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Friday, January 22, 2016

Don't Mind Me, I Am Just Busy

I have been busy finishing up a writing project that will wrap up in about a week.  I am having a lot of fun, but I will be honest, I am starting to get pretty nervous about the outcome.  I will explain more when it is all over.

But, it is sort of making me feel like a teenage girl again.

All the bad parts of being a teenage girl.

For now, just some random stuff from our week.  I went to upload pictures onto the computer and found, like 10 of these puppies.

My 6 year old knows how to take selfies.  Grrrr.....

And a few of these....

Yes, she is cute, but I was sort of hoping to wait on that obsession until she was much, much older.

Moving on....

I was at the doctor's office last week getting more blood work done to check my thyroid and calcium numbers.  As I was sitting there, the phlebotomist and I started talking about homeschooling vs. the kind of school my high schoolers are doing.  We ended up talking about breaks and days off.

I said, "Yeah, my big kids are off next Monday for something.  I don't know what.  But, we are still going to do school at home that day."

She said, "That would be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day."


I spent the weekend wondering if I came across as racist, or just stupid.  Hopefully just stupid.

So, yes, we did still have school on Monday, but we talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. and I printed off some worksheets for the kids to work on.  They were like math coloring pages that had a little cartoon Martin standing at a podium with the words I Have A Dream on them.  On the top of the page it said MLK Coloring Pages.

At one point during the coloring, S-girl said to me. "What is MLK?"

I said, "He was a person.  That is Martin Luther King, Jr."

She said, "Oh.  (pause)  Who is he?"

Oops, again.

I think I sometimes forget what I have taught to the older kids, versus the younger kids.  In some cases, I have taught the little kids more things, or taught things earlier than their older siblings.  In other cases, I forget that I haven't taught the littles things like, who was Martin Luther King, Jr. and why is he important.

When they finished coloring I had them go look up I Have A Dream and watch it.

When they were done watching we had a good little talk about skin color and how people used to think it mattered. (Yes, I know that some people still do, but that is a post for another day)

It was sort of wonderful to see how shocked their faces were when I told them how people used to be treated differently...had to use separate bathrooms....or drinking fountains....or even different entrances.

To them, people are just, people and it was just completely crazy to them that just because someone had brown skin or black skin that they shouldn't be able to do things like people with beige skin.

Back to finding random things on my is a shot of S-girl that absolutely makes me smile.

And, ugg, speaking of teenage pretty is L-girl?!?!?

(Hmmm, I think I have found the culprit who taught V-girl the art of the selfie.....)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Have You Heard of Trim Healthy Mama stuff?

I have heard about it for years, because I get a magazine written by the authors mom, called Above Rubies.  I actually starting eating the THM way before all my thyroid stuff and lost about 40 pounds.  It was great.  Once I learned which foods to avoid, which kinds of food not to combine, and, let's be honest, some chocolate and sweet stuff that I enjoyed the taste of, it was much easier.

But, then, my thyroid stuff happened and I decided to heck with it and went back to eating what I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Of course, I gained everything back.  (sad sound effect here)

My thyroid "stuff" has not gone away, but, my being okay with my size has definitely gone away. (My regular doctor said he thinks I might have to go back to an endocrinologist since my numbers are mystifying him.  Boo.)

It is stupid and frustrating to be this size.

It is stupid and frustrating to not recognize myself when I see myself in a picture.

It is stupid and frustrating to get winded just walking up a flight of stairs.

It is stupid and frustrating the wear out your pants  just below your crotch, because your thighs rub together too much.

It is stupid and frustrating to have to ask for a seat belt extender when you fly.  (Although thanks to my friend Myra, I now own my very own extender and won't have to whisper that question to a flight attendant ever again)

I have the original (slightly confusing) Trim Healthy Mama book.  I still recommend the book and the eating plan, but it did take some mental gymnastics on my part to really understand what I was supposed to be doing.  The Facebook groups definitely helped with that too.  When I bought their book, is was almost $40, but it come down to around $20ish now.

Since I have stopped  follow their eating plans, they have written a simplified version of the big book, and created a separate cookbook.  The original book was both, but it was a little hard to know where to look for stuff.

I might need to brush up on a few things, but I think I still have the concept of eating like this down.  It really is just a mental shift in how you approach food.  But, if you are completely new to this, I have heard really good things about the simplified version of their book, so go ahead take the plunge!

What I am most excited about, and planning to actually spend money on, is their new cookbook.

I have been watching people try recipes out and post their experiences in the FB group.  Lots of them are saying that their families are even liking the recipes.  That is a big deal right there.  If I don't have to eat separately from my family all the time, that would be a huge help.

So, I am heading back in this direction.  Back on the road to becoming a trim healthy mama.

Actually, being a trim healthy mama seems like a complete foreign concept to me.  But, I have seen some before and after pictures that are awesome and awe-inspiring...and they are moms like me. Busy homeschooling moms that one day looked in the mirror and couldn't figure out how that frumpy, fat lady got into her bathroom.

I know myself well enough to know that I won't be militant in how I follow this eating plan (but I wasn't before and I still lost 40 pounds, so....fingers crossed....)  I will let you know how I like the recipes...and if I have progress pictures, I will try to get the courage to put those on here too.  But, pray for me...wish me luck....join me on my journey....whichever one you want.

Full disclosure time:  This post does contain affiliate links, which means that if you click over and actually decide to get any of the stuff I showed you, I may get a commission.  Your purchase price won't change though, so, don't worry.

Friday, January 8, 2016

To Move or Not To Move...That is the Question.

We all went and looked at a house yesterday.  We actually had a sort of unexpected family day on T.uesday.  I worked a bit in the morning, then we decided to run over to our community work out room and, well, workout.  All 8 of us.  (hello...January!)  We stayed for probably 45 minutes. I walked on the treadmill the whole time reading Harry Potter.  The rest of my family ping-ponged around  trying all the different pieces of equipment.  The kids were good though and were always respectful of the equipment and the other people working out.

On our drive home, Rainman turned to me and said, "That house on Airline is for sale".

Airline is a really big, busy-ish road in the area, but I still knew exactly what house he was talking about.  We have driven that stretch of the road since we moved to Georgia - every Sunday - to go to church.  It caught both of our eyes from the beginning.  It is big, and quirky looking.  It is back off the road nestled in the woods.

We would drive by thinking, "Man, I wonder what that house looks like from inside."

But, it was never for sale when we were looking for houses.

Anyway, when we got home from our family workout,  Rainman went over to the MLS listing and starting looking at pictures.  And the exclaiming began.

"Mom, you should see this!"

"Wow!  It just keeps getting better."

"If only it had a pool."

"No way!  It has a pool!"

Get the idea?

I was in the living room trying to mind my own business but he finally convinced me to call up the listing up on my laptop and take a look.

Hmmm, I thought.  That is interesting.

Rainman came and sat down in the living room and said, "I think we need to take a look at that house."

I said, "Uhhhhh...."


I am pretty sure I did a few of those slow blinking stares while my brain was trying to get caught up with what was happening.  (sort of like the dad in the Inside Out movie.)

I started thinking about things like:

The childcare that we do.....that house would still be an easy place for the parents to drop off and pick up kids....maybe even a little better than here. (Yay!)

Having a pool again. (Yay!)

Decluttering/packing. (Boo!)

Having a kitchen that makes me happy. (Yay!)

Leaving our neighbors that we love.  (Boo!)

That fact that our current house is set up for potential renters (or grandmas if we can ever convince them to move down here) (Yay!)

Having a wide open, pretty kitchen. (Yay!)

Having a new, slightly higher mortage payment. (Boo!)

Getting to leave our stupid Home Owners Association- HOA (Yay!)

And, lots of other random thoughts running around inside my head.

So, I finally muttered to Rainman, "Well, okay, call the realtor."

He did.  She agreed to show us the house.  Then I remembered that we did know a realtor.  (She was actually one of the realtors that I interviewed 2 years ago when we moved.  I didn't go with her, but should have.  But, I have bumped into her a few times since then and really liked her)  So, I sent her a message sort of explaining our desires to see this house, even though we weren't actually considering moving until we saw that it was for sale.

She was just super duper kind and understanding and said she would love to show us that house.

We set up the showing for yesterday at 2:15, and stayed there until 4:00. (I actually had to call a family meeting while we were there to make everyone calme down a bit.  Seriously, eight people were trying to talk at once, actually 9, because we were watching the little guy that stays with us a few days a week. and sometimes 10 people were talking, when the realtor would try to get a word in edgewise.  Plus, even though we had repeatedly told everyone to stick together and not run off exploring on their own....they kept zipping place to place, oohing and aahing over things.  My head was swimming and I couldn't really think, much less memorize a floor plan!)

We left our realtor with a few questions to ask the homeowners and went home for a family meeting.

We each took turns giving our impression on the house.  Our favorite bits.  The stuff we didn't like.  And, lastly, if we felt that the house was a good enough fit that it would be worth all the work of actually packing up and moving.  We have moved three times in the last 6ish years, so, the big people in our family definitely remember all that entails.  LOL

For me, I had one absolutely favorite chunk of the house.  The kitchen, pantry area.  The kitchen was wide open with  a sink that looked out a row of windows onto the back yard and pool area.  It had a gas stove top.  It had lots of counter space.  It had two skylights over the eat in area of the kitchen and doors to the backyard.  It had a pretty wooden spiral staircase leading upstairs.  It had a walk through pantry/laundry room.  There was even a countertop in there for when you brought groceries in through the garage.  There was a laundry chute from the bedrooms upstairs, plus lots of actual pantry space.  They even had a small deep freeze tucked in there.  It was seriously a roomy pantry!  Just off the kitchen, there was a small built in desk and a small t.v. watching area surrounding by windows and half walls (are those called pony walls?).

In this chunk of the house, I could totally envision myself living/working/relaxing.

But, the rest of the house wasn't so great.  It was cool, but, it was really choppy.  It had twists and turns and weird hallways.  It had uneven floors/flooring,  where I could see us, or the babies we watch, tripping and hurting themselves.

None of the bathrooms were great.  The bedrooms were, mostly okay.  Spread out in weird places throughout the house.  There was a weird balcony-like bedroom on the 3rd floor (only accessible through a narrow spiral staircase) that overlooked the big bathroom on the 2nd floor.  Like, literally, it had half, more like three-quarters, walls that you look down actually into the bathroom, including the pink tiled shower and the indoor hot tub.  Weird, and not in a good way.

This house also had an indoor sauna.  Would love that, but it was in a weird spot too, right at the base of the stairs heading up to the 3rd floor balcony room.

This house was super, duper quirky.  Rainman and I both love that.  We like quirky (people and homes).  But, this one was sort of choppy and and there weren't really any large enough gathering spaces for the family.

So, we decided to pass on this house, but I am glad we looked at it, because otherwise we would have always wondered if we could have/should have.  You know?

The aftermath of us looking at the house has been interesting.  Some of us are appreciating our existing house more and some have totally gotten the bug to move, and are only seeing the flaws in our current house.

Our house makes me happy.

It does.

But, there are definitely things that I don't like.

I still don't like my kitchen much.

It is way better with the island that Mark built for me, but it isn't a room that I get much joy out of standing in and doing things.

Not sure if that makes sense to you, but I have been in, and even owned, kitchens where I was legitimately happy just walking into them every morning.  They just had that light, bright, airy feeling that this kitchen lacks.  I guess I can't really explain it.

Looking at this house made Rainman realize that he doesn't miss having a pool as much as he thought he would, and doesn't really think of it as a necessity anymore.  But it also made him realize  that he really finds our house boring and cookie cutter-ish.

So, where does this leave us?

We left things with the realtor that she would keep an eye out for large, unique properties in the area, at that general price and let us know.  (She didn't even seem annoyed with us - I totally should have picked her the first time around!)

We aren't looking for a new house, but we aren't NOT looking for a new house.  Emoji

There is so much in this house that works so well for us.   There really is.  However, I am once again considering spending money to remodel/change my kitchen. Maybe sort of flip it around towards the windows or something,  and get a gas range.  I miss my gas stove.  I don't know, for sure.  But, I am pretty sure I have a few hours of research to do on Pinterest!  Poor me.

One interesting, and sad, thing that came out of looking at the house related to D-man.

As we were looking, he kept saying things about how even if we moved, he wasn't really going to live there anyway, so his opinion didn't matter as much.  He said things about being okay just having a guest bedroom to sleep in.  Stuff about him coming to visit.


It is true.

He will be leaving for college next fall.  Living at home in the summers, hopefully, but, he has one foot out the door.

When we had pretty much decided that we were staying here, there was talk of swapping bedrooms when D-man leaves and letting L-girl have his much larger bedroom upstairs.  Something that I had squashed months ago when it first came up, because he still needs to have a bedroom.  You know?  This still needs to be his soft place to fall.  He still needs to feel at home here.

But, the idea appealed to all of the kids and Rainman.  I was the only one who didn't like the idea.


I don't really want to face that this place is just someplace that he will only come visit from now on.

I suppose my mom felt the same way.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Beginning of 2016

We had a really fun New Year's Eve celebration this year....even though Rainman had to work again(just like Christmas).  He .worked New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  He had 12 hour shifts both days, 8 to 8.  He got home about 8:45, took a nap until 11 and then joined us for a rushed bit of gaming and ringing in the new year, before heading to bed, so he could get up for work the next day.

We had a few extra partiers with us this year.  A-girls friend, E-man and his sister, R-girl, who is friends with L-girl were able to join us.  J-girl spent the night with her family, which I totally understand and while I was happy for her mom and dad, we missed having her with us.

We had our usual homemade pizza contest.

There ended up being a winner for presentation and a winner for taste.  Can you guess which was which?

We worked on a murder mystery puzzle and played games, like the mitt game, that my sister Karen told me about years' ago.  Even my teenagers love that this game has become a yearly tradition at our house.

Oh, I should tell you that somewhere between me taking pictures of the pizzas and this game....a few selfies and other pictures were taken by various children....who apparently had greasy fingers and touched the, the rest of my shots from our party will look like I did some sort of soft focus filter on them!

My sister, Karen, is also the queen of treasure hunts, so I decided to use some of her ideas and create a cryptogram filled treasure hunt for the kids.  Seriously, a lot of fun....again...even the big kids participated in this one (maybe not quite as gleefully as the littles, but they had fun too).  I will honest and say that I had a lot of fun coming up with the riddle like clues for all the hiding spots for the clues.

Loved this treasure hunt.  I had gotten some candy and popcorn tins from Aldi at an after Christmas sale that I used for my prizes.  Simple, cheap and super fun.

Our last "game" of the night was the game that we had done at Christmas too that we stole from the Hallmark movie (Very Merry Mix Up).  The one where you each write something nice anonymously about everyone else in the room and then read them aloud and try to guess who said it. (We actually had a good laugh when we realized half way through the game that L-girl was the only one writing with a red pen, so there ended up being no mystery about which ones she wrote!)  Rainman missed this one at Christmas, so, we waited until he got up from his nap so  he was able to do it this time too.

But, it was so awesome!  Really.  You should do this at some family gathering.  It is fun to see what things people come up with.  The sibling to sibling ones were a mix of super, laugh out loud, funny and sweet. Mine made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (especially the one from a teenager that said I throw fun and awesome parties)

Rainman had to keep explaining his because they kept coming off as mean, but he didn't intend them to be that way.  Things like "you are much smarter than I thought you would be"....or "you are the most gifted child I have ever seen"  I am chuckling just remembering the kids faces when those were read.

We were having so much fun with this game, that we suddenly realized that Ryan Seacrest had already started the countdown and we hadn't gotten our glasses of fake wine poured and handed out. The last seconds of the countdown was a mad rush of handing out glasses and pouring.  It was pure chaos, I tell you.  Chaos.  But, it was fun and loud and filled with laughing.  Plus, none of my glasses got broken, so....bonus.

This was finally the moment in my night that I realized something was up with my camera lens....but, it was too late!  I kept taking pictures, saying, everything looks sort of fuzzy.  Grrr....

It was so chaotic that I forgot to include myself in even one of the pictures, and we forgot to put on our New Year's hats, so here are the littles posing in them with the special sign S-girl made with her new beloved Spirograph she got for Christmas.

I am looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for us.  My word for the year is "pursue". So, we shall see.

Here is to a happy and blessed new year for all of us.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas Happenings - Don't Worry....This Is Finally The End!

If you have read my blog up until now, you will have seen that I somehow forgot to plant us all in front of the Christmas tree for pictures either before or after our Christmas Eve service.  That fact made me pretty sad.  But, when I saw these next two pictures, I got sort of mad....

So, yes, these two apparently had time for their own little photo shoot in front of the tree and didn't think to do it in front of me, or say something so I could shove everybody else over there in front of the tree!  (They are so pretty and awesome, so it is hard to stay mad at them!)

Anyway, Christmas morning came fairly early for us.  Rainman had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  So, we got up early and had Christmas before he headed into work to open presents.  The kids started what I think will probably be a new tradition of them all sleeping upstairs, like a big, loud, thumpy, slumber party.   
Heading down to see if Santa came......

He did.

Rainman cracks me up just lounging over there.

A-girl LOVES elephants, so her sisters went in on a huge one for her.

Should I even explain this one, ladies?  Aren't we all just married to big kids?

If you are my friend on Facebook, this was the gift you saw me regretting later on Christmas Day. They love these.  They are obsessed with walkie talkies.  The problem came with them using them while they are sitting in the same room together....with me.  I am happy to report that a week out now they have calmed down with using them in that annoying way.  They have actually come in handy for me to get a hold of them when they are outside and I need them.  I am sure the neighbors appreciate that I am not just hanging out the front door yelling for them!
 Not sure why this son of a White Sox fan, who lives near where the Atlanta Braves play, actually has a thing for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he does.

 Santa brought a karoake machine and CD's with 100 70's songs.  Our only problem is we only have one t.v. that works to show the words and it is the little one in the kitchen.  But, it much loved by all!

 V-girl got some real stuff in her doctor's kit.  It is a hit.  She even went and got one of the jackets for one of her Sunday dresses to use as a lab coat.

S-girl got a loom.  We are all a little obsessed with it.  I have decided I want a big one to make rugs.  Obsessed, I tell you.

 Here she is working on her first scarf.

V-girl decided she wanted to have a Christmas party and made little bulletins for us all.

 Pray time, food, Bible time, Christmas songs.  This makes me so happy.

We also started a new tradition based on an idea we got from a Hallmark movie.  It was a Very Merry Mix Up, with Alicia Witt, in case you are wondering.  The idea we got was  - everyone gets a cup in front of them, and you each write something nice, anonymously, about everyone in the room and then that person reads them aloud and tries to guess who said what.  We are doing it again on New Year's Eve, because there were a few people that didn't totally understand the whole "nice" concept.  One of A-man's comments for one of his sisters was "Clammy"  LOL!

I did a little better than "clammy"  with my little slips of paper.

It was a really good Christmas despite the fact that Rainman had to rush off to work.  We didn't have a lot of money to spend (not unusual) but I feel like we were really able to surprise most of the kids with some of the things that they really wanted.

Plus, the kids and Rainman got me sweet gifts...

S-girl made me a "Mom's rubing coupons" book.  That is supposed to say "rubbing"....because I like to have my back rubbed (who doesn't).  The rest of them are pretty self explanatory.  I feel very blessed to have Rainman for a husband and the 6 little fridge openers to call my own.