Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tea Collection Black Friday Sale!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated a small amount if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links. 

It's here, the most wonderful time to shop Tea Collection!  The Black Friday sale has $15 dresses, $12 tees and $10 leggings!

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Only select styles, like this awesome double decker dress are on sale so be sure and follow the sale links.



But seriously, how lovely are these McKenna Flutter Dress (above) and Islay Henley Dress (below).  They just say Scotland to me!


My girls are getting more interested in colors other than pink and purple and this lovely green Faileas Graphic Dress got their attention.  It fits like a tunic top and works great with tights or leggings.



There are lots of fun graphic tees for girls too, we have the McHamish cat tee, and the tail is on the back!



Whatever you're shopping for, get your shop on this week while the sale lasts!

Sale runs from November 21st through the 25th.

Tea Collection’s Black Friday Event prices are only valid on select styles featured in each category’s Black Friday shop. There will be no adjustments on previous purchases. The promotion is limited to stock on hand.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Soccer Man

With multiple events always scheduled for the first weekend of October, this year we did the "divide and conquer" thing.  I took three of the kids to the annual cider press put on by our dentist, and Brian went to Noah's soccer tournament since he hasn't been able to make most of the games due to conflict with Awana.  It's always something it seems!


Anyway, Noah's team has had quite the winning season this year and the tournament was no different.  After tying the first game, they went on to win the next two, facing the first team again in the final and winning that one as well.


It's been fun to watch Noah gain confidence and really go after the ball.  Some of his teammates have a LOT more ball control, but he's getting there.  He definitely has the kick down, when he connects with the ball, now to work on aiming for a teammate!


Noah is playing up, to stay with his classmates, but since the national soccer league changed the rules to calendar year rather than school year he's actually still playing with a few boys that are behind him in school.  So I think it's a pretty good fit.  He's neither the smallest nor the biggest on the team and keeps up pretty well.


Number One Team!


Unfortunately he's been sick and home from school the last three days so he'll miss his game tonight.  But there's one more next Saturday to finish out the season.  No matter what, they've had a winning record.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Exhaustion Cycle

Hey look, three more days before I post again.  Some days I'm not sure if this is a symptom of my busy life or if this just isn't a priority anymore.  This blog used to be about keeping a record of my life and I'm SO thankful that I can look back on when the kids were little.  But now that I have Instagram for so much of it and Facebook does the daily memories thing I get it in bits and pieces.  I do miss the depth though and those other platforms are just not as searchable.

Anyway, I caught a cold last week that I am just finally recovering from.  It's amazing how much you don't feel up to doing when you are even slightly run down.  I feel like I've been in the "slightly-run-down" phase for about 6 years now, ever since I was pregnant with the twins.  And now that I am totally out of the baby stage (Hallelujah!) it's different.  I can let them be unsupervised, but we have so many more activities to do now that I feel like I'm hardly ever home.  Which would be great if my house actually looked like we were never home... but it doesn't.

Then the cycle is, I stay up late because I crave alone time, I don't get enough sleep so I'm tired again, I don't get as much done without as much energy, and I stay up late again.  Even when I manage to break the cycle for a few days, I'm such a night owl that it creeps in on me again.  And don't even think about having motivation to exercise or eat healthier when you're tired because that requires more energy!

Something's going to have to give before I break though because we are getting up earlier and earlier (hello 7:10am strings practice!) and I have to be ready to go for the day when I take the girls to school.  I know some of you are going "boo hoo" because I have to leave my house at 8am, but this is not normal for me in the last 10 years, at least on a daily basis!

I'm slowly working on some changes.  We've started to shift our going to bed habits a little earlier.  I'm trying to gain some self control and not eat all.the.sugar whenever it's available.  It's crazy how much food, and especially treats, we have in our society.  I realized how much we revolve around food when we found Cory's gluten allergy.  Can you imagine a social gathering without some kind of food? It almost never happens!  I am seeing a slight shift in what's available now though, more fruits and at least not straight sugar usually.  (thanks church!)

Basically, I'm trying to learn to take care of me.  With all of my "free time" now that the girls are in school half days I've gotten an eye appointment

new glasses coming my way

And today I actually went to the doctor for myself.  I've been putting that off for awhile too, but after I got SO sick a year and a half ago and accidentally overdosed on Sudafed my heart likes to do this lovely slow beat thing.  So EKG's for everyone.

Little changes over time, hopefully they will add up to a healthier mom, with less stress, that makes for a happier and calmer family.  We'll see if we get calm though, my kids are wild.


Monday, October 02, 2017

On Writing Again

My friend Kristi is doing this write every day thing in October.  I think I did that once upon a time in November... something about NaBloPoMo*... oh look, there it is in 2008.  Wow, talk about a trip down memory lane!

And so, since I sometimes feel like all the thoughts get caught up in my head, and I'm also kind of sad that my blog has been SO neglected since I finally got on Instagram, I'm going to write again.

***

All yesterday I was thinking about what I might want to write and why.  Life is ever so busy and tiring and I didn't get around to it last night.  Feels like the story of my life, always a day late and a dollar short.

And then this morning when I woke up to the news from Las Vegas I thought, how appropriate, all the things I was thinking about were yesterday.

Loneliness.  Busyness.  Isolation.  Anger.  Division.  It seems this is the way the world works these days and it's not pretty.  I have lamented lately that I have no real friends.  It doesn't feel that people reach out to each other anymore.  Are we all expected to put ourselves out there and hope that someone will respond?  If they happen to see it on social media?  What if they don't?

What's gone wrong in our world that we all live in our little bubbles of isolation and feel like it's us against the world?  I can't be the only mom current or past, that ends up at home every afternoon with her kids napping or waiting for the bus.  I can't be the only mom that has a few evenings a week where she could go out, but no one willing to go out with her. 

I used to say that social media saved my life when I became a stay at home mom 11 years ago, but now I'm not so sure.  The actual community we had back then is gone, replaced with product placement and a race to be the most noticed and liked in the feed (you choose the medium).  When did we stop sharing our actual lives, all of it, and start to compete with each other on yet another playing field?

I don't have the answers to any of this.  I'm still tired, still trying to make healthy choices that will help me get out of this (5 years long) tired.  I'm hoping that writing will be another healthy outlet for me.  We'll see.


*National Blog Posting Month

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Double Digits

Some people say, "oh my goodness, 10!" as if they can't believe 10 years have gone by, but I have [most of] the memories to prove it!  As of the end of March my oldest child is now 10.


He still loves that chartreuse green, but wears other colors and looks good in all of them.  His shoes are officially as big as mine and he's over 5 feet tall already.  I imagine well before high school he'll be taller than me at this rate!


He wanted to play the cello this year in strings at school and has done really well.  The all district orchestra festival last month was so neat to hear.


As I missed last year's update due to being very ill, it's even more of a difference to look back two years.


I did get to be in his classroom a little bit this year, but 4th graders don't need as much outside help so I mostly did projects for his teacher.  He was always happy to see me though and give me hugs so I'll take it.


I totally failed on the birthday treat front and ended up sending Snickers to school instead.  And we had special cupcakes for the painting party so ice cream sundaes were had on his actual birthday.


Yes, I filled the bag with pretzels because he mostly already knew what he was getting and I am a silly mom.


This spring at school every kid in his class got an iPad so he's starting to learn his way around the digital world.  Time for lots of conversations about how life works, but thankfully he still talks to us most of the time.


He got to go on a special trip with Dad and he picked Seattle.  I'll try to get some pictures up (that he took!) sooner rather than later.

Buddy, I'm happy that you're doing well in school and always curious about how things work.  I can see a scientist or an engineer (or whatever you want to be) in your future!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Noah: Seven

Yes, he gets a definite article before his name.  He's unmistakable!


The Noah turned 7 on St. Patrick's Day.  These pictures I took back in February are a pretty good impression of him.


Once upon a time we nicknamed him the Loud Lemon.  It's appropriate.  He's so expressive and wears his emotions on his face all the time.


The Noah is 7 and moving up to the second grade has been good for him.  His report card last week showed him at grade level for second grade and he really enjoys this teacher as well.  It's the same teacher Cory had for second grade.  He still misses his first grade teacher and friends though.  He's so outgoing he had made plenty in just the 4 months he was in that class.


Fun story, I've really had more time to consistently volunteer this year now that the girls are in preschool and last week when I showed up they were talking about Alaska and glaciers.  So I was able to pull up this blog post about our trip last summer and Noah was the star of all the photos while I explained to his classmates about the glacier and how it worked.


Nana and Papa brought him a scooter for his birthday.  He was immediately trying to pop wheelies with it.  And then rode through the mud puddles.  This one loves the outdoors and doing all the things.  He played soccer last fall for the first time and was one of the more aggressive kids on the team.  It helped of course that he was almost a head taller than most of the rest of his team and a lot of kids on the other teams too!


With Cory being three years older he often feels like he doesn't get to do the same things because he is younger.  It's hard to wait when you want to try all the cool things that your older brother gets to do.  So in a few things he gets to do things early (like skiing!), but other things he has to wait.  It's hard being the middle child.  I'm hoping to get a weekend with just he and I in a month when Cory goes to a camp and the girls go with my parents.


Noah's good buddy from school last year and Awana came for his birthday dinner.  Noah couldn't open the box with his present in it... so he tried to use his teeth.  He was successful.


More nerf bullets for his Zombie nerf gun.  Boys!


The saying on his shirt is rather appropriate, "Wild is my middle name" courtesy of our trip to Alaska last summer.  And the birthday boy requested ice cream sundaes for dessert rather than cake.  We are nothing if not unconventional in our family!


Overall Noah is a caring and compassionate boy.  He hates it when anyone is sad or hurt in a movie and cries for them.  He's old enough to understand a little of what's going on in the world and cares about the people we hear about on the news in the car.


I love you Noah!  Never lose your love for people and you'll go far in life!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Five

People keep asking me if I miss my children being little. No, no I don't. I like them just the way they are right now. I will admit it IS pretty crazy that the twins are five now, but looking back at these posts from when they were born feels like a lifetime ago.

I just went to my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower on Saturday for their first baby. It will be fun to have a baby niece nearby, but I guarantee you I'm not one of those people who always has to be the first in the room to hold the baby.

Anyway, the girls are SO looking forward to having a baby cousin nearby since they aren't getting a little sibling.


Some days I get kids that will smile for a picture, some days I don't. These were taken a few weeks back when I needed portraits to submit for something and the lighting was just right in my dining room.

You'd never guess from these pictures, but Joy is quite the silly bug. I guess it just depends on the mood by day (or hour). And really she was being quite cooperative for these pictures, which I didn't really want silly!


She is very independent and knows what she wants and why. Or where. Or how. I think she's going to be a bit particular, a little like her oldest brother. Things have an order to them. In this she also follows directions very well and has learned how to color quite neatly within the lines. She's very proud of that skill.

At times like this I struggle a little to come up with ways they are different. They each have their own personality for sure, but they like to do most of the same things and are together almost 24/7. So for as much as developmentally kids go through things at roughly the same ages, that's what we have here. If we ever wonder if they are identical I think this always reminds me that they most likely are. (No, we haven't had them tested, but it's highly likely that they are)



Poor Hope is my toothless girl. After these were taken she even had to have one more on the top removed from the trauma a year ago because it had gotten infected as well. She does pretty good at crazy 5am dentist visits and isn't too traumatized by the actual events.

She goes about her days singing quietly almost all the time. And always reminds Daddy when he forgets his glasses before leaving for school.

They go back and forth being clingy still when I leave them at preschool, but away from me I hear that Hope is a bit more reserved. It's like if she knows I am in the vicinity she is fearless. But even sometimes in the grocery store she will hide her face from someone we know. We're still working on not just running away ahead of Mama though.

For the most part though, these are THE most outgoing (and loud) children you've ever met. They will hug anyone I even have a casual conversation with!


For all their clinginess in the mornings I think they are really enjoying preschool. They're learning their letters and numbers and at their conferences last week I was surprised to find they can each count almost up to 50 without missing a number!

We have lots of interesting conversations in the car about the weather and the things we see as we drive to and from school and all around town for errands.  One really cool part about having cousins living on the other side of the world is this giant wall map at church where we can point out every week where they live.  And where my penpal Amy lives.  And where Sweden is that Mommy went to 18 months ago.  I love geography so it's really fun that they like it too.


The twin bond is still very strong between these two.  They do occasionally do things apart from each other, but more often than not you will find them doing the same things.  If one is coloring, the other will eventually join in.  If one is playing with the dollhouse, very soon the other will be there too.  In some ways, when Noah (usually) plays with one of them that introduces competition into the relationship.  They do have their squabbles, but for the most part they get along better than most siblings I've seen.


The last time we went to the doctor they had reached the 85th percentile on the growth charts.  For being at the 25th percentile when they were born they've caught up and passed "average" for kids their age.  I'm not surprised since the rest of us aren't small either.  It will be fun to see if they continue to stay in this range or even get farther ahead of the growth curve like the boys are.  They continue to stay very even with each other although Joy is slightly heavier (she eats more!) and has a half size bigger feet.  Joy: 48 pounds, about 44 1/2 inches and size 12 shoes.  Hope: 45 pounds, about 44 1/2 inches and size 11 1/2 shoes.


I love these girls and can't wait to see what they do and become as they get older!

Friday, February 03, 2017

Book: The Mark of the King

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

***

I'm not sure how to do this book justice without giving away half the plot!  It's a time period in history that I haven't read much about, well, outside of Regency England.  This book takes place during the first 4 years of the settling of New Orleans.  I've been to New Orleans once and the gulf coast.  I can't imagine what it would be like with no infrastructure, trying to survive with help from France months away by boat, if they ever send it.

Love, betrayal, treason, you'll find it all in this book and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.  Green does a good job of filling out the setting just enough to put me in it without going over the top and the characters were well thought out and in depth.  Some of the plot might be a little over the top, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction so maybe things like this really did happen.  Either way, it was an intriguing read and I'm glad to have another snipped of history brought to life.


***

Read other reviews or purchase your own copy here. Or click on the graphic to win a copy!




Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013; Widow of Gettysburg; Yankee in Atlanta; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.

I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.