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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Christmas in January

I forgot to show you two awesome gifts I got for Christmas this year.  In early December, I flew up to Minnesota, so I could drive with my mom down to Arizona for the winter.  We were supposed to have a girls Christmas get together before she and I took off.  However, the weather decided not to cooperate, so not only were my mom and I stuck in Minnesota because of so much snow, but my sister, Kandi, was stuck at her house and couldn't come over and see us to exchange gifts.  My sister, Karen, was able to make it, so we had a mini-sad-Christmas without all of us being together.  We decided to do homemade gifts for each other this year.

My mom gave me this....

An apron she made.....with fabric from my Grandma.  I love the bright colors, but have to wonder why she picked this fabric with Geisha girls on it....I wonder if it was on sale.....or, she got it because she loved the bright colors too.....or, did she like Asian culture....or, did someone give it to her....

Karen made this framed Christmas tree for me....

It is made out of my Grandma's old buttons.  I love it!  Some of these buttons I remember.  Some, like the little yellow ones on top that have smily faces on them, I don't.  I love it so much, I am leaving it out all year.  I love that it is cute, but I love the sentiment of having something of Grandma's nearby.

I am definitely getting more sentimental about things like this the older I get.  The quilt on my bed is one that this same Grandma made out of my Grandpa's old shirts and suits.  I love that one so much, that I even keep it on my bed through the heat of summer here in good, old, Georgia.  A-man, who is named after that Grandpa loves to look through all the patches and imagine where Grandpa would have worn that shirt or whether it was his Sunday suit and what color tie he would have worn with it.

Almost makes me want to learn how to quilt, so I can pass down some practical memory keepers for the kids.  Will that really make me an old lady?  I think I may still  be safe with just the crocheting/knitting and the quilting, as long as I don't start canning/preserving things....right?  

I just started thinking of all the "little old lady" things that exist...that I already do, like wearing my hair in a bun....wearing sensible shoes (with everything)....saving my tea bags to reuse....I think it really might be time to officially state the obvious. 

I am precariously close to being a little old lady.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Miscellaneous Fun Stuff

Just time for a few random things from our world this week.

A-man has been doing a study on Japan in History and Geography.  For some reason, in this unit, there is a recipe for Russian Tea Cakes.  We have used this same curriculum for all the older kids and everytime we get to this point, I am shocked to find Russian Tea Cakes in the unit about Japan.  I suppose it has something to do with Japan and all their tea ceremonies or something.  But, I still find it strange that they didn't name them something more "asian-ish" than Russian Tea Cakes....but, I guess, technically, Russia is in Asia, isn't it?  Nevermind.

Anyway, he was quite the chef and made them mostly by himself (A-girl was his sous chef).  He was really proud of himself.....and they tasted nummy!  I had the last one with my coffee this morning.

Check out his cursive too.  L-girl did the top, name part (just for the blog....I don't really walk around calling them A-girl and A-man!) and he did the Russia Tea Cakes part.

L-girl has mastered the french fish tail braid.  I have been her helpful and ever so willing long as I can sit on the couch.  Luckily, our couch floats in the middle of the room and the ends, I recline all the way and flop my hair over the back and she gets busy.

And, I have been busy crocheting.  I don't know if it means I have officially passed into "old-lady" territory, but I find it really relaxing.  Michaels had a yarn sale last week and I was practically giddy with all the choices.  I got a bunch of cotton for dishrags, some of that fancy scarf making yarn like I used for this purple scarf.....

(I think the scarf is lounging exactly where my head was in the last picture!)
...and I got some regular old acrylic yarn to make this pinwheel hot pad things that my mom's friend, Iona, taught me how to make.
My latest crochet project that I am super excited about is this.....
It is a rug!  I am making it with strips of sheets.  I am super excited to try them with old t-shirts too.  Did you know there is a whole community out on the internet that devotes itself to things you can make with "tarn" (t-shirt yarn)???
I know.  Pass the old lady card.  I don't care. 
Now all I need is one of those Cracker Barrel rocking chairs.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mostly Better....I Think....

Okay, I am feeling better.  Not quite so whiny. So, it is safe for you to come back.

I think it is safe to say I was just a little overwhelmed with life and "stuff", but I have lived long enough to know that it was going to be a temporary situation.  Just like those times when I am mad at Rainman.  It passes.  It is temporary.

Last week, we started back to school and D-man started at his new school.  So, my real work started back up, so I had to at least try to get out of my slump....and I did.

But, this is what really kicked my butt out of the serious whinies....

Really?  How can you feel the least bit sorry for yourself after watching that?  You can't.  You realize that you are loved by God.  That you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that you have matter the "hand" that you were dealt.

So, that one kicked my butt into gear.

Also, one of my friends was decluttering and brought in a stack of books to our Sunday School class that she just wanted gone.  I randomly reached into the stack and brought out this thin, little book.

Bible Verses for Busy Moms

I started flipping through and knew that God had arranged for this book to be available for me on that day.

It has great little sections for what you may be going through and then a few Bible verses to help encourage you.

Like the section called Help!  I Am Overwhelmed!

They have subtitles like:

When I feel like giving up.....

When my life is changing....

When my finances are a mess....

When I am totally exhausted....

or the section called Getting Through the Day:

That has subtitles like:

When I need to set priorities....

When I need to be realistic....

When I need to recognize my talents....

When I should compromise....

When I need to say no....

When I must stop comparing myself to others....

When I want to make a plan....

It is a skinny little book that packs a powerful punch.  It has encouraged me and comforted me by reminding me of God's love for me and that he knew I was going to occassionally get discouraged and feel overwhelmed.

 He knew. 

He cared.

He had my friend declutter just when I needed this little book.

So, yes.  I am better.  No more therapy session posts.  Let me know if you need a few encouraging Bible verses to get you through.  I will check my little book and get back to you!

I may not be very whiny anymore, but.....I am getting to be a bit crochety though....not crochet-y....(although...speaking of crochet....look what I made last week!)

(It is a scarf, by the way....and I actually used knitting needles, not a crochet hook....just looking for a chance to brag apparently!)

Anyway....back to being crochety for a bit....

I find myself bewailing the way kids have things these days.  Like, when I found out that elementary aged kids are getting Ipads sent home with them to do their school work.  Seriously...elementary kids.  Ipads.  Sent home to be their's for the year.  I mean, really?  Aren't schools in a budget crisis or something?  Is there really something wrong with completing homework on paper?  I am not asking for a comeback of the slate tablets that Laura Ingalls Wilder used....but, come on!  Don't even get me started on hand held video games.

I think I am turning into Maxine.

Source -

Friday, January 11, 2013

Here is One of the Reasons I Have Hope

The following is a guest post created by L-girl, with assistance from A-girl.  But, I feel it needs a little explanation before you read it.
A while back, we had gone over to a friend's house who had 3 watermelons that were given to her from a friend.  She knew she wouldn't eat them all, so she gave one to us to take home.  On the way home, I noticed L-girl was just resting it on her lap.  I told her that she had better hold onto it because none of us wanted to have to clean watermelon guts out of the inside of our van.  I jokingly said something about buckling it into one of the car seats for safe travels.
Well, that started a conversation about their new "little sister" coming home.  Names were suggested.  It needed to be a name that would fit in with our family theme.  Millie was "born".
If you read my last post, you know I have sort of been down in the dumps and that my word for 2013 is Hope.  My kids give me hope.  The way their brains work, make me laugh and fill me with hope.  So, without further ado, I give you:
 The long life of Millie Payne

                                                           Here's me just before I gave birth.

                                 (I didn't smile this much right before delivery!)

                                                          Here's me and Millie after birth.
                                                            Here's Millie and her silly Aunt.

                                                              Here's Millie's first bath.

                                                            Here's Millie's first Halloween.

                                                            Here's Millie's first Christmas.

                                                                Here's Millie's first Birthday.

(Can I just say that I love the tin can cake and the dry erase marker for the candle?!?!)
                                                          Here's Millie's first day of School.

                                                            Here's Millie Potty Training.

(Now I know why this bathroom always smells....apparently my kids have been potty trained to keep the lid down!) 
Smile with tongue
                                                           Here's Millie's first Ball Game.

                                                             Here's Millie's first Dance Recital.

(Or how I see it, her first obligatory trophy/award)
                                                     Here's Millie's first swimming lessons.

(She has my figure.)
                                                            Here's Millie playing the Flute.

                                                            Here's Millie's on her first date.

(Apparently, Millie likes 'em hairy.)
                                            Here's Me and Millie shopping for her Prom dress.

                                              Here's Millie and her Bridal Party on her Wedding day.

                                       Here's Millie's Father (Liam Payne) walking Millie down the aisle.

(I love how Liam has his arm around her.  In case you don't son-in-law is Liam Payne from One Direction.)
                                                               Here's Millie's sad death.

                                     Thank you for going through the life of my Daughter Millie Payne.

There you have it.  I know it is sort of that the right word?  But, it made me laugh.  They spent all day with "Millie", took numerous trips to the attic for props, spent the day giggling.  I know it may solidify the "weird homeschooler" thoughts you may have of us....but I don't care.  It made me laugh at the time....and again when I just read the blog post that L-girl put together for you.

Hope can even come in the shape of a watermelon!




Friday, January 4, 2013

I Am Supposed To Be....

I am supposed to be looking at the year 2013 in all of shiny glory and be planning to take the bull by the horns and make it a fabulous year.

I am supposed to have a few goals to make myself a better me this year.

I am supposed to find a word for the year.  A word just for me that I will focus on....and, make me a better me this year.

I am supposed to be decluttering and organizing everything in site to make this home that always feels cramped and messy....a light, airy, breezy place that I am happy to call home.

I am supposed to be writing new lesson plans and getting things ready for school to start up again next week.

I am supposed to take D-man shopping for the last few items on his school supply list.  (He is starting at a college prep high school next week.)

But, instead, I have spent almost the whole Christmas break in my pajamas or sweat pants.  Literally, almost the whole entire time.  A-girl and I had a good laugh one day after she took a look at my "To Do" list for the day and it said....."Get out of pajamas!"  We realized that she and I hadn't changed our "clothes" (comfy, coft jammies) in three days.....

After our laugh, we decided we really were sort of pathetic....and changed..... into fresh sweat pants!

I am not feeling inspired in this new year.

I am feeling kind of down.

I am feeling kind of "why bother" with decluttering/cleaning/ will all be ruined within a week or so anyway.

I am feeling spectacularly unmotivated.

I am a list maker.....normally.

I haven't even been able to put together a good list in weeks.

I cannot pinpoint exactly why.

There are little things.

Lots of little things.

That, somehow, are feeling like lots of big, heavy things weighing me down.

I spent the last part of 2012 in a flurry of activity.  No, not with Christmas. That was pretty relaxing, actually.

But, a flurry of paperwork and calculators.  Trying to find money for D-man to be able to attend the school he starts next week.  Trying to figure out where we could cut our already pretty tight budget.  Deciding what things are truly luxuries and what are this day and age....those things seem more complicated.

Paperwork to cancel things.  Paperwork to refinance the house.  New paperwork to change providers.  Forms to change packages.  Phonecalls to follow up on all of those things.

I was really proud of myself and had a God moment the night I finally sat down and added up the $10 I had saved here with the $5 I had saved there, with the larger $60 I had saved over there.....and the amount came to the exact amount that we needed for monthly tuition.

A total God thing.


So, what is my problem?

Why can't I get motivated.... about anything?

Again....there is no big, horrible thing looming (that I know of).....just lots of little things.

I keep having dreams about my Dad.  He is still alive in all of them.  The kind where then you wake up and realize.....oh....that was just a dream.  My mom is still alone.

I keep having dreams about being pregnant.  (Which, in case you are wondering.....are happy dreams.)  Then, I wake up and realize that I got my period overnight.

I keep having dreams about house shopping.  The houses are all out in the country, they are big, sprawling homes.  Not fancy.  Just big....with closets and rooms we can fit into.  Then I wake my nice house...that doesn't have many closets and is in a busy subdivision....with a living room that we barely fit into.

Any dream analyzers out there want to take stabs at those recurring dreams?  At least I have stopped (for now) having the dreams where all of my teeth fall out.  Those are good ones when you wake up and realize that it didn't really happen.

Sometimes I get tired of having to be a grown up.

Am I alone in that?

Sometimes I want to just ignore that pile of dishes, or the crud that is growing on the floor, or the endless crayons and junk that peaks out from under my couch.

But, I can't.  I shouldn't.  It is my job.  It is my life.

Sometimes, I wish we could just start fresh.  I suppose that is really what a new year is all about.  Apparently, I am not the only one who wishes those things.

I would like to cut our losses and start over.  Get rid of our timeshare that feels like a huge weight around our necks (even though we love it when we use it).  Get rid of this house and somehow be able to take our time saving money and finding a house that would be perfect for our family of 8.

But, life is what it is.

Those things are probably not going to happen, are they?

Eventually, I need to put on my big girl panties and, some "real" clothes and make a list.  A real, honest to goodness, "To Do" list again.  I need to accept our circumstances as they are (and, really, some of them are awesome)....and just keep moving forward.

So, I have no specific, big picture goals to share with you. 

No.....I am going to lose 50 pounds this year.

No....I am going to read my Bible everyday.

No....I am going to be a better wife to Rainman.

No....I am going to be a better mother.

No...I am going to finish painting the dining room.

Those things would all be awesome.  But, I am not going to say that they are my big goals for the year 2013.


My goal for this year is to just keep going.  Even if they are baby steps.  I am going to just keep moving forward.

My word for the year....which apparently is a big deal now....because I keep seeing articles and reading these inspiring posts from people on selecting their "word" word for the year is "Hope".


I came up with that one after watching another cheesy Christmas movie with the kids the other night.  It was one of those horrible ones...people were dying.  Sometimes, I don't mind if a character dies before the movie and the movie is about them finding loving again.  But, I hate it when people die after I have gotten to know them.  I hate it.  So, within the first half hour...people were dying...I was crying....and yelling at the front of everyone.  All the kids...and Rainman.....who walked through the room after my first, " can't get hit by a car!"....and said...."You should just turn it off now, Babe."

I said, "No.  There has got to be some hope here.  They have got to turn it around somehow....right?"

They did turn it around.  But, it was painful.  I cried more.  Watched more flashbacks than I think is healthy about parents being told a teenage son had died on his way home to spend Christmas with his family.

So, my word for the year is Hope.

You gotta have Hope, right?

Thank you for sitting in on my therapy session today....I won't even charge you for the privilege!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year of.....

I have no idea what this upcoming year will bring.

If you believe the doom and gloom being spouted.  Obamacare and whatever compromises that Congress made so we didn't go over the fiscal cliff, and, the drought of 2012 will bring a bad year for our personal finances.  It might be, but I am not giving up hope.

To ring in the new year, we had our usual, just us, night of making homemade pizzas.....

Playing games....

(We even got Rainman to stop playing Spider solitaire and Sporcle quizzes long enough to join us for a few rounds)

And, of course, we worked on puzzles....which are patiently waiting for us on the T.V. tray near L-girl.

I tried hard to just be in the moment this year and not take a ton of pictures of everything.  Although, once again, I noticed I am not in any of the pictures.....

Anyway, we stole a bunch of our game ideas from my sister, Karen

This oven mitts game is a total favorite from oldest to youngest.  V-girl got to participate this year.  She kept saying, "I can't open this thing with my "muppets" on."

I got action shots of this the last time we played this, back ringing in 2011.  This year, I actually had to steal prizes from other games because they wanted to just keep on playing this one.

We played Bingo too.  That is one of those games that you forget how fun it is.  Even my big kids kept saying....just one more board....even when I ran out of prizes.  When we were done and ready to move onto puzzles, A-girl came over to me and said, "Oh....I just feel all hot and flushed now.  Bingo makes me sort of nervous."  I had to laugh, because I have thought that very same thing when we have played Bingo somewhere.  I want to win, of course....but I am so nervous the whole time just thinking about screaming out Bingo in front of sort of ruins the fun.

We puzzled until the new year.  S-girl made it  until about 11:15 or so.  We woke her up just before the official New Year began (which is why she looks a little dazed in this picture and doesn't have her fake wine).

V-girl made it all the way until like 1:15 a.m., when we finally gave up on the puzzle for the night.  See the pink and purple dinosaur that L-girl is holding?  That was the most popular prize of the night.  $1.00 at Dollar Tree.  I should have gotten each of the kids one for Christmas based on their excitement over that little gal.  A-man decided that her name was Nessie.

I have so much fun at our family's New Year's eve parties.  I can't imagine when we won't all be together ringing in the new year.  To me, New Years is a family your birthday.   I hope my kids will agree.....but, I suppose the lure of a potentially more exciting and dressed up celebration will one day entice them away.....eventually.  (Although D-man had an invite to a teenage party this year, and turned them down saying that it was "tradition" for us to have our own party and to be together.)

I will take these kinds of nights with my kids as long as I have them. 

Here's to a prosperous.....blessed.......and, a year full of 2013.....for us all!