Jan 30, 2011

Ella's First Catch!

C'mon now, what two year old DOESN'T love ice fishing? Well, we've been doing our darndest to raise our first born so that she'd have a fully instilled love of all things fishy well before she could crawl, walk, or even speak. I'd say we've been doing pretty well.


She's got mad hand eye coordination skills that I'd say rival most 5 years olds. She can snag her magnetic fish with her play fishing pole quick as a lick. She nabs any of her floating fish in the tub in the blink of an eye and she scoops shiners out of the bait bucket with ridiculous ease. We're teaching her well because when she goes for the bait bucket she points to the biggest one, says "I get the big one!" And proceeds to net that very one!

She frequently asks to "go fishin". We've been taking her as often as it's not super freezing and the wind won't whip her away. And when I say "we" I mean Jason. Becuase hey, every girl needs a little daddy fishin' time. (Read: Praise the Lord for a great daddy so mommy gets a break and doesn't have to go freeze her butt off!)

Well, today folks. Ella brought home her VERY first ice fishing catch! A Yellow Perch with quite the large fin and some really pretty coloring! So proud! She wanted to "bring it home, show mommy!". Melt my heart! (Did you notice the hot chocolate in hand. Hot chocolate is also a very big part of the ice fishing experience. Are you sensing a theme with our child and hot chocolate? Because there is one!)

Jan 27, 2011

Startin' Off with a BANG...AND CLICK ON MY ADS!

...okay more like a CRRUNCH, but neither are sounds I wanted to hear on our first date night in one gazillion years.

We're so not good at actually going on date nights. We think it's a great idea. We really want to. We know we love it. We talk about it all the time. But we never actually do it.

So...We FINALLY put our plan of action into action in this new year. Date night. Regularly. Once a month. Lined up a super babysitter, budgeted it in. Game on.

Last friday night we suited up for a fun filled nightime sledding fest just the two of us and then planned to hit a new coffee house for a hot treat to warm us up. Fun, active, cheap. Perfect. We were all bundled, giddy like teenagers as Jason backed the van up to head out and that's when we heard it....CRUNCH.

"Oh please let that have been a snow bank, Oh please let that have been a snowbank," I trited to beg myself out of reality as I sat frozen, face crinkled in a cring.

Jason moved first...got out of the van and uttered his famous, "CRAP!"

Yup. It was the babysitters car. Her drivers side door got quite closely aquainted with the corner of our left bumper.

T'was hard to move forward after that. I'm not gonna lie. We did trudge on with our date night but it just wasn't the same. And now facing our LARGE insurance deductable (on top of already having 3 other unplanned for big ticket items) transitioned us nicely in to a large argument over finances. Sweet.

But on the bright side. I really think it was God giving us a big wake up call to really examine our finances, and what we save and budget for. Becuase Sunday morning landed us in our church listening to a message about....you guessed it....finances. Particualarly getting out of debt.

Don't get me wrong. We've pared down our budget to what we thought was the bare minimum. We've been working with "laser beam focus" to get out of debt. But apparently we had not yet hit the bare minimum and our laser beam needed a little refocusing.

Monday morning the opportunity to work 6 10 hour days presented itself to Jason (coincidence? I think NOT!). And so here we are. Jason's working 6 10 hour days. We are spending NO MONEY except on tithe, utilities, debt, groceries and gas. I MEAN NOTHING. So if there's a birthday or holiday coming up and you get nothing from us...don't take it personally.

And I'm selling things online and I've added an ad to this blog. I rack up a little money each time someone clicks on it. So even if you don't really read my blog....please do stop by and click on my ad multiple times a day!

Thanks!

Jan 22, 2011

Sticky Buns and Other Funs

This is how my attempt at homemade sticky buns turned out. DELISH. Go here for the recipe.
Ella helped A LOT. She kneaded, rolled, stirred and dumped.
The best place for the rising dough was next to our woodstove.
And the task that started at 10:30am was finshed at 4pm.
I don't think this will become a regular thing...but they are GooooOOOd! I'm not going to show you the kitchen cabinets yet.
There is still a drawer front that needs to be put on and a kick board to be bought, cut, painted and installed. So it might be a while.
This is all I'll give you.
Ell, being super helpful "fixing" the cabinets with daddy.

The snow has been a flying...it seems like every other day!
And they say there's 2 to 3ft headed our way on Tuesday!
We've been keeping warm inside having lots of fun.
Ella likes to take pictures as much as mommy does.
I love it.

She loves the play tent she got for Christmas! She's very into tutus right now. She must put one on every day. She must do it herself. Then she must twirl until she falls down.

It is also mandatory that mommy wears a tutu.
Except, it only fits on one of mommy's legs.
But I oblige and twirl away!

Ella is constantly saying, "I put on boots, and snowpants and jacket and go outside make snow angels". So we do.
We find ourselves trapsing through the snow making snow angels and perfecting our "bear cave" (read: super cool cave dug out of the snow plowed bank) once a day.
She NEVER wants to come inside. I love that she loves being outside.
Jason is working overtime the whole day this glorious Saturday. It stinks. But it is necessary for him to take every moment of overtime thrown his way.
Because, as Ella so aptly put it this morning, "Daddy need go work to fix the money."

You see, he told her he was leaving and she said, "Daddy no go work. Daddy stay here."
Which almost made him cry. So he told her he had to go make money and he'd be home soon.
And then a few hours later...out of the mouths of babes.

It seems like a never ending battle. We need to pay for healthcare things, for tires for the car, for Hunter's vet bills for the never ending scratch on his eye, the gazillion plows this winter, and we need to pay our car insurance deductible...because we kicked of our new monthly date night with a real BANG...but that's a whole different story for a whole different day!

That's what's happening in our neck of the woods!
Hope you're having a FABULOUS Saturday!

Jan 15, 2011

Operation Finish the Flippin' Kitchen!

It's true. Operation Finish the Flippin' Kitchen is not only in full swing; it's in phase 2: Lower Cabinets with phase 1: Upper cabinets already complete! (No I won't show you those until the whole thing is done! Ha...aren't I evil?)
I set a deadline, Feb. 13th. Why that day? Because I want to be able to cook my honey a fabulous Valentine's Day meal? NO. Because that's the year anniversary of when we closed on this home and I won't be able to stand myself if the kitchen is not done within one year.
So this is the contents of my lazy susan and spice rack. I can't even begin to tell you how stressed this makes me...having it all cluttered on my counter. Oh man. Must move on... Jason is Ice Fishing with friends today and with his dad tomorrow. Ella gets to spend time at Grandma and Nanny's house. And I get to paint the cabinets. Hmmm, I'm feeling like I got the short end on that one. No, truly, we agreed on that. You see, Jason is the hardest working man I've ever known. But his kind of work is all muscle and mine is all detail. Let's face it...redoing cabinets is detail work. And so here we are. I've cleaned, sanded and applied the primer. Only 3 more coats of white to go! And then another 4 more on the back sides of the doors. SWEET! Only 7 more coats to go!

What, you ask, do I plan to do with myself during the 4 hour drying time between each of those 7 coats. Well, let me tell you. I plan to do any of the following things and enjoy every second:
  • Blog about this experience
  • Watch any of the 3 movies I rented from Redbox
  • Eat candy that I bought to reward myself for each coat
  • Savor my last Charles Martin Book
  • Stay up late
  • Sleep in as long as I want
  • Eat food and drink beverages by myself while they're still hot without sharing them with a toddler.
  • Sit and do nothing...with no toddler running around (yup...I'll do A LOT of that one!)
And why, you ask, did I take all of these pictures? To remind myself to NEVER, EVER do this again. AGAIN you say? Yes, I do say. You see we did this in the last house we owned. Want to see pictures? Well, I do! Because quite frankly that's the only think keeping me going on this project right now. Here...look how beautiful: (sorry I have no idea where the before pictures are, but suffice it to say they were DARK 70's wood, aweful 70's countertops, a harvest yellow stove...Oh, and we knocked out a wall and added the island. )
PS: I never got to enjoy those there counter tops. We installed them so that we could put our house on the market. I was secretly hoping that house wouldn't sell and I'd get to stay and enjoy all the projects we finally finished in order to put it on the market. Okay, so maybe I wasn't so secretive about my hopes. But GO figure! In a super stinky real estate slump where houses were sittin gon the market for YEARS on end, that cute little turn key ranch sold in 4 days flat!
I think I should get new counter tops this time 'round and actually get to use them. What do you think?

Jan 14, 2011

Blessed

I feel a bit like I'm living in a Norman Rockwell painting today.
First Ella and I went and visited our friends who just had their third little girl Maggie Kate. Oh is she precious! Ella liked her toes and the little noises she made.
Megan mentioned playing in the snow when we were there and Ella just had to do that when we got home. We suited all up and romped in a winter wonderland with Hunter our Golden retriever. We climbed the snow banks, made snow angels and dug a "bear cave". She did NOT want to come inside.
Warm sandwiches and hot chocolate enticed her and we ate a lovely lunch together. Then upstairs it was to read stories and go night-night. Not even one bit of a fuss from her. She gave her baby all the special hugs and kisses we give her and then lingered on each kiss and hug before this mama left the room. I am blessed!
One large part of why I am blessed is because I finally feel well again (This whole house has been sick on and off since Thanksgiving)! I finally have the energy to tromp in the snow and be a fun and patient mommy again. That credit goes solely to one Dr. Lebro and his natural pharmacy. He cleared up in 48 hours what two medical doctors and Zythromax could not. More on him and my journey to wellness to come!

Jan 12, 2011

Whatcha Got In There?

Wahoo! It looks like I'm able to post videos to my blog again. Don't know what went wrong for a while there. Be prepared for an onslaught!

video

Anyhoo. Ella's daddy taught her how to put all of her farm animals down her shirt the other night. They both thought it was a riot when she looked like she had a lumpy pot belly.

Well, today after a little free play time of her own, I came and got her only to find her P.J's(snowed in = PJ's all day) looked a tad lumpy!

Jan 10, 2011

Voluntary Torture

Have you ever PAID to be tortured for 6 weeks in a row? Well folks, that is precisely what I did one week ago today when I set foot in our local YMCA.

Oh suuUUuure, the Young Men's Christian Association sounds like a fine place, and upon entering it looks like a harmless establishment as well. But sign up for a Waterbabies class, throw in one child named Ella and you've got yourself six weeks of H-E- double hockey sticks (There. I didn't say it this time!)

You see, Ella is a very intelligent child with some....how shall I say....ahem, intracacies. And gosh darn it, she can articulate VERY well! She likes the water on her own terms. She likes the lakes and ponds when she can wade in and out as SHE pleases.

Last week, I purposely got to the Y early so she'd have time to adjust to a new place and take it all in. We watched the lovely seniors arobicize to their hearts content through the viewing window. We weren't rushed as we changed. We got onto the pool deck early. We strapped on her foam floaties with ease. We watched all the other kiddos happily climb in. All seemed fine. She said she wanted to go in too. But I had a nagging feeling that this was just the calm before the storm. Boy was I right. THE INSTANT we entered the pool she started SCREAMING. I am NOT exagerating. She was, face red, tears flowing, snot shooting, mom-clawing clinging, SCREAMING! And it did not stop...for an ENTIRE half hour. (Yeah, it was kind of like that picture up there...only ONE MILLION TIMES WORSE.)

Half way through I looked at the instructor with pleading eyes and begged for her opinion. She assured me that this was totally normal, that she'd had children scream for the first three lessons straight, but that they eventually stop. "And what if they never stop screaming? Because you may have met your match in this one lady!" I wanted to say. But I didn't. I gritted my teeth, smiled and returned to the fun.

No amount of pool fun (including but not limited to, the hokey pokey, wheels on the bus, twinkle-twinkle, motor boat-motor boat, humpty dumpty, blast off, and a slide!), even for one split second, succeeded in taking her mind off of her sheer determination to exit that pool. Theres was flat out screaming non-words. There was screming, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" There was screaming, "I GET OUT!!!!" There was screaming, "I GO HOME!" There was screaming, "I NO LIKE SWIMMING!" There was screaming, "I GO GET MY TOWEL, GO IN CAR, GO HOME!" But there was never, no not ever, an absense of screaming.

JOY, JOY and more JOY! I left emotionally and physically exhausted, wondering if I had just forever emotionally scarred my child, and feeling terrible for all the other mothers and babies in the class.

But Jason and I have decided, that she needs to be in the water, she needs to know how to swim and we need to be strong and can't back down. And by "we" we mean "me" because let's face it people, it's my butt that's taking her to the blue pit of torture every Monday, not Jason. My mother reassured me that when she took her little sister (my aunt Kirsten) to baby swim class for the first time she screamed and cried the whole way through too. But I'll have you know that Kirsten grew up to compete on swim teams, teach swim lessons, be a lifeguard and is now the director of all aquatics at a private center like the Y only better. So there is hope my friends. There is hope. And that hope I shall be clinging to as my child clings to me!

PS: Today was self-infliced torture session #2. I'm proud to say that the decibal level of her screaming went down slightly and she only screamed for a good 80% of the class. Yes, there were actually moments where she was not screaming. Did that have anything to do with the hot chocolate and fruit snack I had waiting in the car? Perhaps. And just for the record, I've decided I'm all about behavior modification in the form of positive reinforcement (that's super fancy social work language for "bribes").

Jan 5, 2011

My Darlin' Two Year Old

I tried to get a picture of her in her cute little horsey dress last Sunday. Instead I got her showing off her new favorite past time. Seriously. She LOVES to pick her nose. And she's not shy about telling you why. "I got boogies," she'll declare.

I really do not know where the time goes. I still think of her as my little baby. But the facts are undeniable. She's sleeping in her big girl bed like a champ (read: her crib with the side taken off.) She's moved up to the 2's & 3's class at church and the child can say absolutely anything. And she does. And she's specific as all get out. Yesterday while playing upstairs with Jason she said this:

"I need some Daddy's chapstick. Daddy go downstairs get chapstick in room. I stay here. K?" (The child's been dealing with a lot of colds lately. What can I say? Her lips are parched!) That is not a rare occurance. She speaks that much and that specifically all the time. It's really hard to deny that she's getting to be quite the big girl when she talks to you like that.

Currently I'm listening to her lull herself to sleep. She stays right in her bed. (Only tested it once and not ever again.) But she does like to babble and talk and sing until she falls asleep. In fact...I don't think she's ever NOT talking unless she's asleep...and then sometimes she even talks in her sleep. Thus far I've heard these things:

"Dear Lord, Thank-you to God. Thank-you these pictures. AMEN!!!"

"Hey, it's cold out there!!...I put some socks on."

Several rounds of "Happy Birthday" to you sung to many a different individuals...herself, her friend and Hunter all included.

One round of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and now we're on to "Holy, Holy, Holy".

Too Cute!

Jan 3, 2011

A Sewing Miracle

Check back a few posts and you'll see that I've been in quite the baby fever funk. I've been feeling a little less than motivated. Lately when nap time rolls around I'm like, "Hmmm, what should I do? Dishes? Laundry? Sweep? Mop? Organize? Exercise? Yeah, sitting on the couch eating Christmas candy and watching the only channel that slighty comes in sounds like a great choice." And then I do that.
But today, in a miraculous flurry of activity and inspiration I powered right through nap time and mended every single item that had been sitting in a heap for...some of them...years! And after that I just whipped up this little number:
I kid you not. This is nothing short of a sewing miracle straight from God himself! Considering I had no pattern whatsoever, I just decided to pop in to Marden's this morning on the way home from Waterbabies class (A.K.A. Hell...more on that later) to pick out the yellow and green accent fabric without the main fabric even in hand, and I totally taught myself how to do ruffles from a spur of the moment web tutorial this is nothing shy of A-MA-ZING. I cannot believe how finished looking it is! From the perfectly coordinated colors to the pockets to the hems to the adorable ruffles, I'd say this is my finest sewing creation yet!You see, Ella loves to bake and cook and wear an apron like mommy. I just packed away her Christmas one... and the one we bought her when we were in North Conway, upon further inspection, is a poorly sewn giant piece of poo....so she needed a new one. I've had the dragonfly fabric my mom gave me for forever and I've been putting this together for months in my head. I just never thought I'd get around to it today and never dreamed it would come out this nice! Yay for little blessings like that!

Jan 2, 2011

What to do with those Christmas cards?

Don't throw out all those wonderful Christmas cards and photocards you get every season. Especially for those of you with littles, turn it into a fun craft project! I started this last year. And it's easy.

1.) I cut up all the cards, keeping the sayings, picturs and scriptures I like the most. Then I cut all the photos of friends and family out of the photo cards.

2.) I tape two pieces of regular 81/2 x 11 paper together and arrange all my treasures in a collage and attach them with scrapbooking double sided stick'ems.

3.) Take my little creation on over to any office supply store where they professionally laminate them for like $2.50. And Voila! Very wipable placemats that are very fun to look at, especially as the years pass and you can look at how everyone is growing and changing!

Jan 1, 2011

Spillin' My Guts

(CAUTION: This will seem like a total Debbie Downer post at first. But stick with it...it'll turn around.)

My attitude is in stark contrast to the overwhelming "Happy New Year! Hope and Expectation! 2011 is gonna be great!" vibe floating all around in the air on this New Year's morning. And that contrast is only seeming to magnify said stinky attitude.

You see, I'm in THAT place AGAIN and it stinks. THAT PLACE being the place where I really, REALLY would love to be pregnant and am not... and don't know when I'll be...or if I'll be...ever again. For those of you that don't know, it took us three years to get pregnant with Ella. (Yes we know what's wrong, yes we've been to every doctor known to mankind and none of them can tell us WHY or what to do to change it short of fertility drugs, and that's a whole different conversation! So who knows what's in store this time around...but thus far it's seeming like a whole lotta the same.) Those of you that have been in this place, give me a shout out. I mean really, lets just say it like it is. It ROTS.

I'll admit, It's probably just because I know a lot of people at the same stage of life as me...or perhaps it's just my super narrow baby focus right now, but I swear I can sniff out a pregnant woman like a bloodhound tracking a wounded coon. And they're ALL around me! It was the same way back when I was trying to get pregnant the fist time and now we're up for round two... It seems as if everyone I know, and their sister, their aunt, their cousin, their mother AND their grandmother are all getting pregnant. I swear to you that I know THIRTEEN people who are pregnant right now (and I'm pretty sure I've forgotten some!). Please, please don't get me wrong. They are wonderful people who are already or will make wonderful mothers. I am so happy for them to expand or start their family. But I'd be a bald faced liar if I said a part of me didn't sink with a bit of disapointment each time I hear of someone new being pregnant. It just serves as a little reminder each time that I am not. Totally self centered I know. It may not be pretty, but life isn't always pretty people and it's the truth. There I said it.

HOWEVER. (Don't lose hope, here's where it starts to turn around...kind of.) I am also so very aware that when it comes to baby woes I am SO very much low man on the totem pole so to speak. I may know a lot of preggos right now. But I also personally know SO many people who are or have gone through situations that I cannot even fathom. I know people who have been married for 10 years, trying to have children for a good portion of that time and are now waiting to adopt, updating their numbers each month as they wait in REALLY LONG lines to be able to hold their baby in their arms. I know so many women who have had miscarriages... and multiple miscarriages and multiple miscarriages in a row. I know women who have given birth to stillborn children. I know women who have given birth to their sweet children and watched them die in their arms within days or months. I cannot even wrap my head around this kind of heartache...my mind does not comprehend and all words simply fail. My heart hurts for them and I am well aware that the ache I feel for another little one in my arms MORE than pales in comparison.

Oh how I pray for those ladies...the ones I know and the many, many women who'll I'll never even know, but who've experienced a heartache like that. And I count my many, many, many, many blessings. One of the greatest being a sweet, beautiful, healthy little girl who is, this very minute, running about with her daddy and filling the upstairs with the sweetest laughter I've ever heard.

And I ask God what he would have us do...what His plan is. Although it took three years to get pregnant with Ella I can look back and see that His timing was perfect. And even thought it doesn't look like we'll have another babe by the time Ella is 2 1/2 or 3 like I had wanted...I know His plan trumps mine...and while uncomfortable at times, even painful...is always better in the long run.

And I wonder. I wonder if one biological child is all He has for us. I wonder how much we should take into our own hands...with fertility drugs that are readily offered to us. I wonder if doing that might have us miss out on an opportunity He might have for us to expand our family through adoption or fostering...knowing full well that there are so many children with no parents to love them. One thing is sure. I know He has a plan. I know it is good. I know He will unfold it for us in all clarity at the right time.

For now, I wait. And in that waiting God gives me this promise, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:30-31.

But hold up... if that's true...then why is waiting so DANG hard!? Why is it that I feel impatient, sad, weary and not the slightest bit strong or renewed!? Well, from the mouth of one of my FAVE Bible Teachers (Beth Moore)...IT'S BECAUSE I'M NOT WAITING ON THE LORD...I'M WAITING ON THE "THANG". Now that may not hit you with the weight of a GIANT wrecking ball like it did for me, but please let it sink in. So often I am weary and down trodden because Iam just waiting on the "THANG"... The thing I want, the way I want it, when I want it. Instead He asks me to wait on HIM, focused on His strength, His character, His love, His comfort, His peace, and trust and wait for His plan. When I do that, waiting is pretty fabulous.

So Wendy if you're reading this....What God wants from me this year is to wait upon Him...not upon the thing.