a Seahawks hat. He's a big fan. Me I couldn't care less… There I said it. Sorry people I'm simply not sporty. But Christmas is about loving on the ones you love, so I fed his Seahawks spirit. ;) I also made one for J…

I promised I would try not to get him in pictures (he hates it) and I did try… but I was taking a group shot and he just happened to be in it. ;) Such a grown up boy, my J-bird. Sigh. 

Leiella with her Teressa doll Christmas morning, all matching. :)
You should have seen my daughters face when she opened her pj's present Christmas Eve. I found a site that sells clothing for girls with matching outfits for 18 inch dolls.
Back story- She has a rag doll that has been in our family for a while. My grandma's sister made it, then my grandma gave it to my little sister and she in turn passed it on to my daughter. Well actually my daughter fell in love with her when she saw her at Neenee's house (her grandma). My mom said she could borrow her and the rest is history. ;) Her auntie felt that she should have her when she heard how much Lala loved her. Anyways the dolls name is Teressa (my grandma's name). She's always had some pretty worn clothing, nothing that fit very well. Not that Leiella cared. She's been carrying that doll with her everywhere and sleeping with her since she got her a while ago. At first I didn't think it would last but she's still going strong. Some times she's a sister, sometimes her baby. :) I really wanted to find some clothes that fit. So I measured her and she was about 19 inches but about the same diameter around as the ever popular American Girl dolls. Someone told me about this site and I'm so glad I went to it and ordered the matching Christmas pj's! She was over the moon excited! And they fit! They are a little short on the legs, because that's were the extra inch is, but Leiella doesn't care at all. I'm thinking there will be some more matching outfits in the future. :) 

My mom telling us all about Teressa and marveling over her adorable outfit. :)

Lap full of poodles. :) They have grown so much in a year! 

Had to share this photo. :) It was the only thing he mentioned over and over again, for months now, that he wished he could have. 

My mom liked her ceramic travel mug. :)

I made my daughter (and her cousin) a bear cowl for Christmas. So cute!!!

Okay before I wrap this long post up I'm going to share a funny story. Something that's probably only happened to our family. ;)
My son Ira lost his front tooth Christmas day. He was super excited as it's been a long time in the making. We don't put teeth under pillows around here, we have an idiot of a tooth fairy that just can't find teeth hidden under pillows. ;) So we put it on the window seal in the kitchen. Better results that way. We use to  have a cute little glow in the dark tooth shaped container, but over the years it got lost and now we just put it in a cup and place it in the window seal. My son came to me before bed asking where his tooth cup went. I was super confused was trying to figure out what in the world happened. All the sudden my mom, his Neenee, breaks out in hysterical laughter and while gasping for breath, tells us that she drank it! No kidding. She saw a cup on the window seal, grabbed it, filled it with water, and gulped it down! She didn't know that we don't do under the pillow here, and had no idea what the cup was for. Now don't ask why she would grab a cup from the window seal instead of the cupboard, but whatever. She often makes no sense to me. ;) Needless to say the house was filled with hysterical laughter there for a while. What a story! What a night! And in true Ira form he tried to convince my mom, when she went to tuck him in, to go through her poop and find his tooth. He worked hard to get that tooth out! Ha ha! Oh dear goodness!!! My sister and I kept cracking up late into the night and then all three of us would dissolve into hysterics again. Good times. Honestly this is only one story out of so many weird stories I could tell about my mom and her antics, ha ha! But it's probably by far the best now! This is going down in our family history… "Remember the time Neenee swallowed Ira's tooth?" Oh yeah, every Christmas from now on. ;)

So the day after Christmas I was totally burnt out on the Christmas clutter. My tree had been dried out for over a week and I wanted it gone. This is the earliest I've ever taken the tree down! My sweet sister helped me before she left. It was a relief and helped reduce my after Christmas clutter anxiety that kicks in hard this time of year. I decided to rearrange my living room as well. It's funky and pushing it for me as I always line everything up and tend to like things super symmetrical. I angled all the furniture...

It sort of makes a nice optical illusion, makes things look more spacious. It's such a tiny and awkward living room.

Makes a lot more room, tilting the furniture.

So anyways we will see how long it last. ;) Considering I'm usually obsessively straightening everything… Ha ha!

Now I must stop blogging, I have so many organizing projects I meant to do today!!!

On to a New Year!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas happenings

Christmas is in full swing, as it always is around here the day after Thanksgiving. :)

We started off the season with a trip to the Lights of Christmas with some friends. It was a blast. 

Quickly in other non-Christmas related news, all my boys got hair cuts. All of them. As in Banden got his hair chopped off, nice and short! We haven't seen him with short hair in years!

He was starting to get too attached to the idea that long hair was his identity. I don't want my children to focus outward, so I was starting to worry about this. We talked about how long hair did not make him, what he was all about came from the inside. I told him I felt like it was time for a change and left it at that. We talked about it off and on for a few more weeks. Then I asked him if he was ready to try something new, and he agreed. So off to a hair stylist we went. I felt like it required more than a bathroom buzz haircut, and he adamantly told me he did not want it that short. ;) I was so worried if I was making the right choice or not, pushing him in this direction. While he was getting his hair cut he looked upset and at one point he looked like he might cry. My stomach hurt. I wanted him to come away with the right sort of lesson learned and not just be upset with me for pushing him into it. We didn't talk much on the way home, but I told him he was his handsome self as always and that he looked so much older! He went straight to the bathroom when we got home. He tried out different styles. He gazed at himself in the mirror. I waited nervously and tried to stay busy cleaning house. Finally he came out and walked up to me and gave me a hug and told me that he really liked it. That he like his hair both ways. I almost cried. I'm tearing up thinking about it. He's just so sweet. He told me that he was a little freaked out when his hair was falling in chunks on the floor, but now that he was use to it he thought it was fun and cool.

I think he will be sticking with this style for at least a while now. And I do believe he discovered that it truly doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, you are you no matter what! Which is why the inside matters most!!!

I love being able to clearly see his beautiful face. :)

Okay back to Christmas...

The house is fully decorated. :)

Christmas has exploded here...

My favorite thing by far is still my snow globe collection. Can't wait to see what they surprise me with this year!

I always put our last four Christmas pictures up on the mantle. :) I like to see how everyone changes and grows.

Made my own wreath again this year.

Pretty and simple centerpiece for the table.

Atty and I fell in love with this Christmas bird decoration. :) It glows, but you can't tell in this picture because of the flash on my camera.

We did the wrapped books again this year. My kids love it. I wrap up 24 Christmas books and every night in December all the way up to Christmas Eve my kids take turns picking a book, unwrapping it and then I read it to them before bed. :)

Festive! :)

My daughter got to sing up front at church with her sunday school group. It was sooooooo cute! She loves to sing and has talked about wanting to sing on stage. But she also felt shy about it and wasn't sure she would ever be able to.

Well she did, with her Teresa doll and all. They started with my favorite song, "Silent Night" which we sing together often. It really choked me up! To see her be so brave and sing so well.

Apparently Teresa was super tired when we got home and needed a nap. Leiella had us whispering and all.

We also volunteered last weekend to help pack food for Children of the Nations at a local church.
It was an amazing experience. :) But after we were done we were all super burnt out. I still needed to go grocery shopping so I impulsively decided to try taking them to a restaurant that I felt might possibly be able to serve our special dietary needs. Ryder and I love this restaurant but have never tried to feed Atty or Banden there. Well I am happy to say that it worked! They were awesome and even made a special sauce for the boys that worked on their diets. No one got sick and it was amazing! I'll admit I was pretty nervous that I was making a really bad impulsive choice and so relieved that it worked out. Sometimes it pays to be daring. ;) Atty has not eaten restaurant food since he started on his diet over four years ago! And Banden hasn't in almost two years. It was quite the treat for my hard working volunteers. :) And know we know that there is one place we can go out to eat as a family every once and a while. I can hardly describe how totally awesome that is. :)

Lots of fun stuff happening this season.

Can't wait to see my kids happy little faces on Christmas morning. :)

So Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kaleidoscope of life

There is no easy way to catch up, so I give you pictures… :)

Recent bathroom remodel. Bird theme. I'm loving it. 

Atty was super excited as well. :)

I always have sticky notes on the edge of the counter, reminders in my busy life. The other day I noticed a certain little lady added to my sticky notes list. So cute.

Leiella feels that her baby kitty needs a blanket when lounging around on the couch.

In other news, I chopped my hair. It was time. :)

I finally got a new kitchen fan! Also my husband has been working away on my kitchen cabinets for the remodel and as soon as those are done I get my new counter tops!!! Can not wait!

My kids love their slumber parties. This one was a doozy! Sheet off the bed and everything. Which is why they only have slumber parties on the weekends. :) This is cute now, but ten years from now this might not be so cute, long night spent partying is what this looks like, ha ha! ;)

Look who still sleeps with his ducka-ducka. So cute!

Apparently these are Bushtits. Horrible name if you ask me. Especially when your kids keep saying it over and over again. They were really cute though!

These big guys like to gaze out the window at… you guessed it… the birds! This is their favorite spot to sit. :) Thankfully they are not much on catching birds, opting for rodents instead. Thats my kind of cats. :) Might have to do with letting them out at night and keeping them in more during the day. :) See bird lovers and cat lovers can work together.

More slumber party cuteness.

This girl got her first riding lesson, and I took one with her! It was so fun, and I'll admit I got teary eyed getting to share my love of horses with her. She had been asking for a while now and I felt like she was ready. She did so well, and truly loved it! We are going to do at least one riding lesson a month. It's pretty expensive, so can't do much more than that for now. I definitely want to go on a trail ride soon. This place has all sorts of options. I'm super excited about it. :)

Pilgrims night at Awana. Got to dress up as a pilgrim, a native american, or a turkey.  I wanted Leiella to be a pilgrim too, but she wanted to be a turkey. Oh well, she makes a cute turkey too. :)

And of course the day after Thanksgiving we headed to the tree farm. Found the perfect imperfect tree. ;) Didn't realize how wide it was until we got it into the living room, good grief!

Got to get the girly pic, it's required by my daughter. ;)

This is suppose to be a field, not a lake. It's across the street from our house. Good thing they added this dike a couple years ago or our road would be totally flooded! Some serious flooding this year!

This also looks like a beautiful lake, it's not suppose to. Right out side the frame of this picture are houses and the water is dangerously close to them.

It is beautiful though.

It was very cold out. Can you tell? Ha ha, he was warming up his face. :)

Right behind them, under water, is the other dike that we normally walk on to get to our favorite spot at the river. 

Beautiful visitor. We get so many humming birds this time of the year. They get really sassy with each other over the feeder too. The squawk at each other and it's actually really cute. Although probably doesn't seem cute to the hungry humming bird that is chased off. This one let me get super close!

Christmas is now under way. ;)