Friday, September 28, 2012

Blog Your Heart - September

After a couple months on hiatus from Blog Your Heart, I think it's high time to jump back in.

New to Blog Your Heart?  Here's the scoop.  I wrote my first post a while back and the response was incredible.  Thank you again to Stephanie over at Just Me, My Soldier and our 4 little chicks for the inspiration! 

Here's how Stephanie describes Blog Your Heart on her blog:

1.Blog whatever is on your heart. It can be serious,silly,angry,happy,blunt,ridiculous. It can be ANYTHING but it has to be authentic.  The post can be long or short, doesn't matter.

2.No judging. No snarky comments, no making fun, no passive aggressive digs. If you are going to read the blogs linked in the comments, don't be mean.

Rule #3 (This one is from me....Sarah.  Hi.) - Since BYH is about being authentic and "out there," please do leave a comment to let me know you've read it.  Even if it's just a HI THERE, it's important to feel validated that we aren't putting our hearts out on our sleeves for nothing.

So there you have it!  It's not about writing the most flowery post with earth-shattering truths.  It's just about getting it out there.  If you're writing a BYH this month, feel free to include a link in the comments. 

Here we go.

1.  After the unfortunate incident some time ago where I licked chocolate off the back of my hand only to discover it was actually poop, I've been very apprehensive about the whole "Poop or Food?" question.  This created a very stressful clean-up situation after Thomas threw raisins all over the kitchen floor on the same day he had 3 poopy diapers. 

2.  My husband and I are arguing about the front door.  I want to paint it because I think it looks a bit faded and drab.  I see so many wonderful, cheery, bright front doors that instantly boost a house's curb appeal, like THIS ONE!!  Of course, I'm thinking more of a pretty emerald or hunter green to go with our house's siding, but Evan is dead set against this.  He says he doesn't want the front door to look....wait for it...."painted."  The battle continues.

3.  I'm struggling to feel like I belong in the "small" group I was assigned to for my Tuesday night class at our new church.  It has about 16 women in it which I feel is too large.  It makes me feel overwhelmed and a little uncomfortable sharing sometimes.  Plus, our leader is very spontaneous and free-flowing which can be a challenge for my Type A personality to handle.  Perhaps God is trying to teach me how to let loose a bit?  Time will tell, but the ladies are really nice so I am looking forward to seeing what I can learn from them.

4.  My group of moms at my Wednesday morning group at church is INCREDIBLE.  They are without doubt, no question whatsoever, an answer to my prayer that God would lead me to the friends I need here.  Praise the LORD!!!

5.  I have fallen more than a month behind on Project Life now and I feel like I am buried so deep that I'm scared to even attempt to get caught up because I'll end up feeling too overwhelmed and just quit.

6.  My mother just got a job working at a bakery at a grocery store from 10 pm to 6 am.  She hates it.  The work and the hours are just too hard on her, but she feels like she has no choice but to work it anyway due to some circumstances that have arisen.  This makes me angry and I am praying fervently that God will provide for her and bring her to a job more appropriate for her health, age, and circumstances. 

7.  Speaking of anger, this is an area I am really, REALLY struggling with recently.  I think it's a combination of lack of sleep, abundance of items on my To-Do list, and other stresses compounding to make me quick to anger.  Trying really hard to nip this one in the bud and have found myself re-reading verses from Proverbs a lot lately.

8.  I still miss my friends.  I especially miss my buddy Jodi because she was my favorite person to banter back and forth with.  Her quick wit and sharp tongue were often just what I needed to get me laughing so hard I would pee my pants just a little bit.  I think I'll call her today.

9.  Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I still see myself as weighing more than 200 pounds.

10.  I'm terrified of gaining the weight back, but I have gotten frustrated lately and have felt myself starting to lose focus on my health and maintaining my weight.  I haven't been running as much as I would like because we're still trying to get the hang of our new schedule around here, especially with my new job.  Tracking my points hasn't been a priority and things like OREOS have been leaping off the grocery store shelf and landing in my cart somehow.  I really need to speak to the manager at the Pick 'n Save about this.

11.  Evan goes to China soon and I need to get someone to watch the boys for nine different nights so I can go to work.  So far, I have one of these nights covered.  This stresses me out.

12.  We're still trying to make it really feel like home, but we really love living here.  The city is awesome, our house is wonderful and the potential excites me, and Target is just down the street!  What's not to love? 

13.  Pumpkin butter has become an obsession.  You can find the recipe on my Facebook page!

September's spewings are now complete.  What's going on with you today?

*Don't forget to leave a comment to say hello and let me know you stopped by!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

There's Pee Everywhere

You know, most of the time I love being a "Boy Mom."  The clothes are easy, the toys are simple, and I don't have to worry about things like hair ties, accessories and tights.  The only hair battle I have to fight is holding my kids still as they scream and writhe in the chair while we take the clippers to their head about once a month.  Of course, they know there's a sucker in the deal for them when it's over so usually it isn't nearly as traumatic as it sounds.

But there is one thing about my sons that drives me crazy.....the pee.

Let's talk about my Micah John, shall we?  He's always good for a blog post, that boy.  He's just barely three, but really big for his age, as most of you know.  I was totally A-OK with him sitting down to go potty for as long as possible, but I overheard Evan in there with him the other day giving him some good ole Daddy encouragement to stand up and let 'er rip.  Immediately I voice my concerns and am rebuked with the standard "He's a boy!" response.  Micah has been having a lot of problems lately with peeing in his pants simply because he gets too busy or too focused on playing that he forgets to take a break to go to the bathroom, so it was my hubby's hope that getting to go "like a big boy" might help him avoid accidents.  The logic was there, so I went with it.

Of course, the next time I'm the one home with him when he needs to go potty, he proceeds to whip it out and shoot pee all over the wall, all over the toilet, and all down the side of the vanity.  I swear, he got it everywhere except in the toilet bowl.  We both got upset and he did help me clean it up.  I thought for sure Micah would understand that he just wasn't ready for this and sit down for a while yet.

I was wrong.  A few hours later, he was back at it.  I tried to tell him to sit down, but my obstinate little buggar cried, "No!  I do it!  I stand up go potty!!"  Gotta let him learn somehow, right?  Ok, Micah.  Give it a shot.

I think that round cost me about 4 Lysol wipes.

Over and over we did this.  Between the pee-soaked undies, the pee-soaked jeans, the pee-soaked pajamas and the pee sprayed all over the bathroom, I was starting to really lose my mind.  I could smell it everywhere I went.

There is pee everywhere, I thought to myself.  It permeated everything and it made me so uncomfortable.  I felt like anyone who walked in my front door would be able to detect the odor of urine and would likely turn around and run screaming back the way they came.

Finally, I exerted my will on Micah and insisted he sit back down on the potty.  He cried and pitched a fit, but I held firm.  I was NOT about to hose the room down every time we had a potty break, for crying out loud!  Ever so gently, I felt a voice whisper in the back of my head.....

It's frustrating when the child won't listen to instruction despite the obvious mess they're making, isn't it Sarah?


Instead of listening to the instruction of the One who clearly knows how to help me avoid making a disaster of things, I insist on doing it my way.  I pitch a fit and kick and scream and do things the way I WANT to do them, by golly.  So I go for it.  I decide I'm big people now and clearly I know what's best and I opt for yelling at my kids rather than giving them the firm yet loving discipline they need.  I chose to avoid taking the tough steps God is calling me to take because I'm just not really interested in doing that right now.  I focus on getting more, being more, doing more to please the people around me rather than seeking God first. 

And oh what a mess I've made.  And it's going to take a lot more than a few Lysol wipes to clean it up.  Because my mess-ups are serious.  My failures have eternal consequences that have frustrated my Father and separated me from him.  No, a disinfecting wipe won't even touch the destruction I've created. 

I get so worked up and so upset with Micah during these moments in the bathroom, but at least he's a toddler.  He's still learning how to control his functions and motor skills so he can actually execute this action properly.  And really, all it takes is a few seconds to hose it down and the mess is washed away, leaving a fresh lemony scent in its wake.

My sins are more than just uncomfortable for my Father.  Holiness simply cannot associate with sins.  My mess is so awful, so disastrous, and so rank that it takes the blood of Jesus, the perfect Son of God, to cleanse it away. 

So maybe, just maybe, I can learn to cut Micah a little slack.  As much as I hate it when I feel like there's pee everywhere, it's really just a small phase of life that they'll eventually grow out of......right?  As for me, it will be a life-long struggle to keep from making the same mess over and over again.  I will fail time and time again, but I praise God for the abundant grace that washes it clean and makes me sparkle, blameless and spotless so I can enter into his loving presence without shame or fear.

Yes, friends.  There are lessons to be learned even in the potty.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Second Pot of Coffee

Is there an app for the iPhone I can buy that will somehow insert a couple more hours into my day by syncing it with my Google Calendar?  I've searched the App Store for things like "Mom Time," "Extra Hours," and "28 Hour Day," but alas....I have come up empty. 

Now that we have moved to our new home and Evan has to drive a grand total of 14 minutes to get to work, he has the luxury of sleeping significantly later each morning than he has been for the past several months.  On the other hand, I have been setting my alarm earlier and earlier with each passing week as I have found that I needed to borrow time from my beauty sleep to try to get anything accomplished around here.  It didn't help that Thomas went through a phase there where he was waking up for the day at 6:00...then 5:45.....then 5:00....then 4:30 am.  NOT.  COOL.  There was even a night or two there where he decided to be up screaming his head off for about an hour, starting at 3:00 am.  Yikes.

I was ok with getting up at 6:10 every morning when I knew my kids wouldn't be up until at least 7:05.  I had plenty of time to brew my coffee, enjoy a cup while it was still hot, spend some quiet time with God in the Word, and even put on real clothes or maybe even take a shower.  They must have caught wind of my plan because my boys have really been sabotaging that schedule since we moved and I have had to move my alarm back to 5:30 am.  I'll be the first to admit that I just cannot seem to drag my butt out of bed when that cursed time hits.

Totally not a morning person, kids.

It's frustrating because I feel like I am so behind on EVERYTHING.  My basement is a disaster of scattered moving boxes stuffed with a cacophony of randomness that gives me a migraine just to think about straightening it out, yet the chaos itself is enough to raise my blood pressure.  I still have half-unpacked boxes in my master bedroom, unhung clocks, plastic crates stuffed with things like mortgage documents and earrings (yup....earrings), and I currently have no clue where to store my vacuum.  And please, I beg of you.  If you come to visit me, do NOT open any of the closet doors.  Embarrassing. 

The blog is suffering and I struggle with feeling guilty about that.  In fact, I'm writing now in spite of feeling like I'm neglecting the twelve thousand other things I should be doing.  In fact, even my husband was quick to point out how frivolous this really is.  I mentioned at dinner that I had a ton of stuff to do tonight and he promptly scoffed, "What?  Like blogging?  It's just a blog, Sarah."  He's right....I know he's right.  It is just a blog.  I'm not so naive as to think I have a larger reader's not like this is The Mom Creative or Sunny Side Up.  But there are a few people reading.  And that is enough to make me want to give them something honest.  It might not always a Pinterest-worthy post that reveals a new incredible way to organize your underwear drawer or turn your Q-Tips into art using little more than some homemade Modge Podge and food coloring, but it will be authentic.

Which is why just past 3:00 in the afternoon.....I brewed a second pot of coffee.

My butt was already dragging and I was fighting hard to keep my eyes open as I folded the second basket of laundry.  I had to do it.  Who knows how late I will be up, but perhaps I might even be able to get a few more things accomplished before I can crash into bed for a few hours before my coffee maker automatically kicks on at 5:55 am to wake me up a bit before I hit the trail for a morning run.  Or I might hit the snooze button two or three times.  We shall see.

By the way, this might have something to do with why Thomas suddenly got all wonky on his overnight sleeping schedule.

Here are those six teeth he was cutting all at once!  Stinking little over-achiever.  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Project Life Tuesday - Week 32

The Mom CreativeHello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday! This is my third year of doing Project Life and I have found it to be the perfect system for the "practical scrapbooker."  Some weeks might have more photos than others, some weeks will be missing days, but the goal remains a simple one: To provide a glimpse of our life and preserve it.  This isn't meant to be stressful.  It's a wonderful way to simplify scrapbooking and memory keeping.

If you're looking for inspiration on what others are doing with their Project Life, you can check out my board on Pinterest and be sure to link up on The Mom Creative!

Click on any photo to view it larger!
Another week in the books!  With any luck, I'll be able to get less than a month behind soon.  :)
Week 32: August 5 - 11
No inserts this week, but I really like how the collages and little embellishments added to the overall look this week.  I think it looks so fun!
Left Page:

Getting ready to move, enjoying the Olympics, and making some final memories in our house.


Right Page:
So much cool stuff on this page!

The boys insisted on making their own lunch, which made for the perfect photo for Project Life!  In the lower right corner is a collage I made with Picasa of some favorite photos from the double birthday party for me and my sister in law.

Now that I've reached my goal weight, I was able to give myself the Mega Splurge reward I had been planning on since first pair of designer jeans.  It gave me heartburn just to think about blowing that kind of money on a pair of pants, but it really made this journey something special to see how teeny those babies made my butt look!

My son is Rambo.

These moments where Micah is extra-cuddly are so special to me.
There we go!  Week 32.  We'll see if I can make some more progress soon!

Project Life Tuesday - Week 31

The Mom CreativeHello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday! This is my third year of doing Project Life and I have found it to be the perfect system for the "practical scrapbooker."  Some weeks might have more photos than others, some weeks will be missing days, but the goal remains a simple one: To provide a glimpse of our life and preserve it.  This isn't meant to be stressful.  It's a wonderful way to simplify scrapbooking and memory keeping.

If you're looking for inspiration on what others are doing with their Project Life, you can check out my board on Pinterest and be sure to link up on The Mom Creative!

Click on any photo to view it larger!
I'm so behind, but I suppose that is to be expected considering the move, job hunt, and all the other stuff that's been happening lately.  I'm just hoping to chip away at it and get there eventually!
Week 31: July 29 - Aug 4
This week was super busy and I ended up using one insert to showcase a couple special events - PBS Kids Get Up and Go Day and another little secret activity.
Left Page:

I used a Cathy Z template to make the "Week in Review" card, an Ali Edwards digital stamp for "Monday," and another Cathy Z Tiny Template for the "Sign Here Please." 

I kid you not; I really was thinking I might be pregnant.  I was so glad to only see one line!!
Design D:
The front side of this insert is all about the PBS Kids Get up and Go Day on Friday.  I brought the kids to this event on the UW Madison campus and it was really very cool.  Micah was less than impressed with most of it, but Isaiah had a ball!  He even got to be on live TV and he saw himself on the screen at home when it re-aired later. 

Steve Songs got such a kick out of Isaiah extending his hand for a hand shake when they met.  I do need to work with my boy on not limp-wristing it though.

The flip side of the Design D is all about a little excursion I took that checked something off my "Before I Turn 30" bucket list, but the sake of privacy I am only going to give you a little sneak peek.
Right Side:
Sorting, purging, and packing....again.  The boys got a new book!  I went wedding dress shopping with my little sister and ended up having to take all 3 boys with me due to a last minute scheduling snafu with Evan's work.  They were surprisingly well-behaved and I think Erica had a good time.

Ok, so that's Week 31.  Stay tuned for Week 32 soon to follow and we'll see if I can't slowly but surely get caught back up.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All Hail Lord Xyron

As I write this, Micah is sitting in Time Out behind me, wailing his head off because he just can't seem to fathom why scribbling on the wall with a black marker would land him in the slammer.  Thank God for the most incredible invention for moms who hate cleaning: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  Can I get an Amen?!

While Micah tries to chill the heck out, allow me to regale you with a little story from last weekend.  Now, before I start trying to type this using the notes I pounded out on my sister in law's iPad on the drive back from Michigan, I need to add a disclaimer.

This is one of those "You Had to Be There" stories.  I'm going to try my best to make it about 70% as funny in words as it was in real life, but I'm fairly certain that's going to be impossible.

A Little Background:

I love to scrapbook.  Isaiah has a beautiful scrapbook, my very first one.  It starts when we found out we were pregnant with him and records dang near every detail of my pregnancy with him.  The book has several layouts about his birth and then the rest of the pages chronicle every month of his first year of life, including several special pages about pumpkin patches, first steps, holidays, and other such milestones.

Micah also has a great scrapbook that details all the exciting stories from my pregnancy with him and then a page about his birth story.  Every month, there is a page with cute photos of him along with the developmental steps he took that month.  I even managed to sneak in a few special event pages for him, culminating in his first birthday.

Thomas has diddly squat.

Needless to say, the time I have to scrapbook has dwindled exponentially since adding my third child and I have had to evolve from a "traditional scrapbooker" to a "practical scrapbooker."  All Hail Project Life!  I'm so happy that Becky Higgins is coming out with a Baby Edition because that is going to rescue me from leaving Thomas out.  But....that's a blog post for another day.

Evan's uncle Jerry loves to tease me and his wife, Maribeth, about our scrapbooking obsession hobby.  He calls it a "cult" and just gets such a kick out of poking fun at our secret meetings (crops), cult dues (money spent on materials), and the strange words we throw around that must be code (Cricut, Cuttlebug, Sizzix, etc). 

The Campfire Conversation:

It all started with a discussion about political bumper stickers.  I mentioned that I wanted to get a lawn sign supporting one of the current presidential candidates (Nope, I'm not going to say which one) and Evan's cousin Matt said he could have brought me a bumper sticker if I had said something ahead of time.  Then Matt (who works as part of the campaign team for a current Senate candidate in Michigan) started talking about how much bumper stickers cost and I immediately thought about Becky Higgins and how she won't be offering the arrow and date stickers as part of the Project Life core kit anymore because of how expensive they are to manufacture.  Yes, I am fully aware that I am a serious dork.

So, I chime in with this story about these scrapbooking stickers and Uncle Jerry was not about to waste an opportunity to harass me about my "cult."  He razzes me about the secret passwords we have (coupon codes at scrapbooking stores) and any number of other things.  The family members sitting around the campfire were all squealing with laughter as I blubbered and stammered, trying to get a word in edgewise.  I finally got to explain how Becky had to opt for offering the stickers a la carte and Jerry asked if I could just make my own stickers.  As most scrapbookers know, we CAN make our own stickers!  This exchange promptly took place.

Me: Sure, I could make them with a Xyron!
Ashley:  Is Xyron the god you worship in your cult?  All hail Lord Xyron!

Cue.....raucous laughter.  I stumble all over myself yet again and try to explain how the Xyrons can make stickers and this sentence actually escapes my lips:

"But my Xyron is only a couple inches big!"

As I'm sure you've guessed, the conversation had now taken a turn toward phallic innuendo which made it even more hilarious.  As we're all outside discussing the different sizes of Xyron, Matt goes in the house to ask his mom about all this. 

Matt:  Hey Mom, do you know what a Xyron is?
Maribeth:  Yes!  Sarah has one and it's BIGGER THAN MINE!

Matt repeats this conversation to me and I couldn't resist reminding him that it's not as much about the size of the Xyron, but how you use it.  Nothing like a good penis joke around the campfire to end a baby shower on a high note, folks.

At the Altar of Lord Xyron:

At this point, it was imperative that we visit Maribeth's scrapbook room so the men (and oblivious females) in the conversation could see what the heck we were talking about.  Evan's cousin Chad was taking photos (and video?) during this experience and also narrating our adventure as we "descended to the underground altar of Lord Xyron." 

After revealing Maribeth's Xyron 150 in all its glory, she had to show me her most recent acquisition, a Sizzix Big Shot.

As you can see by the photo, Maribeth and I were lost in our own little scrapbooking world, delighting in the joys of our "cult" and completely oblivious to the slew of mocking that was going on all around us. 

I was this close to peeing myself because I was laughing so hard. 

There have been countless moments where I have thanked God that I married into this family and this would definitely make the top five. 

And yes, Jerry.  Dave Ramsey would be fine with me being in The long as I had a budget envelope for it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

One Whole Year

I am so incredibly glad I did this.

Starting when Thomas turned one month old, I took a photo every month at the same time with the teddy bear that Evan and I had made at Build a Bear when Isaiah was still growing in my tummy.  It was so cool to see the little stinker grow with each photo and now it gives me a great look at his first year of growth.

So, without further ado, I give you "The 12 Months of Thomas" photo series.

It cracks me up that the last photo is so different from the others because it's in the new house!  New wall color, chair moved in from his big brothers' room, and one happy little birthday boy. 

Don't you just want to chew on his cute little toes?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Micah John!

My boy is 3 years old today.

I want you to know that it has been absolutely hilarious for me to introduce Micah to our new neighbors here in our new city.  When I would say, "And this is Micah.  He's two." I would usually get a response that involved wide eyes, dropped jaws and an exclamation expressing surprise at just how BIG this kid is.  And he is, folks.  Dude is STACKED.

Oh my Micah John.  You are the quintessential middle child.  You want what you want when you want it and woe to anyone who gets in your way.  You are bull-headed, stubborn, and obstinate. 

You are also delightfully charming, affectionate, determined, and friendly.  You love your brothers to pieces, as long as they aren't playing with the exact toy you want at the exact moment you want it.  You have a smile that can set the world on fire and a dimple on your right cheek that can easily make the most iron of wills bow to your mercy.

You can roll your tongue, just like your Daddy.  Honestly, I have no idea how you do this.  It's clearly a genetic thing because I can't do it and neither can your big brother.  It's just another special thing that you and your Daddy share.  You are so much like him, Micah.  You are mischievous, but in a way that still makes you endearing.  No adventure is too great for you to try. 

There are great things in store for you, my darling boy.  It won't be long and you will discover you are powerful.  You will find that you have strength in you that you don't know how to control and you will need our help to use it.  One day you are going to be a leader, that much is clear.  You put your mind to something and you GO FOR IT.  That trait is going to serve you well, my love.  Either that or you're going to become some kind of evil genius who plots world domination only to get foiled by a skinny nerd wearing his underwear on the outside of his tights.

Can't win 'em all, kiddo.

Happy Birthday Micah!!

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