Sunday, January 23, 2011


Obsessed with knitting reds and reddish hues. As if I didn't get enough of that during Christmas?

Today, I'm working on this one:
There are also two new scarfs listed at the ol' Etsy shop.
This one:

And this one:

Yummy, right?
Been keeping physically busy by getting this house ready. Lots accomplished, serious de-cluttering taking place. It feels so sparse! I love it... I mean, I love my stuffy stuff, but having the house feel so barren in the winter is nice. Reminds me of what the house looked like before we had kids. All my baskets are back on the shelves holding my magazines, and a lot of my decor is replacing the kids books, scrapbooks and games. The wood is gleaming from a fresh deep cleaning. Love the smell of wood cleaner. It feels like a european magazine.
Well, almost. Still lots to do.

We should be getting our taxes back soon, and first on my list is a home carpet cleaner. I also want a new mattress cover for our bed, all my years of pictures printed, and new dog bed for Laura. I threw her old one away yesterday and she is pissed. It had a hole in it, and the fuzz was all over the place. Can't sell a house with a stinky dog bed in it.

Now that we're moving, and I know my whole garden will never be the same (some coming with, some staying behind, but all rearranged for sure), I think I may enlarge some of my favorite shots and frame them for our next home. Nice idea, like bringing a piece of this place with us. So I've been browsing old albums and playing with that idea. I've even thought about selling some garden shots in frames on Etsy.

I'm home with a sick Hunter from church this morning. Later today, Da Bears.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Keeping Creative and Busy

Some random stuff to share this cold January day.
Ben made all these little lego things one day. He's so into Legos; they are all he thinks and talks about.

I've been de-cluttering, preparing the house for sale. I took several boxes of stuff out of the office, and when it comes to showing/photographing the house I'll clean up with desk much more, but for now, I'm pretty happy with the office.

We got aound 7 inches of snow this last Monday. More than most of the surrounding areas. It was a beautiful snow, lots of wind and giant snowflakes at times. This picture is from the start of the storm, looking out our dining room window.

I've been knitting. Mostly making cowls for a big order, but injecting a few random things in there. This scarf is my current creation in progress.

The other day, when I felt like I might lose my mind from the chaos of our lives ight now, I tucked myself into my office and did some great scrapbooking. I love this layout of Hunter; the photo is from 2008, on a trip to a west Madison park on the lake.
One more of Hunter, too. I took out his album and my 2008 photo box and skipped thought to see which pictures I had not scrapped yet. I was surprised to see I had not scrapped Hunter's trip to the County Fair. He had such a great time!

Hope you are all keeping busy through the longest part of winter, too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dreamin' and Wishin'

Last night after dinner the boys begged to go out into the 6 new inches of snow that fell throughout the day. I thought, why not? I turned on the dining room lights to give them a nice glow on the otherwise lightless backyard, and after I made sure they were properly tucked into the their snow pants, waterproof gloves, hats and coats, I picked up my paintbrush and Powder Sand-hued trim paint and watched them as I painted the dining room window. They chased the dog, and slid down the slide on top of each other, running to the window to tell me things every few minutes, their hats caked in wet, thick snow, their cheeks as red and wet as can be. I felt warm inside, so thankful we are going to move to Minnesota where we'll still get snow. I love snow, and so do my little Wisconsin-born boys. By the time they came in and made a wet pile of saturated clothes on the kitchen floor our dining room windows looked as great as they did when I painted them 6 years ago, pregnant with the thought of Ben in my belly, filled with promise of making this house a home. Here we are. Home accomplished. A family. In transition again. But so very blessed.

I painted, filled holes, and sanded all day yesterday. I had a lot of time to just sing along to the country radio channel on the TV and let my thoughts wander. I thought about where we'll end up. While I can't be picky, our credit is still mending, and our income isn't huge, I know so much more about buying a house this time than I did last time. I know our home repair limitations, I know so much more about gardening, I know what we can afford to do to a home, and what we can't. I know what I wish for in our next home...

-a woodburning fireplace, no matter the front, which I am certain I can alter to suit our decor
-hard wood floors! I can't wait to clean them! Something magical about cleaning a hard wood floor and making it shine. So much better than cleaning an old faded piece of vinyl tile that looks worse once it's clean.
-a bathtub I can bathe in, not one that is so ugly/old it stresses me out just to sit in it.
-more than 2 bedrooms because our boys are ready for their own space. Ideally 4 bedrooms and even more bonus space like a sunroom/porch/den/finished basement/attic for a playroom etc.
-real ceilings
-big windows
-main floor or in-the-bedroom laundry room, because my back can't handle hauling laundry up and down 2 flights of stairs anymore
-mature trees
-close to a body of water for fishing within walking distance
-lots of room for playing and gardening outside on a quiet street
-newer siding, windows and roof
-heater vents in the bedrooms upstairs
-lots of wall space for my collection of cool furnishings and art
-within 10 miles of the boys school and Theo's workplace, so we don't have to spend $400 a month on gas.
-in a perfect world, the tiniest bit of acreage so Theo could hunt or fish on our land.

Have a dreamy day!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ben's First Wrestling Match

Ben had his first wrestling match this last Saturday. We decided to let him have the whole day with Daddy and let me spend the day with Hunter. A wrestling meet is an 8-hour day, with long, long beaks between matchs; coupled with the distance of this meet from our house and any other winter activities, we didn't this was the place for Hunter. So hard for me to not be there, but I know Theo and Ben had a nice father-son day.

Ben got sick at school on Friday. He threw up in a garbage can and they called home about 2pm and said come get him. he was a little pooped out for awhile, but by evening he was playing fine, and kept down his dinner great. By morning he was great, so we let him go. He was so excited!

He lost his first and second match. I guess the second match was pretty brutal, and even the coach was impressed with Ben's heart and strength staying in the game. After some coaching, and a little encouragement from dad... Theo told Ben to pretend his opponent was a "Packer's fan who didn't love Jesus," Ben won his third match. He came home with a medal, taking 3rd place out of 4 kids. Most importantly, he enjoyed himself, and now has a totally great understanding of how wrestling works.

Here's the team warming up.

This is Ben pinning his opponent in the 3rd match.

Here is Ben with his medal, and the pin he earned for pinning his opponent.

Happy January!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Darn Proud

I have been busting my large ka-tukis in semi-panic mode preparing our house for sale. About a dozen and half large boxes packed, full of unnecessary stuff like extra blankets, picture frames, vases, books, stuffed animals from the boys room, and more. Its starting (with emphasis on the starting) to look less cluttered in here.

I let Hunter pack two boxes of his own stuffed animals, and he LOVED it. He stuffed them in the box, and looked at me like I was nutso when I said add some more... even more... four more big ones. I let him help me squeeze the box shut, and even write his name on it. He proudly declared he would like to unpack this box and put the animals on the shelf when we get to our new house. So cute. As long as he didn't actually pack a sippy cup of soy milk or one of our cats in there, we should be all good.

Today, I finished the office. I was able to smoosh all my sewing essentials and craft stuff in the armoire, and left just enough stuff out to craft. Sometime, at the end of all this preparing to sell the house stuff, I know the time will come when I am alone, Theo's at his new job, the kids are both in bed, and I'll be sitting with a huge stack of newly printed pictures to scrapbook. Potential buyers will have to overlook a teeny tiny bit of humanness and personalization on the desk.

Also today, I ran around with a jar of wall putty filling holes. Mostly holes from where the pictures used to be, but also dents from a few cash course hot wheels, and a cat scratch or two. I love filling wall holes for some reason. Can't wait to touch up paint and get the carpet cleaned! I already bought trim paint, and two new paint brushes.

I've also begun dreaming of my garden transition. While cleaning up the office I found an empty photo album with roses on the cover; I took a break and put all the garden pictures from 2008 into the album. I love that I can now just open up the album and it's like having a book of my own garden. I can't wait to have a fresh palette! I also can't wait to get my hands in the dirt! I have a number of small plant beds I plan on digging up and grass seeding. I'm going to take the plants I cherish the most- the most unique varieties, rare finds, expensive ones, or special gifts, and put them in pots in my veggies bed turned holding bed until the move. Then I will place the more common ones in the larger existing beds. I think, because of the vast number of plants I have, I should be able to leave a very nice landscape for a buyer without them thinking the garden is just too much. The list of must take plants is already long... very long... I think I'll be moving about 250 plants folks. Plus 3 arbor walkways, several trellises, and full load of garden statues and birdbaths. Stay tuned for that journey. Yikes.

I leave you with the growth themed quote on the coffee mug I use each morning:
"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile I keep dancing." Daniel Hillel

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Thought about my theme of growth all day. First thing to stand out: we have OUTGROWN this house. Yikes. I am trying to box up any things we don't need to use between now and are hopeful estimated move time of May/June- like photo albums, some books, extra craft supplies, stuffed animals, games, some toys, and picture frames. Trying to declutter a very cluttered house in order to sell it soon. Overwhelmed doesn't sum up my feelings, but I am trying to focus on the promise of new spaces- hopefully bigger spaces to come in our new home.

The boys are really struggling with this whole process. We have put some of the toys they play with less down in the basement. My logic is, the less I have to clean in the home come selling time, the easier it will be prepare for buyers. Hunter doesn't understand why we have to take stuff downstairs. He thinks we can just go down and take the things back up. As time is passing he is less and less worried about it. I just keep explaining he can have everything back when we get to the new house.

Decluttering the basement was perhaps the hardest part. I'm no where near done, but I did start there. I saved most of the boys baby stuff because both boys were accidents. I was on birth control! After Hunter was born I was sure that another surprise baby would come. Now, 4 years have passed and I would be interested in another baby, but Theo is absolutly not hearing it. To quote him, "These ones are already almost out of here!" I'm also not gonna lie- I cried when I went through some of bins of the baby stuff. I took some of it to a consignment store, set a few things aside to save, and the rest is in garage sale piles.

Ben caught me putting some of the baby things in the trash. Things that don't work anymore. Stuff he has outgrown. He lost his shit over the old magnet game with farm animal halves that you match- the one that responded "pink pig" one day when I hit it with my butt. Ben cried over this toy... I felt like a terrible mother, but I new the right thing to do was emphasize toy did not work anymore, and we were mising pieces. I told him, "We can't just save everything that doesn't work because we like it."

I know his tears are likely a byproduct of his deeper feelings about the move. He's worried about a new place, new friends. I have tried to stay the course of positivity- saying things like, "You love that your Daddy is in the Army, right? Well, Army people have to move, it is part of their jobs." And, "We're taking all our stuff with us, and the dog and cats. We'll make a nice new home for ourselves there, with new friends. It will be fun." I've also added we can come back to visit, and send letters, etc.

So for now, I'm balancing between outgrowing this house, cleaning it up for sale, packing, and dreaming about what sort of place we'll end up living, and staying sane. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Growth in January

My friend Elizabeth set forth the idea to get through January by blogging to a theme. Here is her original post about it. I love this idea. January may not be all gloom and doom for this snow lover, but with the joys and highs of Christmas season past, and Valentine's Day a little far off yet, I do lose focus. I start longing for my garden, and I feel limited as far as activities go. I start fielding questions from the kids about when spring comes, and I start looking to sidewalk to see if the ice is melted enough for a fresh air walk.

I think my theme (for this week, I may switch up a bit) is growth.
First, in order to keep my thumb green in the winter I have a quite a few plants in my house. While on my last trip to California (spring) I picked up a few unique succuclents that are adjusting to the indoors nicely-better than previous years. The bright white snowlight makes them glow inside the windows.
The pink edges on this one look like a sunset.
My mom sent me this one. It's called 'Chocolate Soldier.'
I've had this one for a few years now.
Next up, Hunter. This big boy finally figured out how to turn the bathroom sink on by himself (it is a tight knob). He surprised me!
What's beautiful in your life this January?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bully Blues, and a Blue Scarf

Throughout this and last school year I have had several meetings with my youngest's preschool teacher about my son. We've decided to keep in preschool for 3 years because of his age cut off, realizing having him as the youngest in the class for his whole school career would always put him at a disadvantage as far as maturity and size. Already in preschool-where the rest of the kids were 6 months of older than him, he had the least attention span, and some of the worst letters last year. Super great decision, as far as I'm concerned. This year he really fits with his age group, and in a lot of cases, exceeds them. Happy with all that.

But, there is this one kid in the class that bullies Hunter and others. Yes, in preschool. Now, I am first to admit that my son is capable of anything! Anything. He is not innocent in this situation, but if he's guilty of anything serious, it's that he keeps trying to be friends with this boy. The boy, who shall remain nameless, has an attitude like you would not believe. Very saucy. Saucier than my kids on a bad day- and my kids are down right gravy sometimes. I got to see this boy speaking to his mother this last weekend, and I was appalled. So, I zoomed in for a closer look, and did some chatting with others, and really figured out what has been going on.

This boy controls another friend whom my son loves to play with. Explains why Hunter keeps trying to get into their little duo, because the bully is hogging the other friend. There have been incidents at school where the bully has done something, like hitting, or pulling his pants down, and Hunter has copied him been the one to get caught. Others back the bully up because they are afraid of him. I am almost afraid of him! I heard him commanding other kids, and his voice is mean for a 5 year old. And you know how you can tell when you kid is lying? I believe Hunter, and I know the other kid did it first. Doesn't make it okay, that's not what I'm saying... but all along I've been thinking my kid is acting out alone, the stand out clown in the class, when in fact, I think he's been more trying to fit in and make other kids like him as much as they appear to like (fear) the bully.

This morning the kids brought pictures of birds they drew. I was about to walk away when I saw this child come up, and make a disgusted face when he saw Hunter's bird. I intercepted what he was about to say (critical, I'm sure), and said, "Isn't Hunter's bird great!" He firmly said, "Where's it's eyes?" I said, "Right here, by his cool hair. And these are his awesome wings!" The bully looked at me like I was nuts, but backed off, and non-chalantly (sp?) agreed with me. So glad I was there to keep Hunter from being shattered, and potentially having a day where he didn't feel good enough.

Beside Hunter's was the bully's bird-clearly drawn by his mother or older sister, and possibly colored in by him. Not the intent of the project, as the teacher pointed out to me quietly.
Two things: The bully's mom is not around on school days. Grandma is. And she very passive about it all, think its no big deal. Hunter has said things to this boys grandma, and she been like, "Oh, hehe, yeah, he does that sometimes." The teacher has talked to the grandma, too. No change. Another time Hunter marched right up to this boy's mom at church and said, "Your son is not nice to me." And she? Looked shocked, and smiled, did a little giggle. .

If someone said that to you, someone who is 4 years old and dead serious, wouldn't you inquire about it? I would follow up. I'd be horrified is someone thought that of my child. She was like, whatevs.

So I had a super great talk with the teacher this morning. I just wanted to make sure she sees what I see. She does. And then some. I feel more equipped with how to handle Hunter. Previous strategies have included working on being a good friend, and sharing, and not being upset when he doesn't get what he wants. As well, keeping his hands to himself. No hitting. (This other boy does hit, and not only my son, others, too).

Specifically I am going to be begin steering Hunter away from this boy indefinitely, even if it means he doesn't get to play with his other friend. I will also begin to teach him about being friends with good people, v. bad people. Examples like, "hanging out with someone who says nice things, and is good to you is a better choice."

I may try and contact his mom... still stewing on this idea.

On a completely unrelated note, I made this last night, and it rocks. For sale HERE in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I think I might join Project Restyle! I have a couple things in mind already... first up, and old sweater dress is going to become a pillow cover! I may not get one done every week, given my schedule, but I have some things lying around waiting to take on new life! Pictures to come.

Be Real.

The title of this blog is 'I love my life' right? So how about it? I've been moaping way too much lately. I have not been healthy for months, fighting ear infections, Raynaud's Syndrome, and bursitis in my hip... not to mention a sinus infection, and a throbbing throat and the never ending struggle to simply track my WW points. Inside, I'm a mess.

The stress of our move has caused my blood to boil up over my head... how am I going to sell this house with two tornados for children running around messing up everything I'm trying to clean, and my husband working full time not able to help me re-do, like, everything? I have watched enough TV to know how stage a house-- I think I what a buyer wants, but in the meantime, we need to re-do some floors, fill nail holes and paint, and maybe get a new roof, and get rid of like, half our stuff. For reals. And how resentful am I that I border on being a hoarder of random shit, like baby items when Hunter is now 4? Anyone need two boxes of Lansinoh Nursing Pads? Seriously.

And don't even get me started on the emotions of throwing out stained bibs and baby blankets. Balling my eyes out over little ducky slippers and spit-up pads. OMG, it's a wonder I haven't blown up and floated away yet.

So I'm purging, and cleaning, and examing and trying to figure out what I should aim to get done before in let a realtor in to tell us what he/she thinks we can sell this 120 year old house for. We simply have to break even. Even. We paid $109,00 for this house (I think), and we still owe about 97,000 on the mortgage (6 years... loans are something, aren't they? lol). So, pray about that for me, would ya?

But here I am all drama, freaking out, and I open up one of my most favorite blogs and see this whole post with sentences that start with the word "loving."

Admidst all the chaos, there are some thing I am loving right now. And pointing it out in a list might be just the thing to swing me back into positivity. So... how about it?

Loving the kids recent haircuts. They looks so much like their handsome dad.

Loving the double chocolate cookies I made last week and froze in a huge ziploc bag. They have some in handy a few times, and I haven't had to do anything but microwave them back to yumminess. Great idea.

Loving dreaming about a new home in a new town. The possibilities... will it be a ranch with an open floor plan and a fireplace I can resurface with river rock, or another old farm style with real wood floors? What will be view be, and how will I decorate it inside and out. I can't WAIT to get to this part!

Loving that I don't have pack anything for this move, and that Army sends someone to do it. Thank God!

Loving purging. The house feels less cluttered every hour I spend getting rid of stuff, and it rocks.

Loving the Starbuck's gift card my aunt gave me for Christmas. The freedom to get a treat like that when I need it is wonderful.

Loving the Smart Cycle, which poops out Hunter while Ben is at school.

Loving the new sweaters from my mother-in-law. Bold colors make me feel pretty even when I don't feel healthy. I also love having a mother-in-law who totally gets my style!

Loving home cooking. Made spaghetti with cinnamon and crushed red pepper and garlic parmesan bread last night, chicken chili with cornbread a few nights ago. Those warm meals are like therapy, and it makes me warm and satisfied to the core to hear /see my husband and kids enjoying it!

Loving google image search, as always. When I need a few minutes away from reality I sit down and search for inspiring images. I type in things like, stripes, flowers, bold color, paint, shabby chic, granny squares, etc, and clicl though pages and pages of ideas.

Loving the inspiration folder I started by saving images from my searches.

Loving knitting. There's always that.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January around here.

It's very January around here. That means, lots of indoor time, organizing, cleaning. Ben returned to school this morning, and Hunter and I headed straight home to get some housework done. Nothing spectacular, just laundry, vacuuming, and making the bed, prepping for dinner.
I took a break around lunch time to do a little scrapbooking. Outside of the prints I made for my Daily December Album, and a few others here and there, I have not printed pictures in years, and I still have pictures to scrapbook. Kind of a long story, but I try and print a huge batch once a year with tax return money, and in two years that hasn't happened. Imagine this scrapbookers dismay... and anticipation of millions of new print coming at this months end! AH!

For now, I still have some random photos from 2008 that I am trying to get into books of some sort before the new ones arrive. I decided on a mini book detailing my husband and I's overnight anniversary trip to a Bed and Breakfast in December 2008. I started on the book last week, and added few more pages this week. Trying to keep it simple, and just tell the story. First story: Wow, we were so fat! hahahaha...
Lots of mustard at the Mustard Museum!
Love how the pictures are speaking for themselves throughout this album.
On a completely unrelated sidenote, Theo has begun calling Hunter "Hef" because he's obsessed with his new Tpy Story robe. Amidst numerous costume changes this robe stays on him all day long.
Happy January!

Monday, January 3, 2011


I always try to make a few New Year's Resolutions. Avoiding silly things, and focusing more on the directions I would like to take my life next. I find they help me focus, and give me things to work toward. With our pending move, I really feel like I can make some good goals this year.

1. Lose at least the next 44 lbs, if not more.
2. Declutter. Process already in progress.
3. Learn to crochet.
4. Make an afghan.
5. Finish the quilt I started.
6. Learn to knit socks.
7. Print 3 years worth of pictures, and get reasonably caught up on scrapbooking.
8. Walk regularly.
9. Track my food and...
10. ...wear my pedometer, everyday, starting tomorrow! Keep steps above 8,000 everyday!
11. Start a savings account.
12. Successfully transplant my garden favorites to our new location.
13. Grow my business on Etsy.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

We spent New Year's weekend in the Peoria area visiting family. Theo and I snuck in a date on Thursday night, but otherwise I missed most of our visit because I was so sick. I have been battling terrible sinus issues and an ear infection for 2 months now. No help from antibiotics, which only bought me about 4 days relief just before Christmas. I go to see my doctor this week for my annual check up and I am making him send me back to my sinus doctor who surgically removed cysts from my maxillary sinuses a few years ago. I am feeling awful.

Nevertheless, the boys loved the New Year's Eve hats MeMaw bought them. They were in bed by 8:30 however. I was out by 10, too.

We also recently announced on facebook that Theo has been promoted to Staff SGT, and we are being moved to a town just outside of St. Paul/ Minneapolis, Minnesota. Theo reports for duty there in a few short months, and the rest of us would ideally like to be up there by late spring, just in time for the boys to finish this school year in their current schools. We will have to sell our home, and begin the tedious process of buying a new home. Thankfully, the government does pay for movers to come in and move all of our stuff. I'm trying to keep a level head, and not freak out or become overwhelmed. Wish me luck with that. Ha!

Asking for lots of prayers and positive well wishes in this time of transition, please!