Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Year Ago Today...

I had just landed in Ft. Myers, FL with our three older kids. My mom had picked us up from the airport and I had turned my cell phone back on. About five minutes later, it began ringing and I was absolutely shocked to hear our adoption caseworker's voice on the other end of the line saying, "I have great news for you-- We have matched you with beautiful 4 month old baby girl!" I started shaking and almost crying and my mom was celebrating next to me. After I got a few more details and got off the phone, I called Dan (who was working back home) and my mom was yelling "I have another grandchild!" over me sharing the good news. As soon as we got to the house, I checked my email and saw this:
and fell head over heels in love. 

We love you Olivia Hope, and are so glad God chose us to be your family! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

:: on laundry

Okay, so this is normally something I would never (and I mean never) post about. Laundry is a distasteful task, and an even more distasteful blog topic. Yes? Yes.

However, I kind of stumbled into a system (of sorts) for doing our family's laundry after we moved into this house, and although I felt like suddenly my endless haunting laundry problem was suddenly much lighter, I  didn't really give my "system" (that wasn't really even that!) much credit. I mean, doing laundry is doing laundry right? No matter how you do it, you're still washing, drying and folding the same amount of clothes. So the easier-ness of it must all be in my head, or so I reasoned.

Fast forward to last month, a friend and I got out on a mom's ski night. On the lift up, she was lamenting her laundry woes, and I told her, sort of off-handedly, how I do mine. Well the next week she texted me, raving about how great the idea is and how well it's working for her! And while we both agree that in theory this method should not make laundry easier, we agree that it does. And don't mess with success, right?! Right.

Okay, so after we moved in, sort of by default, I started sorting our clothes: Dan's in one hamper, mine in another, and the 4 kids (3 at the time) in a third. Dan's and my hampers are right outside our bathroom door, and I don't have the lids on them. Not as aesthetically appealing, but easy access is key here-- you want the dirty clothes to have as little excuses as possible to not make it into the hamper. ;) The kids' basket is in their bathroom. They know at the end of each day to check their clothes-- if they are decently clean, they can be re-worn, otherwise, into the hamper they go. (Keep in mind these are just cheapo, plastic vertical-rectangular hampers from Target.) When a basket is full (slightly packed down) that is one load of wash. I never mix baskets. So Dan (whose clothes are the biggest and fills up the basket fastest) gets his wash done probably 2x/week. Mine is more like once every two weeks. And the kids is probably 1-2x/week. So since I'm only washing a load when the basket is full, it is only one load to wash, dry, fold (and since it's segregated, it makes folding much quicker-- you don't have piles for 6 people, and random socks, underwear, etc.) And since you're only doing one load at a time, the whole thing gets done (wash, dry fold, put away) in much less time than when you're shuffling several loads through at once.

Also, we all put our own laundry away, so after I fold Dan's or the kids' stuff, it's their job to get it back in their drawers. Dan is the worst at this. (Love you babe. ;)) I take care of my stuff and Olivia's, and overall, it is very little hassle or struggle.

Please note this plan does not work when you're coming home from a trip and have 3 laundry baskets full simultaneously, and suitcases full as well. Then the laundry shuffle begins again. :)

Hope this is helpful to someone.. and if not, that's ok too. It works for me! :)

PS: MAJOR PROPS to my sister Anna who clued me in to the "save as draft" feature of blogspot. I am beginning to think that most of my recent lack of blogging was due to me thinking I had to type, proofread, and put up a post all in one fell swoop-- time consuming and overwhelming! Now I can type up a post over several days (the last two posts have taken 3 days apiece-- (pathetic, but practical-- for me) and post them when I feel ready. Ahh. Nice. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

in support of a friend...

Brian and Ruth are friends of my family. They and I grew up going to church together (they were actually my sunday school teachers for a bit). They married when I was in high school, and moved away to New York where Brian became a pastor and they started a family. A few years ago, Brian was diagnosed with cancer, and I followed Ruth's writings of their struggles and journey on her blog. They travelled with their 7 kids (Joseph, Sharon, Christina, Sarah, Timothy, Joanna and Joshua) to New Mexico and Arizona and (I think!) Mexico during Brian's illness, giving their kids some awesome memories. Sadly, a few months ago, the day after Christmas, Brian went home to be with the Lord, leaving behind the kids and Ruth due with baby #8 this month.

Faced now with the incredible loss of her husband, and the (in my mind) insurmountable task of being a single mom of 8, Ruth recently launched an at-home business with Scentsy. Let me just say, I am a big fan of the theory of having my house smell good, but I've been disillusioned with candles, especially those from the home-sale or big-name companies that make claims along the lines of "We know you've been let down by all those other smell-good candle companies, but our product really works! You won't believe how good your house smells!" And then I purchase them, only to have my hopes of a good-smelling house basically dashed, not to mention the deterrent of having to scurry for a (working) lighter the next time we have company coming and I want to light a candle.

 Long story short, I recently purchased two warmers and some scented wax from Scentsy through Ruth, and I have been nothing short of thrilled with how they've been working for me!  I have one downstairs on the hutch in our mudroom (top pic) and one on the side table in our bedroom (other two pics). They really make the house smell great, and (total bonus) look super cute and chic while doing so. (No 3/4-burned, blackened, cruddy-looking old candles around here, thank you very much!) And more bonuses: no live flame, no wicks to trim and even when melted, the wax is cool enough to touch. I am, for the first time in my life (no joke) in love with a smell-good "system" for our home.

So I thought I would share with you all. If you are looking for something for yourself, or for a gift, I personally vouch for the quality of the products. Knowing that Ruth and her kids will benefit from your purchase as well is, well, even better. Feel free to re-post this post if you want to... and if you want more information about Ruth's blog or finding her on facebook, please let me know.

Thanks friends.

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21

I stink at updating my blog. I sometimes think about updating but for some reason I get a procrastinating mental fog and don't want to do it. So I don't. It's partly because I feel like I have such an amazing and blessed life, that when I write about it I feel kinda like I'm bragging. On the other hand, everyone has issues, but when I want to write about those things, I feel like I'm whiny and have such a blessed life that I should never complain. It's not a big deal, but it's enough to be slightly prohibitive when I go to post. Also as I've said before, I'm kinda over the whole "sharing my life with the world" thing. And honestly, not to be rude, but I can think of a whole lot of things I'd rather be doing than blogging in my rather limited free time.

Anyway. While I'm at it I might as well share a little of what we've been up to!
:: My family (and Dan's parents and a bunch of our friends) all celebrated my dad's 60th birthday last week on a cruise to the Bahamas. It was a great experience; the first time cruising for most of us! My dad was totally surprised by it (my mom pulled it off so well) and we all had a really fun time. (If you're friends with sister Anna on Facebook, she has an album of pictures up!)

:: A friend and I have been getting up at 6am to walk 3 miles every Monday morning. It's a great way to start the week, chatting and being out in the fresh air.

:: Dan got a new job! As of April 1 he will be the new head of security (I forgot the fancy new title) of an NGO called Convoy of Hope. He will be traveling domestically as well as internationally and we are both excited about the possibilities this brings for our family.

:: I would really like to get the new iPad. Yes, I know I am very spoiled to already have the first iPad, but I rationalize that with Dan headed out on the road a lot more, having the dual camera and facetime action will be worth the extra expense. Yes? Probably not, but that's what I like to tell myself. :) Speaking of iGadgets, my iPhone 3gs contract was up last month. So the question is, do I get the 4 now or hold out a few more months and spring for the 5? I think I am going to try to hold out.. we will see.

:: Hallie has absolutely taken off with reading. Her very favorite thing to do is sit and read books, preferably to one or both of her brothers, but if they are uninterested/unavailable, she is happy to read to herself as well. She is reading everything she can get her hands on, including books I thought were way beyond her abilities. I have no idea how this happens, really. The human brain is an amazing thing!

:: My brothers and I and a few other assorted relatives of ours have taken to playing an online version of Risk. Dude, it's so much fun. It makes me miss the days of being a kid when you could legitimately spend 4 or 5 hours playing Monopoly or Risk and no one thought a thing of it. Ahhh responsibility... it's so overrated.. ;)

:: Will wants nothing more than a CAT for his birthday in July. Will this signify the return of a furry pet to our family? Stay tuned... (I specify "furry" bc Hallie's pet fish Pumpkin has been alive and well for nearly a year now. She feeds him (her?) and changes the tank water, completely on her own, every week. She had turned into quite the responsible little pet owner.)

:: I did some bedroom rearranging this morning. Hallie and Tristan are sharing a room now, and Olivia has the former girls' room to herself. Miss O is not sleeping reliably through the night yet, causing Hallie to bail to our room or Tristan's room nightly. So this arrangement makes much more sense. I also have to make a trip to Philly early next month, and am making an IKEA stop while I'm there. Tristan is getting this new bed-- isn't it great? He and Hallie are super into building forts, so this bed will provide a great place for them to do that-- without dragging furniture around and making a total "mess" of things.