Monday, October 26, 2015

Leaves. A lot of them.

This past weekend was pretty low key. Jameson had his (second to last!!!) soccer game, then we came home and rested. Then I went and got my hair trimmed and we went to the library.
Can you tell I got it trimmed? I don't like how it's longer in the middle and shorter on the sides, but I also don't want to just hack that longer part off completely. What's a girl to do?
Sunday, Matt had to work. I took the boys to church. Matt was home by the time we got home from church and after lunch, we tackled our leaf carpet in the back yard. I wish I would have taken a before picture. It was ridiculous.
We laid down a 8'x25' tarp that we had used in the garden and raked leaves onto it, then pulled the tarp out into the woods and dumped them. Matt had done about 4 tarp loads when I got out to help him, and I think we did 6 more together. The last few loads went on top of my garden so that the leaves can compost and enrich the soil for next spring.
The yard looked great when we were finished.
I walked to the shed to put the rakes away and stopped outside the shed door to look at the yard. These are the leaves that *still* need raked. We just did inside the fence. Tonight and tomorrow we are going to tackle these.
This is pretty much how I feel about that right now.
But, oh well! A leafless yard under the forthcoming snow means clean snowmen. Because who wants to roll up a big round snowman's belly and have it covered in dried, brown leaves?

Have a good week!






Ohio Trip.

As many of you know, when we moved from Ohio to South Dakota, we put our house on the market, and it sat without an offer for 9 months. We had someone inquire about renting it, we needed help with the mortgage, and someone moved in. She was a fantastic tenant. She paid her rent faithfully on time every month and took care of the place. But she moved out last march. *Cue giant sad face.*
Some people she knew that lived near her parents then moved in. Living 1,200 miles away from the house, we weren't as thorough, or even as picky, as we should have been, and we let them move in without references or rental history. (Long story short: Lesson learned.)
Anyway, we felt like we needed to get down to Ohio and check on the house. The inside of the house was dirty, but not falling in on itself or anything. The outside needs a full weekend worth of yard work, but again - nothing catastrophic.

The sunrise headed east on I-96 from Grand Rapids.
But driving three hours to Ohio wasn't just for the house. We stayed with our good friends that live just down the road from that house. We went to the pumpkin patch, carved pumpkins with the kids, and watched the Ohio State game and drank apple cider sangria! (Me, not the kids. Calm down.)
((Side note to college football fans: how about the ending to the Michigan/Michigan State game!?!))
I didn't get many pictures of the pumpkin patch because I just wanted the kids to be able to run and have fun. It was a fun little farm, but good grief was it ever cold!!

Jameson and I hung out in the goat tent for a while because it was a bit warmer.

After the pumpkin patch, the kids played for a little while and we had pizza for dinner. I'm not scared of any pizza topping (with the exception of mushrooms and anchovies) and tried pepperoni and banana pepper. I'd totally get down on that again - it was delicious!

After dinner we got to carving. Matt helped Jameson and I wanted to help Hendrix, but Mr. Independent wanted to carve his all by himself, so I helped the other little ones.

Apple Cider sangria. I made it with ginger brandy, but I think I'd like to add some caramel liquor to it the next time I make it. How good does that sound?

Jameson chose a green pumpkin. Because why wouldn't he?

This is what a Jack-O-Lantern face carved by a 5 year old looks like. It's awesome.

It's always great to spend time with family and friends, but it definitely makes for a long weekend of travel!
We were home this past weekend and we'll be home this coming weekend for Halloween, then we're headed to Indiana for an early Thanksgiving with family at my mom and dad's house. I cannot wait!
Hope you're all enjoying fall! It's slipping away much quicker than I'd like to admit.







Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Hike.

The weather last Sunday was absolutely gorgeous! (This post is a little late, sorry.) The high temperature was 73 degrees, and it was breezy. The only downside is that a lot of the trees are much more bare now than they were before this weekend. :(
We went to church Sunday morning, had our rest time Sunday afternoon (not taking a Sunday afternoon nap should be against the law), then we all headed out for a little walk. Hendrix told us about a trail he learned of at his pre-school over the summer. It's actually on the property of the church next door to the school. There are no private property signs, or anything leading us to believe we should stay off of it, so we've hiked it twice now.
The trail takes a slow incline all the way up to this open field where there's a big bonfire ring. Along one part of the trail is a steep drop-off to a valley with a small stream flowing through it. Last time we hiked it, we wanted to explore the stream, but weren't sure how to get down to it. This time we found a trail that descended to the bottom.
It was so gorgeous and peaceful. We hung out down there for about a 1/2 an hour before heading back.

I look forward to hiking this trail another time or two before the flurries start to fly. It will also be fun to explore new growth next spring....and plow through lots of mud. But that's what little boys are made for, right?
After we got back, the weather was just too nice to sit inside, so we sat out on our deck. Matt and I talked and the kids drew pictures and looked at their library books. It was perfect.
I love the background to this picture. Our deck is second story, so all you see are the leaves on the trees. It's awesome.
Talking about the deck makes me realize that I still haven't given you guys a tour of our house! I'm hoping to start a big fall cleaning and organization binge, so as rooms come together, I'll try and share them with you.
Hendrix was adamant for a while that I not cut his hair, but once it started to get in his eyes, I think he got a little annoyed and he finally agreed to let me cut it, so I did that Sunday evening. Honestly, though, now that it's short again, I miss the longer hair look! We'll have to find a middle ground somewhere.

Hope you're having a great week!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

So, we got a dog...

The kids have been asking for a dog for two years. We rented our homes in South Dakota, so a dog wasn't an option.
One thing we planned to do once we got settled here in Michigan was get a pooch for the boys. Enter Olaf.

He's a VERY calm dog. We were told he's an English Shepherd/Husky mix, but we aren't so sure of that. The vet, along with several other people, have told us his marking look like border collie and his face looks like I lab. So he's basically just a mutt, and he's an awesome boy. He's just over a year old, and the kids love love love him!
We didn't have a crate when we got him, and the thought of sticking a dog in a space slightly larger than its body makes me a bit sad anyway, so I thought we could try and put him in the bathroom while we're working during the day.
We gave the bathroom a test run while we went to church two days after we got him. He chewed up my bath sponge/loofah thing, but other than that, no messes. Monday through Wednesday, he chewed a few other small things, but nothing major.
When I got home Thursday (I was the first one home), I went to the bathroom to let him out and noticed a small puddle outside the bathroom door. I thought maybe he'd gone to the bathroom near the door or something. I opened the door and found the entire bathroom sitting under an inch of water!
Our sink drain had been running slow. We'd tried Drano, and were going to dig a little deeper to work on it that weekend. Olaf had jumped up on the bathroom counter and, in the process, turned on the sink faucet. My best guess is that it happened sometime shortly after we had left and the sink ran all day. Due to the slow drain, the sink overflowed and flooded the entire bathroom.
I stood there staring for a minute or two. There weren't enough towels in the world to soak up that kind of water, but I was in shock and disbelief, so I walked downstairs to see if I could round up several towels.
Our downstairs bathroom is directly under the upstairs bathroom. I walked into the lower bathroom to find the ceiling on the floor. It was JUST as awesome as you can imagine. The water had soaked through the floor upstairs, ruined the ceiling downstairs, and had soaked into the floor in the downstairs bathroom.
We filed a homeowner's claim, of course, and now both of our bathrooms are in complete chaos. They're usable, but a giant hot disaster. This is the current floor situation upstairs.

The first contractors were at our house last week tearing up the floors and running these huge dryers for 5 straight days. It's been deafeningly loud in our house.
The next contractor is supposed to come this afternoon to see about fixing the floorboards.
I'll keep you updated on the progress.
So yeah. We got a dog........



Monday, October 5, 2015

A Bit of Honesty.

Guys, I enjoy blogging. My blog isn't super well known (despite going viral almost two years ago), and I'm far from famous. But I don't care. That's never been my goal. My original plan with this blog was to keep family and friends updated on our life, and that's still the goal.

Two of my favorite blogs, are written by two ladies who just live their lives doing what they enjoy, they blog about their days, some recipes, some fitness, and they aren't really dedicated to one thing in particular. That's always kind of been what my blog has been about, and I don't see that changing.

So, with that said, you can probably expect to see a little more from me, though I'm not committing to any kind of schedule or anything. Just sharing my life with those that care to know about it. :)
I think a good place to start is what's been going on in the last few months of life.
Six months ago, we relocated from western South Dakota to west Michigan. I said little to nothing about our move on any kind of social media because I was upset about it. Matt's warehouse/office in Rapid City was closing (he buys produce to sell to grocery stores), and he could either find another job in Rapid City, or relocate to the company headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI. Obviously, you know the route he took.

I'm a real person, so I'll be honest. This was a very difficult thing for me. I had friends and people in South Dakota that meant a great deal to me, and I genuinely felt a part of the community. I was five weeks into a new job that I really enjoyed when he came home one day and told me the Rapid City warehouse was closing. I remember simply walking upstairs to the bathroom without saying a word, closing the door, and crying. Because before it was ever discussed, I knew what the outcome would be.

I put my notice in at my job (which was extremely difficult), and started looking for a job in Michigan. I found a temp opportunity at SpartanNash (same company Matt works for). I wasn't thrilled about a temp job, but a temp job in Ohio in 2008 turned into permanent employment that lasted for four and a half years, so I tried to remain positive. I did end up getting permanently hired into the company, and the job is going well. But I'd be lying if I said everything is awesome with life here in Michigan.

I don't believe in the constant fake portrayal of perfection on social media. I could choose to show pictures of camping trips, smiles, backyard football games, my adorable kids, make comments about how blessed I am (which I am, don't get me wrong), and make it look like it's all sunshine and roses. But I try to keep it real. I'm lonely, and my heart is struggling.

I was talking with someone locally, and he told me that people in west Michigan are quite "provincial," meaning they don't accept new people into their fold. I've found that to be very true. I've reached out within the celiac community, the type 1 diabetes community, we've visited two churches, and I feel like I'm hitting brick walls. People will make small talk, but it's like no one is looking to form any kind of relationships or friendships beyond the ones they already have. I'm frustrated.
I'll be ok, no need to worry. I'm just kind of "stuck" in this funk right now. My sweet and ornery boys continue being the happiness in my world, and I'm drinking in their silliness as much as possible.
I'm also trying to refocus and relocate my fitness motivation that's gone by the wayside since we moved. I've put on a few pounds (nothing crazy), and they've been VERY stubborn. My focus is no longer a specific body fat percentage, or even a number on the scale though. It's health. I want to be physically fit, healthy heart, and healthy mind and soul. The last part has been the most challenging, but I'm a work in progress!
We're headed into the most crazy and busy time of the year, and with my limited spending budget this year, I hope to busy myself with some homemade gifts for the little ones in the family. (SEVEN kids besides my own to buy/create for this year. Ouch.)
There is an early Thanksgiving family get-together at my parents' house in a few weeks, and I'm ridiculously excited for that. There will be family in from Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, and Michigan.
So - lots to look forward to in the coming months. Hopefully I can break out of this funk.
In the mean time, if you have any positive vibes or prayers to send my way, they wouldn't hurt!
Thanks for sticking by me as I try to figure out how I want to continue being involved in social media, as well as work through a bit of a tough time in my life.
Posts moving forward will hopefully be a bit more fun and positive!