Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Wow, I have never even heard of being tagged via blogging, but I was apparently tagged by the writer of this blog: I read quite a few blogs on thriftiness when I have a chance to sit and read over a cup of coffee. According to her page, this is a 3 Random Things sort of tagging and I'll copy what she wrote:

The rules for 3 random things:
1. Post 3 random things about yourself.
2. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
3. Tag at least 5 other bloggers.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by commenting on their blog with an invite to participate.

Here are my three random facts~
1. I have lived in a van down by the river! (said in my best Chris Farley voice)
2. I share a birthday with Jerry Garcia (August 1st)
3. My best girl friend lives all of the way across the country in Cali and it's NOT fair! :pout:

Ok, so I am going to tag the following peeps:

My girlies need me so I will not be notifying my tagged bloggers until later.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Twirly Girlies

I found these beautiful flowers behind the house. Aren't they nice?
We've got a little friend over for a slumber party tonight. I love hearing them all giggling and having fun.


Just a few things I've learned this week:

~The pink flowering bush out front is an Azalea! (Thank you, Gretchen!!)

~I am really bad at getting back to people with phone calls and emails these days. Between the outside adventures and catching up inside, I never seem to grab more than 5 minutes here and there to acutally sit down. Sorry!!

~The Power of Prayer is very real.

~Ten year olds can vascillate from playful children to thoughtful, insightful mini-adults and back again in the blink of an eye. It is an incredible and instense age.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Blessed Day

A beautiful bud from our Ornamental Maple. Some of the blossoms on our pink Whatchamacallit bush out front.

The perfect day for a picnic lunch!

It has been yet another day filled with sun, blue skies and lots of time outside. I have been busy working in the yard, trying to clear up leaves and sticks that were left in the yard for years. I've also been chasing the girls and keeping up with the many requests for snacks that seem to go hand in hand with the Spring growth spurts. We've been having fun with our homeschooling activites that include Nature Journals, observing the mating and egg laying of the frogs in the little froggy pond and writing letters and journal entries. Oh, how I love the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling gives us. I am thankful that my girls can be out and enjoy these days instead of being cooped up in a school all day.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Just a Few Pictures and a Video

I'm just pulling a few things off of my digital camera while the girls are showering and getting ready for bed. It is SO nice to spend time outside, enjoying our property. We really lucked out with this house and land. It is soothing my soul to be out in the fresh air, listening as the birds break out their courting songs. If they could, my older girls would spend a majority of their time out and about. Today they made mudpies, walked down the trails, played in the woods, collected water from the gullies, brought sticks to the brush fire, rode their little, red wagon down the driveway and laughed the day away. Luna is mastering walking up and down all sorts of terrain. Her poor little legs are scraped and bruised from falling, but she is getting more agile and sleeping like a log when her little body finally decides to wind down.


Springtime Shedding

The last few days have been just beautiful. The kind of days where the sun shines from morning to night and the sky is the most brilliant blue. We've been outside so much, clearing land and some trails and soaking up the fresh air. After a few days of feeling so good, I have finally realized how significantly the stress of the previous months had affected me. Starting with the home-buying process last July and the custody case in August, dealing with an insane landlord's outrageous demands in November, my mind had turned to darker places than I ever remember it going. The heaviest burden has been the helpless rage and despair I would often fall into when seeing just how deeply all of the girls were hurt by the sudden decrease in time together and stress placed on Nico by the custody situation. My moods suffered and my body aged with the weight of all of the stress.

Like many situations, I just didn't realize how bad it was truly getting until I started to pull out of it. We're turning a corner now. The sun and warm breezes have served to cleanse me in a way. We are starting to see that perhaps the "reason" we had to go through the custody fight was to, not only recognize how truly special our time with Nico is, but for her to start to see what kinds of things we've been up against with her Mom and to start to stand up for herself and find her voice.

Starting on the 17th, Nico's tenth birthday, we have a 10 day visit with her here and it has done a lot for all of us to know that she can have time with us, without the stresses she has been feeling at her Mom's. Yesterday, all three girls just buzzed around the property. They walked down the trails, played near the gully, rode in their mini-Gator, put up a tent in the back yard to play in and laughed and giggled. We all shed some of the weight that had fallen on us over the last few months. Jay cleared trees and brush to make the yard bigger and I raked until my hands had blistered. We found joy in discovering all of the daffodils and irises and other flowers starting to come up around our home. I was *thrilled* to realize that the scrubby bush by the driveway was actually a Forsythia, which I have always wanted.

Adding to all of the joy that is clearing away the greyness in my heart, Jay and I are planning our wedding. Yes, after eight years together, I am finally ready to be "gooooooing to the Chapel" and tie the knot with the love of my life. June 21st is the date and the plans are still in the works.

Pictures of this weekend will come in another post, probably on Sunday. We have another busy day planned today with yard work and an Earth Day Clean Up that is going on in town.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Back to the Blog

First and foremost, I'd like to ask for prayers and positive thoughts for my nephew, Lucas, who was rushed to the hospital last night after becoming ill, passing out and turning blue. His father, who was with him, was afraid he was going to lose him. After several tests, we're not sure exactly what happened or why. They think it may have been a seizure of some sort. He is currently being weaned from Paxil and that can sometimes happen as the body comes off of the drug. For those who don't know, Lucas is 14 and Autistic and was taking the meds to help with his aggression and moods. We pray that it was just a one time deal and that he will fully recover and never go through anything like that again. For now, he is home and seems better.
This weekend has been nice, and has helped in healing Kaya. The separation from her older sister has been harder on her than we ever could have imagined. She went her whole life seeing Nico every week, at least half of the time. Last August, her world was flipped upside down as her sister was torn away from her. In the last 3 weeks, Nico has had one 48 hour visit with us and we have watched as Kaya has had intense emotions rush through her. Our bubbly little girl has been emotional, sad, angry, lost and depressed. When we voiced this to Nico's Mom in an effort to plead for her compassion, her answer was, "Don't look to me to fix Kaya." She can't even see that Kaya wouldn't be so broken if it were not for this extreme cut in visits.
So, we have had to take steps to bring more joy to Kaya's days. On Friday we were blessed with a visit from our friends and former neighbors and their beautiful children. On Saturday we spent the day out doing yardwork and Kaya was able to take a ride with our neighbors who were training their new Belgain logging horses. Kaya loves horses and was tickled pick to be able to ride in the cart up and down the driveway and road. Today, we had our friends and their little girls over for most of the day. The giddy laughter of the four girls, two 6 year olds and two toddlers, was such a joyful noise. As an added bonus, the six year old was able to spend the night tonight and Kaya is on cloud nine. They are crafting right now and dressed in tutus and silks and fancy shoes. I am so happy to see Kaya's smile and bubbly spirit again.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Blessed with a Beautiful Saturday

Not much time for commentary tonight because we were so busy all day that I didn't get any housework done and have to catch up now that the girls are in bed. It was a beautiful day and we had a good time hitting the library, taking walks, and visiting the playground.

Friday, April 4, 2008

So Good To Have Her Home!!

After nearly two weeks of being away, I can't even express how wonderful it is to have Nico back with us again. Relief, comfort and joy all wrapped up into a feeling that is hard to put into words. videoHere is a little clip of the girls playing some b-ball before pajama time. I had to laugh because they're throwing free throws like Ben Wallace but all they care about is having fun together. :sigh: I love my girls! Right now, they're up in bed and whispering and giggling. The sound is music to my ears.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just For You, Mom! Two Posts in One Day!

We had a little change in plans today when Kaya came down with a headache this morning. She ended up taking a long nap and thankfully felt much better when she woke up. When I went out to put the Kelty packer in the car, I discovered it was pretty much out of gas. So, we had to stay home today. Hopefully we will go see Jay at work and hit the playgrounds soon!

My Mom has mentioned the lack of pictures of me, so I attempted a self-portrait while Kaya was napping. This is for you, Mom!
I also took a couple of little videos while Kaya and Luna played outside this afternoon. It is so nice to be able to get out there and enjoy the outdoors without big, bulky winter wear. See, Mom, those little sneakers you found for Luna are working out good. She calls them her "neeks". And I have to laugh because I fondly remember playing with sawdust and making "oatmeal" with it as a kid. It is funny to see my girls do the same thing. I also thought it was neat that Kaya found a chunk of amethyst sitting out in the yard.

video video

Bright, Little Beacons of Spring

Ahhh, what an uplifting sight! They just make me smile every time I look at them. :)
Spring is finally springing around our area and I love the anticipation of knowing that everything is getting ready to bloom and bud. I know that there were a lot of great flowers around out house when we first came to see it late last July, but I have no clue if there are any spring flowers hiding in the beds. The day is supposed to be a beautiful one ~ bright and sunny and somewhat warm. I told the girls that we could stop by and see Dad at work and go to the playground, so it is an exciting day.
A few people have contacted me about my coupon campaign, so I thought I had better do a little more explaining of how I did it. I just want to mention, though, that I think I may have lucked out by being the first in a wave of coupon requests and it sounds like I made out a bit better than those who did it after me.
Anyway, I first thought of all of the companies I like to buy from on a regular basis and then I went to our local grocery store website (I shop at Wegmans, mostly) and searched the products in their Nature's Marketplace section. Once I had a list of companies compiled, I sat down with a cup of coffee and Googled them one by one. Generally, the first hit that would come up when Googling would be the company website and most times, the "Contact Us" form was directly linked. If it wasn't, I would go to the website and they would be easy to find.
Then I would just type out a very simple letter and include my address. Something like this: "I have seen your products in the stores and would like to try them. If you ever give out coupons or samples, could you please send some my way? Thank you." Or in other cases something like this: "My family and I love your products and buy them regularly. I would love some coupons if you ever have some available. Thank you."
I do have a partial list of companies I contacted: (If I can remember the coupons they sent, I will add that info)
Robert's American (40 cent off coupons), Amy's kitchen (3 Free product coupons and several $1 and 55 cent off), Snikiddy (Free box of sample snack packs), Hansen's Juice (55 cent off coupons), Clif bars (1 Free product and $1 off), Kashi, Silk, Garden of Eatin', Quorn (several 55 cent off), Exekiel Bread, Cascadian Farms (several 50 cent off), Woodstock Farms, Gardenburger, Lifestream Waffles, Cedarlane (several $1 off), Alexia (2 55 cents off), Rice Dream (a few 55 cents off), Turtle Island, Tofurkey (about a dozen 55 cents off). Alvarado St. Bakery, Organic Baby, Stacy's Pita Chips (several 75 cents off), Lundberg Rice Chips (several 75 cents off), Barbara's Bakery (one free product and several 50 cents off), Annies Naturals, Muir Glen, Nature's Path, Odwalla (one free product and 2 99 cents off), Simply Organic, Westbrae, Bob;s Red Mill, Fruitabu (several Free product coupons), Simple Green (2 small sample bottles and a $2 off coupon), Dr. Oetkers, Ecover (several $1 off), Ecos, Newman's Own (3 free product coupons). I know there were a few more but I am drawing a blank and my girlies need me. I hope this helps some of you!