Thursday, March 28, 2013

Almost Done!

March 21st - What's your biggest fear?

Mice, centipedes, cancer, heart attacks. In order of importance. Wait, no, switch those first two.

March 22nd - What do you do when you are home all alone?

I'm sorry, I don't understand the question? Home alone? I don't know if this has ever actually happened, but I can imagine that I would wander around aimlessly, hearing tiny voices in my head asking me what they could eat.

March 23rd - Do you have a hobby?

Yes! I knit and quilt. Those are my main hobbies, but I also attempt to garden and I enjoy reading when I have the time.

March 24th - Describe your most embarrassing moment
Boy, oh boy, do I have a plethora of embarrassing moments to choose from. There was the time Dan and I were out celebrating our anniversary and I slipped away to use the restroom and promptly walked into the men's bathroom where a gentleman was um . . . how shall we say it . . . finishing up? I shrieked and apologized and then had to walk right past his table on my way out of the woman's restroom. That sad fact is I have walked into many men's restrooms on accident, only to figure it out when I spied the urinals. Once I didn't see the urinal until I was finished. My husband does not understand how this keeps happening.

Then there was the time I jumped on top of my brother-in-law, lounging on a hotel room bed, after mistaking him for my husband. Although he claims that is his most embarrassing moment.

And also there was the time I met the CEO of my husband's rather large corporation at Soldier Field in Chicago, minutes before a Chicago (the band) concert and he asked me if I was a fan and I was thinking football, so I said, "No, we are Green Bay fans." and he looked at me like I was an idiot.

Oh, and a few weeks ago a kid from Awana asked me if he could cross the street with me, and unbeknownst to me, his mom was right behind him and had told him to wait. I said, "Sure!" and then he promptly bolted out past me and almost got hit by a car. Although, I argue that was the kid's fault, not mine, but I was still embarrassed.

I have a lot of these stories, but luckily I forget most of them after a few days, because if I didn't, I could fill an entire blog of embarrassing Donette moments. 

March 25th - Describe your location.

Slightly in the country, wooded lot that keeps the family and I absorbed in nature. We love it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lessons from the March Challenge

On this first day of spring, March 20th, while it is 13 degrees, with a wind chill of -3, I think it is a good time to ruminate on what this March Blogging Challenge has taught me. Here is my nugget of wisdom: I don't do well with blogging everyday. Brilliant, I know. Life is too full for me to sit and think and write everyday. So for the rest of the challenge, I'm embracing the catch-up. I think I'll post multiple answers in a single post to keep me on track.

March 16th - What's My Biggest Accomplishment?

Ugh. This sounds like the one about what makes me awesome. Let's just keep this short, sweet and simple. I've managed to feed my family daily meals for close to 14 years. Yay me.

March 17th - Why and When Did I Start Blogging?

I started blogging on September 9, 2006. I had a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old. I think I started it because I wanted to share pictures of my kiddos, but also because I was fully into reading other's blogs and I felt like I had something to share, also. Those were fun days, when I would read an article and think deeply on it and share it on my own blog. I don't feel like I get to do that as much today, or maybe I'm just a bit more private of my thoughts concerning articles I read, as maturity has shown me the wisdom of keeping some things to myself. Either way, I look back at those days with sweet reminiscence. I'm glad I have this online journal to share.

March 18th - Where am I Happiest?

Referencing this post should make it obvious. Anywhere near water. I think I'm most happiest near the water because my whole family loves it so much. Dan grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes and has always been happiest near water, and his peace of mind on the lake has influenced me to be happy and peaceful there, too. And what kid isn't happy in a pile of sand at the beach? When my whole family is having a good time, I am at my happiest.

March 19th - List 5 Blogs I Read on a Daily Basis and Why

There are not many blogs that I keep up with on a daily basis, but when they do post, I always read! - Informing the Reforming. This is a daily blogger who I've probably read the longest. He is a reformed Christian author who blogs about spiritual matters, book reviews and has a daily "a la carte" post that links to news stories that might interest those of us who claim the name of Christ. I definitely read this site every day.

The Pioneer Woman - What can I say? I love her photographs, I make a ton of her recipes, she has a homeschooling tab where the main contributor posts community questions, reviews educational tools and writes encouraging posts. It's just about my favorite site.

Practical Theology for Women - While Wendy, the author, doesn't publish on a set schedule, I adore almost everything she writes. She has such a consistent theology that she applies to everyday situations, and she's not afraid to call out the big guys in our circles when they are inconsistent. She has the most logical and rational view of a woman's role that lines up with Scripture of any writer that I've read in conservative Christian circles and her posts always make me rethink and evaluate what I say I believe. It's a great blog.

Style by Emily Henderson - I'm not even sure where I learned about this site, but she is the winner of HGTV's Design Star (which I've never watched) and does she have a unique look! I love that she designs using thrifted and antique pieces, usually preferring them over new. While I don't love every space she does, I do always learn something new about design. A lot of design blogs just show you what they like, Emily shows you what she likes and then tells you how to make it work in your space. Did I mention that I learn a lot from this site?

A Cup of Jo - Food & Drink, Fashion, Home Design, Motherhood, this blogger tackles it all. Trendy New York writer, and while I can't afford most of what she posts, I still like to see what inspires her. Makes me feel like I know what is in style.

March 20th - What do I Collect?

I've given this piece of advice to numerous brides - never tell people what you collect. I made the mistake of publishing that Dan and I collected Lighthouses on every bridal shower invite and whodathunkit, but we received A LOT of decorative lighthouses. Like enough to fill a maritime museum. And while I loved it at first, when we started to tire of them, I had nothing else with which to decorate. I was trapped in a lighthouse vacuum. So if you ask me what I collect now I will say, "Hugs and kisses. You can never have too many of those."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Let's Play Catch-Up

3 days down and out with the flu, and then 3 more days trying to make up for lying immobile on the couch means I am way behind in blogging. And this, my dear reader, is why I do not blog everyday, or every month even. So let's play catch-up.

March 11th - The Last Book I Read:

Seven by Jen Hatmaker. I really want to do a full post on this book, so I'll leave it at that for now. Currently reading The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl and next on the docket is The Big Burn by Timothy Egan.

March 12th - Something I Miss

Summer. And warm weather. And the ability to take a full, confident stride outdoors without falling.

March 13th - Do I Have Any Regrets?

Yes. Many. I am a sinner and too often I've chosen to do what I knew was wrong, but wanted anyway. And usually it ended disastrously, and I grieved the heart of my Savior. But since I understand that because of the cross all my sins are forgiven, past, present and future, I try not to dwell in self-condemnation.

March 14th - What's on my iPod?

Newsboys, Jars of Clay, Mumford & Sons, Adele and misc. songs from Sovereign Grace Music that we sing at our church. Oh, and a bunch of 90's Christian Contemporary music that my husband refuses to delete, like Avalon.

March 15th - 15 Things that Make Me Awesome

No. I'm not going to do that.

Whew! All caught up for now. Let's see how many of these posts I have to do before March is over.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10th - Daily Routine

Here is my typical Monday, which looks a lot like Wednesday and Thursday:

6:00-6:30 AM: shower and get dressed for the day (i.e. slip back into comfy yoga pants)

7:30 - Make eggs or oatmeal for family breakfast. Sometimes we cheat and eat cold cereal, but I try not to do that often.

8:00 - clean up kitchen, check email and facebook, read a bit of Scripture or another book.

9:00 - School starts. The kids and I usually start the day off reading about another nation and praying for them, then we read our history lesson.

9:30 - Kids start on their seat work. I work with them on individual subjects like math and language arts until around noon.

12:00 - lunch, which is usually PB&J for the kids and leftovers for me. (Anyone ever wonder how much peanut butter they've eaten in their lifetime? I'm scared to think how many jars I've eaten!)

1:00 - My parents get home from their job and me and the kids usually hang out with them for a bit, catching up on the day and looking for birds.

2:00 - Read science to the kids and any read-aloud book assigned. Right now we are reading "The 21 Balloons" which I remember from my 5th grade year as one of the coolest books ever. I think I over-hyped it, as the kids aren't as excited about it as I was.

3:00 - chores around the house. You know, exciting stuff like supper preparation and laundry.

5:30 - dinner when Dan gets home

6:00 - I go to Jazzercise

7:00 - come home to whatever craziness has ensued while I was absent. Sometimes we play board games (my 9 year old just licked both Dan and I in Monopoly - watch out, world, he's a tycoon!), sometimes we watch DVR'd episodes of Little House on the Prairie or Duck Dynasty, or see what's on PBS, sometimes we read a book.

8:30 - kids to bed, Dan and I usually read or watch TV until bed.

10:30 - lights out, just like the good ol' days at MBBC.

Tuesdays we volunteer for a few hours in the morning, so our school day is much lighter, and Fridays we try to have a short day so we can enjoy Dan being home, if he is able to swing it. Come warmer weather, TV watching will become almost non-existent as we love to be outside. Can't wait for that to happen!

Friday, March 08, 2013

March 9th - My Bucket List

Have you seen the movie "Bucket List"? I haven't, but I know the story is about 2 old men who try to do all the things they've wanted to do their whole lives before they die. I'm curious as to whether the movie coined the term "bucket list" or if it was around before. I had never heard of it until the movie came out.

Although I've never viewed it as a bucket list, I do have some goals and aspirations I would like to achieve before my time here on earth is done. Here are just 3 of them:

1. I would love to visit most, if not all the national parks in our country. As much as I would love to travel to other continents, I believe our country has enough to keep me content for some time. Our family is planning a trip out West to Yellowstone and some of the surrounding parks next year.

2. I think I've convinced myself to learn to ski - snow ski that is. I'll leave the water skiing to my husband. Watching my kids take to it so naturally and come home so excited about it has made me think, "What's the worse thing that can happen?" Death or dismemberment, I know, but realistically, I think I'm going to take lessons next year and see if I like it.

3. I would love to learn to play the piano, and if/when the kids start lessons, I plan on taking them right beside.

I figure if I can do those 3 things, that is enough to keep me busy until Kingdom come. Who knows, as I grow older I'm sure I'll add things to the list and maybe delete some (skiing - watch your back), but until then, these are a few of my goals.

March 8th - Biggest Pet Peeve

I've had to do some serious soul searching to figure this one out. I've already told you how I feel about loud chewers, that has got to be near the top of the list, but truthfully, I don't even know if I have a list of pet peeves! I do know that things annoy me, but usually I think it is more my problem than the other person's, so I try not to get too bent out of shape over it.

Mostly I know that I am an impatient person, so I get annoyed when I have to wait for someone or something. Have I mentioned before that I have 2 children? Yeah, so maybe I get annoyed a lot. =( I think the word most often used in our household is "Hurry!"

I am really frustrated by lack of customer service. Truthfully, my level of frustration rises enough that it probably surpasses the catagory of "pet peeve." I've never lost my temper with someone who gave me poor customer service, but I have told other people. I believe that if it is your job to deal with the public, then you have a responsibility to be kind and gracious. The times I've had terrible service are few and far between, but usually involve some government agency.

Lastly, as I've gotten older and have more responsibilities on my mind, I'm rather peeved by needless noise. I remember my Mom telling us to turn off music because she couldn't think, and as a teen who LOVED music, I just didn't get it. Now I do. Sorry 'bout that, Mom.

What pet peeves do you have?

Thursday, March 07, 2013

March 7th - My Dream Job

I think I'm supposed to begin this post by saying, "I've already got it, baby!" After all, I am home with my kids and able to teach them daily instead of having to send them off to school. And while it is an extreme privilege I don't take lightly, it can also be genuinely difficult, frustrating and exhausting.

So yes, there are days I dream of shuffling the little angels off to school and showering and dressing in something other than yoga pants and having my hair done and perfect makeup to go off into my world of adult interaction and fulfillment in a career. But it isn't what God has for me now, and I really am fine with that, but a girl can still imagine her dream job, right?

I know more about myself now than I did when I went to college and got a degree in education. I know now that my utmost desire is not to work in a traditional classroom, but my first love is still speech and drama, on which my education degree was centered. (I may or may not have spent last Saturday at a nesting bird seminar silently evaluating each public speaker and imagining how I could coach them to be more dynamic presenters.)

Occasionally Dan and I, and maybe the kids, get to attend a local theater production. While I appreciate all that goes on on the stage, I find myself drawn to the lights, the music, and the scenery the most. I adore letting my mind wander to the scene designer's choices and how s/he came up with the design. I visualize the light board and fantasize about being the one sitting at it and working the show. More than once I've left a show and started rambling to Dan on how I would love to work behind the scenes, maybe even as a volunteer, just to be back in the theater.

If the day comes when I do decide to shuffle the kids off to school, or heaven forbid, they actually choose to move away, I think my first order of business will be looking into the local theater scene and worming my way back in.

Or maybe I'll open a fabric shop. Or work at a local yarn store. Or start my own book club. Oh, maybe I should run for public office. Or write a cookbook . . . we are talking about dreams here, aren't we?

Okay lovely readers, I want to know what your dream job is!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

March 6th - Random Act of Kindness

I think I was supposed to write about my most recent random act of kindness, but I don't like to talk about myself (HA - this blog is about my life, right?) But seriously, I do believe that trumpeting my good deeds to the world accomplishes the exact opposite of what I want. It makes much of me, instead of my Savior, whose love compels me toward good deeds, and it diminishes the joy you receive by kindness. Instead, I'll follow Missy's lead and talk about a random act of kindness done to me.

This past summer, we attended a birthday party for a friend from college. It was at a park and while our kids happily ran around with all the other little munchkins there, I sat and talked with one of my dearest friends for most of the evening. At some point, another person sat down and started talking to the two of us. She was a friend of a friend and after introductions were made, she started asking really good questions that kept the conversation flowing, instead of that awkward silence that usually follows a cold introduction. I casually mentioned Dan and I had taken up sailing (and by Dan and I, I mean Dan). She loves sailing and we talked for quite a while about the joys and my fears surrounding the sport. At the end of the evening, she casually said she'd look me up on Facebook and we parted ways.

Months have passed, and other than seeing her occasional update on my news feed in Facebook, we haven't interacted at all. A few weeks ago she posted a question about a book I've been wanting to read and I commented that I should buy it, but I keep waiting for my library to get it in so I don't have to spend the money. She quickly messaged me asking for my address and a few days later the book arrived in my mailbox. Totally unexpected act of kindness, which completely made me giddy for the rest of the day.

What book did she send me? You'll have to wait until the 11th, when I plan to write about the last book I read.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

March 5th - Favorite Movies I Never Get Sick of Watching

Ummm, did you notice my #5 on this post? I am not, nor ever have been, a movie person. I'll watch it, but most likely I'll fall asleep and miss the most important parts. Sorry, but movies are not my cup o' tea. But if I have to do this, here are a couple that I don't mind watching more than once:

#1. Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version. I own this - that alone should show you how much I value this production, since our movie collection only has about 6 titles.

#2. The Harry Potter Series. Loved the books, loved the movies. Won't let my kids watch past #2 yet, but I still desire to own them all.

#3. The Princess Bride. Only because it reminds me of almost every get-together I ever had as a teenager.

And my guilty pleasure:

#4. Tommy Boy. I'm a sucker for slapstick comedy and this too reminds me of my high school days.

Just so you know, I'm slightly embarrassed to have just admitted to that last one. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

March 4th - My Favorite Childhood Memory

Wait, I'm supposed to write about my FAVORITE childhood memory? That's nearly impossible! How am I supposed to boil down 18 years of a loving, supportive family, great friends and countless gifts and celebrations down to ONE favorite memory? Well, I'm a slave to this challenge, so I will try.

I grew up, um, how shall we say it . . . not quite up to the middle-class rung on the socioeconomic ladder. I don't want to say we were poor, God was gracious to give us what we needed, but not a whole lot more. We never missed a meal, although my Mom will say we ate too much boxed Mac 'n Cheese. We never went naked, but I wore A LOT of hand-me-downs. We never went through long bouts of unemployment, but my parents weren't scaling the corporate ladder at the Big Business downtown, either. My parents taught me a lot about how to live on a little (Mom is still trying to teach me how to throw together a meal without a recipe and specific ingredients), and my parents gave money faithfully to our church and scrimped and saved to be able to send us to a Christian school. I say all of this just to set the scene that non-holiday presents were scarce and completely unexpected.

My Mom had just started working at this new clothing store in town, Kohl's. (It cracks me up to think how we didn't know anything about this franchise, since now I live in the state of it's headquarters and 90% of my wardrobe comes from there!) It was the mid 80's, and Cabbage Patch Dolls were the toy du jour, and crazy parents were nearly killing each other for the last doll on the shelf. Of course I wanted one, but they were way too expensive and it wasn't my birthday or Christmas. Maybe I begged for one, but I don't remember being exceptionally annoying about it, more likely I knew it wasn't in the stars for me to have one. Of course, I always did the right thing in my memories of my childhood, so I don't claim that specific detail to be 100% true, but you'll have to find my parents and grill them on their memories to see if they differ.

On that fateful day, my Mom came home from her shift and called me into our kitchen. She had a giant plastic bag and told me it was for me. I remember being absolutely stunned to receive a gift out of nowhere, and genuinely shocked when I pulled out a brand new Cabbage Patch Doll from the bag. She had orange yarn hair, and while I remember them being named rather odd names, I can't remember hers. I named her Kimberly, and she instantly became my favorite doll. I dressed her in some of my old baby clothes, which were always disproportionate to her size. But I loved her and played with her for endless hours and never forgot that special gift.

Even Alli enjoys my favorite doll, still dressed in old baby clothes! 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

March 3rd - What Makes Me Happy

A list? No, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm too tired to think that hard. Let's keep this simple. Here are some pictures that best defines when I am most happy:

Being with my babies on the lake

 Riding in the boat (but not necessarily driving)

 Camping with the family, near the water, of course!

Walks on the beach

Are you sensing a theme yet?!

March 2nd - Favorite Quote(s)

I'll leave it to the masterfully simple-yet-eloquent C.S. Lewis . . .

"… it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

Friday, March 01, 2013

She's ALIVE!!!

Yes, it has been over a year since I last posted. "What has happened?" you may ask. Much. Much has happened, but mostly life. Moving, homeschooling, etc. . .  has eaten up too much of my time for me to sit and compose a post. I'm sure you understand.

Then I came across this little blog challenge, and far be it from me to shy away from a challenge (anyone who knows me is laughing right now, remembering how often I quit) and I decided that maybe it would help jump start my blogging habit again.

But I'm not making any promises.

Day 1: Self portrait and 5 random facts about yourself. Here goes:

I couldn't find a more recent picture of me that I was willing to share, so here is one of my family and I at Christmas. Alli thought it was supposed to be a funny pic - hence the snarl.

Random Fact #1: I hate the sound of chewing. If you are a loud chewer, please do not sit next to me at any meal. Only problem is that I married one. Yes, good people, that strikingly handsome man in the picture above is a loud chewer. Wait, this is supposed to be facts about me, right? Oops!

Random Fact #2: I have worn a size 7 shoe for most of my life, but recently I've started buying size 7 1/2. Can feet grow with age?

Random Fact #3: I took up knitting about a year ago and have fallen in love with it. I'm still knitting small items, but I hope to start a sweater soon!

Random Fact #4: I keep telling myself that we mostly eat a non-processed diet. I mean, I KEEP telling myself this, even as I make Velveeta soup. But hey, we are trying!

Random Fact #5: I've fallen asleep during more movies than I've actually finished watching. Start a movie and turn off the lights and I'm out. It's like a lullaby to me.

So there you have it! Hoping to keep up with the challenge this month, but at this point, more than one post in 12 months will be a victory for me!