Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fresh Snow Fresh Start

Walking in our new winter wonderland.
The kids have enjoyed some new adventures in our new backyard. We’re not quite sure how far back our property line is, but with everyone’s backyards being solid woods, we’re free to venture all the trails. I only wish I grabbed my camera when the deer walk through our yard, which happens quite often.
First Sledding
Tom joined them to check out the old fort that was left to us, as well as where the paths led.
Through the new woods with daddy

Our “Forever Tree”
Now that I’m familiar with all my local Target stores, I often browse the clearance sections. I’ve been wanting to put a painted or vinyl tree on the wall next to our TV. The area was just so bare after the Christmas Tree went down. On an end isle I found this vinyl/removable tree sticker. The other one had too many bird it would have creeped me out. It went up easy, and I added these tiny gold hooks (found at Home Depot) to hang things on.
Our forever tree in LivRm
Our forever tree in LivRm
I figure each season I’ll have something new to hang up. Advent we’ll have our Jesse tree here, and Christmas it’ll host the 12 days of Christmas, and snowflakes for the rest of winter. Valentines day we’ll put up some homemade hearts. And who knows what I’ll think of for the rest! Honestly, I can’t stop glancing at it – I was so proud of myself for thinking it up. It wasn’t until it was all up that my husband was convinced of the idea. Smile

Apparently the retail market knows I’m on another organization frenzy. SALES! Two months in our new home and I’m still watching for sales on plastic bins, magazine files, etc. Just as you walk into most stores, there it is ready for me to cram into my cart. (Hint: Check out the new Target dollar section)

The room I left until last is my hobby room. I’ll be posting more about it on my sewing and craft blog Modest Mommies. But I thought I’d mention this wonderful idea I found to take your piles of fabric and turn them into mini fabric bolts. Here’s how mine turned out. And yes, they are being stored on an old changing table I got off Craigslist for a fabulous deal.
Organized at last

This idea found at: The little Green bean

I’ve already sewn up all the pants holes that arrived on the moving truck. Next up, hemming pants and sewing some crafty items to sell! At the same time, I’m finding it fun to bake from scratch again and ready for some fun cooking adventures with my kids.

*Once I kick this nasty stomach flu I caught!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Times

I think a lot. It’s more a condition, that a desire. Therefore I blog, to get it all out of my head. That, and I am the queen of “to do” lists. Thanks to all who gave me note paper for Christmas.

Now that we are moved into our new home, life is coming back together as we remember it.. but better. We’re making , positive friendships – and hoping to hold on to the old ones! We’re getting rid of the clutter in our lives, and not just the things that piled up in our garages.

While we moved for many reasons, one of them was to help refocus our family on the things that really matter.
What matters?
Our Faith matters most. We are happy to be near a few churches that show true virtue and tradition, and generally appreciate us bringing our often antsy children to Mass. There’s nothing like a good crying room at church!
Our Family matters a whole lot. We are thrilled to be only 30-40 minutes from our family that we share common goals with. We cherish our time with them so much, and being nearer to them means more happy times together without having to make it a long drive and whole day thing. We can just “stop by!” The kids are so excited. We are also looking forward to more family time with Tom, since he will be only a few minutes from work.
Our Finances our always on our minds. With a lower house payment, we look forward to engaging the kids in more local activities, perhaps ballet for the girls?
Our Future is in the planning. We are looking forward to many days in our beautiful yard, complete with privacy we didn’t have before. The kids will always be kids, not liking school book work, but I know I can come up with MANY new hands on lessons they’ll like in our new school area. And we’ve already begun making new homeschool friendships with the locals! And of course, the big event – my sisters wedding this summer. So excited for it all!

We’re happy here, away from the distractions. Of course we miss our dear friends, whom we hope to visit with soon. To anyone who is reading, and enjoys my blogs, thanks. I appreciate your time and kind comments.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Our 2010 Christmas Letter

Dear Family and Friends,
We pray you’ve experienced an abundance of blessings and graces from God this past year, as we have. Sometimes it’s hard to see them. The simplest blessings are having a place to call home and family to share it with. As I begin this letter, our house is empty, I write from a borrowed card table on scrap paper, while the kids snuggle in their sleeping bags for the third week in a row. Yet it’s in this empty house I feel most at home.
  Here we are sleeping on our air mattress and sleeping bags, with only 3 days change of clothes in suitcases.
This year seems typical at a glance. Our homeschooling days were filled with learning, field trips, sports and friends. Mikayla (8), Stanley (6), Sabrina (3) and Jonathan (1) all grew to new levels of independence and knowledge. It is fascinating to be such a part of it as their teacher. Birthdays were celebrated with full d├ęcor and fun cakes decorated by mommy (her new hobby). We even raised a dozen butterflies! Our annual family vacation took us to magical Disney World in Florida. We took such delight in the warmth and memories made there. We really have tried to make time with the children our focus this year.
Family Car
While there were so many great days that passed by quickly, we experienced the slowest and saddest as well. Phone calls of tragedy came as family and friends passed away. Others went into surgery, leaving us on edge for days. Tom had his usual layoff during the summer, but longer than before, from April to September. Melissa decided to start up a small sewing and craft business called “Modest Mommies” to make some side cash. She’s sewing nursing covers and refurbishing furniture. The toughest part of is assuring the kids that all is in God’s hands and that’s the safest place to be. Asking them to put complete trust in this Supreme Being we keep telling them about.
Sometimes I think sickness, tragedy and hardships fall on us as a reminder to slow down to recognize and appreciate our blessings. Joyful times can do the same. This year we’ve seen many mothers choosing life and we have been thrilled to kiss those sweet babies. (including our kids' first cousin)

 Mikayla First Communion
It is through God’s grace that we can handle the rough days and appreciate the good days. Did you know that the best way to receive graces is through the Sacraments of the Church? We celebrated Mikayla’s First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion this year. We are so proud of her and amazed at her passion for our faith. She loves to share it with her brothers and sister. Our faith in God gives us the courage we need to stay hopeful when Tom’s out of work, strength to keep discipline in our family of six, and he gives so much love that we can share it with others. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

100_3032Sold with Chris and Brandy Lewis
When “all was calm, all was bright,” we checked into the housing market and found our house to still be of value and others we liked to be quite appealing. Spontaneously we listed our house for sale. Shocking to many, we sold in days for asking price. After many trips to view houses, we fell in love with one. Complications with the buyers’ paperwork on our old house delayed the move out to 50 days instead of 30. [Spreading the news: Don’t use US Bank, bank local!] But the challenge was having all our belongings on a moving truck for one whole month before we moved. We couldn’t complain because we had a roof over our heads, food in our cupboards, clothes in our suitcases and borrowed items from caring family. Many have so much less. The move has been frustrating on so many levels, but looking back upon it… it’s been wonderful. In asking God to handle what we couldn’t, we had the calm we needed to just enjoy each other. We look forward to making our new house a home, unpacking our things, and getting back to our usual routine… but we’ll never forget the good times we shared this past month in our home. Home, the place where our heart is. We really couldn’t ask for anything more this Christmas.
Christmas 2010 framed
Tom’s been working in the Twin Cities until the New Year, when we pray he’ll return to his usual workplace (he’s on the top of the callback list). Melissa’s improvising school with library books, holiday crafts and miscellaneous things on hand. We got our prayers answered to spend uninterrupted time with our children and many hands to help unpack. Mikayla loves to read every night, Stanley is thrilled to have his toys back and a bigger yard, Sabrina is such a princess in her pink room full of dollies, and Jonathan is learning new words and tags along like a little puppy. We’re loving every minute of this crazy but wonderful family.
Open your lives to God’s simple miracles and generous blessings. Even nonbelievers can be still and sense a loving presence in their home, friendships and lives. Life being the most precious gift from God. So we give our Thanks and Praise to God, and all His saints and angels who seem to be taking very good care of us.
Christmas Holy Family2 
(image found on web?)
Your friend in Christ Jesus, the Reason for the Season!
Tom, Melissa, Mikayla, Stanley, Sabrina and Jonathan


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