Feb 1, 2017


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January felt like it lasted forrrr-evvvverrr.  I am thankful that the calendar page finally turned and we get to move onto new.

Looking back at my January goals:

1. Finish four books.  Yep.  I finished six.  Woohoo!  This is a solid start for my reading goal for the year.  I read After I Do, Underground Railroad, Miller's Valley, The Nightingale, Notes From a Blue Bike and French Milk.  My favorite of these was The Nightingale with Underground Railroad coming in at a close second.  They were not easy books to digest - content wise - but they were both really well written and captivating.

2. Walk a minimum of 300,000 steps.  Nope.  Not even close.

3.  Do a major toy / kid stuff purge and sort.  Progress / As good as it's going to get for a while.  I threw out a couple toys, donated a few others and moved a small pile to the basement.  And then, it seemed good enough for now.  We'll see if I feel re energized to tackle this after birthday season.    

4.  Finalize a "January through March Family Bucket List" and make progress on crossing things off the list.  Done.

And onto February goals:

1.  Finish four books.  I currently have three books started.  I'm not very far into any of them, but I'm guessing that this goal should be pretty easily met by mid-month.

2.  Do my first two pre-half marathon long training walks.  I would like to do a four miler and a five miler (averaging 15 minute miles) during the last two weeks of this month.  (I also plan to do several two and three mile walks throughout the month.)

3. Daily devotions and related journaling throughout the month.  I don't expect that I will be perfect and get this done every single day, but I would like to get back into the habit of doing devotions on a regular basis.

Note: Pretty calendar by 1Canoe2 belongs to my sister.   Thanks, Pril.

Jan 31, 2017


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I have been just eating up the daily podcasts from Side Hustle School by Chris Guillebeau.  They are short.  They are intriguing.  They are thought provoking.  They fit with my plan to work on entrepreneurial endeavors in 2017.

I read rave reviews about this book for babies as I was searching out Christmas gifts to buy for Maggie.  I was a bit skeptical - I didn't think it would be bad, but I just didn't see how it could be so special -  but I bought it anyway.  To my delight, Maggie loves it.  It doesn't seem all that different from other "first" books for babies, but she is all about it.  I think the size of the book may be a contributing factor; it is much bigger than most board books.  It has been added to my list of books to buy as baby gifts.  ...which should, perhaps, be a post in itself.

Leggings - - oh, these are so fun.  I think they could be just the ticket for that upcoming half marathon on my calendar.

How to Make Great Homemade Pizza.  I received a pizza stone and pizza peel for Christmas with the intention of making homemade pizza a weekly tradition.  I've used Kristen's recipe and instructions for the last two weeks and - - - success!  This will be a new, weekly, staple for our family and I'm excited about it.

This IG post.  Yes.

These blocks/tiles are the bomb.  Sam received two small sets for Christmas and they have been played with nonstop ever since.  More tiles are at the top of both boys' birthday wishlists.  

Pretty "love" dish towel.


Jan 27, 2017


We are in the midst of sickness round (feels like) 27 for the season.  Poor Sam got the brunt of it, this time around.  He still seemed pretty lethargic this morning, but totally rallied when I mentioned that I needed to call school and the bus to tell them he wouldn't be there today.  He kept down his breakfast (and it had been more than 24 hours since the last time he got sick), so I let him go.

We had planned to visit Brian's parents this weekend - driving after Brian got home from work tonight and heading home after lunch on Sunday.  Alas, the sickness has ruined those plans and we are all bummed.  Now, I'm just crossing my fingers that we will all be well enough for Brian and I to attend my work (belated) holiday get together on Sunday evening.

. . . . . . .

I signed up for the Lincoln Marathon along with Brian, my sister and her fiance.  Our plan is to walk the half marathon together.  April and I walked it in 2013 and averaged 14:38 miles, finishing in 3 hours and 11 minutes.  I would love to match or beat that time.  We haven't officially started training yet, but I feel like I am in significantly better shape at this starting point than I was four years ago.  Which is grand.  But, I have a feeling, that finding time to get those long training walks accomplished will be harder this time around.  We will see.

In previous years, this marathon has sold out in a matter of hours.  Registration opened, in the middle of the night, while I was visiting April in Seattle.  So, we set our alarms and woke up at 2am to register.  And now a couple weeks have passed and it still hasn't sold out.  Oh well.  We were prepared.  Ha!

. . . . . . .

Sam and Eli are crazy reluctant to watch anything new on the TV and are also very easily spooked by anything they deem "scary."  They've only seen a handful of movies and almost always say "no" when asked if they want to watch one - whether it is new to them or not.

So, we finally convinced them to watch Finding Nemo a week or two ago.  We only made it about five minutes into the movie at which point they were both begging us to turn off the TV.  What is wrong with our children?!? It makes me both laugh and also kind of want to cry.

We tried explaining the entire plot of the movie and let them know that it has a happy ending when Nemo's daddy finds him, but they aren't having it.  ...someday.  And even though they only watched five minutes, Nemo has been a big topic of conversation around here.

. . . . . . .

The boys' birthdays are coming up in February and March and that's the big talk around here.  They are so excited.  Along with family parties, we are planning to go to Chuck E. Cheese on the night of Sam's birthday and to visit an indoor waterpark over the weekend between their birthdays.  These will both be new experiences for them, so they don't really know what to expect, but they are excited.  We need to figure out one other small outing for the actual day of Eli's birthday, but I think we will wait until closer to the day to decide that one.

. . . . . . .

Wishing you a happy and healthy weekend!

Jan 22, 2017


The past thirty days have been anything but typical.  A little shake up is okay every now and then, but I'm more than ready to settle back into a routine.

Brian and Sam started their Christmas breaks from school on the 22nd and 23rd of December, respectively.  

Since then:

  • I have spent nine nights away from home (sleeping).
  • I pulled an all-nighter at home - with kids awake for various reasons all through the night.
  • I have worked two night shifts.  I was technically also away from home these nights, but I was awake.
  • We hosted a Christmas Eve "Minute To Win It" party.
  • I said farewell to my last living grandpa.  
  • Brian had two unplanned days off of school due to ice.
  • Sam had one unplanned day off of school due to ice.  
  • I have packed a lot of suitcases - my own, plus the kids', times several trips. 
  • I have spent a lot of time with my sister - both in Lincoln and Seattle.  
  • I have spent four nights away from Brian, Sam and Eli (in Seattle).
  • We have been working on getting Maggie to sleep through the night.  (This means a lot of time listening to a baby cry in the middle of the night and praying that she will go to sleep and also not wake up her brothers.)

Plus, we did the holidays.  Which were great, but a far cry from typical life, you know?

So, I'm standing here, looking ahead at the next several months and just hoping to settle back into a rhythm.  I think it's ahead.  Maybe it's even arrived.  Crossing my fingers.  

Jan 6, 2017


Oh, these kiddos.

They are SO funny and say such great things.  Here is a sampling of recent quotes and conversations from our household:

After many conversations related to turning left, turning right or going straight.
Sam: Mama, do I have a straight hand?  

Seemingly out of nowhere, but maybe related to Snapchat or some dolls we have with removable / interchangeable heads.
Sam: Can we try new faces?  Sam can be Eli, Eli can be daddy and daddy be mama!  We can move our heads. (Pause.) Oh no!  Our heads are stuck!  
And later, overheard mumbling to himself.
Sam: We can't try new faces.  Our faces are stuck.  

Watching / listening to migrating birds.
Sam: Birds!  Have fun at South! 

Eli's standard apology script - adapted from the script we gave him and later adopted by Sam.  I first wrote this down months ago and we are still trying to work on correcting this.  
Eli: I'm sorry, ___name of offended___.  Thank you for ___offense___.  (For example:) I'm sorry Sam.  Thank you for hitting you.  

Me: Do you think Maggie could poop in the potty?
Eli: No.  She's too little.  Maybe she would go down [the drain] and we can't have a baby anymore. 

Talking to our Amazon Echo.
Sam: Alexa! Do you have a mama and daddy?

And another day, talking to Alexa.
Sam: Alexa, I hurt my ankle! Alexa, look! 

As we were talking about the difference between dairy cattle and beef cattle and noting that grandpa's cattle don't usually make milk.
Sam: They have apple juice, though!  
And when I argued otherwise, he was insistent.  
I was so confused until I realized he meant that he gets to drink apple juice at grandpa's house.  

Falling off the curb and onto the street.
His cousin: Sam! Are you okay? 
Sam (sounding really happy, surprised, relieved): A car didn't get me!

To me with my hair in a ponytail, which doesn't happen often.
Sam: Oh no! Where is your hair?!

More "kid talk."

Jan 3, 2017


We've made it to 2017!  I always love a new year and a new start.  I've chosen a word to lead me through the year and have set some related goals and intentions for the year.

I am also going to continue sharing my monthly goals here because I find that sharing my successes and failures really motivates me.  I don't like to admit defeat (or laziness).

Here's a look back at my December goals:

1. Decide on a word to be my One Little Word for 2017.  Done!  My word for the year is NURTURE.  I wrote my first post on my 2017 word here.

2. Restart core-training exercises.  
Progress.  I started the month strong with almost daily exercises and ended pretty poorly, but haven't completely stopped.  The big thing that I notice when I'm going strong is that I have much improved posture and am much more aware when I sit or stand hunched over.

3. Organize the basement desk area.  Done.  The desktop is cleaned off, which was my main goal.  I didn't clean out all of the drawers, but I went through a couple of them.  I got rid of some stuff as I went and made the desktop usable.  I don't have a lot of space in the house that feels like it is truly "mine."  I think I'm going to claim this desk space and strive to use it on a regular basis.  

4. Walk a minimum of 300,000 steps.  Yep!  Woot.  As expected, it was a bit of a challenge with sick kids, my own bout of flu, cold weather and lazy holiday days.  But, I got it done and I'm proud of myself for doing so.

5. Advent success.  Done.  I defined success as completing my advent devotional, making sure our Elf on the Shelf found a new home each night and spending lots of time reading and talking about the holiday with the kids.

Also: In one of my "currently" posts in November, I mentioned that I was trying to use our cloth diapers more consistently.  My goal was to make it to the end of the month without spending money on disposable diapers.  Happily, I made it through both November and December without buying any.

And now onto this year!  My January goals are as follows:

1. Finish four books.  This would get me off to a great start for my reading goal for the year.

2. Walk a minimum of 300,000 steps.  Again.  

3.  Do a major toy / kid stuff purge and sort.  I did this last April and it was wonderful.  I felt the benefits for many months.  I don't really think that there's that much to purge (although I may be surprised), but I think we could definitely benefit from sorting and storing some things away for a few months.

Also, Maggie is on the verge of crawling.  It is becoming something of a necessity to move all of the "little pieces" into areas where neither she nor the boys can reach them.  I think I will use the upper shelf in Sam's closet to store all the toys with tiny pieces and tell the boys they can only play with them with adult supervision and only at the table or in the basement.

4.  Finalize a "January through March Family Bucket List" and make progress on crossing things off the list.  This is something we've done in the past, but haven't done consistently.  I started a document with some ideas, but need to talk through them with Brian and see what he has to add.

The photo above is from a year ago.  It's amazing to me how the boys look both "so little" and also just like themselves.  

Dec 22, 2016


My One Little Word for 2017 is NURTURE.  

This is my fifth year doing the One Little Word project and my fourth year following along with Ali Edwards' workshop of the same name.  My previous words (in order): tomorrow, build, voice and simplify.  

There is still a bit more than a week to go before we hit January 1, but this word is already finding its way deep into my heart and head.

In a lot of ways it is a continuation of what I worked on this year - simplifying until I was left with only the good and the necessary.  I want to hold onto that good stuff and NURTURE it.  I am standing here on a firm foundation.  Now, I want to do what I can to encourage it to grow.  I don't want more.  I want stronger, deeper and richer.  I want to really lean into the good and make it my focus.  

I want to NURTURE my marriage, my kids, our little family and myself.  

I want to NURTURE the important relationships in my life.  This, of course, includes Brian and the kids, but also my sister and sisters-in-law, parents, parents-in-law and a few  close friends.  

I want to NURTURE my relationship with God. 

I want to NURTURE the idea of "life, simplified" as I came to know it in 2016.

I want to NURTURE our house and the idea of home.  

And, I have plans related to all of this.  Plans that are still in the making and that will likely change a thousand times between now and December 2017, but that are also written down and doable.

I'm not going to share each of my action plans.  But to give you an idea of what they generally look like, I am posting my list as it currently stands related to nurturing the kids:

I will:
pray for them on a regular basis, use the calendar and plan with Brian for devoted one-on-one time with each of them, work to be more present during floor time, get back to seasonal "to do lists" to encourage fun and make sure that we don't miss out on opportunities for family activities, read, read, read (good books!), demonstrate and teach our family values and beliefs.

- - - -

Everything I've written so far about my word is pretty heavily tied to 2016.  And I don't think that's a bad thing.  I think it means that I made real life-worthy progress in 2016.  But there was one big thing that I missed this year.

I missed entrepreneurial endeavors.  There is something in my nature that just wants to create things and sell them.  A strong something.  I think I've spent more time this year telling myself "no" to these ideas than to any other thing.  

It seemed fitting to say no.  I mean, this year was supposed to be about simplifying and it seems pretty unlikely that any business endeavor I might take up would be simple.  Also, giving anything a real go felt largely impossible in the midst of welcoming baby number three into our fold.  

But those ideas are there and I can't help myself from looking forward a few years and wondering how I will spend my time when the kids are all in school.  And money is part of it, too.  We are doing okay on one income, but it would be nice to feel a little less pinched.  It would be good to feel like we could sometimes let loose just a little.  

So, in 2017, I want to NURTURE these entrepreneurial thoughts.  I don't want to repeatedly tell myself "no" or tell myself to be patient.  While there is no clear cut plan ahead of me, I have thoughts and ideas that I want to explore and encourage and allow to grow.

- - - -

And that's what I've got for now - a word and a host of plans that I am excited about bringing into my life.  I think that's a pretty great place to start the new year.