Sunday, January 11, 2015

Thankfullness - 1000 Gifts July I

1. 4 Gifts Heard

- Beauty of four blended voices in a cappella. Thank you Pentatonix for adding some memorable sound to our Christmas this year.


2. A Gift Outside, Inside, and on a plate

- A visit to the Billy Graham library with the beauty of Christmas lights all around, a fire and Christmas stories inside, and a cup of hot chocolate at home to warm up.


3. 3 Graces you overheard

- Whispered to a baby brother, "I love you."

- A conversation between two residents over the phone, comparing their Christmases. And the statement of the one with us about how "Christmas should be about spending time with family" (although this is not her history of Christmases). Warm fuzzies that she has seen this new concept.

- "I like your hair," one resident from another cottage to one of the girls here (whose hair I did). Some needed validation :)

4. A Gift Old, New, Blue

- Red Touchscreen gloves for free which look lovely with my red scarf given to me a few years ago with my darling blue coat. I feel stylish.

5. Something you're reading, making, seeing

- A show that awakens and intrigues the mind, a pleasant heightening of tension and suspense without overt negative words or images, and a satisfactory conclusion to it all--Poirot.

6. One thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart

 - suckers for the child needing a bit of sweet pacification on the road

- a chilled bottle of Kombucha for a tired day needing a pick me up

- whispered sweetness from my love


7. 3 Graces from people you love

- squeezy baby hugs, even when I'm tired of holding him, my heart still melts.

- "You're the best mommy ever!"

- Words of affirmation from my darling, letting me know I'm doing well in our relationship.

8. Dusky light, surprising reflection, lovely shadow

- A very full moon, hidden on the horizon, a freezing cold night of lovely clearness.

9. A gift held, passed by, sat with

- a cuddly four year old who wants to snuggle and nap with me

- two happy children, playing nicely, sharing, and being kind. What else can any mommy ask? So i left them alone to continue.

- A sad child who trusts enough to talk to us and seek advice and support.

10. A gift sour, sweet, just right

- lemon meringue pie. seriously. What better thing can one taste?

11. 3 Graces from people you love

- a super mom cape for Christmas--because that's just fun

 - kindness shown from a big sister to a little brother--it warms my heart to see her care

- a blown goodnight kiss from a child who came to me angry and affection avoidant

Friday, January 9, 2015

7 Quick Takes (vol. 36)

#1 - 60 hours and I leave to go home!!!!!!!! I'm not excited or anything, can you tell? We're all packed other than a last few little things to throw in at the last minute. We've spent the week putting away Christmas decorations around the cottage, getting the cottage cleaned up and prepped for us being gone, and cleaning up our own humble 400 sq feet. The clock is ticking at a steady pace, and I'm feeling like when we leave I will leave my house in a good state to come back to, which was the goal.

#2 - Been looking for some cute kid-friendly "thank you" cards. I've pinned several lately, but I particularly like this style, at least for the current age we're at. I'm thinking: things to do on the many hours on airplanes coming up.

kids coloring–thank you cards –free printable

#3 - Trying to teach our squirrely older five Settlers of Catan. Three of them have played before (although either a long time ago or just a few times), and the other two have never played before. Chris is playing, and I'm being general adviser. Which is very tricky when you know what everyone has and are trying to advise fairly. And those you are advising have brains made of sieves....


#4 - In my never ending search for homeschool ideas and resources, I ran across this little article the other day: How I’m Using Spiral Notebooks to Simplify Homeschooling.   I like this article with it's simple view on how to organize, especially when juggling a lot. I feel this is something that's going to be very useful in a few years.


#5 - I bought Chris the board game Pandemic for Christmas. It is proving to be such a fun game! Totally a cooperative-play game, which is nice. Perfect for two people. And a quick play. Plus you save the world. Really, what is there not to love?


#6 - Other games we bought for Christmas: Dixit and Say Anything. These are really fun games as well. Dixit is like Apples to Apples but with pictures. Very imagination and family friendly. Say Anything can be hysterically funny and very thought-provoking depending on (a) who is playing and (b) how tired you are.


#7 - One of my more recent creations--the never ending rope. Fast, fun, easy, and cute:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Daybook January 7, 2015

Outside my is a cold and blustery day. No, really. It is. It's also very dark out there as it is only 6:30am. Why am I writing at 6:30am? Because I'm trying something new. I have laid out a blog schedule for every day (not for each blog that I have, just a rotation of them), and as I have to be up at 5:30am every week morning, I'm trying to write in the wee hours to stay up on my blogs and, more importantly, my writing. We'll see how it works out. I normally come out, get the elementary girls up (of which I only have two currently), and do my devotions as they run through their school-morning routine on auto-pilot (they leave so early in the morning, they eat breakfast at school, and they are well-trained in what they need to do in the morning to the point where even our Relief Houseparents comment that they just get through their mornings with minimal input--goal achieved!). Normally when I'm done devotioning, I start working on some of the paperwork etc I need to do. But I'm determined to use this time for writing instead. It keeps me center in the cottage so I'm there to keep an eye on things and help as needed, but still use my peaceful morning to the best of my abilities.

I am thinking...of my countdown to Thailand currently going on--five more days!!! Yes, I'm excited. Getting giddy in fact. But with lots to do in the meantime, which is good because it makes the time go fast.

I am thankful for...a job that allows me to be able to travel like this. Not all the time, of course, but I do love our schedule here.

From the learning rooms...[or in our case--the learning brain]...we've been focusing on (what else!) Thailand the last week. Teaching Blue how to say Saw-wat-di-ka and kop-kun-ka (Hello/Goodbye and thank you). Reading The Little blue Tuk Tuk, and some other books on Thailand we have. Prepping her for some probable poking and prodding as the inevitable of being a cute, blond, little girl over there.

From the kitchen...

I am wearing...nothing exciting. Just jeans and a shirt. Oh, and my lovely new treble clef earrings that were my Christmas present from my husband.

I am New Year's resolutions. I know, I know. New Year's is over now, but I have found that I like to spend the first month of the year contemplating how I want to tackle the rest of the year and then starting in on those plans in February. Otherwise, in the hustle and bustle of December, I never really feel like I get much contemplation time in regarding these things. What can I say? I'm a planner.

I am hopefully get some new dishes for the cottage today. We're currently working with two very miss-matched sets that don't have enough of either set to form a full table (granted, we require lots of dishes for our meals, but still!). It'd be nice to just have one or even two sets that blend nicely.

In my mailbox today.. .I don't know! However, I do need to finish my Christmas thank you cards and get those sent out. And then perhaps someday I'll actually send out a Christmas New Years greeting of some sort. Sigh.

I am reading.. .Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gift. A book I've been wanting to read for awhile, and also a Christmas gift from my husband-dear.

I am go back to a more paleo-esque diet when we return from Thailand. Tried it out in November/first part of December and actually really liked it (took me about a year to work up the courage to try it, lol!). Lost 5 pounds in 5 weeks with no effort, and had more energy. December was rough and I finally just gave up in disgust, knowing something had to give somewhere and doing the cooking that was necessary to make the paleo work was it. However, now that I have tried it and know what I'm looking at and what will need to be done to eat that way, I'm actually looking forward to making that a regular part of my life this next year (with exceptions along the way). We'll see how I feel after several months.

I am hearing...the heat blowing through the vents. The chatter of the twins as they get ready for the day. And the vague sound of someone's radio playing worship music. Good start to the morning.

Around the Christmas decorations are almost entirely down. I started yesterday, planning on just putting a few things away. Well, I managed to get everything packed and ready to be stored. What is left is the outdoor lights (only one string this year), and the tree itself, and the boxes. All of which are lucky husband's job to do. I was originally thinking it would have to wait until we got back from Thailand, so yes, I'm patting myself on the back over this one!

One of my favorite things...watching my children play together. Blueberry is a great big sister, determined to teach Baby Z well, and Baby Z absolutely adores her and generally likes to follow her lead (although he is decidedly opinionated still on what he wants to do).

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • finish the last bits of packing (mostly ready to go, just the final things to toss in)
  • go out to dinner with the cottage! We were blessed with a very kind donation to let us go out to dinner and a movie as a cottage. A rare treat in our lives. Haven't told the girls yet, but they will be super excited when we do.
  • get thank you cards written and squared away
  • get the cottage in shape to pass down to our relief's while we are gone
  • get my house clean and tidy before we go so I can come back to peace and not chaos
Here is picture (or more) for thought I am sharing...

I love this picture of my Blueberry. This was her first Christmas performance-type-thing she's ever done. I was worried she wasn't going to participate, but in the end she did and had a blast.

Want to join in? Go check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

“There’s always something to look at if you open your eyes.” – Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison

Friday, January 2, 2015

7 Quick Takes (vol. 35)

#1 - The ending of last year and the beginning of this year has been quite full, almost like a crazy version of the 12 days of Christmas. 19 Christmas parties in 10 days, followed by three cases of the flu, Christmas visitors in the form of my big brother and sister-in-law, two friends dealing with tragedy, and a very long trip to Tennessee to help one of said friends.

#2 - My harrowing trip to Tennessee went something like this: The plan - 3.5 hour trip with Z in time to arrive and watch two little girls while their mommy has a hard day. The actuality: sheeting rain followed by thick fog followed by an insane GPS that changed my directions in the middle of the craziness and sent me into the mountains instead of the direct route I intended to follow (apparently the normal road was under major construction). After realizing the turn I was on was not the one I wanted, I went ahead and took that route because it would get me there relatively close to the time the other path would have, just a much more windy route. All fine and well until the road stopped due to a major accident that stopped both directions of traffic. Long story short, my trip turned into a 6.5 hour trek complete with at least one moment of tearful breakdown....and one son who had one as well.

#3 - Despite my own tiredness from the long shift and the exhausting drive, I'm glad I was able to go for a few days to help out Hillery. Her mother died just before Christmas. There's nothing more helpless-feeling inducing than seeing a dear one hurting and not being able to help. My ability to help here has still been limited, but going for a few days to be there, clean house, help cook, and generally try to be supportive was the best I could do. In times like this, what is one to say other than to give love.


#4 - I will now spend the last few off days of this week packing and preparing for Thailand! Yayness! Seven years, it has been, since I've been home. I can't wait, despite the long flight we face with our two little ones. Lord help us and everyone traveling around us!


#5 - I've been enjoying some Poirot recently. Netflix just released several new seasons, and it's been delightful watching his "leetle gray cells" at work. As these are all later seasons, I'm not as familiar with these episodes as I am earlier ones. The fresh mystery is always fun.


#6 - This is the second Christmas in a row that Blueberry has come down with the flu around Christmas. I'm grateful that other than the coughing that lasted for quite awhile, both she and Z recovered relatively quickly and painlessly, and both were able to actually participate in and enjoy their Christmas year.  Favorite present--a tunnel and a small trampoline to keep my two bouncy children, well, bouncing!


#7 -