Thursday, December 8, 2011

date night!

I'm busy sewing my brains out these days trying my best to get orders done before Christmas. My list of orders is still super stinking long, and my list of emails of people wondering where the heck there stuff is happens to be growing as well. :(

That's kind of the atmosphere around here lately. It's all part of what I mentioned before about needing to make some changes and do what's best for my family. Steve even admitted to me yesterday that he was really looking forward to this past weekend because all my events are finally over, and he thought that maybe I'd be able to "come up for air." Turns out I'm still just as busy, but it does help to not have the stress of needing extra stuff ready. so I'm not really able to come up for air quite yet. I still feel a bit like I'm drowning. I can't catch up, I'm crabby to my kids, and I'm honestly kind of sick of spending every night alone in the basement sewing.

I realize that I'm sitting here complaining when it is actually such a huge blessing that in our time of need, God is providing. Like he always does. And I'm so thankful for that. and it's not only financial provision either. I had a definite emotional need met this week when I went on a DATE with my husband. and not only that, but it was an AWESOME date, and it was almost free.

so I'm going to tell you about that, instead of complaining. :)

ok, so remember when Steve worked at the Hilton? well, the Hilton has a restaurant inside called the Liberty Tavern, and the manager of the hotel told Steve when he left that some day he should take his wife out to eat at the LT and he'd cover it. So by golly, we took him up on that offer. Just one quick little email and we were given a HUNDRED dollar credit to eat there. Now, I'm not sure that we've EVER spent a hundred bucks on a meal. We've gotten close when we went to Espana last year for my birthday, but it was a HUGE splurge. Like, possibly once in a lifetime. *we've been back there once since, but it was on a Tuesday where they have a great deal on the tapas, so our bill wasn't quite as ridiculous.* Ok, but at the Liberty Tavern, the menu is really reasonably priced. so we just ordered TONS of stuff and it was so dang good. and we ate almost all of it.

We started with this incredible flatbread: (GRILLED FLATBREAD BOURSIN PESTO SPREAD, PROSCIUTTO, GRAPES, MOZZARELLA.) yes, it had meat. but only a tiny bit. and it was so good. and I never though hot grapes would be so tasty.

then Steve had corn chowder, and I had a spring greens salad. holy moly. (SPRING GREENS RASPBERRY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE, SPICED PECANS, DRIED FRUIT, FETA )

THEN, we had our meal and our sides brought out. we each got the mac and cheese (CAVATAPPI PASTA, ROASTED SWEET RED PEPPER, ASPARAGUS, SEASONAL MUSHROOMS IN AN ASIAGO AND PARMESAN SAUCE) for our meal. it was the most "plant based" item they had. :) and did you see that??? peppers, asparagus, and mushrooms IN the mac and cheese. brilliant. can you tell I'm not a cook? I was so impressed with everything. and for our sides we got asparagus spears and sauteed mushrooms. yum.

and THEN, we shared a piece of turtle cheesecake. keep in mind that the only dairy we've had in like 6 weeks is a bit of cheese here and there. so my plan was to only have a couple bites of steve's. well, you can probably imagine how that went. oh, and they put strawberries on the side, and for some reason I didn't think that strawberry and turtle went together. turns out they do.

ok, so after all that, we still weren't up to $100, but we thought we'd had enough. :) we did leave a little tip, so it wasn't totally a free meal, but close enough. it was such a treat.

Then, we saw the Muppets movie in Council Bluffs with my fandango tickets that I had gotten on a group deal online way back when. I got two tickets for nine bucks, but since the price has gone up a little on the tickets, we ended up paying like 12 for two tickets. which is still a pretty good deal. and we loved the movie. I did, however have a strange feeling like I was on a drug of some sort during the whole thing. My poor sweet husband tolerated my constant movement and repositioning. I was SO TIRED, but loved the movie. So I was partly just trying to stay awake, and partly just really super uncomfortable. and then I got a serious case of itchy skin, and well, that's a neverending problem once I start. so I sat there for EVER just itching every part of my skin I possibly could. I bet he didn't realize that was what he meant when he said 'for better or worse.' I can't believe he still loves me after that movie.

on our way home we decided to drive through downtown instead of taking interstates, so we drove past all the lights downtown, and at midtown crossing. it was beautiful. When we got home we didn't even pay our babysitters, becasue it was Steve's sister and brother-in-law, and they just wanted us to be able to go out!

so, in the end, we had free valet, free dinner, cheap movie, and free babysitting! it was such a treat, and felt so good to be out with my man. We know its so important, but it's just not really always very practical for us. so it was really such a treat!!!

and if you're ever in Omaha and want the same good food, head to the Hilton (right across from the Qwest Center)!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

cultured kids

we do our best to raise cultured kids. kids who love Wicked and Cinderella. who love band competitions and movie theaters. who love Ben Folds and Selena Gomez. who know that Jesus is the reason for Christmas but also believe in Santa. (had to throw that in there.) ;) we're going for a balance here.

Tonight Lillian turned on our Christmas playlist and on came Louis Armstrong's "baby it's cold outside." I knew she loved the song, so I was quite confused when she quickly ran and changed the song.

"hey, what are you doing???"
"changing it. they were horrible. just HORRIBLE."

(minus one point for the cultured kids goal.) :(

"now, James Taylor? He's awesome!" and soon starts the James Taylor version of the same song.

(and for that, I give us back a half a point.) :)

Monday, November 28, 2011


there are no pictures this year. I forgot my camera in the mad rush of getting out the door after figuring out that I had the wrong time in my head for Thanksgiving dinner.

no pictures, but let me at least take a few minutes to list a few things I'm thankful for this year.

as always, I'm so thankful for my God and the ultimate gift of his son.
and of course I'm thankful for my husband and kids. they're my life.

but this year I have a few "non-traditional" things that I'm especially thankful for.

like albuterol.

Lillian caught a cold, and good grief, we'd be in a load of trouble if it wasn't for albuterol. I hate that she has asthma, and that somehow every time we go to Orange City we have major issues with it. and she hates "the shakes" she gets when she feels all doped up.

but she can breathe. all thanks to albuterol.

and speaking of sick, I'm so so so thankful that my kids are all old enough to tell me when they're gonna throw up. I'm not sure WHY, but man, my kids have always gotten sick a LOT. every year, we get hit hard. the good news is that it's not that major to us anymore. we get sick, and then we get better, and it's not like our world gets turned upside down like it used to when I was a "new mom" with sick kids. We just do our thing, get through it, and buy stock in Clorox wipes. and now that they can tell me when it's gonna happen, it just makes the sick season that much better. (Brielle threw up in the van last week, and that's when i realized how long it had been since I had cleaned it up when it wasn't in a bucket. it made me thankful.) :)

and when my kids are sick, they get better. and that's something major to be thankful for. My heart just HURTS for people who's kids are sick and may not get better. I haven't stepped foot in a hospital for a long time, but for some people, it's "home." I still think of little Aria's family, and their loss earlier this year. and the hundreds and thousands more that I don't even know about. I'm so thankful that sick to us means clorox wipes and albuterol.

another thing I'm particularly thankful for this year is our Christmas decorations. they're nothing fancy. we bought a fake tree and put up maybe a FIFTH of our millions of ornaments. they don't match. there's no theme. but they're ours. and we also have a few homemade items. probably chinsey looking to some, but they were cheap and I made them. so I like them. and we have our AWESOME nativity set. It's the willow tree one, and I think I have all the pieces. I have always LOVED it, and Steve's family gave me a few pieces every year til I had them all. and I just love it, still. and the last thing we have is our garland for our railing. My mom always loved to put garland on the stair railings. I was trying to just add one new thing each year for our decorations, and that year was my favorite addition.

Some years it's hard to be thankful for things like family gatherings and such because our family has changed so much in the last five years. and honestly, sometimes I think it's just easier to not all be together with the changes so obvious and staring you in the face. it's HARD to face it. every time. But aside from my mom missing from the pictures, I'm so thankful for so much of it this year. thankful that my brother could make the trip. and thankful that he brought the awesome texas roadhouse rolls. thankful that Mel was there and her calming presence, always. thankful that Dad and Judy could make it when we first thought they couldn't. thankful that they have each other. and thankful for my one-of-a-kind niece Hazel, and her non-stop entertainment. and her brother and parents that I just love beyond words. And thankful that my aunt, uncle, and cousin could join us, as they do most holidays, just to hang out and play games and love on the kids. we weren't ALL together. Ohio is a long drive. :( but those of us who could gathered just for a day, half a day really. and for that I'm thankful.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm always thankful for our stuff. And in a year where we have to prioritize paying our bills over buying Christmas gifts, I'm just so thankful for what we already have. I love it that I'm having a really hard time coming up with a Christmas list for other family members, because we're just working really hard and being content with what we have. and it feels good. I'm always thankful for times like this, usually later more so than in the moment, but this time I'm trying to be thankful NOW. when it's a bit harder.

and, even when my neck has a kink and my fingers are burned, when my basement is a (beautiful) disaster, and there are not enough minutes in a day, I'm thankful for the pinkadink. maybe it's too "traditional" for this list, but i have to write it. I'm in the midst of some growing pains right now, but it's good. I have to figure out how to think with a business mind, and how to value my time, and how to do what's best for the business AND my family at the same time. it's tricky. but I'm so thankful that God has blessed this business so much that I even have to figure it all out. it's a good place to be.

and while that does NOT "sum up" my list of thankfulness this year, it'll have to do for now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

the diet coke diaries: the fat lady sang

so, I thought I'd take a quick minute to give an update on the diet coke issue.

it's a shocker, but I'm totally done. I don't even like it that much anymore. I almost NEVER drink it. it's that 'almost' part that gets me though. Occasionally I'll find myself drinking one, or ordering one, or whatever the case, out of HABIT, when I KNOW I'm not even going to like it! it's a strange strange drug I tell you. But most often, I CHOOSE water over diet coke. and even I'm in shock.

most days I'll have a big tall glass of water mixed with a little cranberry pomegranate juice, and a couple teaspoons of chia seeds in there. yep, chia. as in chia pet. I probably have a giant chia pet sprouting in my stomach. :) but it's a great 'superfood' and I really like the texture in my drink. and I also like plain water too! read that again, would ya? I like WATER!

I cannot even explain to you how exciting this is to me. if you know me well, you probably thought I'd never last in this whole 'game' of giving it up. my love was too deep and my self control was too...shallow? :) but somehow I did it.

and, if you don't want to read this next paragraph, go ahead and skip it. possibly TMI for some people, but I have to tell you!

ok, my body has seen MAJOR changes with such a lack of chemical! it's unbelievable! and it's most obvious for about a week, once a month. ;) All the things that my body used to experience on a regular basis have come back to me. and, while I find myself VERY inconvenienced by it all, I think it's really good that body is in a more natural state! I always kind of thought that diet coke didn't really affect me that much, but it can NOT be a coincidence that I am really crabby and craving sushi and chocolate once a month ever since I quit it! It's like my body is finally aware of what it's going through, and responding accordingly, instead of being sort of numbed by whatevertheheck they put in diet coke. Now, don't ask my sweet husband or kids about how they feel about my more natural state. I'm still working on how to control my 'new' sensations. :) but I feel like it's such a GOOD thing to be more natural. and it's not only about PMSing. All of my emotions seem a little more real. I love harder, I cry more, I FEEL my heart hurting more for other people. I'm undisguised.

ok, so are you one of the people who is totally addicted to soda like I was? don't worry, I don't judge you. :) and you know what else? Don't expect me to even encourage you to quit drinking it. This has been such a journey for me. I've talked to so many people who are quite entertained by the whole 'diet coke diaries' idea. and I'm so glad. :) It's rather entertaining for me to write actually. But going through the process has really taught me so much. But I had to be READY. I wasn't ready for a long time. I had tried to quit so many times before, but even I wasn't convinced that it was going to be for good. this time was different. It was like I really wanted to overcome it.

and I did.

and now I feel like I can do ANYTHING!

but if you're not ready, don't worry. it's not that big of a deal. it will never work if you aren't ready to conquer it. and if you ARE, I can promise you that it gets better! and there's such a freedom in knowing that if I want a diet coke with my pizza, then by golly, I"m gonna have one. I'm past the point where I feel like I'm DEPRIVED of something I love. I feel good.

I feel GREAT! (like I knew I would...eventually.)

so, signing off from the 'diet coke diaries!' yay me! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

busy, busy. dreadfully busy.

any other Veggie Tales fans out there singing along with me? It's the good Samaritan story and Larry is stuck in a hole, head first, and everyone who passes him tells them they're too busy to help. and the song is pretty catchy.

and somehow I'm both Larry and the others. I'm stuck in my own hole and can't even help myself! I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy, more than an octopus, more than an ant!

anyway you get the picture.

October is one of my favorite months. actually THE favorite. hands down. So many wonderful things to celebrate. fall, my mom, my son, my business. but MAN what a whirlwind! for a quick catch up, here's what we've been up to:

*Steve started his new job, which is a huge blessing. He's still quite stressed and works long hours, and now working late is like 6 or 7, so we'll TAKE IT! at least he's CLOSE and the kids toddle in to bring him his lunch every day on our way home from getting Josiah from preschool.

*speaking of Josiah, he's 5 now. and we celebrated with a Spiderman party in OC. fun times. But on his actual birthday, I was super sick and couldn't even go out to eat with my family. :(

*speaking of eating, things have changed here. We've moved to a plant based diet. Lots of whole grains, fruits, and veggies, and it's so so so good. I haven't had meat, cow's milk, or butter in two and a half weeks! I started it for health reasons, and to do what I can to minimize my risk of getting cancer. I'm quickly running out of meal ideas and such, but I'm mostly in the phase where I"m learning so much and super excited about it. It's doing a lot of what my mom started doing after her second diagnosis, when I thought she went off the deep end a little. :) but now I realize she was just doing everything she could to fight the cancer, so why wouldn't I start now???

*speaking of my mom, October 23rd marked 5 years since her death. We celebrated a couple different ways this year, but not our usual big shabang because I was sick for most of it. :( I'll do a post about it later though, and hopefully I can add pictures, unlike the last time I tried that.

*speaking of pictures, I've actually been really busy this fall taking pictures, which is crazy. I have a pretty good camera, and some pretty good friends, so I took some pretty mediocre pictures of them. :) I've always loved photography, but's just something I don't have a lot of time to learn about. SO, I just offer my free services to my friends, and lots of people took me up on it this year. I think I've done like 4 or 5 different groups or families this year. acutally, yeah, I have my 5th on Sunday. hopefully it's not too cold!

*speaking of, crap. I got nothin. it was flowing so beautifully til just now. so I'll transition into talking about the pinkadink. I spend almost every sleeping children minute to work on pinkadink, which means naptimes and after bedtime. But what that means is I stay up late and get really super tired, and I'm way behind on orders, and I'm way behind on life, and I was apparently way behind on BILLS which was really bad, and I had no idea. because almost my whole mind is filled up with pinkadink right now. it got pretty bad recently when either one of my kids or I was sick for almost 2 weeks straight. just a little reprieve between each one and then bam it was back. so anyway, it's been a rough go here, but I think we're done for now! last night I chose to skip all my work and go to bed with my hubby at like 930 or some crazy hour. and it was such a long beautiful wonderful night. amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you. and tonight it's back to the grind. If you happen to know anyone who's waiting so very patiently for a pinkadink order, please tell them it's coming soon.

alrighty, well, there's the boring update. but now you know why I haven't posted. I'm pretty sure that nobody's been sitting around waiting to get an update on my life, but I have gotten a few comments recently about the lack of posts. you go. don't expect much more though til after christmas or so though.

because I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy...
( thought it was finally out of your head. you're welcome.) :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

new job!!!

Today my dear husband starts his new job.

While it's easy for me to be so happy for this new chapter in our life (it's been a rough couple years, and I miss my man...), I have realized today that there are going to be a few things I'm gonna miss.

like, seeing him all dressed up in a suit and tie everyday.
and having a perfectly smooth face every morning.
and free parking downtown.
and sweet rates at Hilton brand hotels.

but oh my heavens, there are things I"m so glad to be done with.

like, paying for those suits and ties.
and paying for them to be dry cleaned.
and wondering if he'll be home for supper. or bedtime. or ever.
and waiting almost a half hour to see his handsome face after I find out he's left work.
and the middle of the night phone calls.
and the middle of the night text messages. actually, let's make that all day and all evening and all through the night no matter what we're doing, if we're eating, sleeping, or you-know-what-ing, the phone....oh the phone....I'm NOT gonna miss that dumb phone.

It's so weird. I don't even know what to think about my husband being home. And having most weekends off. I actually think it's going to be a bit more challenging for me than I realize.

See, I have kinda ruled the roost here the last few years. I do what I do when I want to do it, because I'm the one who makes the decisions. so he might do things a bit differently than I do and it might just take a little getting used to. but I think I can manage.

The Hilton was sad to see him go. It was a better place because of him, if you ask me. And the new place will be too. He has that effect on people and places. He just makes them better. So I can't wait to see how our family gets better too. :)


Monday, September 26, 2011

party time

In the last year, we've been invited to parties at the very coolest places. the pizza machine, the bouncy house, chuck e. cheese, p.e. 101, Skate Daze, and probably even more that I'm forgetting about.

But....see....the problem with that is it makes my kids think that's just what everybody does for birthday parties. Invite all your friends and your whole class, rent a place out, and have your party taken care of.

and trust me, if I had tons of money, I'd love to have a party somewhere where they do the planning and the cleanup for you.

but it's just not gonna happen. we can't do that.

So, for Lillian's party, I was determined to make it tons of fun but super cheap. She's the only one who really gets it that other kids do the fancy parties, so it sort of matters to her.

so here's what i did....

(I'm assuming that most of you have seen my facebook photos, but here's the link since I can't post any more pictures on here yet...grrr...

first, I convinced her to NOT have a princess party. Ha-le-to the lu-jah! because seriosuly....been there, done that.

and I love owls, probably because they're really popular right now in fabric and other crafty types of things. so I see tons of cute owl things in my world. so after showing her a cupcake topper idea, she was sold. :) we had a theme and we ran with it.

so first, let me tell you what we did, and then I'll tell you what I spent.

two days before her bday, we passed out invitations that I had made on the computer to the kids at the bus stop, and delivered a couple to the neighborhood kids who don't ride the bus.

on her actual bday, we had the neighborhood kids over (about 30 or so in all) for a cupcake and a cup of raspberry lemonade. they ate their cupcake, took a few pictures in the "photo booth" and headed back home. short and sweet. This part could have certainly been skipped to save more money. but I've got a hidden agenda. Next summer I plan on hosting a backyard Bible club at my house. And I want to invite all the neighborhood kids. But I want them (and their parents) to feel comfortable at my house, and have a few non-Bible club related experiences here so that they think it's really awesome at my house and beg their parents to come next summer.:) so, I'll buy a couple extra boxes of cake mix for the greater goal of teaching them about JESUS! :)

She also brought little 100 calorie bags of fudge striped cookies for her class. (they looked like owl eyes.) :)

can I get on my soap box here a second while I'm thinking about school snacks?? I've seen a few facebook comments and other things about parents kind of making a fuss about having to buy packaged snacks for birthday treats. I don't know, maybe if I didn't have the kid with the peanut allergy I'd be annoyed too. But let me just say that as a parent of a food allergy kid, I REALLY appreciate it when people make the extra effort so that my daughter can enjoy the same things other kids do. She spends most of her life being different from everyone else. Sitting at a different table, bringing her own lunch, not being allowed to eat the snacks that the rest of the class has, etc. It's her way of life, I know. She's used to it. But when she gets to eat the same thing that everyone else is eating it's really special for her. and she's not at risk, which makes me feel much better. So, even though there might be more preservatives and high fructose corn syrup and other crap that's found in processed foods, it's safe. and your kitchen may not be. ok, thanks. I'll be done now.

so, back to the birthday, we went out to eat after all the chaos was over, I mean, after the kids left. because I'd rather spend money on myself for a bday party than a bunch of other people. I'm selfish that way. :)

then on Saturday, we had our families over for supper and presents, and more owl pictures of course.

she also gets to choose ONE friend to go to a movie with her on Friday night. at the cheap theater. that's the really special part, because she gets to take a really close friend. All the neighborhood kids coming over is fun, but they aren't her closest friends. so this will be really special. and $5 gets them a movie ticket, candy, popcorn, and juice box. love that nasty little theater! :)

so, to me, that seems like a pretty decent birthday!!!

but the best part, is here's what I bought:
2 pieces of cardstock (.50 each maybe)
3 boxes of cake mix
2 boxes of cream cheese
1 bag powdered sugar
cupcake liners
mini chocolate chips (used maybe half a bag, and already had the white sprinkle things)
1 pkg sucker stick things ($2-$3 maybe?)
4 pieces of felt for the owl masks (.25 each)
a couple yards of owl fabric ($12?)
school snacks ($12, because you have to bring a prepackaged item, so that's a little more money)
3 balloons (the $1 kind, not the mylar ones)
raspberry lemonade mix. (.50 total)
food for our family party: sloppy joes, watermelon, chips, really really awesome spinach salad that you have GOT to try if you haven't already

Now, I realize that I might have somethings on hand that other people would have to buy, like, hot glue gun and glue sticks, wooden dowels for the mask handles, ribbon to cover the dowels, white cardstock to make the invitations, owl masks, bday treat labels, etc., a circle punch and a scallop circle punch for the toppers, and scrapbook paper for the treat labels. and I also have digital scrapbooking software so I can make the cute little invites and cupcake topper things myself. that helps. :)

OH, and I made her a little birthday shirt (didn't really post a picture bc it didn't turn out quite like I wanted...oh well. bought the shirt for 3.50 (score!) and the owl embroidery file for $3.)

ok, so...I think that's all? I know it wasn't fancy, but it was FUN. and Lillian loved it just as much as she would have loved any other party where you pay hundreds of dollars to rent a place out. so I call it a success.

since I'm a celebrater, crafter, and cheapskate at heart, it was the perfect party for me. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

rewind: Brielle's 3rd birthday

Last year in the fall I realized there were a million things that I never blogged about, so I did a few "rewind:" posts. and I'm pretty sure Brielle's birthday (which is actually in July) was finally posted about in September. and looks like that happened again.

But tomorrow is Lillian's birthday, and before I post about that, I want to post about Brielle's!

This year we were camping in Paulina again, which was super fun, but hard to plan any sort of special event for her party. the whole weekend ends up being special, which is a pretty good deal after all.

Miss B chose "mickey mouse" for her theme, which actually means Minnie Mouse, she just makes that mistake EVERY time. So, I took it upon myself to make Minnie Mouse cupcakes. Now, normally I order a cake that someone else makes because my philosophy on life is this: the less time spent in the kitchen the better. But then there's this whole money thing... Cupcakes are my thing lately because I can actually figure out ways to make them cute, and then I don't have to spend the money on a cake. Although, I will say, that every time I do it, I think the next time I'll just order one from Sara Crane Cakes. But it's fun to try be creative in a new way, and it's saved me lots of money. Time, on the other hand...

ok, and here's why it takes me so much time. When I made these cute little cupcakes for Brielle, I had to follow a recipe, and I also made the frosting. I think I had to use facebook THREE times to ask people what something meant, or what to do, or who knows what else. It's because there is nothing natural about me being in the kitchen. So I don't know things that maybe most other people know. Blame my mom. I always have. :) and Lillian and Brielle can blame me. Full permission granted.

so anyway, I finally got the dumb things baked, and then it was really fun to decorate them.

and see how cute they turned out???

OH WAIT. Blogger won't let me upload any more pictures onto my blog because I've exceeded my photo limit based on my picasa space or something dumb like that.

so that means I'm going to quit this post and edit it later. I'm SO SAD but don't have time to figure this out right now.


Monday, September 19, 2011

the diet coke diaries: miracle of miracles

ok, well, I went to my dreaded dentist appointment. I was so embarassed (remember it had been 7 years since I'd been there, and I drank 2-3 diet cokes a day during those 7 years) that I gave a little warning to the dental hygienist, and apologized profusely for what she might find in there.

and then she went about her ways scraping the crap out of (or off of I guess) my teeth.

her job took a while. I will not wait that long again. I promise.

After that the dentist came in with the xrays and my stomach dropped. I told him I was ready for the bad news, but he was just like, "oh, let's hope it's not bad news!" so I warned him the same way I warned the d.h. But it turns out I don't have a single cavity! holy moly!

I must be a really good brusher.
and my YEARLY new year's resolution to floss every day (which has only lasted 6 weeks at my longest run) worked better than I thought it did.

yeah, either that, or God still performs miracles, which he does. and this might be one of them!

ok, so for the update:

it's been over 6 weeks since I have purchased diet coke for my home.

what I'm drinking: a bit more water, though still some lemonades, and other crystal light types of drinks. I just really don't WANT to drink that as a replacement for diet coke, because it still has aspartame and stuff in it. but I am drinking more water. just still not enjoying it like I want to. and I only have an occasional "coffee drink" now, as opposed to every day like I was a few weeks ago. progress people, I see progress.

how I'm feeling: well, now that I'm mostly past it, I feel okay talking about my major mood I was in. If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed I got REALLY mad at one of my children for refusing to let me floss their teeth. dumb, I realize, but after fighting that for a week, I just lost it. One of my childhood friends commented that it was the diet coke withdrawal, and actually I think she might have been joking. or maybe not. but that wasn't the only little thing that made me crazy, and I think it really does play a big part. the last few weeks have actually been really hard, and I even considered going to the doctor. I just feel like my body is going totally out of whack. I don't sleep well, I'm crabby, I'm tired, and please DON'T tick me off, or I just might lose it. (thankfully, I think I'm on the upswing. I got some prenatal vitamins just to make sure my body has what it needs while it deals with not getting what it wants. not sure if it was just PMS, or chemical imbalance stuff, or vitamin deficiency, or what, but I'm glad I feel like it's getting under control.)

I'm still really tired too, probably because I don't sleep well. but I'm less tired during the day and don't feel the need to fall asleep at 7 pm anymore.

so, there you have it. 6 week update. I've decided this is a real addiction recovery. Maybe not quite as serious as other addictions, and I certainly don't mean to offend anyone who is recovering from something much more life altering. But if you ask my husband and my closest friends, they'll agree that it's much more major than we all expected.

I think I'll start feeling GOOD soon. I really do.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Tonight we were at Hobby Lobby getting a few things to make the decorations for Lillian's party. As we were shopping, we walked into an aisle where there was another customer shopping. This customer was DECKED OUT. I mean, really fancy looking to be in Hobby Lobby. Like, big tall black boots with tight jeans and a bedazzled shirt. Bedazzled everything now that I think about it. Really fancy, dyed blonde hair, TONS of makeup, the sparkly eyeshadow and such, a fancy lookin hat, the works. and get this: all the stuff she was buying matched her outfit. Black and silver and BEDAZZALED. even her scissors. no joke.

And as I'm standing there in my sweats (why yes, it does happen to be the same pair of sweats I was wearing yesterday and slept in last night, thankyouverymuch) searching for the right package of cupcake stick things, Lillian just turns and looks at her. She's like 2 feet away, mind you. And she just STARED. for a LONG TIME. But I didn't tell her to stop, because obviously, the lady wants to draw attention to herself, which she did.

but MAN I wanted to know what Lillian was thinking.

So I waited til we got all the way to the car before I mentioned it. Didn't want the lady showing up in our aisle while we were conversing about her. not that I wouldn't see her coming, but...

OK, so we get in the van and I say, "did you guys see that really fancy lady in there?"

and she says "yes. I did. EVEN HER SCISSORS WAS SPARKLY! why do you ask?"

not really sure how to word it nicely, I say, "well, I'm just thinking about her. and wondering what she looks like just the way God made her. and wondering why she wants to look so fancy, and if she doesn't like the way she looks without all that."

and Lillian, bless her heart, says, "yeah, because sometimes wearing too much makeup actually doesn't make you look good."

and I say, "yeah, and it's just so different from the way God made her that it kinda makes me sad."

and then, DOUBLE bless her heart, she says, "well, yeah, mom. and look at YOU! You don't have ANNNYYYY of that on and you still look BEAUTIFUL!"

that, on the day I noticed these bags under my eyes are sure getting bigger and blacker...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

self control

can I tell you about my self control?

I don't have very much very often.

but, right now I have some. lots actually.

you won't believe this: I'm not on pinterest. If you know me, and you know pinterest, that is probably baffling to you. in fact, it is to me too. But I am POSITIVE that once I get signed up on that darn thing, it's going to suck time away from me that I don't even have to be sucked anyway.

so, there's my brag. I've known about it for a LONG time, and I'm refusing to join, for the sake of time management. (which is another baffling thing if you know me.)

go TIME! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

be better

Tonight's one of those nights where my kids really deserve a better mom.

a small battle about flossing turned into a potential Dr. Phil episode. I am so embarrassed at myself. By the end of it we were all in tears.

I took a break, to collect my sanity which had spewed out all over the house, gather my self control that I just abandoned in a pile in the hallway, and scrounge up some humility to go ask for forgiveness.

My kids don't handle my tears very well. They were so very forgiving, especially "the one" who got it the worst. But I wanted to be forgiven because I messed up and asked for forgiveness, not because I was crying about it. But they were all quick to forgive, and respond with "it's OKAY Mommy!" even when it's NOT okay, because they want their mommy to stop crying.

They deserve better.

so tomorrow, I'll be better.

Because for me, it's really just a decision. When I "make a good choice" to be better, I can be.

so tomorrow, I'll be better. for them.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

the diet coke diaries: un-friendship

well, I'm about four weeks in now.

wow, it sure feels a lot longer than that.

I spoiled myself on my birthday and let myself have TWO diet cokes. and I also had one on the drive home from OC on Sunday. and, also, I had one today. :)

you probably think that none of it really counts when I have that many in a week still. BUT IT DOES, because I never really had the goal of never drinking it ever again. my goal is to not buy it for our house anymore, because when it's around I drink 2 or 3 a day.

and by golly, I've been to the store a bajillion times in the last 4 weeks and not a single box came home with me. or bottle. or can. :) I'm pretty sure our recycling guys are confused. (we don't get refunds for our cans here, so we just recycle them.) there used to be boxes and cans blowing up and down our street on Tuesdays, and now, it's just cereal boxes.

here's how I feel: totally crappy and tired....STILL.
when I have one: I thankfully DON'T find myself up til 3am anymore.
what I drink instead: wish it was just water, but more often it's like lemonade or my iced "coffee" drink, which steve doesn't think I should be allowed to call it, because it's really just ice with milk and a glug of coffee creamer and only a splash of coffee. But what I realized i miss most is just FLAVOR. water doesn't have any FLAVOR! (it's growing on me though.)

and now, for the big news...

I un-friended diet coke. it's true.

every day on facebook the stupid diet coke people would ask me what I"m doing while I enjoy my ice cold diet coke that day. and I just couldn't stand it anymore. so I un-friended it. or un-liked it or whatever.

so, I carry on.

til next time...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

on turning 30.

I finally made it. I'm 30.

I actually feel like this is the 'age decade' I've belonged in all my life. :) It's kind of a joke in my family that my childhood never really existed. I don't remember really playing anything when I was little, except school with M&M, and I was the teacher.

and in the home videos and such I'm just sort of non-existent. it's weird.

and in high school I didn't really do the normal rebellious things that high school kids did.

and in college I didn't do the things that normal college kids did, besides a few Perkins runs here and there.

and when I was 21 I was married. and when I was 23 I was a mom.

it all seems so weird now. I think I've spent most of my life in my 30s, and now I finally caught up with myself. :)

so that's why it feels good. I think I belong here. I'm much more comfortable being 30-something than a 20-something.

so yeah, the day was great. My friend Rachel was over for a while in the morning, and then she went out and got me chipotle for lunch, and burgers for the kids so that I didn't even have to cook the whole day! (I think she's my friend who knows me best because every time she does anything for me-which is OFTEN-it seems to be EXACTLY what I need/want.)

Then after lunch I took the kids to the park, and found three of my friends there with thier kids! I felt like it was a little surprise party for myself, since none of the friends really know each other well. I was the common link! It was so fun!

after that was naptime. I had to finish up some pinkadink items, but that was still fun!

Then Steve came home early (but had to lay down because of his big nasty headache). :(

Then I made my own birthday cake with the kids, because even though I don't like cake (unless it's Sara Crane Cakes or DQ ice cream cake) they really really wanted me to have a bday cake.

Then we went to get me some avacado egg rolls for supper (fave!) and some more diet coke, because happy birthday to me. :)

after supper the kids and steve decorated my cake, and then we ate it!

the crappy part of the day is that steve had to go back to work, and he just wasn't feeling well all day. so I feel like I barely even got to be with him, but such is life I guess. but instead I "hung out" with my sister in law for a while on face time (she lives in Honduras) and we just chatted the night away.

We always kind of say that as you get older birthdays are just sort of another day. But not today. it was special.

I just kept taking a bird's eye view of my life, and realizing how blessed I am. I had gotten cards and gifts in the mail all weekend. I got some ridiculous number (like, over 100) birthday greetings on facebook, which some people think is cheap and insincere, but I happen to love! I spent my day with my kids and my friends and my favorite foods. I'm blessed with a husband who, even though it really sucks that he works so stinking much, takes care of his family, and works hard at his job. lots of other guys would just be selfish and throw in the towel I think. but not my man. :)

God has BLESSED this undeserving mother/wife/friend.
for THIRTY years.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"what do you love about mom?"

L: I love every thing that she does for me.
J: I love that she loves me, and she loves me, and she loves me. And I love that lets us eat birthday cake even though we didn't eat all our food.
B: I love that we can eat cake.
L: OH, and I love that she lets me go to school instead of being homeschooled because that would be BORING. (she's a social one, she is.)
S: I love that she gave me three beautiful kids. and that she picked me.
J: and I love that you guys got married and kissed on the lips!
B: Josiah said he loves that you got married....{giggle}

Friday, August 26, 2011

the diet coke diaries: the beginning of the end

I'm a HUGE diet coke fan.

It's actually freaked me out for a while now, how much I love it. And other people too. I feel like if you are a diet coke drinker, that's all you drink as far as pop goes. If you're a pop drinker in general, it seems like you don't care much for diet coke. strange. I realize there are probably a million exceptions, but based on the people I know, we LOVE our diet coke.

I started drinking it more in college I think. We never really had pop in the house growing up. But in college I could get it in the caf, which was awesome. And then when we were in Spain, I remember going to Gibraltar and FINALLY getting "real" diet coke, as opposed to Coca Cola Light, which is NOT the same. I even took a picture of myself drinking it I was so happy. So clearly, somewhere in those 4 years, I became what some my call an addict.

And then we moved back to the States where it was available all the time. I started drinking it more often, and always had it in the house. Even through my pregnancies, it seemed like I craved it MORE than ever, and if you don't know me at all, I'm not really a "by the books" kind of person when it comes to that. I probably had at least one a day (probably more) during all my pregnancies, and nursing for the whole year after, even though you're not really supposed to have caffeine.

And then at some point I started having one with my lunch and my supper without exception. Which makes two a day. at least. for a LONG time. and maybe occasionally I'd have one in the afternoon when I just wanted something refreshing.

oh, and I NEVER drank water. hardly EVER. or milk, except with cereal. It was really the main source of liquid in my life for a very very long time.

I know all the info about aspartame, and how horrible it is. I even tried to quit drinking it a number of times. And it worked, for a while. but then I'd buy a box again, and that was the beginning of another cycle.

In the last couple years, I finally decided to stop trying to quit drinking it. People have their guilty pleasures, and mine was diet coke. I was a diet coke drinker. end of story.

But then...
while I was on vacation, and my hubby was home working...
he got an idea...

and he informed me over the phone. and in that moment, I decided to stand by my man, and do it with him.

So, after I finished all the diet coke that I brought home from the cabin leftovers, we quit drinking caffeine. So I started to buy caffeine free diet coke. :) but seriously? it just wasn't the same. so...DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN......

I quit. altogether.

sort of.

I don't buy it for the house anymore. so if we go out, I still have it. which is what sort of means.

Ok, so the only problem was that it TOTALLY messed me up. after having two or three a day for the better part of 7 years, and cutting completely off, I was a mess. falling asleep in the middle of the day, dragging dragging dragging all day every day. and then when I'd have like ONE glass, I'd be up til like 3 am going stir crazy in my bed. I was a total mess.

And then my kids were gone for a week, and it was my "crank it out 2011" time for the pinkadink, so I NEEDED to be productive. and, well, productivity=diet coke. and I drank A LOT of it that week, because I also took the week off of cooking too, so we went out a lot. :)

but then it was back to the grind. back to the exhaustion. but I survived. and didn't really regret my week of indulgence. :)

and that was like 3 weeks ago. I think I'm doing good! (don't you????) :)

I keep thinking I'll get to the point where diet coke actually grosses me out. and I'll wonder how in the heck I drank so much of it every day. But I'm still FAR from that place.

I think about it every day. at least twice a day. probably more.

I miss it. I miss it soooo much.

I still go crazy when I do have it, and can't sleep at night. but my productivity skyrockets, which is awesome. and totally worth it, which is really sad.

so, my friends, this is the diet coke diaries. I'm hoping it's short lived. that very soon I'll be writing my "grossed out" post. But this is my journey, where it started, and where I am now.

it's one step at a time. so tonight, since it's Friday Night Movie Night, I'm sipping diet coke with my pizza, and loving every minute of it. and the good news is that Monday is my birthday, and we'll be going out to eat, and I might give myself the gift of a diet coke with my meal.

oh, and ah....I have a dentist appointment in a couple weeks, after not being there for almost SEVEN years, and drinking one or two or three diet cokes every day since then. so. yeah. I'm thinking the "grossed out" post might come after I pay that bill. good chance it will.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Smits

I've never actually heard ANYONE pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Smits before in my whole life. Wasn't alive yet when my parents or my uncles got married, and I only have ONE boy cousin with the last name Smits and I wasn't at his wedding. And my brother isn't married yet. We're heavily female on the Smits side. (We do have one more boy cousin, but his mom was a Smits, so he won't even carry on the name.) So anyway, it's an occasion to be celebrated!

although, I can't pretend I wouldn't LOVE to have there be no need for a wedding between these two people. For everyone's old lives to just have gone on uninterrupted by death.

But the day was absolutely beautiful. The BRIDE was absolutely beautiful. My children looked absolutely beautiful. And all of us being together was just so wonderful.

The ceremony was a WHIRLWIND of emotion. There were crying babies and fussy kids everywhere, so that kind of helped me not just sit and bawl like a baby the whole time. But there were probably 5 times that I had a quick hard cry for like 30 seconds, and then it would pass. I was also trying to get pictures from the front row with my 50mm fixed lens, which was challenging enough without the tear and nose wiping. so it kept me occupied. That's about what what I remember about the ceremony. tears, kids, camera.

But the reception is what I'm really going to remember when i think back on the wedding. It was so strange to pull up to this old golf course and pond, where I hadn't been since I was probably 10 years old. Most of my memories from that place are from when i was even younger, before we moved to California, which was when I was six. My mom used to take us there to play with our cousins while she sat in her lawn chair with her visor on, chatting the day away with her sister. There was this dumpy old blue water slide, and a raft out in the deep with a high dive on it. In my memory it was so big and beautiful and full of happiness. And seeing it now as an adult just gave me a completely different perspective.

Everything had changed. no more slide, no more high dive, no more concession stand to buy a frozen Charleston Chew from, no more little kids running around because there's really not even much of a lake anymore. no more of all the things that made it what it was. and no more mom.

but it was still beautiful.

And the little clubhouse thing that is there now was decorated just absolutely beautifully. There were all these little details that made it all magical. There were delicious little wedding colored sixlet things at our tables, and hershey's kisses. black and white, and a little red. about a gazillion balloons, and a gazillion more candles (which didn't go over very well for Lillian, my FIRE FEARER). Little kids and big kids all over the place, dressed in their coordinating clothes, a mixture of all the people my dad and Judy love most.

and that's the thing, see.

it was beautiful. the decorations were beautiful. the setting was beautiful. the people were beautiful. the weather was beautiful.

and their life together can be beautiful.

If you've ever lost someone close to you, you probably understand the whole thing about feeling a little bit guilty for enjoying certain things, or allowing certain things to happen, or...whatever. It was like I was almost tempted to feel guilty for allowing myself to enjoy the day, because it only existed because my mom was gone.

But how can you not be thrilled for the widow and widower who found love (much too soon in the eyes of their kids, but of course in God's perfect timing) at a support group for the loss of a spouse. who suffered through such similar situations, caring for the one they loved most, and then watching them leave this earth. And now they have each other. And I'm so glad.

it was almost like that was the theme for the day. beauty in the change. yeah, the lake looks different. things are different. but it's still beautiful.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

proud auntie :)

Had these two beauties at my house for less than a day this weekend, but had to snap some pictures while I could. aren't they STINKIN cute? if only my other nephews lived closer and I could take theirs too, then oh my, you'd all just wonder how I got so lucky to be their auntie A. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

160 days without you

so, I've taken a little blogging hiatus, which you probably haven't noticed. I have yet to post about things like my dad's wedding and B's 3rd birthday. But before I do that, I just have to tell you about yesterday.

Remember last year? Lillian had a really hard transition into kindergarten. I didn't even post about most of it, just the first day. I'm not sure what happened, but the girl that I thought was SO READY for kindergarten actually wasn't. Well, I guess she was ready for the learning part, but not the being away from mommy part. She turned into a completely different child and was hiding behind doors before school, and making herself SICK thinking about riding the bus. It was a LONG first few weeks last year.

But this year, since she knows a bunch of kids in her class already, and one of her best friends (erica) is in her class, and her teacher seems really awesome, and the fact that she's "bored" just about all day every day, I thought for sure she'd be excited!

But the last few days she's made little comments about not wanting to go back, and other little things.

And last night we had 'back to school night' or whatever, and met her teacher, and saw some friends. And when I put her to bed, she looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, "but mommy, I don't WANT to be away from you for 160 days again!" :( and about 9 she got out of her bed and walked downstairs and started bawling in my arms, saying she couldn't sleep because all she could think about was going to school and not being with me.

I know she'll be fine once the year gets going. I know. But that doesn't help NOW. So, we'll read The Kissing Hand again, and find something to put in her pocket to give her a little comfort when she misses me. It's so wonderful that she thinks I'm awesome and wants to be with me, because I know some day that will change. :) I just really hope that she doesn't dread the start of school every year.

it's more than this mama's heart can take.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

since you're all wondering... :)

My dad gets married tomorrow.

The brave people have actually asked me how I feel about it. And everyone else just looks really wide eyed and awkward when they "your dad? are your parents divorced?" and I respond with, "no, my passed away a while back."

So I figure most people are wondering how I feel about it. So I thought I'd document it before the big day. So here goes:

I have no idea what emotions I'm feeling, let alone how to talk about them.

and I'm tempted to leave it at that.

But I've realized the last few years that blogging really helps me identify feelings better, and to work things out in my head. There's a lot going on, so let me see if I can put some words to it.

Their story is so sweet:
Both my dad and Judy were married for a long time to their spouses. They both had the HORRIBLE experience of watching their spouse suffer and die from cancer. They know what each other have been through. They actually met at the hospice grief support group for spouses. And they started dating. and it's SOOOO sweet.

except for the fact that it means my mom died. and Denny died. and that just seems so wrong. It's been really fun to get ready for this big family event. Except that it really kinda feels like a slap in the face that once again we are having this wonderful time as a family but my mom's not there. We've had a few of those moments in the last 4 and a half years. But nothing as major as a wedding since RIGHT after she died when my sister got married.

and not only will my mom not be there, but her family won't either. and it totally makes sense. don't get me wrong. I'm not wishing my dad had invited them. The guest list is very basic. Dad and Judy's siblings and their spouses, and the kids and grandkids. so don't feel bad if you aren't invited. :) But we've never had a wedding in our family where my mom's side hasn't been represented. so that's just weird. and hard.

of course I'm not SAD that my dad's getting married. I'm thrilled for him. And I know it's exactly what my mom would want. without a doubt.

It's just so emotional in so many ways. ways I didn't expect. The fact that the wedding is happening only because of the fact that my mom is gone is hard to escape.

But as far as Judy goes: YES, we LOVE her! YES, she's great! YES, the kids are totally thrilled! I've always said that if there was another person who would love my kids as much as my mom would have, it's Judy. I'm SO sad that my kids don't get to know my mom. It kills me. But they have never known a life without two grandmas, because Judy stepped up in every way. And that's what really matters to me. I don't need anyone to replace my mom. And Judy gets that. But I DO need my kids to have a grandma on my side. and they have one. and now they FINALLY get to call her "Grandma Judy." :)

So, I'll probably be a bawling baby tomorrow. tears of joy. tears if sadness. tears because I just have no idea to describe what I feel, and it's really hard.

But once we get past the EVENT of it, things will be back to normal. it's just the EVENT that's bringing all the emotion, not the marriage.

But FIRST (well, after the wedding but before the "back to normal" part), my three kids and I and my three sisters and two brothers-in-law and one brother and four nephews and 1 niece will be heading to a cabin in MN for a few days to hang out. And I certainly know how I feel about that. :) and I'm also certain about how I feel that my husband can't come. :(

so there you have it. a bunch of words that STILL don't describe how I'm feeling right now. But that's all I'd be able to say to you if you asked, but now you don't have to ask. and you don't have to not ask either and look awkward. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

treading water

Lately, trying to find the balance of enjoying our summer, keeping the house clean(ish), and working on pinkadink stuff has been a bit like treading water. not really making any progress anywhere, just trying to stay afloat.

wait a minute....have I written this post before? I think this is life's constant battle. If it's not enjoying our summer, it's something else. but the family, business, and home balance is just tough.

ok, so lately, I've been feeling like I was WAY behind in every area. Because I was behind on the pinkadink, we weren't spending time outside like we totally should have been. And because we weren't outside, that meant we were inside, and the house was a major mess. And when the house is a mess the last thing I feel like doing is cooking because that just makes a bigger mess. oh wait. that's the last thing I ever feel like doing no matter if the house is clean or dirty. :)

So I had to figure out how to make myself more productive, and spend a chunk of time on some major things so that in the future it would be easier. so I thought I'd share them with you all.

Let's start with this guy:

This is my new best friend. I know that lots of people have lots of really great ideas for meal planning, and that's all fine and dandy. But I couldn't just copy someone else's idea when I wasn't totally convinced it fit me and my personality. SO, I just kinda quit the whole meal planning thing. I would plan a few meals at a time, and it would last me a few days, and I'd throw grilled cheese in there one night to just make my planned meals last a little longer. But I was at my neighbor Jenny's house the other day, caught a glimpse of her plan, and fell in love. So the very next day I started my own.

It's just a photo binder with recipes in it. fancy, I know. You all probably heard about that easy idea years ago, and honestly, I probably did too. But it just wasn't a time in my life where I was ready to take action. So anyway, I have all the recipes that I already make and like in one spot. I ripped them out of magazines and copied them out of cookbooks. And then I folded the recipes so that the ingredients were all showing in the photo pocket for easy grocery list making. And then, because my printer is out of ink, I drew a lovely calendar for myself and just started filling it in! Every Wednesday we do grilled cheese or quesadillas, because during the school year we are rushing to get to kids club on Wednesdays, so I want it to be a no cooking night. And every Sunday we do breakfast all day, which is a HUGE hit in our house. We have cereal for breakfast, eggs, pancakes, etc. for lunch, and then cereal again for supper. :) and often we throw popcorn in there for supper too. Plus, on Friday nights we do Friday Night Movie Night (which we started when Steve started working his long hours and we needed some way for Fridays to be special). So on FNMN we either get dollar cheeseburgers or have pizza. SO, when I mark all those off on the calendar, it doesn't seem QUITE as overwhelming to plan the meals.

so anyway, taking one day to make that binder has taken a HUGE load of stress off my mind. I really don't enjoy cooking, so this just takes away the mental hatred I have toward the whole 'what the HECK are we gonna have tonight' problem.

and, it works for me.

ok, so another major battle we have here is the laundry. I've already confessed that I forget about my loads of laundry in the washer, and end up rewashing them multiple times before I get them into the dryer before they stink. this week I washed a load of rags FIVE times. not kidding you. ok, so during the six or seven days I spend washing the same load of rags, all the other laundry was building up. and when i brought it down the pile on the floor was just HUGE. the balance was WAY off.

so I got an idea. and when I get an idea I usually act on it right away. and that's how I know my husband loves me. he doesn't ever say "that doesn't make any sense to do that right now, Andrea." he says, "ok." :) and he even helps me.

so when I bring it up to him on Thursday night that I'd really like to get rid of the toilet in the basement, he said ok! and by the end of Thursday night the toilet was gone! So I stole a shelf from the garage, bought a bunch of $3 laundry baskets on Friday morning, and now have a freaking sweet laundry area in my pinkadink room. so now, if you want to come over and look at the pinkadink stuff, you don't have to walk all over my laundry that's all over the floor of that room anymore! I can dump it all out, sort it into the baskets, and then it stays off the floor and makes the room a much happier place to be. see? yes, I'm going to get two more black baskets for that shelf. but for now, my green one is just fine. :) and...I am still using my over-the-toilet shelf to hang dress shirts on when they get out of the dryer. brilliant.

and I guess I should clarify when i say "pinkadink room." see, I used to have one pinkadink room (the laundry room). and then i had my sewing machines (all three!) in the kids' toy room. well, see, that didn't really work out so well, because I'm a messy creator, and so the kids couldn't really play down there. So I got another idea to just take over the whole room, and Steve said ok! :) only, there were still lots of toys down there. So we've been coming up with ways to get the toys stored up here in an organized fashion. a garage sale and a huge trip to goodwill helped a lot in that department. :) But we still had about a gazillion doll items that were downstairs, which was sad because they never got played with.

I was driving Lillian back from book club on garage sale weekend, and I spotted a very special garage sale. It was a driveway FULL of furniture. really unique pieces. really awesome stuff. So I stopped, found some items I LOVED, and came back for permission and a helper. :) and steve said ok. (isn't he awesome?) :)

So, there were about six things that I really really loved, but settled on 3 of them for the girls' room. The first one was $40, which is a lot more than I would normally spend at a garage sale. but check this out.

This is an awesome piece of furniture. It opens by pushing that little button you probably can't even see. So little ones (brielle or daycare kids) can't accidentally open it and get hurt. PLUS, it doesn't even slam shut, so you can't really get your fingers hurt. the inside is really clean really nice wood. can't even describe how awesome it is. plus, it holds all the doll stuff.

and then, not because it helps me lose the treading water feeling, but only because I fell in love, we got this beautiful mirror for $20. twenty bucks. and it's so beautiful. it'll be even more beautiful when we figure out how to hang it without the wire showing, but you get the point.

and THEN, for $5, we got this adorable little shelf that totally matches the other new stuff to display her little tea set on. it's just been sitting in a wooden box thing where no one could see it, and in danger of anyone bumping it or playing with it or anything. But now, it's up on display, and they'll need my help to get the dishes down. It's pretty special to me because it was my mom's. We never really knew about it until we were cleaning the house after she died, so I'm pretty sure it was just a tea set she had in her office for the little girls to play with. not sure. but since it was her's, it's special to me. So I wanted it up on display. and doesn't it look cute?

and then, while we were in the process of making thier room look cute, I came up with a brilliant idea for all of Lillian's pictures she had hanging on the wall. See, she loves artwork. and letters. and she loves them all over her walls. and I've let her tape stuff all over her room because I wanted her to love her room. it's her space, after all. But I've hated it all along. it made her room look so messy all the time. the whole area by her bed was COVERED. until yesterday. that's when i came up with the idea to make this:

I thought we could peel the stickers off her valentine's day box (which we finally threw out) to make the cover page, and then put all her little pictures and junky posters and calendar pictures into sleeves in a binder. and she said ok! (she gets that from steve.) :) crank your head to see it I guess. it's uploading sideways. can't fix it.

I still let her keep her two real posters up. I don't want to scar the girl for life. But it makes a HUGE difference in how clean her room FEELS. I love it. (all that green space (and more!) was covered in pictures and letters!)

ok, so I think that's all. But doing those things has made me feel like I made MAJOR progress in the 'home' part of the balance, so that just maybe it won't weigh so much anymore. so far so good. I've been making meals and doing laundry on a more consistent basis. and this weekend and next week are "vacation" days, so that will help in the fun part of the balance. So I just really need to get a bunch of pinkadink stuff done this week and I'll feel pretty good! (I have a list of things I need to make each day til we leave for vacation in order to be done on time. the only problem is that I spent my time writing this blog instead of sewing, which means I'll be way behind already tomorrow.)

off I go to find the balance and see if I can swim a little! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011


I've mentioned Aria a few times on this blog before. She's my sweet little "friend" from New Zealand who I've actually only met once. I've talked to her mum :) a few times, and we've been to the sprinkler park together once. And we've {almost} made many plans, but timing hasn't worked out or life got in the way or something equally as stupid as that.

I obviously don't know this family THAT well. But something in me feels SO strongly connected to them because of the number of prayers that have been said on their behalf for their daughter Aria. We feel like we know them much more than they probably feel like they know us.

Anyway, it KILLS ME that there's not much I can do for this family besides pray. So I thought I'd mention them one more time on here, so that at least the 47 followers I have will possibly say a prayer when they read this, and maybe another if they think of it later in the day.

I still don't really even understand the power of prayer. I don't know if it "changes God's mind," or if God even has a mind to change. I don't know if the outcome (aka "God's will") could be changed if he got 'enough prayers.'. and I don't think "God's will" is necessarily something he planned out. so yeah, I don't really understand the power of prayer. But I BELIEVE it. and maybe it's because my family felt it when my mom was sick. who knows. but it's real.

and with all that I don't know, what I DO know is that this family, and this girl, need us to storm the gates of heaven with them. Aria needs prayer, her mom and dad need prayer, and her little brother who wants nothing more than for his big sister to come home from the hospital needs prayer.

so would you say a prayer right now for Aria?

and now one for Hamish?

and one for Anita? (and then another quick one, because my "mother's heart" breaks for her.)

and also for Asher?

And when you kiss your healthy kids goodnight tonight, can you say another one? and don't forget to thank God for the life you live. For the fact that you put your kids to bed IN YOUR HOME, and not a hospital. and that you get to be together as a family?

This weekend, in honor of the MacDonalds, I'm going to complain less and pray more. wanna join me?

you can read up on Aria's story here if you want.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I can be your hero, baby

I rescued a dog.

I am not a dog person.

My children are not dog children.

But we saw a dog running about two feet away from oncoming traffic out on K64 yesterday as we neared Orange City. And everything in me that ever loved any animal came forth. And everything in my children that ever loved any animal came forth. And they BEGGED me to pull over and get the dog. Like, almost crying, wanting the dog IN OUR VAN with them. Trying to convince me that all along they really HAVE liked dogs, they just acted like they didn't. But...

a. it was raining. pouring acutally.
b. it was thundering.
c. dogs and thunder don't mix.
d. dogs and Hydeen children don't mix.

So we drove on. And the 2 miles to my sister's houses were torture for the kids. They really really didn't want that dog to die. And I just knew that if I didn't go back and check on it, I'd feel TERRIBLE when we drove back out of town and saw it lying on the side of the road. And I knew I wouldn't really find it anyway. And if I did, there was almost no way that it would be alive.

so i drop the kids off and unload the baby swing I was bringing for a friend. and I drove back out in the rain to find the dog. There were like a million cars on the road at the time, and it was raining, so I didn't really feel like I could just pull over on the side of the road if I found it. So I was looking for the dog, but also for a place to pull INTO, which barely exists on that mile stretch. except for RIGHT behind Van Beek Scientific, where there happens to be a drive way. And that just happens to be where I spot her.

only she's heading the wrong way.

and I'm in a white dress.

and it's raining.

and she's muddy.


she looked just like this, but sopping wet, and without the teddy bear.

So I pull into the driveway, and stand in the rain and call for her. and clap really loud. She was headed the opposite direction, and because of all the cars, she could barely hear me. So I just keep on yelling and clapping. Thankfully since my van was pulled over people knew something was up so they slowed down, and she very slowly moved away from the traffic and over to me. Except she STOPS like 20 feet from me, right in the half mud half grass. and she just stares at me. for a LONG time. so I stick my hand out and basically invite her to come jump up with her muddy feet all over my white dress. and she finally came up to me, and let me check her collar. I DRAG her over to my van to get my phone, but she will NOT get in my van. So I stand out in the rain to call the phone number, but instead of being the owners number, it's the vet clinic's number. and they don't answer.

and I'm wet.

and half bent over holding the collar, but with the phone between my ear and shoulder.

and she's wet.

and dirty.

but seriously SOOOOOOOO cute.

So I, in super hero fashion, lift the dog up by the collar and get her into my van. like a very prissy super hero though because I didn't think to change my freaking clothes at my sister's house when I was there 8 minutes before. (scatterbrained) ;)

But this dog seriously sat perfectly in my van, barely moving, just looking out the front window with me while I drove back into town and called the vet clinic over and over and over til they answered. They finally did and gave me the number of the owner. So I quick stopped at my sister's to show the kids the dog was alive and their mom was a super hero. :) Then I called the owner and brought sweet Dakota back home (practically in Alton by the way).

Now, I have loved the dogs my family has owned. I truly have. But I have absolutely positively ZERO desire to have a pooping, chewing, bad breath breathing canine in my home. But oh my gosh, if I would ever have a dream (like, a real, sleeping dream) where I owned a dog, it would be a brown and white cocker spaniel named Dakota. I'm sure of it.