Five. February.

I have so much to catch up on here… Fresh Art’s blog took the cake last week and the excitement hasn’t died down for the Mohr Mini sessions off screen at all so I’m BUSY with emails and plans and details. BUT my personal life still trudges on (or skips along depending on how many sick kids I have or how many Mnt Dews I’ve inhaled! HA!) and I need to get better about blogging it.

ANYWAY.

We did manage to get one shot of all five of us this month and that feels freaking awesome! Is it a good photo? Not terribly. Me and Gray mostly have our eyes shut but whatever. We’re together. It captured an AWESOME morning spent with our best friends (more photos from this hike soon!) and DUDE I’m keeping up with at least one of my new year’s goals! That’s rad all by itself.

Edited using Michelle Kane’s new actions that I’m totally obsessed with! She’s rad too.

February was the end of basketball season and the start of soccer (today), full of SICK SICK kids, we moved, we changed our eating habits in a massive way, we decided we love living in a small space (not that we can afford too big anyway!), got in a rhythm in the new digs, got serious at KCCI, made some minor changes and big announcements at Fresh Art, grew a friendship with a dear friend and ignited an old one, reminded me how much I love giving back and paying it forward, Bailey really “getting” how to read and watching her excel in a short amount of time, taking our head out of the sand and really looking at our finances, creating a BUDGET and just enjoyed being together everyday!

Happy END of the shortest and sometimes worst (sometimes best) month of the year! Welcome March… please bring SUN and WARMTH with you!

in the middle of my little mess i forget how big i’m blessed.


This song is in my head today as I wait to hear from Chris if our credit score is high enough to start looking for houses. We’re not quite ready I don’t think, but I know house hunting can take a long time (especially with our budget) so it would be awesome to start looking. And I’ll be fine if we get a “it’s not quite there yet” advice from the mortgage guy. Because I’m content with where we are. And frankly, I like saving money. So if we need to stay put a few more months, to me, it just means there will be more money in our account for repairs or a new washer/dryer or whatever.

Anyway. This song is awesome I think because of this line, “In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed.”

SO TRUE.

I don’t go to a Baptist church but if I did I’d be in my pew yelling “PREACH” all day long. I love that. And it’s what I want to say when I hear a line like that.

YES! YES! YES!

I AM blessed. Big time. Even in the chaos and uncertainty we’re living in right now.

Because let’s see. Since Christmas…

1. The kids all had the stomach flu three times and C and I had it once

2. We moved from my in-laws to my parents

3. We’ve seen a pulmanologist, alergist and homeopath for Parker

4. We found out Parker had lots of food allergies/sensitivities and we changed the way our family eats in a MAJOR way

5. Gray had a CT scan on his sinuses and had over 50 days of antibiotics (and is also on a ton of probiotics right now!)

6. Chris had his car stolen

7. We went car shopping

8. C’s car was found

9. We’ve brought a new person into Fresh Art (announcement coming soon!)

10. The kids had three ear infections and two cases of pneumonia during a crazy ice storm/snow storm

And I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

Having a car stolen, moving AGAIN, super sickness and major diet changes is a lot for two months. A LOT.

But in the midst of it all we are continually blessed.

Which is awesome.

Because God is so so awesome.

Happy Tuesday!

fleeting.

I only have a second this morning but I wanted to pop in and write this so I will remember.

During the winter Chris coaches basketball and basketball season sucks. It’s hard. It’s ALL late nights and early mornings to school so it’s just me and the kids for about 4 months.

Every Friday night this winter me and the kids had a movie night. We’d have a simple dinner or order pizza. We’d eat in the living room. I’d treat them to rootbeer or a fun dessert. We’d pick a new movie or an old favorite. It was always Mommy’s choice so there could be no hurt feelings. SO many good memories but my favorite happened just this last week.

My parents were out of town and Chris was coaching late. We’d eaten dinner and the movie was almost over. It was getting late (7:30pm!). It had been a warm day but the evening was chilly and we had the fire on. I walked in from clearing dishes to the kitchen and laid down on my tummy in front of the fire to watch the last few minutes. Within seconds a little man ran over and plopped himself with DogDog, blankies and a car on my lower back. His little legs straddled my body and he ran the car up and down from back to shoulders. Next came Parker who sat on my right and leaned her head on my shoulders peeking over me at the tv. She had pink sheep with her of course and curled her body into mine as much as she could. Before long Bailey came over and said, “I want to snuggle with you too” and sat on my left leaning her back into me with her head resting on my head.

I was so uncomfortable but the movie was so close to being over I stayed put. My elbows ached and my lower back screamed to get up. But I stayed put and then with the credits rolling I flipped myself over and we had a quick wrestle+cuddle before heading up to baths+bed.

These tiny moments are so fleeting. When they ALL want me. Whatever piece of me they can get. When the girls still try to curl in my lap even though they’re getting too long to fit comfortably. When Gray wants to be carried and held and cuddled. My three under three are growing and changing and I’m SO glad I realized early on that this will all pass quickly b/c it slows me down enough to savor these sweet times.

52 Smiles. 2011.

One of my new favorite blogs is by Katherine, who I’m going to call my new internet friend even though she may just consider me a crazy stalker! Truly, she’s awesome and would never say that about me. To my face at least. KIDDING. Anyway, she’s a fantastic photographer and looks to be an even better mom. And mom inspiration helps keep me moving. Because it is SO easy for me to get lazy with my kids. To stop doing art projects or learning activities or field trips. To just encourage them to play together, which they do really well, while I do chores or work on my computer. Or lets be honest. Check blogs.

So to find a MOM who inspires me with projects and ideas is gold.

And THIS idea of hers that she posted back in January was great. I wanted to jump right in and START. But then someone got sick and we got busy and someone else got sick and we moved and I let it slip to the back corner of my mind where dust bunnies and thoughts like wanting to learn to knit get swept.

Until last week. When I was inspired by THIS post on Shannon Sewell’s blog and blogged about it HERE on Fresh Art. It got me thinking again and forced me to crawl to that dusty back corner of my mind to find the desire to do Katherine’s 52 smiles project.

And then I decided I wanted to have an accountability partner. Because to do ONE kind act a week seems like it should be SO easy but knowing me I’ll stick with it for a while and then once again¬† that darn dusty corner will suck the idea away and I’ll forget. That corner where ALL my good intentions go to hide. Luckily my friend Adriane was totally on board! And next Thursday we are taking a break from the kids, DVRing Grey’s and getting together to get our own 52 Smile plan together so we can start the following week!

I couldn’t be more excited.

The thought of making GIVING a part of our week and an integral part of my kids lives excites me. And makes me feel like each week will have a cool purpose. And SO many people have given to us. Especially our parents most recently by each of them letting us crash while we save money. And these awesome parents of ours? It’s hard to think of ways to give back to them. Just like it was hard for me to think about giving back to everyone that helped us while Parker was so sick last year. And so it will be my life’s mission to just keep paying it forward. Now on a weekly basis!

Each week we’re going to surprise someone with something or do a service of some kind or give to someone something they might really need.

And we’re going to document it the best we can. And blog it when we can too of course.

I’m excited. Like REALLY excited to start. And the kids are too!

Next week when we have our plan I’ll share it in case you want to follow along with us!

52 smiles. 52 projects. 52 teachable moments. 52 times I can intentionally teach my kids to be other-centered.

This is going to be an amazing way to spend the year don’t you think? Wanna join with us?

5 miles.

Do you know how far 5 miles is? Because I don’t.

I got a sitter for the second time this week (THANK YOU SARA KERR!) just so I could go running. If I were a millionaire I would hire someone for one hour every day so I could have this luxury!

Anyway, so Sara got here and I left with some new music to pound the pavement.

And I had HIGH intentions of trying to hit 3 miles tonight. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m supposed to be running in THIS race which is fast approaching. Do you know what’s NOT fast approaching?

Me being able to run five miles without walking.

Shit.

Tonight I ran 2.06 miles in 24 minutes and I walked for one minute three times (my feet were cramping which has never happened before and I think I tied my shoes too tight?). So what is that? A 12 minute mile average? And DUDE I am a dripping puddle of sweat right now and in PAIN.

So if somehow in the next few weeks I can surpass the pain and keep my 12 minute mile pace it will take me 72 minutes to run the 5 miles right? I’m SWEATING into my keyboard so check my math.

The longest I’ve EVER run is 45 minutes and that’s when I was coaching lacrosse, in excellent shape and wanted to prove to my team I could do anything I made them do. Not that I made them run 45 minutes often. And I have run 5 miles TWICE in my life. But that was about 10 years ago. Again, in excellent shape and before three kids and endless Mnt Dews consumed me.

I’m telling myself it’s a process. And will take some time.

But COME ON! I’m a competitor at heart. Lacrosse was my sport and I was actually pretty good in college. And I was fast! At least looking back I tell myself that!

Anyway.

Sara is still upstairs giving the kids their bath b/c if I’m going to pay someone for an hour I’m going to make them do the hard parts of my night! I’m going to take my last few minutes and go clean up the kitchen from dinner while I try to stop the puddle forming in my underwear from the rivers streaming between my boobs and down my back.

OH COME ON.

TMI? Whatever.

Running?

For me it’s equal parts awesome and totally gut wrenching awful.

I love going farther than before. I love getting past the pain. I love finding my stride. I love sprinting up hills just to know I can still do it. I love the music pumping in my ears.

I hate the pain and the jiggle I have now in parts of my body that shouldn’t probably jiggle so much. I hate not doing or accomplishing what I set out to accomplish and I hate admitting I’m not the 20 year old lacrosse player anymore.

Tonight was a hard run.

But maybe tomorrow will be easier.

how to break a little girl’s heart.

Tell her that since her fever is at 102 she has to miss her Valentine’s Day party at school tomorrow.

This morning Parker woke up with a low grade fever and threw up her dinner from last night so we knew something was coming. Then by 5pm Bailey’s fever had spiked and I had to tell both girls they were going to have the WORLD’S BEST Vday at home tomorrow with ME! Bailey cried. Luckily I have thick skin and didn’t take it personally! :)

So I’ll be up all night cutting hearts for Bailey’s party she can’t even go to tomorrow. Can you say FRUSTRATING?

This morning we tested out her Vday outfit and took a few photos (she decided the jean skirt wasn’t cute enough so GoGo ran out and got a new skirt for her! Can we say spoiled? HA!) and by the looks of her lips I should have known something was coming… if you look closely you can see just how chapped+dry they are. She ONLY gets chapped lips like that when she has a fever. And her eyes didn’t look great all day but she just kept saying she was tired. Poor kid. And Parker too. She doesn’t get the whole party thing b/c 1. it’s just preschool and 2. she missed Thanksgiving AND Christmas parties already this year so she doesn’t have much to compare it to. She’s actually excited to spend the day with Mommy doing crafts and watching movies!

ANYWAY.

Two sick girls. Two missed parties. Grandma and PawPaw are out of town. Chris has a late night every single night this week. If I could I would go ahead and just install the fountain soda machine tomorrow and get it over with!

Her shirt is from HERE and you can see the Valentine’s they’ll eventually pass out HERE!

the dying game.

After this mornings post I realized that I never actually introduced The Dying Game to you. Probably because of what you might think of our family. And probably because I equal parts love and hate this game. Love because the girls totally crack me up and Hate because it’s so so morbid.

And in case there was ANY doubt, it started with Daddy on a trip to the park a few weeks ago on a very cold but very sunny day. Of course it was his idea! I claim NO part of the creation of this game but I do take responsibility to the constant capturing of this game! HA!

SO basically. It started with Chris telling the girls to go run out in the field and “die”. Then he ran out to “rescue” them. Now when Daddy isn’t around it turns into one or both of them dying and the others saving them. I call it the DYING game because they are always DYING but never DEAD. They always get rescued in time!

I love that they can barely contain the giggles while waiting to be rescued!

This is the most hysterical part to me…

Now because some people take blogs so freaking serious I feel I should say this: We DO NOT think dying or death is funny. We do not joke about dying at all. We have had some very serious conversations with all three kids lately about death because a dear friend of ours from our church died last week and even after explaining it numerous times none of them quite understand what it means. They do understand how sad it is though as we’ve been praying for Henry’s family. They are 5, 4 and 2 and do not understand that their silly game has anything to do with someone actually dying.

So do I think it’s bad I let them play this game every once in a while? Kind of, but not really. They have to explore issues like this in their own way I think. I believe kids start to understand the world around them by playing make believe first. SO do I feel a little badly when they play it? Yes. Because I do know what it means to lose someone. But I still let them because ultimately it’s not much different in my mind than playing house or doctor or store or school.

ANYWAY.

Bad or not it does make me laugh out loud when I see their faces, body movements and noises they made while falling all over the frozen ground!

yet another day of snow.

We do not live in Wisconsin. And although we don’t have foot upon foot of snow like my sister does, this is by far the most snow in one winter I’ve ever seen I think! The kids are loving it and I am finding myself more and more melancholy. Wishing for blue skies and warm temps. More outside time and running around for the kids. Truly, I just miss the feel of a warm sun on my skin. I want to sit on a chair and close my eyes and look up at the sky just soaking in the sun.

But in the meantime… we ARE going outside as much as we can to let the kids enjoy the SNOW SNOW SNOW.

This series cracks me up… the girls like to play “dying” which is the most hilarious and morbid game ever. I usually tell them to stop playing it but of course with my camera out I let it go…

Oh and the girls and I made snowmen! The first I’ve ever done and their first too! We had a blast!

And the last pic is from when Gray woke up from nap and C got home from his game… I got a break and went inside only to pop my head out to find this…

HA! He tied them all together and was dragging them around the yard!

I guess the snow isn’t so bad but DUDE I am ready for spring!

my sad attempt at Valentine’s Day photos.

We will try again tomorrow!

(it cracks me up that his teeth match that hat exactly! ha!)

I mean, they’re cute but not, um, there yet. You know?

I want TO DIE FOR V-day images this year for their cards to give to friends and I need to get them done asap so there’s time for printing and creating! Why do I always wait until the last second???

the post that started out about crafting and took a turn somewhere in the middle.

I used to be crafty. I used to love finding old things and incorporating them into our home. I used to love decorating and creating and crafting and using my hands in a way that made real tangible things I loved.

But then we moved out of our home and I lost all desire. The spaces we live in and lived in aren’t and weren’t ours. They were the Allens and now they are my parents. And all of my favorite things are in boxes scattered around the city being stored in basements and attics and rooms for us while we’re in this waiting stage. This saving stage. This refining stage.

In a rash of yard sales we’ve had to declutter and simplify and purge I’ve gotten rid of nearly all my beloved craft supplies. Once was the day that an entire room in our house was an art space and now I couldn’t tell you where a Crayola marker is. Or acrylic paint. Or buttons or glitter or tags or fabric or paper. Things i used to use on a daily basis alone and with my kids.

Sometimes as I wander around the blogosphere looking at all the amazing crafts moms are doing with their kids I wonder if you can put crafting on hold for an entire year and not kill the instinct to craft in yourself or your young children. I “star” great ideas I see in blogs in my reader so SOMEDAY when I have a craft space and supplies again I can go back and recreate that awesome idea. I bookmark websites with cool ideas for later. Later. When we have a home. When we have money I can spend on craft supplies. When I am not working two jobs and have time to craft again.

And while looking at those great ideas and those inspiring blogs I feel so empty. Because I want that. I want a kitchen I can fill with the latest project and go to bed with a huge mess everywhere so me and the kids can pick up tomorrow where we left off today and not worry that we’re in someone’s home that’s not ours to mess up. I want my own space for craft supplies again. I want to be able to buy craft supplies again instead of spending every dime we have on getting the kids healthy and buying a house.¬† I want to work less, create more and get messy with my kids again.

It’s sad to look back on my old blog, the early days when I was home with two and then three really young kids because even in the midst of pure exhaustion I created with my kids every day. We did something. We painted or colored or glued or glittered. And now we do so little. Between Kindergarten and preschool and Parent’s Day Out and Kuhn Const. and Fresh Art and doctor visits and meal planning and living communally there is just no energy or time or space. And I miss those days. Those days I KNEW I would miss one day but NEVER dreamed it would be so soon. When we had barely a dollar to our name and never slept and laughed every day.

I sometimes think I should stop reading blogs completely so I’m not wishing for something I can’t have right now. Because when I’m not peeking in on someone’s life mine seems amazing. And truly I’m happy. And my kids are incredible. And Chris is by my side. And our parents are, well, so giving there simply are no words.

So although this refining period is hard, oh so so so hard, it’s also so good. I see God in every little piece of our puzzle right now. I know this was His plan for us all along. He’s refining me and Chris and our finances and our health and our relationships with family. He’s weeding out all the bad crap we let creep in the last six years and I know one day, sooner than later I hope, we will be left with an even more amazing life than we could have dreamed up filled with blessing we can’t imagine.

I think it’s just hard in the meantime. Being refined isn’t fun. Neither is eating healthy or budgets or downsizing. Or not crafting everyday.

But I know it’s so good. And I see the good.

And tomorrow come hell or high water I’m going to craft.

I’m going to start crafting again damnit.