Monday, January 19, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook~ Hello 2015 and We are MOVING edition

FOR TODAY: January 19, 2015

Outside my window...the breeze blows cool and the sun shines brightly to warm the earth. The predicted high today is 65* with a bit of clouds to decorate the sky.

I am thinking...that this year is starting off with a bang. We have changed from a nuclear family of 5 to a multi-generational family of 7 in the past 6 months. We've already celebrated one birthday this year, gymnastics season starts Saturday, we are buying a house this week and moving on Sunday. Phew!

I am thankful...for grace and strength, and mercy that comes new every morning. For patience gleaned from years of (semi) faithful practice. For boxes from friends and strangers alike. For quiet music to calm frantic thoughts.

In the kitchen...not much this week. After Eleventy billion moves (or so it seems) I may have actually accepted that I can't cook at both houses at once, that I should just accept that we will have to eat fast food a few times, and that even I, self proclaimed Do-It-All-Wonder, can't make everyone cooperate when it's time to feed the hungry bellies. Hercules wants the quickest things to eat when he is working so he doesn't lose momentum. To that end, this week's pitiful (but smart) meal plans:
M~HUGE batch of lasagna, salad and garlic bread *everyone likes it AND it reheats well
W~Fend for yourself night, since only 2 of the 7 will be home for dinner
Th~Fast Food at the new house (we sign this day)
F~Game Night at the new house (just snacks and drinks, no 'real' dinner on Fridays)
Sat~All Meals out (Dan, Pat and Jay will be moving while Mom, Derek, David and myself will be in ABQ for David's first meet of the season)
Sun~ MOVING DAY! B: donuts and coffee
                                    L: Pizza and drinks courtesy of a friend who wants to help, but is VERY pregnant
                                    D: Taco Soup, chips and drinks (hurray for the crock pot)

I am wearing...jeans, a flag t-shirt, socks and tennies.

I am creating...packed boxes. LOTS AND LOTS of packed boxes. And, my darling daughter in love's late Christmas gift. She knew it would be late when she requested it, and doesn't mind waiting, but I'm working on it as I can during this extra busy season we're in right now.

I am pick up David from work later and that is it. I already ran a few errands this morning and I intend to enjoy the rest of my day at home.

I am wondering...If I will ever find everything again after this move. We are renting a storage unit for the first time in our marriage, and I'm wondering if that will make the garage so 'comfortable' that we never get rid of it.

I am reading...The Imposter Bride, which so far is painfully boring, and Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist, which thankfully is not. And my Bible. And 7, because I CAN. NOT. STOP. reading it. Over and over and over...

I am hoping...that when I look back at my life, I don't just see chaos, but the hand of God clearly leading me, and that I followed willingly, even if it looked like chaos from this end.

I am looking forward to...feeling really, truly, actually settled in at a house for the first time since we moved to the wilds of NM 7 years ago. Since then, we've lived in 5. And when you consider that we've lived in this house nearly 3 years, no wonder I was so sick of moving every 5 minutes for a few years. But this (barring God leading us elsewhere) is our forever home, so we are putting our stamp on it, and putting down roots. Woot!

I am learning...that grace is a marvelous thing. And that I don't extend it to others nearly often enough in this crazy beautiful difficult world we live in.

Around the house...Boxes. Did I mention we are moving in a few days? ;)

I am pondering...the contents of my pantry and freezer, and how they could possibly hold so many things yet, after 3 full weeks of pantry challenges. (yes, we bought things like dairy and produce, but have largely lived off of our excess for the past 3 weeks) Oh well, a reminder to keep doing pantry challenges monthly to use up the extras.

One of my favorite things..."The Sound of Music"

A few plans for the rest of the week: Packing, moving, not losing my mind, getting to David's meet and back safely.

A peek into my day...  A "Welcome home" card left for us by the previous owner. How incredibly thoughtful!
If you've enjoyed this post, and you also enjoy the simple things, take a peek over here to see more daybook entries and to join the fun!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Book a Week in 2015 Challenge

Rita, this is for you :) 
I challenged myself and a few friends to read a book a week this year (or a day, month, year, whatever you can do) 
So I printed out the oh-so-cute printables found here  and made myself a 3 ring notebook with enough pages for a whole year. I'll update this as I read through the books. If you want, feel free to leave the books you're reading this year in the comments, and we can use them as recommendations for our next book to read.

Here's my list
1. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine
~Rating: 5 stars
~Notes: An excellent read for the overworked, overtired, over-everything person in your life (like YOU) Full of practical hands-on advice, interesting anecdotes from herself and other readers of her blog, and questions to make you pause, reflect and then redirect your life. Superb.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Catching UP with Us MeYeR's

Catching up with the MeYeR family is a hard thing to do. Most of the time, we're so busy, we can't even catch up with ourselves. *sigh* (as Jen Hatmaker would say, "For the love of Barnum and Bailey!")
We are working on scaling back, but it's a challenge. I've read Jen Hatmaker's book "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" so many times that I nearly have it memorized, but putting it into practice in our hectic lives is proving to be more challenging than I had hoped. Sometimes I feel like Lucy from the Peanuts comic strip hollering, "Stop the world, I want to get off." And most days, I know that this is just a season of my life and that someday soon I'll be an empty nest-er, or only have 1 at home and I'll be so lonely and bored that I'll be longing for this insanity that is currently my life. But at this exact moment, I can't even imagine being lonely or bored, and quite frankly, the idea sounds lovely. So, we're continuing to work toward simplicity wherever possible and hanging on for dear life everywhere else. Mom has been great at helping not only pick up my slack (and there is plenty, I assure you) but in helping and encouraging me to find new ways to simplify.
~Less is more.
~Less is better.
~Less is of higher quality.
So we've been decluttering like our lives depended on it. We've packed the first several boxes for our upcoming move. (more on that in another post) And I'm feeling good about those changes. I've actually had time recently to even have a conversation or two with Handsome Hercules, without one or both of us running in opposite directions. We've got a good ways to go, but progress is always something to be appreciated and applauded. As we head into the 2 busiest seasons in our life (the holidays and gymnastics seasons) it is good that we've scaled back some. We're running the boys hither and yon less. With a few notable exceptions, my routine at work has calmed down. Mom has taken over the dinner shift, and while I miss cooking for the family everyday, I do enjoy eating at a reasonable time so that there is a little family time before DT gets shuttled off to bed. We're signing up for things at church and the gym that we can do as a family instead of one parent always being gone and the other at home with the kiddos.
Apparently the 2 hardest-headed people are finally learning a few things. Guess that means if we can do it, so can you. :) So hang in there friends, there IS light at the end of the tunnel, and it's NOT an oncoming train.
In other news,
~We are still house hunting, but have one picked out that should have an offer on it before the end of the week. We were hoping to pull off a move before Christmas, but that's not looking good, so possibly right after the new year rolls around.
~My nephew Jayson will be here by the week's end to stay with us for 6-8 months while he gets a job and saves money before his lovely lady can join him down here in the Land of Enchantment.
~We are rapidly approaching the 1 year anniversary of my dad's death, so if you have a minute, please say a prayer for my mama. She's a trooper but she still gets sad sometimes.
~Dan nearly lost his thumb in a work related accident a few weeks back and it is healing beautifully. He never even missed a day of work. Praise the LORD!
~Dan is currently between jobs. Looks like he will be going back to Wooten in just a few days, but if any of my local friends have a small job they need done this week, he's available.
I think that's all the big news right now. I'll keep you posted :)
     As always, thanks for reading this and sharing our journey. Lost Boys, Mama K misses you like crazy.

Random Recent Pictures

Since I've fallen so far behind in posting pics, I'm going to just post an assortment from the past few months and call it done. Hope that's OK with all of you. I'll label them, and offer some idea what is going on in them. Here we go...
Carissa loves her Nana Karen. The feeling is quite mutual, I assure you!

We hosted a Magic Tourney...and much hilarity ensued

Z sports a squid hat...
David is a cool Viking...

And Patrick is??? We're not sure. LOL!

Devin and Annabel came to visit from TX

Karen was especially delighted to see her "Sugarbaby"

Carissa kept getting cuter! Tyler is really coming into his own as a parent. I'm quite impressed

Karen and Charlie celebrated 40 years of friendship in Sept.

Carissa turned 1, and got cuter.

...And cuter still!

David turned 17 and even though he wouldn't let us sing Happy Birthday to him, he did accept a few presents. A cool new blade from Dad and a butterfly knife from Charlie being the favorites.

David worked up a new resume to pursue being a stunt double like Auntie Jodi, and in a rare splash of goodwill, allowed me to take pictures of him to add to his portfolio. I'll take it!

He even smiled. And what a sweet smile it is :)

And cuter still. Oooooooooooooooo, she is so adorable, I want to gobble her up

Monday, November 17, 2014

Socializing Our Poor Unsocialized Homeschoolers

My oh My, those poor unsocialized homeschoolers. LOL! I've never intentionally addressed this question that plagues homeschoolers in all seasons of the journey. However, as I've gotten closer to the end of my journey, I think I can share a few things that have helped us to make sure our boys didn't become social pariahs. 
Once upon a time, the 'socialization' question made my blood boil. The only question worse was, "What about prom?" to which I would reply in my head "Could you BE any more shallow? Who gives a fig about prom...seriously." Ahem. Anyway, back to socializing. I'm not going to be all preachy or bossy, or even bore you with factoids and statistics...I'm just going to share some of how we make sure our boys don't end up in the *poor unsocialized homeschooler* category. 

~We are involved in our church. Always have been. Always will be. Sunday school, AWANAs, pot lucks, service/mission projects and the like, along with our BIGS being involved in youth ministry. Friends of all ages/races/backgrounds, AND friends of the same ages/races/backgrounds. No one is perfect, but Jesus loves us all, and that's an important lesson to learn.

~We are rarely home unless it's time to eat, shower or sleep. Handsome Hercules works his 40, and then spends the evenings with the family; playing games, riding dune buggies, working on the cars, or creating something out of his never ending this-could-come-in-handy-someday pile. When he works a side job, he takes at least one along to hang out, learn something and meet new people. I work 30-50 hours a week as a nanny, so the boy(s) come along with me nearly every day. D (17) works *more on that later* and DT (9) must come with me, but as long as P (15) is caught up in school, he may stay home, but Grma is home 1/2 the day with him. On the weekends, we are at church, Hercules is working side jobs, and I am working at the gym, so again, they go along and meet MANY people along the way. We expect them to be pleasant and helpful every where they go, and so they've grown up learning about serving others.

~As an aside about my job, it probably goes without saying that since I'm a nanny, there are other children to spend time with each day. Right now I'm working for a family with 3 kiddos. Z is 18 and only home on weekends as he's in college, G is 13 and homeschooling along with us, and A is 4 and spends the mornings at preschool and the afternoons with us. Until he went off to college, Z spent his time after school hanging out with my BIGS, but they still get together every weekend for games, laughter and small shenanagins. DT splits his time between G and A, depending on his mood and if A is napping. My boys have learned a lot about girls from this family. And that's never a bad thing, right?

~My family is largely here in town, so besides the 5 of us, there is my mother who joined the family mayhem in August, my younger sister with my 2 nephews, my older 1/2 sister, an adult nephew and my great niece. Another young adult nephew is moving in with us in just a few days. So we aren't hurting for family interactions, that's for sure. :) Between differing generations, different parenting styles, religious/political/financial differences, we've learned the art of letting love cover our differences.

~We are active in our local homeschooling group. Between simple pleasures like hanging out at the park together, fun and educational field trips, and the co-op that helps fill in the gaps of things that Mama can't or forgot to teach, life is rich with homeschooling friends.

~D, our 17 year old works full time at the local gym where he also trains for his gymnastics competitions. He teaches classes of toddlers/preschoolers, kids wanting to join the competitive team, and runs birthday parties. When people ask him where he attends school, he replies that he is homeschooled and the reaction he gets the most is "Wow, I would have never guessed." I'm not entirely sure what that means, except that everyone seems to have met "that homeschooling family" that never let their children out of the basement, so they enter the world pasty white, completely naive, and wearing a plaid shirt, horn rimmed glasses and a bow tie.  (Sorry if this is you. I am not criticizing, I am just amazed that every person on the planet has already met you, but they still think us homeschoolers don't socialize. LOL) I take that to mean that we've done our job well of raising a completely well rounded, well socialized homeschooler. *winks*

~We host a game night every Friday for our family and friends. This is homeschooling socializing at it's finest. We have all ages, from my Mother (66) all the way down to my great niece (1). These people bring great variety to our lives, and especially to our children's lives. To make sure we all get along, we must learn to extend grace to one another. We play board/card/dice games, we shoot pool, play air hockey, throw darts, and laugh out loud all evening. Handsome Hercules and I have made it a priority to make the boys' friends welcome in our home, and to create our home to be the 'hangout house" so that the boys always have somewhere safe and fun to be with their friends.

~We host out of town guests as often as our schedule allows, so that the boys learn the art of hosting other people, of being gracious hosts, and to learn about other people's customs, habits and hobbies. The boys enjoy taking them to all their favorite hangouts, sight seeing spots and to meet their friends. It keeps us from only ever spending time with like minded people, which often leads to us being narrow-minded.

~All the boys have public school friends, which we encourage. Things like football games, late night movies, and talking about cute girls shouldn't only be for public school kiddos. So we encourage them to venture outside of our homeschooling group for friends. The youth ministry at our church has been great for this. The BIGS have many friends that attend public school who take them along on all those 'but what about the prom?' moments. DT has public school friends as well, and he enjoys spending time with them when he can. He spends much time lamenting that they have to spend so much time in school each day. ;)

~The BIGS have each traveled with my parents or spent summers at their house since we've moved to NM. They've met family members across the country, spent extended time with all the grandparents, their IL based brother and sister in love, and their IL cousins that we don't see very often anymore. They've learned how to navigate the world's 6th busiest airport, survive an extended family reunion without immediate family's intervention (HA!) and speak up for themselves when the need arises.

These are just some of the things that we've done with our boys along the way to make sure they are ready to take part in the big wide world in which we live. I'm sure you have some fresh ideas, or things I've forgotten to mention. How do you socialize YOUR children?

155,520 Meals in 6 Hours

Could he BE any cuter? When you partner with FMSC, even the little guys can help.

Handsome Hercules had time for a laugh while we were working during the FMSC event.
Forget those paltry "prep-12-meals-in-3-hours" series, this one takes the cake :)
      Yesterday, our church (Mesilla Park Community Church) entered our new facility, partnered with Feed My Starving Children and packed 155,520 meals to feed hungry children in 42 countries around the world. That will feed 525 children for a YEAR! Pretty great way to spend a Sunday.
     Check out FMSC's website and consider partnering with them by packing food, donating money or praying. If you and your church, family or friends want to make the most meals, in the least amount of time, that have the most impact on our world, this is your next stop. Check them out. You won't be sorry.

Hi Friends! I Haven't Forgotten About You, I Promise

Hey everyone. Just a quick nod as I dash past the computer once again today. I know it's been a while, and I have 72 excuses about being busy due to, but not limited to; parent moving in, nephew about to move in, house hunting, getting ready for the holidays, working, raising the 3 boys still at home, trying to keep up with Handsome Hercules, gymnastics, and homeschooling, but the truth is, I just haven't made time. I've had time for FB, movies, shopping, reading, sleeping in, staying up late laughing with friends, and lots of other things. So my "busy" excuse holds no water. At any rate, I miss blogging, and catching up with all of you, and sharing what's going on in my life, so here I am saying HI and hoping you'll say HI back.
     Here's to hoping for a more blog-filled future :)
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