living

At The Nest

There’s nothing like the joy of a toy-filled Christmas… to make me reassess our home organization- specifically the kids bedrooms. Oh, the inspirational clutter of packaging, Lego pieces and Barbie clothes. Although to be fair, I’ve been contemplating a plan to take down the nursery for a while. We are fortunate to live in a home that provides 5 bedrooms upstairs, which gives each of our kids their own room. Except, one of the rooms is significantly smaller than the others. When my grandparents built this home, they had six children in mind. Their oldest son was given the smallest room, but the trade off was that he didn’t have to share. The only daughter in the family was given her own room, and the other two bedrooms were shared by two boys each. When we first bought this home, my desire was to turn that smaller room into an upstairs laundry area (dreamy sigh). However, when baby number four arrived, it was the perfect solution for the nursery. Now that he had outgrown the crib, it was time for another transformation. Originally I thought of one of those cute raised beds, which offers more floor space or a little area for a desk. Then in a stroke of brilliance (possibly overstated) it came to me… the youngest two boys could share a room and I could turn the smaller room into their own personal play area!

It worked out well considering my youngest son received a wooden train table for Christmas, that wouldn’t have conveniently fit in his room with a twin sized bed. (And I really didn’t want it in my living room). I must admit, that my motives might have also been a little selfish- in that I was hopeful the two boys might be more apt to sleep through the night in their own room if they weren’t alone. I think that’s actually why my second-youngest son was so keen on the suggestion. Well that, and the promise of a play room.

I wanted their playroom to reflect their bedroom somewhat, so I kept the blue and white theme with the curtains and toy box. The boys’ bedroom was easy to complete, we just had to steal their sister’s bed frame; which originally was part of a bunk bed set that she split with her brother. As luck would have it, Pottery Barn Kids still carried the striped quilt to match the other. (Well actually to make it a perfect match I need to wash it a couple more times.)

Thankfully, I still had my old bed frame in the basement. And I finally made my first Wayfair purchase! I ordered a made in the USA pillow top mattress, shipped to my front door for free! (Which sure beats trying to slide one over the top of my kids heads in the minivan. Hurray!)

I think the best part of this whole undertaking was the car load of items we were able to drop off at Goodwill, and the broken toys, odds, and ends we kicked to the curb. Sayonara!

(And if you’re wondering, the “Sadie’s Nest” pillows were a thoughtful Christmas gift to me from my parents created at collage.com)

What I Learned During the 21 Day Fix

I took the 21 Day Fix challenge. I fit in my 30 minute workout everyday and I stuck to the meal plan. (With the possible exception of day 20 in which I cannot confirm nor deny that I might have exceeded my “blue” container, a.k.a. healthy fats, in the form of cheese and a possible “unhealthy” white sauce that I did not mean to order on top of my vegetarian style eggs.) Was it fun? I had some creative menu planning moments, but no. Was it easy? There were without doubt better days than others, but no. Was it educational? Absolutely.

Here is a little about what I’ve learned…

  1. I eat too many carbs. Apparently if you have oatmeal for breakfast, you are not supposed to have a wheat pita at lunch if you are going to have rice for dinner. But that’s really the least of my concerns, because I like muffins and pastries. My daily intake of refined sugar (even in the form of organic cane sugar) and all purpose unbleached organic flour is just too high. I’ve got to face the facts.
  2. I don’t eat enough whole grains. Just because I have been buying whole grain organic bread for over a decade doesn’t mean I’m really eating whole grains. I have pasta, pita chip, cereal, cracker and tortilla opportunities just to name a few. Alas, what’s a girl to do?
  3. My portions are out of proportion. So this one is not a shocker. Yes, I have a tendency to get carried away at a breakfast buffet, but that’s not what I’m talking about. There is too much of a good thing, meaning you can even overdo it with healthy meals. For example, some salad dressings are caloric nightmares. It’s a work in progress.
  4. I don’t exercise enough. I can honestly say I feel like I’m on my feet all day. I do dishes, laundry, chase my one year old, make snacks and meals- clean them up, make beds… the list goes on. But getting your heart rate up and sweating for just 20-30 minutes is a different beast. Granted, I am not naturally prone to loving that, but I think know I need more of it.
  5. I need to drink more water. I don’t drink half of my body weight in ounces on a regular basis. (Because you are probably good at math, I won’t tell you what that is; let’s just say it’s over the standard 64 oz.) There are days I can reach that goal, but I really need to push myself. Thankfully this program has no restrictions on coffee, tea (unsweetened and without cream of course), and flavor infused waters- even carbonated. I’m actually fortunate that way, I am completely satisfied with just those options. If I could only drink more water…
  6. My attitude could use an adjustment. I was doing this to better myself, reset my habits so to speak. I started off with excitement and optimism. I made fun and healthy, (and delicious) snacks. I made some separate food for myself, but to be realistic I’d have to create dinners my family would eat also; which I really enjoyed. Knowing I was doing good for them too was heartwarming. I made it through my birthday, Mother’s Day, my brother-in-laws birthday, a weekend getaway- streaming my workouts mind you, a church pizza party… Yet, somewhere along the way I fell out of love. Around day 15-17, I got pretty grumpy. I started having thoughts like “A little pita with this hummus would be nice. I can’t help it if the restaurant doesn’t serve whole grain…” and “If I wanted to workout on vacation in ‘real life’, I would go to the hotel fitness facility, instead of exercising in the dark while my children are sleeping.” It turned into more of fulfilling my commitment than bliss.
  7. I am going to apply more of these principles into my life. I definitely need to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables in my diet. I’ll be honest, if I eat oatmeal for breakfast and a wheat pita for lunch, I’m not going to worry about having a little rice for dinner- but I need to pay attention. I can’t have a daily intake of waffles for breakfast, french fries with lunch and pasta at dinnertime followed by dessert- on a regular basis without knowing it’s going to have an effect. The program suggests the 90/10 rule; if you follow the guidelines 90% of the time you can treat yourself 10% of the time. And I think until I reach my goals I’m going to try hard to follow that.
  8. It works. The results are in the “chia” pudding. I’ve lost over 5 pounds. (Not the most dramatic results in weight, but it’s only been 21 days.) However, in three weeks I have lost over 3 inches in my stomach, and over 2 inches in my waist. That’s amazing! I think some mom’s like myself (and certainly women who are not and men too) start to think “this is just my body type now.” The truth is we CAN do something about it.

I still have some work to do to achieve my goals, but this was a great platform and eye-opener. The knowledge that it can happen is encouraging. I can do this! (And I am really looking forward to this week “off”… I earned it!)

“If I had my life to live over…” Erma Bombeck

Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything.

My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind.

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I’d have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television … and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn’t show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more I love yous … more I’m sorrys … more I’m listenings … but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it … look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.”
― Erma Bombeck, Eat Less Cottage Cheese and More Ice Cream: Thoughts on Life from Erma Bombeck, courtesy of goodreads.com

A Blur in Review

If time flies when your having fun, then this was the funnest summer ever!

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And don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about Fall; the baking, the color changes, the sweater weather…

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But I’m not ready to put the pool cover on!

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And even though we’ve done the school shopping, I’m not ready to send my baby to fourth grade!

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I am extremely happy to share that my infant’s skin condition has improved immensely. Thank you to all of the eczema supporters out there!

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Weddings, birthdays, graduation parties, horseback riding lessons, vacations, holidays, swimming, BBQ-ing, boating, beaching we did it all! Summer living… see you next year!

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Life is What Happens…

Within one single week,

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Barbara, courtesy of Sharon

Barbara had a fall and took a turn for the worse,

“Hi,” courtesy of Chad

Hannah was born, healthy and strong,

Noah

Noah

I was able to push my baby on the swing,

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Courtesy of the V family.

Nick and Erica found out they are having a baby boy,

Addi, courtesy of Ryan

Addi, courtesy of Ryan

and we are celebrating my niece’s birthday.

I am so thankful for my full life!

“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.”
― Arnold Bennett

Featured image courtesy of Alex Childress Photography