Thursday, January 31, 2013

Risk... A Poem

STILL tackling the basement. Making LOTS of headway! So far TWENTY moving boxes emptied!!

Been going through stuff as well. Having to weed out lots of various things. Purge! Even finally went through the wedding box and did a project so we can enjoy the mementos and not just have them in a box. I show that project in a couple days!

I found this random piece of paper that I think I once had up on a bulletin board. Funny how I was probably in my very early twenties when I copied it from somewhere... but it still applies today. I wanted to share. You may of heard it before, because I have no clue where my 20 year old self copied it from! It's something a struggle with... risk! It can be very scary (as Sheldon Cooper says "It's called comfort zone for a reason"), but it's usually results in wonderful things!
To live... is to risk dying
To do... is to risk failure
To laugh... is to risk appearing a fool
To love... is to risk not being loved in return
To cry... is to risk appearing soft and sentimental
To reach out to another... is to risk involvement or rejection
To place your dreams and desires before people...
is to risk ridicule
The greatest omission in life... is to risk nothing
The person who risks nothing gets nothing, has nothing, is nothing
He many avoid suffering, pain, and even sorrow, but he does not learn, grow, live or love
He is then only a slave - chained by safety- locked away by fear
Only a person who is willing to risk -
not knowing the results - is truly alive!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I've been stuck in the basement!

I've actually been doing lots of little projects around here! None very picture worthy.

I started my Organization 2013 revolution by going through our linen closet in hallway in and in our bedroom. Refolded everything and both look much better.

Then moved to our dressers. I refolded and put back away every single drawer of mine and of Greg's using the new method I found on pinterest. It works! In my drawer it freed up tons of space! Now since Men's shirts are larger (and he has a knack for cramming them in the drawer) I can't say much space was cleared up. But you can see each shirt now. Click on below pic for original idea link!

Bunch of stuff went into a donate pile too. I tried to donate a few things from each drawer. It was a lot harder to do, I've been on a purge mission for over a year now. It almost hurts to think of all the purging I've done. Especially with clothes. Even if I didn't wear it, it's really hard to part with clothes. Why? I think it's the money behind it. Feels wasteful. Sigh.

Then I lightly went through our laundry closet in the kitchen. I really REALLY miss my laundry room :( This closet is just enough room for the machines with shelves above. But these are skinny rickety shelves. Makes it hard to store stuff. Since I know we'll only be here 2 more years, I'm leery to change out/redo too much.

Then I went to the BASEMENT. Now you've seen our playroom in the basement, nice space! The other half of the basement (if you go right instead of left from the stairs) is a space that's about the same but a bit smaller and unfinished. This is the space we shoved EVERYTHING that we haven't known what to do with. Being an old home, the closets here are much smaller. I really miss my big spacious closets in Texas. It didn't look like so much stuff there. I'm NOT showing a picture of it (and that's saying something because I've shown some messes on here!), just imagine a lot of boxes, a whole rubbermaid tote city, and random pieces of furniture with stuff stack on or around them.

We still have unpacked boxes in there. I knew it was a good number, like 10, perhaps? But I knew it was time. I also want to set up my craft space in there. So first I needed to get a handle on that area. WOW. I started on Saturday. Let's just say since then I've unpacked SIXTEEN boxes (and still have 8 to go - so much for only 10!ha!), thrown out THREE bags of garbage, a large donate pile, and freed up space in EIGHT rubbermaid totes. Holy Cow. And I'm maybe halfway done! Yikes. S.O.S!

Everything is in piles now. I just need to work on finding homes for things. Then I can get this space functioning more properly. It's pretty scary at the moment. But I can't express just how productive I felt last night when we carried out 16 boxes to flatten and get ready for recycling the end of the week.

Lots of what I unpacked is decor... so this will help finally finish decorating the house! Yay! I also found the picture that I talked about wanting to unpack to go back in the our bedroom.

After all that, I think I'm going to take a break from it today. The big boys and I have dentist appointments today anyway. A little nervous about that. The boys always get glowing check ups... then I typically get lectured or find out I have a broken tooth somewhere (I have a bad habit of gritting my teeth together when stressed or upset and have broken a number of teeth over the last couple years).

Although, I'm liking that I'm starting to feel in control of that half of the basement and it's not in control of ME. Which is a relief! Not that I'm close to being done ;) YET.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Playroom!

I was nicely asked by a friend to please give a tour of the playroom! Ask and you shall receive!

Here's a quick sneak peek!
In July, this room was the first unpacked and besides a couple things... that's been the last time we touched it! I have lots of ideas and it really needs a re haul. No one needs this many toys. But with being at home with all 3, I don't want them getting bored. I love to find new ways to play with stuff! Plus these lucky boys have a lot of people that love them and I can tell you that of what you're going to see we may of only purchased between 5-10% of it!

So here ya go. The playroom is in the finished basement part of the house. When you come down the stairs you see our little Alma Mater display! My uncle once found Greg's college AND mine at the same antique store states away. We used those postcards as our center one and took black and white photos of our campuses on one of our trips back to that area. We probably put this together about 8 or 9 years ago!

As you turn left you see the office space first. We didn't have an actual room for it like we did in Texas, but it works!


This is all Greg's petrol collection some antiques, and various other things. Mixed with with some of a few football things here and there.

Then following to the left you see the Wall O'Crap.

In the far corner is the TV... you can see the stand that I redid in Texas. We just have ottomans and pillows to lounge about on.

Continuing left brings us to the Exercise Nook with the Elliptical and Treadmill.

Also in this nook we hung up hooks for all the bags, hats, and dress up clothes! Easy for them to find and they don't get all scrunched up. We still have a bin full of more stuff like capes and what not.

Still continuing left is the Creme De La Creme of the playroom! I LOVE this IKEA Trofast storage system. Quite a few people have purchased it for themselves when they've seen ours.

On the wall is the $12.99 IKEA cable curtain rod (Dignitet) used to hang up all the goodies the boys create! In Texas I had used jump ropes to display but decided to do this here for more durability and I like that it hung off the wall a bit leaving more room to hang oddly shaped stuff AND the jump ropes weren't as neat looking as I originally thought.

In the middle of the room is an  IKEA Lack coffee table for them to play at with little green IKEA stools (that have so far lasted well for over 5 years, still look new!) and an old wooden chair. This table gets SO much use. When we moved we got rid of the old living room set since it didn't fit here. BUT come to find out, we shouldn't of gotten rid of the coffee table... they had no place to set anything to play with it (trains, duplos, cities, blocks, etc). Oops!

There's still some work to be done in here. Like that artwork in between the TV & Exercise Nook space we just hung on a random hook that was already there. Then Greg's parents gave us this USA coin map. I think we can come up with a neat wall assortment down here. Plus not shown but on a soffit across the middle of the room we lined all of our old license plates from various states (Michigan, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas!).

Perhaps hang in one of those poster frames?

And figure out a way to dress up this window without cutting any light (only source of natural light in this space), hello yucky corrugated metal and mini compost!

I also want to organize the toys better and give that bookshelf an overhaul (like paint the back a fun matching green or blue color!). 

So that my friends is the downstairs playroom/office/exercise space! Thanks for joining me for the tour. Now you know where I sit to blog and the kids create messes and be insanely loud play! Keep an eye out for updates in the future. I've only just begun in this space :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's the little things I love about being a mom....

I hands down LOVE seeing their little imaginations hard at work.

I LOVE seeing evidence of it around the house.

The traffic flow in our house is running much more smoothly these days....

Friday, January 18, 2013

Safety Pin Nursery Decor

Yesterday I made something I think is super cute and have to share!It's been awhile since I've made something, felt good! Here's my replication to send off to my future nephew's baby shower...

I did not come up with this idea on my own, of course, got my inspiration from Pinterest! As you can tell I skipped a "stage"... I just did 3, marriage, pregnancy, and then birth/becoming a family as one. In comparison I do kinda like the 4 stages better than my 3... but 3 it is! ;)

Pinned Image
Click on picture for original idea blog post

This is really pretty simple. Over all it cost me a little over $20 (can definitely be done for next to nothing, but that was just not my case at this point).

- Frame $12.99 at A.C. Moore. Probably could of found it cheaper, but I wasn't in the mood to play wild goose chase in the cold rain this week dragging the younger two around. I could of even used an old frame we had and paint the frame... again... where is that packed?

- Large Safety Pins $2.99 for a ton. Again, might of had enough at home if I searched my stash. Half my craft stuff is still packed up AND my luck I'd only find FIVE the right size instead of six.

- Scrapbook Paper $1.99/ea ($8 total). Yikes, I really should of seen what I had at home at first... even fabric would of worked. I certainly did NOT need all those sheets, I just wasn't sure if I wanted a pattern or plain and I'm very prone to BIG mistakes. So I wanted to be sure to have back up. Well, I certainly have plenty of back up now.

My supplies

Figuring out what paper to use. I like the pins, but I've heard the room uses sage. I think the left is more sage.

Using my NEW glue gun for the first time! YAY!
Although, it's kinda hard to part with my 25 year old one - we've been through a lot together!

Ready to hang in my nephew's nursery!

Now I want to find a little poem or quote about becoming a family to hand write on the back from all of us. Something like this...
" A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for" (Author Unknown)

 We're excited to finally be an Aunt & Uncle, hope the thought & love behind putting this together will be felt. We shall see!

Time to ship it off with some more hand-me-downs we keep sending their way (we've sent 4 big boxes so far!). They're shocked at all the stuff we send. First they can't believe how much it is and that they'll need it all. Chuckle. This is only the real good stuff, over two-thirds we've already given away over the last year. Chuckle. They have no clue how messy babies can be, they think they only need one outfit a day. Chuckle. They have no clue why a baby ends up with so much stuff. Chuckle :)

P.S. In going to pack this up I see one of the pins is loose. I'm going to have to unassemble it all to fix it. So if you ever try this I hope you find the better ratio of "don't want too much glue to show" vs. "not enough glue to hold up long". I haven't conquered that one yet ;)

P.P.S. I really loved this and enjoyed making it... so thought I'd share with Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading Link-up! It's been long while since I've participated in parties like I used to... so hello if you're visiting from the party! Nice to have new visitors! :)

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Winter Sensory Bin 2013

So for over a YEAR I've been wanting to start a sensory bin. Why it's taken me a year, I really have no good reason!

However, today I kicked off 2013 with our first sensory bin, Winter!

What IS a sensory bin? What's the point?... click here for a great blog post about sensory bins! There are tons of ideas out there, it can get a little overwhelming on narrowing down an idea! Here's a link if you're interested or to get the brainstorming started!

Pinned Image

First since it's winter and my poor boys that have been in Texas (even though all were born up North) haven't seen snow! They're dying for some snow! I figured cotton balls would be best. Got two bags of 200 count cotton balls for $2 each at the grocery store. That's all I spent on this! The rubbermaid bin I have plenty of, have been getting rid of baby clothes left and right (expecting a nephew in Feb!) so I have empty ones. It's nice because that way I have a lid for it in between play times and for storage.

Everything else came from around the house. Have some neat things packed away that would of been great to of included, but I was not about to try to tackling THAT. Here's some of the stuff I started out with:

* Icicle ornaments (4)
* Some wintery figurines (penguins, dog on sled, etc...)
* Blue & white blocks, cups or rings
* A pair of mittens
* Snowflake cup, a kids mug (that they usually have hot cocoa in), silver measuring cups, and tongs!
* Snow themed Christmas card we've received
* Snowman pencil with fun eraser
* Snowy stickers to stick on stuff as they play
* An empty tissue box for stuffing cotton balls into
* Toilet paper tube that I painted white
* Polar Bear in Cave Toy
* Any books we had with a snow theme!

Obviously not all of it goes in the tub, but it's nice to have the books set aside to supplement. We actually read two of the books together yesterday once Jake got home.

I layered the cards on the bottom under the cotton balls

The finished product, ready for some play!

Then last but not least, I'm really excited about putting two ice packs into the bin to make things a little chilly! Fun!

Final result: Evan (4 years old) was THRILLED, but lost interest after 10 minutes (the tongs were his favorite). I highly suspect he's only 'lost interest' because I told him I put it together just for them - he's so anti sometimes!? Luke (19 months old) played and played and played (and is STILL playing)! Even Jake (6 years old) got in on the fun in checking it out (he liked the ice the best!).

I'm really happy to of done this and simply can't wait to change up for the holidays, seasons, or other fun stuff! I'll post it as we change it up over the year!

I decided to share over at my friend, Char's blog Adventures in Mommyland for "Hey Mom Look What I Did!". If you're visiting from there, hello!! :)

Adventures In Mommy Land

Was also just invited to go link up at Itsy Bitsy Leaners for their Preschool PreKinder Nook. I'm very thankful for the invite and hello if you're visiting from there!! :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Those pesky new year resolutions

This year I've noticed everywhere that people are really AGAINST resolutions, goals, etc. I'm a little confused at that. What's wrong with wanting to achieve something new, change, or discover? All over facebook and the blog world I read over and over "I don't DO resolutions".

Of course we are constantly changing things and figure out what we want to do throughout the year. But something about having the hectic holidays behind you makes it easy to turn over a new leaf for the year.

So going against the tide like I always do... I have some resolutions!

1. Continue my fitness journey.

 I was actually starting to get somewhere, but the cross country move REALLY threw a wrench in that. I'm still not feeling "at home" at our current gym like I did at our one in Houston. It's the same company, but completely different. The spin classes in Houston were hard, the ones here are boring and not nearly as challenging. I have found one class that I like and get a good workout in, so I always make that one every Wednesday!

For running, when we moved I was able to run 3 miles without stopping. If you followed me from the beginning you'll know this was HUGE. It's taken me awhile, but I'm back to 3 miles at a time. Now looking for a 5K or two to do around here this year. Then work on possibly, enjoying it? Yah, it's still NOT my favorite thing to do, but I keep on chugging away anyway.

I would like to work on more muscle definition in abdominal, arms, and back. Also get back into yoga... the yoga classes are ALL offered at times I can't make it (like when I'd be getting Jake to the bus stop or nap time for the younger two).

2. Get organized!

I function so much better when everything has a place! Unfortunately halving the size of our home in the move and having a lot less rooms & space... I'm not organized at all like I would like to be. So I'll be all cliche and organizing at the beginning of the year.

3. Quiet the "noise".

This is pretty much in relation to Facebook. It's a wonderful way to keep in touch with about 90% of the people in my life. Easy to share pictures about what we're up to, and an easy way to chat with people I'd never get to chat with on a much more regular basis. However, it's a place of endless opinions, perceptions, brag fests, rain on your parades, unfriending for no reason, etc... and when I get stressed out like I currently am... it's hard to just ignored the stuff that bothers me. Thinking of taking a little facebook vacation here in a bit, try it out for a month (more or less, we'll see!). I hate to think of missing birthdays, news, baby milestones, funny laughs shared with friends... but I think it still needs to be done. Haven't pulled the trigger yet though!

4. Create my craft/project space. I need creativity. Plain and simple.

5. Find/Discover/Awaken ME. I feel like I've spent the last two year of stuff happening TO me and not ME making things happen. When I feel stressed and not in control I get angry and mean to the ONE person I can... myself. It's not healthy, and it needs to change. Who am I anymore? What makes me tick? What makes me happy? What do I need to do to be comfortable in my own skin again? I think when I can answer those things I will naturally be able to be a better mother, wife, and person in general. This also is going to mean making decisions that is NOT  going to make everyone happy or make me popular. But if they can't see it's for the better or at least respect my decision or me, then it's probably for the best anyway. I'm married to my best friend, I have 3 happy healthy wonderful boys, and am lucky to have some good friends or supportive family members tucked away here and there. So even when the whole world appears to be rooting against you... it's nice to know there's at least 4 (if not a few more) that aren't at least, even if over hal f of that group are wanting to know when you're going to get them a snack ;)

Those are my five main ones, with some little ones here and there. Over the years more will come and some will go. But I personally like being able to look out over the year ahead like a farmer looks out over their crops, or a pioneer looking out over uncharted land envisioning what lies ahead.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Help! Please tell me what you know about...

Overseas travel and specifically traveling to and in London, UK!!

Fingers crossed Greg and I are planning a trip for this summer. Our first vacation together EVER. I know, it's been 12 years and we've only gone on ONE vacation together... our wedding in Wine Country back in 2005!

We've always been either saving for something or the boys were too little. First we saved to build our first home and for our wedding. Then we were saving for our first child, and for me to be able to stay home. We broke free of a lot of debt. Then we had a couple years in the one income world with not as many extras. Then saving for the birth of our second child. Then paying for the surprise adoption of the twins. During all this still maintaining a saving for us (that we don't touch) and college savings for the boys. It's just been a financial and busy busy whirlwind! ALL for good things, and we've taken some fantastic family vacations... New Orleans, Gatlinburg, San Antonio, Arizona, and lots of road trips to see family. Still we both really yearn to go on an adult vacation together! Right now I feel like we're really in the muddy trenches of parenting, it'd be nice to dust off and reconnect.

I know most normal people go to a pretty white sandy beach and let the waves lap at their feet while drinking fun drinks and bask in the sun.

Don't get me wrong we DO want to do that too... we just both want to go to London MORE. If this is our first big vacation in 12 years, who knows it could be another 12 before we go again. And it's kind of a treat to ourselves after the severe ups and downs of the last few years.

So I'm 99% sure we're set on London (but MAY be convinced otherwise if compelling enough or makes more sense). So here's the other embarrassing fact... neither of us has really been outside the US. Please be kind about this, I know so many of you are world travellers. We both weren't blessed with the opportunity. I've been to Mexico and the Virgin Islands and Greg has been to Canada... we're so ready to spread our travelling wings a bit.

While I think we're pretty well travelled as far as the states go (even with kids in tow!), we're going to need some help for overseas travel. First we both need passports! So hoping to start that process sometime this month.

A huge thing is how to plan our trip and see what we want to see.

Seems like a lot of what's on our "must see" list is in London or Southern England.

London Bridge

The London Eye

Big Ben


Victoria & Albert Museum

Hyde Park

Buckingham Palace

Stonehenge in 2007


Southampton/Fawley area (always an option to get transferred there, would be nice to see to fill my curiosity)

Hever Castle.jpg

Hever Castle

The Cliffs of Dover

Possible Ferry to Calais, France? Normandy would be awesome, but not enough time for sure!

And I'm sure others, but those are the ones I can currently recall at this moment while typing ;)

Now the only way we can make this trip is by the support & help of Greg's parents and sister to come watch the boys. So they have to fly in and out... so we have to try to leave a bit of a buffer from when we leave & get back in case of one of us having delays. At my best guesstimate it gives us 5-6 days? I know that's not the best when looking at overseas travel... but it's all we have! Gotta make it work!

Can you help us? Please!? I'd love any tips, tricks, ideas, and been there done that... or heck just tell us EXACTLY what to do ;)

I think we'd like to do stuff on our own. But we're not totally opposed to tours or a group thing if it's the most advantageous. Those double decker hop on hop off type tour seem pretty inclusive, interesting if not a bit iconic ;) Do we book this stuff on our own? Use a travel agency? AAA?

Where to stay? Hotels? Bed & Breakfasts? Hostels (I'm to old for a typical hostel, but I think we could manage the ones that your have your own room and bathroom).

I would LOVE to hear from you! Thanks a bunch!