Friday, January 30, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 1/30/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (1 month)

Happy Friday! Between midwife and doctor appointments and remodeling and organizing around the house, it's been a busy and profitable week. Nicholas is doing very well and weighs 8 1/2 lbs now. I can't believe he's almost 7 weeks old! It's going way too fast. Watching the other kids with him always makes me Smile. We are truly blessed.

1. Alyssa, about Nicholas first thing in the morning: "He's the cutest thing I've seen all day!"

2. Zac: "Do you remember {goes on to tell a long story}.
Me: "No."
Zac: "How come I'm the only one who remembers this stuff?"

3. Zac: "Make sure your hair's not too long when you're holding Nicholas. Sometimes he's just too grabby." 


5. Zac, about a K'nex fishing pole he made: "This can go a far way! From Florida to America!"
Me: "From Florida to America? Wow!"
Zac, excited: "No, from Florida to Chinese!"

6. Alyssa: "It's so hard to understand what Nick is saying, because he speaks Cry." 

7. Me: "C-U-T-E. That says cute!"
Jake: "Are you sure it doesn't say Nicholas?"

8. Jake: "What's for dinner?"
Me: "Pancakes and bacon."
Tyler: "And ice cream."


10. Jake, bowling on the Wii: "I always win!"
Alyssa: 'What about yesterday?"
Jake: "Ok, I don't always win."

11. Zac: "Macaroni & cheese is better than snow."

12. Me: "You're a slob."
Tyler, sad: "I'm not a slob; I am Ty-Ty."
Me: "Oh, you're Ty-Ty? You're also a slob."
Tyler: "Please I be just Ty-Ty?"

13. Jake: "Hey, Mom? I need to get rid of some money, so can I go get a Lego set?"

What made you Smile this week?
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 1/23/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (1 month)

Happy Friday! It's been a pretty busy week at home. I swapped a couple of the boys' clothes to bigger sizes and packed away the smaller ones, cleaned and purged the kitchen cupboards, and completed various small projects. It's been a profitable week. We're planning to paint the pantry tomorrow, so there are boxes of food all around the living room. From boxes of clothes to boxes of food, the living room has been overtaken. I'll be happy when it's all done! I also was able to get Nicholas' birth story written, so if you missed the post, now would be a good time to read it. After we Smile, of course!

1. Alyssa, giving Nicholas a kiss: "I want to do the smoochy-smoochy with you."

2. Jake: "Guess what Nicholas is."
My Mom: "What?"
Jake: "A big chunk of cute!"

3. Alyssa: "This is the first coffee cake that I've tasted and the best."

4. Jake; "Knock, knock."
Me: "Who's there?"
Jake: "Scooby."
Me: "Scooby who?"
Jake: "Not Scooby who, Scooby Doo!"


6. Me, looking at Tyler's Duplo patterns: "Wow, you did so good!"
Tyler: "Yeah, I know."

7. Jake, playing the Wii: "This is baffling . . whatever that means."

8. Tyler: "Missed me, missed me, haha!'
Alyssa: "No, it's missed me, missed now. Now ya gotta kiss me."
Tyler: "Oh. Missed me, missed me, haha!" 

9. Zac, about Nicholas: "How come he's getting bigger?"

10. Me: "I have so much work I need to do."
Tyler, sympathetically, "Yeah, me too. Me too, Mom."
Me: "Oh, really? And what do you need to do?"
Tyler: {sigh} Like color this page."


12. Zac, about Nicholas: "He just punched me in the nose. Very carefully."
Alyssa, disappointed: "How come he never does anything mean to me?"

13. Jake, seeing Alyssa in a fancy dress. "Whoa."
Alyssa: "What?"
Jake: :Attractive!"
Zac: "Yeah, attractive, like a rusty tractor!"

What made you Smile this week?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nicholas' Birth Story: Part 2

This is part 2 of Nicholas' birth story. You can find part 1 here.

Saturday morning, I got up with the kids and let Leighton sleep in a little. He had been so busy the past few weeks between working 50+ hours at his job and then caring for everything at home because of my bed rest. I spent just a few minutes in the kitchen cleaning up, we ate breakfast, and then I spent the remainder of the day in bed. Leighton had to be at the church that afternoon to practice for the Christmas cantata at church the next day. Since he is the choir director, it was imperative that he be there. I assured him that I'd be fine on my own. The kids sat in bed with me reading books and then eventually watching a movie as I napped.

Around 5:00 p.m., a contraction woke me up. I was surprised by the intensity of it. I tried to fall back asleep, futilely thinking that maybe I could prevent another from happening. 

But another happened. They weren't incredibly strong, but strong enough that they were slightly uncomfortable. 

Leighton got home then, thankfully. I did not dare stand up, but lay there drinking water, willing my body to cooperate. I sent my mom a text, letting her know the situation. Because I am prone to labor quickly, the little time we have is precious. I wasn't convinced it was for sure labor, but I wanted her to be aware.

I continued to contract sporadically. 7 minutes. 4 minutes. 10 minutes. 6 minutes.

Leighton called my parents and asked them to run to the store to purchase an inflatable pool, just in case, since my birthing pool had not arrived yet. I did not want to birth in the bathtub for the third time (bathtub birth 1 and bathtub birth 2). It's uncomfortable, restricting, and too shallow to experience the soothing benefits of the warm water. I longed for another "perfect" birth

It wasn't long after that that we started to accept that labor was not stopping and baby was indeed coming. Since Eileen, my midwife, was out of town, Leighton called Heather, the nurse midwife who had assisted with some of my prenatal appointments. 

No answer.

He called again. Still no answer.

Now what? I had teased him throughout the pregnancy that no one was going to make it to the birth and he'd have to deliver the baby by himself. My joke wasn't as funny in reality. 

Leighton called Eileen to ask her opinion of what to do.

No answer. 

Now things were getting interesting. He called Heather again. And again, there was no answer. 

My parents showed up at our house--pool-less, because stores don't carry summer swimming pools in the middle of December, go figure--and we discussed our options. We decided to head to their house and use their jacuzzi tub for the birth since it is much deeper than our tub at home. I started listing off items--birthing kit, pajamas, diapers, clothes for baby, lavender oil--while Leighton started filling the bag. The plan was to head over by ourselves while my mom and dad packed clothes for the kids, got them ready, and met us at their house.

Somewhere during Leighton's rush to leave, I decided to stay. My contractions were getting more intense. Because of my prior fast labors (including my 45 minute birth, from first contraction to baby's first breath), I didn't want to birth the baby on my mom's kitchen floor, or worse yet, our van. No, we were staying home. I asked Leighton to fill the bathtub, because even though it's not ideal, it was a better option than birthing on an unprepared bed. Cleanup in a bathtub is almost as simple as pulling a drain, more or less.

And then? Eileen called back. And while Leighton was talking to her, Heather called on the other phone. We went from having no midwives to having 2 on the phone at once. 

I continued to labor, my dad watched the kids, my mom went back and forth between them and me, and Leighton tried to decipher his conversation with Heather because of bad reception. Eventually, through the broken call, it was determined that another midwife was going to come. Heather was an hour and a half away.

So here we were 4 weeks before my due date, with no birthing pool, and my midwife on the other side of the country, with our backup midwife too far away, and a midwife that we've never met coming to help.

We like to keep things interesting.

The next little while was filled with typical labor activities: getting in the bathtub, getting out of the bathtub because I felt like labor was stalling, walking around my room, putting books away on the shelf, walking some more, trying to find a comfortable position, eating half a clementine before my taste buds betrayed me, walking, walking, walking. I eventually climbed into bed to relax through the contractions.

At that point, the backup midwife's backup showed up. She checked my vitals, listened to the fetal heart tones, and filled out paperwork. Then she quietly sat to the side and let us do our thing. Me lying in bed, Leighton at my side encouraging me, and my mom close by reassuring me as well.  I fell into such a relaxed state that I had a couple times where it felt as though I had dozed off between contractions with the sensation of the next tightening waking me up again. It was a strange experience.

It wasn't long before I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. As I walked from the bed, a contraction came so strongly that my legs refused to hold me. Leighton supported the weight of my shaking body as I tried to focus on my breathing. The contraction passed and we made our way to the other room.

I emptied my bladder and then climbed back into the warm water in the tub. Instantly, my stomach contracted, this time breaking my water in the process. Two pushes later, and Leighton delivered our baby, by himself, just like I had joked. Between this being our fifth birth and having a midwife there in the room, he had all the confidence he needed to calmly and skillfully help bring our child into this world. It was a precious moment for us both.

first chiropractic adjustment
As we pulled the baby to my chest, my mom announced, "It's another boy!" And I laughed, just like I said I would if we added a fourth boy to the family. Throughout the pregnancy, I was absolutely convinced he was a girl. Wow, was I wrong, haha! This baby has been full of surprises from his conception to the way I felt during the pregnancy to his early birth to his gender. I wonder what other surprises this little one has in store for us.

I was still sitting in the bathtub, cuddling my newest blessing, when Heather arrived.She had missed the birth, but was there in time to preform the after-birth duties: weighing, measuring, checking, examining.

Nicholas Samuel Leaf
5 lbs. 18" born at 8:19 p.m. on 12/13/14

Though he was born many weeks before we expected, he has done so very well and has not shown many signs of being a preemie. Today, over a month later, he is thriving and has added lots of squishy baby fat. The other kids completely adore him--constantly hugging, kissing, holding, and loving on him. They enjoy helping me with him and are very concerned when he's unhappy. Every time he cries, Tyler assumes it's because he wants a kiss. He rushes over and plants a kiss anywhere on little Nicholas--head, hands, feet, belly. If he continues to cry, Tyler tells me, "Mommy, kiss him!" From the very first moment, this baby was very, very loved.

There is no denying that this little one was planned by God, perfectly for us. He is the best surprise we never knew we needed.

Nicholas, I feel so honored to be chosen to be your mommy. May God give me the strength to raise you to serve Him and to be the mother you need me to be. I love you, little one.      

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nicholas' Birth Story: Part 1

I'm experiencing a bit of déjà vu today. I can start this post the same way I started another nearly 3 years ago:

I expected to be welcoming a new life into the world this week. Instead, we're celebrating with our one month old baby boy.

While the timing is the same, the stories are very different.

After being surprised by our last baby's early appearance, I was very proactive in trying to keep this baby in until close to my due date. Eileen, my midwife, teased, "You're going to make it to at least 39 weeks, right?" I had every intention of doing so. Throughout the pregnancy, I took a 25 billion probiotic supplement to fight any possible infections, made my own mama's herbal tea to strengthen my uterus, and supplemented with various vitamins and minerals in addition to my prenatal vitamins to overcome any potential problems and ensure that I was overall healthy. I determined to do whatever it took to birth a healthy, full-term baby.

Even though this was my most difficult pregnancy as far as nausea and exhaustion, everything else seemed to be going well. Each prenatal appointment showed the same positive results: vitals were good, urinalysis was good, weight gain was good, baby's growth was good. Everything was good.

Until week 33.

Leighton had gotten free tickets to the U of M football game. We dropped the kids off with my parents and headed to The Big House. Row 23 right at the 50 yard line. But even better than the seats was the company. Just the two of us, for hours. We talked and laughed, cuddled under a blanket in the rain, watched the game, and just enjoyed being together. We left with a few minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, partly because we wanted to miss the rush of people and partly because I was physically spent. Sitting on bleachers for 3 hours was more than enough for my pregnant self.

We speed walked the mile or so from our seats to the van. Between my achy back and round ligament pains, I was uncomfortable. Leighton suggested multiple times that we slow down, but I figured the faster we got back, the sooner we were out of the cold and the sooner I could relax.   

We stopped for some coffee to warm us up on the way home, I put a disposable heating pad on my back, and I reclined my seat. Already I was feeling better. Everything was good. 

And then, as we pulled off the expressway, I felt a contraction. Eh, no big deal. I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks (first pregnancy to have them) for weeks.

Then I felt another not long after. Ok, that was a little odd. I looked at the time, just in case.

And then, another. Four minutes. I casually mentioned to Leighton that I was having contractions. The look on my face betrayed me, and he became concerned. We tried not to worry as we continued to drive.

Four minutes. Again.

The fifth contraction came as we pulled into my parents' driveway.
I lay down and started drinking glass after glass of water. After a couple hours, the contractions slowed. We left the kids there for the night, not knowing if a hospital trip was in our very near future. We headed home and went to bed. It was there that I spend the rest of the weekend.

Though the contractions weren't coming as quickly, they were, indeed, still coming, both randomly and every time I stood. Throughout the course of the next week or so, I spoke with Eileen many times. We discussed every possible scenario and what actions needed to be taken to keep the baby safe. Over time, it became apparent that complete bed rest was best.

Bed rest. Ugh. I had been on bed rest with Jake also. Three weeks of sitting around doing nothing. But that wasn't really that big of a deal. We were living with my parents at the time, so they took care of everything at home, and the school got a substitute to teach my classes. But this time? This was different. I had my own house and 4 young children to care for. The first week especially was difficult for me. Sure, my mom was coming over every week day to help and Leighton was managing everything in the evenings and weekends, but emotionally, I was having a difficult time. I was the one who was supposed to be cleaning. I was the one who should have been cooking. I was the one who needed to help my kids.

But I couldn't.

I couldn't, and that hurt. After Tyler's early birth, I so wanted this birth to go perfectly. Now, I wasn't even sure I'd have a home birth at all. Of course I wanted another home birth and to actually birth in the birthing pool (instead of the bathtub, again), but more than just for the experience of it, I wanted it to happen because that meant the baby was far enough along to safely be born. I did everything I could to ensure it went as planned, but it wasn't enough. I knew that bed rest was the absolute best option for all of us--especially baby--but it was not easy.

Sometime during the second week, I changed my poor-me attitude. If I was truly going to do what was best for baby and still hope for the birth I planned, then I needed to fully accept that bed rest was the only way.  I enjoyed being with my mom every day, appreciated meals sent from our church, did my Christmas shopping online, worked on some projects for the kids, and continued with our schooling--all while sitting on the couch. I set aside my pride and stopped thinking but I want to do it all! and instead focused on I will do what's best.  

Things went on like that for 3 weeks. There were constant questions: how long will baby stay in? will we make it until at least 36 weeks? how much can I get done for Christmas after coming off bed rest before the work sends me into labor? How and What if became regulars in my thinking. I couldn't change any of it, but I am always analyzing things and like to be prepared. I joked that everything was just going to stop and baby was going to be 2 weeks late.

I had put off purchasing and gathering my supplies because we weren't sure if there was going to be a home birth. As my uterus stopped contracting from the lack of activity and we got closer to the full-term mark, I ordered my birthing kit and pool. The kit arrived a few days later, the pool did not.

As long as I refrained from much exertion, the contraction were practically nonexistent. I started to believe that we just might have a January birth after all. Eileen went out of town for a few days, leaving the number of a nurse midwife (who had accompanied her during both Tyler's and Nicholas' prenatal appointments), just in case something were to happen. I was not the least bit nervous with her leaving. I was going to stay on bed rest until she returned the following Tuesday. At that point, I would be 36 weeks and my kit and pool would be here. If I went into labor, we were ready.

Except we never made it to Tuesday.

To be continued . . .Part 2 of Nicholas' birth story.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 1/16/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (newborn)

Happy Friday! I'm feeding the baby as I type this one-handed, so  I'll keep it short. This week, Jake read the third book of this series to his siblings, I spent a lot of time creating in the kitchen, and the kids kissed Nicholas 17,427 times, give or take. I hope your week was just as great!

1. Jake, holding a spy gadget to Nicholas' head: "I'm trying to listen to his thoughts."

2. Zac: "I wanted a girl baby, but we got a boy baby."
Me: "But we love our boy baby, don't we."
Zac: "Yeah, he's so cute! Boy babies are cuter than girl babies."

3. The kids and I were folding laundry. After each article of clothing they folded, they would give Nicholas a kiss.

4. Nicholas turned 1 month old! (I'm not sure if that's a smile or a frown because it happened so fast! At least the picture makes me Smile, ha.)


6. Alyssa: "I love having a baby brother."

7. Tyler: "Mommy, you get me candy?"
Me: "No, you can't have candy. It's almost bedtime. You can have a snack though."
Tyler: "Oh, I have candy?"
Me: "No, no candy."
Tyler: "Oh, M&Ms?"

8. Zac, eating a banana: "I'm a monkey, right?"
Me: "Yep. You've always loved bananas."
Zac: "Yeah. Jake's not a monkey though."
Me: "He used to like bananas. I don't know what happened."
Zac: "Maybe a one-eyed ultralink got in him."

9. Tyler: "Can you get the Trios, please? . . . Can you get the Trios?"
My Mom, holding Nicholas: "How man hands do I have?"
Tyler: "Two."
My Mom: "How many things do you think I can do at once?"
Tyler: "Three!"

10. I was canning triple berry jam and fogged the windows with all the steam. The kids enjoyed drawing on the blank canvas.

11. Tyler and I were sitting at the table eating breakfast when he very sweetly said, "You are just so pretty, Mommy."

12. Zac, hours before he was leaving to spend the night at my parents' by himself: "Alyssa, I miss you already." 

13. Jake: "When Nicholas gets old enough, I'm going to teach him all he needs to know about Legos. That way, he can be a Lego pro by 9, like me."

What made you Smile this week?

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Choose To Be Happy

The kids were in the living room watching a learning video.

Me? I was sitting in the darkness of my room, cuddling a tiny boy. Enjoying his warmth. Listening to his breathing. Feeling his love.

The truth is that he had fallen asleep after eating and I couldn't bear to put him to bed and head back out to the rest of the family.

It had been a rough afternoon.

Fighting. Whining. Messes. Stress. I could feel my irritation rising as my patience grew thin. I was on the verge of losing my temper.

I needed a mommy timeout.

It was there in the stillness of that room that perspective was restored. I needed to calm down. The kids feed off my negative energy. If I was crabby, chances are they were going to be crabby too. If I was short-fused, they were going to be irritable as well. It did not excuse their wrongdoings, but it helped me choose to have a good attitude. I needed to stop focusing on the hardships of the day, and instead, choose to be happy.

Yes, it's a choice.

You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your response to them.

I needed to choose to respond with patience and grace. Crabbiness multiplies, but so does happiness. It's my responsibility to keep the happiness level high in our household. Even when there's fighting and whining and mommy gets stressed, I realize this is just a season, a fleeting moment of time. These 5 little blessings of mine will be grown in just a few short years. There will come a day when they will no longer need me to make them a pb&j sandwich or allow me to wash the stickiness off their face. They will stop asking to sit on my lap or listen to me read a story. As time goes on, their independence will grow and their reliance on me will be nearly nonexistent. I want to savor these moments now, even on the craziest of days. The Lord has blessed us greatly. Instead of dwelling on the stressful moments, I choose to praise the Lord for all that He's done.

Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. ~ Psalm 150

I laid my tiniest blessing in bed and walked back in the living room, this time with a renewed spirit. Yes, I was still exhausted while the children had copious amounts of energy. Yes, I was still reminding them to be nice to each other. Yes, I was still reprimanding their wrong actions. But it didn't take long for my happiness to overflow to them. Within time, they too changed their attitudes. And once we all chose to be happy, the whole day was changed for the better.

There are always going to be hours or even days that are stressful, but we must focus on the blessings of God and His grace to help us through. And we must choose to be happy.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 1/9/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (newborn)

Happy Friday! It's been a pretty typical week at our house: School, chores, fun, focusing on my word of the year, and lots of Smiling. If you missed it earlier, part 12 of Kids Say the Funniest Things has been posted. Lots of Smiling on that one! I hope you've have a good week, too.

1. Zac, about Nicholas: "He's cuter than a cucumber! And he's cuter than a frog."

2. Tyler, while talking about favorite Christmas presents: "I have 5!"
Me: "You have 5? What are they?"
Tyler: "Red and blue and green and large."
Jake: "That's only 4. What's the 5th?"
Tyler: "Black."

3. Alyssa: "Thank you for being a wonderful mommy."

4. Jake: "I wish Nancy Drew were real and I got to help her."


6. Alyssa, while coloring: "Whoever scribbles the best wins!"

7. Zac, about peanut butter: "Which one do you think I'm getting?"
Me: "Crunchy."
Zac: "Yeah! It's my fravoritest one."

8. Sitting on the couch, nursing Nicholas, with Alyssa reading a book and cuddling on one side, Zac reading a book and cuddling on my other side, and Tyler sitting on my lap.

9. Tyler, sad: "I want Daddy."
Me: "Aww, you do? Do you miss him?"
Tyler: "Uh huh."

10. Zac, about Nicholas: "So he was born on his birthday?"

11. Zac begging to wash dishes with me.

12. Jake: "No one can really go to the center of the earth."
Zac: "We can; we have a basement."

13. These pictures.

14. Tyler: "My water's so drinky."

15. Tyler, first thing in the morning: "You take this lid off?"
Me: "You're not having cookies."
Tyler: "No, just one cookie."

What made you Smile this week?

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Another Word of the Year: 2015

In case you didn't notice above I'll give the heads up right away. This is not Erika. I know, I know, it's irregular for me to write anything for the blog that was my idea in the first place. Let's get past that and move on, okay, I'm writing a post. Erika mentioned to me a few weeks back that she was going to do a "Word of the Year" post for 2015, and then she told me her word and I thought that was pretty cool. Then a word popped in my head that explained exactly what I need to be doing this year. I thought, 'Hmmm, maybe I need to make a word for the year.' Which didn't seem like a bad idea. Then I thought, 'Maybe I should write a post about it, too. Wait, I don't do well with post writing.' I now refer you to my, 2+ years in the making, post on our original visit to The Henry Ford. So it came down to, 'Well, the post will be a good first step in the right direction in fulfilling my word of the year.'

So, here is my first step in the right direction...

You see if you came to our house and took a good look around you'd notice a few things.

1. I like to do things myself. I have the mentality, 'Why pay someone else to do something I can do myself?' It saves me money in some places and teaches me lots in all. I enjoy creating things and am proud of the stuff I know how to do on my own.

...but you'd also notice...

2. I don't finish the things I do myself, very often. (the very often part of that statement is said very quietly because its not often at all...) I don't know. I just don't ever complete it. It's not that I don't 'want' to. It's just each project gets to a point where it is functional and I move on.

We have a number of unfinished items in our house:

Alyssa's doll house is still in two halves and the roof is 'removable' for easier second floor play, right? I didn't paint it so she could use her imagination as to what it ought to look like each time she plays with it. Good variety. (Insert sarcastic emoticon here)

Our attic ladder is still natural wood in color and has a somewhat large gap going around it for 'adequate ventilation' in the summer. Not to mention the stripped drywall paper layer from me learning the lesson about how to properly break and removed drywall. (Maybe we can discuss that another day. It's something I already knew.)

A more recent project was removing the old caulk from around the bathtub and put in new so it would look better, the last guy wasn't very tidy about it. This was supposed to be done before Nicholas was born. The old stuff is gone and a quarter of the new is in place. Then Nick was born, the day I was working on it no there it sits.....uncomplete.

Then there is the cabinets. This is the big one. A few years ago, yes, years. Like multiple, more than three. We added cabinets along a bare wall in our kitchen. This gave Erika more space to hold things and a little more counter space to work on. We got the bare wood ones, you know so I could paint them. The plan was for me to paint the new as well as the old white. I researched how to do it right, what paint was best and what method was going to make it look great. I even bought a brand new HVLP paint sprayer to do the work, and then I did... nothing. Did I mention we even picked a color? Cloud White. Yeah, everything is technically in place but the work.

So, here I am now with a ton of unfinished projects, more than the four I've mentioned, and a word popped into my head...


So here is my accountability, in 2015 I am going to focus on finishing the projects that I have started over the past few years. That's not to say I won't start some new ones and leave them unfinished. ;)

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Kids Say the Funniest Things: Part 12

Here are some of my favorite memories from the middle months of 2013! If you missed the beginning of the year, you can read those quotes in part 11. I love reading through these and smiling all over again!

These were the kids ages at the time recorded: Jake 7, Alyssa 5, Zac 3, Tyler 1.

Jake: "Tyler is so cute after he wakes up from a really long nap. He's like spring after a long winter."

Zac, walking around the house yelling: "Mommy! Mommy, where are you?"
Me: "I'm right here. What's wrong?"
Zac: "Nothing. I just wanted to give you a kiss."

Zac: "My arm still hurts. Can you take it off until it feels better?"  

Alyssa, looking through my kitchen utensils: "What's this?"
Me: "A meat thermometer."
Alyssa: "So you know if it's sick or not?"

Alyssa: "Tyler has a double chin."
Jake: "So does Millard Fillmore."

Zac, sad: "Mommy, I love you, but Jake said you're always jovial. And you're not. You're mommy."

 Zac: "I don't have an attitude now. See? My face is smiling."  

Jake, while playing a game: "Ugh, I put mom in there, but it didn't do anything."
Me: "What do you need?"
Jake: "Something sweet."

Jake: "I'm going to make mine the biggest!" 
Alyssa: "I'm going to make mine the mediumest!"

Jake: "How do most people make pancakes and waffles and stuff if they don't make them from scratch?"
Me: "They use a mix where you just add water?"
Jake: "That's cheating."

Jake, looking at a map of the US: "What happened to the old York?"

Jake: "I think I put my feet on backwards today."

Jake, getting ready to read: "Page 81, here I come!"
Me: "Hey, that rhymed."
Jake: "It's not eighty-ome, and it's not here I cone (cun). So, it doesn't rhyme."
Me: "Well, that's true; it's not a true rhyme. I forget what it's called when words don't rhyme exactly."
Jake: "It's called a fraud."

Me, while teaching about types of nouns (common, proper, abstract, etc.): "Yes, alligator is a concrete noun because we can touch it."
Jake: "Mooom! Of course you can't touch an alligator. It would bite your fingers off!"

Zac, pointing to a full moon: "It's a quesadilla!"

Zac, sniffing: "Mommy, do you know what I smell?"
Me: "No, what do you smell?"
Zac, sniffing: "I don't smell anything."

Zac, pretending: "Would you like some kool-aid?"
Me: "Oh, sure."
Zac: "How about yes, please?"

 Jake: "What did Noah use to build the ark?"
Alyssa: "Wood!"
Jake: "What kind of wood"
Alyssa: "Tree wood!"

Zac, about my dad's bruised fingernail: "Hey, why did you paint that one blue?"

Jake: "Hey, Mom, stopit is a compound word!"
Me: "It's stop it; two words"
Jake: "Yeah, but two words together is a compound word. So stopit is a compound word."

Jake: "I'm going to be so sweaty, I'll be like piece of watermelon."

Jake: "Mom, you look better than the Devil."
Me, laughing: "Uh, thanks?"
Jake: "Even though most people think of him as an ugly red guy, we know that he was the most beautiful angel."

Me: ". . . and Alyssa was in my tummy."
Zac: "What?!? You ate her?

Zac: "Look at my face. It's stuck to my face."
Me: "What's stuck to your face?"
Zac: "My whole face is stuck to my face."
Me: "Well, isn't that a good thing?"
Zac: "Yeah. But how do I get it off?"
Me: "Why would you want to take your face off?"
Zac: "So I can be a monster!"

Alyssa: "Do you know why I chose a purple balloon? All the other ones tasted yucky."

Zac, because I found the train he had been looking for: "Aww, Mommy, I'm so proud of you!"

Jake, because his bandaid kept falling off: "Can't I just put duct tape on it?"

Me, pulling a green pepper out of the fridge: "Oh, no, it's wrinkly."
Alyssa: "You can iron it on the ironing board."

Alyssa, about the grilled cheese sandwiches, because Jake doesn't like cheese on most things: "Did you put cheese on Jake's?"

Zac: "Were you a kid when you were little?"

Zac, standing behind the pantry door: "Mommy, you go try to find me in the living room."

Jake: "If my arm gets cut off, can I get a robot arm?"

Jake, about something that had happened a couple hours earlier: "I remember it like it was yesterday."

Jake, tattling on Alyssa: "She's cheating more than I am!"

Alyssa: "I'm colder than a rotten egg."

Me: "Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Happy, Doc, Bashful . . . hmm. . . and who's the last one?"
Jake: "Gimli."

Alyssa, while learning to tie shoes: "I've already learned how to untie them by myself."

Jake, while discussing his life's purpose: "I know why God made you and Dad. Because you're a perfect match."

Alyssa: "Tyler had his eyes open while we were praying!"

Zac, while grocery shopping: "I smell something."
Me: "What do you smell?"
Zac: "The wind. I smell the wind."

Zac, licking the sugar off the brown sugar bear: "What's this for?"
Me: "You get it wet and it keeps the brown sugar soft."
Zac: "I'm getting it wet for you!"

Jake, watching me apply makeup: "Are you wearing base?"
Me: ". . . Foundation?"
Jake: "Yeah, well, they mean the same thing."

Zac: "The moon is glow-in-the-dark."

Alyssa: "Sometimes when I eat too much, my tummy has a disappointment because it didn't want so much."
Jake, looking in the mirror: "I'm having a staring contest with myself."

The final installment of 2013 is yet to come, but in the meantime, if you'd like to read some more funny kid quotes, be sure to check out prior years of Kids Say the Funniest Things.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Word of the Year: 2015

I first heard of choosing a Word of the Year 4 or 5 years ago. Instead of making a list of resolutions, the plan is to focus on one little word for the entire year. Honestly, I can't recall ever making a New Year's resolution (why wait until a certain date to make changes that I can start today?), but the idea of a Word of the Year intrigues me. 
I prayed for days for God to show me what word should be my focus in 2015. There were 3 words that I considered, but 1 word that continually came to mind.


Maybe it's because we just celebrated Christmas and the house is overflowing with new blessings.

Maybe it's because just a few weeks ago we added another member to our family and now have an abundance of baby items everywhere. 

Maybe it's because there are 7 of us living in less than 1,300 square feet.

Maybe it's because we just have way. too. much. stuff.

purge, verb: 
  1. to clear of something unclean or unwanted.
  2. to remove or eliminate.
  3. to rid of something unwanted.

I love cleaning and organizing. Ok, maybe the cleaning part is that I revel in the finished product more so than the chore itself. Clutter is stressful to me, so I'd rather get the house in order before enjoying any leisure. And with 5 kids, there's always something that needs order. I spend my days go-go-going, and I enjoy it. It's how I'm wired. But lately, I feel as though I'm spending too much time trying to maintain all the "stuff" we own. Like I said, I thrive on organization. I love the process, the outcome, all of it.

But it shouldn't consume all my time.

I've realized that I don't want to spend my days maintaining everything. I don't want to be so caught up in  controlling the mess. I don't want to be a slave to possessions.


I did take part in a 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge last year. The goal was to go through your house and declutter a bag a day for 40 days. I'm not sure exactly how many bags and boxes were filled and removed from the house, but it was a lot. Some things were trashed, others were sold, and more still were donated.

It was invigorating!

But I need to do it again. And again. And probably again.

Don't get me wrong, we have been blessed--so blessed-- with what we have, and I am truly thankful. But now it's time to bless others: strangers, friends, my own kids with my time.

It is my goal of 2015 to purge things from every area of our house. Clothes. Toys. Things. Stuff. Junk.

Our drawers are filled to the tops. The closets are full. The toys are in abundance.

2015 will be spent focusing on culling our possessions. The fewer things we have, the less time I spend making sure the house is orderly, and the more time I have for other passions.

Purge: helping me rid our house of the unnecessary and giving me more time in the process.

Do you choose a Word of the Year? What is your word for 2015?

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Things That Make Me Smile 1/2/15

Jake (9), Alyssa (6½), Zac (5), Tyler (2½), Nicholas (newborn)

Happy Friday! Things are getting back to normal around here, or at least a new normal with a new baby. The decorations are put away, school is back in full-force, and I am enjoying having no physical restrictions again. If you missed it yesterday, I posted part 11 of Kids Say the Funniest Things! Pretty much, it's Things That Make Me Smile on steroids, haha. You're sure to read something that will make you laugh. But first, let's Smile with this week's quotes!

1. Jake: "Zac looks so much like Tyler. I keep getting confused." 

2. Zac: "How do you say Z in English?" 

3. Listening to Jake and Alyssa argue about who makes better scrambled eggs.

4. Zac, while playing: "Am I good or bad?"
Tyler: "Yep!"
Zac: "But am I a bad guy or a good guy?"
Tyler: "Yes!"


6. Tyler: "You get my blocks?"
Me: "I can't right now; I'm feeding baby Nicholas. Daddy will be home soon though."
Tyler: "I want Gramma! Where's Gramma?"
Me: "She's at her house."
Tyler: "I need Gramma!"

7. Listening to Alyssa tell Nicholas the story of the candy cane.

8. Zac, singing: "We three kings of glory and tar . . ."

9. Alyssa and I were sitting and playing with Nicholas. She walked away and said, "If he starts crying, could you calm him down, please? I need to get my chapstick."

10. Jake, talking to me about ages: "I'm only in single digits. You're in double digits. And pretty high double digits, too." 

11. Nicholas, 2 weeks old.

12. Tyler, praying for dinner: "Thank you that Mommy gets up . . ."

13. Jake, holding Nicholas: "Aww, his toes are so tiny! They're like pieces of corn!"

14. I had locked the bathroom door so Tyler wouldn't follow me in. A few seconds later, I heard the knob rattle and his concerned little voice, "Oh, no! You stuck, Mommy?"

15. Tyler, whining: "Lyssa stepped on my ni-night! She needs a spankin', Mommy!"
Me: "Oh, does she? {calling across the house} Alyssa, do you need a spanking?"
Tyler: "She said yes!"

What made you Smile this week?

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Kids Say the Funniest Things: Part 11

Happy New Year! Things That Make Me Smile is my favorite part of having a blog. We've done many different kinds of posts over the years, but as we've gotten busier, the posts have been fewer. Except our weekly Smiles. Those I make sure to record week after week. If you're not familiar with our Smiles, let me explain. Every week, I post funny, cute, or memorable quotes and experiences of our kids. Children grow so fast, and so much happens in a day, that it's easy to forget and even overlook things. Our Smiles has helped me to pay closer attention my little ones, to be more in the moments, to savor the memories. I love looking back through the posts and reminiscing about all the good times. At the end of every year, I write a list of some of my favorites. Thus, Kids Say the Funniest Things was born.

I'm actually a year behind (you can read why here). I meant to get caught up, but, you know, life happens. Here are some of my favorite memories from the beginning of 2013. I hope you enjoy Smiling with me.

These were the kids ages at the time recorded: Jake 7, Alyssa 4½, Zac 3, Tyler 10-12 months.

My mom was cutting out pictures so Alyssa could make a  book. Alyssa told her, "Grandma, if that's too hard, I'll do it instead. I know that's a lot of work."

While out to eat, Zac ordered fish for lunch. He was confused when it was brought to the table though.
Zac: "What's that?"
Uncle Gary: "That's your fish."
Zac: "No it's not!"
Uncle Gary: "Yes, it is."
Zac: "Why isn't it swimming?"
Alyssa: "I only know 3 things about Jesus: that He died on the cross for our sins, He rose again, and He loves people."  

Zac: "May I have a piece of candy?"
Me: "Yes."
Zac, giving me a big hug: "You are a sweetheart."
Zac, smelling my perfume: "Mmm, that smells soft."
Tyler's first bath in over a month, after getting his PICC line removed.
Listening to Jake argue with Alyssa that strawberry milk is better for you than chocolate milk because it has strawberries in it.
Jake: "I love you."
Me: "I love you, too."
Zac: No, you don't lub her! I lub her!"
Zac, about a cardinal in the backyard: "He has a black face."
My Mom: "Yes, it's like he has on a mask."
Zac: "Yeah, he's a super hero!" 

Jake: "And then we can eat the rat."
Me: "Yuck! We don't eat rats."
Jake: "Yum! They're meat."
Alyssa, to Tyler who was barely fussing: "Ok, you already screamed my eardrums outs."

Zac: "I can't breathe, my nose is too big."
Zac: "Can I have a chicken leg?"
Leighton: "That's going to be kinda hard."
Zac: "But can I have a chicken leg?"
Leighton: "We don't have any chicken legs."
Zac, pointing to the turkey on the table: "Can I have one of those pretend legs?"
Zac, while putting together a train set: "Mommy, this track won't listen to me!"
Jake, giving Tyler a kiss: "Mmm, you taste delicious."  

Alyssa, dreamily: "Every time I see Tyler, it's like a dream come true."  
Zac, after jumping off the couch: "I was flying like a butterfly!"
Jake: "What do you call a hippo with the hiccups? . . . A hiccupotamus!"
Jake: "Mom, can you make my sandwich?"
Me: "Why can't you make it yourself?"
Jake: "Because you put love in it, and it tastes so much better than when I make it. I don't know how to put love in it."
Me: "What would you like to drink?"
Zac: "Can I have some alligator?"
Me: "Some what?"
Zac: "Alligator."
Me, confused: "What? . . . Oh, Gatorade?"  

Zac: "This banana taste like zebra."
Me, chuckling: "Like zebra? Wow."
Zac: "Yeah."
Two minutes later . . .
Me, noticing the banana was speckled: "Oh, it tastes like zebra because of the spots? You mean like a leopard."
Zac: "Yeah!"
Zac: "My finger hurts."
I gently held his hand and sweetly kissed his tiny boo-boo.
Zac, looked at his hand, looked back at me, shocked: "It still hurts."   

Jake: "Mooom! Alyssa's being mean!"
Me: "Alyssa, what's the problem?"
Alyssa, scowling: "I'm mad because Jake called me fish-face more times than I called him!" 
Jake: "What?!? Some people eat snails? Who would do that??? . . . I know, 1) people who don't have any money . . . "
Alyssa: "2) the devil."
Jake, while doing (homeschool) schoolwork: "Ugh, I should've stayed home today . . ."
Jake: "I think I want to be a police officer when I grow up just to get the doughnuts . . . And maybe I'll get to kick down a door."
Zac, while hugging Tyler: "Can I keep him forever?"
Zac to Alyssa because her bedroom light was left on: "The batteries are gonna die in your room."
Zac: "Do you smell that sound?"

Leighton: "Where's Tyler?"
Zac: "In my room."
Leighton: "What's he doing?"
Zac: "Eating the pages off my books."
Zac, incredulous: "Are you serious-ing me?"
Alyssa: "If you dream in color, then it's real."
Zac, before dinner: "Can I have some cereal, please?"
Me: "No."
Zac, fake crying: "But can I have some cereal, pleeeaase?"
Me: "No."
Zac, sweetly: "How about may I? May I have some cereal, please?"
Me: "You're such a blonde."
Alyssa: "No, I'm not. I can see fine."
Me: "No, honey. That's blind."
Me, surprised: "Alyssa, your room is a disaster!"
Alyssa: "I know. And thank you!"
Me: "Ugh, why didn't this print properly?"
Jake: "You need to show it who's boss. And who is the boss?"
Zac: "Daddy!"
Zac: "That tastes like yellow." 

Jake, while washing dishes, holding the cookie scoop: "Hey, I know how this works. This part moves like this. And then this part . . ." {goes on to explain the whole process}
Alyssa: "Just wash it already." 
Me: "Why don't you go get a kleenex?"
Zac: "I'm pretending my hand is a kleenex."

Alyssa: "Mom, Zac jumped on me!"
Zac: "No, it wasn't me. It was Alyssa!"
Me: "Alyssa jumped on herself?"
Zac: "Yes!"
Me: "I am not happy that you put a hole in Alyssa's tent."
Zac, whining: "But I love you."
Me: "I love you too, but I'm not very happy with you right now."
Zac, whining: "Oh, I'm so sad that you're not happy."
Zac: "That sounds bumpy."
Me: "Did anyone notice if our strawberries are starting to come up yet?"
Jake, running to grab his coat: "Strawberries? Let's go check! . . . Wait a minute. Are you just trying to get us to go outside?"
Alyssa: "What smells so crunchy?"
Me: "Zac, will you close that cupboard, please?"
Zac: "Yes, boss."
Tyler got himself  stuck between the end table and the couch. And played that way until he eventually slipped down.
Zac, holding a die upside down from Boggle: "What letter is this?"
Me: "E."
Zac: "Nope, you're wrong. It's a 3."  

Zac, sad because Jake pushed him down: "Mom, he broke my heart."
Jake: "We've had that since I was a baby. It's an antique!"
Me, about a Lego creation: "Wow, how did you make that so fast?"
Alyssa: "Oh, it's because Zac barely bothered me." 

Jake: "What's better than strawberries and caramel?"
Me: "Strawberries and chocolate?"
Jake: "Nope."
Me: "Apples and caramel?"
Jake: "Nope."
Me: "Nothing?"
Jake: "No. A kiss from your mom!"
Me: "Finish your breakfast."
Zac: "I don't like eggs."
Me: "Yes, you do!"
Zac: "No, I don't. They're yellow and that's not my favorite color."  

Thanks for remembering the Smiles with me!  The middles months of 2013 will be posted soon. Until then, if you'd like to read some more funny kid quotes, be sure to check out prior years of Kids Say the Funniest Things.

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