Thursday, September 27, 2012

Introducing Thoroughly Thankful Thursdays!

I had an idea yesterday. I got to thinking about how easy it is to take all of the blessings we have in life for granted. I may be alone in this (but I'm sure I'm not) but how easy is it to call on God when we need help and forget to say "thank you" the rest of the time?

Anyway, I was writing a post in my head while driving home from the grocery store yesterday, and I decided to make a list of all the things I was thankful for. Megan at Positively (Im)perfect gave me the idea of asking you all to link your lists below, or share them in the comments!

So without further ado, here's my list:

1. My loving, handsome, hardworking husband and our beautiful baby girls
2. Our jobs
3. Beautiful fall weather before the rain starts
4. Helpful family that make our lives easier
5. Being able to save money on groceries while still supporting a local business
6. A cute little house to live in while we save up for our own
7. The courage to venture out with my babies, even if it means things take a little longer
8. Wonderful, caring, helpful friends
9. Patience (I'm always praying for more, but I am grateful for what I have!)
10. The Bible app on my phone, which takes away any excuses not to read some every day!
11. All the lovely ladies I've met through blogging, and your kind, encouraging comments that make my day every time!

What are you grateful for? I can't wait to hear!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There goes the neighborhood....

I feel as though we've invaded our new neighborhood. I mean, how could we possibly belong here? There are houses and families and kids and school buses and neatly tended yards - and we live here, in one of the houses, with a (for now) semi-neatly-tended yard, and we're a family, with kids. We're not just walking through from a nearby apartment complex. We LIVE here.
I keep waiting for someone to knock on the door and tell us to leave.
But so far, it hasn't happened. It's such a switch, this move. I guess it really drives home all the changes we've undergone in the past year. A year ago, we were just another young-married couple, heading off on an end-of-summer trip to Boise. We were hoping and praying to be blessed with a child soon. We lived in a tiny apartment near campus, with every detail arranged just the way we wanted. Our life was so different. Blissful and blessed in its own way, but so different. Little did we know how things were about to change, and how blessed and fulfilled we would feel just a year later.
The beginning of our journey - first day of our honeymoon, at the base of the Column in Astoria.
Back to the neighborhood. I'm not sure exactly why I don't feel like we belong here. Perhaps the exhaustion has caught up with me. On the other hand, maybe it's that feeling of going from just-past-newlywed couple to mom and dad with two kids in just a year . . . I guess I haven't quite caught up! At least once a day, we have to do something or something happens that makes me snap to attention and remember that this is normal. The most recent example? It's Tuesday, which means it's garbage day. At 6:30 this morning, as Dan dragged the cans out to the curb (did I mention I love him?!) I told him to put the recycling can back, it wasn't recycling week. Well, when we got home from taking him to work, guess what? I was wrong. According to the rest of the street, it IS recycling week. Luckily, it was just past 7 and I wasn't too late to correct my error. The walk to the garbage can may be a lot shorter than it was in our apartment, but there sure is a lot more to keep track of in order to make the garbage go away!
I really do like it here, lest I sound ungrateful. We are very blessed to be living in this adorable little house. We are renting it from a family member, which is a great arrangement for us right now. There is a nice big yard and we have a garage. Right now, it's full of boxes, but it's still a garage. Eventually we'll put the car in it. Most importantly, I can take the girls with me to run errands and unload the car without help, since I'm only going about ten feet out the door while they stay inside. It is a little strange knowing that the whole street can see your comings and goings, but I kind of like the lack of anonymity. It feels a little bit like Wistful Vista. I'm still expecting that knock on the door, but I'm going to enjoy it here while we can! If there's one lesson I've learned in the past year, it's that you can't take any stage of your life for granted. Our lives change in God's time, not our own, and while these changes have certainly been for the best this year, we need to drink in every blessed moment all the same.
I hope you all have a wonderfully blessed day!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A little recap

So it's been a while. Quite a while, in fact - more than two weeks. I know, I know. I said last time I was going to get better about blogging. Well, it hasn't happened. If you recall, I mentioned in my last post that I'd been staying up late to pack and get the apartment cleaned up. Was I really crazy enough to think I could run on 3-4 hours of sleep a night for any significant length of time and not suffer the consequences? You better believe it. Accordingly, I was shocked when I woke up one morning a few days after we moved with a sore throat. Before I knew it, all four of us were sick. Baby colds are so sad! Little snuffly noses and tiny coughs are so hard for a mama to hear. Luckily, thanks to breastfeeding-enhanced immunity, Emily and Erin got better within about four days. I got some practice taking temperatures and dosing Tylenol, and their little immune systems got a pre-cold season workout.

Dan and I, on the other hand, were some of the sickest we'd been in years. Dan still isn't feeling 100 percent, and I was sick for almost two weeks. I even had to call in sick to work one day - I sounded so terrible, the manager who took my call didn't know who he was talking to! Whatever we had was pretty contagious, and it's definitely made the rounds. I hope all of you out there are spared - germs travel fast these days - and if you do get sick, I hope you recover quickly!

So what else is new, you ask? Well, quite a lot, actually! We moved into our new house a little over two weeks ago, and we are starting to feel like we really live here now. I can't say enough about how nice it is to live on ground level again. We haven't done many of the projects that we'd planned to yet, but we will get there eventually. Being so sick for so long was a definite setback.

I also went back to work two weeks ago. It's going well so far. I like my schedule, and I've always liked my job. I was surprised at how much I remembered after being gone for 5+ months. I guess it's kind of like riding a bike after you've been doing it long enough. For the moment, I'm only working 3 days a week, and that seems to be working out well. I get 4 full days a week with Emily and Erin, and they get some time with both of their grandmas and some time with Dan while I'm working. It's going to be an adjustment - I am exhausted - but I think I will get used to it. Missing my girls is a different story. I'm making the most of all the time I have with them during the week. Now that we are all feeling better, we can go on some nice walks while the weather is still nice and spend time together that way. I don't really know what they think of that, but I certainly enjoy it! An added bonus is that the day always seems to go a little more smoothly when we've gotten out of the house. Any other mamas notice that, or is it just me?

Fall really showed up this week. It was right on schedule, with a sudden burst of cooler weather and chilly, foggy mornings. The pumpkin spice lattes may have beaten it to the punch, but nothing says fall like the trees' red and orange highlights from the crisp air, scented with plumes of wood smoke. Fall is one of my favorite seasons, and it's so much fun to anticipate everything through the lens of motherhood this year! I can't wait. What are you most looking forward to this fall?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes: Volume 15: Moving Day and the Kitchen Sink

Thanks to Jen for hosting! I've been noticeably absent from the blogging world (as you can see, my most recent post was last week's Quick Takes), but as you will see below, with good reason. Next week should be a bit less chaotic, so I hope to be able to get back to posting regularly.

--- 1 ---

So today is the day! Well, depending on your time zone, it might be tomorrow, but ... that's not the point.
We'll be moving out of our apartment and into a house! Needless to say, this past week has been full of packing and cleaning, as well as the normal day-to-day stuff. There have been some loooooong days (and short nights!), but the end is in sight. My awesome husband and our family and friends will be doing most of the moving while I take care of Emily and Erin, which will make moving day much easier.

--- 2 ---

Of course, we'll have lots to do when we move in, unpacking and making ourselves at home. I'm excited to blog about the little projects here and there! I will have to remember to snap some pictures before we start ... it's always more fun when you can see the changes. Is it bad that I'm as excited about blogging the projects as I am about doing them?

--- 3 ---

In the midst of chaos this week (almost all of our stuff is in boxes, some of our things already got moved, you can hardly walk from one end of our apartment to the other without tripping over a box) I've developed a new routine. It was born partly out of the fact that I've been drinking absurd amounts of caffeine to cope with the added stress and exhaustion that came with packing. After the girls go to bed, Dan and I would usually head to bed within about forty-five minutes. This week, I've been staying up and cleaning and packing. Brilliant discovery of the week: if I clean after everyone goes to bed, things actually stay clean for a few hours! This, I've decided, is my kitchen sink. If you haven't run across the FlyLady theory at some point, go read. I'll wait. (I read it several years ago, but I never really understood it until now ...)

--- 4 ---

Somehow, when I worked full time, I could always justify leaving the cleaning for later. I like cleaning, in theory. It's quick gratification. Put in a little effort, and you are rewarded. Plus, there are some awesome-smelling cleaners out there. I LOVE Method cleaners! Highly recommended.
But I digress. When two working people live in a relatively small apartment and are rarely home to really use the space, cleaning is sort of optional. If you skip a day or three, no one really notices. This all changes once you have children. If you skip an hour, everyone notices. If you skip a day or three ... well, I hope you have an escape route planned, because the mess will be displacing you soon. Obviously, caring for the kiddos is priority one, but I must admit I was floored by how messy we became once we became parents. It's not like newborns are making messes by themselves, after all!

--- 5 ---

There's a solution. The old adage about never going to bed with dishes in the sink applies here. It must be noted that I never felt it applied before this summer. Some of the first weeks we were home from the hospital, I remember doing dishes at three in the morning out of necessity. I would go back to bed and wake up two or three hours later, and when I walked into the kitchen I felt just a little bit more in control. Let me tell you, a feeling of control was about as common in those early weeks as snow in the Sahara Desert, so I decided it was worth foregoing some sleep! Once we got into a better routine (and got some extra pump parts) I didn't have to wash dishes in the middle of the night anymore. But one night this week, I decided to make use of my overcaffeinated state of hyperactivity and wash the dishes before I went to bed. An empty sink led to an unusually thorough sink scouring. The sink scouring led to cleaning the stove ...

--- 6 ---

... and before I knew it, I was mopping the floor. It was late. I was tired. But I was blasting Matt Maher and really enjoying myself. I gave the faucet one last shine, programmed the coffee maker (how did I forget it could make coffee all by itself?!) and grabbed the overflowing laundry basket. With the help of a Diet Pepsi, I folded four loads of laundry. Then I tidied up the living room. It was almost twelve-thirty by the time I finished, but the apartment looked better than it had in weeks. I woke up exhausted the next morning, but it was so much easier to function when everything was (mostly) clean that it was worth it. The best part? It didn't take nearly as long the next evening.

--- 7 ---

I'm definitely not convinced that cleaning is superior to sleep - I like my sleep - but I am convinced that going to bed with a clean kitchen (and a programmed coffee maker) makes even the most groggy morning infinitely better. Try it!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!