Monday, January 30, 2006

Playing with Friends

"Daddy did you get to go out and play with your friends today?"

"No, honey. I was at work."

"That's too bad. It was a beautiful, sunny day."

The conversation between DH and MB as he was putting her to bed tonight. It was a beautiful day. And, as a continuation of our weekend we put off doing all the necessaries and went out to play with our friends.

Following my utter collapse at the end of last week, I took it easy this weekend. An, thus, nothing much has gotten accomplished towards - well anything concrete. But our mental health is on the mend and we have enjoyed it.

Saturday I got up and went to the early meeting and then came home. DH decided to change the oil in the cars and took the big girls out with him. They ended up getting the car washed and going to a coin shop (an old hobby of his that he would like to begin again). I went back to bed and napped while EM napped. I think I did manage to shove a few more boxes into the garage and collapse the folding table that was serving as the extension to our computer area. And, that was the extent of my usefulness. I spent most of the day just kind of existing - not real sure what to do with myself.

Sunday went much better. I had recovered a lot of my energy and had also refocused myself. We were able to get up an actually make it to Sunday school. After church we had to do a quick clean on the house before the Real Estate agent came over. Which, it ends up we should not even had bothered. He did not really give us any good direction on what all needs to be done. Because I want a list to follow and what I got was it is looking good and just keep working on cleaning and decluttering. We just need to give him a call about four days before we want it on the market.

MB left to go the MC-D's with some friends and their mother. So I headed out early for my meeting and to grab a little time to myself. I had a meeting and then got together with some women for a potluck and spiritual meeting. (30 minute spiritual meeting - 2 hour gab session) It was wonderful and great. And I have missed things like this so much. I didn't get home until 9:30 Sunday night.

I woke up this morning and it was warm, and the fog was burning off and I just wanted to play hookey. But, the practical side of me kept coming up with this list of things I needed to do - pay bills, go buy Turbo Tax so I can do the taxes, sand the walls of the girls' bedroom, etc. Inside I was whining - I don't wanna! So, while I waited for my lazy girls to wake up I called a friend and talked to her for almost an hour. I got wonderful advice and "permission" to Seize The Day. So after MB woke up we headed over to the mall to meet another friend and her children for lunch.

We wandered to mall and let the kids jump in the Bounce House. We ran into another mutual friend and his daughter and talked about what a great park day it was. Eventually they wore me down - because I really felt that we had to come back to the house and do our work. And we went over to the park and ran into yet another mutual friend and his children. We had a blast!!! The kids had a blast.

We were exhausted when we got home - but the day wasn't over yet. After a little rest period the girls ended up going to a basketball game with their daddy and aunt, while I got a peaceful evening at home with just EM.

We didn't get much schoolwork done, we didn't get the bills paid, we didn't get the taxes done, no more boxes were packed and all the rooms look just like they did on Friday. I did manage to run the dishwasher and do two loads of laundry - That is it. But we are really happy and satisfied. And we Seized The Day - because tomorrow is supposed to be gray, rainy, chilly and windy. That will be a good day to spend inside working on all the other projects.



Saturday, January 28, 2006


Or "Why It Sometimes Takes A Sledge-Hammer To Get Through To Me."

There are times that I can be really still and really welcoming to hearing God in and around me. I can be willing and open. I can be responsive and serene. Yeah, there are those times.

Unfortunately, more often I am hard-headed and determined to go my own direction, and well obsess about things that I feel are important. I can be impatient and forceful. And, I can continue in this direction until I crash.

This isn't to say that those things I choose to focus on or obsess about are not good things, and they may even be in the direction God has for me. But, I, in my personality or disease, warp it and take it to an extreme. I' ll hear whispers: "Slow down." "Wait" "Let It Go" -- but I continue in my true breakneak fashion. Until...I end up in some sort of physical or mental pain. And then, that pain even needs to be extreme to really get my attention.

This is me right now. In my extremeness over the last few weeks I have stopped taking care of myself and I have continued to push forth frantically in getting my house ready - in my mind it became something that I have to do right this very minute or it won't happen at all. Yes, things need to be done around the house and that is okay. But it doesn't have to be done in the next three days or even the next three weeks for it to happen at all. But, when I am in the midst I cannot think like that - I am stuck. So, I stop eating regular meals and since I stop eating regularly I stop taking my vitamins. I start going to bed later and later until I am working on 4-5 hours of sleep. My wants and desires, and my drive, become more important to me than my recovery connections and my spiritual health.

Yesterday and today I have been hit with the sledgehammer. My body is physically sore in so many places and I could not think due to exhaustion. My heart and being are heavy and depressed again. Today, I have tried to be better. I made it to a meeting and came home and took a nap. I have only done the necessities around the house and I have just sat and tried to be in meditation with God.

You, see, I have to be grateful for what I do have. This month I always think back to the January that my life turned a corner. The beginning of the year of brokeness in my life. Thirteen years ago I was a lost soul. I didn't want God in my life. I didn't want to be in my life. My life rotated around alcohol, drugs, self-abuse and the various men of my life. I was 18 - and I didn't want to live anymore. I was admitted to a hospital on January 27th and I spent several months there as an in-patient and out-patient. I was stabilized and told that I probably had an addiction problem. I tried at first to work on that - but wasn't ready, so for the next year I steadily became worse. You see, at first I still had friends in my life and other things - I had, in order to do something different - to become open to God - I had to become broken and it had to take a sledgehammer to do it. Fast forward to the next January and those friends I had were gone - tired of my bull. My parents - frustrated and worried about me. Myself - I just didn't want to go back to the hospital even though that was where I was heading. It was only then I could go to God and ask him to help me. It was only then that I could actually allow myself to hear Him, to feel Him.

I have gotten better, and it doesn't require me to reach these depths anymore. But, I still have to become broken out of my willful, self-focused, obstinate behavior in order to become willing to have God work in my life.

These past years I have not remembered this lesson all that well. But, I am grateful that I did remember it this year. That I was able to see the self-destructiveness that had re-entered my life and that there was a place that I could go. And, today, with the craziness in my life and my mood - a gray, gloomy cloud - I can be so very grateful for the life God gave me in spite of myself. I can be grateful that I am alive today, that I have a house to worry about, children to drive me batty and a husband that I can become irritated with. Because in all of those things I have love - love for them and love given to me. Love and gratitude - what a foreign ideas those were to me at one time.



Friday, January 27, 2006


This morning I woke up physically and emotionally drained. I knew that the stress of the previous couple of weeks was going to catch up with me - and it has. I am wiped out.

DH putit succintly last night when he came in from the garage an looked around the den (the other place we are piling boxes) and said that I must have already packed about 20 boxes (most of them big boxes) and yet it looks like we have barely touched the house. "That is scary" were his words. And that is draining. I am alternating wildly from just wanting to trash 80% of our belongings and furniture to not wanting to get rid of anything.

I am doing this wild speed packing, when I know that it might be better if I went out and bought 5 larger plastic storage bins for each of us in which to store keepsakes. You know, those things that no longer have a place in my house and everyday life, but which provide our personal histories. Things like my "prom mugs" those mugs that I showed up to the prom for 30 minutes to receive to prove I was actually there before heading over to whatever party(s) was happening. Each of the five of us have things that we don't need to get rid of, but don't really need to be taking up room in our home. I have never got around to making up keepsake boxes.
And, right now I don't want to take the time to sort and think about the stuff as I pack it.

Other things that are draining my life energy at this time are all the little things that are going wrong. A few days ago I waslked into the garage to find that the puppy had chewed through one of the boxes holding my china - a big 8-inch hole that had paper wrapped china falling out of it and one of my dessert plates on the ground. Then caught the puppy chewing a hole in the carpet of the den (the one carpet we were not going to do anything with). Yesterday Brianna (the older dog) cut her tail on something and then ran around the house wagging her tail and rubbing it up against doorways and walls - so now we have swipes and spatters of blood on our walls from one end to the house to the other - it looks like a brutual crime has taken place. And, also yesterday, I went to move some of the unopened paint cans out of my way in the den and found that one of them had apparently cracked or split open in the bottom seam and leaked primer paint all through the carpeting.

All of these things are fixable or cleanable, except maybe the carpet, which we can deal with in come way. But they make the house look even more like we have done nothing. I can't see progress, even though I do know it is there. And, that just makes the fatigue even worse.

I don't know what I am going to do today. I am going to try to keep it lite. Spend some time with the kids, call some friends and get some uplifting - just do something different today.



Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Spray, Wait , Scrape

I spent my day peeling two layers of wallpaper boarder off the walls of the big girls' room. I would not have done it, but a couple of weeks ago one of them got the grand idea of picking at the edge of the boarder from the top bunk, and since I cannot find the extra boarder to patch it, I had to take it off. It was like peeling an onion. Remove the top layer of the first boarder. Rub over the paper backing to the first boarder with the "paper claw." Spray with gel remover and wait. Then scrap off the paper backing and start the whole process over with the second boarder that was underneath.

The only thing that kept me sane was thinking about the house that I *think* we have found, if only we sell this house - sooner rather than later. It is actually one that we went to look at several weeks ago. But as DH and I have both walked through other houses, we keep comparing back to this particular house. The only drawback is that the house does not have a fenced yard, but we could do that have it done. The yard is on the small side - backyard basically nonexistent with the sunroom addition, but it has an okay side yard that can be used instead. It is also on the end of a cul-de-sac, which with the girls' interest in bikes and scooters is actually more necesary than a grassy yard. We just need a safe place for the dogs to go.

Anyway, as I etched, sprayed, scraped and pulled, I arranged furniture and thought about what new pieces we would need. It was a nice little fantasy to enjoy and push me in actually completing the job.

I talked to the agent today, an we have an appointment to go over contract stuff and have them come over to give us our laundry list of things to do before we put it on the market -- the week of Feb 14th -- Happy Valentine's Day. Of course that gives me an additional push to get things done before the agents come over on Sunday afternoon. I would be so embarrassed to have anyone see the house like it is now. Boxes, half-painted rooms, laundry piled up - one can get the idea. Walking through the house is like walking through a maze right now with furniture pulled out and boxes waiting to be hauled out to the garage.

MB has been marvelous today - she helped me peel the paper off around her bunk where she could reach. It was a tough job, but she stuck with it until her 7+ foot section was done. I was very proud of her for not giving in. She also helped me with her sisters and became my "go-get" girl. On the other hand, K and EM were somewhat out of sorts most of the day. K wanted to be left alone all day and screamed everytime she thought her sisters were 'going' to bug her or even come within 5 feet of her. EM just wanted to attach herself to my leg and was very upset that I wouldn't let her sit under my step-stool to catch the falling flakes of wall boarder. I hope they are not getting sick.

Tomorrow I think I will be sanding over the wall boarder area in the girls' room. Then, either packing up misc office stuff or finishing the painting in the kitchen. That depends upon my mood and how much time I feel I have. We will not be home much in the morning as it is my meeting morning and then gymnastics. It is also our day to do science and history readings, that will be the basis for our school work over the weekend.

Since I can, I think I am actually going to go to bed before 2:30am tonight.




I have hit 2500 on my visitor meter. Which, is absolutely amazing to me. For months I watched the meter inch up one and two visitors a day and then boom - suddenly the thing is just jumping on me. I just wish I knew who was stopping by. Anyway - Hi to all of you - Thanks for visiting me.

Yahoo!! I just finished my work project and have emailed it off. I will probably have edits over the next couple of days - but nothing like I have been working the last few days to finish it. I am glad to have a little bit of work and of course the $ that comes with it - but boy have the last few weeks been crazy with everything else going on.

Tomorrow I have a group coming over to my house to do some Chinese New Year crafts. In the morning I must clean!! It is amazing what happens to the house when I spend two days on the computer. I went back to put the girls to bed tonight and there were toys and clothing (clean and dirty) spread all over their room. And this is with almost half their stuff packed up. Our kitchen table is covered with printouts of houses that we have been weeding through and newspapers I have been saving to pack with.

Today we also finished up MB's month-long Tuesday science class at a local museum. She has really enjoyed the class, and I have enjoyed the time that we spent together at the museum. I am so very, very pleased with how well the little ones have done with their 'down' time at the museum. Thankfully it is a children's museum and does have areas for preschoolers to 'play'. But not having the class will let us get back to our more normal routine, especially concerning my meeting schedule. That has taken the worst hit with all the craziness this past month. My attendance has been sketchy and I am really missing the grounding I receive from going. But next week things should be more relaxed, for at least a few weeks.

MB and I are enjoying our new science and history 'units'. We are focusing on Ancient China and the Human Body. This is one of the first times that I have found MB to be really into what we are studying. Wanting to find and track down more information. We are having conversations at different times and out-of-the-blue about them. Generally, it seems to me MB merely tolerates most of these 'units' at best. Some of the books we are using are:
Ancient China:
Discoveries - Ancient China (Barnes & Noble book)
Look What Came From China
Houses of China
Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants
The Five Chinese Brothers
The Story About Ping
Tikki Tikki Tembo

Human Body:
Discoveries - Human Body
Looking into My Body
The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body
I Wonder Why I Blink
Why Do Some Kids Have Freckles

One of the neat things we are going to be doing is putting together the plastic human body model that MB received for Christmas as we go through the various body systems.

And, while I am on the topic of how well MB is doing with her schoolwork, I also need to mention how grown-up she seems to be getting recently. How mature some of our conversations are becoming. Today in the car she started a conversation about The Jungle Book. The conversation ended up moving into a conversation about how sometimes when you love something/someone you have to "send it away" or set it free for its own good, even if you don't want to do it. I guess I would have thought that this conversation would be way over her head, but she seemed to get it. Especially since we used The Jungle Book as the example.

Yesterday we saw an ad for the new Curious George movie that is going to be released next month. K was excited and wants to go see it. She really enjoys the older movie that I bought on the cheap DVD rack several months ago. Something that I found interesting in the preview of the new movie is that it is stated that George stows-away to come with the man, as opposed to the book and older movie in which he is captured and brought over. I guess "P.C." has to even reach into the depths of a children's classic like that.

I just have to say how very blessed I have been feeling in all this craziness of activity. And it realy isn't only about the last month, but the last four or five months. I am blessed in being able to watch my girls grow, learn and mature. Maturity and attitude changes especially in the two older ones. I would say that with MB it was all about getting some age on her - but it is K too. And I realize that as I am slowly growing and changing how I see and respond to the girls is changing and they are changing. We actually have manners and sharing going on. The girls still squabble and push each others buttons, but more and more often they are making up and doing things together. One can't stand it if the other one earns a timeout, even if it is for doing something to the other one, and they beg me to let the other one out of timeout. Tonight we asked both K and MB to help us clean, and they did it willingly and with no grumbling (at least for tonight).

I know it sounds like a Patsy-Perfect family, but that is still far from the truth. I just see it as a lot of love and caring growing in the family. A comfort being found in the greater emotional stability. And, I am just so happy that I can actually see it and not take it for granted. That I can thank them and be proud of their efforts and not just overlook it as something that is expected.

Anyway, I have rambled way too long.



Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sometimes the Headache is Worth It

I am exhausted and achy and covered in three different color paints. But our 10-hour marathon session of painting was worth it today. The house is really starting to look nice. Too bad we are totally doing it for a mysterious someone else. What was supposed to be a weekend project suddenly became a Sunday-only project for us when DH had to make a service call to the coast yesterday and was gone all day.

That worked out because my MIL came over Saturday morning and helped me for a couple of hours packing china and toys in the girls' room. Then we had errands, that I am so far behind on. And, MB had a birthday party to go to. So, Saturday would have been somewhat of a wash anyway. Plus, I felt awful all-day-long! I ended up going to bed at 8:30pm, a totally unheard hour for me and slept straight through until 8 am this morning.

This morning we prepped the family room and kitchen and when MB and K headed off with their aunt to a basketball game we got down and dirty. DH tackled the Family Room, while I slaved over the kitchen. All we have left is to paint the area behind the frig, the shelves in the kitchen and the upper cabinets. Then we will be off to tackle the big girls' bedroom. There we have to strip a wall boarder and repaint. Then it will just be touch ups in the rest of the house.

I still have a lot of clutter to de-clutter and box up. We also have to decide which pieces of furniture that while they make our life easier and more comfortable, we can do without. Our garage is just about full, so we are going to have to make a decision soon wbout whether we are going to move things to Dh's sister's house or rent a storage unit a little bit closer to our house.

My goals for tomorrow:
- Actually have "school"
-Chinese New Year Craft Day Materials
- Box up unnecessary office stuff, clean office/den
- Start stripping wall boarder
- Finish data entry on work project
- Grocery Store

I am stressed, and I am busy, and sometimes I can't figure out if I am coming or going - but I am happy and really kind of enjoying it right now. I am such an adrenelyne junkie sometimes. This is the type of thing that, very rarely, I do miss about the job I used to have.

I will be very busy over the next few days, so if I don't seem to be around, it isn't that I don't want to be. And if I am posting it means that I am procrastinating on something else that I need to be doing.



Thursday, January 19, 2006

Nice Thursday

It was a nice Thursday - although I kept wanting to think that it was Friday. Maybe it is just wishful thinking on my part. I have been so busy doing this and that or driving here or there, that I am ready for the weekend so that DH will be home and I might be able to concentrate on something for longer than 5 minutes before being interrupted.

I had planned on getting up this morning and spending the hour to an hour-and-a-half that I normally have before anyone is up working on my work project. Boy was I surprised to find the two big ones already up and snuggling together on the sofa watching The Little Einsteins. The moment my feet touched the family room floor they were ready for breakfast. So, needless to say I did not get to do any computer work this morning.

We had gymnastics this morning. Always fun for the big girls. With EM walking running now, a lot of exercise for me keeping her from running out into the gym area. Boy, was she unhappy with me for finally locking her in the little play area for the last 15 minutes. But she would not let me hold her and when she was down, she was off running.

For Christmas MB received the Math Missions game for her Leapster. It seems to have been a popular game as a couple other friends also got it for Christmas. With that added incentive of how far have you gotten and how do you do level X, MB has played it alot in her down time. Basically they have all these different math 'problems' for 1-3r grade math. They do these problems to earn $$ to play other games. I have noticed that MB has made a huge jump in her money skills recently, but today in the car she floored me when she started to mentally do 3-digit addition. Carrying numbers and all that in her head. I really need to find a game for that thing that requires her to read to play!!

After gymnastics we came home for lunch and I let the girls watch The Sword In The Stone again. They love that movie and MB really has enjoyed the various King Arthur picture books that we have checked out of the library. I have in reserve an early chapter book that is a King Arthur and Merlin book that I hope will perk her reading interest once she is further along in her sight words. This allowed me to jump on the computer for an hour or so. After that long plugging in numbers I have to take an eye break - but K and EM had fallen asleep. So I figured no walk today and came into the den and (gasp) laid down on the sofa and closed my eyes.

MB woke me about 3:00 to ask if she could play with some friends. So we had kids come over this afternoon to play in the back yard, while I again, worked on the computer. (I really want to get this project over and finished with)

During this time DH called to tell me about the house he went to see today. He liked it, of course, and again I explained about our price range, of which this one was outside off. But, we did talk. which is something that we never seem to be able to do around here in the evening. And it looks like his plan is to want to put the house on the market in the next 3-4 weeks. So, fingers crossed we get it all done. The list of things to do is just terrifying to me. But, I am so, so relieved to actually have a plan to go with. That one of us has actually made a decision. Yeah - I can finish this project and really start packing up boxes.

Tonight, MB, K and I became accidental star gazers. I went out to get something out of the garage and saw a "shooting" star. I made my quick wish and did not think anything of it. About 20 minutes later I had to go bback out and saw another one in nearly the same location. I came inside and dragged the girls out with me. MB was the one that saw the next one. There were a couple more before we came inside. I jumped on-line to try to figure out what we saw but there really isn't supposed to be much going on right now. Watching all the stars got them interested in MB's planitarium globe - so I replaced the batteries and after their reading, the girls went to bed watching their sky and listening to the "Star" CD that came with it.

A little while ago I peeked in and the CD and Globe were off - they had listened to the end. But they were together in K's bed and MB was helping K with her Letter Factory Leapster game. As much as they try to drive each other crazy during the day, it is so wonderful to see moments like this.

What one may notice, yet again about our day is the lack of anything organized. We have workbooks and very, very relaxed lesson plans. But, boy do our days tend to go off on these tangents and when I look back on it I realize how much we have done.
- 3digit addition in the car
- Sight Word "hopping" game
- Checking on Crystal growing experiment
- Magnet - Science Kit
- Guitar and Lap Harp practice
- Read 5 pages in an Amelia Bedelia book.
- Astronomy (and some greek myths as part of the informational CD)
- Gymnastics

The girls also did coopoerative play, built a blanket fort, set-up a little people town and played with EM.

But, we didn't do anything today. I worked on the computer and took a nap. How could we have had time to do anything?

It was a good Thursday. And looking at the clock I realize that it is now Friday.



Organizing Help - More Move Stuff

I am starting to become really aggravated with this whole move idea thing. Obviously patience during times of uncertainty of life's path is not one of my strong points. In fact, one would probably say that I replace patience with obsession. Anyway, I am trying to get back on track with the rest of my life.

DH is looking at houses in the town he is working in. I guess we have not given up on the hunt, but on the other hand my mental health cannot continue to take the stress of feeling like this is going to happen right this moment -- no, no wait. So, I think I have decided that I am going to have to live in our existing house and treat it like a rental home while we search. Paint most rooms back to neutral colors and deep clean - then just live in. No other major work.

I don't know if anyone understands how tough this is going to be for me. Since we moved into this house 8 years ago I have either been in the planning stages of a project or in the midst of a home improvement project. So, to just Be, seems like the hardest thing in the world.

That being said, regardless my house needs organizing help. I have done things here and there. But I would really like to organize the kitchen to make it more productive for a small space. Things like adding those extra wire shelves into the really tall cabinets, maybe a pot rack to get rid of the awful jumble of pots and pans. I want to buy a smaller microwave since ours is huge and 13 years old. I want to buy a new toaster over that I can mount under the cabinets. But, we are getting the house ready and getting rid of stuff - so can I really get away with adding more? But, we don't know if the search is going to take a year or more.

This is what is driving me crazy.

So, if anyone out there has experience in this or lives in rental property can you let me know how you handle this type of thing.



Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lesson Planning - my way

Tonight would be an interesting study in my lesson planning - when I actually do it ahead of time.

After the girls are tucked in - say 9:30 or so, I jump on the desktop computer while I wait for DH to finish playing a game on my laptop so that I can work on my project. While trying to avoid being sucked into the time-space warp continuum that is the internet, I remember that I have eight children coming over next Wednesday for a Chinese New Year Craft project. I head over to Enchanted Learning to flesh out my crafts for the day.

Wonderful, wonderful crafts. oooh look chinese numbers - that would be funto do with MB while we are, ahem, dwadling over China - PRINT.

Oh, yeah I need some Human Body sheets for our science unit that we really, really need to get started on. I wonder does her 6 year-old check-up today count as part of that science unit?? Body parts in Spanish - must PRINT.

Look, the monthly calendar. Let me see what I have missed introducing the girls to this month. Tomorrow is Paul Cezanne's birthday and they have coloring pages. Goody!! PRINT
Hhhmm, maybe I should go find some of his paintings on the web to show to the girls, instead of just announcing it is his birthday and here color one of his pictures. Google!

Viola - this awesome site that totally sucked me in - WebMuseum, Paris!! Go check this out.

I don't know, maybe this is a little too relaxed.



Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Where Have The Days Gone

I can't believe that it has been almost a week since I have posted. My days have just kind of vanished into thin air. I have been busy and trying to do better with getting some sleep. Although, that hasn't been going too great.

My mom was up this weekend for a quick visit. I had to chauffuer her on Saturday to a function in Charlotte. She does not like to drive after dark, and has a very bad time with the glare from lights and all that. So that was nice - just mom and I for 6 hours in the car (three each way).

I started painting this weekend, the entry and family room areas. We decided to paint over the really dark, dark stained molding and doors in these areas and then paint more neutral colors. What a difference! Part of it is just having clean walls. But, I didn't realize how shut in the dark crown molding made the house feel. There is still a lot of painting to be done, I still need to do the kitchen - what a pain!!

I have been alternating my time between painting and working on my work project. That is going slowly, but at least it is going. I am about 24 hours behind right now in my schedule. But that is okay as I planned in some extra time, just in case.

Mom helped me out with trying to do these two projects by taking K home with her. So, K is having her extra, special mamaw time. We are very blessed to have family and grandparents that are so involved in our lives. My mom takes one or the other of the older girls several times a year. She will take EM too in about a year or so. My MIL has been awesome these last few weeks in coming over and being with the girls so I can go do this or that. Today she is coming to pick-up MB and EM so I can have uninterrupted paint time.

The more interesting news on the house front is that it is looking more likely that we will not move right now. It has been a quandry going back and forth since we started looking at houses. We just honestly don't like our options out there right now. Nothing has really compared to our existing house and the location we have. Even though the houses are generally larger in overall sq. footage, they don't feel as large and everything is cramped up. The locations for both Randy and I would require more driving on our parts. It just doesn't feel right.

But, we are going to continue with fixing our house up and doing some of the things I have been wanting to do all along. I am painting and it is looking wonderful! The things we have boxed up, except the books will remain boxed up for the time being until we make a decision whether or not we need it anymore. I am sure in a year or so Goodwill will be receiving a rather large household goods donation from us.

We are not going to stop looking out there, and we are not going to settle for only okay. The next house we move into will probably be our long time house and we want it to be something we really like.

I better go try and get somethings done before the girls wake up. We have to go to the museum today and then painting all afternoon!



Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Thunder In the Winter

We have an old wives' tale around here about thunder in the winter. If during the winter months you have a thunderstorm, no matter how minor, within 10 days you will have snow. Well, this afternoon we had one heck of a thunderstorm. So, I figure that the intensity of the thunerstorm might be forcasting the strength of the snowstorm - I'll go ahead and start stocking up on the bread and milk. Seriously though, it might be an old wives' tale but at least 75% of the time we do have some type of wintry weather within a couple of weeks of a winter thunderstorm.

Today was an interesting day. I guess, in some ways I am starting to feel like we are getting this whole homeschooling life thing. I woke up late, around 8:30, from all the staying up too late I have been doing. EM, woke shortly after me. But, the other two slept until 9:30. Giving me some time to work on a little more of my work. For one reason or another it took us until 11:00 to start doing anything that coulc be considered 'school.' And then it was a math card game called "Dump" - similar to Go Fish, but using pairs that add to 10. After that we reviewed all of her sight words today by having MB jump from square to square on the rug as she got one correct. Out of 40 sight words there were only 5 she did not get within 10 sec.

After lunch, MB realized that our neighbor's granddaughter was out of school for the day and staying there. So, I let her go play. It allowed K and I to have some much needed one-on-one time. We pulled out the play-doh and made letters and snowmen. We counted to 10 in english and spanish (unfortunately that is about all the spanish I can muster).

I managed to jump on the computer for another hour or so, before I had to race around the house sweeping and cleaning the kitchen since MIL was coming to watch the girls for my appointment.

Around 5:30 we finally pulled out the books again. MB and I laid on the floor in the den and tackled Math (measurements) and reading comprehension. EM was having a very late nap - but for some reason this whole walking thing has screwed up her whole sleep cycle. K, not wanting to be left out came in and sat on the back of my legs while I was laying on the floor. She didn't bother us and I could just reach back and give her little tickles every now and again. As uncomfortable as that sounds, it really pricked an area of my heart that made me sigh. This is what homeschooling is about for us. The closeness, the doing what we need to do - when it bests fits in.

I have also come to a decision that I am not going to get stressed out about when MB finishes a workbook or curriculum. For example, someone was talking to me about how far behind they are in SOTW and how they may not even finish it before the end of the year. She asked how I was doing it. When I told her that we had just begun Chp 10 and we have spent up to 3 weeks on a certain topic she was stunned. But it doesn't matter to me when we finish SOTW I, we finish it when we finish then we start II. If it takes us until next Christmas, that is fine. It is not like Ancient History is really part of NC's curriculum for either K or 1st graders.

I am starting to become the same way with math and reading and science. Whether we finish sooner or later - it doesn't matter. It only matters that we do it in the way that works for all of us.

Coming back from the Christmas holiday (3 weeks) I am much more relaxed about the whole deal than before. I don't know what has changed my perception of the whole thing, but I am not so tied up in being an example or making MB and K be walking report cards of our homeschool. That just doesn't matter to me today. What mattered was the joy and happiness I saw reflected in their faces today and the joy and happiness I got from watching them and being silly with them.

By the way I have started using 1-2-3 Magic again. I used with MB a couple of years ago, but K was too young then. Since then I have been very sloppy with it, and although I can still use it to catch MB's attention, K just tends to ignore it. So, I told them that we were going to start it again. I have only had to count to three with MB once in the last three days and that was tonight when we first began trying to work on schoolwork, but she had promised me that we would do it this evening. She whined and whined and whined - had her 6 minute timeout and came out happier to sit down and complete her work. K is testing it, I can tell. But, she is picking it up quickly. The wonderful thing, for me, is that I do not become drawn in to the arguments and emotional response of the day-to-day challenging behaviors. That was/is a very hard thing for me.

Another busy day tomorrow.



Picture Post

Since it is late, again. And, I just uploaded pictures on my camera from Christmas and today. I figured I would just share some pictures from the last month.

Christmas 2005

The personality of my oldest two are readily apparent in the next two photos of their Santa gifts. It is jus such a perfect example of how their personalities could not be more different.

MB showing over her stage moves with the new guitar.

K - as our Southern Belle

Emily had great fun with the bows over at the grandparents. She went around pulling all the bows off and sticking them to different areas of her body. The most hilarious was sticking them to her head. She would look and study the bow and then stick it to her head. Then she would look up and try to find it above her.

As an added bonus in this photo a rare glimpse of me. I am the one to the side in the black sweater and jeans.

Here is MB and her beloved uncle. Uncle, a wonderful and gifted musician is showing her some easy chords on the guitar.

K and her love of dress-up. She received a beautiful wood stick horse and red hat. She also got a pair of pink cowboy boots. Hee-haw!!

Christmas was truly great and wonderful this year for all of us. What a wonderful memory of a day just to be with the five of us.

Trip to Museum Today

Today MB had to go to her class at the museum. Since they were holding it in the Butterfly/Insect house I figured it would be a good time to get some photos. I stayed with K and EM while MB was in class. We enjoyed the bugs and playing with the carpeted steps and puzzles. Then we walked through the butterfly house together after class.

Here is EM showing how adorable she is.

Gee mom, why do you keep interrupting me while I am trying to empty out all these puzzle pieces.

K examining the insects eating under the microscope.

Oh Goodness, What is this?

MB - The butterfly magnet. Everytime we go in the butterfly house she always gets a butterfly to land on her. She can even get them to come to her in our own yard. It is the only time I ever hear her utter the words - "If I am still and quiet..."

This tickles

After the butterfly house we returned to the main museum, where K immediately ran to the tornado thingy. She sat there waving her arms like she was conjuring and conducting the tornado to rise up.

It was a very good day. I was exhausted and we didn't actually finish MB's math until 6:30 tonight and never even touched history. But, it was a good day. All, and I do mean myself included, were well-behaved.

Tomorrow is an "at-home" day and I am looking forward to it. My mil is coming over in the afternoon so I can go to an appointment and run over to Lowes for painting supplies. I am hoping to get alot more done on my work project at some point tomorrow.



Tuesday, January 10, 2006

That is Why There Was a Line

I woke up this morning feeling energized and actually ready for the day. Yipeee! So after breakfast we hopped in the car and began running errands. First stop Post Office - not a parking spot to be found and people lined up out the door. I pulled through wondering what was up with that. Our post office isn't that busy the week before Christmas. Can you tell that I have not been watching the news. Postage went up over the weekend - where was I?

Needless to say I did not chose to stand in line with my three children in tow. I will just have to go by tomorrow for stamps - because I really need to get bills out tomorrow.

Next stop library. Honestly, I have been kind of avoiding the library recently. EM managed to get her hands on a book before Christmas and just tore it up before I realized what she was doing. I sorta forgot about it for awhile, even though I have been meaning to take it in and face the "fury." Since it has been so long I decided to order a replacement of the book to take in as an apology. So, I am waiting for it to come. Anyway, found out today that while the library doesn't really care how much in fines you keep amassing, if you don't return a book after5 months they don't let you check out anymore books. I find that out standing at the self-checkout with at least 25lbs of books (I know this because it kept trying to tip over the stroller with EM in it). I tell my sob story to the librarian on duty and she lets me check out the books, although this means I don't get to do a final review of the books the girls put in the bag. So, I am sure we came home with more books than I meant to. But we have more books.

Errands finished and home for lunch. Eat, put EM down for nap and begin schoolwork. We managed to: (1) reading comprehension workbook; (2) Review sight words and introduce 10 more for the week; (3) Begin Ancient China History Unit. MB did not want to do math today, which is a real switch from normal. Since this isn't generally a problem with her, I did let it slide today - but told her that tomorrow she was going to have to do 2 lessons.

After we finished the "school work", MB really wanted to begin one of the crystal growing kits that she received for Christmas. I have been gently trying to dissuade her since I am trying to reduce some of our clutter - but she has hung on. So I figured we can let it grow for a couple of weeks at least if we do it today - so we did. MB chose to try to grow a "Frosty Diamond." She listened to the instructions, which is kind of a newer thing with her. She does not tolerate me trying to get her to listen to the full instructions - she wants me to read them and then just tell her what to do. But, we read instructions and talked about measurement. She collected rocks for the bases and cleane them. She did most of the measurement for the experiment. It was very nice, it makes me think that it is time that we stepped up more kitchen experiments, after we move.

While we were doing the crystal experiment, K had found one of the empty packing boxes, crawled insie of it and was having the time of her life coloring in one of her "workbooks." Since she wanted to do her school when I finished with MB, I told MB to find one of her library books and have quiet reading time for 15 minutes. Then K and I played a couple of games and looked through one of her library books.

The afternoon was playtime. The weather was wonderful and we went out to swing and run. I blew the humongous pile of leaves off the back deck and then read for a little while. Then I found out that I had the go ahead to start my new freelance project, and oh yeah they need it as fast as I can get it to them. So, I came inside and did set-up before EM woke.

So the rest of the day was more playing, working as I got moments, cooked dinner and cleaned off the kitchen table (again).

It is way too late, and I really did not mean to write this much. I must go to bed if I am going to function at the museum tomorrow.



Monday, January 09, 2006

2 - Things MeMe (per Jess)

Jess at Captured Thoughts has asked me to do this meme. And, well I have been kind of lazy and slacking and somewhat consumed by various house fantasies. So, here is my attempt.

2 names you go by:
1. Amy
2. Mommy (said repetitively in the loudest voice possible)

2 parts of your heritage:
1. Irish
2. Scottish
(but not Scot-Irish)

2 things that scare you:
1. Tornadoes (I can't even watch the beginning of the Wizard of Oz)
2. Heights

2 of your everyday essentials:
1. Tension Tamer Tea
2. Lavender-Scented Hand Lotion

2 things you are wearing right now:
1. Jeans
2. Sweater
(My personal uniform)

2 favorite bands or musical artists (at the moment):
1. Third Day (love their new album)
2. Def Leopard (I have pulled out some of my old high school rock music and have been doing house work to the music - it energizes me to do all the hard labor)

2 favorite songs at the moment:
1. The Sun is Shining - Third Day
2. Lord Move, Or Move Me - FFH

2 things you want in a relationship (other than real love):
1. Simple touches
2. Ability to trust with all your heart (I've kept this from Jess)

2 truths:
I feel like I have laid all my truths out their recently in my blog, I don't know what else to share
1. I don't make my bed
2. I am not sure if I am ready for a move or not.

2 physical things that appeal to you (in the opposite sex):
1. Humor
2. Eyes

2 of your favorite hobbies:
1. Poetry
2. Reading

2 things you want really badly:
I am just keeping Jess' - souns good to me
1. A bigger home
2. A family vacation - just fun, no visiting!

2 places you want to go on vacation:
1. Ireland
2. A Cruise (just me and hubby)

2 things you want to do before you die:
1. Find peace and serenity in my life as it is each day
2. Be published

2 ways that you are stereotypically a chick:
1. I sulk
2. I like to take long, hot peaceful baths

2 things you are thinking about now:
1. How tired I am an how early I have to get up to get the girls to the museum tomorrow
2. What I am going to write in my post about tomorrow

2 stores you shop at:
1. Grocery
2. Target

I don't know who to tag, so if you want to share let me know so I can come read :)



Sunday, January 08, 2006

That was Fast

This weekend has flown by. It has been a very pleasant weekend, not nearly as warm as they keep saying it is going to be, but very pleasant all the same. I got boxes on Friday from my SIL, so my job on Saturday was to start packing up some of our loved but not necessary items. What we pack now means less to pack in the future (near future, I hope).

So, Saturday afternoon I packed away books and knick-knacks, puzzles and games. Some of the favorites right now were left out, but the rest packed away for the time being. DH organized the garage so we could put the boxes in there and still move around. It feels very, very strange to be packing up when we have no destination in mind. No time table, no nothing. Yet, we know we are going to do it at some point.

This morning, all of us were feeling somewhat lazy. So we slept in and enjoyed our morning. We took the day off from church, since next Sunday, Sunday school starts again - I figured it might be the last one for awhile. At 12:30 we meet the real estate agent to tour another house. This is another one in a "community" neighborhood, albeit a different community than house #2. We really liked House #3. The layout was nice, it was in excellent shape and the yard was okay. The yard was not absolutely detestable like house #2, but still had no fence and did back up to the main neighborhood road, although the house sits on a cul-de-sac. The general feeling is that while the house is a possibility to us, it probably will not still be on the market when we are ready to start dealing. And, TBH, I still think we can find something better out there, especially if we wait until Feb. which is the beginning of the house selling/buying season.

What DH and I have discussed though, after viewing these last two houses, is that with the girls the ages that they are and their love on being in the road riding bicycles, scooters, and so forth, that maybe a planned community is the way for us to go right now. The advantages being that there are generally sidewalks, cul-de-sacs, play parks and swimming pools. We lose a lot in yard space, but the girls rarely use what we have now - always wanting to be out in the street. We are going to be spending time doing a cosmetic work to this house before we put it on the market and I really don't want to be spending the first few months in a new house doing the exact same thing. So, basically, house #1 is not as likely as it was last week. I still love the house and especially the yard, but I don't think it is what fits our family needs.

Our plan is to keep working on the house and keep working. By the first of Feburary we should either have our house on the market or be ready to. Then, hopefully, it will only be a short time until we are ready to offer for whatever house is meant to be ours. This evening I went to Lowes and picked through paint chips - beautiful creams and taupes to paint those neutral colors in our house. I am hoping to start painting the moldings this week. Then next week when K is with my mom, maybe really knock out the main part of the painting in the kitchen, family room and girls' bedroom.

Tomorrow, it is back to life in normal. Schoolwork, trip to the library and other such things.



Friday, January 06, 2006

Stepping Off The Fast Train

DH and I talked tonight, about the house and how things were going. We have decided to step back for awhile and assess. We are probably not going to do anything towards purchasing a new house in January. Instead we are going to spend this month packing and painting and fixing little things to make the house look more sellable. But not sink too much in at first to leave room for the punch sheet after contract. We want to keep looking. The split-level is large with a great yard, and it is still a strong contender, but we want to see what else we could possibly find.

We have to weigh the pros and the cons of a newer house vs. older house. We are living in an older house and there are just things that constantly have to be done. Older neighborhoods around here don't generally have things like sidewalks and community areas - but they also don't have homeowner fees to pay for those things. Older homes are not going to have large master baths with the garden tubs, because well it is a bathroom - you brush your teeth, sit on the throne and take a shower.

But we have to see what is out there. See if there is something we fall in love with before we jump on the first option. Plus, I really don't feel like trying to patch, paint, pack and toothbrush clean my house in a week to get it on the market. So, a month sounds really nice and leisurely to me. Especially now, as my end-of-holiday-season adrenaline is crashing out of my system and I am falling back to the harder, emotional place I was before Christmas. In some regards I feel like I have way too many areas of my life spinning out of control. I have found out what was important to me to find out. (1) We can secure a loan for a house and (2) our house should sell fairly quickly. That comforts me in many ways. Now, I feel like we can take our time a little bit. The pieces are there when we want to pick it up and run with it.

If we wait until Feb, I should have a better idea of the details of our finances for the next year and hopefully our check from Uncle Sam. I got a call today from the company I was doing some work for last August and September and they have another project for me to work on if I am interested. That will be nice, right here after Christmas.

So, lets step back and see how crazy I am:

1 - I homeschool. Three girls (6,3,1) In most circles that classifies me as crazy right off the bat.
2 - I have re-entered a recovery program for an addiction and am experiencing the emotional roller coaster from this and the slips over the past few months.
3 - At 22 days sober I am in the middle of trying to coordinate and plan the sale of a home and purchase of another
4 - I am going to start working from home again (although for a limited time)

Yeah, I am brilliant.

No need to tell me I am trying to do too much. I am aware....



Good Mommy Award

Well, I will not be expecting their call anytime soon. Yesterday I totally flunked at doing the mommy thing. The day started off well enough. We woke up and talked a little, decided to pick up breakfast on the way to the meeting, dressed and left. Ran by the bank to pick up paperwork, then a meeting. Except for EMs love of the Christmas Tree (I will be glad when they take that down) the meeting went well, the girls played their leapsters and then with some of the other toys. Towards the end they (MB & K) began to chase each other, but that is about normal.

Then gymnastics where I figured I might get a few minutes downtime as EM normally takes a nap and the two girls are busy. But, EM decided that today she did not want a nap. She wanted to sit on the floor, bounce on her rear and fuss, loudly. Other than that she wanted to play houdini escaping into the gym area.

We got lunch on the way home. I put EM down for a nap and turned on a DVD for the girls to watch. We ate and then I laid down to try to watch the movie with them. I must have fallen asleep. The next thing I knew the movie was over and MB was asking if she could go outside. I let her go and then went to try to find K. Found her her in my recently cleaned and organized bathroom giving herself a bath in the sink, using handsoap. I get her out and clean up.

All this time I am having squirrely thoughts that don't have a thing to do with the kids. But I am trying to focus and not let them take over my thought process. But this isn't working too well. I try making calls, spend some time in prayer and then when EM wakes up decide that a walk would be a nice thing - Exercise those thoughts right out of my head. I give her a snack and outside we go. Only to be meet at the end of the driveway by MB, her friends and their mother, coming over for a visit. No walk for me. Inside to visit.

Outside I am cool, calm and collected. Inside my anxiety level is rising, the record player that is my brain sometimes won't shut off and I am stuck. Once the visit was over it was dark and I wasn't getting a walk. I looked around the house and realized that as nice as it looked a few days ago, that the kids had pulled all of this stuff from their bedroom and scattered it around the house.

We entered total and complete chaos yesterday evening and DH had to be out for the night. The girls had nothing on shortly after friensd left. They chased each other, MB making K scream as only she can. This ear piercing, I am going to die scream that she can hold until you want your ear drums to burst so you would not have to listen to it anymore. They found their way to my bedroom, got into my jewlery box which is a HUGE no-no. While I am trying to focus them I discover that while EM is just barely able to string three steps together, she is an expert climber. And wants to practice that.

I managed to have them stop long enough to feed them. I sat down and tried to play a game with them, but everytime I went to retrieve EM the bigger two were back at it. I had it. I screamed, I stomped my foot and told them to go to their room. I went around the house and picked up every single toy they had dragged out yesterday, dumped it in the middle of their room and told them to put it away. I did not want to see them out of their room unless they needed to go to the bathroom.

I feed EM her nightime bottle and put her to bed.

I hate, hate losing it like that. I tried to engage them, I tried to play with them. Yet, they were bound and determined to push buttons and run and scream all evening. The stress of so many things last night and the inability to really do any of my coping "exercises" really made for this big explosion (at least to me).

With the girls all in bed before 8pm, I managed to go to bed about 10:30 or so - but ended up spending an hour writing in my journal. But still managed to get more sleep than I have recently.

It is time to tackle a New day.



Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back to the Grind and Other House Stuff

I should probably break this into two posts, but since I am being lazy I won't.

We received really good news today. We got a loan!!!!!! We have a prequal letter for any house and full approval for the house we are actually interested in at this time. I was amazed when I heard back from our bank this afternoon, because I had just dropped the loan application there at 11:30 this morning. I thought he was calling to let me own gently after looking over the application and finally stopped laughing. Yeah - I really din't have much faith that we were going to get the loan from our credit union, they still won't let me have a creit card. But, no - we have the loan. So to sum up where we are and the decision we need to make:

1. We have a house that we like. That is the right size and priced somewhat lower than it should be due to the '70s decor. It has had inspections and the major things are fairly new and working.

2. We don't mind making cosmetic changes as long as we can live and function in the house while doing it

3. We have been informed by two reputable realtors in the area that our house is in good shape and should sell within a month with only minor repairs and cleaning to prepare it. We should also be able to get what we need out of the sell. (Although not as much as I really kind of wanted)

4. The bank has approved us for a loan and locked us in at 5.25% for the next 60 days.

So, what is holding us back?? Fear. I fear that this house won't sell, no matter what others have said. Of course, I feared that we wouldn't get a loan either. So, I guess I can't trust my fears too much. I wonder how I am possibly going to keep my house clean and decluttered while it is on the market. Three kids, two dogs and a lazy nature. Recovery, homeschooling, life and trying to actually maintain my house in 'show' order.

We may or may not have more news on this front later this week. We have some hard thinking to do.

In the midst of all of this we have restarted school again after the holiday break. Yesterday was our first day back and we have had no problems these last couple of days (knocking as hard as I can on my wood desk). We went to MB's science class at the museum yesterday. She really enjoyed the class and had fun. I was pleased with how well K and EM did playing in the museum and listening to me while we waited. MB really wanted to stay after the class, but we had arrived early and visited most of the exhibits and I was really, really hungry. So, next week we are going to take a picnic lunch and stay after the class.

After we came home we had lunch and then started working in the new reading workbook I am introducing. MB loved it. It does not replace our read aloud times, but gives her the workbook format she likes while focusing on reading comprehension. I am hoping that this gets us over the hump from phonics (sounding everything out) to fluent reading. We are also continuing the dolche word practice that I began late last fall. We are using flashcards and a workbook. Each week we are doing 2 units (about 10 words). And we are continuing the horizons math program, which so far we still like.

These are the three daily actvities that I see us doing. MB enjoys it and it allows her to practice working independently, which is a good thing for MB.

I need to get to the library to pick up books to start our science unit on the human body and ancient chinese history. But with the chaos we might be experiencing over the couple of weeks trying to get the house in shape I am almost afraid to bring library books into the house.

That is life and the inmates are starting to become a little cranky and I fear for an uprising roon.



Monday, January 02, 2006

It's Too Quiet

It is too quiet around here. DH took the big girls to a b-ball game and EM is already sleeping. I am trying to enjoy the peace and quiet, but my mind is racing around too fast to enjoy. We had agent #1 come to look at our house today and discuss our options. So, yeah it could be possible. I sound pretty convinced don't I.

I don't know why, but now I am doubting the ability for us to purchase a new home. Evrybody keeps tellign us it is possible, but I wonder how smart it is. Of course I tend to either be dreaming or conjuring dark storm clouds. I have a seriously hard time thinking in moderation. So I am swinging back and forth on this.

We need to visit a couple of lenders to find out finally if this will be possible or not. See we don't spend a lot of money on extras which allows us to sink more into a house - but I know lenders may shy away from us due to our income. Our credit is wonderful, but I know that doesn't mean anything if we don't make the magic number X per year. For some reason this is tying me up in knots, even though logically I know that the worse they can say is no. It is not like we don't already have a house that we can live in for awhile longer if necessary. Saying no to a home loan will not change our life from the way we are living it today - but for some reason I am stressing about it. I have become too attached to the whole idea of moving.

The suggestions from the agent on selling our house includes:
1. De-clutter (yeah, I told you that would be number one)
2. Update kitchen countertop and stove (yep, knew that would be there too and glad DH heard it)
3. Paint, paint, paint
4. Remove carpet from EM's bedroom and expose hardwoods under
5. Buff hardwood floors (I wonder how difficult that is going to be)
6. Move furniture around in Family Room so that French Doors can be used (We just got the furniture placed in a way that we like)

What wasn't on there but I know we need to do it

1. Clean backyard (the kids and dogs have bad habits of leaving things out there so it looks like a shower of trash has descended on it)
2. Fix electrical issues in Garage (after an electrical storm 5 years ago we lost our overhead lights in the garage)
3. Have carpet cleaned (Heck, I need to have the whole house cleaned by someone who actually knows what they are doing)

All these thoughts. Maybe I need to go put this nervous energy to use by cleaning out something.



Book Hoarder

During this whole organization/de-clutter phase I am in I have found it very easy to let go of things - goodwill, trash, etc. Until, today. Today I hit the bookshelves. The bookshelves in the office/den, the built-in whole-wall bookshelves in the family room and the bookshelf in my bedroom. All I ended up doing was re-arranging the books. Moving them from one room to another so that they fit better. I even unpacked yet another stash of books and added them. I cannot get rid of books. No matter how torn, tattered or how seemingly useless they may seem in my life right now - I cannot part with my dear, treasured possessions. But, they do look so much better now.

I did much better in disposing when cleaning off my desk and when DH and I together attacked the hall closet/arts & craft storage. We cleared out three garbage bags of trash. We are trying to decide how much of a "New Years" tip we need to give our garbage men this week ;)

While wading through the 2-tons of baby food jars, plastic containers and modeling clay DH turned to me and said "You know the first thing the real estate agents are going to tell us we need to do is clear out all the clutter."

The good news is that we are almost done with this phase of the project. I have one more cabinet that I would like to clear out tomorrow. And, I may go try to find something to use to organize under our bathroom sink. Then, I am done until the agents tell us what else we should do.

MB was begging me today to start school again tomorrow. She is ready to get back to our routine, or have a new routine. I really need one more day to focus on the house, but I hope to be able to maybe pull out something and sit down with her. Tuesday we start straight in with a class at a museum. So, we are basically starting where we left off with more outside the house time than home time.

I am drained, so I am going to bed.

Good evening all,


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Our Latest Walker

One more quick thing I wanted to share this morning. Last night, New Years eve, EM decided that she would start trying to take her first steps. We were over at a friends house playing cards and in an attemp to try to get to where the big kids were playing EM was attempting to walk. She can take one or two shuffling steps before falling down. Her butt scoot that she developed instead of a crawl is so fast and efficient that she has not had the desire to stand up an walk. But slowly she is deciding to try it now.

Just wanted to share that big milestone.


Happy New Year

Well, another year has come and gone. Another baby has experienced her first year. We have been homeschooling for over a year now. This past year has been interesting, tough and yes, even fun. We have had excitement, sadness, love and anger. All, in all we have experienced life in all its forms and truly for that I am thankful. I am learning that it is true that it is through brokenness that I do become more able to experience true joy - the joy that comes from loving God. The joy of gratitude and love that can exist even in the most trying of times.

And, so, my family and I will begin this new year on the cusp of even more new and interesting adventures. I am just beginning my new journey towards greater healing and growth. We are looking for a new house to become our home as we continue to grow as a family. In homeschooling, we are entering our second year and are becoming more and more relaxed about it. DH and I have not even discussed entering MB in school next year - it has just become a non-issue now as we are enjoying all the benfits of this lifestyle.

I do not generally make New Year's resolutions. No real reason - but I generally don't. But I want to post a prayer that I am going to try to live each and every day of this New Year. It is generally referred to as the Third Step prayer in the circles I hang out:

God, I offer myself to Thee - to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"

My other goals for this year include: doing the right thing for the right reasons and living a intentional life while honoring those around me for the people that they are (not who I want them to be).


So, onto more basic and mundane things. We are still working on the decluttering and reorganizing the house. I am even morefocused on getting it done with the real estate agents coming next week. Yesterday, I focused on the girls' closet. I took down the old closet organizing system that just wasn't working for us and put together a new, very simple one. I pulled everything out of the closet and sorted it. When I was done the shoe pile was cut down to a third and organizind very neatly on the low shelves for the girls to see exactly what they have. Only the few dresses that they will actually wear were kept out. Another large bagged was readied to donate and several bags to put away for hand-me-downs. When K saw the closet, the shoes and how neat everything was she almost vibrated from the pleasure. You would have thought Santa had come again. Yes, she will probably be the 'neat' one.

I am happy with what I have accomplished. Unfortunately, they are things like closets, which are not in my line of vision all the time. The bookshelves in all the rooms still need to be sorted and rearranged. The table is piled high again and our office could be marked as unsafe territory. But, we are getting there. After church today, it will be laundry and books.

Here is to a year for peace and grace in 2006!

A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.