Tuesday, May 9, 2017

things I won't miss

We are in the depths of packing and getting ready for our move right now. And when I say "we" I really mean, "I" - Landon is busy busy busy working away to complete his dissertation [!!!!] which leaves me and the boys to get all the other stuff done. So in the mornings and late afternoons the boys and I play and read books and I try to sneak in the occasional play date or little adventure. Play dates have been a little sparse as it seems all of our friends have just had babies added to their families which is wonderful, it just means a time out on the play dates. But, since I know we have such a limited amount of time left here, I have basically forced play dates on all of our friends, some more than others ;) haha.

When the boys nap [or some days just have a quiet time for Emerson] in the afternoons, I get busy and pack all of the things. I've also been using nap time to call and look into all of the furniture, utilities, insurance, and other important things that must be set up/arranged when it comes to moving. Goodness sakes, it seems never ending.

In the midst of my packing efforts and last errands that are having to be run before we move, I've been thinking on things that I'll miss or not miss about our house and town and wanted to take the time to go through a list of both. Today, is a list of things that I will not miss about this place. And some other thoughts in general.

Things I won't miss about Illinois: 

- the fact that we have to drive through the ghetto to get to our house. For real though.

- all of the jaywalkers. all of the time. especially at night. especially the ones who wear black. which is is basically all of them.

- this town in general. It's just so "meh."

- the lack of community.

- our house and it's lack of space.

- not having a bedroom for Oliver.

- living in a two story house.

- the unsettled feel our lives have had the past few years.

- our kitchen.

 - - - - - -

As we're less than a week away from our big move, I've been thinking a lot about our lives the past few years here and while there have been many many sweet spots, I also feel like these years have very much been desert years for me. The other day I was telling someone we were moving to Kansas and she looked at me, her eyes filled with sympathy, and reassured me that God will provide, it will all be okay. I know! He has provided! I am so happy to be moving to Kansas! It's not a bad thing! was all I could think. Being here has been hard. We moved here, away from having a rich community of friends and family that wasn't too far away. And while I'm used to not being near family, not having good friends and that sense of community was hard. Recently one of my friends shared thoughts on community at her church and passed it along to me; as I was listening to her talk about the importance of community my heart hurt for something I knew all too well and missed so very much. We were created for community and to not have it is so lonely. Then a few days later we passed through Louisville and stopped to spend the evening with the sweetest of friends and that time spent with them made my heart overflow. I was refreshed and renewed and was so very thankful for even a few hours with them. Community is so valuable and something I have missed so much.

There aren't many other people I know with husbands working on their PhD while raising a family. I know they're out there, I just don't know them. It's hard. Because even if Landon does have flexibly in his schedule, when he's home, he's not home. He's working on his research and papers and networking. When he's home I feel like I can't just say, "Hey, can you help me with the boys/dinner/cleaning up....?" And if I ever want at break from the day in and day out, it has to be during nap time or after the boys are in bed - and that's not a break, it's just leaving the house when I don't have to chase the boys around anyway. I'm not complaining. I'm just sharing my heart. These past three and a half years have been some of the very hardest for me and at the end of most days I just want to burst from exhaustion. I love my boys and I love my life, but goodness sakes, it seems like more often than not I'm alone in all of this and that is a hard thing indeed.

I know that moving to Kansas isn't going to fix that. I know that it's not going to be instantly better. I know the next few years will be hard ones too as Landon will have to work a lot as he starts his new position. But I do have hope. I have hope that I'm leaving my desert behind me and am moving onto something better. To a place where we find community again, where we can actually spend quality time as a family, as a couple, where I can maybe get a real break every now and then, where I can have a little more help with things.

Hope is carrying me through. Oh, how thankful I am for that hope.


Monday, April 3, 2017

little gifts [977 - 1000] - one thousand -

Hello and Happy Monday to you! Hopefully you all were able to enjoy your weekend and do a few little fun things and get some good rest in there too.

It's been a minute since I've shared some of the little gifts in my life and I've missed it. While I still see the little gifts, it's different when I take the time to write them down. So here we go, on to sharing a few little gifts . . .

977. non-chipped or peeling finger nails

978. fresh from the dryer socks hugging my toes

979. two little boys, playing contently side by side

980. music playing through the house

981. Peppa Pig that allows me to fix meals in peace - for 10 minutes at least

982. a report from the Nursery that Oliver smiled for them

983. getting Oliver into the specialist ASAP

984. friends bringing boxes to the house

985. being kicked out of the house with the boys for showings and inspections

986. crock pot meals

987. unexpected outings with the family

988. the hubby bringing a cupcake home for me at the end of a long day

989.  stacking books high in boxes

990. boxes packed and labeled, piling higher and higher

991. boys eating their dinners and not crying or screaming for something else

992. Spring colors

993. gray rainy days

994. little friends playing the morning away

995. bath time with two happy boys and no tears

996. celebrating new babies and their mamas

997. friendship with the girl and her little ones who live five minutes away

998. listening to Oliver "reading" "Dooby Dooby Moo"

999. being led around the house by a tiny hand pulling me by my finger this way and that

1000.  - gifts that have blessed me deeper than I can say - one thousand of them in all

One thousand gifts. Some of the very best little gifts I've been given. It feels like a milestone to be here, counting one thousand little gifts in my life. It feels like I've done something great. Counting these little gifts makes my heart thankful so many ways. Even though I've counted up to one thousand, I feel like I'm just getting started.

What are some of the little gifts in your life?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

house hunting

I'm just going to pick up right where I left off as best I can ;)

The other day I mentioned we went to Kansas for a little trip last month. Landon had some meetings and we needed to look at houses anyway, so we decided to knock them both out at the same time. On Wednesday, once Landon was finished with his meetings and his parents were set up in the hotel rooms with the boys for nap time [because his parents came to help with the boys. bless them], we walked over to our realtor's office, which was just a block down the road from the hotel and our afternoon of house hunting began.

We were working with a husband and wife realtor team and that afternoon we met with the husband, Jim, he was the one I'd been talking with and emailing back and for about a month prior. Before meeting him I had looked at hundreds of houses online, and after picking out some "maybes" Landon looked with me and we talked about which houses we liked, loved, and were just a plain "no." The week before our trip to Kansas I emailed Jim a list with our favorite houses as well as houses we liked and wanted to see. In total, there were about a dozen houses to look at. My only request was to look at all of the houses on the list and look at them in proximity to the others so as to make quick work of the showings as possible. We were only going to be in town for a few days so we needed to be efficient with our time. After going over some paperwork in Jim's office we headed out to look at the houses we had only seen pictures of!

It's one thing to see pictures online of a house, it's another thing completely to walk through the house and get a feel for it. We were able to see about half of the houses that first afternoon and had picked out a few favorites to hold onto for the next day. In some houses we stayed longer than others, but in every house I tried to picture us there as a family and see our daily lives. My Bible study leader had told me when they bought their house it just, "felt like home," and I was kind of going off of what she said. Did this house feel like home? Could it be our forever home? Because my prayer is that the house we pick there, is the one we grow old in. Though we shall see, I suppose. It was a full afternoon of looking at houses and we had a favorite picked out by the end of it! That night Landon had another meeting, so the boys and I ate dinner with his parents and then went back to the hotel to get the boys in bed.

The following morning we met with Leslie, the wife of the team. Our day started bright and early after we had a little breakfast with the boys and then gave kisses good-bye. It was so good to know they were being well taken care of and loved while we were out and about. There happened to be a discovery museum right across the street from our hotel, and Jim had gotten passes for the boys and the grandparents to go see it. With their day planned, we headed off to start looking at more houses. Leslie showed us around town some more and of course took us to see the rest of the houses. There were so many good choices! We kept saying to each other how we didn't know how we were going to decide which house to pick! I was kind of really hoping that one house would just really pop and that would be it. But really, there were a lot of good choices and we felt that a number of them could have been home. So I really started praying about which house would be home. And the more we looked, the more we kept refining our top three list and the more we kept coming back to one house from the night before.

After looking at all of the houses on our list, we asked to go back to what I'll call the brown house, just to see it one more time. As we were looking around again, we just knew that was home. So we made plans with Leslie to break for lunch, go back to the hotel, and then once the boys were up from their nap, go back to the house to let the boys and Landon's parents see it. We got to the brown house a few minutes before Leslie that evening, so we were able to walk around outside for a little bit and meet one of the neighbors who happened to be outside with her twin nearly two year old boys. As it turns out, we have a lot in common - and that's just from chatting for a few minutes. Meeting her gave me hope and even more excitement for the brown house.

The brown house is a ranch style house, with a finished basement [because tornados], with a flat drive [because basketball], on nearly an acre of land -the majority of which is wooded, at the end of a cul-de-sac, towards the end of a neighborhood. It was everything we were only hoping to have in a home. Everything about the brown house was perfect. We absolutely loved the house.

So we decided the brown house was the one. There were two other top contenders, we always tried to keep just three favorites in the running, but the location and lot is what really made us fall in love with this house. This is the house I can see us growing old in, that I can picture the boys bringing their friends home to, celebrating their graduations in, coming home to with their brides, bringing their babies over to play, a house that could be our forever home, that Lord willing, we never have to move from. Gosh, that's a lot for a house to say. But it's the truth.

The brown house felt like home. 

And oh, how I can't wait to make our home in it. While I've never been homeless, I have been rootless, I've moved once every few years since before I can even remember. To settle down and stay in one home for always is my dream. If the Lord will allow it, I would love to always be at home in this house. 

While I'm enjoying our days here and now, making the most of them and trying to fill them with fun things for the boys, I am very much looking forward to moving and settling into our new home. Shoot, Oliver will get to sleep in a bedroom and not the laundry room, what's not to be excited about?! The next few months are going to be unusually crazy and busy, but I think they will be oh so good.

The rest of the story isn't as exciting, we put an offer in, there were a few counters [so nerve wracking!] but in the end, we got the brown house and are so very excited to make it home in just a few very short months!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

a look back at February [part 1]

Hello friends! It has been too long. I didn't realize just how long until a friend pointed it out to me this morning. Anyhow, we have been keeping busy this past month or so and after thinking about it, I decided it was full of things I would really like to remember. Since that's the point of this blog I figured I should share about our little happenings before they're too long gone and forgotten. So, here we go, a little life lately post to give a short update. 

This winter has been so blah. It's been super mild for the most part, which I suppose is nice for most, but I like snow when it's cold and we haven't had much of it at all this year. So it was a nice little surprise when we had a decent snow fall in the beginning of February. I bundled the boys up after nap time and we headed outside for some play time. It may have only lasted ten minutes or less, but it was fun just the same. 

We also made a trip to Kansas. Landon had some meetings he had to attend, and since we knew we'd have to go out there in a month or so anyhow to look at houses, we decided it made the most sense for all of us to go when he had his meetings and just look at houses then. So I spent the week before our travels packing and organizing things to get ready, because it does take a week for me to get us all ready for a long trip like that.

The first two days of our trip we stopped in a town not too far from where we were headed for Landon to attend some meetings. It just so happens, that the little town was the very same one I have my first memories from and some family friends still live there. So while Landon was at meetings all day, I took the boys to a farm I used to play at all the time when I was their age. I hadn't been there in about 12 years, and a lot has changed and developed in the area. It was a fun way to spend the morning and I'm so thankful it worked out for me to see old family friends. We moved from that home when I was about four and apparently I clung to my mom's friend's leg crying to stay with her and not let me go with my family. I guess I didn't want to move? That was the very lady we spent the morning with and it was so nice.  The boys were able to play with toys run around and we didn't feel trapped in a hotel room which was wonderful.

Before we met up with my friend, I needed to grab something at the grocery store and the boys were delighted to find amazing car shopping carts. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bulky to steer around the store as I anticipated. It's the little things ;)

Right around nap time we had to take Landon to another meeting, the boys had slept poorly the night before and I knew they were tired so thankfully they fell asleep in the car while taking him to his meeting. After we dropped him off I just drop the boys around town for a while, looking at this and that. I even stopped by my old house. I wasn't born in Kansas, but it's where I have my very first memories, and this little house was the first one I remember. I sent a picture to my older brother and sister and we had a nice little text chat about how much they loved that house and Kansas and for some reason that was just really special to me. I'm glad I was able to find our house and send them a little memory. 

It just so happened to be Valentine's Day while we were there, so we celebrated in style, eating a picnic lunch in the hotel lobby to save some money. haha. I wouldn't have it any other way though. The boys got a little gift of stickers and coloring books and sunglasses. Big stuff I tell ya.

On Wednesday morning Landon had some meetings scheduled, but thankfully he had been able to reschedule them for the afternoon before because holy goodness sakes. Tuesday night was horrible. Emerson fell asleep after about an hour of whining, Oliver fell asleep after about two hours of fussing and crying. Then two hours later Oliver work up - not to sleep again. He wouldn't sleep in his bed, he wouldn't sleep in our bed, he wouldn't sleep in the chair with me. The boy would not sleep. After about two hours of me trying to get him to go back to sleep I woke Landon up to give it a try. He took turns with me for about an hour and Oliver still would not sleep. So at about three in the morning he called the hotel we were supposed to check in at later that afternoon and asked if we could have a very early check in. They agreed to it, and I have never packed our stuff so fast as I did that night. By the time Landon came back with the luggage cart, our bags were all packed we were ready to go. Thankfully the boys fell right to sleep in the car while we drove the hour to our next and final stop. We checked into the hotel around 5 that morning, in the hotel room we were exhausted but of course the boys were wide awake. Thank goodness for PBS and their sweet little shows. Oliver cuddled and watched/dozed while we lay on the beds to rest for a little while before having breakfast and Emerson was happy to watch the shows too. 

Landon had arranged for a few meetings on Wednesday morning in town, so after eating breakfast and getting ready for the day, the boys and I took Landon to yet another meeting and then we drove around town a little bit and stopped in at two preschools to check them out for Emerson in the Fall. I really just wanted to see the facility and meet the directors of the programs and was happy to be able to do that. I was hoping to visit one more preschool, but we ran out of time that morning, because we had to go meet Landon's parents who graciously agreed to come meet us in Kansas and watch the boys while we looked at houses. And oh, how very thankful were we for them doing that. We could have looked at houses with the boys... but oh my goodness, it would have been one hot mess. SO thankful for his parents coming to entertain the boys while we looked around. 

And I think I'll stop there for today. I have more to share about our trip and about house hunting, but that will need a post all of its own.

Happy Thursday to you all!

Monday, January 30, 2017

little gifts [962 - 976]

Hello and Happy Monday, friends! I hope your weekend was filled with all the good and nice things. Mine was pretty good. Anyhow, I thought I'd start this week with some little gifts . . .

962. snowflakes falling silently

963. balloons floating round the house

964. blue skies

965. watching Emerson give a dog a treat

966. tiny hands and arms reached out in excitement

967. blankets and beanbags

968. cleaning out the basement

969. grocery shopping all alone

970. visits from family

971. Emerson picking out a toy and using his birthday money to get it

972. a tiny tiny climbing into my lap to read

973. building tower after tower

974. baskets of laundry waiting to be folded - and put away

975. finding amazing surprise deals at the store

976. a new day

I'm so thankful for all of these little things, how about you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

these are the days

The other night I was fixing dinner [or lunch or maybe I was cleaning up from one of those meals?] and as I looked out into the living room to check on the boys I was overwhelmed with what an absolutely sweet moment it was. The sky was grey and overcast, the wind was howling outside. But inside? Two lamps were lit in the living room, two little boys were playing and reading books, and there was probably a show on in the background. We were warm and cozy and safe. Nobody needed me, they were content in their own little worlds and I was able to get some food ready or cleaned up, which ever it was.

Two minutes later the littlest came toddling into the kitchen, wanting me to hold him, to read with him, and play kitchen with him. A minute later the oldest hollered that he needed something and well, after that our house wasn't as quiet and peaceful. And even though the minutes that followed that peaceful moment were not as calm and were a little more hectic, they were still moments I had with my boys.

Some days the time just seems to tick tock on forever and a day. Some days seem to never end. Some minutes seem to be the longest minutes ever. But they're not. They are fleeting. In the morning when I wake the next day, the boys are one day older - as am I - they are doing some new trick or telling some new joke. They are one day closer to being completely independent of me.

Sure there are times that I cannot wait for those days of independence to come, like when we hang out in the bathroom for 40 minutes waiting for someone to be done on the big potty . . .  or when there are whines of, "but I can't do it!" over and over about something has been done independently countless times before. But I know that all too soon, those same days of wanting to play with me will be gone and I'll be wishing the long trips in the bathroom back again.

Time, you are a cruel one.

So I try to take the bad with the good and I try to make the bad into the good. Because if one thing is true, it's that these are the days that are best gifts of my life.


Monday, January 16, 2017

little gifts [941 - 961]

Hello! Happy Monday to you! I hope your weekend was warm and cozy and full of everything nice. We stayed pretty close to home this weekend as there was a "huge" winter storm [insert eye roll]. While the weather was pretty bad, it was nothing like the last winter storm we had which wasn't even talked about in anticipation. oy vey. Anyhow. On to other things, like the little gifts in my life from this past week . . .

941. grocery shopping with two little "helpers"

942. the softest t-shirt

943. little hands raised in question of where something is

944. a grin of triumph on the face of the littlest

945. quiet mornings

946. finding pretty paint colors

947. the pride of the little one when he draws his circle pictures

948. a fresh new planner

949. discovering the prettiest of washi tape while grocery shopping

950. an extra blanket on the bed

951. littles actually eating what they're given at meal time [on the rare occurrence of that happening]

952. part planning for a soon to be four year old

953. friendships made through blogging

954. how the littlest builds and builds all of the things

955. how the older one knocks down every.blessed.tower built

956. two sweet and fiercely different little boys making my heart burst on the daily

957. Christmas jammies

958. starting to plan for the next few months

959. hot water scalding my hands to wash dirty dishes clean

960. baby monitors

961. an apologetic pharmacy after a sticky mishap with my prescription  

And those are just some of the little gifts in my life right now. What are some of yours?

Friday, January 13, 2017

a sick week

This week has been spent at home. In fact, I've only been out of the house twice this week - once to take Emerson to the ER and the other time to go grocery shopping with the boys. If we weren't supposed to be getting a big ol winter storm this weekend, I wouldn't have even gone to the grocery store. Obviously, both were the best outings of my life. I kid, I kid. [warning: this is a post with mentions to vomit and such . . . don't say I didn't warn you . . . ] 

On Sunday night around 1:30 or so Emerson cried out that his tummy hurt. When I went in to check on him he just kept saying it over and over. I took him potty and had Landon fetch a bowl, just in case. I settled Emerson back into his bed and kissed him good-night. A few minutes later he cried for me again, when I went in his room to check on him again, and somewhere in there, he threw up. So so much. It was awful. And then a little bit more a few minutes later. Thankfully Landon was home and was willing to help, vomit and I don't get along at all, so I eagerly took him up on his offer to clean up and sleep with Emerson the rest of the night. 

Monday morning came and Emerson laid in bed all day long. He didn't move at all unless I carried him to a new spot, he hardly even talked. Which for him is so so unusual, the boy felt bad. He camped out on our bed until after lunch time, watching shows and sleeping off and on. I moved him to his bedroom for nap time and thankfully he took a good long nap. When it was time to fix dinner I carried him to the couch downstairs so I could keep an eye on him while I fed Oliver and fixed dinner. 

He cried a few times during the night, but was only sick a little bit one more time. Tuesday he was a little more peppy and he at least talked and asked me questions, but he still laid in bed or on the couch all day long. Oliver joined in the Paw Patrol watching and we all got some quality cuddle time that morning.

Even though Emerson wasn't eating anything, he was drinking a little bit of water and some blue gatorade. A few hours after the boys had been in bed, Emerson cried for me and told me that his tummy hurt. He was wide awake because he felt so bad. I didn't know what to do for him and hated that I couldn't make him feel better. As I was in his room with him rubbing his back and praying over him, he got sick again. Really really sick, except, there was nothing for him to give up because he had hardly had any liquids and had eaten nothing for over two days. He had one of the longest dry heaving episodes and it was horrible. Landon came in after a while and cleaned what little cleaning the bowl needed for me. I decided to call the nurse to see what we should do for him. While I was giving her the run down and answering all of her questions, Emerson had another horrible dry heaving episode. The poor sweet boy.

It was at that point the nurse advised me to take him to the ER, she said she didn't like how he wasn't sleeping because of the pain and how he was only throwing up. I grabbed our coats and took him to the ER [why do they have to be the sickest at night with the doctor and urgent care is closed?!?]. We got there around 11:30 and waited for two hours before we were taken back to a room. We waited longer for the doctor to come in and check on him. It was a long night. And Emerson never fell asleep once. Around 2:30 he was finally given some medication and a little while later the doctor brought him a popsicle, I was so grateful when he ate all of his double popsicle and even more so that he was able to keep it down. Soon after he finished his midnight treat, he fell asleep. Deep, deep sleep. The doctor came to check on him and our talking didn't even wake him. We were finally given the okay to go home, I got us ready and headed home. By the time we got home it was 3:45, I got Emerson tucked into his bed and then noticed that it was 4 o'clock when I finally laid down for the night.  

Thankfully Landon had moved some of his meetings around the night before when I took Emerson to the ER and when Oliver woke up a few hours later he took him and got him breakfast so I could get a little more sleep. I could have slept all day, but I heard them in the kitchen and knew Landon had to work, so I got myself ready and took over my parenting duties once again. I'm not a napper, but when the boys were both napping that afternoon, I just let myself fall asleep while on the couch, and oh how refreshed I felt afterwards. It was the perfect nap. Lamp light, a show on in the background, cold wind blowing strong outside. Per-fect.

We've stayed home and watched more shows than is probably healthy, but hey, you do what you have to, right? We've read books, eaten popsicles, and eventually played a little bit. I knew Emerson was on the mend when he started crying over a toy that Oliver had - even though he wasn't playing with it at the time and was playing with toys of his own. Now I'm just praying that the worst is behind us and that Oliver doesn't catch whatever Emerson had!  

So that's what I've been up to this week. Hopefully we'll have a less eventual one next week and can properly celebrate our soon to be four year old!! Oh my goodness, how is he almost four?! 

Happy weekend to you! I hope you stay warm and cozy. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

little gifts [926 - 940]

Here we are, another week, another Monday. I hope all of you had happy weekends and stayed warm and cozy if it's cold where you are. Our weekend was pretty low key and quiet filled with just a few errands and church. We had a rude awakening in the middle of the night when Emerson got sick. Thankfully Landon was able and willing to help, I don't do well with sickness [ahem... vomit] so the fact that he helped was beautiful. I'm scared for the day ahead without him though and praying the sickness is over and gone. 

Even though we have sick germs around these parts, I thought I'd still try to start the week on a good note. So here we go, a few little gifts from this past week . . . 

926. playing farmer and animals with Emerson in the slow late afternoon hours

927. Emerson's face shiny and red, dimples deep, mouth wide open in squeals of giggles

928. penguin pajamas

929. a husband willing to sleep on the floor of the sick boy's room

930. sneaking a glimpse of little boy cuddled up with his daddy, both asleep on the bedroom floor

931. cinnamon muffins and fruit for dinner

932. freshly painted nails

933. a dresser, cleared off and dusted

934. flickering flame of a candle glowing softly in the dark

935. fuzzy hats with ears

936. a little person waddling from here to there doing this and that, staying so busy doing all of the important things

937. calling customer service and speaking with a native English speaker

938. hand cream soothing raw cracked hands

939. crazy messy feathered hair on two little boys

940. a tiny hinny in the air, head on the floor, the world upside down, complete with toothy grin and giggles

These are a few of the gifts from this past week, what are some of yours?

Friday, January 6, 2017

friday favorites

Well hello there and Happy Friday! This week has been full and kept me busy - even if I've only left the house once! Yesterday I thought it was Wednesday until like 5 o'clock, so that was a fun surprise/realization :p  Although, let's face it, my weekends look exactly like my weekdays. Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to share five favorites today; it's been a long time since I've shared and linked up and it just seemed like the perfect way to end this week. Let's get started then shall we?

one. stickers
Stickers are my favorite. I love them in any and all capacities. If I could get away with having a sticker book, I would. Instead, I try to act my age and just use them in other capacities - like on cards and in my planner. One day before Christmas I was at Michael's and I stumbled across all of the cutest stickers and sticker books - for grown ups! I was beside myself and wished Santa would bring me a few. As it turned out, he brought me a Michael's gift card and it was pretty great. Usually I let my gift cards hang out in my bag for 3-6 months before I actually use them, I even have some gift cards that I got one or two Christmases ago [they have to be used on just the right thing, you know?]. Anyhow, I found a coupon for Michael's and the day after we got home from our holiday festivities the boys and I went to Michael's and I spent every penny of that gift card. I got this sticker book and it's my favorite. I mean, it's cute and colorful and basically perfect. And it's on sale right now too, so go get you one!

find it here

two. planners
Who knew there were so many cute planner options at Michael's?! The Happy Planner is so fun, I only just discovered it last month but it's so great that I have to make note of it for next year when I'm in need of a new planner. Also, did you know that DaySpring makes planners? I had no idea. This one is so cute, sadly they're out os stock right now, but maybe they'll get more? Or maybe I'll just have to remember to keep my eyes open for it come December :)

three. decluttering
This week I've been doing a lot of declining and organizing of our house. I started with my closet and have worked my way through that, the boy's closet, the excessive amount of toys that were upstairs, and the kitchen. Now when I open my closet door I don't want to pull my hair out, it looks so much better [though of course I don't have a before picture...]. Everything is nice and organized now and it makes my heart so happy. I pulled a lot of clothes out and put some in a donate pile and some in a box for later, like after we move to Kansas later. I left out only my favorites and what I wear on a daily/weekly basis. And you know what? I love it. Like, I'm seriously considering just getting rid of all the clothes I pulled out of my closet and just not taking them with us. Except, I probably won't do that because well, I have a problem parting with clothes and things [why?!] but maybe by the time we unpack after our move I'll just look at the clothes and go, "eh... I've lived without it for four months, I'm good..." and go donate it. We'll see, but right now, I love how I've purged. It makes me feel so.much.lighter. I've done a little more rearranging and it's just blissful. Truly, it's the little things... 

four. on the toys
So I mentioned I worked on the boy's toys and closet? Oh my goodness. They have soooo many toys!! And they don't even play with them all! They just sit upstairs and drive me crazy. The thing about it is, we've hardly gotten any of it for them; they're basically all gifts from friends and relatives. Which is great, but also not great when you're trying to not have a lot of stuff. The boys have received so many stuffed animals! Nice ones too, like super good quality nice stuffed animals. Do they play with them? No. Can I bring myself to get rid of them? No. But they were driving me nuts so I gathered all of the toys together that the boys don't play with and took them down to the playroom for me to sort through later. Now the upstarts is nice and clean and Emerson's room is clean and it only takes a minute or two to clean up the toys. I love how much cleaner it feels and I'm pretty sure the boys do too, they only have the toys they actually play with and it's pretty great. I'm tempted to give away all of the unplayed with toys before we move, but I know that probably won't happen and they'll just be boxed up and make their way to our new house and hang out in the playroom there [because that's a requirement]. ...Although, if I were to truly simplify and actually get rid of those toys they never play with, we wouldn't need a designated play space. So much to think about... ;) 

five. house hunting 
Here's a little confession: ever since Landon heard about his interview at Kansas, I've been looking at houses in the area. I knew he would get the job, plus it's fun to look and think and dream a little, right? Well, as of this week we are officially house hunting and it's the best! We are working with a realtor down there and I'm getting everything set up for when we'll go visit and look in person. It is so nice that we can look online and weed out all of the ones we're not crazy about and get excited for potential homes that we love. There are three houses that I love and I have a few other favorites; I have a top pick and it's fun to think that maybe, just maybe that will be our home!?! 

Anyhow, that's all I've got for today. I hope you all have a happy weekend! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

little gifts [911 - 925]

Happy New Year to you! We rang in the new year in style - at home in our pajamas, looking at the back of our eyelids. haha. When I fell asleep on the couch around 9:30 I decided I'd just go to bed. I mean, I was still going to have to get up at the same time in the morning and I was sleepy, so why not just go to bed? I don't mind, in fact, I kind of like it that way. Sleep and I have a love love relationship, and any time I crawl under the covers at bed time is pretty great. Maybe you had more exciting plans and maybe not, but either way, I hope you enjoyed your last days of 2016 and have had a good start to the new year.

The other day while at church I realized that the new year was starting on a Sunday and for some reason that struck me as really neat [ignore the fact that my mind may have been wandering from the sermon...]. What a fresh way to start a new year than on a Sunday, 1/1. Since it's the first Monday of the new year it seems especially fitting to start off with some little gifts, no?

911. rainy day naps

912. colorful pens on clean paper

913. running errands with just the littlest in tow

914. spontaneous shopping trips with the family

915. merchandise scattered across the store floor courtesy of a three year old

916. 4th birthday plans in the making

917. breaking in a new planner

918. having a good dentist

919. missing your good dentist something fierce when you go to a horrible one

920. toothpaste and mouthwash and floss

921. snack cups and sippy cups

922. finding a bag that's just the right size

923. soft tunes floating through the house

924. the very beginnings of the moving process

925. a little nugget climbing on my back and riding me like a horse

Those are some of the gifts in my life this week to start off a new week in a new year. What are some of yours?