Monday, September 30, 2013

The "magic" word

I've really been into my camera lately.

I really love to shoot pics.

No, really.

So, yesterday while Dave took the family up to a friend's lake house to measure some windows, I grabbed my camera and did a little shootin'.

So...we had a slow start:

Then, I told him to "smile for mom, bug!"

And I got this:


So, I said, "A smile with teeth, please."

He got all literal on me.

So...then I hauled out the big guns.

I said the "magic word."

The word that no one can say around him without him plunging into pools of laughter:

I looked at him.

Me:  Hey C, you're really going to make me say it???

C:  Say what?

Me:  The magic word.

C: What, please???

Now...when you say the magic word, you need to say it correctly.

You have to use your diaphragm to push the word up from the bottom of your stomach.

A gravely voice helps too.

And lower the tone a few octaves...

Me:  Hey.....

(dramatic pause)

He looked at me expectantly.


" just made your mom say BUTT for the sake of a picture"


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Ten: oh the randomness!

1.  Baby L. sleeps through the night about 10% of the time.  I'm starting to find this annoying, but enjoy the quiet snuggles.  This too shall pass, right?  RIGHT!?!?!?

2.  On a related note, I believe that Baby L. may be intolerant to her diet.  Every few nights she's awake most of the night SCREAMING in tummy pain, lots of gas, and some nasty diapers.  Gas drops work short term....but we're going to need to start a food diary and do some investigating.  While I was pregnant with her, she had no dairy or gluten in the womb...which could be a reason she's intolerant to the regular formula, but I'm not sure if it's dairy in her food that's causing it....things that make you go hmmmmm.

3.  Is there anything more infuriating or confusing than following someone who rides their brakes?  Are they stopping?  Are they slowing down?  For the love that is all good and holy, there is NO ONE in front of them!!!  Squirrel?  WHY ARE YOU BRAKING?!?!?!?

4.  On Saturday, the boys and I cleaned the house.  It was blissful; we all worked as a team.  The boys were so eager to please and work together.  I actually overheard them: A: "I'll vacuum and sweep the front porch."  C: "That sounds good!  I'll sweep first and then pick up the dog poop out front."  Oh the happiness!  So, I took them to a farm and got them an apple cider slushie and a donut to say "thank you."  We got home and mayhem broke out.  Crabbiness, fighting, bickering, disobedience.  Seriously, boys?!?!?  Sugar sucks.

5.  My once (for a nano second) clean mud room is now full of mud.  It was cleaned on Saturday...and then I blinked....there is even new mud on my mudroom CEILING.  How these things happen, I have no idea.

Wait....I do have an idea:  I live with two little boys.

6.  I'm reading.  A lot.  Got any good book recommendations?  I'm open!

7.  This "not working" thing is really soothing.  Once the boys are off to school, I feel like I can finally breathe (not because they're gone, but because I don't have a schedule to keep).  I'm getting things done around the house - when Baby L. cooperates.  And when she doesn't....well, I'm not in fear of getting yelled at if my schedule goes off.  I do NOT miss that stress.  At all.  What a gift!

8.  We live in a neighborhood that is mostly older people. There's one family up the way a bit...but they're I don't count them.  In conversations with a few of our neighbors, it seems like a few houses are going up for sale soon.  We're PRAYING that younger families (normal ones at that) will move in.  Perhaps the neighborhood is turning over after all!

9.  I love hand-me-downs.

10.    I've started planning Baby L's birthday party.  This both breaks my heart and excites me at the same time.  I'm so excited to watch her grow...but these moments with her as a baby are so fleeting. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Good things come in dozens.




Dave and Me.

Any guess what they have in common?

We occur in dozens.
Yesterday we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.
One dozen years of wedded bliss fun.
Twelve years ago:
 Wow, we looked like babies!!!
And recently:

Here's a few of my favorite moments from the past 12 years:
  1. Our first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage.  Holy cow, that sucked at the time...and started a VERY dark year for me...but I did learn a lot.  Independent by nature, I learned that I could lean on Dave and trust him to stand by me - even when darkness spewed out of my mouth more times than I want to admit.  But, God can (and DOES) use all things for His glory, right?  Well...I can tell you now that He does.
  2. Being debt free!  I worked through Dave Ramsey's baby steps before our marriage, so when we joined forces, we only had a mortgage.  Which we paid off in the first 14 months of our marriage.  It has been so freeing and a HUGE blessing ever since.  It's amazing to note the blessings we have from being obedient in this corner of life.  Our priorities are different, and we don't fight about money.  We just don't.  We talk about spending habits, and talk over major purchases...but we just don't fight.  It also enabled D to start his own business over a decade ago....if we had tons of debt, it would have been extra scary.
  3. D. started his own business.  Saw a little foreshadowing in #2, didn't ya???  I knew when we were dating that this was something he wanted to do...someday.  He was smart about it, though.  He built up a customer base and purchased tools with cash as it rolled in.  He worked nights and weekends while he still maintained a full time designer about motivated.  I can't imagine him working for anyone but himself now...he's so motivated and has a lot of integrity.  I love that he's professionally fulfilled....even though he still works nights and weekends. (Just goes with being self-employed).
  4. The fights.  They're few and far between, but fighting leads to communication (when fought fairly) which leads to making up.  Need I say more???
  5. A's arrival.  A cold December night.  Fourteen inch head.  Hard back labor...marginal epidural...he was there the whole time.  Our first son.  He was so proud.  And the way he sat straight up in the car driving us home....priceless.  Fatherhood becomes him.  I love that my parenting partner is fantastic.
  6. Moving to the Love Shack.  This has been a very LONG endeavor.  What he said would be done "in two years" has now moved into 8 years, 4 months and 16 days (but who's counting?!?!?).  Here's the thing, though...we're being wise with our money...we're taking it slow....we're ok with where we're at.  After all, when all is said and done, we'll have a 5 bedroom house on 1/2 acre of land in a great geographic area....all paid for.  And built to last.  How many 40 year olds can say that?!?!  (Yes, I'm saying it will probably be another 3 years before we complete this house....)
  7. C.  We always said he acted like a "middle child" from birth, but thought we were done. (Ha!)  C is definitely a mama's boy through and through.  I love love love it.  But...there's something I've learned about having an asthmatic child turning blue in the middle of the night - D and I are a team.  When I freak out...he's calm as a cucumber.  When he starts to fright, I get all zen and level-headed.  We even each other out well.
  8. The L-B's.  Yep...this has a line item all it's own.  When I met Dave, I was at my thinnest I had ever been.  As a matter of fact, a few days before I met Dave, a routine Dr. appointment had turned into concern about how thin I was (which was totally false, by the way).  Having lost over 100 lb's after high school graduation, I was very concerned with gaining any weight back.  Now...we're 12 years later...and of course, I've gained a lot of weight again.  He's lost about 40 pounds since we married...and I've gained  xx (holy crap, I'm all for disclosure, but I'm not gonna tell you how much I've gained....).  And he still loves me, and still finds me attractive.  There's a lot of women out there killing themselves to keep their husbands...but I found me a man of integrity.  Love him so for that.
  9. Baby L. Wow...that was quite a ride.  We thought we were done having biological kids (leaving the door open for possible adoption or foster care later in life)...we thought that door had closed.  God laughed at us.  I still wonder "how the heck did all this happen?  We have a third child!!!"  She's oh-so sweet and a wonderful completion to our family circle.  I'm forever grateful that God knows what He's doing.  And watching my husband with his daughter is so tender - at times it makes me want to tear up.
  10. Directional vision.  These past few months have given us a new passion for our family ministry.  While Dave has always had a passion for his faith and has acted as our family cornerstone (which I TOTALLY respect him for!), our new pastor has preached in a way that Dave understands and runs with.  Dave has researched so many additional topics and asked me to read books with him so we can talk about Scripture and how it applies.  He asks tough questions, and stands firm in his convictions.  He firmly stands by the need for Christian education while our kids are young, and has made that our family ministry.  Talking with Dave, praying with Dave, studying scripture with Dave....when both of our eyes are on Him, we get closer than ever imagined.
One dozen years.
Makes me wonder what will happen in the next dozen.
But I'm totally content to be grateful for right now.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The post that took me all summer to write.

*Disclaimer: This is NOT a judgement post.  This is just what's in my heart, for my life, for my family.  No judgement for anyone else who does their life differently.  M'k?  All righty then....on with it:

There's been a big change in our house lately.

So big, in fact, that it took me an entire summer to write.

I'm going back to my roots.

To who I am, who I want to be...and all that this entails.

I'm going to be a mom.


"Sandy, you're already a mom," you say.

Yes, I am. 

But not the mom I wanted to be.

Flashback with me to about 7 years ago (well, 7 1/2, but who's counting?  Yeah...I totally am).  We had just recently(ish) moved into the Love Shack.  We spent all our easy cash on purchasing our house (for cash), redoing the entire septic field (cha-ching!), and building a pole barn. 

Our cash was lower than we needed to build the addition.  So, this opportunity comes along to work from home, and it was an answer to prayer.  A. took FANTASTIC 3.5 hour naps in the afternoon, and I could make calls during that time and write up reports after bedtime.  It was a great solution to get us from point A to point B.  We were so thankful.

C. was born approximately 32 weeks after I started the job.  (note the timing there?  yep...felt FANTASTIC during orientation...statement heavily laden with sarcasm...).  When C. arrived, he was a dream baby. 

No, really. 

Two weeks after C. was born, A. went to 5 day-per-week preschool, C. took a 2 hour morning nap.  When A. got home from school, he ate lunch and took a 3 hour the same time C. took another 2.5 hour nap. 

I was blessed. 

Great sleepers.  Bliss.  I got work done, I slept well at night, and I was showered daily.  Heaven.

As the boys did their demands. 

For my time. 
For my energy. 
For a lot. 

Financially demands grew too - tuition, health care premiums (thank you, Obamacare...seriously! But that's another topic for another post).  My income helped with premiums and tuition.  That's it.

In the meantime, I had two little boys who saw the back of my head more than they saw my face.  The stranger I was talking to on the phone was more important than the cut on their finger.  They were watching more TV than I wanted to admit. was an insane amount.  My house was a mess, my realationships were slipping away because I was always choosing to work, things just weren't.....working.

But I didn't realize it.

I kept plugging away.  Earning my paycheck.

Here's also where I say:

I'll admit I'm not the best of employees.

Especially when I don't really feel passionately or even particularly enjoy what I'm going.

I am VERY right brained. 


I have the ability to think logically.  I have the ability to make left-brained things work.

But it's like sanding wood against the grain:

You'll reach your desired just may take more effort and friction.

This job?  Numbers.  Lots of numbers.  Entering numbers into a report to make sure they're placed under the right number codes.  Making sure the numbers entered matched other numbers...and more numbers.  I can do numbers...really I can.  I can MAKE it work... But, was I?

So, there were times I wondered how well I was doing.  Sometimes I knew I wasn't doing as much as I should have been, but without a specific quota, I had no idea.  Until you got yelled at, there was no way of knowing.  So, after a long discussion with my boss (5 years into employment) I had a quota.  As I struggled to achieve that every week, the stress continued to climb.

If I was working, I felt guilty for neglecting everything else.

If I was doing anything else, I felt guilty for not working.

It was a crazy cycle.

The guilt mounted, the unhappiness continued, the mess piled up.

Enter Baby L.

The adorable little cherub doesn't sleep.  I didn't realize how great I had it with the boys.  But now I have two boys that need my attention and a baby who never gives me a break.  I was maxed out on stress (a winning formula for those with adrenal fatigue) and dropping every ball I had in the air.  Including my work.

That's when the W-2 came in the mail.

I looked at that piece of paper.  It showed me how much I made in the past year.

Honestly, guys....

it was a pittance.

Granted, I took the last 2 months "off" for maternity...but seriously.


That's when it hit me "You're giving up your happiness...your time with your children...for THIS???"

I took a look around at my messy house.  My boys addicted to the TV.  My baby crying in the bouncy chair.

Was it worth it?

The answer was pretty clear.

I had a very candid conversation with my boss.  While I knew my job wasn't in direct danger, I knew that - with my priorities and my passions, it was only a matter of time.  Months, years...I wasn't sure.  But I knew that I wasn't going to continue down this path to find out.

It was no longer worth it.

Even if my salary doubled, it wasn't worth it.

I've wanted to be a mom since I was small. 

I was missing it.

I wasn't present.

I was there...physically, but everywhere else mentally.

I've got one chance while they're young.

One time.

So, I made a choice.  I turned in my notice.  I was asked to finish out my existing inventory...which ended up taking most of the summer.  (That's a long story in and of itself....).  Dave was VERY supportive, and when he came home and I informed him that "I quit my job today," his response was, "I hoped you'd reach that conclusion, but I wanted you to own the decision.

And while I'm not little suzy-homemaker, my house isn't spotless, I'm not organized, my kids aren't perfect...I can tell you that we're getting there.  We're sacrificing things and those things are just that: things.  I'm no longer sacrificing time.  Time with my kids.  Time to be there to put bandaids on fresh cuts, to let them show me their new tricks on the jungle gym, time to pick apples, time to listen to their stories.  They see my face more now...and less of the back of my head.  Time to rock my baby...rock her calmly, and NOT wish she'd fall asleep fast so I could get some things done.  I have time to pick up my Bible and actually study it.  Study it on my own, study it with my friends, study it with my kids.

I can officially tell you right now:

I am a mom.

I am present.

I am here.

I am listening.

I am smiling.

I am purposeful.

I am passionate.

I am fulfilled.

I am grateful.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday everything

I'm beginning to wonder if Blogger is using a different form of Windows or whatever.  I cannot format anything.  No links.  No formatting, no pictures, nada.  All you get is words.  Boring words.

I have many things to write about.  Many ideas swirling in my head.  Many in my "ideas book."  But, I'm to the point that there's so many...I am not sure where to start.  So, here I sit with another random list.

I have started working on the boys' Halloween costumes.  I'm pretty excited about it, but I have a feeling that they won't be as original as I intended.  This will probably be a fad this year.  But I'm ok with that.

I bought a computer on craigslist yesterday.  He listed it for $50.  I called.  He said he's actually only going to ask $35 for it - since it was 3 years old, and he hadn't used it for 6 months.  And Dave would have to clean it up.  Um...ok.  I offered him $25.  He accepted.  :)  I had to drive to the opposite side of town to get that 32 minutes, he had no less than SIXTEEN people call and offer him full price for it.  Thankfully, this kid was a young man of integrity and kept our deal.  I'm kind of excited about it.  I priced them out on Amazon when we got home....looks like I got a steal.  Happy mama!

I've had a few interesting conversations with people lately...conversations that constantly remind me that you never know what is happening behind the scenes of one's life.  People are hurting...people are struggling for mere survival...and no one knows.  I think God puts these confidences in my life to keep my judging eye closed.  He likes to remind me that this is not my sword to swing...I need to keep being reminded.

I'm in a crafty mood.  Craft, craft craft!  I need some creativity! 

Michelle introduced me to these garlic marinated olives.  They SHOCKED my taste buds at first (seriously...I had to spit it out a minute...and then revisit them again later).  But now I am a total addict.  They are strong and they are amazing.

I am one of those people who watch movies and take the lines and quote them in daily life.  The people that get it are instant friends.  I don't find them often...but when I do - smiles abound.

We went grocery shopping this morning (Baby L and me).  There was a sign that said, "All clearance an EXTRA 50% off today! exclusion: toys and outdoor furniture".  So, I went about my business checking the clearance end caps...I found some great items on clearance!  When I got up to the check out, NONE of them were ringing up as 50% off...but the cashier believed me and adjusted every single price (there were more than a few...).  On the way out, I was tempted to go double check that sign...but IF I was wrong, I didn't want to be plagued with guilt.  So, I just left.  Ignorance is bliss, right?!?!?

Ok, Happy Tuesday, friends!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Figuring it all out

Tuesdays are apparently my "blogging day."

We're still figuring it all out.

By it I mean the schedule.

 And getting things done with a crazy baby who never naps.


But she loves, there's that.

Random bit of useless information for you today.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Laboring on Labor Day

 -  Dave's van is out of commission at the moment. He is in the middle of a very large job.  What does this mean?  It means he's laboring on Labor Day.  With my van.  Which means I'm stuck here, at home, with three kids who all want to be on the move.  And not napping. (Baby L, I'm looking at you...)

- In other news, I have to fax a towing receipt to my insurance agency today or tomorrow.

- I've decided that given the choice between floral delivery and tow truck driver, I'd choose floral delivery.  There are less grumpy faces.

 - Our 1/3 cow has now run out in the freezer (well, except for the soup bones...which won't be used until winter).  We're trying to figure out if we bite the bullet and get more beef or just up the grocery budget a bit.

- I have a dentist appointment tomorrow.  My first in over 2 years.  Have I ever mentioned that I HATE the dentist?!?!?!  Seriously....despise, loathe....wish I never had to go again.  HATE.  Chances are I will be sick all night knowing I have an appointment in the morning.  Dislike.

- I need a new pillow.  My neck and shoulders are demanding it.

-  We need a new bed.  Both our backs are demanding it.

- I need to clean up my house.  Everyone is demanding it.  But yesterday, I caught Baby L. trying to put a dust bunny in her mouth.  Yes...I know, gross. 

- A. has had another growth spurt.  He's seriously a man-child.  I'm wondering how many more months I have before he's taller than I am.

- The Wal Mart near me is under construction to become a Super WalMart.  I don't shop there often, but ended up in there not long ago looking for something specific.  Turns out everything is on clearance.  Awesome.  Pants for $9???  (That I JUST saw at Kohl's for $36.99) Don't mind if I do.

-  C. has a cold.  (And so does Baby L. and myself.)  He came down this morning saying that he is all stuffy, and now his neck and chest itch.  These are asthma attack warning signs.  He and I are on high alert.  GAH!

-  I have already started Christmas shopping, and consider myself half-way there.  This makes me very happy.

- I'm sad to report that I need to start planning Baby L's first birthday party.  Sigh.  :(

-  I'm happy to report I had a GREAT night of sleep last night.  There's one thing that brightens my mood about my kids getting older: better sleep.

- Since this year also marks A's 10th birthday, we'll be planning his friend/at a business birthday party.  He's so excited, he can't see straight.  :)  I'm happy for him, not happy for our wallet!

- Happy Labor Day!