Monday, June 30, 2008

In honor of my cranky pity party...

Summer story problem

100 degree weather
+4 kids
+a trip to Target
+a trip to Costco
+Swim team practice
+Swim lessons
-one husband and helpful teenage daughter

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend update

Just a little weekend update and accountability check in. Wendi and I have been faithful walkers this week. My ticker only moved a pound this week, but that is OK. I am starting to feel better and not so fluffy. It never ceases to amaze me how much better I feel when I am walking like this. I feel more focused and energized during the day. I have also been getting up between 5:30 and 6:00 and getting my quiet time/bible study done and that always makes me feel awesome throughout the day. Hmmm....could there be a connection? Spending time in the Word and exercising make me a better person...who knew?

I have also made good on my commitment to swim with the kids whenever I take them to the pool. This week we went three times which means I swam laps three times this week! I have also been doing pretty well on the 'no sugary drinks' commitment. Although I did have a latte this morning before Ron headed out on his mission trip and a granita on Weds night with the girls.

So thanks again to Wendi who has made it easier to keep my commitment to loose some pounds. It really has helped that we are doing this together. I know I just can't not show up one morning. It also helps that I am a bit competitive and don't want to see her ticker move and mine stay the same. ;o)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm a big kid now!

Jamie had a sweet post about her daughter soon turning sweet 16 and how bitter sweet that is. So I almost feel guilty being glad that we are passing a milestone here. Let me rephrase that. I am ecstatic! Ella has officially made the transfer into the big bed! Last night she slept with sister Eden with sister Evie in the top bunk and it could not have gone any smoother. She went right to sleep and did not wake up once. This is huge because in the year and a half since she has been home she rarely sleeps all the way through the night. I have often wondered if she would sleep better if someone was in the room with her and if last night was any indication she just may. I told Ron last night that it felt like I had gained just a bit of freedom with Ella not sleeping right in the next room, but on the other end of the house. The full nights sleep was nice too. Today she went right down for her nap, no fussing or playing around, just right to sleep. It is so nice when it works that way.

This is all in preparation for Eden to move downstairs into her own room. Ella will still share a room with Evie. My Summer projects are coming along. The downstairs bathroom is just about done. I will do the little touch up this weekend. The garden is planted and starting to produce something other than weeds. Eden's room is just about ready to paint (I love that part, so much fun). Still need to work or have the kids work on ripping out the carpet from downstairs. And finally my bathroom upstairs is just a slow project. Ron and I have really been struggling with where to quit the improvements and just finish the job! I think we are getting close. Ron will be in and out of town for the next month so hopefully before the end of August the bathroom will be ready for paint.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just for fun and to help me keep on task I am posting my menus for the week.
Mon - Oriental Chicken Salad w/bread
Tues- Mexican Stack - Our version of taco salad
Wed - Eat at church
Thursday - Grilled chicken w/salad and bread (or maybe melon)
Friday - Grilled hamburgers I don't have to think about it all week!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Money saving tips

Ginger has asked for some money saving tips. I am not sure that I have anything that could benefit Ginger, she is the Proverbs 31 woman in the flesh. She always has great money saving ideas as well as being the picture of biblical womanhood. But I will attempt some great word of wisdom, or maybe just a mediocre word.

Make a list and stick to it!
From everything from menu planning to back to school shopping I just do better with a list. Without a list I do much more impulse buying as well as forgetting an item or two and thus requiring another trip to the store. I never go to Costco without a list because I will end up with all sorts of things that look great at the time. This is also a great way to say on gas. I am really trying not to make needless trips in our gas guzzler. Instead of just hopping in the suburban to go run an errand, I really try to plan out the week as much as I can so I don't make extra trips into the neighboring towns. For those of you who don't know I live in a tri-city area where the towns are all about 15 miles apart.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bits and pieces

Wow! Where did the week go? I thought this was supposed to be the lazy days of summer? I am still playing catch-up from vacation last week with laundry and grocerey shopping. I did the weekly run to Costco to stock up for the week. Yes, with all these kiddos I do mean stock up. While I was there I bought the Lettuce Wraps in the deli, and I must say they are pretty darn yummy. Maybe not as yummy as PF Changs, but still yummy. I came home and Emma and I had them for lunch. At only 70 calories per wrap, it made my day. Speaking of calories...
The ticker has moved! Yea! Drinking water instead of sweet tea is paying off. Or maybe it is cutting out the ice cream? Whichever it may be I am on the downhill slide. Wendi and I waked 6 miles this week so far, and that is six more than I walked the week before ;o) I also have been running the last .2 miles home from where I leave Wendi. I know...I know... a whole .2 miles but hey, it adds up. Over the week it is .6 which is over a half mile running. Again more than the weeks before and talk about getting the heart rate up. I'm sure that my neighbors think they should call an ambulance when they see my huffing and puffing my way home.

Yesterday we went to a water park with some friends and had a great day in the sun. All the kids had a great time and we adults did too. I love the warm sunny days!
Here is a picture of Emma and her friend Nevada having fun taking pics of themselves at the park.

Remember this post? Here are the pictures from the priceless couch. I found out I needed to resize the pics to post them.

The men evaluating the situation...

This situation calls for the big gun...

The damage is done...

What do you think? Not so bad?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Counting down the pounds...

OK, that's it. I saw a picture of myself yesterday that I was not so thrilled about. So I am forcing myself into some accountability. I figure that if I post it here in public then just maybe that will give me the motivation I need to take it seriously. Because if I do this silently it will be easy to let things go or slip in a little somethin' somethin' here and there (or everywhere). I don't want to be crazy about this or be a slave to my scale, just healthy weight loss. Here are my goals.
*Lose 12 pounds over the summer. See the nifty ticker?
*Cut out as much refined sugar as possible. This will be hard because I do love sugar. Not just in candy but in my beverages and well, just about everything. I also hate the taste of diet drinks so it will be just water. I am going to let myself have a black tea lemonade whenever I go to Starbucks and a dessert here or there . But at home my rule will be no sugary stuff.

* Eat at least one salad a day. Summer is a great time to load up on those veggies!
*Eat breakfast. More than my usual which is just a cup of coffee. I am planning on fruit for breakfast as much as possible. Again Summer is a great time for this.
*Walk at least 3 times a week, hopefully increasing this as the weeks progress. I know a big key is going to be moving more. I used to walk faithfully every day before we traveled to China.
*Swimming whenever I take the kids to the pool. Usually I sit and watch. I am committing to swim some laps this Summer. I normally take the kids 3 or more times a week.
I have read enough diet books so I know all the 'how-to's' I could probably tell you about nearly any diet you have heard of. And tried most of them. The problem lies when it is all head knowledge and no action. There I am. Over the past several month I have slowly (and suddenly sometimes) let myself creep into some bad habits...but no longer. I am committed and accountable

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vacation & relaxing

Ahhh...the beach. I am sure that you are imagining a beautiful sunny day like the picture. Not this year. It has been cold and rainy both yesterday and today. But that is OK. We went to Seaside today and did a little shopping. I should say looking because none of us bought anything worth mentioning. Emma, Eden and I walked around the Cannon Beach shops while Ella napped, Ron surfed the Internet and the other two played in the rec room. Everyone but me is down there right now playing carpet ball or basketball. I have a bit of a sinus thing going and didn't think the racket of the balls would do me much good. So I sacrificed and stayed here alone in the quiet room.

I finished my book, the Shack. (Sorry, no link. Ron's computer has one of those finger touch pad thingys and I am having a hard time navigating it) I don't know what to say about it. In someways it was great. Really stretching my perceptions of God. In other ways I thought it bordered on blasphemous, and a little new age-y. That's all I have to say about that. I am still processing....

Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit warmer and sunny! Yea! So we are planning a day at the beach. Collecting sand dollars and enjoying God's creation. If it is too cold, we will be back here enjoying the rec center.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The priceless couch and loveseat

Thank you Jamie for the lovely couch and loveseat! The are fabulous! I have tried seveal times to post pictures and blogger is not cooperating with me, or maybe it is me not cooperating with blogger.

Imagine 3 grown men trying to move the couch/loveseat combo to the basement living room. Imagine the couch becoming stuck. Imagine the men pushing and shoving causing slight damage to the wall. Imagine the couch/loveseat becoming further stuck. Imagine the man of the house taking a saws-all to the wall and creating a very large hole in the wall to get the couch into the living room. Imagine much laughter as we evaluate the damage.

I wish I could post the pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Remember the post of how our house projects snowball? I didn't think that moving a couch into the house was really a project...but I guess it is. By the way, if we ever sell the house...the couch comes with it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

When we moved into this neighborhood 16 years ago this month it was supposed to be temporary. We were newlyweds and didn't care for apartment living. We were wanting to be in a house so we rented this one when it came available just months after we married. Ron's parents owned the duplex and gave us a great deal on rent. I think we paid like $400 a month.

After a couple years we bought the duplex from the parents. We rented one side while living in the other. We had the opportunity to rent to several colorful tenants. Our intention was to do this for a few years then buy something else in a nicer neighborhood and keep this home as rental property. Again, the best laid plans... These were our plans and not God's.

When Ron changed careers and went into the ministry it was obvious that we either needed to sell and move or keep and live. We would not be able to do both. Our family was growing and we were out-growing one side of the duplex. The choice was made to keep this house and convert it into one home. Lots of blood, sweat and tears later we are still in that process.

There have been seasons where I hated this house. I hated this neighborhood. But I can see that this has been God's plan for our family, even if I have been a reluctant participant. Our neighbors have been colorful to say the least. We have had a shooting across the street, a meth dealer two doors over, immigrants from Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Ukraine all speaking little or no English. I wanted more for my kids, and to be honest for me too. I wanted a pretty yard. I wanted a beautiful home that was finished and completed, no wall to remove, plumbing to revamp or windows to replace. But all these things have really been blessings. We have been able to expose our kids to the real world in a safe way. They have seen the effects of bad choices first hand.

Gradually and slowly the Lord has changed my heart. Don't get me wrong, I am very tired of living in this undone home. I would love to have the Contractor Fairy come and finish it while we sleep, but that is not going to happen. I have come to love my neighbors. the Lord is showing me how to love them and see them through His eyes, not mine. God has showed me that not only is there value in being the home that all the kids migrate to, but that others notice and appreciate it. My neighbor that we affectionately call 'Mrs. Cravitts' (from Bewitched) just told me the other day how much she appreciated our ministry to the neighborhood and how we let all the neighborhood kids play here. One day she called just to let me know that she counted and there were 14 kids in my backyard. Thank you Mrs. Cravitts. Often we will have friends over and there will be little noses against the glass in my front door or an eye peering in to see if the kids can come outside to play.

My dear friend Ganiment who is from Albania has become a dear friend. Her husband was a judge and lawyer in Kosovo, now he delivers pizza , and they are thankful. They are so grateful for our country and the opportunities their children have here. For them it is not about materialism, opportunity and safety is the American Dream. Their family reminds me that what really matters in life is relationships with friends and family. They love to talk over a cup of coffee or come check out how the garden is growing. They remind me of how ridiculous it is to accumulate things just for the sake of things. They also remind me of how wasteful I can be. Recently they couldn't believe it when I ripped out my pansies to replace them with petunias. The pansies were wilting in the heat, and I knew they wouldn't make it though the summer months. One of the neighbors asked to have them to put in her shaded back yard.

I remember years ago a friend of mine had a neighborhood that had ice cream socials and bunko parties and I wanted that so badly. After years of whining to the Lord to move us He told me 'if you want that do something about it'. We have had a hot dog roast and an ice cream party that was so much fun. At first the neighbors didn't know what to think about being invited over, but after the awkwardness wore off everyone had a great time and we are a better neighborhood for it. This summer we are planning a backyard movie night and several neighbors are already looking forward to it.

There are still some families that stretch me and are hard to love, but I am sure I am the same to others too. I wish I would have not been such a late bloomer, as in 'bloom where you are planted'? I missed great opportunities while I was thinking about the 'If onlys'. Opportunities for friendships as well as sharing the love of Christ.

I am thankful for my neighbors. I am thankful for the children. Blerta (little B), Alton, Ghent, Kaltrina, Alma, Zane and Nate. I am thankful for my kids being exposed and learning about other cultures. I am thankful for the other two christian families. I am thankful that our yard has no trees so the kids can play football or we can lay out a slip and slide. I can truly say I am thankful for my home and my neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

OK So I have checked on all your blogs and it seems many of you are suffering from writer's block so I suggest a little something to get y'all typing again. (I don't know why I was feeling guilty for being away ;o)

Sitting: At the computer desk
Suffering Not much at all in the grand scheme...
Pondering: High School choices for the daughter
Feeling: Excited for vacation
Seeking God's will on mission opportunities.
Wondering: If warm weather is on the way.
Loving: That school is done and summer is here!
Reading: The Shack

This came from Lisa Writes. I love her blog.

My name is Jill, and it has been six days since my last post.

I just lost a long post...argh! I hate that!

I apologize for the unscheduled blog break. I know you have been anxiously awaiting some wonderful insightful or spiritual thought...or maybe not.

I have been busy living in the other world of reality. Finishing up school books, filling out forms for next year, signing up for swim lessons, sports camps, vbs, church camps and such. I love the change of pace that summer brings, yet it brings with it it's own stresses and busyness. We are looking forward to our upcoming trip to the beach, although that means lots of packing between now and then.

The cookies from a post or so back turned out yummy! I highly recommend it! Here it is.
I had every intention of taking a picture and posting it, but... well...I didn't.
I used this recipe to ice them:
1 1/2 C Confectioners Sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
5-6 tsp. lemon juice
yellow food color
yellow sugar sprinkles