Big Girls…Share a Room

Big Girls…Share a Room

I’m trying to knock out a few decor projects here and there, except I can’t figure out what happened to all this free time I was supposed to have once the kids went to back to school?!?

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The girls’ room is so cheery and colorful! I’m usually so monochromatic and matchy-matchy in my decorating that using so many different colors in one room makes me a little batty. For these two, though, it works!girls6

Their whole room is still a work in progress. Their box springs need to be covered. I have a gallery wall of swim photos and medals that I have yet to finish. There’s a wall with shelves and a dresser that no photos can be taken of because it is a true jumbled mess and will require me to put repair Lego creations before they can be displayed on the shelves. I have additional artwork that they’ve done that I need to buy frames for and add to the wall between the windows. And quite honestly, I don’t love their curtain rods or their light fixture, but those are things, if I’m being realistic, will go up in flames on the back burner!

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And let’s not even talk about the fact that this room will never stay picture perfect clean or even straightened! Pack rats is a much better way to describe these two girls than neat freaks will ever be. Someone needs to apply the key components of minimalism to their overwhelming collection of stuffed animals, dolls and random toys like yesterday. I have heart palpitations every time I walk into their closet. Yet, they rarely play with any of these toys and they spend a ton of time complaining about being bored and having nothing to do. Cleaning out their closet is on the long list of things that I need to make time to get done!

They do enjoy sharing a room. I worried about Harper sleeping in a big bed and keeping JB up all night, but she’s done surprisingly well. JB did complain about her playing with a new swimming pony in the bed one night this week. And when JB was away at an overnight birthday party, Harper made me pile stuffed animals in JB’s bed so she wouldn’t miss her as badly. Maybe the stuffed animals have a use after all!

I hope that this room sharing experiences is the beginning of a lifelong friendship between these two sweet, but crazy sisters. Bless their hearts.

Live Simply

Live Simply

simply sinkGreetings from the view from my kitchen sink!

At times my life gets really weighted down by the “should do’s” or the “you’re not doing enough” or even the “YOU are not enoughs” and it’s quite paralyzing. I’m really a nut job, and probably certifiable, but you may have figured that out.

We had a rough weekend at the Yellow Cottage! Don’t get me wrong, I love my house and am grateful for it, but being in a new neighborhood has afforded us some challenges we didn’t have on Quarter Ln!

We live in a culdesac with a couple of empty lots, a house that’s for sale and the people are moving out of today, and an older couple lives across the street from us. There aren’t many kids in close proximity to us. There are deer, though, and we consider them our friends!

In order for blonde child to play with friends, he has to ride his bike a half mile or so away, which is really no big deal, except for the fact that he NEVER comes home when he’s supposed to come home! Like never! He’s spent a lot of time without his tablet and crying buckets while he bore the responsibility of unloading the dishwasher all alone for a couple of weeks. I kept telling him that the 20 minutes he was spending doing the dishwasher is the same 20 minutes he has come home late every time he’s left the house. It doesn’t really take 20 minutes to unload the dishwasher and some times his lateness was 20 minutes time 10 or so!

The other two big kids NEVER leave the house! Like never! As many times as we’ve been to the pool over here, JB has yet to find a girl her age that she knows from school. Crazy! B-Bop is not particularly social, or at least doesn’t initiate friendships at all. So he’s not really found anyone to hang out with over here.

On Quarter Ln, the kids walked out the door to kids their age! At any given time, there could be 10 kids in my backyard playing baseball. Well, not really playing, but arguing about which rules they were going to play by. I never imagined I would miss that! JB had about 5 different girls she could play with within about a 2 block radius. And when I needed any of them to come home, I just walked outside and yelled or sent whoever may be home to go and get them.

The dynamics here aren’t so simple, and to be honest, on Saturday I was ready to put a For Sale sign in my front yard and start packing. There are 3 houses for rent on our old street, including the one we just moved out of! Being the sole adult here 24/7 complicates things, too. I can’t just get in the car and go to the grocery store on a whim or run a quick errand. I need to have my people at the house to watch out for each other just to sneak away for a few minutes.

I say all that to say that this week I am resolved to embrace the Live Simply motto on the sign above my kitchen sink! I’m tired of being bogged down by all the things that are going wrong, or maybe just not according to plan. When I signed up for this year, I kept saying this wasn’t my first rodeo. I can do this! Well, it’s been far from a cake walk. I mean, I’ve eaten lots of cake and that causes a whole other batch of issues. Instead of beating myself up constantly by how much I’m losing at this whole thing called my life, I’m going to focus on the things that I can do and can accomplish every day.

Years ago, I blogged about my Big 3…3 things I can do every day to make me feel like I accomplished something. Here they are…You ready…

  1. Make my bed
  2. Do one load of laundry – washer to drawers/hangers
  3. Run the dishwasher and wake up with an empty sink

These are things I can do every day, regardless of my schedule and regardless of any other chaos that may erupt within the 4 walls, or outside of the 4 walls, of this yellow house. I can’t change the fact that JB’s, the social butterfly, lifestyle has been drastically changed by this move. I can’t force blonde kid to come home at the right time every day, though I can punish the heck out of him and hope he gets the message. I can’t force kids to be friends with B-bop or make him go knock on doors. He’s never going to do that! I can’t change Harper’s irrational arguments about what is a skirt and what isn’t, or the difference between Wednesday and Friday.

But I can make my bed, do laundry and run the dishwasher. Trust me, just these 3 tasks cut down on a ton of chaos in my overwhelmed little mind. I know it sounds so elementary, but keeping these things under control makes a huge difference on my perspective and my outlook on my days. Some days, if that’s all I get done, or the only things that I do well, I am going to celebrate that. I am going to bask in the simple!

Keeping It Off

About 2 years ago, I was facing the reality of my celebrating my 40th birthday. When did I get this old? In the deep recesses of my mind, I had an unspoken goal of stepping on the ever so honest scale and being back to my wedding day weight by the time I turned 40. Not sure why 40 was such a motivating number, but it was. I guess the whole cresting the proverbial hill thing…

I have struggled with my weight for as much of my life as I can remember. When I was about 10, someone took a picture of me playing with one of our many cats. All I could see in that picture, besides my 80’s style sleeveless shirt that said “totally awesome,”or something like that on it, was this belly roll hanging over the edge of the table. This particular picture was probably the beginnings of my self image/weight related issues. When I was in high school, some guy told me I looked like an orca. I’ve never forgotten that. I’m pretty sure I remember exactly where I was standing, what I had on and the expression on my face in that moment. Words hurt worse than broken bones!

(I don’t pull these fat days pictures out at parties and pass them around so consider yourself among the privileged that I would share such miserable pictures with you!)

When MAJ W and I started dating, we were both on our own little weight loss journeys and managed to shed quite a few pounds by our wedding day. Through the years and 4 pregnancies – let’s be honest, I can blame lots of my weight issues, pregnant or not, on these 4 beautiful children. If only it were that simple, right? Truth is I eat when I’m bored and when I’m stressed. So basically every waking minute of every single day!

So turning 40 caused me to embrace a determination to shed the excess like nothing else has ever motivated me before. I committed to eating less by following the Weight Watchers eating plan and to exercising more. Weight loss really is, or should be, that simple. Eat less. Exercise more. I tracked points for months and for months I fired up my Kindle to some mindless romance novel and elliptical-ed the pounds away. About 2 months before the big 4-0 milestone I added in a little bit of running, because running is so fun…Ha! I hated running, but my body has always responded well to running.

By May 24 of last year, 2016, I was at my wedding day weight and the fight to stay there began. I’ve struggled up and down a few pounds along the way, but have been able to maintain within a few pounds until the last 2 months.

I spent the spring training for a half marathon that I ended up not running due to some weird inner thigh/groin pain. Like seriously there were moments when I would stand up and I thought I wouldn’t be able to move my right leg ever again. Crazy, shooting weird pain!  Then a friend asked me to do 21 Day Fix with her so for 21 days of May, I portioned my food in little color coded containers and didn’t miss a single workout for 21 days. I felt great. I had trimmed and toned a little bit. I was willingly turning down junk food, and I love me some junk food!

Then…Maj W came home from travelling the Middle East. I turned 41. We celebrated his promotion. We bought this Yellow Cottage. We moved out of a rental house. We set up life in the Yellow Cottage. No routine. No sense of normalcy. Lots of eating out. I mean who wants to cook when half your crap is still in a box to be unpacked?  What’s for lunch today that I don’t have to cook or clean up became the question of the day? Chick Fil A? Taco Truck? Cookies? Loads of cookies! Cupcakes? I became a Smallcakes regular for a few weeks. A word of wisdom: If you love cupcakes, but your resistance is low, you should not follow your local Smallcakes on IG! Just don’t!

Exercise? Too hot to run outside – and oh that pain. Too many interruptions to workout inside. Oh, shoot, the elliptical isn’t even plugged in! Yep…excuses, excuses. I honestly never thought I would go so many days in a row without any sort of exercise. My Garmin hadn’t hit 10,000 steps in weeks!

A week and a half or so ago I stepped on the scale and had gained 10 pounds. Total Fat Butt! When the 4 year old starts patting your tummy and noticing it’s more fluffy, you know it’s time to buckle down! What’s crazy is that it’s really only 10 pounds, but when I look in the mirror, I see the me that weighed in around 30 pounds heavier 2 and a half years ago!

This week, though, summer is officially over! I went back to work this morning and for 2 days I’ve been tracking and measuring with my little color coded containers again. I absolutely hate it, but it’s necessary. Every day is a victory, right? If you see me reach for a chocolate chip cookie or a french fry or a saltine cracker…smack my hand and call me Fat Butt! Seriously, I don’t own a pair of jeans that truly fit. It’s really very sad. Wearing the clothes in my closet isn’t near as fun as it once was.

I’m committed or I’m going to be buying new clothes in a couple of weeks!

So Long Summer

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To say the last two weeks of my life have been quite difficult is an understatement of epic proportions.  Why are the last two weeks of summer so rough? I’ve heard lots of moms express this same frustration. It’s like we made it through the first six weeks or seven weeks somewhat unscathed and then out of nowhere this dark cloud just hovers, delivering with it whining, bored, discontent, mouthy children. Add in a major lifestyle change for our family and a breeding ground for the worst kind of doubt, anger, frustration and weakness appeared.

 

I’ve questioned every day if we have made the worst decision ever for our family, if our decision to live apart for a year may backfire big time. I’ve threatened to pack up this house and move to Dorothy’s backyard more times than I would like to admit. The old adage, “you’ve made your bed and now you’ve got to lie on it” has scrolled through my mind almost daily.  We made this decision for the good of the children, but I’m afraid I may do more damage than good for them while we’re in this state! One child already goes to see a “therapist.” I should probably go ahead and make appointments for the rest of this crew.

If you want to feel good about your parenting, come hang out here for a little while! My fly off the handle episodes lately will make you feel like a super mom or dad. I mean

 

telling a child to keep their Sonic cherry slush in the kitchen isn’t an unreasonable request, right? So when you hear the crushing sound of a styrofoam cup coming from your bedroom with light beige carpet, followed by the words, “Sorry, mom,” my first response should’ve been a calm oh no big deal. Well, total opposite in real life. Sweet child apologized and I kissed her and told her I loved her, but it’s very important to follow directions, yadda, yadda, yadda…Thank the Lord that we own a steam vac! A little hydrogen peroxide, some spray and wash and a few runs of the steam vac and no one will ever know the catastrophe of red syrup on light carpet ever happened.

School started this week and you can imagine the sigh of relief I breathed dropping them off on the first day. A sigh of relief for me and for them! They need the structure and I need the quiet. Tomorrow morning I am looking forward to dropping them off and having a day alone, inside the house to just relax, reflect and get some sort of plan in place to make the best use of my time this school year.

I always feel like the beginning of school is like New Year’s Day all over again – a chance to look back, evaluate and resolve to make life changes for the better. And after spending the summer surrounded by little people, with little routine, lots of stress, and lots of change, I need a new beginning! I am grateful for an opportunity to figure out how to do what we do differently – more simply – so that we can look back at the end of this craziness and be grateful for this time we’ve been given to truly trust the Lord in every moment and to see His hand at work in every little detail. I don’t want to look back and say, yeah that year really sucked! Rather, I want to remember this year as one where we experienced and acknowledged God’s faithfulness in it all.

 

 

White Bookcase Fiasco

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Those of you who follow me on FB and IG are probably already aware that we’ve had quite the unfortunate series of event in my effort to acquire 2 matching white bookcases! I mean how hard should that be? Budget always comes into play, so any decorating task at my house seems to be more difficult than if I had a money tree in my backyard.

The only requirements for these bookcases: less than 35 inches wide, about a foot deep, sturdy, white and 2 that match! I wanted them to be a little bit more decorative than a standard bookcase, but I found out in the end that “beggers can’t be choosers!” The bookcases need to possibly house 2 printers, a Silhouette Cameo, a sewing machine, books (of course), and various decorative, yet useful office supply storage items.

After searching various sites for a few days, I ordered 2 matching white bookcases from Target that I really liked. I anxiously awaited their arrival. The day they were to be delivered, they never arrived at the yellow cottage. I was meeting friends for a girls’ night or something, and on a whim, I stopped at the rental house to check the mail. I had dropped JB off at a birthday party in that neighborhood and was nearby. As I was getting ready to pull out of the driveway, a large delivery truck showed up with these 2 bookcases. I texted MAJ W and told him they were there. I figured we could go pick them up the next morning.

When I arrived home from going out, he had one of the bookcases completely put together at the yellow cottage! He’s a good husband. However, he discovered that the 2nd box was missing 2 pieces and the whole bag of nuts and bolts! Uh Oh! I called Target Customer Service immediately and was told to call back the next day. I called back, very hopeful that they would just ship us the missing pieces. No such luck! They didn’t have these parts and this white bookcase was no longer available or out of stock or something. I couldn’t even order another whole bookcase. As a matter of fact, yesterday I checked and the white version of the bookcase is still not available. It was so perfect, but not meant to be. Poo!

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We took the complete bookcase back to Target as part of date night! We are the most romantic people ever and possibly pretty close to redneck, too. Arranging pick up for the other bookcase became a procrastination project. I actually just taped it up this morning because they were supposed to be sending a freight company to come get it off my porch this afternoon. Ha!

A rep from the shipping company called me Saturday morning while I was in WV at my family’s annual reunion to arrange the pick up. This bookcase has been taking up space in the garage for over 3 weeks now! I thought we were all set to have the box picked up today until I received an email Monday that I needed to call them. You know when I called them?? This morning at about 10 am!

It turns out I live in a rural area. Laugh with me now! I do have deer friends and I did watch them bail hay in the field beside my house this week, but I don’t live in the sticks. Apparently the 2 lane road beside the neighborhood is only accessible by a small freight truck. Whatever…It’s too bad that I remembered at 7:30 this morning that I needed to tape up the box and somehow drag it from the garage around to the front porch before I left to get my hair cut at 8:30!

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Our garage is behind the house so I had to somehow figure out how to get this 70 pound, awkwardly long box from the garage, down the driveway and onto the front porch – all by myself! The McGyver in me decided I needed something with wheels that I could put under one end of the box to could push the box fairly easily around the house! In comes a $5 skateboard. It did its job, but I was sure glad no one came jogging along the path while I was wrangling the box and the skateboard. Just the crazy yellow house lady doing what she does!

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Rewind 2 weeks to ordering and receiving the 2nd set of matching bookcases that I ordered from Amazon, somewhat desperately. MAJ W and I had gone out to lunch. We were supposed to meet  his coworkers from his job here for a little farewell, but they were all locked down on the Arsenal due to some sort of a ‘possible shooter’ situation. When we came home from what turned into our own little lunch date, there were 2 boxes on the back porch – 2 different shaped boxes! Something was off! Impressive, though, that the FedEx guy drove his truck to the back of our house, through the gated driveway and put the boxes on the back porch. Yes, we have live in a gated community and have an electronic gate on our driveway. Quite over the top!

We carried the boxes inside and MAJ W immediately started opening the boxes to put the bookcases together because he’s a glutton for punishment or maybe he just wanted this never ending torture exercise to be over. After he opened the boxes, he came upstairs with an instruction manual and asked what I had ordered! We had received one white bookcase and one white bookcase headboard. Face palm!! After a conversation with this company’s customer service rep, we were instructed to just keep or donate the headboard and they would re-ship another bookcase. The super friendly lady in El Paso was quite helpful!

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We immediately loaded up the headboard and took it to the Care Center just to have one less thing laying around our house with which to deal. He put the two bookcases together in record time. They aren’t near the quality of the first Target bookcase. Whomp. Whomp. One of them has a big dent in the top of it, but at this point I was just ready to done with this fiasco. Our solution to cover the dent required a trip to Lowe’s for a piece of trim and white paint!

Thankfully they are all assembled and in place. I’m not 100% in love with their current styling, but I can keep tweaking as we go along. They are doing their job – giving books and office supplies a home that isn’t on the floor or in a cardboard box – and they match!

Table for 10

Table for 10

One piece of furniture I may have been more excited about than even this house is our new farmhouse table. The two tables we had in our rental weren’t going to cut it in the eat in area of this house. We don’t set up a formal dining area ever. We aren’t those kind of people. Formal dining at our house involves paper plates and paper towels! I don’t own a single piece of china so I don’t need a room to display it. We need to be able to practically live in every room in our house! We used our previous formal dining room as a homework/craft room. Harper called it the coloring room.

I knew I wanted a table that would fit lots of people around it. MAJ W insisted it seat at least 8 adults. I measured the space while we were having our inspection done and realized that a long, rectangular table wasn’t going to work. I also didn’t want a round table or to have to deal with putting a leaf in and out of it. Did you know that dining tables are very expensive? Well, big, ‘nice’ tables are expensive, at least for my budget conscious mind.IMG_3905

My friend in the great state, Kim, of Flint Creek Farm, builds tables and, in my dream world, she was going to build me one, but logistically I couldn’t figure out how on earth to get it from there to here. I considered going north a couple of hours to get one made, but transportation costs were a little prohibitive, as well. Bottom line, if I wanted a large farmhouse table within my budget, I had to find someone local to build it. After talking to someone about 30 minutes across town, I put out a plea on Facebook and a friend recommended the guy that built her table.

So I called John, of H34 Design Co, and told him what I wanted – a 5 foot x 5 foot square table. Nothing too fancy, but it had to be square and it had to fit 8 people around it. Turns out John lives 5 minutes from me and attends the same church we do. He’s a brand new daddy and I think was a little hesitant to take on my building project, but I assured him I wasn’t in a huge rush! Upon arranging pick up, I learned that he’s in sales and one of my best friends’ husbands is one of his customers. Crazy! I joke that this particular friend needs to run for mayor because he knows everybody and after helping us move this table, he’ll never offer to help me do anything ever again!

I already had these X back chairs from a previous table and just painted them, well, am in the process of painting them, the same color as the table legs. I’ll finish up the little details on them once the kiddos are back in school in 15 days. Am I the only one counting down? IMG_3900

I am grateful for the way this whole table thing worked out and I love this table so much. I’m just a tiny bit protective of it. No markers or crayons allowed!! The square fits our space perfectly. We tested its seating capacity out a few weeks ago and had 10 adults sitting around it. We could’ve squeezed another couple, but they may not have had room to sit down their tacos!

Friday Faves

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I spend a ton of time swiping through Instagram (IG) in my spare time or in the time I spend avoiding doing things that are much more important! I love IG because it’s mainly pictures and not full of advertisements or shared memes like my Facebook feed seems to be these days. I love some memes, but I also love real life.

I know, I know…social media is not real life. I get that. We aren’t all willing to share our dirty laundry with the world and some like to make their lives appear as though their house is perpetually cleaned and staged; their kids are all well groomed and well dressed at all times; their marriage is this perfect bliss where husband and wife serve and love each other every single minute of every day. Gag me! Most social media posts are just the ‘highlight reel’ of our lives.

Back to IG…I have some favorites that I follow for various reasons and thought I would share a few of those with you today. Maybe you’ll find someone new to follow or be inspired by these people’s journeys.

  1. I Lost Big and So Can You – Kristine has achieved significant weight loss and managed to keep it mostly off. She shares her successes and struggles as she strives to keep the weight off or shed a few more pounds.
  2. Our Faux Farmhouse – This is a couple in TX (I’m loyal to people who reside in the great state) who live in a typical subdivision, but who give their homes a great farmhouse feel. Lots of beautiful inspiration.
  3. WW_Teacher – Jenn is currently a TX resident, but moving to Washington State soon. She taught me about Iced Protein Coffee and lots of other great Weight Watcher tips!
  4. H34 Design Co. – I heard about John through a friend and contacted him to build my new dining room table that I have yet to share with you! He does fantastic work. I love seeing the things he and his wife create.
  5. Caycee07 – I used to follow Caycee long before Instagram, when she was just a blogger sharing life, home and fashion stuff. She’s a low country SC girl. I rediscovered her a couple of years ago and enjoy hearing her take on fashion and life. She has a bigger clothing budget than I ever will, but she’s still fun to follow!

Who are your favorite IG follows? I desperately need to clean out my feed, but I love discovering new fun people or groups to follow. Share your faves!