Category Archives: Random

Overdue Over Here

First things first: THANK YOU for your lovely responses to my earlier post this week. Y’all are too kind, and I am grateful for this online sisterhood.

Welp…

I’m just over here not having a baby, so I figured I’d check in with a bit o’ this and that, since it’s a lovely, sunshiney, crisp (15 degrees, that’s cold for us!) Saturday, and I should be cleaning, but…this is more fun?

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve had a lot fewer “fake” labor sessions this time, and that remains true, for which I’m grateful.

But I did have one big tease on Wednesday night, when the contractions started rolling in around 6 PM (WHY must I always start labor at night??) and kept coming/worsening until around 3 AM, when they just…quit.

Thing is, I was actually pretty grateful that they tapered off because Theo woke up throwing up at midnight, and I was honestly trying to figure out how in the world to be in labor and hold a puking toddler. I was pretty much pleading with the Lord to pick a different night.

Thankfully, the contractions did, indeed, go away, and the bug was very short-lived (and thanks to grape juice + activated charcoal, nobody else got it…BEST DISCOVERY EVER).

Of course, then, the contractions sputtered back to life, so we took all of the kids to my super nice mama’s house. And then…the contractions quit. Nobody (least of all me) was surprised, but since we were kidless, and it was too late to get the kids again, we took the opportunity to grab dinner and a movie (LaLa Land…probably the most enjoyable/well done movie I’ve seen in at least a year).

Then, yesterday morning, I scored a last minute appointment with the masseuse that shares my midwife’s office (my midwife had been telling me I needed to get a “labor prep” massage with her if I went past 40 weeks, but I hadn’t actually expected to get the chance), and she did a number on all of my tight muscles. It was good/painful all at once. I have no idea if the massage will help me go into labor (supposedly, it could), but I did discover that she was 1 of 9 kids and that I had taught her brother (the oldest) Spanish at the tiny high school where I started fresh out of college. Cue: It’s a Small World. (Sorry).

So…as soon as I clean my house (again) and the kids and I make 5 more freezer meals today, I’m aaaaalll ready to go into labor.

Ha! As if that’s what the baby is waiting for.

Speaking of prepared, I’m finding it very funny what a cliched mama of many I am. With my first, I was suuuuper ready. Nursery! Check. Baby clothes! Check. Bassinet! Check. Diaper cream! Check. You name-the-random-probably-unnecessary-item. Check, check!!

More or less the same with my 2nd-4th/5th for various reasons (only the second kid, first girl…TWINS!).

But with Theo, I was considerably more lax.

And with this one?

Well, here’s what I got, folks.

ready

{I got the Moses basket from Amazon but from their warehouse section, so it was considerably cheaper than the list price, and the adorable otter is from my friend Theresa’s shop}

I figure if he’s clothed, diapered (how are their bums ever that small?), has a blankie to keep him warm, and a place to sleep…well, I’ve got the milk-makers, so we’re golden.

Clearly, I’m not that antsy about this kid’s arrival. I’m actually grateful for another day to prepare a little more and for the Lord’s peace in the process because it’s made me crazy in the past.

Speaking of crazy (you’ll see just how awkward this transition is in a sec), I mentioned in my “house deals” post a little while back that one of my biggest discoveries has been the clearance section of Wayfair.com.

WELL.

Perhaps the craziest of the crazy deals (see? awkward segue) I’ve scored have been 3 (!!) of these leather poufs that I’ve loved for ages but never been willing to shell out for.

I’ve gotten a tan one, seen here:

leather pouf

A deep, rich brown one (haven’t taken it out of the box yet other than to look it over, but it’s purdy)…

And this turquoise beauty.

leather pouf1

EACH of these poufs typically range from $130 (in certain colors) to crazy prices like $400 (for the exact same product…I don’t get it).

Well, I scored all 3 of mine for: $180!! (shipped).

How? Wayfair has them in stock all of the time, and they typically have several on major clearance. You just have to look for the little text below the listing that says something like: “Buy clearance items from: $_______.”

So! The tan and the brown were $60 and $65 respectively, and the turquoise? FORTY DOLLARS, y’all.

They’re all in perfect shape and seem very well made, and the only reason I can think for the constant supply of clearanced colors is that they are made from goat leather and come with a very peculiar smell attached to them. Like…it’s not pleasant. If you read the reviews, everyone acknowledges this, but most people say they air out after a while or respond to essential oils or other odor-ridding methods.

Because of our rental houses (and the funky smells that often accompany them once their occupants have vacated), we have an ozone machine, so I’m keeping my poufs stored in the garage until we move, at which point, I will shut them in a room with the ozone machine for a few hours (which removes pretty much any stank from any thang).

ANYway, I just thought I’d share that little nugget–just in case you, too, have liked the look of these poufs but been unwilling to pay the full price.

And now that I’ve spilled my bargain guts, don’t any of you go buying the emerald green one if it goes on major sale. I’ve got it in my sights!

Another fun find?

This Novogratz9 velvet tufted sofa.novogratz sofa

I haven’t ordered it yet, but I’m seriously considering it for the girls’ playroom (kind of loving the idea of the pink version up against all of those teal butterflies in that wallpaper I bought).

It’s kind of small and ridiculously cheap (best price I’ve found is from Walmart–only $350!!), but the reviews are decent, and it folds down into a bed for extra sleep space, so…we’ll see. I’m not quite ready to bite the bullet, but I definitely have my eye on it.

I just need to sell off a few more household items we won’t be moving to pay for it. (Thank goodness for Facebook swap n’ shops).

Oh-so-fascinating side note: Lindsay’s brother is in film/commercials in L.A., and he recently got married there to a girl in advertising, who knows the Novogratz family (with whom I was only vaguely familiar but who are apparently well-known enough to have a furniture line) well enough that they insisted on her having the small wedding in their home.

So, yeah. My best friend has been to a wedding at the home of famous people. Which has nothing to do with me (except that she borrowed one of my dresses to wear, which means I was pretty much there, right?) but is still kind of a fun tidbit.

Aaaaand…what else?

Nope, I think I’ve rambled on long enough, and my children are acting hungry (imagine), so I supposed I’ll sign off with a Happy Weekend! 

If you feel led to pray for a speedy, painless (ahem) delivery very soon, I won’t object one bit!

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Brain Dump

Emily has these cute little posts she does called “Coffee Chats” which are basically her chance to talk about all the random things she’s been mulling over/doing in her life without having to have a specific post “theme” or title.

Well, that’s what today is for me.

Except I don’t drink coffee. Like at all. I once ordered a hot chocolate and, upon tasting the tiniest sip, immediately knew something was wrong; Lindsay, who is a coffee addict, tried it and said, “Nope, there’s no coffee in there,” but when I asked the barista, he said, “Oh! I think I did add a little shot of espresso.” Mmm hmm. I’m not sure if that means that my taste buds are over-developed or Lindsay’s are dulled, but either way, no coffee for me, thanks.

I don’t drink iced tea either. So, this is not an iced tea chat (but how charming and Southern would that be?).

I do drink HoCho, but the mere thought of something that hot on these blazing Texas summer days is enough to make me shudder. Oh! And Icees. But that might give us all brain freezes.

So…brain dump it is (see above: I think I already got a pretty good start on the concept).

Of course, the thing that’s been occupying my brain the most is the tragedy in Dallas last Thursday.

(If you don’t live in the States, 5 policemen were killed by a deranged sniper at a “Black Lives Matter” rally).

I’ve pretty much run the gamut of emotions–sadness, anger, frustration, futility–and prayed (and talked to my husband) about it a lot.

Ultimately, I know that we live in a sin-ravaged world in which hateful acts are going to be perpetuated by every skin color on the planet. That’s par for the course–as our pastor reminded us yesterday when he pointed out that some of the deadliest race riots in our country happened 100 years ago. Like Ecclesiastes says, there’s nothing new under the sun. Until the Lord returns, we will always struggle to love our fellow man.

I am grateful, though, for reminders that the Lord is constant–that none of this turmoil means that he has abandoned us or forfeited one iota of his sovereignty or his gracious loving kindness. Regardless of the sinful acts of man: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” (Psalm 145:8-9).

On a similar note, a black reader-friend contacted me, asking my perspective (as a white woman) on all of the racial turmoil our country is facing, and I was really honored by her trust. She’s a fellow Christian, and we’ve had good talks about various topics via message in the past (definitely the type of lady you wish you could sit down and chat with in real life). Of course, our experiences and perspectives differ, but I think we both agree that the main problem here is sin nature, so I mostly just sent her a link to this article which is so well-written and does such a good job of taking a lot of the emotional factors out of the issue, since it focuses on statistics and numbers instead.

Another recommendation to balance that one out? The Logan Family series from Mildred D. Taylor. Namely Song of the Trees, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and Let the Circle Be Unbroken. I read them with the kids, and even though they are heavy and hard in some parts, there is so much insight (especially for a white person) into the legacy of racism that still taints our nation’s history. And Taylor, who is black, does an amazing job of characterization without caricaturing. She writes with great pathos, while still seeming to lack a vendetta.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what kind of music you should listen to while you’re scrubbing your kitchen and praying and feeling sorrow over the state of the world…

I highly recommend Ellie Holcomb. Her voice is gorgeous and haunting. Her lyrics are poignant (and often straight from scripture), and her vibe is just so peaceful.

This is my motto in life at the moment. Not because mine is so hard (it isn’t) but just because it’s a good reminder.

hard is not the same thing as bad

It will be available in the Paint and Prose shop soon, in case you also need the reminder.

Oh, and this one too.

feathers

I love the verse, and I’m kind of obsessed with those feathers. (Be on the lookout for both of these in the shop soon).

We’re leaving for our wedding trip/vacation to Colorado tomorrow night, and I am in full-on packing mode.

I’ve been shopping and setting clothes aside and making lists and planning snacks for days, but as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m diving elbow deep in suitcases (wish me luck; this whole packing for 8 people business is no joke, especially when you’re all required to look put together and presentable for 5 straight days).

At the moment, I’m trying to plan our food for the drive itself.

I need stuff that’s easily passed out and consumed with a minimum of mess. I’m also shooting for healthy(ish).

So far, I’ve got:

  • homemade Lara bars
  • homemade banana muffins
  • homemade chocolate chip cookies (not healthy at all but sooooo yummy)
  • fruit
  • graham crackers
  • peanut butter crackers
  • fruit leathers
  • nuts + trail mix

Any other brilliant suggestions for me?

Speaking of suggestions, I know I’ve asked you plenty of times before what your favorite books are (I need to go back and look at your answers), but if any of y’all have suggestions of books that are super-engaging for long stretches, feel free to share.

We’ll mostly be driving at night (we did this last year, and, outside of leaving Shaun and me a bit zonked the next day, it actually worked really well). And I find that some audiobooks keep me captivated for long stretches while others require a break every hour or so. I need to download some of the “can’t-put-it-down” ones to keep me awake on those long night-driving stretches.

Thanks for all your hairdo suggestions!

I’m thinking I’ll go with a low chignon/braid combo…if I can get my ultra-thick, ultra-layered (the braids tend to end up with sprigs sticking everywhere when your hair is not all one length) hair to cooperate. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of photographic evidence.

Speaking of pictures…

I’m almost completely out of my Younique BB cream that I love so much and didn’t leave myself enough time to order more before the trip, so I decided to take advantage of my Amazon gift card win from last week and order a new brand because of a friend’s suggestion +  glowing reviews (thank goodness for Prime shipping). I was also thisclose to ordering this pore-minimizing finishing powder to go with it when I read a review that said it should NOT be worn to events where you might be captured by flash photography, since the reflective nature of the powder renders your skin completely white in the photos. PHEW! You’d think they might mention that in the product description! Anyhoo, I’m not sure if you should consider yourself lucky or unlucky that I won’t have any pictures of me as a mime to show you after the wedding, but I know I’m sure relieved.

Aaaaaaand…that’s it. I do believe that I have sufficiently dumped most of the contents of my current brain situation right on this screen.

So, so scintillating, I know. Hope your Monday is off to a great start, friends. I’ll just be packing for the next 8 hours.

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Crushing…

Currently crushing on…

1. This yogurt.

crushing

It’s practically better than ice cream. Especially now that we’ve got the Holy Grail of all ice cream–Blue Belle Homemade Vanilla–back in stock in our area, and it just. doesn’t. taste. the. same. (Shaun and I both get hints of an onion aftertaste now, which is: a) disturbing and b) disgusting).

Of course, the yogurt is made even better when paired with…

2. This granola (and some berries).

crushing1

I still honestly prefer my homemade version, but when I don’t have time to drive across town to the health food store for sesame seeds, Bear Naked is a yummy (and relatively healthy) easily accessible option (I get mine at Walmart).

3. This amazing deal on little girl boots.

crushing2

Yup. $9.99 each and free shipping on orders over $25. (There are more styles than the ones featured in that pic). I stocked up for the girls for this fall and still spent less than I would have on one pair of boots at retail. Woot!

4. These sunglasses

crushing3

They’re not cheap. I bought mine secondhand, and they STILL weren’t cheap. But you know what?

crushing4

I haven’t lost them. Or scratched them up.  Or let the twins get their grubby mitts on them. And that pic above is from Instagram, which informs that I’ve had them for at LEAST 30 weeks. Which, sadly, has got to be some kind of record for me. It turns out that, for me at least, knowing how much I paid for a pair of sunglasses really does motivate me to keep up with them.

6. Les Mills Grit.

I’ve been a fitness instructor for 9 years. But I’ve never taught anything quite this intense, and I have to admit that I love it. And hate it. But mostly love it. :)

7. This phone case

crushing5

Okay, in all fairness, I don’t HAVE this one yet (it’s on its way in the mail). But I love the look of it, and I have one that is exactly the same concept with a rubbery inner layer and a hard shell outer layer that I’m convinced has saved me from smashing my screen to bits many times over (not to mention protecting it juuuust long enough for me to snag my phone out of the toilet when it fell out of my waistband and plopped right in as I was leaning over to give Theo a bath).

Runners up: Audible (I think I’ve listened to 4 books in the last month) and One Year Bible Online (either Shaun or I read to the kids every morning, and I love being able to do it on my phone).

Anything you’re crushing on lately?

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Lady Mondegreen

So, I posted this picture of Della and her…um…interesting rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” to Instagram yesterday.

mondegreen

“Mary had a little lamb, its fleas were white as snow.” Della, age 4

And I had a comment that basically just said the word, “Mondegreen.” And I was all, huh? Probably about how you’re feeling as you check out Della’s fuzzy earmuffs in the midst of the August heat (what can I say? Girl loves her some earmuffs).

So, naturally, I looked it up. And here’s what I discovered.

In 1954, an American writer named Sylvia Wright coined the term “mondegreen” in her essay entitled “Lady Mondegreen,” which was, apparently, a common mishearing/pronunciation of the phrase: “laid him on the green” in the Scottish ballad “The Bonnie Earl O’Moray.”

mondegreen1

{Clearly, Della is shocked at her own linguistic faux pas}

Eventually, the word “mondegreen”–meaning the (mis)use of similar sounding words to substitute for the actual phrases in a song/lyric, thus changing the meaning of the song–was added to the dictionary. (Although my computer does not seem to have gotten that memo, since it insists on adding a squiggly red line to it each time I type it).

You may have found yourself drifting off a bit by now, but for me and my word-loving, grammar-geeky heart, this was a fascinating discovery.

If for no other reason than that I now know what I was doing when, as a child, I sang the words: “In Him we live and move and have our beans.” (Our being)

Or when my best friend, Ronda, sang: “God’s not dead. He is Elijah!” (He’s alive).

We were mondegreening. (Okay, so I don’t think it’s supposed to be used as a verb, but whatever. It’s a made up word ABOUT made up words. Who’s going to call me on it?)

I’m sure there are AAAAALLL kinds of other examples I could come up with if I tried really hard, but it’s late as I’m typing this, and I don’t have the brain-power to brush my teeth, much less wrack my brain for mondegreens from times gone by.

Which is where you come in. Did you Lady Mondegreen it up as a kid? Or maybe your own children have invented a few creative phrases of their own?

Be a dear, and share, won’t you?

P.S. Runners up from our FB page include: “Lead on, oh kinky turtle” (Oh King, Eternal) and “Gather around the thorny turtle” (throne eternal). Clearly, kids have pond creatures more than eternity on their minds.

P.P.S. Oh! I thought of a couple more “adult” ones. Ever heard the Taylor Swift song: “Blank Space?” Raise your hand if you thought the phrase: “Starbucks lovers,” is in it. (It’s not). Or how about an old throwback to Elton John and his “electric boobs” (electric boots) from Benny and the Jets??! Oooooh, I can already tell this is going to be fun(ny)!

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This is a bad joke

So, if my title gave you anxiety that this post was going to be negative, let me just clear that up right away by assuring you that this post is, indeed, actually about bad jokes. Specifically the ones perpetuated by my hilariously unhilarious children.

But first!

A quick PSA: if you read this post and wanted to get your hands on some wraps but didn’t win the giveaway or want to shell out full-price (or even wholesale price!), then you might want to take advantage of a really good special my friend, Lindsay, (whom you met in that post) is running through tonight.

Anyone who signs up to be a distributor (you don’t actually have to distribute anything; I’m technically a “distributor” because I thought, “Hey! Since I already order the products, I might as well get the discount PLUS bonuses,” but I’m about as clueless about the business part of it as they come) gets a FREE box of wraps (usually $99) with their usual sign-up kit.

You can text/call Lindsay at: 9 zero 3-three 6 3- 5 nine zero 1 OR email her at: jiminy7798{at}aol{dot}com

And if you’re on Facebook or Instagram (click either of those links to enter), you can enter to win a free facial or body wrap (your choice!) just by finding out more info from Lindsay.

And THAT’S no joke!

Neither, it turns out, is this…even though it’s Evy’s (age 2 1/2) favorite in the whole wide world.

Evy: Knock knock

Me: Who’s there

Evy: Dragon

Me: Dragon who?

Evy: DRAGON!!!! (Cackles maniacally)

Me:

twins

{So, the real questions is: is Evy crying because of her own horrible joke-telling or because Nola’s letting something even stinkier than her Knock Knock Jokes fly?}

Seriously, people. She would keep at this winner, using the exact same wording and tone of voice, until the breath left her body if I didn’t eventually crack and hide in the bathroom after the 42nd repetition.

But she’s not the only Knock Knock Joke Offender.

About a month ago, my kids and I were in the kitchen finishing breakfast when Simon (7 1/2) let this one slip:

S: Knock knock

Me: Who’s there?

S: Fire

Me: Fire who?

S: Fire that’s gonna burn your house down!

Me:

poser

{Della says: “I may not be able to tell a joke, but I sure can smolder!” Heaven, help us. I’m not even sure where this is coming from, but it worries me}

After surveying the other kids, I discovered that not one of them had even an inkling of how to formulate a decent, or even coherent, Knock Knock Joke. Not even Ezra (9 in two days), who is (and this is not just motherly pride talking) really bright and perceptive. He gets allegory and metaphor, for crying out loud. But Knock Knock Jokes?

Fuhgedduhboutit.

So, right then and there, we had a Knock Knock Joke boot camp. I did my best to explain the concept of “play on words.”

And mostly got a lot of this:

Evy and Nola:

Simon:

Della:

Ezra: Uuuuuummm (as he wrinkled his forehead in obvious pain of concentration and attempted comprehension)

Theo: Goo goo ga ga (Pretty sure he nailed it. If only I spoke baby)

dazed

{I know, Theo. That’s exactly how I feel about their jokes too! #justsmileandnod}

My abstract methodology was a total bust, so we got down and dirty with actual examples and then tried making up some of our own…like this one:

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Theo

Theo who?

Theo gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.

Slaps knee.

Or

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Buddha

Buddha, who?

Buddha my bread for me, would you?

Badum-bum

ANYhoo, after about 20 minutes of painfully bad Knock Knock Jokes interspersed with 2 or 3 sort-of-kind-of correct ones…

Ezra more or less got it. Yes, just Ezra. Well, and Theo, obviously.

Seriously, I’ve always assumed that Knock Knock Jokes were way down there at the bottom of the joke pile. But no. Apparently they’re more intricate, nuanced, and sophisticated that I could have even imagined.

So, now I have to know. Are your kids bad at Knock Knock Jokes too? Obviously, mine are…although I have to admit that Evy tells her “joke” with such enthusiasm and personality that I genuinely crack up every single time.

Care to share your foolproof Knock Knock Jokes? I’m determined to get these kids of mine to understand the concept eventually, and I need lots of examples! My made-up ones are pretty bad.

At what age do you feel like your kids finally start actually “getting” the concept of humor? Ezra likes to say, “You’re being sarcastic!” and feeling super proud of himself for noticing if I say something like: “Now, that’s a greeeeeat idea,” when they climb up on a tall object to jump off or something (I know. Nominate me for Mom of the Year). But, even though he can be clever, his humor is still very literal. Which is kind of completely not the point.

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It’s Fri-YAY! Let’s eat some carrot cake…

So, I had a #Mamalifehack all lined up to show you today, but after a week without Shaun here (not a bad week at all…just, you know, a WEEK), I thought that perhaps the best Mama-tip I could share today might be this one.

cake

And that would be…when you’ve had “a week,” allow yourself a slice of THEE best carrot cake you will ever taste.

{I know it looks like chocolate cake, but it isn’t; that’s just what happens when you take your pictures with the last slivers of the day’s light}

I have posted about it at least twice before (and every single time I’ve made it for any event, people have asked for the recipe). But I made it again yesterday as a bribe reward for the kids being suuuuper helpful with chores (oh, and because…cake), and it was so amazingly moist and melt-in-your-mouth-yummy that I just had to share again. I did.

A couple of tips:

1. Pay NO mind whatsoever to the bake time. I have no idea why it suggests 35 minutes for a three layer cake, but mine took 20 on the dot (and I’d say my oven cooks pretty accurately), and if I’d cooked it a couple of minutes longer, it would have been too dry.

2. If you like nuts at all, DO add some chopped up pecans to the batter. OH. MY. It adds so much depth to the flavor and texture.

3. This recipe calls for 1 cup and 1/2 of vegetable oil (!!!), so I like to make it a teeeensy bit healthier by turning 1/2 a cup of that into apple sauce. It makes everything even moister without adding unnecessary oil. (I’ve done it with a cup of apple sauce too, and it was still great).

4. If you don’t have an awesome cream cheese icing recipe, you can try mine (which is more of a “recipe” than a recipe, if you know what I’m sayin’):

  • 8 oz. (FULL FAT) cream cheese (slightly softened)
  • 1/2 stick of butter (slightly softened)
  • 2-3 tbs. of milk
  • 32 oz. of good quality powdered sugar (I don’t care about name brand stuff, but, trust me, in this case, it makes a difference)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Whip your softened cream cheese + butter until creamy, then add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until it begins to take on a frosting texture. When it gets too thick to spread, add the milk + vanilla. Keep adding powdered sugar until you have thick, creamy frosting that holds its shape but still spreads easily. It may not take the entire 32 oz. bag, but it’s better to err on the side of too much rather than too little powdered sugar because runny cream cheese frosting is just a bummer.

So, there you have it. Something to put even more YAY in your Friday. I’m off to have a piece of cake for breakfast. (I tell myself this is because I’m teaching BODYCOMBAT later, but let’s be real: I would have eaten it anyway).

Okay, so spill: what do you do to make “a week” better?

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How Embarrassing…

I am easily embarrassed for other people. As in, I get mild anxiety when someone tipsy tries to give a heartfelt, rambling Oscar acceptance speech, and I’m better off leaving the room.

embarrassing1

When it comes to myself, I’m most embarrassed when I misread a social situation. For example, that moment earlier this week on St. Patty’s Day when a friend’s husband walked up and stood much closer to me than usual, and I thought for some reason that we were going to do that awkward back-pat-side-hug-with-space-still-between-us greeting (and then made my best attempt to execute this nearly impossible move) when all he wanted to do was find out if I was wearing green so he could pinch me (I wasn’t…because getting six children + myself to the gym with all of us dressed in ANY color ranks slightly higher than avoiding pinches).

Or that time I thought Kendi was trying to shake my hand when she was really reaching for the clothes I was holding, and I ended up holding hands with her for a monumentally awkward moment or three. Cue: me, trying to sink through the floor.

What’s that you say? You’d like to hear more of my embarrassing moments?

All right, then.

Let’s travel back in time to my ultra-cool community college days when I, an over-achieving, exceptionally nerdy 15-year-old freshman, sat on the front/middle seat in every single class so as not to miss one word of instruction (I’m kind of embarrassed for myself already, and I haven’t even gotten to the story yet).

One day, in History 1301, which was taught by the diminutive, soft-spoken, dryly funny Dr. Parks, I was doing my level best to subdue a bout of ribcage-punishing hiccups, while scribbling notes and trying to resist the inevitable drowsiness that comes with after-lunch classes in warm rooms.

When I could fight it off no longer, I allowed myself one enormous yawn, the kind that leaves you suspended with your mouth gaping for a good 5 seconds.

Well.

Right in the middle of said yawn, I could feel my diaphragm begin to spasm with a hiccup. Desperate, I tried to hinge my jaw shut in time. To no avail.

And do you know what happens when you hiccup violently while your mouth is open wider than its ever been in your life? You make noises that resemble the mating call of an orca whale…that just swallowed a terrified zebra. Only 47 times louder. In the world’s quietest room.

And then you hear the titters of laughter, along with a snort or two (because your incredible vocal feat just woke up those two dudes snoozing in the back corner), and you feel the burning sensation of 27 pairs of eyes boring holes in the back of your skull as you attempt to fold your body into a smaller-than-desk-sized shape, since disappearing completely is not exactly an option.

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Of course, that little episode was nothing compared to that time I was playing keyboards for the worship team. In the midst of a particularly quiet moment, as I played slow, gentle chords on the string pad–my simulated cello notes providing the perfect, worshipful accompaniment to our worship leader’s exhortations to focus our hearts and minds on Jesus–my fingers slipped, and my knuckles bumped one of the 1,034 buttons on the console. Suddenly, the auditorium was filled with the raucous sounds of…Polka.

Seriously.

“Just close your eyes, and let Jesus speak to your…” OOMPA OOMPA OOMPA-PA!

Every eye snapped open. Every head jerked toward me (not hard since I was standing front and center on a stage).

I dove toward the power button, punched it, and then just stood there for a second, beet red, before slowly, sheepishly giving a double thumbs up. And then, everybody clapped.

It. was. awesome (-ly bad).

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Aaaaaaand now it’s your turn.

These are, by far, my favorite kinds of posts because I get to hear from YOU. So, spill your most cringe-worthy, embarrassing moments so we can all laugh at with you. Pretty please? I promise it’ll be fun!

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A Day in the Life of a Homeschooling Mama of 5

I warned you on Monday that I would be writing about the minutiae of our lives soon (I think I called it “mundane;” don’t hire me to write your book blurbs).

And, after having a version of this post written in my head for a good 6 months, today’s the day!

But before you go wondering why I’m subjecting you to a rundown of our daily grind, let me assure you that you asked for this. Okay, maybe not you, specifically. But quite a few of you have expressed interest over the past 3-ish years of my blog’s existence in knowing just exactly what we do all day long over here.

And, while part of me thinks, “Expect to fall asleep…fast,” another part of me gets it. As much as I don’t feel like we lead the kind of life that anybody would be truly interested in reading about, I am always fascinated by glimpses into other people’s ordinary days.

So! Now that I feel like I’ve adequately warned you about the possibility of your taking a spontaneous nap at some point during this post, without further ado, I give you:

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(Oh, and while I’m into disclaimers, let me warn you that this is a very picture-heavy post, and I snapped all of these pictures on my phone, some in very poor lighting, so please excuse the not-so-great quality).

Before I got pregnant with #6, I rarely woke up later than 6:30 AM, but over the summer, I got into the habit of sleeping in as late as possible. Which usually meant 7:30. Holy cow that habit has been hard to beat!

By the time school started, I had bumped it back to 7, but my body was still craving more sleep most days. Fortunately, daylight savings has helped me get back on track with getting up early.

On the morning I took all of these pics (3 weeks ago), I was so excited to be up early in the crisp, cool quiet of dawn, all alone with my devotional and my ho-cho.

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Sadly, my children were equally inspired to early rising by the time change, and a whopping 7 minutes later, my silent reverie had been broken by the clinking of metal cars and lots of imitation vrooming and–best of all–brakes squealing.

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Within 10 minutes, the whole crew was up and at ‘em, so we went ahead and got started with our day.

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Clockwise, we have Ezra shoving some leftover waffles in the oven, the boys doing part of their “morning routine” (unload dishwasher, make beds, brush teeth), and Nola being super-jazzed about the prospect of waffles with maple syrup and whipped cream on a Tuesday morning (we usually have eggs, so this was worthy of celebration).

After breakfast, we do family Bible reading. Shaun’s been gone on weekdays for the last several weeks, but when he’s available, all the kids sprawl out in various poses around the living room and listen as he reads (we’re working our way through the Proverbs, the Psalms, and Job). When he’s gone, I fill in.

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After Bible reading, the boys get started on their independent schoolwork.

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By “independent,” I mean that this part of their school is mostly workbook based, but obviously, they’re in and out with questions and needing help/explanations on a regular basis.

Although they start upstairs at their table, they usually end up migrating throughout the house depending on what subject they’re working on, where I am, how much help they need, whether their little sisters are bothering them more than usual, etc.

I don’t worry too much about their nomadic ways…unless we’re specifically working on handwriting, in which case, they’re required to sit still at a table.  The fluidity of the location seems to help the boys focus, since having to sit in the exact same spot tends to make them cranky and desperate to do anything but what they’re working on (and, yes, I learned that the hard way).

While the boys are doing school, the girls are doing this:

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That would be: eating (boy, does it seem like snack time comes right on the heels of breakfast), reading books, bouncing on the guestroom bed, unrolling toilet paper, bickering over toys, and just generally making messes so that, by the time the twins go down for naps around 11 AM, the living room looks like this.

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{The twins, who are 2, are learning to clean up after themselves, but honestly, at this point, it’s more trouble than it’s worth when they’re tired, and–let’s face it–their nap time can’t come soon enough for Mama either; they usually do more picking up in the evenings when everybody’s pitching in at once}

The kitchen usually looks a little better than the living room at this point because, between getting snacks for the girls, changing diapers, reading to them, and answering the boys’ math questions, I’ve been loading the dishwasher, wiping down counters, and sweeping. Key word: usually. Some days (like today as I write this post)–well, you could turn that camera around toward the kitchen, and it would look like Zombie Acopalypse: The Breakfast Edition.

After the twins go down for naps, Della and I start picking up the living room and work on a little bit of school .dayinthelifecollage4

{Ignore the part where it says we’re doing this at midnight; I promise I know the difference between AM and PM}

Della will be 4 on Friday, which means she’s still pretty little to be doing too much in either the chore department or the school department, but she’s (usually) a cheerful helper and loves to learn, so we spend this time working on letters and numbers and little tasks like putting toys away, assisted sweeping, and taking things back upstairs where they belong.

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Most days, the boys are done with their book-work by lunchtime, but we must have been moving slow this time around. Hence, the open workbook next to my (not terribly appetizing-looking) lunch.

After lunch, Della goes down for a nap, and the boys (quietly) practice piano downstairs.

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{How do you like my piles of laundry + wonky lampshades? Hey, this is real life, baby!}

After piano practice, the boys and I do schoolwork together (grammar and literature, Spanish, science, etc.) and chores.

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On this particular day, when we had to hustle to piano practice at 3:00, we combined the two, with the boys vacuuming, mopping, and folding, as I reviewed their Spanish verb conjugations and taught them about English linking verbs. Usually, we have a more dedicated time to sit together so we can focus, but sometimes, you gotta git ‘er done.

As soon as we finish chores, there’s a mad dash to drag all the sisters out of bed, get snacks ready for the car, and get everyone strapped in to go (I try to have the girls dressed already so all we have to do is change diapers and slap shoes on).

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{Clearly, sometimes, we just bring the shoes with us and worry about them later. Also, clearly, I meant it about dragging the girls out of bed. They all look borderline comatose}.

Side note: since this was piano practice day, everything was a bit crazier than usual, but our normal afternoon consists of rest/play/reading time for the boys while the girls nap. I usually hide in my room for 45 minutes to recover my wits, try to answer emails, and get a few things done, and then we head to the gym around 4.

While the boys are at piano practice, the girls and I run errands.

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{Our stops that day were Walmart and Hobby Lobby}

After we pick the boys up from piano, we head to the gym, and I either teach or take a class while the kids are in the gym’s daycare.

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{That’s my 33 week pregnant belly before baby boy flipped from breach to head down. I think my belly looks considerably more pronounced since that development}

On this particular day, we had soccer practice for the boys, so we picked up dinner at Chick-fil-a and headed to the practice field.

Again, this is different than our usual daily routine, since I cook dinner on average 5-6 times a week, and we usually don’t have yet another thing to go to after the gym.

At soccer, the girls act cute on the playground while the boys practice.

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And sometimes, we thank the Lord for his mercy in allowing the elementary school whose practice field you’re using to host their Halloween party on the very night that the 3-year-old decides that she MUST go potty that very moment (which means that the doors are open and the school bathrooms are too, thus preventing your having to load 3 little girls into the van just to take them to the Dairy Queen restroom).

After practice, we head home and start the nighttime mambo.dayinthelifecollage7

Again, usually this would involve all of us eating something that I had prepped earlier in the day/week around the kitchen island (it’s crowded, but it’s such a habit at this point that I don’t know how we’re ever going to be able to make ourselves eat anywhere else).

But this particular night, the twins finished off their chicken while the boys and Della put away laundry from earlier in the day, and Shaun and I brushed the little girls’ teeth and packed them off to bed.

After the twins are in bed, the boys and I read a chapter or two of something (we’re on book 3 of the Tales of the Kingdom trilogy), while Della floats around half-listening.

The boys head to bed around 8:30, and Della stays up a little longer reading a story with me and getting ready for bedtime (usually 8:45ish).

By 9 PM, Shaun and I both feel pretty much like collapsing on the couch in a heap, and many nights, that’s exactly what we do. We sit for a while, catching up on our days and then watch a recording of The Voice or Duck Dynasty. Some nights, I edit pictures and prep blog posts for the next day or load the dishwasher and sweep the kitchen again. Some nights, I snuggle with my husband and try to move as little as possible.

All nights, I am pretty tired.

Our typical bedtime is 11ish, and I’m usually asleep within 5 minutes of our saying amen after we pray together in bed.

AAAAAaaaaaand, there you have it!

A fairly typical weekday for us.

(Although, since soccer season is over and piano practice is only once a week, this was definitely a fuller day than usual).

As you can see, we stay busy.

On days this full, it feels too busy. But most days, we have more time to breathe and relax and don’t get home quite as late (or don’t leave the house at all), which definitely helps with that whole sanity-preservation business.

Tap, tap, is this thing still on? Anyone? Anyone?

I don’t blame you a bit if you didn’t make it all the way through that mile long recitation.

But if you did, feel free to chime in with your own Day in the Life! You don’t have to be nearly as detailed, of course, but I’d love to know how you guys are spending your days–whether you have kids at home with you or at school or none at all!

P.S. In case you’re wondering when I do projects or the rest of the stuff you see here on the blog…well, some of it happens on the weekend. Some of it happens at night. Some of it happens during the cracks of the day when no one’s tugging on my leg or asking me about fractions. If it needs to get done, it does. Or it doesn’t. And nobody’s the wiser. ;) Sometimes, I have great plans for posts or projects that never come to fruition or just take waaaaaay longer than I would like.

Mostly, I’m learning to be flexible and not worry about it too much if “my agenda” doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything–not because it’s glamorous (unless, of course, trying to figure out where the toddler took off and discarded her poopy diaper counts as glamorous) but because I am fully convinced that this motherhood gig is not just a job (although, it definitely is that).

It’s a calling.

And I can’t think of anything better than that.

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Life lately…(Fall edition)

Life lately has been…busy. (Isn’t it always?)

Della joined the soccer scene this season, and it’s as cute as you might imagine.

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She pretty much flits around the field without much of a clue, miles of ponytail streaming behind her (she calls it her “shaky hair”) and a HUGE grin on her face. If she ever gets her foot on the ball, she can actually dribble a bit and came thisclose to scoring due to pure inertia (darn that whole need to kick the ball and look/aim where you’re going).

Of course, while the kids are playing 3 games in a row, I’m keeping up my energy with these.

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(I threw some Andes mint chips in place of Heath crumbles in my favorite cookie recipe, and the results were highly edible, to say the least).

Speaking of edible, I made this hearty white bean chicken chili, and it was beyond delish. Of course, I totally pulled that thing I was talking about of declaring a recipe to be great even though I made a “few tweaks” that included: canned corn instead of fresh, chili verde instead of tomatillos, Rotel, and a dash of chili powder…

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I also made Mandy’s homemade salsa, which was the perfect spicy complement to my leftover chili at lunchtime. Yes, my nose was running, but this Texas girl can take it! (Sometimes).

This week has been full of exercise (I’ve been to the gym every day this week to the tune of 2 hours a day; oh, my aching back!).

Between teaching my regular classes, subbing, and BODYCOMBAT launch, I’m looking forward to a weekend of relaxing on the couch (okay, so that’s unlikely to actually happen, but it sounds good in theory).

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In case, you’re wondering…this is my version of multitasking these days: answering math questions while snacking on sugar snap peas (oh my, yum!), painting my nails for Combat launch (because apparently, I want to punch like a girl) and studying/watching Combat choreography in the background (because just sitting down to study notes never happens anymore).

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(The back of our shirts were the best part)

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This is far from my favorite picture of all time (because what girl really wants to be the only puffy-faced pregnant chick up there with all her fit teammates?), but, even though I might have had a snotty, hiccupy meltdown right in front of my husband after I saw these pics from launch, I am trying my best to just be thankful for the fact that I can still kick and punch and move and generally be as normal as a 32-week-pregnant girl could expect.

Also?

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I’m trying to be true to what I wrote on my canisters earlier this week. Snotty meltdowns and wonky hormones aside, I can always find something to be thankful for. (P.S. Those canisters reside in my kitchen, which I aaaaaalmost have ready to show you. Al-most. Pinky promise).

Of course, it’s easy to be grateful when you get to hold your day old niece for the first time.

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Meet Lorelei. She’s the sweetest, snuggliest, most perfect little 8 lb. 8 oz. bundle of baby goodness.

And she’s got me even more excited than ever to meet the little wiggle-worm in my own belly.

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(I got a lot of compliments/questions about that skirt, which is on sale right now if you want to snap it up; super comfy and totally great for non-maternity wear too).

And last but not least, because there was a picture of Della, and you saw the boys on Wednesday, and I can’t very well end a good photo-dump post without treating you to a pic of the twins…

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This is what the girls looked like this morning after we got home late last night and just dumped them in bed with their clothes still on. Apparently, at some point, they traded out half their outfits and redressed themselves (inside out, of course). As cute as this picture is, I have to admit that I am mighty tired of locking every door in the house that contains any articles of clothing. Both girls are equally obsessed with changing clothes no fewer than 20 times a day if they can find anything new to wear (if they can’t, obviously they can just swap; how convenient!). If I don’t watch out, I spend a significant portion of my day picking up a clean clothes trail from the kitchen all the way upstairs into our big room.

Oh, girls! Somehow, it’s just in us to love clothes!

P.S. Most of these pics are from Instagram. I’m @misformama if you want to join in on the daily fun.

What have you guys been up to lately?

Are your kids playing any sports? Having 3 in soccer is working out for us so far, mainly because the boys play on the same team, and they all play at the same field, but it’s giving me a teensy little taste of what life with lots of kids in sports/activities will be like, and I have to admit that I’m tired just thinking about it.

 

 

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Ain’t gonna Anthro-pologize

I posted the following to Facebook a while ago when my husband and I were on our way to Houston for my birthday weekend.

Shaun: “The Woodlands Mall is the next two exits.”
Me, staring blankly: “So?”
Shaun: “They have an Anthropologie there.”

That there is true love, folks.

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It got a fair number of likes, presumably because a) y’all like Anthro too or b) y’all like husbands who are nice enough not only to look up the location of their wives’ favorite store but to then point it out instead of just cruising right by. (I’m guessing it was a bit of both).

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{Oh, and did I mention that we went to not one but two Anthros during the course of the weekend?}

Seriously, y’all, my husband gets me. I mean, having a wife that loves Anthro as much as I do could be a very scary thing for a man. Or, more specifically, for his pocketbook. But my thing for Anthro really has nothing do with whether I actually buy anything there or not. Because the truth is, that even as seldom as I go, I usually don’t buy much at all. And if I do, it’s the cheapest thing I can find that I actually want.     anthrobday11

{See that coral lace dress that that has a similar vibe to the one my friend, Lindsay, bought for my birthday? Yeah, the Anthro version cost $190. Choke).

It’s just that there are so few stores that qualify, not just as a destination, but as an experience–and a unique one at that, since each store gets its own decor.

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Yes, their prices are ridiculous. As are some of their clothes and furnishings. But it’s all combined so artistically and with such an eye for that illusive boho-chic style that only Anthro does quite that well, that even the most bargain-minded girl (that would be me) sometimes finds herself staring at a tag and thinking, “Hmm…this ruffled tank is only $29.99 on sale. That’s not too bad.”anthro collageFortunately for me, the haze that all of those yummy smelling candles casts over my mind usually fades before I get to the register, and I realize that–oh yeah–I would never even consider paying $30 for a tissue thin, ruffly cream-colored tank top (never mind that it was originally $79) if it weren’t nestled amongst so many other pretty, perfectly styled pieces that make it look so much better than it really is.

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{Mugs for daaaaaaays}

And then I go back to perusing the wall displays along the store’s periphery (I completely ignore practically the entire center section because it’s comprised of full-priced outfits that I will never buy), content to be inspired by the kind of creativity that apparently snookered convinced the girl in line in front of me to drop $238 on a hat and maybe one other item (I didn’t see what else she bought, but the bag she left with was far from large).

Me? I was happy to use my 15% off birthday discount to buy a $12 mug + an $11 set of ceramic measuring spoons that I’m going to try to keep my kids from breaking.

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But mostly, I was just happy to have completely guilt-free time to wander, peruse, and admire without any intention of buying.

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Two things about this picture: a) that bag of clothes from GAP was pretty much entirely for him, since the man refuses to buy clothes unless I’m with him or get them for him, and b) this is my husband happily reading a gardening book from the sale section at Anthropologie. And you thought it was just a store for women.

Of course, the Anthro in the Woodlands did have one thing going for it that made the whole experience just a bit sweeter.

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Literally.

That would be a loaded cup of chocolate hazelnut fro-yo from Pinkberry that I split with Shaun and then wished that I’d had all to myself (s’okay, we got more before the weekend was over).

Ohmuhgoodness, y’all. If every Anthropologie had a Pinkberry nearby, that would be a lethal combination.

Because at Pinkberry, one does not simply browse. Oh no. One samples (and samples) and then buys a very large cup of sugary goodness.

Amen, and bless it.

So, what about you guys? Are you Anthro admirers too? I know it’s not everybody’s (initial-embossed) cup of tea, and, as Shaun pointed out, how I actually decorate/dress is considerably different than the overall vibe of the store. But aren’t we always drawn to things that are maybe just a little bit of an escape from our normal, everyday life?

What about Pinkberry? I used to think that TCBY’s chocolate yogurt in a waffle cone was pretty much the zenith of all frozen yogurt experiences. But then all the locations near me shut down, and when they reemerged years later in their new, self-serve format, they had completely changed their chocolate formula, and, as a result, I’ve been off of fro-yo for years. Pinkberry’s chocolate hazelnut, though. Oh man. That was enough to resurrect my love and even converted my non-chocolate-ice-cream-loving husband.

 

 

 

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