Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Real Life Valentine's Day

Our little family has been sick for about a week now.  Despite dragging my body around taking care of everyone, Valentine’s Day was pleasant.  I remember Handsome was home and that’s allllll I cared about.  We don't always exchange gifts, but this year we did.  Want to know what my sweetie gave me???  A FILOFAX!!  It’s like he knows me or something.  It’s no where near broken in, as I’ve had to put that off for now.  I was joking with my best momma friend that I would jump all over a Planning Retreat… you know like a scrapbook party, but for planning!  Obviously I think Handsome is the best ever and isn’t he the sweetest for buying me something so practical and thoughtful???  I bought him
The Complete Book of Butchering, Smoking, Curing, and Sausage Making: How to Harvest Your Livestock & Wild Game
He could really tell I love him a whole lot!  You’ve got to buy your sweetie this book!  The photos of wild animal carcasses being cut up are absolutely stupendous.  Big, glossy photos on every page! A favorite line of mine reads,
Place a tub beneath the carcass to catch the viscera after its cut loose and to collect any blood still draining from the carcass.
If the sky starts falling and you don’t know where to shoot a deer or how to catch its viscera, you’re going to be sorry dudes.  ;)
And I had a very hot and steamy Valentine’s night… That’s right, I broke out the steam cleaner and scrubbed you-don’t-want-to-know-what out of the carpet around 9pm. My best momma friend sent me this funny video:  

Thankfully we’re all on the mend now and we have been spoiled with endless sunshine for the past few days.  I hope your Valentine’s Day was spent loving the people God has put before you to love- graciously, sacrificially, unconditionally, as our Savior exemplified so perfectly.

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:9-11

love y’all
nina the mom

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Abner I saw something strange!

Ohmygoodnessgracious y’all!!  I have exciting news to share!!
This morning I took my minions outside to run off energy… I mean… explore and play.  

We were walking toward the beach and E shouted, “LOOK MOMMY!!! IT’S A WHALE!!”  As I was explaining to him that whales don’t swim in our little bay, I looked up to see a WHATINTHEWORLD.

n. a thing, which is unspecifiable or unrelatable to anything known in the earth, together with all of its countries, peoples, and natural features.

There was a LARGE thing in the bay, just about 50 yards away from where we were standing.  I was trying to wrap my mind about what it could be.  It literally looked like the back of a stegosaurus poking out of the water.  It was arched with 5 blades of various sizes (overlapping) visible above water.  The only question I have is: How long can stegosauruses hold their breath?  Cause’ I ain’t never seen it surface to breathe.

I figured it was some sort of tree or something, but it looked especially like a dinosaur or sea monster.  So I took out my phone to catch a video of it and just then…


I grabbed the minions and ran for the house.  (what else could I have done, y’all??)  It sounded as if a sea lion or elephant seal was growling right by us, SUPER-LOUDLY but I couldn’t see any!! SO WEIRD, right???  So, I went inside knowing we’d be safe from any dinosaur or something like that.  In the safety of our living room, I peeked at it through the blinds and it had moved and was now only showing about ⅓ of its “back” that I had seen before.  I took a picture, which always stinks, because it doesn’t show the size or detail, but it was with my phone, through our salt-water glazed window.  Check it out…

A little while later I heard a helicopter over our house.  (We hear planes, jets and helicopters ALL day long, because we are in the flight path and we’re near a naval base, so we get to hear/see weird stuff daily.)  When I went to check out the window, the “creature” was gone.  I think the helicopter scared it!  (unless the military captured and/or killed the monster in record time)

It was all so weird!  And funny, because I doubt there was a sea monster in our tiny bay, but then again… you never know!  Strange that we were startled by a loud sea animal growl, but I didn’t see any such terrorist.  

This is all to tell you that I may or may not have witnessed a dinosaur in my backyard.  If a dinosaur-shaped tree washes up on the beach, I’ll photograph that and we can all laugh together!  I’m definitely accustomed to seeing things in the water and this was WAYYYYYYYY bigger than any sea lion I’ve ever seen.  The kids literally thought it was a whale….  Maybe there is some kind of mutated whale living in these waters.  I’ll keep you abreast of the situation.  In the meantime, I’ll keep peeking out the window like Mrs. Kravitz to see if “it” comes back.  
Oh the things that lurk in that big ol’ Pacific Ocean!  I’m so curious! Yet, at the same time, I’m slightly unqualified and under-equipped to deal with any potential sea creature encounters.  

Hope your day has been exciting.  Do tell, have you seen any dinosaurs lurking about?

love y’all
nina the mom

Monday, February 2, 2015

O is for organization

Hi there friends.  And hello February.  (Where’d you come from?)  How was your January?  Mine was so busy I don’t want to think about it.  (hush. that’s how I cope.) I have a bit of a problem/confession...

It may be February, but I still haven’t bought a new calendar or planner! (gasp, I know.)  I perused Target and they didn’t have my normal go-tos.  (A giant wall calendar and some cute, spiral-bound planner with a hardcover.)  I’m not very picky.  (wait. Am I?)  I just want something that can fit my giant handwriting of substance. I’ve sometimes substituted a desk calendar for a wall calendar and last year I got some boring clearance Five Star agenda. Because that’s all.they.had. I have some questions. And I want answers!
Where have all the planners gone?  
Why does Target only stock 3?
Are y’all buying them up in September or something?
Does everyone in the universe use an academic calendar?  
What about those of us who wait till after Christmas??  

In past years, I’ve printed and bound my own.  Currently I don’t have the right paper for it… or the hours it took making it right, printing, cutting, punching and binding.  High-five to all y’all who have patience or a binding machine.  I don’t have lots of time, but I do have dollars, and sometimes dollars can be used in exchange for goods.  But where are the goods????

On my journey to become a more organized momma, I realized I need a planner that can keep up.  I’ve researched Lauren Condren and Filofax and all the more affordable options.  
Lauren Condren's life planner looks fun,
but I anticipate needing something a smidge more customizable.  I like the idea of a binder I can swap junk I won't use for junk I totally will.  I’ve read reviews and watched Youtube videos… and I just may have overdone the research. (sidenote: there is something quite possibly wrong with me that I feel the need to research every. little. thing. to death.)  So now I think I could get into the whole Filofax thing.  But did you know that you can spend all the dollars on a planner?  Well, you can.  I think I want the A5.  The personal is cute, but I need something with muscles.  What do y'all think of this beauty.  It's the Original Patent A5 in Nude Leather.  It's 20% off right now, so it's only $88.80.  Only.  (Am I going to wreck that lovely, nude thing in the first week?  Handsome would probably say yes.  hmm...)

The Original Patent A5
And here's the Personal in Dark Aqua

But let's cut to the chase.  This thing's too small for me.  Right?  My hair handwriting is too big.

And then there's the Kikki K Time Planner. I love the gold accents.  
(Lilac? I don't even know myself anymore.)

I love the mint.  So predictably me. But is that what I want? Hmm...
Do you have a planner?  Do you do everything via apps and the interwebs?  I get that and I use it to some extent (Handsome and I use Google Drive Sheets for our budget.  We can both access them from our phones if we're out-and-about).  But at the end of the day I need paper and colorful markers for my scheduling.  I’ve got to put sticky notes, tabs, paperclips and highlighter all over that thing.

Last night Handsome and I sat down and wrote up a new family schedule and budget for 2015.  (Like whoa.  Nobody saw that coming at midnight.)  It was really good to sit there and hash out the details and see what we really don’t have time for. (tv. *ahem*)  Since our eating and homeschooling takes planning, it’s really good for my brain to have a schedule… even a time set aside for planning! yay!  Organizing our lives really is for the best.  And Handsome said, “Our theme for the year should be stability.”  (I’m with you big guy!)  We’re rearranging our life so that we’re home more, so we made a routine that we can do every single day of the week.  No more two routines (work days/off days).  We’re all ready for a regular routine, that we can count on.  

Check out my pinterest page O is for organization if you want some inspiration.  Comment with your organizational must haves, inspiration or pinterest boards... favorite pens, and any advice you have for my planner pursuit. I'll let y'all know how it all pans out and what I end up buying... Hopefully I find something before 2016.  Happy organizing!

Love y’all

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hello 2015

Hi friends.  You would never guess what I got for Christmas from Handsome! (or maybe since you’re reading this you would)  I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t a chinchilla.  That was top of my wish list December 1998.  This year I didn’t dare to hope for….
A computer!!

Yes, it’s beautiful and fancy and I’m still getting used to this new-fangled keyboard.  This computer really is the ticket for me to get back into the blogging groove.  And just a little FYI for you DIYers… you may not want to install Linux on your dying lappy.  Its brain might explode right then and there.  Ask me how I know.  Thank you Handsome for being the best husband in the whole wide world... and also for this big, fancy computer.  You're the absolute best. I wuv you.
{He is so embarrassed right now}  I'm so excited to have my Bible software back and I'm able to use my Silhouette again.  Basically, I'm living the dream!

In other news I feel like my grandma, trying to navigate Windows 8.1.  Actually, I really like it, but for some completely unknown reason windows flash up and I change screens without any warning at all.  
{I try to stay away from the corners of the screen} 
This was not the OS I learned how to play Oregon Trail on.  And speaking of old, I turned 27.  This is actually a really good thing, because I thought I was 27 all last year.  It’s kind of like I skipped a year.  It feels a little sneaky.

We took Little Guy & Baby Bear to Idaho for a week and we are just back into the groove of life.  I kissed Handsome goodbye this morning and he’s off to make the big bucks.  My little minions are still sleeping, which is just astonishing since they never slept in during our “vacation.”  I guess they are wore-out from giving us all the grief they could muster. Who sleeps on vacation anyway?

Idaho was fun, but Little Guy was all the way disappointed for lack of snow.  What is with that place?  January and no snow?  I hardly recognized it.  We drug them up a mountain to find some of the white stuff, so Little Guy could BUILD A SNOWMAN.  Since that’s the kind of thing he lives for.  Unfortunately it had been raining a lot and the snow was very icy.  He kept on trying, even with no hope in sight.  We saw big, fat wolf tracks which may or may not have encouraged me to keep a better eye on the littlest member of our clan… you know the one that kept biffing it in the snow.  Baby Bear was having a blast, but he couldn’t seem to keep his mittens on and this was irritating for everyone, especially him.  He didn’t think he needed the mittens, but he was entirely frustrated on the frigid temperatures of the frozen snow.  Sometimes weather just doesn’t cooperate.  Try explaining that a two year old.  Yes, the little sweetie-pie turned two this month.  Which is a good thing, because I’ve been thinking of him as two for the past year.  I think I must've been using the wrong calendar all of 2014.

Yesterday I pinned about 900 things on Pinterest.  All in a relatively SHORT amount of time.  I received several inquiries... people wondering if I was expecting another minion, etc...  As Ricky would say, I have some 'splainin' to do.  It seems that I have the slightest OCD and it has been bugging me that I've hearted (liked?) so many things on Pinterest, but didn't repin them.  (with my old "smart" phone it was easier to just like stuff.)  So, I sifted through all those 900 likes and pinned the ones that I actually wanted to pin.  Sorry I blew up your Pinterest.  But it looked worse than it actually was. There’s plenty more to catch you up on, but I just wanted to break in my new computer and tell you that I'm not pregnant.  You can now follow me on Instagram now, because if there’s one thing you know about me it’s that I’m with the times. *ahem* 
Are you laughing right now?  I am.  
Instagram is as easy as it gets is so fun and all the cool kids are doing it.  And I really love seeing photos of other people’s hoodlums. 

Here’s to being back in the land of the living. 
I’m going to go drink coffee now.
Love y’all.

Ps. Little Guy just moseyed in here and I asked if he wanted to say hi to my blog friends.  He said, “Ummm.  Maybe I should.  But, akk-shully maybe not.  Because it’s dark outside. But maybe later!”  There was a big smile at the end.  You won’t believe how much he’s grown.  Check us out on Instagram already.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It weren't no thang

I meant to post last Friday, but for reasons unbeknownst to you, I didn't. With a smidge of updating, it'll work perfectly for today.  Happy, happy Thursday-slash-Friday friends!  Is it sun-shiny and beautiful in your neck of the woods?  It sure is here & I love it!!


Did you know it’s nearly Spring?  We’re just a week away from blue skies & sunshine…  Unless you live in a place that has wet spring weather.
Even though we have sunnier, warmer weather here than the mainland, Spring is Spring & there’s usually mud around someplace.
Did you forget that my feet are bigger since having kids?
It’s been a year since Baby Bear was born and I’ve lost all hope of my feet shrinking back to normal.  I had to get rid of all the shoes that I once loved. 
Here's what I'm getting at: I need rain boots that fit!
{ps. this is how I always talk.  It may seem very round-a-bout, but I don't want to leave out any pertinent information.  Re-read that paragraph, only pretend I'm explaining it to Handsome.  Don't forget I'm going to find a really good deal!}

There are so many options out there.  Here’s a pair that caught my eye.  They do have fun colors, too, but I'm partial to black.  It goes well with my pupils.
Women's Premier Tall Rain Boots

Women's Hooded Jersey-Lined Raincoats
Actually, black goes well with this here rain jacket.  I always like the look of a trench, but I never like it on.  I think it’s because I’m too short.  Also, I have always had a hard time getting coats to fit my shoulders.  They’re quite broad.  I always joke with Handsome that if Tim Tebow had my shoulders, he’d have a contract.


We’re going to take the kiddos to the Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, WA this year.  
Photo taken by Anand Kannan
My family lived in Mount Vernon while I was in high school.  Every year the town would explode with tourists who came all the way from TIMBUKTU just to see the tulips.  And that’s kind of a big deal, if you really think about it… 
Anyway, everyone who lives in Mount Vernon hates the tulip traffic, the fact that there’s nowhere to park and that CanAsians [Canadian Asians] are driving on the roundabout’s SIDEWALK backwards… actually they don’t hate that part; that is the saving grace for all the foolishness.  They should start selling popcorn next to the roundabouts and we can all sit and laugh... at the people who are baffled by this futuristic device... and at the people who are honking and pulling their hair out about the non-mergers.  How's that for helping the local economy?  
You're welcome.

Directions for enjoying the Mount Vernon Tulip Festival
1. Pack children &  their cutest rain coat and adorablest rain boots
2. Pack an inadequate stroller or the best, all terrain, wallet-emptying type.  It is bound to be lost forever in a mud rut or be drug along for no good reason.  The munchkins will kick, flail and scream to stomp through the mud with their own two feet.
3. Bring your camera and ask a complete stranger to take a family photo. Pray that it is good enough, because it’s all you have.
4. Prepare your mind for the mud that will now inhabit your family vehicle.  You’ll probably have it all cleaned out by next year’s festival.
5. Drag the kiddos downtown to the street fair.  Even though it’s their naptime, they probably won’t make you regret the whole endeavor
[but if they do, try again next year]
6. Feed your family random street food that costs an arm & a leg (but hopefully does not contain either limbs of humans)
7. Buy something frivolous, like a windsock or an overpriced kite shaped like a space shuttle.
8. Drag the muddy munchkins back to the car.  Even though they were crying to leave 5 minutes ago, now they’ll be crying to stay.  Turn on Baby Einstein and wait 5.8 seconds till they zonk out.
8b. Praise God!!!
9. Drive through a yummy coffee stand (Big Foot Java or Jitterbugs will do nicely)
10. Enjoy a very relaxing drive in the country with your sweetie. Hold hands & chat about how much you love those snoring terrorists in the backseat.
Sarah Arquitt
It's not always sunny in April!
My friend Rebecca from high maintenance aspirations is visiting! 
 On Sunny Island!!!  All the way from MAINE!
Which, is like, on the other side of the world… I mean country.  
I am SO so so excited!  VISITORS!!! Yay!  Another friend is visiting us next week.  Things are looking pretty social on this here deserted island, I tell ya.

Another tidbit for ya... we’re going to see BRIAN REGAN on Sunday!!!!  Handsome and I are so excited!!  We quote him on a daily basis.  Usually, Handsome or I will say something like, “Don’t hit your brother with a duck or squirt him in the face with a walrus.”  Then, we’ll look at each other and say, “That was an actual sentence I had to aim at another human being.”

Walkers can work on grass & gravel driveways.
Last week I let Little Guy & Baby Bear race their respective vehicles up and down our driveway.  They were SO cute.

Check out Little Guy’s hat.

See, we have a “hat drawer” and he can pick out his own stuff.  It has stripes, so I guess it matches, right?

Just a few days after these photos, Baby Bear made a big decision.
He decided….
It was all very cute.  
See, he was having a tantrum
because he wanted me to pick him up, so he put one chubby foot in front of the other… 3 or so times and viola!  I picked him up and completely forgot about the tantrum or the would-be discipline.
Little Guy is very entertained by Baby Bear’s walking practice.  He cheers for Baby Bear and yells, “Again!”
On a side note, He’s also entertained by Baby Bear’s dance moves.  He often tells him to “Dance!” in the car.  They’re very cute.
But you already knew that.

The night before Baby Bear's first steps, Handsome & I were sitting on the couch.  Little Guy was begging, as usual, to vacuum.  Then, he proceeded to point to the word "powerforce" on our dear old vacuum and tell us each of the letters!!!  Like it weren't no thang.

Our kids are obviously geniuses.  
We're throwing a party.
You're invited.  

Have a fantastic & blessed weekend!

love. love. love
         Nina  the  mom

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I see a theme here

As I timidly glance back over 2013, I can’t help but cringe as I remember fragments of hardships.
By God, we were blessed.

We were blessed when Baby Bear came home early… even with his issues.  Some babes his age were hospitalized MUCH longer and had issues so much worse than his in every way.  
So, when I say I cringe thinking about junk… it’s also with a humbled, thankful heart that I wipe the tears from my eyes and praise God we’re still here, we’re still His.
No, it wasn’t just Baby Bear and his health.
It was Handsome’s,
& Little Guy’s development.

Handsome has reminded me over and over to remain hopeful.  And let me assure you, I needed his reminders.

It was waiting with baited breath for so long, my face turned blue…
Out of the blue, Little Guy said, “Please.”
Now he talks all day long, says some big words and understands them, too.  We have no reason to believe he has any residual effects from his stroke!

It was try after try of every kind of food for Baby Bear.
He would have none of it! {So, breast feeding continued and continued}
When he was 8 months old, he would have a teeeeeniney bit of it.
Now he eats all of it.... and is nearly ready to stop breast feeding.

It was night after night after sleepless night, feeling like a zombie, feeding a baby that was crying and sad.  And when he spit up bucket-loads of breast milk, I felt the last wisps of hope depart from me.
One night he slept. All night long. 
That first morning when he was nearly 11 months old, I rushed to his crib, frantic, chills & horror running through my body wondering why he hadn’t been up hours ago. 
There he was, sleeping peacefully, like a Baby Bear only could. 
Now he sleeps through most nights.

It was hearing the news that Handsome had lupus.  That it wasn’t a spider bite, a rash or allergy.  It was that spirit-crushing wake-up call saying his days are numbered (just like everyone else’s) and there’s not a thing you can do to alter God’s will.
It was that peace.
Peace knowing there’s not a thing anyone can do to alter God’s will. 
Not the kind of peace you feel on a happy weekend morning as the sun rises and paints a pink shimmer sky. 
It was peace like a thunder storm, lightening crashing all around, God’s power and might on display. 
The peace that doesn’t make sense and instead of resting on your shoulders, wrestles you to the ground.

It was day after aching day with sciatic nerve problems, hip, pelvis & neck pain…. Accompanied by tendinitis in both arms, headaches and SO ON.  It was “how can I deal with this?  How can I be a mom and do everything, no- anything with this kind of pain?”
God sent angels, disguised as friends, who helped, mostly by praying.  After a couple months of chiropractic care, I’m on the road to recovery!

It was night after night after night of waking up trembling, unable to breathe normally, unable to sleep the few hours I had for sleeping!  It was being stricken with fear in a very physical way.  It was thinking I can’t drive, I can’t go to the grocery store, I can’t even walk across the street to the beach.  
It was the agony of going weeks without anxiety, believing I was cured, only to have it rear its ugly head again, worse than ever.
I’m understanding more and more about what’s going on with me & my body and leaning on God for strength and trusting His goodness.

It was feeling isolated, lonely, without another human who knew what I was going through, what I was feeling.
God knew.
This past weekend we made a seemingly random trip to see old friends.  There was never a more obvious God-ordained moment in my life.  
There I was talking to two sisters in Christ.  They both had boys 15 months apart and knew EXACTLY what I was talking about.  There was so much encouragement in our conversation, I wasn’t sure I was still on earth. 
What is it about knowing there’s another human who’s been in your shoes?
What is it about someone nodding their head and finishing your sentences, because they know exactly how you feel?
What is it about someone saying that they’ve been there and they tell you to hold on for dear life and give you a list of helpful things to try?
God knew exactly how I felt; he’s known all along.
However, it never was more obvious that He cares.
He displayed his love & concern for me when he sent these angels to encourage me.  I’ve never felt so hopeful about all of this before.

We’ve faced lots of other challenges and in many ways we’re not out of the woods, yet.  However, there is a strong theme of remaining hopeful in my life right now.  It is with great anticipation that I look forward to God’s work in me and through me.
{As always, I appreciate your prayers!}

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may about in hope.
Romans 15:13

love. love. love
         Nina  the  mom

ps. here's one of the big-in-every-way blessings I get to squeeze and smooch a million times a day.