Audrey Taflan & the Search for…..

Posted On September 29, 2011

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Tonight  it occurred to me that I might not be ‘Audrey Taflan’.  Perhaps my ‘name’ is a rouse that the real me thought up in a moment of need to hide my true identity. I realized tonight that I *must* be Indiana Jones (course they named the dog Indiana….but, I digress)!

Indiana Jones is always searching for something: The Holy Grail, Sankara Stones, Ark of the Covenant, even crystallized alien heads and I too do a great search every day.

I search for the one thing EVERY SAHM wants…a SHOWER.

I go to bed each night thinking ‘tomorrow will be the day I get up before the kids…’ and everyday my feet hit the floor after hearing something breaking/crashing/crying in the next room. From that moment on my body is in ‘go-mode’.

An average day:

Showers (kids) ~ nurse baby ~ dressed (every one) ~ change baby’s diaper ~ breakfast ~ wipe smeared jelly off the dog (how did that get there?) ~ brush teeth ~ clean up toothpaste 2 year old squirted on bathroom floor ~room check ~ pick up sippy cups from under beds ~ laundry put away ~ change baby’s diaper ~ school ~ chase 2 year old around to get marker out of his clutches ~ nurse baby ~ determine whose turn it is to get mail, break one of my children’s hearts for it not being their turn ~ clean up breakfast mess ~ feed dogs ~ lunch ~ find 2 year old naked outside ~ gather clothes from yard and yes, clean up the poop he made on the patio ~ more laundry ~ kill spider ~ afternoon school ~ argue with 7 year old about why she can’t play with dinosaurs as her ‘math’ ~ pick up dinosaurs 4 year old left after having his feelings hurt because he’s doing  ‘baby’ math ~ chase 4 year old to reassure him he’s a big guy (look longingly at shower on the way down hall) ~ fold laundry ~ nurse baby ~ change diaper ~ strap baby to chest and continue with school ~ mummify an apple for Science project ~ send kids to play at table with playdoh ~ lay baby down ~ attempt to put dinner on the stove ~ start priming end tables for bed room ~ find table with play-doh mess and no kids in sight ~ find kids watching Spongebob and ‘rewinding’ DVR to Plankton yelling ‘Peek-a-Boo! Here comes my foot!’ and laughing like hyenas ~ shoo them back to the table to clean up the mess ~ give up and clean up mess myself ~ haul out the vacuum cleaner AND carpet cleaner to shampoo Play-doh out of fibers and vow that Play-doh will NEVER again be bought ~ return carpet shampooer to garage to find 2 year old in the back paint you were using to paint the end tables and 4 and 7 year old DANCING on top of Daddy’s ping-pong table ~ smile because they are singing a song from church ~ threaten to take away their biking privileges and  a ticket if they don’t get off ~ get mineral spirits to clean up paint ~ re-start dinner while kids (yes) watch Spongebob (don’t judge!) ~ go to bathroom to find that baby has spit up all over your shirt and you both smell funny ~ give baby a bath ~ 2 year old and 4 year old join into bath ~ 7 year old wants to wash the dog ~ get boys out, dog in ~ trip over ARMY men in kids room and make note that someone has brought CoCo Krispies up to their room and (it looks like) they tossed them into the air like confetti (make note to bring up sweeper) ~ send boys outside to rake up leaves ~ 7 year old is on her bike ~ baby in sleeper ~ run sweeper in living room before Nick comes home ~ dinner on table ~ leave dinner on table to walk to the YMCA ~ run around the house in search of YMCA tags ~ no luck ~ cry a little ~ get shoes on ~ fight with 4 year old about WHY he will be going into Childwatch and assure him that he’ll have fun ~ workout, sweat, pant and vow to never drink another Pepsi ~ walk home ~ drink Pepsi ~ take dogs out ~ clean up dinner ~ change baby ~ nurse baby ~ nurse baby ~ nurse baby ~ attempt to lay baby down ~ nurse baby ~ watch Nick curl up on the couch and put the 4 year old and 2 year old to sleep ~ hand him baby ~ baby is asleep within minute ~ give him a dirty look and fold MORE laundry ~ beg 7 year old to PLEASE go to bed ~ dishes ~ one more coat of paint on the end tables ~ a round of ping-pong with Nick ~ hear baby wake up ~ declare that I’m going to take a shower ~ pick up the trail of laundry coming from each child’s room ~ put laundry away, trip over MORE  army men ~ realize that you never ran the sweeper to get the cereal up and now the kids are asleep ~ bend over and pick up cereal by hand ~ FINALLY start shower ~ find MORE army men in the tub (WHERE THE HECK ARE THEY COMING FROM!??!~Clean up army men ~ wipe out tub (why are Army men so dirty?!) and finally…..my quest is over.

14 hours later, and I, Indiana (Audrey Taflan) Jones has finally found what I was searching for all day!! A shower!!!

It’s now 11:41pm, with any luck TOMORROW I will get up before the kids and get my shower in before it all starts again!

🙂 Love my life!

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To Market, to Market….

Posted On July 30, 2011

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The kids will be participating in a ‘Market Day’ with our homeschool group where they can buy and sell items. Of course their minds first went to ‘cookies and lemon-aid’. I will be 9 days postpartum, so, I’m thinking something less ‘mommy involved’ (at least, less ‘kitchen’ involved)!

My thoughts were for them to do a photo booth. We set the camera up on the tri-pod pointed towards the few back drops that I have and they take pictures of their friends!  I thought that we could bring the printer and print copies out right there…..we could even ‘frame’ them with card stock (which would be a handy job for Trey to do ~ glue the picture to card stock!)

I’m still brainstorming on this activity…and I’m wondering what OTHER ideas that we could do that would be creative and yet simple. Something that the kids can do themselves with guidance so that they get the feeling of accomplishment from beginning to end.

Some things that I have thought of:

Yarn dolls

Take home Craft table (SIMPLE craft…bagged up with directions on how to make at home)

Yarn bracelets (Grace has been ‘chaining’ bracelets over the last few days. We all have a few already! I even have a headband!)

Helium Balloons (One ‘tank’ is about $15 and makes over 40 balloons ~ we bought one in May and made balloons for WEEKS! The kids loved them!)

Face painting? I don’t think Trey can do this well, but Grace can make simple shapes on the hand with face paint crayons

‘painted’ rocks…The kids LOVE to paint special rocks that they find. Though not sure how interested other children would be in buying a painted rock! LOL

Lollipop flowers ~ I have a large flower cutter that is like a hole puncher, then they stick a dum dum sucker into the middle and can add a green pipe cleaner to the stick. Trey can cut out the flowers and Grace can do the pipe cleaner, leaving either child to push the sucker through a small opening that can be made with a knitting needle!

 

Hmmm….I’ve also thought of  ‘wands’ and clippy flowers, but those would be REALLY girly and also involve the use of a hot glue gun, WAY  more parental supervision is required for that project!

Any thoughts?

 

Overdue post.

Posted On May 13, 2011

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I’ve been meaning to write for a long LONG time. I kept thinking that I would make a post with our schedule and Accountable Kid boards, but that just hasn’t happened, so I haven’t posted.

I have been keeping track of a few things I wanted to write about on my phone. But, looking over them now I realize that my note taking is lacking….The words, “acting class” really don’t bring to mind any specific story, idea or opinion.

Grace *has* been enjoying an acting class for the last year. I’m really impressed with the class, the instructors and the ‘plays’ that they put on. I contribute the advance in Grace’s reading skills to the class. I feel like she reads along with others to keep up on where they are in the play.

But, what I wanted to blog about SPECIFICALLY isn’t coming across in the words I wrote.

“24 months”  is another little gem I noted in my phone. As I type, that one DID come back to me. The kids and I are working on a ‘chain’ (remember being a child and making chain links out of construction paper?).

The kids and I have been meaning to do this since last week, but because the chain will be displayed in our kitchen (and I have anal retentive tendencies) I don’t want just any construction paper chains lining my wall…so we’re going to hit up Michael’s today for some really nice scrapbook paper that matches the area.

So, why the chain? Nicholas and I started our current journey the month we found out we were pregnant with Trey. July 2006.

By August, we moved out of the house we wanted to buy and he started working 40+ hours while attending Indiana University Southeast. When we started we knew that we had a LONG road ahead of us and at that point we didn’t know *when* he would be accepted into Optometry, *where* he would be accepted and how long it would take us to get to that point. That was *almost* 5 years ago. In 2 more years (24 months) Nicholas will walk in wearing a SEA FOAM GREEN cap and gown and this leg of our journey will be over (okay…aside from having to take some State Boards!).

I get giddy just thinking about it. 24 months!!! Just 24 chains. Each month, on the 4th, we plan on cutting one of the chains and throwing it away…putting it behind us forever. Thanking God for letting us go on this journey together and for all the ways He has blessed us (even though MANY times we didn’t feel like what we were facing were blessings).

I’ve heard the comment “I wouldn’t *want* your life”…and that’s cool. It’s not your life to live. It’s mine. It’s been a rough 5 years (and it’s not over yet) but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

In 24 months:

Grace will be 9 years old.

Trey will be 6 years old.

Nate will be heading towards his 4th Birthday and 2 weeks after that Simon will turn 2 years old.

We’ll be done with Columbus apartment living.

We’ll know for sure where we will be in North Carolina.

Nick and I will be 2 months away from our 11 year anniversary.

We’ll be a 6 months-1 year away from buying our very first home….and not just any home. After waiting 11 years (almost 12) we’ll be VERY picky with what we choose.

It’s all going to happen in the blink of an eye.

The stress and pressure of being the ‘perfect’ mother & wife

Posted On April 22, 2011

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I have a few minutes this morning while Nate is still snuggled in bed, the older 2 are cleaning up the toys in the den and I am sitting with my feet up and a ThermaCare heat wrap on my aching lower back/hip area to write about something that has been on my mind lately.

The stress and pressure that, we as moms, put on ourselves. 😦

I ran into a mama the other day and for the 2nd time in a row she mentioned how ‘Daddy’ was upset with her and the kids because the house isn’t cleaned. With tears in her eyes she looked away and whispered (almost to herself) “If I could *just* get the house in order…”

My heart breaks for this mama. She does so much for her children. They are all smart (she’s a homeschooling mama, of course), they each have a helpers heart, and the level of respect that each child shows is well beyond their years.  You can tell that her children’s needs are being met and she’s doing a great job of raising them. Why can’t that *just* be enough?

I’m blessed with a wonderful husband who supports me through everything. When he comes home from work (well, school) he drops his bags at the door and rushes to greet me and the kids with hugs and kisses. The next words out of his mouth are usually “what can I do to help”. He doesn’t make me feel bad that my laundry sits in the corner unfolded, or the sweeper sits in the middle of the floor un-run with the attachments and hoses all around it (this is how Trey vacuums…there is very little vacuuming going on). He doesn’t care if the dishes are piling up or that there are dog goobers on the patio door from wet noses. He knows that the kids and the house and the schooling is A LOT to take on for one person.

And yet, I still feel like I’ve failed on those days. I hate the days when Nick comes home and I wasn’t able to get it all done. In my mind I’m the one who chose to stay home and take care of the chores, the kids, the schooling….he goes to school (and there have been years where he worked 40 hours plus and STILL went to school full time) to provide for us. He studies hard and for hours at a time, when he walks through the door I want him to be able to sit down for dinner and not worry about the house cleaning.

Yesterday I had (in my mind) a ‘bad’ day. I was trying to run circles around the kids to clean the house and scrub the carpets. Every time I got one room cleaned they would run into that room and tear it up. My breaking point came when my beautiful 6 year old volunteered to give the baby a bath. In theory, this sounded WONDERFUL! I could fold some laundry in the next room while Grace fills the tub up with a little water and she and Trey hang out tub side to play with Nate. I think the moment lasted for 5 minutes. Grace yelled “Mom! Trey poured the shampoo out on the floor!” And sure enough, he did. I took away his tickets for the day (we practice Accountable Kids…) and sent him to his room after he cleaned up the mess (which was all over a towel, so clean up wasn’t t0o bad). I was upset that the 2 day old bottle of shampoo was gone (I had lost  2 other  bottles earlier in the month in the same way). I scooped Nate out of the tub and laid him on the bed and grabbed the baby powder for his little bottom when I heard Grace cry. I went running (AGAIN) to find that Trey had found a toy and (being mad that his sister told on him) threw it at Grace when she walked into the room. Without having tickets to take away from Trey he got a quick whack on the bottom and got 5 more minutes on the bed. In those few seconds, maybe a minute or two, Nate managed to open the baby powder on my bed and poured it all over my new bedspread and clean clothes that I was folding. (AHHHHH) By the time I got every thing straightened up I came downstairs to find the dogs had fought over their food and I had to clean that up as well. I quit. I called Nick and told him that I was coming to get him and that he would be taking us out to dinner and to the container store. I showered and reached for my jeans….and found out where Nate hid his dirty, poopy diaper. 😦 I raced them downstairs to the laundry room where I found Grace’s  foam pillow (I had washed the cover that morning so the pillow itself was in the laundry room) torn to SHREDS. Double 😦 Trey thought the foam felt ‘neat’ to rip up….why not?

I left the house (kids in tow) and met up with Nicholas. Being away from the house and the chaos I had left behind felt great! And when we came home he thought the house looked fantastic and quietly went around loading up the ‘garbage’ that I had left (empty shampoo bottle, ripped up pillow, pile of dog food) and took it to the trash bin.

I felt like a failure for the day. But my husband didn’t see it that way. I had accomplished A LOT yesterday. Regardless if it got ALL done. I did what I could and that made him happy.

Today, my plan is to try that. I’m going to do what I can and just be happy about it. Maybe I won’t get to everything on my list (cleaning out closets, washing clothes and bedsheets and prepping Easter Dinner) but I will have a good day and I won’t be hard on myself. In fact, this morning my only goal is to get out of the house and see our friends. We’ve been rushing around all month long and haven’t taken the time to enjoy the friends and support that God has blessed us with.

I pray that each of you moms also take some time today to just enjoy your kids and to be happy (and content) with your own achievements. We don’t have to be super mom every day. God created us with flaws and imperfections for a reason.

When Nick comes home to find my basket of laundry still sitting at the bottom of the steps where he left it for me, I won’t feel bad. I did the best I could today.

I see your box of toys and raise you….

Posted On April 2, 2011

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We’ve never shared where Grace ‘is’ as far as Achievement testing…and we don’t really intend on sharing specifics. But, she has been tested for the last 2 years and both times passing our expectations of her knowledge! Every parent wants their child to be a savant, but when it comes down to it we all just want them to be ‘average’ or at least PASSING! We went in with that mindset both times she has taken the test. We would pray “Lord, please let her at LEAST pass. All we need is for her to be in the 25% for us to continue homeschooling. I promise we’ll do better next year!” I can laugh at the now…but to have your child sit in front of someone measuring their level of understanding really puts your own beliefs on the line.

*I* chose to homeschool my child. *I’m* the teacher. *I* chose what to teach her this year. *I* decided what to focus on and what to leave out. Did *I* do a good enough job? What if *I* have failed my child by not sending her to a public school? *I* feel like we’re making progress, but will the test show that? *I* have no one else to put the blame on. No one to hold accountable for her education. It’s *me*. All *me*.  And that’s scary.

Well, needless to say for the last 2 years Grace has tested ADVANCED in all of her subjects….UH, excluding punctuation! For the life of me I had no idea that in K she needed to be able to vocalize WHAT a period/question mark/coma does. We were focusing on learning letter sounds and blending! And this year…well, she was expected to proof read a paragraph (which included adding punctuation and correcting mis-spelled words). I’d like to add that we still write most things phonetically. She can read anything and loves to write. But spelling? Not so much! But we’re working on it!

Anyway…this weekend was the Midwest Homeschool Conference and Nick and I set out (by ourselves thanks to my Mom & Grandma who stayed with the kids) to find new curriculum for Grace (and even Trey this year who starts Pre-K 4 next school year).

Our first stop was Apologia Science.

A lot of people have suggested their “Astrology’ program as a great 1st starter book in their series. Well, we looked at the Astronomy and even though I was sold, Nick wasn’t. He preferred the Anatomy book. We debated for a while and after seeing the Junior work book I was sold (the Junior Astronomy book comes out next month…I still might pick it up!)

But!

I was worried that this might be too ‘advanced’ after seeing a parent buying a child Grace’s age a ‘Science curriculum’ that had a fun kitty cat on it and included 12 ‘experiments’. The child proudly looked at his parent and exclaimed “TOYS!” I uncomfortably looked down at my cool Anatomy book and back to Nicholas who also heard the conversation in front of us.

This kid was going to be putting rubber bands around an airplane to make it ‘fly’ and our daughter was going to be learning about how she can confuse her ‘somatic nervous system’ (responsible for voluntary movements) by crossing her hands in front of her and flipping them upside down and having someone point at a finger to see if she can make her mind move that finger  (really,  it’s harder than it sounds! and fun too!). But it made me start thinking about Grace and our expectations of her.

Nicholas and I take our job of teaching our children VERY seriously. They have a lot of educational activities that they do and educational games that they play, and we have fun with our lessons (probably more fun than we should have). But,  when it comes down to it, we expect our kids to rise above their level and to learn more. 12 fun experiments that teach ‘Newton’s Law’ might be fun, but Grace learned motion, mass, force, levers, pulleys and inertia when she was in Kindergarten.

Thankfully, Nicholas was right there next to me to assure me that we were making the better choice for our daughter. We can still do fun experiments with our curriculum, like make a jell-o mold of a cell using various candy and making a model of a diaphragm with a balloon and an empty bottle AND we bought a kit that can make 70 ~messy~ Science experiments (OUTSIDE) this summer!

My fears we’re put to rest when we got home tonight. Grace was eager to see what she was going to learn and when she started flipping through her new Anatomy & Physiology book there was a lot of “Cool!”, “Neat”, “That looks like fun!” and my favorite “Can we start now!?” *heart* She even went downstairs to her work table and brought up some fresh paper and a pen so that she could copy down words like ‘Hypothesis’ and ‘Mitochondria’ and then we looked up their meaning in our new book! 🙂

In the end, we made the right choice. Would she think a box with a cat on it filled with ‘toys’ is the best thing ever? Absolutely! But at the end of the year would she be any better for it? Would she have learned something new? Something more? We chose to homeschool to better our children!

So, little boy with your box of Science Toys….I see your toys and they look like fun, but I raise you….Nothing. You’re not my child. I’m raising children who are so excited to have a new Science book that they beg to start learning at 8:30 in the evening! :o) I’m proud of their achievements and I’m proud that Nicholas and I have the sense to see the potential in each of our kids and recognize that their educational foundation is worth more than a few ‘toys’ in a box.

Sunflowers for Daisies

Posted On March 15, 2011

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A few weeks ago at Daisy Girl Scouts we earned our Rose Petal for our vests.

The ‘rose’ colored petal teaches us ‘To Make the World a Better Place”. I thought what could be better for our World than to plant a sunflower!?

Sunflowers are pretty to look at, can feed wildlife and help keep the soil clean by drawing up toxins from the earth! I thought that was just the coolest thing when I heard it! So, my thought process was that this was a great project for my girls!

They got their hands a little dirty as the dug in the earth (ok…potting soil in little containers! But we were still dirty!) and planted tiny little seeds. Within days of me taking them home they sprouted up!

Another week went by and they looked like plants! I was going to take these little guys back to the girls to show them what they planted! Their little seeds were growing! How exciting!

Sadly, I forgot to take them with me to the meeting that week, so they didn’t get to see them “2 weeks old”. Which, of course was probably for the best ~ it was cookie day at that meeting and a van loaded down with Thin Mints and Samoas doesn’t fit well with fragile flowers that need space too.

So, our little sunflowers sat for another week. It was 2 days ago when I went to water our flowers that I noticed they were starting to ‘wilt’.  😦 Oh no!! What will my Scouts think of me!? As a new Leader I’m trying my best to keep it all together with very little mistakes! Killing our sunflowers was not a move I was willing to make easily….

I rushed out to get some supplies to replant my little buds. I’m no Urban Gardener…okay, I’m not a good one. Because believe you me I try every year to grow *something* in my little Garden in the City! But my only thought is that the flowers have light, dirt and water….but maybe not enough ‘room’ in the tiny container that they started out in!

I didn’t have the time for this project yesterday, but I got right to work tonight with the help of my sweet husband!

Most had died away and withered to nothing at this point. But some were VERY strong! And had the deepest roots that I had ever seen on such little sunflowers.

I was surprised to see that some of the weaker flowers had reached out and had wrapped around the stronger flowers! I pointed this out to Nicholas and told him that this would be a cool lesson to teach our kids. That those of us who are stronger hold up the weak so that they can have a chance to live too. I was inspired by these little sunflowers! I was getting tears in my eyes thinking about the deep meaning of life and living and friendships and family when my sweet, sweet husband busted my bubble!

“No. Not really. See those weaker ones holding on? They really have a grip around the stronger ones. They’re saying, ‘Hey you Buddy! If I’m going down I’m taking this whole operation with me!’ Even the plants are trying to live the new American dream!”

Oh bother! :/

My husband’s side of the closet

Posted On February 27, 2011

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Weird title. And probably a weird thought as well.

But last night as I was trying to fall asleep Nicholas came into the room and disappeared into the closet.  When he was done hanging up one of his shirts he not only left the closet light on, but the door open as well.

Ever notice how when you’re trying your best to fall asleep that your eyes are automatically drawn to the smallest ‘light’? Well, this is a HUGE light and one that my eyes couldn’t leave alone! 🙂

I realized that I was staring at Nick’s side of the closet and my mind starting taking inventory of what he had: a  few polos, a button up shirt or two, a vest, several pairs of dress pants, loads of dress shirts, ties, a suit and 2 white lab coats.

The contents made me think about when we first got married. Nick hated anything ‘constricted’ and he only wore ‘tee-shirts’ from Foot Locker. Some were plain, some colored and some even had a different color collar than the rest of the shirt.

A year of wedded bliss later we moved  from our first apartment in St.Clairsville  to Columbus. Nick’s side of the closet changed from those Foot Locker tee-shirts to work shirts. His side of the closet would stay that way for a few years. Some had his name on them, some were branded with where he was employed, but they all had the same thing in common. Nicholas was a ‘worker’.

When we left Ohio and moved to Indiana Nick’s closet changed again. His branded ‘work shirts’ were replaced with Polos and khakis, the attire that most car salesman would wear! Soon after he left his car salesman status he started working at the wood mill. He was a ‘worker’ again, but his closet never changed. His work shirts were kept in his drawer since they weren’t nice enough to bother with hanging up in the closet. His polos stayed there for weeks and only saw the light of day when we went out or had company over.

After a year of milling Nick decided to go back to school and his polos saw more action! He would come home from work, shower and re-dress for class.

That was 5 years ago. His closet made the last transformation, to where it is now, at the end of last year. Nick is required to ‘dress up’ (and wear his white Optometry coat) during his lab classes throughout the week. Spring quarter starts at the end of March and he’ll be in the Clinic more often,by summer he’ll be full time in the Clinic, so that means more dress shirts and ties.

As I finally drifted off to sleep I thought about the way that we are transformed. Sometimes not as obvious as our wardrobe, but we each go through changes and seasons in our lives. When Nick and I said “I do” in 2002 we had no idea that one day one of us would be attending Optometry school with 3 kids and one on the way.

But here we are. It’s not easy and it’s not always enjoyable for either of us. But we know that we are transforming into a better family and at least one of us is becoming a better dresser. 🙂

Math in a tent

Posted On February 26, 2011

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***Note: I started to write this on Thursday and was interrupted ~ imagine that!)

Last night when I headed out to my Service Meeting for Girl Scouts Nick got the tent from the basement and set it up in our living room.

We’ve been known to do this from time to time. Our own kind of camping done in the middle of winter with popcorn, kool-aid and movies on our t.v! We really know how to ‘ruf’f’ it!

However, when I came home I found 3 kids sleeping on the couches and not curled up in a tent. Instead of putting them back  into the tent for sleeping we decided to carry them to their room, after all, we didn’t want anyone to wake up in the middle of the night and freak out because they didn’t know where they were!

This morning the kids woke up ready and eager to spend the day in their new ‘spot’. It was so much fun to play games in the tent that we decided to do our schoolwork in it!

It was a change of scenery for all of us and one that most traditional students miss out on when they’re at school.

Math in a tent (in the living room) is super fun and my little learners didn’t just count, add, sort and solve for the unknown. Oh no! We made memories that will last a lifetime and will give them stories to tell their own kids about the day they played in a tent and did their school work! ❤

Trying to see through the cob webs!

Posted On February 22, 2011

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Whew! I’m trying to dust off ye’ old blog today! I’ve been meaning to for a while now, but I always seem to find more pressing matters to take care of.

A few times I log in and then fret over what it is that I have to say….not that I don’t have anything to stand on my soapbox about, but sometimes,well, I just draw a blank with where to begin.

Today I was reading a few blogs that I love and wishing that I had the words that they have or even the photography abilities that they possess. But at the end of my readings I just have to come face-to-face with the fact that I am *me*.  And in the words of a great SNL character, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And dog gone it! People like me!”

So, a bit about what’s been going on in my world.

I’ve had a break through a month ago when Nick came home to find me in tears. My house was a mess, the kids weren’t schooled, dinner wasn’t done and I was at my wits end with everyone. I was one grumpy mama bear. We got the kids to bed that night and had a great heart-to-heart about how I would like to see my day go.

I admitted that I had these great plans of a schedule, but having an idea wasn’t enough! I wanted a schedule on the wall that listed school work and cleaning and basically exactly what Connie from Smockity Frocks has!  Nick gave me a great kick in the behind that night! DUH! If I want one, than make one. But don’t use the excuse of “I don’t have one!” to not stick to a schedule!

The next day I put away the computer and worked on our schedule. I wrote down exactly what I wanted to see done, when and how I wanted to do it! By the end of the week I had my schedule done and hanging on the wall! It’s bright! It’s colorful! And the kids like to see what they are supposed to be doing when! It’s motivated us all to have a better day.

Do we stick to the schedule everyday? No. It’s our goal! Each and everyday it’s our goal to follow the schedule. But, we’re not slaves to our schedule. Daily interruptions (trips to the store for milk, time outside because it’s sunny, playing games) happen, and we let ourselves enjoy life and take in some ‘unschooling’!

In addition to my schedule changes I’ve been indulging in food! Not over eating (though I could! ha ha) but Nicholas bought me a Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday and I love making new recipes! Breads, cakes, cookies…YUM!

As I type I am drooling over a cake recipe from The Pioneer Woman! Italian Cream Cake! Oh goodness! Coconut, cream cheese, nuts, cake? *drool*

So, with my newfound schedule I’m going to try to set time aside to blog each day…..again, that’s the goal! 😉

How great is OUR God? How great? How GREAT! Is our God!?

Five years ago this month Nick and I filed bankruptcy. Would I recommend bankruptcy to others…? Yes. I  have in the past, but I wouldn’t put myself in a situation where I would need to go through it again. We are 2 short years away from having it off our records and 3 years away from Nicholas graduating, starting his career and us (FINALLY) buying our first house! We came close a few years ago, but when Nick said he wanted to go back to school (in Ohio) buying a house (in Indiana) just didn’t make sense.

 

This summer we discovered a few blemishes on our credit reports. A few blemishes weren’t ours and a few were things we had no idea even existed! Between the 2 of our reports we had 1 extra bankruptcy (not ours…) that was not DISCHARGED as ours had been 4 years ago, 2 medical bills (one that we thought our insurance had covered and one bill that I knew I had to pay, but never received a bill), and our last error was a ‘delinquent’  bill that was placed in our bankruptcy and the creditor was holding a grudge.

It took all summer long, but with several letters and phone calls (and having to send our medical bill payment TWICE since the 1st one got lost in the mail) we FINALLY have a clean (as it can be) credit report!

So what does this all mean? Why write about it? On Monday we are applying for a Graduate Loan. We’ve applied for a Student Plus loan Nick’s last year of undergrad and the Graduate Loan last year and both times we were denied. As far as we can tell we were denied because our bankruptcy wasn’t out of the ‘clear’ long enough and because of our blemishes.

We also truly believe that we were denied because, even though the extra funds would be nice, we didn’t NEED them.

This year, we have a need. Tuition has increased and Nicholas has to go 4 quarters instead of 3, so our financial aid that didn’t increase (like the tuition) has to get us through a whole year instead of 9 months. Also, because Nick has to go all 4 quarters he can’t work during the summer any more.

 

The greatest thing with all of this. The coolest thing EVER! Is that even though we have a “need” more than ever, all of our needs are met!

Seriously, on paper when we write out all of our debts and bills we are really SHORT! Like, no money, at all, for December bills. And yet, as we approach November, our bank account has a running (POSITIVE) total that carries us all the way to December 29th!

How great is our God!?

We are asking for prayers as we fill out our Grad Plus Loan paperwork. But, we’re not asking for prayers that our loan be approved. It would be awesome if we were able to secure a little more money to ‘loosen our belt’ for the rest of the year, but we know that He will provide for our needs now and forever! But we are asking that our process goes the way they He needs it too. Even if that means another “no.” this year as well.

Nicholas and I have been through enough in our marriage to know that every closed door is closed for a reason!

 

Oh my goodness!  In 2005, Nicholas and I saw the best little colonial rental house on a quiet street! It was perfect~a little yard, a garage, 3 bedrooms, a quaint kitchen….it was just us and Grace and Nicholas was making the best money we had even seen in our bank account while working as a car salesman.

We jumped on it! We wanted it! We thought of nothing else but living in that house! I remember the phone call from the management company telling us that our credit wasn’t what they were looking for (we had *just* filed bankruptcy the month prior). Nick and I were crushed and fell to the ground in devastation!  At that moment in our lives NOTHING could have been more worse!

ha ha ha

2 months later the car business was not all that great. Yes, we had great months when people wanted a new car…but when no one wants to buy a new car. Well, those paychecks were hard. There would have been no way we could have afforded the rent on that little house with THOSE pay checks. And a month after that? Well…Nick was offered a job across the river in Indiana ~ all the way up in Starlight! Had we been in that little house, that we wanted so bad, Nicholas would have had an hour and a half commute to work and again to come home!  =o)

He provides for us even when we don’t know that we need it! So, again….I ask you.

How GREAT is our GOD!?

 

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