Friday, October 31, 2014

The COLONY "Buy-Back" Program

There's something about this time of year that turns my sweet, loving children into these scary creatures.

It's that darn candy!

I'm not exaggerating.

They turn into drooling, selfish, whiny, argumentative, greedy, tantrum-throwing little monsters who won't give in until every last candy wrapper has been licked clean.

(not to mention the effects it does to a certain one's emotional state!)

So, naturally I have to lay down some rules for the mayhem that ensues this very evening of every year.

Usually we let them eat along the way, but as soon as we get home we put it all in a "family bucket" and throw it away a week later, no matter how much is left.  But this still means that our family has the looming presence of the "family bucket" which means we must ask mommy (then daddy) every 10 minutes for another piece of candy until mommy gets so fed up that she ends up throwing it away.

But this year...
this year is going to different.

I was talking to my chiropractor about this "problem" and he told me that he took an idea from his neighboring dentist down the hallway and buys back his kid's candy.


So last night I approached my kids with the idea and told them that they could eat candy to their hearts content ALL NIGHT LONG while we are out.  Then when we get home they get to pick out their 3 favorite pieces to eat over the weekend.

And for each of their buckets of candy I would give them $3 (Minus Jude.  I get a by for him for at least another year, ha!)

I think I can make it through the night now, knowing that for just $12 I will have my sweet children back by morning:)

Happy trick-or-treating ya'll!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not Me Monday (on Thursday)

I would never believe all the hype about giving your ADHD child caffeine to help refocus him in the afternoon.

Nope, caffeine is bad.
Bad, bad, bad.

But if I were to be as desperate as to try this little "trick" I would probably stick to a more "natural" approach than the soda I've heard other mothers trying on there kids.

(That just seems counter-productive to me.  Believe me, I've SEEN our child on a soda kick.  NOT pretty...)

So, if I were to delve into this world of purposefully offering my attentive-lacking child some caffeine to get him through his school day I would naturally go the dark chocolate route.

Oh yes, because there are health benefits to dark chocolate.
It's basically as good as vegetables.
Yeah, I'd go with that.

But real dark chocolate isn't something that is normally on the grocery list, which is therefore, not typically in the budget, but the good Lord KNEW we needed dark chocolate and put it on sale the week I wanted to try this little "trick".

It's pretty much a sign from above.
My family needed to buy this dark chocolate.
It was just meant to be.

And I like the real dark chocolate with sea salt.
My mouth just waters thinking about it.

But this was a selfless purchase.
For physical benefits.
For attention.
For my boy.
His education.
It was all for my child.
I repeated it several times a day.
It is NOT for me.
It is NOT for MY indulgence.


So, the emotional day I was having yesterday would NEVER warrant my confiscation of said, selfless-purchased dark chocolate with sea salt.

Oh no.

I never steal candy from an emotion-filled 8-year-old boy.

No way.

Because then I would have to explain to the rest of the Colony why mommy got to have some of the aforementioned chocolate after the stern lectures about how it was only for the aforementioned child and his excelling education.

And I NEVER try to hide my sins.
Oh, such a deep, dark, sea salt covered sin.

But I did get two bars.
(they were BOGO)

And if I went ahead and ate the last square of the first bar and the first 2 of the second bar nobody would ever know.

But I would NEVER eat all that chocolate.
Just because I lacked the self-control to stop.

Oh no.
Not me.

This mama is the epitome of self-control.
I am in control 100% of the time.

Which means I NEVER would have emotional days that got so out of control, making me rationalize the consumption of that much chocolate.

Good grief.
What kind of woman would I even be?!

But by the time I mentally went through the list of why I couldn't possibly get away with this scheme I noticed that all the chocolate was gone.

Hmmm...where did it go?

I guess I'll just have to go get some more all natural, real, dark chocolate (that is basically the equivalent of at LEAST 4 cups of vegetables) for my son because someone stole it all.

But it wasn't me.

Not me.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fighting For My Marriage: Book Reviews Of Current Reads

I have been inundated with marriage books lately.  I'm not sure why they have been falling in my lap over the past couple of months but I'm not complaining.

I just finished up a book called, For Women Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn.  Wow, what an eye-opening, excellent book.  Most of the contents of the book I had known already, or at least had heard of, but the thing I loved about it is the fact that it gives scientific facts and data that back it all up, as well as multiple studies and interviews by men of all ages and walks of life.

I'm telling you, if this book doesn't rock your world and give you more compassion, love and respect for your husband, and the other men around you, I don't know what will!  I would encourage EVERY woman to read this book.  It's not only for the married woman, but for the singles out there as well.  It will give you some much needed insight into the lives and mentality of a man that will help you support and encourage them, as you walk beside them on their journey for purity.

The other book that I am now in the middle of is called, Kiss Me Like You Mean It, by Dr. David Clarke.  I'm only a few chapters in, but just the intro had me hooked, and laughing my butt off at the reality of the woman/man dynamics he portrays.

The thing is, I don't view my marriage as falling apart or struggling.  I think Josh and I do a fairly decent job at communicating our wants, needs and struggles (which I couldn't have said about 12 years ago, ha!).  He is, by far, my best friend.

But on the other hand, I know that no marriage is perfect (that's exactly what Satan wants you to believe, so he can swoop in at any given weak moment and destroy it all!) .  Josh and I are far from perfect people.  As a matter of fact, we are sinful, selfish people, but we have committed to do life together, even through the stresses of daily foolish choices, mistakes, financial crisis, communication breaches and demanding children.

As I wade through these books I have noticed something stirring in my heart.


Not because I'm afraid it is unraveling or on the brink of destruction, but because I know that we are NOT exempt.  We will never be exempt from the daily temptations that Satan throws at marriages, and we need to live with guarded hearts, always.

So yes, I am fighting for my marriage.  Today, tomorrow and every day.  Because it is a battle worth fighting the rest of my life for.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12

Saturday, October 25, 2014

IKEA Crib Hack: creating more space

All 3 of our boys share their room.
Zeke and Cai share a bunkbed and Jude has(d) his crib.

It was beginning to feel a bit crowded in their room and finding appropriate space for 3 different sizes of clothing was a constant project.

This got my wheels turning (of course it did, ha!).
The dresser that held Jude's clothes originally had 4 drawers.
Over the years 2 drawers had broken off leaving only two, to house all his diapers, socks, clothes, etc. (more on what that dresser has become next week!)

So I decided to hack his IKEA crib/toddler bed and find a way to make some extra space in their room.

By the time we got his bed he was already a strong-willed little toddler so it has always been lowered.

So here's what I did.

First, I decided that Jude was old enough to try the "big boy bed"...again, which is now a role he has owned like a champ! {for the most part}

I realize that the toddler bed setting is supposed to be lowered, but I decided to make it a toddler "loft".
I took the front railing off,
raised the mattress up to the infant/baby slot,
and drilled a couple of holes for the toddler bar to hold the mattress in place.

Now I have a place to put these cute little baskets with his clothes in it, and we have the added bonus of some freed up wrestling space for the boys.

It's a WIN WIN!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Passing Notes Under The Door ~ A story of a #ColonyMom meltdown and the kids that loved her through it

Setting: 4:30pm 
(the witching hour - ie. mom is tired and in need of a break while the Colony is hungry and in need of a meal and their quickly approaching bedtime.)

Mom: Jude don't throw that...
Areyna: Alethia won't let me have the...
Mom: Jude DON'T THROW THE...
Cai: Ahhhhhhh! MOOOOOOM, Jude just threw the...
(why does he ALWAYS have to throw every stinking thing!)
Mom: Baby, I know. Jude, no NO!

Mom: Girls, will you please come and unload the dishwash...

The Girls: Ah man. The dishwasher agAIN?!
Mom: JUDE. No, no baby! Stop pulling Zeke's hair.  Let go.  LET GO!
(takes Jude to the room to give him consequences)

I come out to crying girls, fighting boys - I've lost it.

I'm done.
I am no longer capable of being a good mommy at this point.

I stomp down the hallway and slam my door.
Locking it behind me.
Sitting in the chair to stair out the window and pout.

Then I hear a crinkling under the door.
What in the WORLD do they need from me now?!

"BE STILL. Calm down"
 He knows this is my year's mantra and something I have been working on:)

Ok. that is sweet.
Now leave me alone.

More crinkling under the door.
Oh brother.

"I love you mom. Even when you are anxious."
How does he know how anxious I am?
They NOTICE when I'm falling apart and not parenting in love but in anger?

More stuffed paper under the door...
"You are the best mom ever." 
Oh wow.
I've acted TERRIBLE!
and he still loves me and just wants his happy hearted mama back.

By now I'm sitting against the door and can't grab Zeke's sweet little love notes fast enough.

"Pray to God to help you."
 I quickly begin to cry out to the Lord.
For my bad attitude.
For my precious kids.
For my tender-hearted Zeke who GETS ME.
Who get's this out-of-control mama moment, because we have guided him through his own meltdowns.

"Read the Bible"
 By now my sweet Zeke is guiding me through the steps to calm down and get my heart back on track.

"You are awesome"
...and then brings it around to encourage me! 

"Shhh, Shhh, Shhhh"
 This is when I typically come in to sit with him and rub his back, give him some gentle kisses and prepare him to enter back into the family activities.

After reading these streams of notes I walked outside, called a family meeting and apologized to my kids.  Of course they were so gracious and offered immediate forgiveness.  Because that's just the kind of kids they are:)

But I wasn't done.  I asked them to help me walk through the past 30 minutes or so.  I asked them to think about what happened and tell me some of the things I did wrong.  I told them I was wrong and then we walked through the appropriate response that SHOULD have occurred.

What did I get out of this whole thing?

It's never too late.
It's NEVER too late.
You can always make it right.
Even when you screw up in the worst of ways.
Ask for forgiveness.
Accept that forgiveness.
And then mentally walk through the steps to handle the situation correctly next time.

I'm thankful for kids that understand grace and forgiveness, even when it is undeserved.
I'm thankful for a God that lavishes his love and grace on us, because it is never deserved.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Take Five ~ Fire, Sniffles, Tunes and Meltdowns

Band: Young Oceans

Song Title: Vidi Aquam

Timer set for 5 min.


I feel like crap today.  It's a good thing that I had an appointment to get my hair trimmed this morning (my hair thanks you Danielle!) or else I think I'd still be in my jammies, surrounded by waded up tissues from a runny nose and too many sneezes to count.  Yes I've been taking honey and loading up on Thieves oil and the allergy trilogy as well (lemon, lavender and peppermint).  But I still feel like crap.  CRAP.

But on a happy note I get to listen to some new tunes (thank you for the recommendation, Andy Cherry!).  Young Oceans is excellent.  A new favorite for me for sure.

Our chimney/fireplace is FINALLY getting fixed!  It's only been 5 years, ha!  By the end of the afternoon we will be able to "safely" burn a fire in our fireplace again.  (Thank you insurance!)

Could the weather be more beautiful?  I think not.

I had a major mommy meltdown this weekend.  It was so bad that when Josh got back from jogging Zeke ran up to him and said "it was bad dad. Mommy threw a temper tantrum, but we wrote her notes to help her."  (there is a post brewing on this one later this...

Timer off.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Begin The Day With Grace

Just when we think we've got it, it's under control, it is FINALLY done...that's when it sneaks up and slaps us in the face again.

I'm learning over and over again that it is a daily surrender to complete forgiveness.

It never really goes away.  We can completely and wholeheartedly forgive someone one day and then get slammed with the same bitterness and resentfulness that got us in the unforgiving mess to begin with.

When we get brought back to this place it becomes really easy to find that mental list again.

the list we secretly hold onto
the list we're afraid to let go of
the list that gives us the false feeling of control

the list of all the things done wrong to us
the list of all the things that make us so angry
so hurt
so irrational

this list helps us rationalize our anger and makes us feel like we deserve to feel this way and hold onto that unforgiveness

but we were commanded to let that go
to give it up
it is the Lord's to sift through

because in reality, we have a long list of our own mess that we have created by foolish choices and sin
WE have been forgiven
OUR SLATE has been wiped clean

We are to offer grace and forgiveness because WE have been offered grace and forgiveness.

It isn't easy but it IS obedient.

Let's begin each day with a clean slate
real love, TRUE love, keeps no record of wrongs

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Take Five

Band: Jan Vayne

Song Title:  Fruits and Passion

Timer set on 5 minutes.


The sun keeps going in and out behind the stormy looking clouds.  I wouldn't mind some thunder rumbling today:)

Jude is in time out and he's only been up for a little over an hour.  He is FULL of angst lately and quickly turning into quite the emo child.  I bet he'll grow up to be an artist/musician.  We tend to be like that, ha!

Zeke only has one more baseball game this season.  I can't believe how quickly this fall is coming and going!  It is already the middle of october.  OCTOBER, people!

I started a new book today called, "For Women Only".  I can tell it is going to be a GREAT read!

Jude and I went to the library again (which is where I got this book) and I think we are going to make it a weekly endeavor.  I love seeing his eyes light up at the sight of all the books piled high as he sifts through the new books he want to bring home.  I love seeing these kinds of things as I do life with one child.  It has been so long since I've been able to soak in all these sweet little joys that get overlooked while trying to keep a watchful eye on all the kids at one time.  I'm learning to take in these moments with each of them as...

Timer off.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Children ~ Life's Little Interruptions

Good or bad, they intrude on our thought process. Big or small, they invade our privacy.
In fact, I think that God gave my children a need-o-meter — something that goes off ONLY when I am in the middle of trying to calculate important numbers, like paying bills or balancing the checkbook. It also seems to go off as soon as I step foot in the shower or run to the bathroom really quickly. I don’t understand it. One minute they are playing so sweet together, not needing mommy for a thing, and then, when I’m elbow deep in dinner preparations, the alarm goes off and disaster ensues.
And then it happens...[READ MORE]

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sitting In The Wind

The breeze has been more of a whirlwind around here lately.

Not because of the craziness that comes with being a mom of this crazy Colony,
because there is NO escaping that (ha!),
but the craziness of a fallen world.

The sickness and disease.
The hungry and the hurting.
The sin and it's consequences.
The constant reminders that this world is not our home.

Sometimes I sit in the gentle breeze of ignorance,
choosing to let life drift, knowing that the crazy is just outside, but not wanting to get involved.

Not today.
Today is mine.
It feels too safe here.
I need the safe, even if it's just for a short time.
I want to be in control.
And if I want to be in control I can't allow the unpredictability of the world in.
Because then I might crumble.

Regardless of the intention behind this ignorance
I know from experience that this is my time to prepare.
It is my time to get ready for the valley.
Whether it is my valley or someone else's.
Because I have been called, as a believer, to carry other's burdens with them.
It is an honor (albeit, a difficult one) to walk through a valley with someone else.

Life has a way of showing itself, regardless of how hard you fight to keep it out.
But I think that's God.
Allowing us to keep from aimlessly drifting for too long.
We are to live life on purpose
and sometimes that means bracing ourselves for the crumbling walls as the wind comes rushing in.

We weren't meant to drift.
We were meant to thrive [in Christ].
And sometimes thriving mandates the harsh winds of this fallen world to blow down the barriers, the safe, in order to bring back the perspective that can only come in times like these.

Today I am sitting in the wind.
I see it.
I feel it's chilling effects all around me.
The effects of the wind which God created and has complete control over.

Today I have a fresh perspective.
Today I am loving on my kids and squeezing my husband tight.
Today I am not rushing around distracted by the laundry or the dishes.
Today I am praying a lot.
Today I am just sitting in the wind.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Are You CHOOSING To Kill?

I have found myself explaining the power of words to our kids a lot more as they are getting older.

We read passages in the Bible that talk about how powerful our tongue is, we've used their word battles between each other and friends as prime examples of how hurtful our words can truly be and acted out scenarios as to the proper respond to words that break through to the heart.

But our words don't magically become less intrusive and hurtful when we grow up.

I know some adults whose insecurities have been created by the words of other people.
I know marriages that have crumbled because of the tone of voice behind the words being spoken.
I have seen kids cower in fear by the harshness of words from their parents.
Our very spirit can be altered because of unruly words.

Just because we have grown up doesn't mean we have free reign to say whatever we want.
Just because we are believers doesn't mean we have the freedom to say (or write) whatever we want.

Measure the weight of your words BEFORE they are released from the thresh hold of your mouth.

Are they bringing peace or calamity?
Do they bring hope or are they killing someone's spirit?
Are they meant to build up or tear down?
Are we so adamant about getting our point across that we lose sight of the other person's feelings?

"Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit - you choose."
Proverbs 18:21

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rearranging Your Home ~ The How: realistic and practical

A few days ago I explained the "why" behind the constant rearranging in my home.

Today I will be mapping out the "how", strictly for fun of course.

For me, it always begins in my mind.  I get an idea in my head and begin mentally moving things around until I have a general idea of how it's going to go.

Have you ever played the game Rummikub?  It is one of my absolute FAVORITE games!  I can almost ALWAYS find a place for each tile and then, as an added challenge, I enjoy finding a home for everybody else's tiles after I've won the game, uh, I mean, after the game has been won;)  Sometimes it doesn't always work out the way I had intended it to go but I still eventually find a place for all my tiles.  On the occasion that I can't remember for the life of me how it all played out  in my head and I'm left with 2 tiles (and a big jumble of switched tiles), I just have to retrace my steps and put it all back.  I've got nothing to lose, right?!  No harm done, except for the impatient players to my left and right waiting for their turn which I have completely screwed up, ha!

Ahem, anyway...

I kind of feel like this is how my home is.  It's like my Rummikub playing table and the contents of my home are my tiles.  Even if my original mental plan doesn't work out, I WILL find a proper home for all my belongings.  Occasionally I have to eat my words and put everything back to its original position, but most of the time it will be in a way that feels fresh and new.

Here are a list of things I think about while rearranging my home.  Maybe they will help you too!

  • Don't get too married to a particular home for something, unless, of course, it is absolutely perfect every time you look at it and it allows the object to serve it's purpose to its fullest.

  • It can't just LOOK good, it has to be practical in your season of life. For example: if you have small children, you probably won't be able to mimic every beautiful living room landscape you come across on Pinterest.  Have you ever noticed how UN-kid friendly many of those set ups are?!  Or how difficult it would be to maintain?  It HAS to be practical for MY family.
  • Think outside the box. I love finding uncommon uses for common household items.  Just about anything can be turned into a candle holder or container for art supplies.  We have a door shoe rack that houses our office supplies.  Wood crates that hold bathroom towels. This can get really fun!

  • Embrace the imperfections!  Finding a way to be content with the things that you cannot change can be a complete game changer.
  • There are certain rules in decorating a home, but don't let those rules counteract your own preferences.  For example: book shelves are only supposed to be filled 1/3 of the way full (what a waste, I know!).  But in our home, we have a LOT of readers and even more books, plus a husband who likes to be able to see all his options, when searching for a specific book.  So for us, you aren't going to see many "staged" shelves.  Instead they are going to be slam packed FULL of books and I have to be ok with that.  That is why I do things like this!  I make shelves out of things like baskets or place a pallet behind our couch, so I can implement a little splash of color and eye candy around my home.  Something OTHER than books:) 

  • Clear the area of everything that doesn't make your eyes happy.  If something doesn't look right, move it.  Either find a new home for it or get rid of it.
  • Less is more.  I like simple.  I like toys to be put away in baskets.  I like things off the floors and counters.  I like trash in the trash can and dishes in the dishwasher.  All these things make for a happier place to reside.
  • We don't have much that is super nice or expensive (having 5 kids has a way of giving financial and possessional perspective, not to mention all the things that get broken on a weekly basis), so I ain't skurd to get the spray paint out.  I've stated before that not much of our furniture is its original color anymore.  I've come a long way.  It's kind of like the time when I first began scrapbooking and had such a difficult time trimming down and cutting photos.  It felt so permanent and I felt so intimidated.  But I quickly realized that I hardly, if ever, wish that I would have kept the entire landscape of the photo. Besides, I could always order another print if I screw it up ($.10 at the most, ya'll!).  A lot of our furniture has been passed onto us from friends and family and isn't in the most excellent condition anyway.  I figure I can always pain it a different color if I don't like the way it turns out.  Paint is cheap.
  • Go shopping around your own home.  Need a color accent in that corner?  Take a walk around your home to see what you can find.  Want something to place all those markers in?  What can I use as a container? Maybe a glass honey jar or a coffee or tea tin.
  • Always, always, ALWAYS make sure you have a plan for the Christmas tree.  As well as a large enough area for the boys to wrestle on the carpeted living room floor, adequate lighting by Josh's reading area and a place to put our coffee in the morning.  Those are all MUSTS for us.
  • Find the right people to rearrange with.  I like to rearrange furniture with the same people I like to shop with...NO ONE.  I am prone to make a ton of changes and switch things back and forth so much that it's almost embarrassing.  Therefore, I prefer to do it alone.  That way I can be as particular and painstakingly tedious as I want without having to think about how crazy I must look to somebody else.  Unless of course you need an accountability partner to ensure you don't bust the walls out of your kids bedrooms again....moving on...
  • Above all, remember that YOU are the one living in your home, so make it your own!  Get creative. Think out of the box. Don't be afraid to change something, you can always revert back to the original.
So there you have it.  A glance into the life of this obsessive home rearranger:)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Seek Ye First To Understand ~ (Kids In The Word)

I'm over at Kids In The Word today with a post on how important it is to seek first to understand someone else BEFORE trying to make yourself be understood.  This is by far one of the hardest things for me as a wife, friend and parent.