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.