"Be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes 5:18

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New On The Blog...Make-ahead Monday's!

I really enjoyed making this ahead last week. It really helped our week when it came to food. I'm also going to gym at planned times to be able to watch Food Network since I don't have it at home. Anything I like I'm coming hope and writing down so I remember to try them. I always get ideas that I forget later and I really want to make some new healthy choices around here.

What I'm here to say though is that I'm going to make Make-ahead Monday's a segment here on the blog. It may even be a weekly Vlog if I can Emma to help me. She loves doing camera work but whether she can hold it straight the whole time remains to be seen.

So, this coming Monday it looks like I'll be making the following:

Crunch Baked Spicy Garbanzo Bean snacks
Mediterranean Quinoa salad
Frozen Bean and Cheese Burritos
Celery and Ranch Yogurt Dip
Smoothie Pops

So, if life allows, I look forward to sharing with you each Monday what I come up with to make ahead. I will include recipes or links for them as well.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Some of you know Caedmon barely made it through the end of school last year. He is our only child who has not been homeschooled (which is so strange when I think about it since we did homeschool for quite a few years).
The kids in our homeschooling years. He was just a baby still (though a big one), not even three.
At the end of his first grade year last year, he was hating school soooooo much! He had a great teacher, a wonderful Christian lady who had been my homestudy teacher years before. Her methods however were more pragmatic and contained. Her way of letting the kids get out their wiggles was to have them all stand and do organized stretching. We almost pulled him out because his attention span was not there, and it was starting to effect his academics. Plus, it was KILLING me to hear him say how he hated school every morning. That works on a parent.
We prayed about pulling him out to homeschool. Making the transition to public was so huge for us that I wanted to make certain it was the right move. My gifts are creativity, not follow through (or academics) so I know by now that this is not plan A unless God says so.
The teacher even suggested that we could pull him out and homestudy him for two weeks. I knew better than to do that. One because he was asking to be homeschooled (not really knowing that it's not getting out of work) and it's not a good habit to give into kids just because they want something. I knew I had to have more certain reasons than this. Two, because as any homeschooling mom knows, two weeks is NOT long enough to get through the honeymoon phase of such a transition. There is one of these when you switch to public also. At some point, any educational process is realized as work you have to stick it out.
So, the prayerful decision was to put him through the character building process of toughing it out. We crawled over that 1st grade finish line and were all relieved when it was summer break.
We knew 2nd grade had some fun prospects. Emma's awesome teacher Mrs.M (who had been her first public teacher after homeschool and a God-send to us all) was to be his teacher. He was excited to go to start, and even more excited to return to school each day.
Then, after the honeymoon phase of the new great teacher wore off, he started to have attention problems again. For him this includes lack of focus, lots of hand raising to try to state random information which may or may NOT be related to the teaching, and drawing on his worksheets. She is really good about giving him time to draw in the day but when he draws on his work, it means he is not focused on it at all.
She cracked me up one time when she showed me one of his math tests. The first page he was power brain, all math work. The second page there was one or two little stars drawn in the upper right hand corner. The third page had some stars and some tiny figures. By the time you got to the last fifth page of the test, he was gone and there were huge full page figures drawn with animated accessories. She laughed with me and it helped me feel better. I love that about her. She really understands that kids have brains that have to get there when they get there and pushing them does not good. Still, she encouraged him to be patient with his hand raising comments, and try to focus on the worksheets.
Well, sure enough, his little brain went through some growth. In the last two months his reading level jumped up a whole year to 3.6 grade level, and he gained the highest scores in the class on language and math. 90 for one and 96 for the other. He has been the first one to get his morning work done (work on the board every morning when they come in) and there are no more drawings on worksheets. This is HUGE for him and I am so relieved.
Caedmon with is 100th's day project (100 Characters) at school this year.
He still loves a day off from school and time with his Lego's and Bakugan, but when he is there he's not out on another planet anymore, he is engaged and learning. His reading amazes me, it has jumped so much.
I think boys just have to go through this. For us, having him home would not have helped him, it would have hurt him. He tends to be a mama's boy being the only boy and the baby of the family. I would have been overwhelmed delivering the reality of doing all the same work here at home only with mommy telling you to sit still and listen. I have a lot of joy that we prayed about this trial as it came and did not make any hasty decisions. He needs to be there being with other boys and being encouraged out of his comfort zone. God knew he would catch up and I'm thankful for the improvement. I'm learning to be more patient with my kids through these growth spurts be they physical, mental or even spiritual. God is teaching me to wait on His working and not always think I will "get-er-done" if I put my messy paws on everything trying to make it right, right now.

Friday, March 25, 2011

To God Or Not To God

Randomness from my brain today....

- I like that they have the today show on at the dentist office now. Anne Curry interviewed a mom who lost her son and they have made a movie of her story. Anne asks her "Where you angry at God?"

This surprised me. I find it interesting that it's very normal and okay to ask this question but not one like "Where you able to trust God through this time?" or "Did you turn to God for strength in your sorrow?"

What it must be like to be God and be mostly acknowledged for being God when people are angry at you. Think about it. It's the most frequent time we acknowledge His existence but more importantly the FACT that we KNOW He is in control. When his control brings good, we slide along and try not to mention him but when it's bad we acknowledge it's His fault.

I've been through a deep sorrow. It's normal to cry out to God in your heart "No!!! Please don't let this happen!" or "I don't want this!!!". But the moment that thing DOES happen I really truly have never felt anger toward God for His choices. I have felt deeply sad, and I've disagreed with Him, but never hated him for things.

I just find it strange that we don't really want to notice him publicly (and especially insinuate his authority) unless their is tragedy and we need to vent.

-Lady Gaga's new song "I Was Born This Way" is a boatload of moral discussion. I just have had one aspect of it on my mind today though. She talks about how God does not make mistakes. Her purpose in saying this is in defense of homosexual lifestyle.

Well...does God make mistakes or doesn't HE!!??
We say no when it works for us and yes when it doesn't an dare justified in our rejection of Him. Oh, we are so fickle.
If you truly believe that God makes no mistakes (and yes I do but Gaga does not in reality and I'll tell you why in a moment) then you have no reason ever turn from Him.

See, God does not make mistakes, people do. The whole point of saying we were born this way is to avoid saying we make choices.
Lot's of things are innate in us or "born in us". I heard a man speaking on Focus on the Family recently about this and how it related to this homosexual mindset. He pointed out that he was born to want to have sex with every attractive woman he sees, but that he is not justified in this because of his bent. We are born many ways, of which I could go on and on, that we would not choose to act upon. Therefore in case of argument, this reasoning does not fly. I'm just sayin.

Gaga does not really believe that God makes no mistakes because His word says that he made man to be with woman. She believes contrary to God and therefore, God is mistaken.

These random trails led me to more thoughts.....

-People reject the truth of the bible when they acknowledge God's existence and even sovereignty. How is this? They say that the bible was written by men and therefore is not valid. Now, we who hold to it's truth of course believe what the bible says about itself in II Tim 3:16 that it is "God-breathed".
Yet, for fun, let's just accept their argument for a moment. Let's say we can't trust the bible because it was what men said about God. Okay, then on that basis, we cannot trust ANYTHING said written or claimed about God. We can't believe that he makes no mistakes if Gaga says so, that he is not real as many men say, that He is all loving and not just. We cannot believe anything about Him.
What I'm saying is, that many people will deny the bible as truth but fully and quickly in fact, accept what many OTHER men say about God.

So, IS HE, or ISN'T HE?

You know, it's consistent with mankind today. They are walking oxymoron's. Charlie Sheen can rant on the net about how unhealthy all we stupid people are going to our junk foods while he's smoking enough to light up the Great Plains. Everyone chants natural organic living and have plastic surgery to stay so darn "naturally" beautiful. We want the rules to apply when we like them it's just really how it is.

I'm just sayin.......

....and now I shall go make dinner.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Biblical Womanhood In a Fit/Sexy Mom Culture

God is really working on me with some core issues in my life. One of those issues is vanity. I've really been asking myself some tough questions. I was kinda wondering how some of you deal with these things. There is a real push to be the sexy fit mom in this culture, or just the hot stuff at any age really. Popular songs around us push so much of this:
"Who's the sexy chick, the sexy chick???"
"Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"
"When I grow up, people know me, be on tv, be on magazines;
When I grow up, fresh and clean, number one chick when I'm steppin on the scene"
There are so many more as well.
All these songs I like but want to think more about what I may be letting them feed me. Maturity is being able to take something in and know how it compares to truth and by truth I mean God's truth. Unless I ponder on that truth and let God clean out my heart, these cultural messages will have power to motivate my actions instead of just being a fun tune I enjoy now and then.
I think our culture is rampid with women who struggle with this. The girlish desire to put on our dress up clothes, long strings of pearls and high heals in front of full body-length mirrors has become a cultural idol. So many good things do become idols you know. This is just another. So many of us women see women around us striving to be the sexy chick. To have the "fit at forty" body and desire a perky sexual presentation at any cost. We hear it justified by terms like "I deserve this" or "I needed to feel good about myself". Will these empty wells satisfy our thirsty feminine soul though? Have we taken a simple innocent longing to feel girlish and pretty and given it a sequin throne in our lives???
I have gained 8lbs since Christmas. I've been working hard on the house but not getting exercise. My response to this was such frustration. Once you feel that defeated it's easy to just eat more and say "screw it!". So, I battle between crazy, kill myself focused and medicate myself pity. There is one thing I realized about that.....
It's all focused on me!

When I loose weight I feel prettier and I start to wonder if others are noticing. I think more about me.
When I gain, I feel grumpy and mad at myself and take it out on those I love. I think more about me.

This has got to stop. It's time to grow up. It's time to Christ up.

I see many women around me much better than I am at this health and sexy thing and though I don't think of any one in particular when I say this, I wonder in general.....
How focused are we on ourselves????

We strive so hard to have the perfect body here on earth which will only feed our vanity for a time and wither away in the end anyway. That goal will never be achieved, so why have it???!!
Well, when you think of it as a motivation, it's not a good one.

Besides, let's be real, no one really notices you anyway. Sometimes I look around and think about the fact that I don't really notice how fit or gorgeous someone is or what they have on. For the most part anyway. Yes, there is the cute mom with the cute outfit but if her butt is toned and her tummy flat, I'm not admiring, I'm ticked off and go home grumpy!!! So, who notices her? Men. Do I want men to notice me that way? In my sin, yes, but in a goal of Christ-likeness, no.

The facts are that no one really notices you because they are too busy thinking and worrying about how THEY look. The other fact is that women who get fit and show it off are causing men to lust.

I'm tired of this whole marry-go-round. I'm praying that my heart will become pure about it through Christ.

So, I have to ask myself what my motives are. I want to be healthy and have stamina to love and serve my family better. I want to spend more of my moments wondering how each love under my roof is getting on. How was their day? Did they get enough to eat today? Did I keep them healthy? Are their needs met? Do THEY feel loved by me? What can I do special for them today?

The things I struggle to manage are tools for blessing. Food both healthy and treat-ish, are a blessing for them. My stamina is important to do all I need to do. It's important for intimacy with my husband.

Yikes, on that note. I'm tired of trying to get back to 20. I realized this last week that I shy away from him too much for my own selfish reasons. I won't feel free till I reach my sexy goal. Yet, when I get close, I start to struggle with getting other men's attention and feel his compliments are not good enough. I discussed this with a sister/friend a few months ago and she related to me in it. It's like the good things they say are not enough because we think "yeah, well you love me when I'm fat too so step aside and let me see if I can get some REAL attention."

*PUKE*....it's all SOOOOO sinful.

That got me thinking about how deep this really goes.

I love glory for myself. I love it. I want to be admired and "glorified" so to speak. God started to show me who that sounded like. It sounded like the most beautiful beloved angel of heaven who wanted to be glorified. He wanted to steal admiration and praise from the only one who deserved it. I was reflecting HIS character!!! It sickened me.

Christ's character is to reflect His father at all times. Not to try to steal any of that glory from him for himself. How convicting.

Then, it hits me. That is a motive and a goal I CAN achieve. I will never get all the admiration I sinfully desire, but I can reflect my God through this and his beauty is far more glorious than my own. Not to mention the fact that he deserves it and that is what I was created to do for my joy to be full.

So, though I've known a lot of these things they have been surface ideals. I know I should not be vain. I know I should not be wrapped up in myself. Yet, I've never stopped to get down deeper to the ugly core of my heart where these battles take place and find myself on my knees in need of my Savior.

How do some of you battle these issues as women today? How do you fight wanting to be attractive with deep problematic vanity? I realize that keeping ourselves looking attractive is in many ways important but how do you balance that with slipping into focusing too much on yourself? What are your motivations for being healthy?

I'm hoping God revolutionizes my heart into one that so rarely thinks of myself. I want to be fit enough to do what he needs me to, sexy enough to please my husband, and attractive enough to do the best with what God has given me.

I really would love to hear from many of you on your thoughts.

We all aregirls born wanting to be this way. The song is fun, but like all untamed desires, it can destroy us and all our relationships as well as leave us empty and unsatisfied. There is nothing wrong with having that girlie desire to dress up and be clean and pretty, for even God enjoyed the beauty he created. Yet, listen to the words of this song and realize how important this idol of ourselves can become to us. IF you know me, I love lots of music but I also believe in discussing the true danger of these messages. I just want to push for some discernment as we enjoy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heavy Hearts

I'm sure many of you have Japan heavy on your heart. There is not much we can do from here and I think that adds to the heaviness of this disaster. As a busy mom I walk around wishing I could stop and reflect, to pray more for these people. Yet, the reality is that though there is disaster across the ocean from me, there is life going on here and now that takes much of my energy, time and attention. So, yesterday I was led to pray practically.

I put food together for dinner and as I worked I prayed that God would provide food for these people stranded and without supplies.
I heard my son's water running for his bath and I prayed God would proved their needs for water.
I was overwhelmed with some of my own trials and prayed that God would comfort these afflicted. That he would bring his saints to the hurting to help them turn to Him in this time. When their hearts are open and in pain, that they would have their eyes open to the Truth. That Christ would be found in their sorrow.
As I sometimes struggle just how to even pray for them, I pray for their salvation. I pray for the core of what is important for their souls as none of us are promised tomorrow.
As I see my children play, I pray for those mom's who are in severe pain of loss or question right now. I pray that those who can be found would be and that God would hold them in their loss.
There is just so much that can remind me in the day as I do my mundane stuff that would be so missed in a disaster like this, to pray for their provision. I may not need to sit and reflect to pray for those who are hurting, I can be reminded through what I'm normally use to enjoying.

For what it's worth, I hope the things around you will remind you too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Lent Of The Heart

I'm not sure I'm into this Lent thing as a protestant Christian. Just some of the words in the definitions of the event worry me. Terms like "doing penance", "good works", "sacrifice". Yet, at the same time, the exercise of focusing on what Christ gave up in order to remind us to bear our own crosses is not a bad thing.
So, what I've decided is that like most things, Lent is what you make it. Just like the celebration of many holidays, you could look at the negatives traditionally or the elements that don't line up with your faith and chuck the whole thing. Another point against it is that we should not strive in these ways only once in the year. Still, that itself is not a reason to avoid using the occasion for reflection. We certainly don't chuck Christmas just because we should celebrate Christ's coming in our heart all year around.
Lent from the heart I think can glorify God. An empty work of religious ritual would insult him as it makes the Son's work on the cross worthless. Worse that that, having a spiritual high because we did it or, gave up, or paid a price, are highly insulting to the God who was the only one who could give anything meaningful toward our sinful state.
I mentioned on my Facebook the other day that my friend had some great insight on Lent. Laura felt convicted to say yes to others and no to herself. That is always a good exercise. Furthermore, there is no way she is going to flip it and the day after Lent, go crazy and say "NO!" to everybody all day. This Lent is a Lent from the heart.
Well, the Lord finally convicted me a Lent of the Heart for me this morning. This has been driving me nuts!!! My kids seem to tag teem "Mommy!?" me. It seems that at certain times of the day they spend about half an hour taking turns coming to me. It may be a need, a thought, an outfit needing opinion, an event four months ago that's on their brain, a request to do something later in the day, a question, or the ever so lovely one when I'm questioned out "What's for Dinner?" To which we should all answer "Food!" right!? Well, it's not so bad when you have been asked once but when they all come at different times because they didn't (somehow) hear the answer I gave their sibling, AND they forget what I answered and ask me again in ten minutes because they are hungry.......
Nuttville is around the corner.
It's really me. It's my patience and stamina. I have to mentally make a decision to not let this annoy me. I only have three, and I don't know HOW women with more handle this. It's not their fault so it's not right for me to get upset. Heaven help the child who just has a simple need or question and happens to come to the door when I've reached my limit and gets a gruntal "WHAT!!???" They may even see bared teeth from me, it's possible. I should probably secretly have them video me. I'm sure I would be so insulted by myself I'd be cured for good. LOL.
So, right now, Lent or not really, I'm going to work on this area. Still if it's a Lent of the heart, I'll take the theme to help me focus.
Yet, I'll make it nothing more. I won't add to the work of Christ. I won't deceive myself that I can contribute to the Almighty in any way and I really don't want to live my life on a religious high from my performance. At the same time, I need to remember to be sensitive to the conviction of the Lord in my life and focus on it. This exercise will help me glorify God and not me. That's what I want my Lent to be.
Lent is meant to prepare us to celebrate Easter. I don't see any better way to do that than to reflect Christ's patient selfless character.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On My Bio-Dad, Forgiveness, Grief and Hope

I'll admit, I'm highly emotional this morning. I was not sure I could even post this because I knew I'd feel tears welling when I started. Yep. Still, this is one of those writing for therapy moments. I also hesitate because it was this topic that led some readers to call my mom years ago and leave messages on her phone that upset her a lot. So, if you are reading and you know my mom, don't call her dang-it. She is welcome to read this. This is my life and my story now and she does NOT need to be bugged with it. It's no secret that Mark was not my bio-dad and if you thought it was, you are wrong so forgive my rebellions teen-like moment to warn some to mind their own.

That being said, I also hesitate because I know it's hard for my mom for me to talk about this. She sees this whole topic very differently than I do and I did not live through the pain she did so I don't judge her but I also feel that I had no choice in how my story started and I won't lie about what it is from that point on. I don't believe in hiding things. I've chosen not to hide it from my kids, and I firmly believe that God's sovereign plan in our lives cannot be told without the whole story. There are many who have been through tough stuff in their lives who don't agree with this. I admit, I've never made some of those big painful decisions so I cannot judge them for feeling convicted about that. I don't however. This is my story, not anyone else. You cannot have the same outcome in anyone else's life with situations because the factors vary so much that each set of them will have a different product. I give this topic the freedom it therefore demands.

Also before I go on, I had one Father and that was Mark. He loved me with his life and he was used by God to save us all from a lot of pain. He holds that place in my heart and affections that cannot be replaced, but this is not about replacing and when it's seen that way, it's observed incorrectly. Some of you know my story more than others but I don't have time to go into all of it here today so I apologize if some of this does not make sense.

So, I'm emotional because I had a dream about my bio-dad last night. Honestly, I've had my emotions about him in a box for four years. He got very ill and passed away suddenly while my Father, Mark was passing away with cancer. When I found out he died, I literally had no emotional response. There was nothing left in me. It was not because I held things against him, in fact the opposite was true. I had spent the last few years getting to know him over the phone, patching things up, getting to know each other and having some conversations that are very precious to me now. I had no response because I was completely emotionally drained. My Father Mark was down to skin and bones and our every extra focus in the day was focused on absorbing the time and dealing with the anxiety of mystery knowing the end was near but not sure exactly how near it was. There was the emotional drain of watching a busy healthy man, husband, father and Papa loose all energy, function and vitality.
I wanted to be frustrated that I had no emotion hearing he had died (my bio-dad...I realize this could get confusing). I waited for frustration to flood through me and even that emotional reaction would not hit me. I wanted it to, I wanted to be mad if I could not cry. I wanted SOMETHING to help me grieve. I was completely and utterly numb by then. It took everything in me to adjust to Mark being dead and how it effected those around me. I don't think I even dealt with how it effected me until about two years later. It certainly showed up in my physical health when I started having panic attacks for no reason. My hormones were way of and I had developed an ovarian cyst that had to be removed. That was this time last year exactly. I could have had no way of knowing how what was going on would effect my body. Needless to say, with all this I've not been able to think much or process much about my bio-dad. I've not had the courage to open that emotional box. I've kept it closed out of survival instinct.
The fact is, there is so much good to be thankful for and be reflected upon. Forgiveness was what drove me to contact him in the first place. Now, one can certainly forgive and still keep distance (which is what my parents would have preferred I'd done and they made it very clear they not only did not support my decisions on this but were greatly hurt and insulted by it) but I felt it would only be fear and pride that would motivate me to keep this man in a prison of regret unless I could set him free from it by reaching out. We talked a lot about God, death, life and forgiveness. We talked about small things too and I found that my sense of humor which had always seemed out of place in my family, had come from some biological roots. That really encouraged me because it was like finding a missing part of myself. One of the huge moments was when we talked about his dad and how hard their relationship was. He called me the next day and thanked me because he had been able to pray about it and forgave his dad for the first time. I cannot believe that this was not part of God's plan for us both. As much as it saddened me to go against my parents, Rick and I both were sure we were supposed to do this. We did not have to fear man, we wanted to heal and I was healed too in the process. The plan was to someday meet (since I'd not seen him since I was about 3 years old and did not remember him much at all and in fact, my mom never showed me even a picture of him so I had no idea what he even looked like) once we worked through some things. That was never in God's plan but that is okay with me now. I think it would have been very hard to start that much over again. Out of this time I am now in contact with my Aunt whom I love being in contact with very much and some of her family who have been so friendly to me which is a treasure for me as well.
The emotions brought up by the dream made me realize I may be strong enough to grieve over his loss now. When I say grieve I mean that I have an actual process I've known for years I would need to go through to do this. While he was alive, and in those last few years (I made contact for good about two years before he died which amazes me too that God knew that) I had sent him a list of questions I wanted answered. We both answered these questions for each other. There was so much getting to know you that we had never done. He chose to answer them by recording his answers on a small mini recorder for me. Many times in answering the questions he would go off on rabbit trials of a lot more as well. I have all of that recorded. I've needed to listen to it all again, that is how I need to process this. I tried about two years ago to turn the recording on and I only made it a few seconds before a flood of tears came and a twist in my heart that hurt so bad, I knew I was not ready.
I truly am amazed at God's love in having them pass all within a few months of each other. The reason I say that is because it eased my grief for my bio-dad. It may have emotionally confused me to have my Father here healthy and in my life and try to grieve for someone I hardly knew but yet had a boat-load of emotions about. IT allowed me to fully grieve for the man who had raised me and eased another grief that I could hardly process at all. By being fully focused on another pain, I was able to be guarded from a lot of this other pain. Now, it has settled more in me that he is gone. I don't have to grieve and reflect in a state of shock, I get to do so in a reflective though emotional frame of mind and at a pace I choose and can handle.
I think I'm ready to turn that recorder on. I know I will cry (shoot, I'm crying now) but I'm ready.
You know what gives me the most joy!? Hope. Hope that has come through Christ. My Father Mark and bio-dad are now in heaven. My bio-dad was an infant Christian but a sincerely repentant man before God. He may not have had his theology all together (though we had some good talks about that which helped I think), and he may have had a lot of worldly baggage that fogged up much of his heart still, but I believe that just as the thief on the cross, he had a true moment of repentance and coming before the Savior. He may not be put in charge of much in Heaven, but he will be there. Their emotions about each other were very different here on earth. My bio-dad was very grateful for Mark and told me so many times. I know if he could have met him, he would have told him himself. My dad however, did not trust him at all and did not like talking about him. I'm sure he had a fear that this man would come back into my life and make waves let alone interrupt his relationship with his grand kids. I understand that. Now however, perfected in the presence of Christ our cleansing savior, they worship the Heavenly Father together. There is no more fear in my dad Mark, no more sin in either of them. They have been able to see the full loving plan of God for us in all our lives and they understand now. They hold nothing against each other but both look forward to our appearance someday. I told my dad Mark, when he was in the hospital with sepsis and we thought we were going to loose him that he was who I would run to on that day first. I meant that. I said it in tears and he cried too. I wanted him to know he had that place in my heart. I will be looking for another greeting also and in Christ's perspective perfecting ours, it won't matter to anyone anymore that I do that.
Thank you Lord for that and so many other things. I will cry these tears with gratitude, full and overwhelming.

This is life, this is what it's all about. Don't run, embrace, and grow.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Makeover Part 2: "Come On-A My House!"

Okay, first you must hear my mood for this post . Click the you tube or you are not allowed to continue (I'm watching you!!! and doing my "Meet the Fockers" Dustin Hoffman gesture ha,ha!)

If you have followed lately you know we have been in project mode. Perhaps you've all ready got to see some of the final product with the dining room. Today I'm here to tell more of the story in pictures and show you some more final pics of the living room.
The line was made with yarn. It had to stretch down the longest part of the flooring so it went from the dining room wall to the laundry room. I did a little under three feet from the wall so I could just trim the wall squares if I needed too but would not have a spot that was too shy of the wall either. Then, you paint the primer on which creates a surface for laying the vinyl. It neutralized the dust that may be left of the floor to keep it from making things stick.
Then, when the primer is dry, the first tile goes down! Sorry the pic is sideways.

From there it's pretty fast progression, stopping to paint more primer though and let it dry before proceeding. Cutting around the vent is the only tough part here.

From here I had to make a decision. We had linoleum in the hallway and we had originally thought we would have our friend puddy the edge smooth and lay the new vinyl right on top and do the same in the kitchen and laundry room. I decided to use the hall linoleum as a trial run to see if I could get it up well enough to just lay it on the floor. It was not easy, the process was to cut and peel it up with the help of a hair drier to warm the glue a bit. The thing about this that convinced me to put the extra work in was one, that the floor would look more smooth, and two that the old glue would help me more with keeping the new stuff secure.

At this point I took a break before heading into the kitchen. I knew that once I started that I'd need convenience foods and mental preparation to have major crazy even more than we had been living with. A kitchen cannot be closed for business for too long! So, I went to paint the laundry room.

I learned a lot about painting red. It's hard to cover light colors with it. I think it took three coats.

Very important to move the heavy stuff on the OLD floor before putting down the new. It was also a great chance to clean out 5 years of dust, goop, toys, dirt off the floor and vacuum out the dryer tube.

I finally got enough coats on to call it good. I chose this color off of a set of red mugs I loved. It's a great Tuscan red. I'm glad I only did the laundry room in this though because it's not a good contrast with the cabinets and it's pretty dark. I like my little punch room though:)

The floor was going to be tricky. You cannot move the appliances out and do the floor under there and work your way back. You have to work from the room back to the wall in order to follow your lines coming down the kitchen. So, the plan was to do the floor under the first part of the appliances and leave the rest in the old linoleum. Someday when we get new stuff, I'll use the vinyl I've saved and lay the rest. Our solution to help me get under there was to pull the appliances forward and lean them back, propping them up with a brick.

Now, it was time to back up and start that kitchen floor. This all took place over days of work btw. I had to prepare to tackle a LOT more peeling up of the old stuff. I won't lie, it was hard. My strategy became peel a row and lay a row. That way, I used the old glue while it was still clean and sticky and I kept the exposed floor covered on both ends as we lived our lives around the project.

The next day I started the harder side. Working around the appliances was tricky and I had to make clean lines at the base of the dishwasher and fridge because there was not propping we could do there.

This is a look back from where I was working. I was all ready thrilled with the stone colors with the stainless steel in the kitchen.

Life going on around us somewhat "normal".

THen came the moment that gave me the most anxiety. The tiles had to go around the island and then come RIGHT BACK TOGETHER STRAIGHT. I was not sure it would, or what I would do if it didn't.
This above is my last process picture. It did come together, it came together perfectly. I was so relieved!!! We propped the stove as we had the laundry appliances and laid tiles as far back as we could.
SO, drum roll, you now get to see the final pics!!!

THEN, on Saturday, while I did a garage sale, Rick and our friend Jake (who knows what he's doing where we don't) laid the living room laminate!! So, here are the final pics of that. I don't have any process ones but if you go back to the links I gave earlier, you will see the crazy we were living with before.

I'm loving the light reflecting!
A lot of trim had to be removed and has to be put back on, floor boards need to be added, the chairs need to be done, and the curtains put up. Then, we are hoping to have a party to thank those who have helped us and who want to just hang out and celebrate it being done. We used money from family for Christmas and birthdays to do this, friends who gave Rick gift cards for his 40th birthday as well, and we finished it off with a little of our tax return. The vinyl cost us about $250 but we have extra to do both bathrooms and replace damages later. That also includes Caedmon's room. The laminate cost $220, the transition border $90 (the VERY expensive part), and the sound barrier for under the laminate was $75. So, doing it all our selves and getting a good deal we really did it very low budget.
Thanks for coming by to see!:)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Talking About Tics

I wanted to share about this for the sake of all mom's wondering what is going on with their kids. Any time we can share this stuff, it helps relieve frustration and irritation in our parenting. I just recently came to the conclusion that this was what the symptoms meant. It's good that I know now and can stop putting pressure on my son to stop or be annoyed with what he cannot help.

I'm talking about tics. 20% of children suffer from some sort of tic. Boys are twice as likely than girls. Tics are repeated involuntary muscular movements, affecting either limb muscles, facial muscles (e.g. grimacing or eyelid flicking) or vocal muscles (grunting or saying words). (From here)

Years ago, Caedmon started having his tic. His was where he would open his eyes wide, open his mouth, and stretch out his nose. Like someone who has something in their eyes and nose that is bothering them. We would ask him over and over what was wrong, what was he feeling, and why was he doing this? It was very annoying. He had no explanation or reasoning behind it. It would go on for weeks and then stop. Over the past few years it has come back with many months in between.
I just figured he was a quirky kid.
Then, about two months ago, he started this grunted throat clearing finished off with a small cough. It started around the time we had been sick but it never stopped. I thought it was just him getting over the cold (which may have very well triggered it). When it did not stop I figured he had allergies and I've tried treating him with children's allergy meds. They do nothing for it.
I decided to Google discussions on this by parents and it turns out that this exact throat clearing/cough is a common tic. Most parents have stated that they treated it as an allergy as well and nothing helped. I started reading up on tics and it all made sense.
So, somewhere in the busy neurological going's on of my child's body and brain, he seems to swing around now and then into these displays of what's going on inside. There is no behavior attached to it, just us having to be patient.
The reason I wanted to blog about it is just to bring it up. It's a little strange, and frustrating to hear all day but I've decided to take a deep breath, and wait for it to pass. I just want to encourage others to do the same and look into relaxing while their strange little specimen of a being grows up and through so many wonderfully bizarre things.:)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Makeover Step 2 Complete!!!!

I know I should show you more of the process but I don't have much time and I'm really excited to have ONE clean room in my house!!! So, you get to jump to the end of the story and see the last page for the dining room anyway. I still have to get candles for the ironwork on the wall (great goodwill find for my Tuscan theme) and the chairs are going to get sanded and stained a dark antique walnut stain. OH, and the valances are not up yet!

The flooring makes the the floorspace HUGE! The kids love sliding around.

So, the kitchen and laundry room floors are done too but I have some cleaning still to do before those pics come. The living room is still crazy but we have the flooring (wood laminate) and it goes in this Saturday!!! SOOO excited!