Super Busy at Home

October Recap!

October came and went like a blur!  It was crazy!  

As a gentle recap, over the past 365 days I have taken on three new positions, I am now sitting on 2 boards of directors, and still homeschooling away.  It's crazy busy and most days I feel like I have lost my darn mind, but in a good fulfilling way.  And when I remember to lean into God's power and might (which I need to remember to do constantly...) I am reminded how much I can do when I do not rely on my strength but His.  

Anyway, October is my favorite month for the crispness of everything.  Do you know what I mean?  It's so great!  I was thinking of this the other day...it's crazy, weird that NOVEMBER isn't my favorite month since that one holds gratitude, my birthday, Christmas decorating, and shopping, but no, October still holds to be my favorite month.  

IMG_5694 (2).JPG

It started with this crazy brood!  We went to the pumpkin farm, picked the perfect guy, and came home to carve away!  It was so much fun.  I love our little family so much!  

And then blur, blur, blur, blur, blur and before I could fully blink we were to Halloween!  

IMG_5696.JPG

This year Calvin was ninja (in New Balance Tennis shoes because that's how I roll) and Emma was Nancy Drew.  

Seriously how stinking cute are these two kids of ours?  Oh, and since we fast forwarded to Halloween from the Pumpkin Farm you can see that the majority of my pumpkins are now rotten.  Gross!  Guys, I need legit ways to keep these suckers alive.  Help!  Every year pumpkins fall victim to my pumpkin killing and the massacre just has to end.  Do I need to bleach them?  Talk to them?  Stop singing to them?  (Just asking that last one for a friend...promise!)

Anyway, now's where we talk about the no spend challenge and you wonder what happened to the girl who started out so gung-ho at the beginning of the year and now you haven't heard from about it in a million years.  So, we are still TRYING to do the no spend challenge.  Y'all it is so hard!  So, so hard.  So we'll use the kids' costumes as an example.  Emma totally went with the no spend idea and came up with something brilliant.  We didn't spend a dime on her costume and she kept getting so many compliments.  Calvin on the other hand had one specific thing in his mind...the kid wanted to be a ninja...again.  We tried making one at home for him, talking him through it, but alas, he was insisting on the costume.  So we compromised and we purchased him a less expensive costume than what he wanted.  No kid wants to have a costume that they hate and we didn't know what to do other than compromise.  We spend $20ish dollars on this versus the $75 costumes in previous years.  See?  We're making some progress!  

The pumpkins were another issue with our no-spend year.  I had to decorate my porch. Sorry, not sorry, that's just the case.  So I took a fence panel from my neighbors free pile at their garage sale, dragged out other things I already had but had to have some pumpkins.  Last year I spent over $60 on pumpkins.  You all!  That is crazy!  So this year we found a new place to get pumpkins and for all of them they were $20.  So I spent some but not nearly as much as I was in previous years!  

But back to Halloween...

We don't really "celebrate" Halloween but we trick or treat.  

For those of you just joining us, we live in a National Historic District and we just love it!  

IMG_5730.JPG
IMG_5758.JPG
IMG_5778 (2).JPG
IMG_5736.JPG
IMG_5756.JPG

From the street lights to the brick paved streets, we love our neighborhood.  Trick or Treating always helps me to take time to pause and reflect on how beautiful our neighborhood is.  The kids trick or treating is like going through a 1950's neighborhood.  All of the historic homes and picket fences make it so cheerful and nice.  

And I have to show you this because it was hilarious...

IMG_5722.JPG

When there's a construction project why not be silly? 

So there's our recap of October!  I hope you all are enjoying your November! I've missed having time to write...gah!  Hopefully I'll be writing more! 

First Day!

Hello sweet friends! 

Today was our first day of school.  It has been a whirlwind of a summer with lots of surprises and fun time.  We spend a large portion of the summer traveling with Nick's job and seeing the world from inflatables in a lake.  It was a wonderful time filled with many memories and plenty of rest and rejuvenation.  I am so thankful for the rest because my new position started a few months earlier than initially expected! Everything has gone wonderfully and everyone has been so kind in helping me out to make sure I know what I am doing. 

Today was our first day of school and in traditional manner we took photos to commemorate the day!  It was a wonderful day.  We all started by eating zucchini cake from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook.  Our whole family loves the recipes in this book and I highly recommend it! 

This year we have started Classical Conversations.  I am so excited to be doing CC with an actual community rather than at home like we had been doing in previous years.  I think it will bring a level of accountability to the children and me to finish the work and keep up with what is going on.  Now, that doesn't mean we can't go off on a tangent like before but it will keep us focused and on task to finish out the school year.  Anyway, our Classical Conversations community has not started yet so we will be doing school lite until it gets into our full swing.  I think this is a great way for us to ease into school. 

This morning we did math, history, life skills, and computer programming.  And that was it! I think this was a perfect morning of school! 

We have used this first day of school to be the beginning for lots of good things: we've started new chore charts, we are eating exclusively Trim Healthy Mama, and we are trying really hard to get back to the no-spend plan that so many of you have been following us in! 

We have been pretty good with our not spending in most areas but some have been really difficult to maintain. 

I hope you all are enjoying summer days whether you are back to school or not!  Here are our photos from this morning.  We were blessed to have Nick with us as he has taken the week off to reno our cottage.  He came home for photos after taking my car for an oil change (I am such a lucky girl!) before he headed down to the lake cottage.  We loved having Prinicipal Witwer in our photos!

 

 

 

The Priceless Gift of Losing my Camera

After work Wednesday Nick "gave me" one of my Mother's Day gifts early...a membership to Ashley Ann's Snap Shop workshops...where she teaches you how to take totally awesome pictures. 

I was so excited!  I mean, I have wanted a membership to Snap Shop for, well, forever!  and it was so thoughtful of him to think of me. 

I quickly started going through the classes.  This was going to be the best thing ever!  The very first thing she showed was neat buttons and bells and whistles on her camera. 

"I wonder if our camera has that button?" I asked Nick. 

And that's when the trouble started. 

We quickly realized that our camera had, poof, disappeared into thin air. 

It was gone. 

I was having heart palpitations.  I felt like I was going to throw up.  I was dreading the thoughts going through my head...it's really gone. 

I felt like such an idiot.  I should have had an eagle eye on the thing.  Who loses a dslr camera?  Ugh. 

We looked and looked and looked.  Nick went to businesses, churches, everywhere looking for it.  He took the third row out of our vehicle to try to hunt it down.  We called grocery stores, grandparents, and restaurants.  But to no avail. 

That night we didn't sleep well.  In the morning we both commiserated on how it feels like it's going to just appear.  How it should be around.  What on earth could have happened to it? 

Well, Thursday morning.  I found it. 

I woke Emma up for school and like all good fairy tale stories start, I was yelling at Emma. 

Does anyone else's children have a million backpacks that they hang up with stuff still in them?  I was going through a bag she had taken to play practice daily (the play has been practiced, performed, and we're done with it by the way) and there in the bag sat at least one outfit of hers, a water bottle, on and on.  I reached for her bag she takes to Awana's and that's when I felt the familiar weight and cylinder of the big lense. 

It had been found. 

This is a fairly boring story, I realize, except to say that there's nothing like losing something to make you realize how much you love something.  Aside from Easter and the Awana ceremony where the camera had been put in said bag, I hadn't used that camera for probably a good six months. 

Oh sure, I would snap a few "hey it's your birthday" shots but nothing in terms of capturing the every day.  Nothing to try to catch the glint in my kids' eyes when they are reading with Daddy.  Or the furrowed brow when they are building with legos. 

I had lost the desire to capture the every day.  It had become mundane to me.  There was no more magic in the daily. 

Or so I thought.  This morning I used the camera for the first time in months.  It felt like a raw and opened part of me was exposed again. 

And I kind of liked it. 

Seeing your life through the eye of a lens makes you see things you don't otherwise notice.  The way natural lights makes everything look amazing. 

How fun breakfast can be when you're poring over a random catalog of fireworks that came to your house (did they know we have a boy living here???). 

And how beautiful the view is out my window as I write this blog this afternoon. 

I am so thankful I found my camera.  Not only because, hello?, it was so super expensive, but because it has given me a new perspective to start seeing life through the lens again. 

And that is something that is priceless.

Release the Red Balloon

What a whirlwind it has been lately around here! 

School is still going full steam ahead...well, I guess that's not completely true as we've had a couple of sputtering times but we are homeschooling year round this year and not ending until late-ish July so we have to be full steam ahead!

April was a time of such huge change for me personally! 

I went from not working to accepting three, count 'em three!, positions in April!  I am now helping to clean our church, I will be a Classical Conversations tutor next school year (super duper excited!) and starting this autumn I will be the director of a church camp! 

God has blessed us in immeasurable ways and I just have to share a bit of a back story with you about all of this...

Emma is getting ready to go into the 6th grade.  The parochial school in our area that we have been eying (for years!) starts when students are in the 7th grade.  Needless to say that we have been praying like crazy about this decision and whether to send her to school rather than continuing to homeschool her.  And we're still praying about that so prayers appreciated! However, with the talk of private school came the talk that if the kiddos are in school then I am going to have to go back to work. 

Nick said this.  I more or less just cried and threw things like a toddler. 

I really and truly feel in my spiritual gut that I was made to be a momma at home.  I am a traditional housewife all the way.  Bread making, clothes washing, bed making kind of momma.  And just the thought of taking myself out of that setting made me sick to my stomach.  Literally. 

But once I stopped crying and throwing things (not really, I'm not cool enough to do that) I was able to quiet myself to listen to the God voice that, of course, spoke some sense into me.

God was asking me, "why would I give you a desire to stay at home and not take care of your needs to make sure you're where I want you?" 

That was a total duh, smack me upside the head, kind of moment.  Of course God has this. 

There is no need to worry.

So at that moment (back in February) I gave it to God.  Red balloon out of my hand, wafting up to God, I didn't pull it back to worry more, I just sent it up to God. 

And then in a weeks time it was like lightening.  I got the camp job.  I had a job at Notre Dame offered to me full time.  I had a magazine writing job fall in my lap. A bank was interested in me freelancing for them.  The church was wondering if I'd like to clean.  We joined Classical Conversations and there was this opportunity to help out. 

It was unbelievable. 

There is nothing else I could say other than truly, jaw dropping unbelievable. 

And this isn't about me, this is about God and what He can do in your life, my life, anyone's life, when we just let it go to let Him.  Let Him. 

Friends, wherever you are in your life right now, whatever you are going through, I hope this can be an encouragement to you.  Please let go of the worry.  Of the doubt.  Of the feeling that you have to have control and have an end in sight and know where you are going.  Because you don't.  God's got this.  Truly he does. 

So open your hand and release your red balloon.  Imagine it flying up to God and you aren't going to even try to take that worry and that burden back.  Just give it to Him and trust him with it. 

I promise He has good in store for you.  More good than you'll be able to shake a stick at.

Love you.