Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ilovemylife :)

I am (for some unknown-to-me-reason) really happy with my life right now. Here are a few reasons why:

:: Life in general is going smoothly. Dan has a predictable work schedule. The kids are for the most part, well-behaved and kind to each other. Will's school is going great, and the other two totally revel in their just-them playtime. Nice. Almost shockingly so.

:: The kids go to bed earlyish (7:30 or 8) leaving me with hours of quiet before bedtime to fill. When I'm caught up on my "have-to's", I can get to my "want-to's", like scrapbooking, quilting and watching the news. And I LOVE my craft/laundry room. I can do little bits here and there, work on laundry, and then close the door without having to pack everything up and put it up out of reach.

:: Outdoor time. As I mentioned before, one of my goals for the new year was to get the kids outside for an hour every school day, no matter the weather. I don't know if it's psychological or what, but I've been doing it, and it's been great for everyone, me included!

:: Reading with the kids. Another goal of mine was to read more to the kids--not typical kids board books, but longer (but still interest-catching) ones. Will and I read a lot for school (we're currently reading Dr. Doolittle) but I felt like the other two were getting shortchanged a little. So every day after our outside time, we read for 30 or 40 minutes, all together under blankets on the couch. They love it, and so do I. And, it ends up being the perfect segue into quiet/nap time.

:: I'm was asked to serve on a United Way appropriations committee. Even though I don't do much, I am glad to be serving in a small way.

:: I am consistently getting up before the kids and getting my devotions, computer/email check and breakfast prep done. It mentally puts me on top of the whole day... as much as I am bargaining mentally for another 10 min. at 6:30... :)

:: Juicing. I cringe even writing this, because I do not consider myself at ALL a health nut. I kind of grew up that way (health-nutty, that is), and although I try to generally buy whole-grain, steer clear of HFCS, and eat lots of fruits and veggies... well let me just say that Swiss Miss WITH marshmallows has become a staple around here, and the kids and I just finished off a bag of Sour Patch Kids earlier today. :) (They are still the best thing ever made. But I digress...) SO. A few years ago (10?) when my mom started the whole carrot juicing thing, I was just like, "NO WAY am I getting on that bandwagon! Juicing is for.. weird people." ANYway, Dan (of course!) happens to love carrot juice, and had been on me for a few years (I know, I'm bad, right?!) to start juicing. I had a whole litany of reasons why it was not for me/us/our family, but finally, I gave in, bought a juicer, and then... after another year or so went by... I finally, guilt-ridden, started juicing this fall. I don't know if that's what has been the factor (I don't know what else if could be; I haven't made any other major life changes... or minor, now that I think about it) but Dan and the kids, who usually battle several ear or sinus infections, bad colds, etc. etc. etc. every winter (and that I had always written off to being normal for wintertime) have been extraordinarily healthy this winter. Hallie had a cough for about a week last month, and all the kids had minor colds a few months back, but we have had no doctor's visits, no antibiotics, no infections... It's been really great. I don't know if it's the juice or not, but I'm afraid to quit now! (For the record: I don't touch the stuff. It is not for the faint of heart. Dan and the kids miraculously all love it, so I don't complain about making it. But seriously. Ick. It's so.. !! Anyway. Enough on that.

:: Budgeting. I know, how geeky am I that this is one of the things that I love about my life. For all of our marriage, we have tried to stay on a budget and track our spending, blah blah blah, but it never really worked, leading to much frustration all around, and me (finances-girl) throwing in the towel and retrying several times over. Anyway, in August, I started using this software called Mvelopes (mvelopes.com) and WOW, it has made such a difference. We are saving and staying on budget like never before! **Cue happy music in Sarah's heart.** Ok, you can laugh. I'm lame. I don't care. :)

:: Reading. Dan got me a kindle for our anniversary (you probably wisely skipped my long nook v. kindle blog posts, where I hashed out which was right for me..) Anyway, living in a pretty rural area, with little convenient (or more importantly, sans kids!) access to libraries and/or bookstores, the kindle has been great. I LOVE the free sample feature, which lets you read the first 2 chapters of any book before you buy it. It solves all my "I don't like this book, now I have to get back to the store to return in in the next 90 days" dilemmas quite nicely. :)

:: We got our "on deck" email from our adoption agency at the end of December. That means that if all goes as planned, we should be getting our referral for our little girl in the next 2 months! We've been officially waiting since July, and now that it's really getting closer, I am feeling really ready. I know the term "paper-pregnant" is cheesy, but it's pretty accurate. I don't look pregnant, but really, I am. :)

:: That's all that comes to mind right now. Dan and I watched The Hurt Locker last night, and all during the show I just kept thinking... man, I am so. freaking. blessed. I have such an easy life-- so far removed from war and violence and hunger and disease... It kind of makes me feel bad, like, why should I have such a good life, when others have so little? I don't know. I don't know, but I am truly humbly grateful to the Lord for all I have. He certainly didn't have to give me the life I have, but He did, and I am so. very. grateful.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Routine

I love routine. Over the past two weeks I've been implementing my new years' goals of getting up early and getting things done before the kids get up and it has been great. I have also been inspired to overhaul the mudroom and the kids' toys --threw out two trashbags full- yes!-- and things are much more "together" than they have been. Seeing things neat and orderly makes me happy. :)

I have attempted this whole morning routine thing in the last, but now (for the first time in years) I am consistently sleeping through the night, and the kids are able to self-occupy during the day for at least limited stretches of time. I feel like my life is actually getting easier, which is rather... foreign. I know things will be changing again in the future, and I will have to readjust and revamp my routines again, but for now, life is going so smoothly. It just makes my little neat-freak, organized and alphabetically-ordered heart sing for joy. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How can you not love...

squishy, chubby baby cousins?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tristan...

prefers to keep both feet on the ground, and this sled with him at ALL times!

Can you spot the snowbirds?

Monday, January 11, 2010

We've been up to...

:: busy days! This past weekend my family threw a party for my brother and his new wife. We had lots of family from all sides and friends come in for the weekend, and it was a B-L-A-S-T. We played lots of boot hockey on the lake (I actually broke a stick... go figure! :)) and games (Balderdash and Wits & Wagers). I am such a family-fun-time person that I could seriously replay last weekend for every weekend from now till spring. :)

:: back to school! I gave Will an extra week off since I was still getting back into normal routines and playing catch-up on all normal chores/ Christmas tear-down, so today we hit the books again. Apparently Tristan and Hallie have completely forgotten how to self-occupy over the last 3 weeks. We'll get there though.

:: traveling! We arrived home from another fabulously fun, family- and game-filled week in St. Louis last Monday. Dan pulled two amazing all-nighters, driving down and back in a single shot. Coming home we hit snow on 80 near Pittsburgh, so it took 18 hours to get here. I am thankful I did NOT attempt that trip solo. Driving 18 hours with three kids would send me into a permanent vegetative state.

:: milestones! Tristan turned three last month, and has attempted chewing gum twice-- once successfully, once not. This morning and he mournfully came to me with his hand on his tummy saying "It jis' went down! I can't get it back up!" Hallie has the next family b-day, (a fact she has been proclaiming since Dec. 19th) and she is happily counting down the next 3 months till her big 5 year-old party. She also has perfected whistling, a talent she has literally been working on for months. She now whistles all. day. long. and I have to admit, it is getting a little annoying. :/ I don't have the heart to tell her to quit though; she worked so hard to "get it"! Hopefully she will learn a tune or two soon and break away from the one-note constant serenade. Will has lost both bottom front teeth in the last week! He is very proud to show off his gap. He has a fairly loose top tooth as well, so he might just be Mr. Toothless before the winter is out!



:: new routines. One of my new years' resolutions was to get up before the kids M-F. It's been going great so far. I mentally feel so much more "on top" of the day if I can get my stuff done before the kids start waking and needing my assistance. Our days have been much smoother, a fact I truly love! And who doesn't love a little peace, quiet and tea in the mornings?! Another goal is to get the kids outside every day, and while last winter's plan of going outside after naps every day worked great, this year it isn't coming together at all in that timeframe, so I've decided to push Tristan's nap back a little and lunch up a little and head out right after lunch and before naps/quiet time. Hopefully this will work and we can all get in some much-needed fresh air time!

:: playing Scrabble. Man, I am so addicted! I play Wordscraper, Lexulous and Scrabble on facebook, and Words with Friends on my iPhone. Getting up early allows me to squeeze my words in when I have time to think clearly and... yeah. It's addicting. Watch out, you might be next! :)