Processing My Weekend

My family and I had a WONDERFUL and fun New Year weekend. I sure hope you did, too.

In no particular order:

-we ended up ringing in the New Year quietly as a family (well, as quiet as 6 kids can possibly be past their bedtime, LOL). We were gonna hang with friends but everyone already seemed to have plans. And to be honest, it looks like a Christmas hurricane went through our house so I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea of hosting. But it was cool just hanging out as a fam. Bought the kids some sparkling grape juice– they thought drinking “bubbly” was fun. The two littlest ones made it all the way to 10p. The rest stayed up till 1a. We watched ABC’s Rockin’ Eve party and we got to see Pentatonix perform. That was squeal-worthy for our kids. Collectively as a fam, we’re all on a big Pentatonix kick right now. :-p

PTX

Photo Cred: atrl.net/

-I totally gutted, cleaned, and minimalized our master bedroom this weekend. It looks so lovely. It kinda had became a catch-all room, unfortunately. But I wanted to make our bedroom a quiet, peaceful place, or a “Love Nest” as we jokingly coined it. So I did it! And I love it! I so want to keep it clean and tidy from here on out. Another one of my goals for this new year. Actually, what I’m ultimately wanting to do is to develop a cleaning/organizing/decluttering schedule that will touch on every room of our house. I want to then schedule it in my Google calendar what cleaning area(s) are up for the week so that my house can just be maintained all throughout the year. Toughest areas are those darn catch-all areas, aka my bedroom and the basement. One has been tackled. Yea. Next up: the Basement Beast. We just need to get metal storage shelves to put in the basement. We have camping gear, kid stuff galore, holiday decor, etc that we need and want but there’s no real “home” for them. So they sit in boxes on the floor taking up space needlessly. We need to get them UP. Gonna check out ads for Rural King, Big R, Lowes, Menards, etc to keep an eye on sales. That would help SO much having some of those.

-In cleaning my bedroom, I created a little “office area” for myself in the corner. Nothing special at this point in time but a table, chair, and lamp… but I am wanting to use that area for Bible Study time and writing… a little nook away from it all where I can focus. Eventually, I’d like to expand it and maybe have a place to put all my paperwork… and even get a small coffee pot up there. Even my hubby said it’d be great to wake up to the smell of coffee upstairs. I LOVE mornings. That is when I am wide awake and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the world. I do my best thinking in the morning. And no one needs me. It’s a glorious time. 😀

-We had our last Christmas hoorah Saturday with my husband’s extended family. We have (2) smaller Christmases left , one with some super close friends and one with my sister and her family. But those will be pretty low-key. Hubby and I worked hard Saturday morning making our infamous dips: Cheesy Bean and Spinach Artichoke (there was hardly any leftovers). I also whipped up a batch of yummy gluten free rolls. (Four out of the eight of us have gluten issues.) It was just a lot a fun– it’s always a blast hanging out with family, opening gifts, and eating. 😀 Later that night, as the kids were watching movies and things quieted down, I got to thinking about how absolutely blessed we are with family. On BOTH my side of the family and my hubby’s, there are just some fan-tabulous folks. There is so much love and support and encouragement… it blows my mind. God has SO richly blessed us!!!

-Thinking about teaching my 12 and 11 year old kids how to do their own laundry. They know how to use a tablet and a Wii U… I think they can figure out a washing machine. Thinking about putting a laundry basket in their bathroom… just for them. Everyone else has been trained to bring their dirties downstairs before breakfast. Laundry is THE THING in our house that everyone seems to absolutely despise. I’m not kidding– they’d rather clean toilets. Trying to figure out ways to simplify. If Ducklings #1 & #2 are responsible for ONLY their laundry… maybe that would help matters a bit.

-Gotta call the midwife tomorrow to make my first appointment. Inching my way to 15 weeks. Gotta get in to see her. Things are progressing well (and normal)– PTL. Meant to call her earlier, but got distracted with my illness and the holidays. Hope to be seeing her soon. Can’t wait to hear the heartbeat. That’s always such a cool thing. Still haven’t felt the little guy/gal move around yet– so hearing that first heartbeat makes it all seem more real. Still wearing my normal clothes. Just have a tiny bump. Kinda thinking this time around about NOT purchasing “maternity” clothes per say and just buying “bigger” clothes. I’ve heard of other ladies doing that and it seemed to work for them. Definitely cheaper going that route– maternity clothes can be expensive. Already purchased (2) larger sized things for this pregnancy– Colt’s shirts. LOL. Preggo in style! And I got a (blessing) text from one of my girlfriend’s and she offered to let me borrow her maternity clothes. She just had her precious baby boy a couple of weeks ago. (What a cutie he is!) SO THANKFUL! I had gotten rid of so much of my maternity clothing with my last baby– we honestly thought we were done. Surprise! Guess not! But I suppose much of what I had was out of style by now anyway.

-Gonna take down the Christmas stuff tomorrow. *sniff* Never ready for that. Christmas lights are so cozy and warm and uplifting. BUT, I plan on leaving the greenery and lights on the banister. That can stay for the winter months. Thinking of ways to make the dreary months of January, February, and March fun and decorative. Guess that means I need to make a big deal out of Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter and decorate the house accordingly. Focusing NOT on the cold and darkness, but instead on the coming of Spring, which honestly isn’t THAT far away. It’s only 76 days away!!! My brain is already thinking about gardening plans! I’ve toyed with gardens in the past, but I’d really like to take a real swing at it this year. My kids LOVE picking veggies and berries and eating stuff out of the yard. And we’ve been blessed with a decent sized city lot, larger than most. We can most certainly grow a considerable amount in our lawn. Hmmm… time to dream and plan!

-My parents blessed us with Culver’s gift cards for Christmas. We went shopping this afternoon and we decided to treat the kids to dinner out. It was SO yummy! THEY HAVE GLUTEN FREE BUNS!!! They were super thick and fluffy buns– and I enjoyed every last carby bite of awesomeness. I cannot even remember the last time I had a BUN with my burger. It was so incredibly yummy. THANK YOU MOM & DAD!

-With that burger in mind… tomorrow, I start my next fitness challenge. Just prior to Christmas, I took on a Challenge to work out 30min/daily for the two weeks leading up to Christmas, only 2 rest days. Conquered it– even with a cold (flu?). My next Challenge is from Jan 4- Jan 31. I am to work out at least 30min/daily, 6 days a week AND I need to stick to an eating goal (which for me is to watch portions!). Gotta weigh and measure tomorrow AM. Now I’m obviously not seeking to lose weight, but I’m all about making healthier lifestyle choices. It’s online in a FB group. Gotta check in daily with what exercise(s) I did and what I ate (I’ll just take a pic of what I ate off of the YouFood app I already use). Gonna crush it. Even if I don’t win any prizes, it’s always a great thing for me personally to have a goal in which to aim for. Helps me make good choices and I always feel so accomplished when I finish.

-Tried my hand at Eggs Benedict this morning and EVERYONE loved it, even our picky 2 year old. We didn’t have English muffins or breakfast meat– but we used GF rolls from Saturday, and those that could have gluten just ate regular wheat bread toast. Poached some eggs with the poaching pan I got for an Xmas present this year. Topped it off with homemade Hollandaise sauce. So so yummy. Honestly didn’t know how the Hollandaise would go over with the kids, but they adored it. I’ll need to make a double batch next time. Everyone wanted seconds.

-In our shopping ventures this afternoon, I got a diffuser from Bed, Bath, and Beyond with the money we’d gotten back from a gift return. Didn’t even think to put that on my wish list, but I have wanted one for a loooong time. To experiment, we put some lavender essential oil in it when we got home and the kids thought that was super cool. Smelled wonderful. The toddler’s especially liked sticking their hands in the mist. It’ll be nice to put calming essential oils in it during homeschool hours. And it will also be cool to use healing essential oils like eucalyptus when someone gets sick. Gotta do some research now and see what kinds of essential oils we can use with it. All I have is lavender, Taming the Wild Child (LOL- it’s a calming blend), eucalyptus, lemon, thieves & citronella (although, I don’t know if thieves or citronella can go in a diffuser… gotta look into that). But it’d be fun to have different scents to work with. I know a lot of herbs and alternative healing methods… but I’m slowly baby stepping into EO’s. Heard so many people rave about their effectiveness. It’s intriguing.

-Introduced our kids to the movie Apollo 13 this weekend. Boy, I’d forgotten how on-the-edge-of-your-seat that movie was. Nail biter. And I even knew how it ended. Didn’t matter. Kids had mixed responses. The boys were all like, “SO cool… space… danger… there should have been more explosions, though…”. The girls were all like, “I NEVER EVER want to go to space… eek!” Me? I freakin’ loved seeing the clothes, home decor, and hairstyles the characters had. Not sure I’d like the ’69-’70 time frame– which is when Apollo 13 took place. But I’d LOVE to be able to go back in time to see the 50’s and 60’s. Life just looked so much simpler then. Harder in one sense because they didn’t have the conveniences we have today. But life just seemed so much slooooower. Ahh. That would be right up my alley! And to be honest, I like the fashion. 😀

-Re-picked up the book “Choosing Gratitude” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, now Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth!!! I’d gotten in back in 2013 and attempted to read it but didn’t get much past the first chapter. Not sure why. But man alive it sure is speaking to me now. It’s perfect! Not sure who all’s reading this… my close friends and family already know this, but perhaps you don’t. I’ll just get this out there: I struggle with anxiety and depression. Been that way now on and off for much of the past 2 years. Early symptoms showing up a couple of years prior even. Thankfully it hasn’t been debilitating. Nor do I have any desire to take medications for it. (Meds are for some people but I don’t feel it’s right for me.) Trying to heal this naturally. The more I seek for answers, the more I’m realizing that part of the problem is my lack of thankfulness to God for the many many blessings that He has given me. My focus is off of Him and instead is on the things that are going on around me circumstantially. I neglect to see God and His goodness all around me. That lends itself to a darker walk of life. I don’t want that! I want to walk with JOY. But it’s got to be a purposeful and intentional endeavor. JOY doesn’t just happen. It must be cultivated. So I am trying very hard to incorporate THANKFULNESS in my daily (moment-to-moment) walk. His blessings are literally everywhere, if we would just open our eyes and try to see it. Even in the darkest situations, there’s got to be a glimmer of something in which to be thankful for. Look for it. Well, that’s my goal. I want to be a more joy-filled person. I want to see the positive and the good… no longer focusing on the negative and the bad. And as a believer, I can have SO much joy just in thinking about being saved from my sins (thank You, Jesus!) and spending an eternity in Heaven with God Himself. I just have to focus on it. So I must take captive my every thought.

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So anyway… yeah… had a lot on my mind from this weekend. Wanted to share it with y’all. Looking forward to a new week. Gonna focus on the blessings!!! Hope you, too, have an incredible week.

Any comments or questions, feedback on EO’s or seeking joy or about anything else I posted, I’d love to hear it.

Later everyone.

~Momma Duck

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It was the flu

Flu… that’s the “bug” that went through our house this past week. And it was a nasty bugger!!! It took a full week for myself and our oldest son (10) to recoup most of the way. Still not functioning at 100%. But we’re better. Just left now with a lingering cough, stuffy nose, and tiredness. Some of the other kids have on & off fevers and the sniffles but nothing bad. Hoping it stays that way and no one else gets it to extent we did.

The worst part about getting sick is the aftermath. It takes so many days to get back on my feet again. So many things got piled up and left undone while I was out of commission. Lots of loose ends to pick up.

On top of last week with my son and I being sick, we were dog-sitting my folks’ dog while they were away on vaca AND my husband’s grandfather passed away (and we had a bunch of funeral & family things to attend to). It has been royal cray-cray over here.

And Easter is looming overhead. Eek. We’re celebrating Saturday. So between now and then I have to get Easter clothes (and shoes!) for everyone… which means I’ve got to dig around in their summer clothing boxes down in the basement first before heading off to the stores to fill in the gaps.

School this week has been a wash. Too much to do to get caught up. We’ll be back in the game next week though.

On the positive side, I’ve had plenty of time to think and pray these past several days. My husband and kids truly stepped in and helped me with stuff around the house. Surprisingly my house looks OK and is clean. Laundry has somewhat been kept up with. And our kitchen is stocked with food.

And the coolest positive of them all came this morning. My husband and I feared that our youngest son (3) may have had a hernia in his groin so we took him in to the Dr. He does NOT have a hernia! Woo hoo! It was something else entirely. Something benign and non-surgery-requiring! (Ever hear of a varicocele?) Praising God for answered prayer!

AND the weather was absolutely LOVELY today! High 60’s! Had the windows open, fresh Spring breezes blowing through the house… I got to garden… ah. It just felt so good to be healthy and much less stressed.

I do thank God for seasons of high stress. It’s refining fire. It forces you to cling to Him for your strength. And when it’s all over? Ahhhh… you can breath and relax and slow down… it’s wonderful.

Praising God this evening for the trials AND the blessings!

Have a great evening folks.

~Momma Duck Mel

Spring is Finally Here

For some reason, this has been a loooooong winter. I’m noticing that the older I get, the longer and the harder winters are  becoming for me mentally and emotionally. Raised in Michigan, cold/hard winters were the norm. Shouldn’t I be used to them by now? Yet the “snow bird” concept of migrating south for winter is sounding more and more like a good idea.

It’s hard to explain, but I believe many would probably agree on some level with me on this… but… during the winter months, it’s hard to “enjoy” the days and really “live”. I’m here and I’m doing life and I’m obviously care-taking and investing in the lives of my family… but it’s almost in a mechanical way… just push through… I struggle with depression and anxiety… I want to sleep a lot (hibernation doesn’t seem to far fetched)… and it’s a royal struggle not to just eat.

Am I the only one??

Then comes that first week of Spring weather that hovers in the 45-65F temperatures (which we just had this past week). And it.is.GLORIOUS! With goosebumps, the hairs stand up on my arms in salute to the warmer weather. Perhaps this may sound dumb, but it makes me want to frolic and dance about in the hills (like in the Sound of Music). Well… we don’t have many hills where I live… so I guess I’ll take frolicking and dancing in the open corn and soy fields.

I (and my children) immediately head outside. We walk. We start to pull weeds. We de-garbage our lawn. We kick the ball around. We take our starter seeds and plants and put them out on the porch. We drool over Burpee magazines, soaking in the sun, and dreaming about what plants and flowers we want to order this year.

EVERYONE comes outside. The sidewalks are full of our neighbors. The ice cream stand just down the road is jam-packed with customers. The city comes alive. So much activity!

And I come alive inside. The only way I can describe it is that it feels like I can finally breathe. I want to run, play, garden, grill, have campfires, etc. If it were a feasible option, I’d probably even *live* outdoors.

In conclusion to these ramblings: I love Spring. And I am SO glad it is finally here. Sun, please stay. 🙂

~lovingly,
Momma Duck

2015-03-16 19.07.32Spring sunset over the countryside.

Spring is Coming & Learning French

It is 2F where I am right now… but as I sit here typing, I hear Spring birds just a chirping away outside… and a mourning dove. PUH-LEASE tell me Spring is coming around the bend!!! I’m not one to complain about the weather… I do like Winter to a point (especially the snow!). But I am desperately ready for Spring to come. I want to go outside and soak up some sun! We live in the city so a lot of things are withing walking distance… and I want to walk!!! Sure you can do that in Winter… if you like the “freezing your toosh off” feeling that goes along with that. But I don’t! Especially when having to bundle up 6 little ones along with myself just to do that. Seems like it takes more time to bundle up than the time any of us want to stay outside. Ahhh… and I dream of gardening and working with the soil… flowers, veggies, berries… The kids and I have been drooling and fantasizing over those Burpee magazines we keep getting in the mail. They love being outdoors, too. They love working with their hands and gardening alongside me. My middle son (who’s 6) got a bird feeder for Christmas and we hung it out back so we can easily see the birds that eat from it. He wants this Spring and Summer to watch them and research which type of bird they are and what their calls sound like. Strangely, the Winter birds have hardly touched it. Not sure what they’re eating to not be interested in a bird feeder. We figure more will attend as the weather warms up. We live three doors down from a seasonal ice cream shop and they open on Sunday. And the root beer and hot dog stand down the road opens March 6. These are signs of Spring for us! 😉 Got a little of the planting bug out of our systems yesterday. My middle daughter (who’s 8) is signed up to bring in a green pepper for her 4H project this June. We went ahead and potted several seeds now for a practice run:

plants

The packet says they will be ready in 75 days so we know we planted prematurely. But we’re also going to plant more seeds in March and April just so we *know* we’ll have a ripe green pepper to turn in for sure. It was a lot of fun watching her plant and get everything ready. We hope to get something a tad more classy than a diaper box to put next to the window, but for now it’ll do. The plant in the middle is a lemon tree the kids grew from a seed in a lemon we had a while back ago. They wrapped it in paper towel and “watered it” regularly till it sprouted and then they planted it. They named her (yes, apparently it’s female) “Sour Lemon”. Since we had the potting soil out, I went ahead and transplanted her into a bigger pot. I hope to get a nice rack or shelf of some sort to permanently keep next to the window so that I can have potted herbs there year round. Seeing something green and thriving during the dark Winter months makes me happy.

On a totally different thought… I am learning French. My desire to do so really stemmed from my oldest daughter (who’s nearly 12) when she decided for her Fashion Revue project for 4H she wanted to dress in “French Style”… something like this with a beret and cute handbag:

fashion

As we were searching through the web and pinning things to Pinterest, I had a stirring in my soul that has always been there, but I hadn’t paid any attention to it for years… I ♥ France and French things, esp their language and architecture and culture. I ♥ traveling and seeing the world just in general. So far I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland– awesome experiences!. But it’s been YEARS since I’ve traveled. With six children and a husband who owns his own business and not a lot of disposable income, we call it “good” when we can away on an extended weekend and visit friends or family out of town (or out of state). 😉 But to travel internationally??? Sounds a bit far fetched. Too good to be true. But I LOVE to travel. If there is *one thing* that literally gives me goosebumps to think about, it’s traveling and learning different languages and seeing/experiencing the world. We have a gorgeous canvas painting over our couch of the canals of Venice and I just LOVE it. Every time I look at it I say to myself, “someday, I’m going there and seeing it in person”. I chose French because I took two years of it in high school so I know some basics. I have always loved the language (it’s just so beautiful and romantic), but was too caught up with choir and school and friends and goofing off back then to really take heed of learning it well. So I’m back at it, using Live Mocha, Duolingo, and YouTube to learn it. It’s surprisingly coming along pretty well. I’ve also started following French stuff and people on Pinterest and Instagram. What would be awesome is to meet a French speaking person face to face and to test my language skills with them (when I get better, that is). The thing I keep seeing over and over is “immersion”. Since I can’t just go to France now and get immersed, I have to do whatever I can here to immerse myself in other ways: read French subtitles, watch French movies, listen to French music, read articles and newspapers in French, switch my cell phone and laptop to French, etc. And it can’t be sporadic learning. It has to be a constant, daily thing. I’ve talked many a time to my husband about world travel and he’s game. He’d love to travel as well and is open to the opportunity should it present itself. We dream. And someday, I hope these dreams become a reality…