Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Series of Life: Three

After school:

Because they are on the front of a train that is flyyyyyyyyying down the tracks:

Working on the Railroad:

Tyler :)

A trainyard in Fall is quite lovely:

Series of Life: Two

Cutest thing of the whole trip by far was Brielle giving the goats bottled milk to drink. They only got two suckles each then she yanked it from them and went off to the next one that she force-fed. It was hilarous!

This guy asked Will, "what do you think about taking me home with you?"

My kids find fun anywhere:
Perusing through history:

Isn't the next one adorable?

Series of Life: One

This is Brielle's new comforting mechanism: pinching her upper lip. Here we are at Josh's Raiders competion for Northwest Highschool's JROTC program (event took place at APSU). Unfortunately, yesterday Josh found out that this was his last competition of this year, because 1st Sgt. will not allow him to be in both Raiders and play basketball. Josh thought about it all day and I was praying throughout the day for him. He may not get much playing time in basketball, but that is what he chose and we are so proud of him for making the team. Well, we would just be proud no matter what. He also did awesome in the Raiders competitions!

This is Brielle after MOPS when I tried to apply what I learned:

Titans Fan in the making:

Anheuser-Busch Tour in St. Louis, MO:

Used our Groupon here:

The Deals This Week!

Every once in awhile I am so inclined to post about the great deals that I get on sale with coupons. I get really excited when the savings actually work out! There are lots of times I spend clipping coupons and printing lists only to find that the items are sold out on the shelves (another frugal fanatic got to them before me!). So here is what I bought and what I paid. Disclaimer: I plan to recycle much of the material you see. I'm not a fan of mass consumerism, despite what the items below portray, but when I get items for free (or get paid for taking them) I will do my best to reuse and recycle.
Walgreens: $57.32 worth below - I paid $7.96 and got $9.00 in Register Rewards to spend next week (I also used some RR from last week's on this purchase).

Kroger: $58.34 worth below -- I spent $15.25

Walmart: $34.22 below -- I spent $3.98!

So, if you've added it up I spent $27.19 (price includes taxes) on everything pictured above (which is worth a whopping: $149.88) and saved $122.69!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Simple beauties

I am enjoying what I believe to be the last few days of line drying our laundry on my back porch. The temperatures are perfect and the sun still reaches the back of the porch where the lines are strung. In a short time there will be no sunlight at all on our back porch, not until Spring. I know this because we have lived 9 winters in this home. We have a lot of laundry. It will only increase in the next months as our clothes become larger and heavier to warm us through the colder temperatures. I had a thought yesterday to appreciate this laundry. There will come a time soon enough that I will not have five peoples’ clothes to attend to. And do believe me when I tell you that I will quickly fill that time with things that are not getting done now. I plan to enjoy that season too, though it may be a hard transition, But more importantly, I think enjoying this season now is so very important.
It’s Brielle’s naptime. It coincides with Tyler’s arrival home from school, which is great so that I can stop whatever I’m doing and talk/listen with him. Today he asked me cut open the pineapple, over which we talked quite a bit. It’s the little things. I ride my bike to the grocery store not only because it’s great exercise and better for the environment, but also to save some change in gas costs. But I’ll get in the truck and go the half mile after dark to pick up Josh from practice at school, because it’s the only time he really talks to me. If anything is fresh on his mind, that is. It’s these small things that I'm learning are worth enjoying.
I’ve started an even more frugal means by which I am choosing to live by. I remember not long ago when I used to think that living frugally meant shopping at Aldi. Now, I realize it’s more a way of life. I thought using coupons on sales was extremely frugal. Now I know that it’s a helpful tool, but you can spend too much money saving money if you aren’t careful. I like to donate stuff, so I don’t think it was in excess like hoarding, but definitely requires attention (for example I still have 9 tubs of frosting and only 1 cake box left in my storage). I’ve learned that not spending money requires more at home baking, more food planning and preparation, and lots more TIME.
Time eludes me. I know it’s ticking away even as I type this, but entire days can go by and the huge overflow of dishes could be washed, but the sink becomes full right again! Baking, cooking, and cleaning take a major portion of my time. I never knew life like this. My dishwasher was disconnected when my talented husband replaced our sub floors and laid the laminate tiles. During that time, our sweet daughter pulled on the pipe that bent and rendered it in need of repair. Therefore, all “nearly from scratch” cooking and baking bowls, pots, and dishes must be hand washed--along with the usual plates, cups, and silverware. Paper plates have not been on hand during the past few weeks either. It’s really amazing to learn how much time it takes to work life and be frugal. I’m not sure I’d even be considered frugal in other parts of the world. And yet, I’m the most frugal person I know in real life. (Although there are others who come VERY close and I call them my friends! lol)
Brielle is nearing her 3rd birthday. This has meant (in our everyday life) that she no longer feels very tired around the 1pm time that she used to. She rarely just goes to sleep unless I lay with her. With all of the time I feel I’m loosing in a day (and this is of course totally the wrong way of looking at it) I don’t want to loose more time by lying with her in the afternoons. If I don’t, she gets up and plays quietly in her room. Yesterday I let this happen, and of course around 6pm she was one cranky, unhappy child! So today, I worked much of my chores, incorporating her help. I did stop several times to help her, play with her, paint with her, and play-dough it with her. Around 2pm, I thought we will just read a book and then lay down. As I was cuddling with her she put her arm around me and started singing me a lullaby to sleep to. Tell me there is anything more enjoyable, more important, more precious than sharing that with her at the age of 2, which soon she will no long be.
There isn’t. Because it’s in the obvious. Which I tend to forget or ignore. How can a person treasure a hundred of even a thousand obvious moments a day? The front window behind me is open and the back door as well, so that a beautiful breeze blows through my house right now. I’ve been longing to type for so many days…weeks now…to update my blog. And here I am now, in my wonderful, quiet home, on this beautiful day spending the time that God allowed me to write to my heart’s content. Living with joy, meaning we really appreciate the great and wonderful gifts that we have been given, has to matter for something. Maybe for everything. And it’s not just the peaceful “good feeling” stuff. It’s in the work, sometimes in the struggles, and perhaps even in the middle of chaos that we can behold a new realization or appreciation for what is or what can be from a situation or experience. I say this from the most humblest means. There is an evil that is quick to try and destroy that joy! I should know as well as anyone that as soon as I start praising God for the awesome things He has done in the great and the seemingly small…that there will be some interruption, some distraction, something that wants to drive a wedge to kill and destroy. Unfortunately it sometimes takes a long time for me to get to a place where I learn to appreciate things. I spent an entire year last year involved in so much that busied and distracted me. It was fine for the time, but I know that God wanted me to grow in something that I did not understand or comprehend.
I’m not na├»ve enough to say, “oh…take a deep breath and just inhale the blessings of God.”
I’ve been to a place where I could not conceive of that notion, a place that was broken and difficult. I’ve been to different places like that where the smog was so thick distracting that I was just walking around in some kind of haze of ambiguity in which I strangely just continued to make worse on my own. Does this make sense? If you go around long enough like that you are going to get burnt! Sometimes badly. And I certainly did. It is life-changing to discover that there are truths, there is hope, and there is a LIFE GIVER that I need to be clinging to pull me out of that eventual hell.
And when I’m out here…and I can see the simple beauties around me like what you are reading (if you‘ve stuck with me long enough through this post)…I can say with clarity and honesty and pure appreciation, “oh…take a deep breath and just inhale the blessings of God!” I can only hope that I remember that in ten minutes, two hours, and maybe if by grace alone: tomorrow.