Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Adjusting

This years' Christmas has been a bit strange for me. It seemed as if I waited and waited for it to arrive, and then it all came on so very fast. I didin't feel like I was able to enjoy things the way I wanted to or the way I have been able to in years past.

On Christmas Day, after all the presents were opened and everyone had eaten a delicious breakfast, I sat down and seriously contemplated taking down Christmas. I looked over to Kerry, who was deeply involved in one of his new books, and asked if it would be crazy to take down the tree right then and there. He told me, that yes, it would in fact be crazy to take down the tree, as it was still Christmas day.

I relented and the tree is still up. Although last night I was able to get everything else packed up and put away in the garage. It feels so good to have my house back to 'normal' again. It always amazes me at how empty it feels when all the excess stuff has been packed away.

As I was packing up all of the Christmas things, I began to think about the coming year and how it is going to be getting out of the holiday mode and bakc int olife in the new year.

I know we all have resolutions and goals for the coming year. In the past I have found that arriving at the goal is not where it's at. It is the journey. And as life itself is the largest of journeys, I just hope that I can be better in the coming year than I was in the past. It's baby steps really, but I find that those baby steps added together always seem to carry me the greatest distance.

What are you hoping for in the new year? I hope that you can take a little time in your busy days to reflect about what you want in life and how to truly achieve it. I hope that I can do this for myself as well. Thanks to all of you who visit me here. I really do appreciate your comments and thoughts and emails regarding the things that I share here.

It is my most sincere wish that all of you have a most splendid beginning to the new year!

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everything

As I began to think about writing this post, I could not for the life of me think of a good title. There is no much on my mind and my heart is so full with so many different things it feels like it could explode. I decided on the title 'Everything' because to me just about everything is involved in what I am feeling and in what I want to express.
I had to run a couple of really quick errands today, and since Kerry is working today, even though it is a Saturday(that's a completely different story) I loaded up the boys and went on my way.
I had some Christmas music playing, and a couple of songs really got me to thinking about this special time of year, and about life in general. About the things I TRULY BELIEVE IN, and how I want my life to be, how I want to raise my children, and how I want to make a difference in the world around me.
This time of year is crazy. There's no doubt about that. Even with the business, I love the Christmas season. I wish the feelings we hold in our hearts, and the way in which we interact with others could last and be with us each and every day throughout the year. I wish I could be more tolerant of others, not be so quick to anger and frustration. I wish that in the middle of March or July or September we could be as concerned with those around us who are not as fortunate as we are.
As I look into the eyes of my children, it is my sincere hope that I am teaching them the things that will truly make them happy honorable and charitable human beings. I hope that they will go out into the world as they leave my home and do better than I have. I hope they are loving and giving and tolerant of their fellow men. I hope they look for opportunities to give to and serve others. This is what brings true joy in life and it is my prayer that they will be able to feel this as they learn and grow in each of their lives.
There is happiness in seeing my children's eyes light up on Christmas morning. Seeing their excitement and anticipation in those marvelous days leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I know that they are still very young and are not capable of mastering all of the thoughts and feelings and emotions of the true meaning of Christmas. Someday I hope they will.
It is amazing to me the amount of time and money and stress that goes into the material side of this Christmas season. Finding that perfect gift. Getting the 'best deal' out there. And then when we have acquired it all, and wrapped it up and given it, the day after Christmas arrives and there we are as a nation......hitting the stores for the sales to acquire even more.
This past year has brought many things to my attention. I have thought a lot and dealt a lot with 'things' and their place in my life and how they hold me prisoner in ways that I never imagined. How I along with so many countless others have SO much of what we don't need, while we search for those things that we do need. Love. Companionship. Trust.
I guess this really magnifies itself during this time of year. How much better would our lives be if we put the effort into our relationships with our family and close friends that we put into the material side of the holidays. I think of some of the most amazing times of my life, and some of my best memories, and none of them, not even one, has to do with material possessions. They are the moments spent on the beach with my family during an incredible sunset, they are the times playing games with friends when you can't stop laughing. They are the times spent discovering new places with my children. I could really go on and on and on, but I think you get what I am trying to convey.
All of us are going to leave this earthly existence at some point. What are the things that are going to mean the most to you at that moment before you go? I have never heard of someone asking for their designer clothes, expensive jewelery, or fabulous cars to be brought to them. It's the people you love that you want the most.
I think of my father a lot, and how I never got the chance to get to know him as he died before I even was 3 years old. I would give up anything I own, or could ever own, just to be able to see him smile and hug him. There isn't ANY THING that is worth more than a relationship you can have with those that you love.
I think of those who for whatever reason cannot be with those that they love during this season. My heart goes out to all of those who are now or who have had to spend a Christmas without a loved one who is or has honorably served our country in the military. I don't know how those families do it. Being apart from each other is one thing, but knowing that someone you love is in possible danger as well, would be more than I could handle. I am so thankful to those individuals and their families who make this amazing sacrifice so that I can have the freedoms and liberties and time with my loved ones in a safe country.
I know this post has been quite long winded and I don't even know if I have been able to adequately convey what is in my heart and my mind.
Most of all I pray for peace. I pray that children throughout the world do not have to be scared or lonely or hungry. I pray that the light that is in each one of us will be able to overshadow the darkness and the hurt and wrong that occur in our world. I pray that each and every day throughout all the remaining days of my life that I will be able to be an advocate of love and peace and understanding for all those whom I come into contact with.
I wish you and yours a most magical and splendid Christmas season.
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

House in Whittier

I woke up this morning thinking about my maternal Grandparents' house.
The house was in Southern California, in a town called Whittier, about a half hour from Disneyland, if that helps.
I miss that house.
I miss my Grandparents.
They moved into that house in 1957, and my Grandfather left it in the summer of 2004, just a little over a year after my Grandmother passed away. It was just too much for him to continue to be alone.....but that is an entirely different story, and I have been thinking about the house.
I have such fond childhood memories of that house. Growing up about 1500 miles away, it was always very special to visit.
I can remember exactly what it was like to walk through the front door into the entry.....I remember the wood floors. I remember the "pink" and "blue" bathrooms. The flowered wallpaper in the front bedroom. The upright piano in the alcove off the dining room. I remember the kitchen with the happy yellow tile, the Swedish and Norwegian nick knacks on the little shelf near the table. I remember sticking the banana stickers under one of the kitchen cabinets.
It was heartwarming and heartbreaking to wake up this morning thinking about that house and what it meant to me. The memories I have of it and of my Grandparents. I wish my children could have had the opportunity to have experienced that house like I did. It's crazy to think that I will never go back there, and even if I did, it would not be the same.
They say you can never 'go home'.
I wish sometimes that I could.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jack-O-Lanterns

We carved pumpkins Sunday night.
Today I finally got around to taking pictures of them.

The lighting was a bit problematic. Or perhaps it was just me who was problematic. I wish I could remember everything from my photography class in college.....about aperture, shutter speed, you know, all that stuff.

If Kaycee were here, she would have captured the perfect image.

But without her, this is the best I could produce.

And the kids were actually agreeable (which was amazing considering I was trying all sorts of lighing stuff and taking lots of pictures). Which kinda scares me because we have family pictures tonight. I might have blown it by asking them to do these pictures this afternoon. Hopefully tonight will work out as well!

Happy Halloween!

The Kitchen Sink


I just had to take a picture of the sink this morning before I attacked it.

I should have taken a picture of the surrounding area as well. It looked about the same as the sink. From the looks of things, I am amazed that there were any clean dishes in the house at all.

It has just been a totally crazy week. Finally this morning, I had a brief moment to play catch up.

Someday, I hope to be able to do it all, but now is not my time. My house is a disaster, but at least the kids had clean clothes to put on to wear to school, and lunches got made, and everyone is happy. I guess that is what counts!

I suppose someday, I will have an immaculate house each and every day, have time to do all the crafts and other things I enjoy, read all the books I want in a timely fashion......but my house will not be filled with all the happy noises and laughter, and all the squakings and turmiol that it now has.

I guess you can never have it all. At one time. But I am happy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There was Yesterday.....

and then there was today.

I am so amazed that two days can be so different from one another, and the only thing really that separates them is about 7 hours of sleep....or in my case I believe I got somewhere between 2 & 3 hours last night. And yet today is still by far worlds better than yesterday.

The highlight of my day yesterday was an entire pitcher of Kiwi Strawberry Crystal Light being dumped out on the floor by my 7 year old, Dylan. But wait, it gets better. It happened at the exact moment that Kerry left with Cody for soccer practice, and I was about to sit down and nurse Kellan. He was quite hungry. So I put Kellan on my bed and asked Sam to try to watch him and keep him company (mostly just try to keep him from crying) while I cleaned up the spill (on both the wood and carpet, mind you) with Dylan.

While we are cleaning up, Sam manages to take a bead necklace of mine and wrap it around his wrist so tight that it broke and beads went all over the bead where Kellan was. These beads were about the size of marbles......just perfect for a baby to choke on. When I came into the room to check on them, Sam was shoving all the beads from the broken necklace under my night stand to hide them, because he didn't want me to know that he had broken it. There were beads still all around the baby.....I am so blessed that he didn't get a hold of any and choke on them.

Thank Heaven that God looks after me, or I would have slipped in the juice and torn my ACL, and would have had a choking or dead baby!!!!
Good times in the Winkelman household!

I am please to say that today is much better, or more mellow, should I say. But the "wrecking crew" has not descended upon my house yet from school.

I did though, as I was cleaning juice out of my carpet last night decide that I need to get back into my creative realm. I so need to get my craft on! And I think I can feel my mojo coming back!

I am so looking forward to the next couple of months. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas time, and can't wait to make some super exciting crafts....I'll most likely post them over on my stamping blog, so check me out over there if you want to see what I've been up to!

Have a beautiful day!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pain Pills & An Angel in Disguise

The past 4 days have been from a different world.

I wish I could remember them better. That would be the fault of the narcotics.

Last May I had a filling done in one of my teeth that my dentist told me was pretty extensive and could possibly need a root canal....we would just have to see how it went.

It has been fine for the past 4 months or more.

Until Tuesday.

Out of the blue on Tuesday night, the pain just came out of nowhere. I took a bunch of Ibuprofen, and put a hot pack on my face and tried to get some sleep.

Wednesday morning it was about the same. I put a call in to my dentist, and when they got back to me the answer was in the form of 2 prescriptions and an appointment set for Monday to go in and open it up and get all the nasty nerve out to relieve the pain, and then set up an appointment for a root canal to get it all finished up.

This was a good idea until Thursday night. The pain was so severe, even with twice the amount of Vicidin.

Friday morning, I called my dentist at home, (he is not in the office on Fridays) and waited for a return call from him. The kids did not have school on Friday, which made things even better, and by 9:30 am, I was completely beside myself, balling my eyes out, calling my mom to come and help me out, with what exactly, I wasn't sure, but when you feel like crap it's always nice to have mom around!

After a few phone calls and run around with nurses and such, the decision was made to go to urgent care to see what they could do for me there. My dentist had called back and was willing to see me Saturday morning to open things up, but was tied up for the day and was not able to do anything for me at the present time.

After sitting at Urgent Care for an hour, I was able to get some stronger narcotics and so we headed home.

By 4pm that afternoon, not even the stronger drugs were working. I was completely beside myself, and not in my right mind after all the drugs that were doing nothing for my pain, but completely messing with my ability to think normal.

At about 5:30 my mom showed up at my house and said that she had talked to a friend whose son is a dentist and was willing to meet us at his office and try to fix my pain.
So we got in the car and drove the almost hour up to Arlington to Dr. Thomas' office. He was there with his 12 year old son, and together they had me in the chair, hooked me up to some nitrous, and away he worked.

There are some more details from last night, but I'm not entirely sure of how to put them into words yet, so maybe sometime in the future, I will talk about this event some more.
For right now, I am just grateful for Dr. Steve Thomas. He was my angel last night. I am so thankful that God answers prayers and that Steve was able to help me out in my hour of need.

There was no way I would have been able to make it through last night without having that procedure done.

I am so thankful that there are people in this world that are willing to help others and make sacrifices in their lives for the benefit of others. Without asking for anything in return.Today I woke up and felt like a new person.
No pain.
At all.

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Do you ever WONDER

If checkers at the grocery store think you are a little crazy just by looking at the stuff you are purchasing?
Sometimes I wonder that.
Like when you're going to pick up a few random things that you need.
Case in point: Yesterday. I ran down to the store real quick to grab a couple of things. I spent 9.97 and here is what I bought.

1 avocado
5 bananas
1 box of instant stuffing mix
1 bag of marshmallows
1 container of Rocky Road Ice Cream

Now that I'm looking at my list, I don't think it's that strange. I've done worse, for sure! Oh, well!

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

When God Smiles on Me


You know those brief moments in life, (I actually believe they happen everyday, and we can notice them if we choose to stop and realize them for what they are,) when the stars align just perfectly and things just fall into place and go the way you want them to?

Just a few moments ago I had one of those.

It's a rainy cold day today, so when the boys came home from school we made popcorn and apples and juice, and then proceeded to make chocolate & peanut butter chip cookies. I realize now that this was quite brave of me, since I had no idea how long Kellan would be happy for, and making cookies is a bit of a commitment.

I had gotten to the second to the last pan to go in the oven, when Kellan had had enough. When I looked at the clock I couldn't believe he lasted for as long as he had. He needed to be changed and nursed and put down to nap. I had just put the cookies in the oven and had less than 9 minutes to get this all done.

Just as Kellan fell asleep in my arms nursing, and I got up to go put him in bed, the timer went off. How perfect is that.

It's these times, some are just little, like this afternoon, and others are huge in life, that cause me to believe that God is smiling on me. Because any other time, I would have a screaming baby that refused to go down for a nap or refuse to quit nursing, and majorly burnt cookies.

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On the Eve of Change

Whew!
This past week has been a whirlwind!
Here we are the night before a new school year. I cannot believe its here. So many thoughts and emotions running through me.
I get so set and comfortable with certain routines (or lack of them during the summer) and it is tough for me to change.
We went up to school this afternoon for the open house so the kids could meet their teachers and see their classrooms. Its hard to get used to new teachers, and I'm not even the one going to school!
I wish the best for my boys. I want them to be able to adapt and be able to flourish in many different circumstances.
I am trusting that the Lord in His infinite wisdom is placing them where they need to be in order for them to learn and grow and be the best that they can be to reach their full potential. I just hope that I am doing my best to usher them along!
This summer brought on so many new things for me. From the new baby, to thoughts, hopes and aspirations of a new home, sometimes I have felt that I'm not hitting the mark, that I should be "somewhere else" in my life. Yet the other night I had this complete deja vu - I guess that would be the best way to explain it, and I just had this complete feeling of peace come over me that I am in fact exactly where I need to be in life and that I just need to keep plunking along.
I have made some huge revelations about myself this summer, about how and why I do certain things and am the way I am. Some of these are in need of a major overhaul....and I am working on them daily. It's so tough sometimes though, to feel that there is so much ground to cover to become what I want to be. For now I just have to settle to be a little better and to stand a little taller that I was the day before!
Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wounded

This evening we went over to some of our friends' house. We had a little gathering with some family & friends......it was a really nice evening. Great food, great company, and beautiful weather.....couldn't ask for a lovelier time.

Everything was going so well.

And then it happened.

All the kids were left in the house, for, I kid you not, like 1 minute and in that time, Cody and Dylan decided to come back outside. Cody had taken off his socks, and ran back to get them, when Iris came running around the corner at the same time and BAM! Cody's cheek met Iris' forehead, and we had instant woundage.

Poor little kids.

I felt so bad for both of them, but probably more so for Iris, who is only 5, and is a girl and an only child....and probably isn't used to all the crazy bumps and bruises and wounds that come with being around boys....especially my boys.
I cant explain how terrible I feel. I know it was an accident, but still, I just have this sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think being a mom of 4 boys, I don't react that much to these types of things happening. I just figure that there is bound to be accidents and bumps and scrapes along the path of life. It just feels so crummy when it involves others.
Hopefully Iris is doing okay.....we all headed off to two different ER's at about the same time. I am hoping that they were able to glue her like they did Cody! The ER doc gave us the choice between glue & steri strips and stitches.....and I wanted stitches, because I think that the scar will be less noticeable, and also, he is an almost 9 year old boy, who is very active and busy and has soccer practice and school and recess....and I could think of a million other things, but Cody won out....the doc was on his side too....I don't think he wanted to put stitches in so close to his eye, with the chance that Cody might not have been able to hold completely still.
On the positive side of things, Cody and I got some great one-on-one time together while we were in the ER. I really love that kid. He is really an awesome human being, and I feel so blessed to be his mom! Here's a picture of us when we got home from the hospital!
Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Thursday, August 26, 2010

REWARD SYSTEM

One of my biggest 'wants' in life is pretty simple. A toilet all to myself. Someday, I will have this, and not any of my boys, not even Kerry (sorry sweetie) will be allowed to use it. At that point in my life, I am hoping to never have to put down a toilet seat and ask someone to flush again.

Until then, I have to come up with something. There has to be a way. If I could have a recorded message that played in the bathroom when a boy entered.....it would be amazing. 'Please replace the toilet to it's original pre-use status' it would say....so sweet and so kind, just like the lovely lady who asks you to return your tray table and seat to their full and upright positions on an airplane flight.

Or perhaps a reward system could be put in place, like when you put the toilet seat down and flush, a little treat comes out from a dispenser above the toilet. Positive reinforcement. But then again, these are boys we are dealing with here, and if that were the case they would never leave the bathroom. However, the rest of my house would stay clean.

And I thought potty training was hard. Its nothin' compared to this. Seriously....can one ever train a boy correctly in this department?

Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Saturday, August 21, 2010

10 Days From Now...

My kids will go back to school. I don't think I'm ready for that. I have real mixed emotions about it. I love having summer with them. I love being able to sleep in, have late breakfast, and then just decide what we want to do that day, whether its going out on an adventure to somewhere we haven't been before, or just hanging around the house having some good old summertime fun at home.
It's been fun having Kellan around this summer as well. He is the best baby in the world, and so it's been fairly easy to do things and go places. Next year he'll be over a year old, and will be on the run; moving around and trying to go everywhere he's not supposed to.
My children are one of the biggest blessings in my life, and it has been so wonderful to spend a lot of time with them this summer. I already feel like they are growing up too fast, and that my time with them is so limited. Dylan just turned 7 last week, Cody will be 9 this fall, and I can't believe it. When I hold Kellan, it seems like just yesterday, it was Cody I was holding in my arms.
I hope this school year is a good one for the boys. I hope that Sam flourishes in Kindergarten, and that he doesn't oppose authority as much as he does here at home.
So, I'm going to try to soak in these last few days of summer with my boys, and hope that the schedule of school, sports and other activities do not bombard us too much, and that we can still be able to find those few precious moments to create more memories that will last us throughout our lifetimes.
Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kate Spade Bag Continued

So, I shed a tear or two, and last Tuesday night went to go and return the kate spade purse.

As I am returning it, I am telling my story to the gal......and then she says to me...."you probably don't want to know then, that its been reduced to 250.00, do you?"

I seriously almost bought it back.

But I didn't. Good me.

Besides, that purse cost more than a round trip plane ticket to Maui!

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Crazy Days

This past week has been a complete whirlwind. It's been full of ups and downs...times of complete joy and moments of tears.
For those of you who know the situation, you know that we found a home in the exact area where we want to live. This was thrilling for us. However, as of this morning, we found out that the timing is just not right.
We went into this thinking that if this is where the Lord wants us to be right now, that He will provide a way, as long as we do our part to the best of our ability.
Part of me is SO angry at what has happened in this country with the housing and lending markets. I cannot believe that people were such IDIOTS, and that those in authority allowed them to be. The situation is so dire right now. Even with amazing credit, and good jobs and a growing business, it is impossible for the "good guys" to get what they want.
But as much as I want to whine and complain right now, I have to be grateful and thankful to have a home, to have an amazing husband who loves me more than I deserve, and 4 happy and healthy children.
I am so blessed.
Even if I don't have 4 toilets.
Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Kate Spade Bag


Is there anything to you that is worth 410.00?

I have been looking for a certain Kate Spade purse now, for close to 7 years. I finally found it a month ago.

With tax it came to 410.63.

It's beautiful. Exquisite. Gorgeous. Perfect. The picture really does not do it justice.

But it won't make me any happier. Well, maybe it would. No, it wont.

I just took it out of it's happy little bag. It smells so pretty. And I just put it back into it's happy little bag. It's going back to Nordstrom this week. I think I might just shed a tear or two.

I can't live a lie. I cannot afford this purse. It's absolutely absurd to spend this kind of money on a purse that has the chance of being colored on with a crayola marker.

But isn't she lovely?
Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Friday, July 23, 2010

CUPCAKE


She calls them Almond Joy.

I call them heaven. And I had one for breakfast.

My friend Kath is the cupcake queen. She is always coming up with something new and yummy and amazing. And I love that she comes over to bring me some of her lovely creations.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yucky Monday!

I was in such a good mood when I went to bed last night.
I have no idea what happened.
First off I talked to a fellow mom from the boys' school this morning, and she informed me about some less than ideal changes that are going to be implemented this school year. It's a whole ugly long list of things with the stories to go along with it, so I shall save those for another post. Just one more thing on my list of issues I have to deal with this summer.....phone calls to make, emails to write.
Then I sat down to pay bills and realized that I had a bill from Macy's that was due on Friday. I NEVER (maybe once a year) charge something to my Macy's card, so it's not someting I think about....and usually if I do charge it, to get that extra discount, I pay it off right then and there so I don't have to think about it again, or get a bill that I have to pay at a later date. So more phone calls to beg to get them to remove any yucky charges if ther are any, which I'm sure there will be.
I just hate dealing with this sort of stuff. YUCK!
But the silver lining to starting a day off like this? It only gets better.
Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Food and Stuff

I have recently been cleaning out areas of the house, namely the garage and my stamping/craft room.

I have too much stuff. I have held onto way too many things for various reasons, which I have come to find out in the last few days are not the REAL reasons that I have held onto these things.

I believe that suffering a major loss (my father dying at the age of 2 1/2) has caused me to have a funky relationship with things. I have held onto things thinking that I may use them someday; that they are sentimental and need to be remembered; that someone I know (namely my children) will be able to use it someday.

All of these reasons are completely bogus.

I went through a boatload of stuff yesterday, and realized its just stuff. I can't take it with me. It doesn't make me happy....although some of the stuff from my childhood does give me a good laugh.

I have surrounded myself with stuff as a protective barrier. This barrier works in two different ways. It allows me to keep actual physical stuff between me and other people, so that I don't get too close to them. If I allow myself to get close to people, they will abandon me, leaving me broken and hurt. All this stuff has allowed me to focus on things rather than my relationships with my family and friends....with those I love. It also allows me to feel a sense of security (albeit false). Look at me! I have all this stuff! And stuff can't leave me.
Now I know you're thinking.....she wrote food in the title of this post.....where in the world does that come in?

Well, I have this same sort of crazy relationship with food. This is the best way I have to describe it with words: When there is food that I am eating, and I have had enough, and am full, but there is still food left, I feel like I have to eat that as well because if I don't it might be gone. It could just disappear. (My father did, after all, and he was a lot more substantial than a pulled pork taco!) Crazy, I know, but I never claimed that my brain works in a logical manner.
Its been a true eye opener for me to see these things in my life for what they truly are. And I'm hoping that slowly, I can be able to make peace with the things that have happened in my life, so that I can really be free from the craziness that I have allowed to have a hold over myself.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense to any of you. Mostly this post was for me. It has been very cathartic.
Have a beautiful day!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

PINOCHLE

Last night we played pinochle with some good friends. It was a great night! Except for the fact that Kerry and I tanked in our card playing abilities. We got schooled! Badly! And to think that we were the ones who originally taught them how to play the game.

It's amazing the conversations that occur during a card game.
One of the conversations was about new podcasts that we were listening to. We thought it would be funny to create a podcast or blog about all the crazy topics that come up during a card game.
And there were some good ones last night.

I was so happy that the three older boys were able to go and spend the night with their grandparents, and that we were able to spend some good quality times with our friends. We didn't get home until 2 am......I felt like a college girl all over again!

I feel that having this new baby kinda got us out of our regular routine for a while.
It's feels good to be back!
Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back From The Beach

It's Monday Morning.....well it's a few minutes before noon, so technically we'll say it's still morning!!!
I'm not yet out of my pajamas, but I have managed to vacuum the house and get a jump on the laundry situation.

After having hot weather in the mid 90's last week, it was quite a relief to wake up to cooler weather and even a little rain! Sure makes housework more tolerable. It's going to be an inside day today! Kind of a good thing, since the kiddos ran themselves ragged at the beach house this past weekend!

I love the beach! There is no better place in the world. I can't quite pinpoint what it is exactly that is so soothing and calming. It's as if the waves wash away every care from the rest of my busy hectic life, and all I am left with is my thoughts of how incredible this world is, that we live in, and how much I really am at peace with life.

Not to say that things aren't crazy, but like I said there is something that comes over me, like the ocean has cast a magic spell on me.

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with the northern Oregon Coast, the weather can be really finicky. Sometimes in the summer you get these kind of low cloud, yet bright, days. I haven't experienced this type of weather anywhere else in the world. These are the kind of days that I associate with the Coast....I love them. I know, I'm crazy for not wanting super sunny hot days.....I do love those as well, but to me, the overcast days just feel like home to me.

I can just sit in the warm sand and relax. Not too hot or cold. Watch my children really enjoy life. That's what it's all about.

I am so grateful and blessed to be able to be so close (4 hours) from the beach and all it has to offer my soul. It's like I've been reloaded and I am so ready to take on the rest of the summer!

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

FOURTH OF JULY

Blessed is the Nation whose God is the LORD - Psalms 33:12


As I sit and reflect on this day, there are so many thoughts and emotions that run through me.

One of my favorite paintings in the one of George Washington kneeling in prayer beside his horse at the side of the river. I think of how important the Lord was to these founding fathers, and how they looked to HIM for strength and guidance.


I am so grateful and so blessed to live in this great country. I am so grateful for the founding fathers of our country who had the courage, bravery and guidance from God to establish a nation that has been able to withstand all that has been brought against it, and still flourish.


I am eternally grateful to these men who lived long before I, who had the insight and the direction to set up a country with it's Constitution that allows myself and all others who live here the greatest blessing which is available to man: the freedom of choice. I think that we so often take this for granted. Have you ever realized that you have freedoms that so many throughout the world cannot even comprehend?


I am thankful to those who are still willing to stand up for this country, and defend it and it's constitution. From everyday citizens who stand up for what they believe in, even if it is not the popular thing to do. For all those men and women and their families who have sacrificed so much, and even their own lives to preserve our way of life, by serving in all the factions of our military.


This country is not perfect. Nothing is. But I will stand by her an defend her to anyone who would disgrace her. There is nowhere on earth I would rather be.


God Bless America!
video

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pit Viper

Isn't it amazing how a day can turn on you like a pit viper?
One minute you're going along, thinking that everything is as it should be.
And then something happens.
Maybe it's something big.
Perhaps it's somthing small, like the way someone says something, that just knocks you down to your core.
Why is it that we can say things about our own families and children, that perhaps don't shed them in the kindest of lights, but as soon as someone else says anything.....we are like a mother Grizzly who feels threatened.
Sometimes I just feel like a burden. I don't want to be.
Sometimes peoples best intentions hurt.
Right now I just feel like crying, so I think I will just welcome the tears with open arms, and let the hurt and the upset flow out.
Better than keeping it in.
Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day!

Have a beautiful day.

What I accomplished today

So having been in 'Summer Mode' for a number of days now, and having my hopes and visions set very high at accomplishing many things, I have in the past two days had my hopes and visions completely stomped on.
I now have a new set of hopes and visions for the things that I want to accomplish this summer.
1. Shower (and on this I'm not even asking for every day.....every other day would be nice, though)
2. Make sure no one gets killed or majorly harmed.

Short list, huh?
Just trying to keep it simple to that I don't get too bummed out!

And so far for today, I have accomplished both! Although there are still a number of hours in the day......but atleast I'm clean!!!

Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back and Forth


I constantly go back an forth on this issue.

Having 4 boys, I know that things in my home will get broken. My life's motto should be, "I can't have nice things."

But I want to.

Do I get upset when the boys are throwing pillows and blankets and break something of mine? Or do I just let it go as something that is inevitable?

I'm beyond yelling anymore.

It's just so hard to feel like there is no safe place in my house from the boys.

I know they are just things, and that I can't take them with me.

That how I treat the kids and help them to learn from their mistakes is the most important.

But I would also like to have things in my house, making it a beautiful place to be, that aren't held together with superglue.


Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Monday, June 28, 2010

STEALING

The kids were out pulling some weeds this morning. I pay them .50 a bucket to do this during the summer.
After pulling a bucket or two, Dylan asked to be paid. I reminded him that I pay everyone at the end of the week.
Then I asked him what he needed the money for so urgently since we are not planning on leaving the house today. He said that he wanted to go to Target to buy himself a Lego set.
I told him he didn't have enough money yet, knowing that he spent all the money he had at the school's book fair a number of weeks ago, and only had $5, that the Tooth Fairy left for him for loosing his very first tooth on the last day of school.
He told me he had $26, so I asked to see it, thinking he wanted to trick me with Monopoly money or something.
Lo and behold, he had a twenty dollar bill in there. I asked him where he got it, and he told me that he got it out of Sam's wallet.
Off to find Sam.
When I asked Sam, he said he found it on his bedroom floor. (Oh, how I wish I lived in a world where I found twenty dollar bills on my floor all the time!) I then gave him the "mom" look, and asked him again, and he said he took it out of my wallet. Come to think of it, the last time I checked I thought I was a bit short on cash......now I know where to look!!!
Stealing stolen cash.......we're off to a great start for the summer!
Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good Advice

A friend of mine gave me the cutest little flip calendar as a little Christmas goodie this past year. It's kind of a take on the "Keep Calm and Carry On" WW ll poster.

You know the one I'm talking about?

I actually have a huge one framed when you come down the stairs into my basement. I think I posted a picture of it once on my stamping blog. You can see it here.

Well, every month of this little calendar has a little spoof saying. I love them. They totally make me laugh. But when you really get down to it....they are REALLY GOOD ADVICE.
Like the things your grandmother would tell you because she has lived a long time and knows those things that matter and the things we spend way to much time concentrating on that really don't matter.

Things that you wish you would have acknowledged earlier in you life because it truly is so short.

I have the calendar sitting by my computer, so I look at it quite often. Well, I figured I should share it with all of you!

Hope you enjoyed this little trinket of funny good advice.
Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Good, The Not So Good, and the Down Right UGLY!


Today has been a mish mash of a bunch of things, including emotions.

By 10AM I had two loads of laundry done, the dishwasher emptied, loaded again, and running, the main bathroom clean (thanks mom for your help), and was well on my way to having a batch of strawberry freezer jam finished.

By 5PM I had one child crying in his room in "time out" until further notice, another frightened to death of being kidnapped if he didn't come to the car immediately when it was time to leave the playground after playing there after school, one more upset about a possession that another brother had destroyed, and purple crayon colored all over the back of the inside of my car!

Good times!

I did however, manage to get out of the house today....which was good. We dropped my mom off at the Yacht Club to have lunch with my step father, and his sister, and on our way back home, Sam and I stopped at University Village and found a super great gift for Kerry for fathers day! Won't he be surprised!!! (I don't think he reads this blog, but I guess we'll find that out now!)

For those of you who know us, you know that we are not big into what I call "Hallmark" holidays. We usually don't do gifts and the like, but when Sam and I found this shirt, we knew dad had to have it, and lucky for us, fathers day is just around the corner, so it wasn't like we were spending money for no reason. (I suppose I'll get to my issues about spending money some other time.)

As of now, the storm has passed....all the boys in my life are happily upstairs watchin' Major League Soccer, and for the most part seem to be content. It's amazing how resilient children are. Or should I say forgetful. I tried to cover all the issues of the day at the dinner table tonight, just to hopefully keep the "hot topics" of our day today fresh in their minds. But we will most likely wake up tomorrow and deal with the same things. Or similar things. Or things we've been over some other day like 1,000 times It's baby steps, right?

All in a day's adventure!

Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On the Corner of Chaos and Insanity

Yesterday afternoon Cody and Dylan had a baseball game. One of my best friends (a childhood friend/neighbor who I have known forever) whom I have not seen in almost a year, was able to attend the game.

It was so wonderful to see her.

Do any of you have a friend that no matter how much time passes between seeing each other or talking to one another....it is like you were just with them yesterday? Taraji is one of those for me. I love her!

It was a very beautiful day here in the Pacific Northwest! Deep blue skies, with a few high clouds passing overhead. Sunny and warm! I even managed to get some flip flop tan lines on my feet.

As we were sitting in the beautiful warmth of the sun, catching up on so many things that have happened over the past year, she was telling be about the new place she was living, and said that she lived just a block from the gym and a block from the library. (She's in the city, if ya can't tell!)

I relayed to her that I lived a block from chaos and a block from insanity. Sometimes that feels so true.

And while I often feel on the cusp of craziness, there is so much of the time this overwhelming feeling of peace that I have.....that everything is as it should be and that life is good. Because it is.

It's the simple things like being able to sit in the sun at my boys' baseball game with a good friend. It's those few quiet moments on a warm night, after the kids are asleep, standing out on the deck in the twilight of the evening, just taking in the last few minutes of light. It's seeing the face of God in the beauty of this world. Smiles on my children's faces. It's those moments that keep me going....that keep me moving on......that allow me to continue to walk on past the corner of Chaos and Insanity!

Have a beautiful Day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Laundry, Doughnuts, and a Crying Baby

You know those Chocolate Frosted Hostess Mini Doughnuts? Love em..... They are my one chemically filled, preservative packed indulgence.There was a package of them on the food storage shelf in the laundry room (they were totally on sale this week). I had to have some while dealing with the massive amounts of laundry I have going on today. I think I've eaten at least 12 of them and my stomach is beginning to feel a bit sick.
And I wonder why I'm not losing any of this baby weight.

I think today is going to be filled with loads of laundry that won't all get folded, putting children in time outs over and over again for things that they know better of, and wishing I could get to the things that I really want to do.

I was on one of my blogging friends' blog today....and she has been cleaning out, organizing, and getting so much done in her home....I really try hard in life not to be jealous (it's so not good for the soul) but found myself being a bit envious of her time and everything that she has accomplished. Don't get me wrong....I am so happy for her. It's so great that she has been able to all of this, and has total motivation to do more. I am thankful to her, because she has inspired me.

I want to stamp so much. I have my stamping cupboards that so desperately are in need of getting cleaned out and organized.

I want to go through all the close in my closet and dresser, and CLEAN HOUSE. I have been feeling so weighted down lately with all of the stuff that is taking up space in my life and my house. I want to go through it all and get everything super organized.

But in the place that I am in right now in life with a 5 week old baby, it doesn't appear that it will happen any time soon. Or it will just have to happen in little bits here and there. Cuz I can't get anything done with a crying screaming baby. Not good for him or me.

That brings me to one of my struggles in life......accepting that there is a time and a place for everything......right now, perhaps, is not my time for massive cleaning and organizing. It's my time to sit and love on my new baby.....because he is already growing and changing so fast, and this time is not going to last forever.

What are some of your indulgences......

What are you dying to get accomplished in your life?

I'll keep you updated on the chance that I get to any of the things I previously mentioned.

Have a beautiful Day.
Amanda

Monday, May 31, 2010

Freedom Isn't Free

Every single day I am so thankful to live in this wonderful country. I know that it is far from perfect.....there is no such place on earth....(except perhaps a tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific with no phone service). I am so blessed. I am so fortunate to be able to live in a place that allows me to basically do whatever I want, whenever I want. I don't have to answer to a dictatorship government, and I don't have to live in fear that my political, religious, or ideological thoughts and convictions could lead to my death.
I am so thankful to all the the thousands and thousands of men and women who have and who currently sacrifice their time and energy, and even at times their own lives to support and protect the freedoms and way of life that I enjoy, and that so many in this country take for granted each and every day.

My Grandfather on my mother's side served in the Army in WWll, my own father served in the Air Force and flew planes during the Vietnam Era, and I currently have friends and family members who are enlisted in the service and have served multiple tours in Iraq; have been in very precarious situations, and have made it out safely. I thank God every day that their lives were spared, when so many others were not. I am thankful to all the families of those who have served as well. I can't even imagine what it would be like to first of all be separated from a father, or mother, son or daughter for an extended period of time, and then have on top of that, the fact that there is always that chance that they might not come home.

Even if you don't agree with certain political agendas, or war.....please know that you live your life in this country at a cost. There is a price for everything in this world. Freedom is not free. Throughout history there have been those who have risked it all that we may be where we are today.

Please take a small moment out of your day to give thanks that you are fortunate to live where you do and how you do, and remember that there have been so many before us, and currently now, that protect that.
Have a beautiful day!
Amanda

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stripped Down


I watched an Oprah today I had Tivo'd. It was amazing. It really got me thinking about my own life and how much stuff I have that I don't need. That I don't use. I started thinking about how so much of what is around me is a metaphor for my life. I try to fill my life with things. When my father died when I was 2 1/2, something went missing from inside of me. There was a huge void left there. And for over 32 years now, I have been trying to fill up that void with any number of things.....and believe me, I have gone through the list.....drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, food, purses, shoes, patterned paper, crap for my house, and so on and so on. It's so sad. I have clothes in my closet that have been there for years with the tags still on them.
I miss my dad. I know it sounds funny, because if you really think about it, I never really knew him. I guess in actuality I miss what he would have been in my life. I wish my kids could have known him. I wish I could have known him.
I think of all the "things" we have in life that fill up our time, our homes, our lives, that keep us from really being happy. From truly making progress. Sometimes I feel like I fill my time up with "worthwhile" things, while I neglect my children. Sometimes I feel so afraid of getting close to them, because if heaven forbid something were to happen to them, I don't know what I would do, so it just seems safer to keep a bit of distance. Don't' get me wrong, I absolutely love my 4 boys more than anything in the world. It's just that I have already experienced that kind of loss in my life, and sometimes I think that it would kill me if I were to experience that again. I know, though that it is inevitable that I will.
That's where my Savior, Jesus Christ comes in. He takes the things that I cannot do on my own. There are not words for the gratitude I feel for that precious gift of companionship that He bestows upon me. I could not exist without it.
This post has been quite cathartic. There is so much more I could say, but it will have to wait for another time......I have a pile of wet laundry on my lap that I need to hang to dry.......
Have a beautiful day.
Amanda

Blessed

There are days when tears of joy just wont stop. Especially lately. I feel so much of the time that I do not deserve all that I have been given.

My four boys are the joy of my life. My fourth son, born not quite 5 weeks ago, has brought this to the forefront of my mind on a daily basis lately.

I have four happy, healthy children. I have a warm and safe home in which to raise them.

I have a caring, hard working husband who loves me, although I give him a thousand reasons not to.

I have a loving Father in Heaven and Savior, who know me personally and want what is best for me, as They do for each and every other person on this earth.

I wish that I could give this knowledge to everyone out there who is sad or lonely.....those who are struggling in their lives.

God is good. Life is good. It is we who mess it up for ourselves. Today I am going to try not to mess it up.
Have a beautiful day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

As if I have the time


For those of you who know me well, you are most likely thinking something to the effect of "is she crazy?". And for those of you who know me even better, you already know that I am.

I was inspired to begin this new blog today by a woman named Stephanie Nielson. Perhaps you have heard of her.....perhaps you saw her on Oprah months ago as I did. If you do not yet know about this amazing woman, you can check her out here.

I wanted a place where I could free my thoughts and write about my everyday joys and struggles in my journey through life. I felt that my stamping blog was not the place to do this, nor was my kids' blog a place for it either.....and so this blog was born.

I love the journey that I am on, and want everyone else out there in the world to love their journey as well. If we all could love the path that we are on, wouldn't this world be a much more beautiful place? So here is my advice today.....if you don't love your journey, love the path that you are on in this life.....make the changes in you life so that you do. Do I have all the answers, no. I do know one thing for sure, though, that if you love yourself, and love where you are.....you will be surprised at how everything else will fall into place.

Have a beautiful day!