Tuesday, July 11, 2017

a coffee date [three]

Happy Tuesday to you! Today I thought it would be fun to pretend we're having a coffee or some tea together. If we were, here's what I'd share with you . . .

What I'm reading
 Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Deams" by Jeny Colgan and "Bringing up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson. Obviously both are very different kinds of reads, but so far both are really good. I've just started the Sweet Shop and it's simple and entertaining, we'll see how the rest of it goes. I've known about this book of Dr. Dobson's since I was in middle school, and even though I have two boys still hadn't read it until recently. Emerson has been challenging me in all of the ways, for what seems forever, so this book seemed like a good one to finally ready. So far, it's really good. If you're not a boy mama, there's one called, "Bringing up Girls" for ya :)

Something I'm contemplating
I shared on Instagram a few weeks ago the troubles with my hair. After it driving me nuts I went to a salon here and had a very experienced lady fix it for me. It's way better, but she did leave length to it, so there's still a hole in my hair. I know, it sounds crazy, and impossible, but it's the truth. At first, I was happy she left it long, but now I'm really thinking about just chopping it so it's the same length, and so that there's not a hole in my hair. It's ridiculous. I can't even leave my hair down it looks that bad. It's way way better than what it was before, but still, it's bad. I've had short hair before and I'm thinking I might need to bite the bullet and get the rest cut. It really just drives me bonkers that I can't leave it down if I want to. Though, now I feel like I have to wait at least a month or two since I just got it trimmed a bit - I mean, I get my hair done twice a year, so to go three times in three months is a lot for me. But - I mean. I just don't know. I had gone in thinking I'd chop it to the short length, but the hair dresser talked me into keeping it longer and just doctoring it up. I'm just not crazy about it. So there's that. 

this is still basically what it looks like ... 

to one of my shorter days - but it's all the same length! 
also, look at that cute little baby face Oliver! 

Good. Gracious. 

Green tea with coconut. And oh my goodness. I'm not usually a huge fan of green tea, but this one is so good! I saw it at Target the other week and on a whim thought I'd give it a try. It's so good, I'm glad I got it.  
What I'm wearing
All of the skirts all of the time. I have decided this summer that I absolutely hate wearing shorts - so I won't wear them any more. I mean, why wear something you hate and feel ugh in? I want to feel good in what I'm wearing, cause don't you just feel so much better when you like what you're wearing? I think so. So it's bye-bye to shorts for me [unless I'm painting or something random like that]. Anyways, it's been glorious and freeing since I've made this decision. It's also made me realize that no shops really sell the type of skirt I like the best, so I'm going to start making my skirts. I've found the perfect pattern and know where the fabric I need is - I just have to go buy it. I can't wait to get it so I can get started! 

Something I'm wanting
A nice little backpack to replace the bag[s] I've been using. With two boys, I need both hands, and since Oliver is out of the baby phase I don't feel like lugging the big ol' diaper bag around any more. But I still really like the whole backpack concept. I feel like this one would hold all of the snacks, a diaper clutch, and my little things quite well and is still cute. I just saw that it's a Prime Deal today - my birthday is next week - would it be bad if I bought this for myself today?! 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

a wrong address

About a week ago Landon came inside whit the mail and a confused look on his face. Two of the items were not for us, nor a next door neighbor, but for some one who lived on the street over. When we finished dinner we went on a little walk to take the mail to its proper home. As I walked up to the door I noticed little trucks and cars scattered around the front porch and thought they must have a little boy. The man who opened the door was surprised to see us there, but stepped outside and was followed by two little boys, who happened to be the ages of Emerson and Oliver. His wife came out shortly after and we had a chance to introduce ourselves and chat for a little bit. Before we left they invited us to a little neighborhood get together for July 4th that they had also invited a few others in the neighborhood with young children to.

So yesterday afternoon I fixed a little dessert and after I fed the boys dinner at home we went over to meet some neighbors. As the evening kept getting later, more and more people arrived. We have seen lots of young families as we go on walks and such, but there were so many more than we had realized. I'm not even sure how many kids there were, but it was neat to see them all together running around in the backyard and later on, chasing after the parachute fireworks. We were able to meet a lot of our neighbors, though sadly I don't remember even half of their names. Oh well, I'm sure they'll be forgiving if I ask their name again when we see them out and about.

It took a while for Emerson to warm up to all of the kids playing, but after a while he was running around with them, chasing after the parachutes, and digging in the dirt pile with the rest of them. There was just something about last night that made it the perfect summer night. The weather was warm, the sun was setting, food was abundant, and conversation was flowing. We met new people and Emerson played his little heart out. Before he had really warmed up to the other kids, Oliver would go to where Emerson was, take his hand, and they would walk hand in hand to the lot over that is under construction. Oliver loves rocks and just wanted to play in the messy lot. My heart melted a thousand time over watching them walk off together while holding hands. Too sweet! Seeing Emerson run around, a smile spread across his face, eyes twinkling with wonder and delight, it was good. Really really good.

I'm thankful for our new home and the neighborhood we live in. Hopefully we will only see more and more of our neighbors and build stronger relationships with them. I'm thankful we got someone else's mail by mistake because it lead to a wonderful summer night.

Oliver wasn't crazy about the fireworks, and man were they everywhere! The boys stayed up way past their bed time, but it was fun. For a night. I hope Emerson remembers this when he grows up, because it's the stuff summer nights and the 4th of July are made of.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

how to drive me bonkers

So, everyone has their quarks and things that they just can't stand, right? Right. Apparently lately I've been on edge a little more than usual, that or I'm just noticing these things more. But I thought I'd put them in a list because, why not? Now you'll all know a little more about me and things that drive me bonkers! 

Funny Pictures Of The Day – 37 Pics
this. found here

- when people sit on pillows. Pillows are not for sitting [or stepping on little boys of mine] on, they are for laying your head on! Don't sit on the pillows! 

- wearing shoes inside the house. Do you know all of the places your shoes have stepped?! And then to bring those inside the house with you? Please just take off your shoes. But also, on that same note, if you were to ever come to my house and you didn't take your shoes off, I'm not bold or brave enough to ask you to take them off. I would just see the germs crawling all over the floor and try not to focus on that. haha. 

- the sound of people chewing on a banana [or maybe this just applies to my husband, because I don't really hear other people eat bananas]. But oh my goodness I cannot stand it. I started playing music during meal times to help drown out the sound of chewing on bananas [at breakfast] and chewing in general, but if there's no background noise. ugh. shivers. 

- having my routine interrupted. I thrive on routine, which can be bad when there's a change to it. One of my favorite times of the day is the early morning when I wake up before everyone one else and have my quiet time and coffee. But lately someone else has been getting up earlier than normal so he can head to the office and get more work done. It is throwing for such a loop, it's not even funny. And it's not like I can say, "stay in bed!" because this is his house too... but it has made me realize how much I value that morning time. So much so that I think the only solution might be for me to get up even earlier just so I can have it. I know. It's bad. 

- cashiers who only put one or two things in a bag. I mean, really?! stuff some more stuff in there. 

- sleeping without washing my feet at night. I always shower at night, but on the rare occasion I don't, I have to at least wash my feet. It's weird. I know. 

- when the lights are left on in a room and no one is in there. What's so hard about turning lights off when you walk out of a room?

And we'll just stop there and call it good. Now you know a little more about me and some of the things that make me tick. It's cool if you think I'm crazy and don't want to be friends any more ;) 

Have a happy Thursday! 


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

strawberry fields

One day, not too long after moving here I thought it would be fun to take the boys strawberry picking.  I've picked blueberries before and loved it, and I figured the boys would enjoy picking some strawberries because they'd get to be outside and they'd be getting they could enjoy eating later. 

Boy was I wrong. haha. After about two minutes of strawberry picking Emerson kept asking if we were done, saying we had a lot of strawberries and that he was ready to go play and see the goats that were on the farm.

Oliver just wanted me to hold him and cried if I wasn't. Have you ever tried picking strawberries while holding a fussy toddler? Yeah. Super fun.

But we were at the farm, and I was determined to get enough strawberries to make it worth our while.  So we went down one row of berries and up the next and then we were done. Even that was too much for the boys. But we got our berries and then we went and saw the goats and the ducks.

It was a neat little farm, it's just a family who farms at the edge of town here and they open their fields to anyone who wants to pick berries. We went at the very end of the season, so our selection wasn't as great as I'm sure if we had gone earlier. But it was still "fun" and it was, if nothing else, something to do that would take time and hopefully wear the boys out for naps. Which it did, thank goodness.

Not that I think they would enjoy it any more, but I'm going to be on the look out for a blueberry patch because I think that's even more fun! And hopefully the boys would be more open to blueberry picking. Or at least not whine and cry so much while doing so.

Despite it being hot and full of fussy/complaining little people, it was nice to be outside and to enjoy the fresh air.

When I got home and had washed and cut the berries, Emerson was very proud to tell Landon that he had picked the berries. Um, yeah. Maybe 21 of them. haha.

The one thing Emerson did try to pick really hard while we were there, was a frog we saw hopping through the berry bushes. He really wanted to catch it and bring it home with him. Oh geeze. Thankfully the frog was much to fast for him and he couldn't even touch it.

Maybe when we go again next summer the boys won't cry about berry picking as much? We shall see. Because one thing is for sure, we will be going again :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oliver is two

Oliver celebrated his second birthday nearly two weeks ago now, so I thought I'd get his little birthday letter up. Maybe this letter will inspire me to get Emerson's fourth birthday letter up [since you know, he turned for in January!]. But today is all about Oliver . . .


Today you are two years old! It's a little crazy to think it has been a whole two years since you came into this world, where has the time gone? But at the same time, it seems like you have been with us for so much longer. It's amazing how time works like that.

You are a blessing and a joy and I love spending my days with you. It seems as though just recently your little personality has just popped. You've always shown us who you are, but in the last month or so you're a whole new little boy. Maybe it's due to the fact that you are growing into more of a little boy than you are a baby, or being in a new house in a new place is good for you, or you're feeling better all of the time these days. Whatever it may be, I love it!

Your favorite things include: snacks [all the live long day], watching shows - especially Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger, and Curious George, being outside, coloring [crayons/paint/chalk... doesn't matter], reading books, playing with toys - especially farm animals and Paw Patrol pups, your blankie and paci [you drag that thing around all day every day and hate parting with it, your paci is mostly just in bed now. mostly . . . we're working on it . . . ], cuddling with mama, looking out the window, spotting turkeys or bunnies in our yard, and stickers.

Right now you are a boy of very few words. Your limited vocabulary includes: Ma [how you say mama], Da Da, ba ba [bubble], pa-pa [for Paw Patrol], Daa Daa [for Daniel Tiger], eesh [please], Rubble [again, you're pretty smitten with that Paw Patrol ;], baba [balloon], don [done], and those are the main ones in rotation right now. When you see a picture of Peppa Pig you snort to let me know that's what you want - the book, picture, box, or show if we happen to have the DVD at home. You said "breakfast" the other morning when I told you breakfast was ready, when opening one of your birthday presents you said, "a present!" You have said a few other words and phrases here and there, but these ones are pretty much all your words right now. No one else would understand you, but you say: "here I am!" and "there he is!" - we play peek a boo a lot. I pray for your words to start flowing from your lips and I know that they will, soon, and then I will be trying to remember what the days were like before you talked non-stop ;) For having such a limited vocabulary though, you sure know how to get your point across and let us know what you want [most of the time - especially when you aren't bucked in your seat at the table]. You will either walk to where/what you want and get it yourself, point to it if you can't reach it so I can get it for you, or you take me by my hand and walk me to where/what you want and then put my hand right on it or point and "uh uh" if you can't reach it. When we are playing you do the same, if I'm playing with something the wrong way or playing with the wrong toy, you'll take my hand and put it on the thing you want me to have. You have a few signs up your sleeve: more, please, sorry, bird, drink, food, airplane, all done, and help. Your face is so expressive and you use your hands to gesture a lot too, like raising them in the air for "where" or clasping them together to pray, or covering your eyes to play peek-a-boo.

You love one on one play or reading books. You pour over and study the pictures. Animals are your favorite to look at, especially farm animals, and you'll choose most any animal book you see. Lift the flap books are one of your favorites, and you love to play "where is _____ ?" when we read together. Doreen Cronin's books are your absolute favorite, I can't even tell you how many times we've read "Dooby Dooby Moo" or her others. When we play you love to put a toy in my hand and move it how you want it to go and die laughing when I make the toys interact with each other. Even though you prefer playing with me, or sometimes Emerson [though right now you two still haven't mastered the playing together nicely most of the time skill], you are really good at independent play. I've caught you stilling in your bedroom playing with your horses or pups or cars or building towers. You take your horses for gallops around your room by crawling around on the floor, a horse in each hand. You love to play, I love to watch you play. Emerson never played like you do and has only to play like that recently, but you play and it's the sweetest.

Outside is one of  your favorite places to be, but when you're ready to come inside, you're ready to come inside. We've even been at the park before and you've walked over to the car because you're done playing and ready to cool down, have a snack, and a drink. You love bubbles and drawing with chalk [or drawing in general ;] and would do that all day if you could. We were gifted with a bubble machine in May and a certain little boy broke it [ahem... ] so you got a replacement as one of your birthday gifts, it broke just shy of you having it for a week [ahem ...]. I'm really tempted to get you another one, a more durable looking one, but they take tons of batteries and if you break it that's $10 gone so for now we're sticking with bubbles wands, which you love just as much. It's all good.

Since your days as a brand new babe, you've been a pretty good sleeper and I just pray that continues! Right now you go down to bed between 7 and 7:30 and I usually don't get you up until 8 in the morning. You usually wake up before then, but play quietly in your bed. I'm not sure when it started, but now there are a few toys and books in your bed and you play and read before you fall asleep and once you wake up. I'm not sure what your sleep will look like once you're not in your crib any more - but hopefully that day won't come too soon.

You are one picky eater and it drives me bonkers! I never know what to feed you. I give you what I fix for dinner or lunch, but a lot of the time you end up eating plain bread and applesauce. Though you like Mexican rice and jambalaya so, I don't even know. I'm trying to figure out at what point you get what you get and that's it. The few times I've done that you've just marched into the pantry and helped yourself to the box of Cheerios, so yeah. Help! Also, please just eat what I fix, it would make my life so much easier. You love to snack and it seems as though you snack all the live long day [maybe that's why you don't eat well at meals?]. But if I don't give you snacks you get mad and then you still don't eat your meal. I just don't know. [This is where I welcome all of the feeding toddlers tips and tricks and advice. For the real.] For breakfast every morning you eat a big bowl of steel cut oats. They must be steel cut with brown sugar. Any other way and it's not going to fly. haha.

because at GeGe's house you can eat your oatmeal however you want . . .

For the most part you like your big brother, but your relationship is special. Sometimes you love him and he cracks you up and you play sweetly together, but more often than not you're hollering because he's making you angry or taking your toy or something. I just pray that you'll be the best of friends when you get a little bigger.

Things you don't like include going grocery shopping or to any store for that matter. Our shopping trips are always very loud and wild adventures and we get the attention of everyone in the store thanks to you and your brother. Bath time is iffy for you - you mostly hate them and scream in protest [have you ever tried to bathe a screaming toddler? It's not fun] for the most part you hate them, but the last week or so you've been happy to take one and have even played in the water. Let's hope that continues. You hate having your diaper changed - there are more important things you have to do, you know. And not getting what you want makes you so angry. Oh man. But in general, you are a very happy and chill little guy.

We're having to wait to take you in for your two year well check because of new job/changing insurance reasons, and I hate that so I don't know your stats or anything like that. But we went to the doctor for other reasons about a month before your birthday and you were about 21 pounds, your height I'm not sure about. I suppose I could measure you myself, but I just haven't. haha. You are healthy and growing though so we are thankful for that. You've had another rough year health wise, in and out of the doctor more than I care for, but you have been in good health since our move and I'm praying it continues. Maybe you were just allergic to Illinois or our house there? Hopefully Kansas is good to you health wise.

Speaking of moving... You moved! We moved about one month before your birthday from Champaign, Illinois to a Little Town in Kansas. We had a crazy few weeks before the move and of course the week of the move was nuts too, but you did really well. Adjusting was a bit hard at first, though I think that was mostly because I was busy unpacking and your GeGe and Poppy tried to keep you entertained - you just missed me and our usually daily happenings. You love having a bedroom of your own now and you love running around our new home. Hopefully it's the last time we move.

Oliver, you are such a blessing and a joy. I love your sweet little personality so much and am just so very thankful for you. I want to remember everything about you at this age and sometimes wish you didn't have to grow up - but you do and I know that will be good too. My prayer for you is that you will love Jesus and seek after him all of your days, that you are a God-fearing man, and that you are filled with generosity, wisdom, and courage. I love you so much.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

coffee date

Let's pretend for a minute or more that we're having coffee together, because who doesn't like a good little coffee date? I think today I'd pick an iced coffee, I hear there's a new coconut drink at Starbucks, so that might be my pick. Anyhow, if we were having coffee today I'd probably tell you . . . 

I think Emerson is trying to kill me. The boy does.not.listen. He doesn't listen. No amounts of time-out, spankings, taking his favorite toy or book away, or reward stick charts work. Nothing. I mean, the kid laughs when I spank him. He laughs. He plays when he's in time-out and says that he doesn't want a sticker. Oh my goodness. We manage though the days, but come nap and night time it's a whole other story. Then it's just me trying not to curse or hurt him. It's not healthy. He thinks it's great fun to get out of his bed and leave his room - over and over and over again. I can't even tell you how many times I've put him back in bed. Sheesh. This morning when I got out of the bathroom, he was in our bedroom! Landon didn't even know it and as soon as I opened the door, Emerson saw me and bolted for his room. Only to emerge a few minutes later. I love him, but he makes me crazy. Four is not better than three. What do I do?!?! 

Finding a balance and routine is hard. I'm trying to keep up with everything that needs to be done, but it seems like now more than ever before there is so much to do. The laundry [more of it - how?!], ironing which I now have to do because Landon has a real job and no time for ironing his own clothes, meals, cleaning, spending quality time with the boys, sorting out bills and insurance that seem never ending, assembling furniture, making returns to various stores, getting the boys to bed at a decent hour, blogging - something I love to do and enjoy - is something I can't do as much because there are all these other things piling up. And Landon is working all the time so everything falls on me. It's hard. 

Our backyard makes me happy. We have a really nice shaded area and Oliver got some fun outdoor toys for his birthday so we don't even have to go to the park for fun play time. The boys love playing outside and I love the wind and the shade so we can without feeling gross after two minutes of being outside. Also, I saw a deer the other night in our yard, so there's that. 

I have anxiety problems. I'm afraid someone will break in when Landon is away traveling. I'm afraid something will happen to the boys if I go away [like if I were to agree to go away for a night or weekend or even a dinner date]. Even if the boys would be with loved and trusted people. I worry something would happen me if I were to leave them. Not that I have opportunity to leave them, but Landon's mentioned it several times and I just can't. I get all worried and anxious. He laughs and tells me it'll all be fine, and I know it will be. But that doesn't change or take away my anxiety. 

Oliver turned two on Saturday. I've been working on a little two year post for him for about a week now. My biggest hold up is the pictures. Apparently the storage on my computer is full [again] and I have to clear some space off so I can upload new pictures. But I have such a hard time deleting copious amounts of pictures from my computer even if they are backed up else where. 

My computer is pretty great, except the fact that it has no storage. I mean, I just deleted tons of pictures and other stuff and haven't added very much to it at all since doing so, and it's already full. It's just frustrating. The computer still works for the most part so I don't really need a new one. It would just be really nice to have one with a lot more storage than my current one has. Is that a good enough reason to justify getting a new laptop? Please say yes :) 

The longer I sit and stare at our bare walls and such, the more I know what I want to go on them - now it's just a matter of finding those things. There's also this bookshelf that I no longer need to use for all of my books and it has become our catch all place and it's driving me bonkers. We're waiting for one final piece of furniture to arrive and when it does I'll be able to move a lot of the catch all stuff to the other piece and it won't look nearly as cluttered and it will actually be organized and have purpose in it's new home. But in the mean time the clutter is making me crazy. 

Have you ever tried eMeals? I've looked at it before and have always loved the idea of it. Someone else planning my meals? And a grocery list and recipes are included? Sign me up! But some of us in this house are picky eaters [not to mention names] and from the sample menus I've seen it doesn't look like it would work for our family. But oh my goodness, I just want to sign up, and cook that meal for dinner and not have to think about it. And if someone doesn't like it, tough beans baby. But of course I can't do that. How do I make my picky eaters not picky anymore?! Help me. 

Thanks for a coffee date and letting me spill my guts to you. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

home decor inspiration

So we have this house, the unpacking is done. The settling in is happening. The living is being done on the daily. We are loving our new home and are already making life happen in a few days we even get to celebrate our first birthday in our new home! I can't wait - but actually I can because I really feel like Oliver's second birthday has snuck up on me and how in the world is he going to be two on Saturday?! Also, nothing is really ready for his birthday and I'm really tempted to go the easy route this year and order him a cake. Which of course I can't bring myself to do because I've never done that before so I feel like he'd be gipped and also he can't have dairy which all store bought cakes have. So there's that. I'll get my grocery shopping game on tomorrow and grab the necessities for his special day and then I'll get working ;)

Anyhow, as I said, we are settling in and enjoying our new home. But there is one thing that is still missing and that is the actual decor part. The walls are bare and there are no sweet little decor items out and about to help bring warmth and personality to our home. I have an idea for what I'm wanting but it's so hard to find it and then of course I think I'm just scared to take the plunge, buy the things and hang them up. Where do you even begin? It doesn't help that I'm used to having bare walls and little decor since our last house was exactly that way, but I have an itch to decorate these walls and make it pretty in here. All advice is welcome :)

In my thinking and looking at what I'm wanting done I've found a few bits of inspiration so I thought I'd share them here.

I couldn't resist the fall decor at Hobby Lobby any longer.:

My gallery wall in our kitchen. I'm @colewifey on IG . Come follow me and see how I continue to decorate our new home:

Rustic Glam Gallery Wall by Ellery Designs:

We crashed a friends house and built her a wide plank wall for under $100 and got it done in a few hours! Here's the tutorial and video to create your own!:

Lots of fun ideas and thoughts are floating round my head right now. Hopefully I'll be able to pull them off and make them look just as I hope! :) What tips or tricks do you have when it comes to decorating your house? 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

five randoms

For today there are just a few randoms I have the itch to share, so here goes . . .

an unrelated picture because every post need a picture, am I right? ;) 
also, I love this little nugget! 

one. Aldi
I hate shopping at Aldi. There. I said it. Sure, I know they're prices are impossible to beat and that you save a bunch of money when you shop there, but I still hate shopping there. Before we moved to Kansas I primarily shopped there and at another discount grocery store in town, and I just hated them both. Landon's parents knew this and teased Landon about letting me shop at a "real" grocery store once we moved and he had a real job again, to which Landon agreed. But even still, he talks about how much cheaper Aldi is [it is] and how we should shop there - and how he will shop there after his crazy schedule ends. Ugh. I don't mind grocery shopping, I just don't want to do it there. Does that make me a bad person? All I want is to go to one store and get everything I need for the week, which I can't do at Aldi. sheesh. He's got a lot on his plate and doesn't have the time to get groceries, and it's something I kind of like - if I can go to an actual grocery store and the boy are behaving ;)

two. dinner time
Landon has been working crazy hours lately and this has resulted in him getting home later, that's all fine and good and I understand that. The part about it that I'm not crazy about - fixing two dinners. One for the boys at dinner time, and one for him when he gets home. If you have an idea for ways that I only have to fix one dinner a day, please share them; I'm all ears. It doesn't help that the little ones are somewhat finicky eaters, as is Landon, so fixing a casserole or throwing some stuff in the crockpot isn't really an easy fix for me. And then, there come the issue, do I eat with the boys or do I wait for Landon to come home and eat dinner with him when it's much later? Oh the decisions . . .

three. June 
It's June, you guys! How on earth is it already June?! In just a few short days Oliver will be celebrating his second birthday! How is this possible?! It's really snuck up on me and now I'm over here trying to figure out what kind of theme to have for his birthday and figure out what to do for his cake. He has a few loves in his life, and I'm just trying to figure out which way to go with it. I'm also trying to figure out what to get him for his birthday, I have some ideas, but am trying to narrow it down. He loves to be outside, so I'm thinking outdoor toys would be a good choice. But what ones? We have a sandbox and that's about it. I'd love to get a playset for him [and Emerson] but they are apparently too labor intensive and the hubs just doesn't have time for that right now. sigh. So other fun ideas?

four. routine
Even though the boys and I spent our days at home before the move, our days seem different here and I'm still trying to figure out how to fill them while adding routine to them. I know it will come with time and I'm not too worried about it, it's just something floating around my mind these days, much like the other things I've been sharing.

five. decorating 
Our boxes are unpacked and we are settling into our new home. The only thing left to do is to really decorate our home. Something I feel like I have never really been able to do before. I'm excited to find pieces for our home and hang things on the walls to add warmth. I'm sure it will take time, but man I'm just so ready to just go buy the things I like and hang them up! Then I feel like really settled. In the mean time, I'm enjoying thinking about what will go where and how I'll make it look. The few pieces I do have, I've realized my taste has changed and few things I do have don't really fit any more, I'm just not sure what to do with them any more. Just more fun to be had figuring it all out I suppose. :)

Anyhow. That's all I've got for today. Have a happy weekend, friends!

Monday, May 29, 2017

welcome home

Goodness gracious, it's been too long, am I right? But oh, the things that have been happening in our lives have kept us so very busy for longer than I realized. Thankfully things are calming down a bit more these days and life is resuming a somewhat more "normal" rhythm to it.

Today marks two weeks of living in Kansas. Two weeks! It's hard to believe that it's that long, but at the same time it kind of feels like a lot longer than that too. Makes sense? The first week went by in a flash and a blur and didn't feel very real since we were still very much unsettled, were busy unpacking, Landon's parents were here, and Landon was gone for most of that week. So in a big way, it only feels like life is just now really getting started here. The house is coming together a little more with every passing day and we just have one box left to unpack and that's in a room that is used the very least. I'm hoping by the end of this week I'll have that room completely finished, but I have to put some hard work in and get painting a piece of furniture before I can call that room finished.

The last month in particular has crazy busy and very unusual for us. I hate it for the boys, Oliver, in particular, because I really think it's thrown them off. The first week of May I was busy trying to get all of the last minute things packed before we went to visit family in Kentucky for about a week. During our stay in Kentucky, Landon went off to a conference in Arizona and the boys and I got lots of quality time with family. We picked Landon up from a nearby airport and then the four of us drove back to Illinois to finish getting the house packed.

You would think that my working packing things up for the past two months would leave us very little to do during our last two days in Champaign, but unfortunately I still had more to get done than I wanted to. We spent the next two days visiting with Emerson's best friend, going on last walks around the neighborhood, playing at our favorite park, cleaning out the fridge, and of course, packing all of the things. My hope had been that when the movers arrived on Sunday morning everything would be packed in a box. But that wasn't the case. We still had a few things more than I would have liked, but in the end I supposed it was just two big boxes that everything got thrown into. It wasn't that bad, just not what I had planned. The movers couldn't complain, they had plenty to work with while I finished the two boxes.

Sunday morning was busy, the movers arrived right on time, and oh, how thankful I was to have movers! There were four guys and they loaded our boxes in recored time - a mere two and a half hours! I was amazed. Unfortunately for them, only one was able to come unload in Kansas and had to pick up a temp for extra help. Two guys unloading takes a lot longer. But they still got it done before the end of the day then we waved him off with loads of thanks and a bag of snacks. We used Movers 4 Less and they were amazing. I would highly recommend them to anyone. They came and loaded the truck like experts, everything fit into their truck just perfectly. Then they took of for Kansas to unload in our new house the following day. There was no wait, there was no surprise price increase, they were incredible.

Once the movers were on their way, we stayed at the house just a little bit longer to get things cleaned up before heading out. The boys started to get antsy and it was nearing nap time, so I took them to Subway for lunch and we enjoyed a meal out while Landon stayed to finish cleaning the house. It was Mother's Day that Sunday, and I'll forever remember the busyness of it, and taking the boys to eat Subway, just the three of us. We rarely go out to eat and when we do it's all four of us, so it was a special treat. I didn't get any pictures, but there's one marked in my mind pretty well that I will always love. It didn't take too long to finish lunch, so we ordered Landon some food and took it back to the house for him, took one last look around, and then the boys and I headed for Kansas.

Landon left a while later and eventually caught up to us and we went the rest of the way together, stopping for a picnic dinner when it was apparent food was needed. The boys did amazing on the drive, they were mostly entertained by shows, movies, and snacks. I don't care - whatever makes them happy in the car, I will do. When we finally made it to the hotel in Kansas that night it was around 11:30, I had packed extremely lightly for us all so getting in the room was not a problem. I had packed the pack n play for Oliver, though in the end [as I had kind of thought might happen] we didn't even end up using it. Emerson had a "sleep oder" with Landon in one bed and Oliver ended up sleeping with me in the other bed. Though the sleep part of that night didn't happen until around 2:30 that morning. So that was fun.

A few hours later, Landon left for the walk through of the house while the boys and I stayed behind at the hotel to eat breakfast and clean up the room. We all went to closing at 8:30 with lots of snacks and suckers in tow. I'm not above bribery ;) Closing hardly took an hour and we were owners of our new house! On the way home - which is still kind of crazy to say - we stopped at the store to pick up some cleaning supplies.

I did a little quick cleaning and then the furniture guys arrived with our new furniture. As they pulled out of the house, the movers arrived, and it was a busy afternoon getting boxes and belongings where they needed to go. Oliver napped the entire time the movers were here, and Emerson yelled to get out of his room for about two hours before falling asleep on the floor right by his door. They were tired.

It was a whirl wind, but we made it and were so happy to be home.

I'll share more on what we've done since then over the next few weeks!

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?