Sunday, May 31, 2015

Simplify / Prioritize

I've been feeling extremely convicted lately to slow down, simplify and prioritize what's truly important to me. I've talked a bit on here before about my struggles with postnatal depression and anxiety. While I'm doing way better now, it still rears its ugly head when things get stressful around here - and things get stressful often! I'll leave it at that. ;) I am searching in and out for ways to make my life less stressful and more joyful.

Minimalism, Kondo-izing, simplicity - all are so trendy right now, but an aesthetic is not what I'm seeking. I'm looking for peace and health in my home and my habits that will transfer to my body and daily life if that makes any sense.

I started today by cutting down my blog reader to just the few that are important to me. I love blogs. LOVE. THEM. They are my escape, an outlet of communication in a world I feel isolated from when I'm stuck at home, and of course they are a huge source of inspiration. But it's all become too much noise lately. I get distracted easily. I become discontent really easily. Something has to change, because in spite of my love of the blogosphere, I think something there has been robbing my joy.

I have plans of limiting internet time to once a week, tightening our budget, and setting big goals in lots of areas of life - eventually. Today was a tiny step. I hope it's the beginning of a successful walk towards a healthier, more joyful life.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Scratchy Beard

There's nothing more fun, apparently, than being attacked by Daddy's sharp-as-sandpaper 5 o'clock shadow...

Silas elbows in for his dose of pain with a side of beard burn...

Oh these guys...

I kind of like them a lot.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Kitchen Remodel: Let's Gut This Baby

Oona is just copying the expression her mother wore all Memorial Day weekend.

Instagram and Facebook told me most of you spent the long weekend cooking out, going to the beach, watching parades and making all kinds of merriment. (My neighbors celebrated by shooting off fireworks after midnight every single night. When did Memorial Day fireworks become a thing?! I PROTEST!)

We chose to spend the weekend watching Matt do this:

And this:

We're building a new kitchen! Mostly Matt is, while I keep his children from their deaths in the middle of the construction site that was once our very, very green kitchen.

As much as I love watching my husband rip things up with crow bars and sledge hammers, watching with the kids (who were alternately terrified by the noise and fascinated with the most dangerous power tools,) was painful. It was dirty. It was noisy. I cried at least once a day, and then felt guilty because - new kitchen! So exciting! But man-oh-man, when you've got a baby not quite walking and a three year old who wants nothing more in life than to get his hands on a table saw, and those clouds of plaster dust to battle and no working kitchen for the time being...things get ugly fast. 

Speaking of ugly...

Wallpaper! Matt gifted me the job of removing it. I promised I'd try to get to it during the 5 hour window in the middle of the night when all the children manage to synch their circadian rhythms and sleep at the same time.

We found some neat little bits and pieces from past residents. The milk bottle top is my favorite. The flower is an old fridge magnet!

By the time night fell on Monday night, Matt had things cleaned up enough to get us by for the rest of the week.

He even covered up the rough sub-floor with brown paper for us so we don't get splinters in our feet. 

This is our kitchen for the next couple of months. Not too bad of a set up...except for the microwave being at baby-eye-height. In the last 24 hours a doll and a rubber ball have been saved in the nick of time from microwave death. 

Prayers appreciated. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Day In The Doldrums

We begin every day with Chex. And coffee.

I had grand intentions of doing a "day in the life" photo post, imagining myself carrying my 50 pound Nikon around all day snapping beautifully composed pictures of my children doing their everyday normal things. Well, it was a beautiful dream. Things get too crazy around here for me to focus on that kind of a project all day, but here's what I did get over the last couple of days. Pieced together they give you an idea of what a normal day looks like around here...

Drive Olive to school.

Throw together a crock pot meal. Stare at dirty counters and dishes for 10 minutes.

Get dressed. 2 minutes later Silas walks by and uses the scarf as a tissue. Ditch the scarf. 

Hi Daniel Tiger. Thanks for giving me 5 minutes to use the bathroom in peace.

Hang some more Instagram pics on my wall.

Someone starts screaming...walk in on this scene.

Time for more coffee.

Naptime for Oona.

Silas pretends he doesn't see or hear me telling him it's nap time for him.

Time to go pick up Olive.

Hi Olive!

Time to get everyone outside to play!

*Not shown: the daily dinnertime routine where someone always hates and complains about what I made (unless it's pizza or hot dogs, which you'll be proud to know I don't do every day to save the peace, though it IS tempting...) 
Also not shown: getting everyone bathed and in bed, which seems to take 500 hours and leaves Matt and I hunched over, shaky and pale. 
Also not shown: Me lying prostrate on the floor in melodramatic exhaustion, begging Matt to go pick me up an ice cream sundae because "I deserrrrrrve iiiiiiiit."
Also not shown: Matt stepping over me saying "no, you'll complain about getting fat tomorrow." He's a wise man, that husband. Dang it.

Go to bed. Repeat all over again the next day. :) 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Tulip Time Is Here Again

What a busy week it's been. Art festivals, three parades, carnival fun, Dutch dancing, so much walking, too much junk food and not enough quiet time. We are exhausted. Olive and Silas have worn their Dutch costumes that Grandma Frey made them proudly all week long. It's an exciting time of year up here in Holland. And did I mention the tulips?

Tulips, tulips, tulips as far as you can see. They're everywhere. They're gorgeous. They smell good. And I swear, I almost hit a tourist every single morning while taking Olive to school, because they slam their brakes on Tulip Lane to take pictures from the middle of the road. But, you can hardly blame them, right? 

This is our third Tulip Time, and if the first time was magical, the second time was charming, and this third time is a bit of an affectionate eye-roll. Oh the kitsch! If there's a purgatory, I bet you everything I have that our Dutch dancers' soundtrack is playing on a never ending loop! And it really does get to seem funny how the tourists go absolutely crazy at Tulip Time. (We get around 500,000 people from all over the world come for Tulip Time, to give you an idea of the madness. Holland's population is only around 33,000.) 

It doesn't take long to start taking for granted what a special town this is. It's beautiful and quaint, and pristinely clean, and I've honestly never been anywhere with the overwhelming amount of community pride that little Holland has. That community pride is what really makes Holland the jewel that it is. Yes it's kitschy, and sometimes crazy, but we're really really lucky to call this place home.