Friday Fave Five: Skating through the month

fff winter button

Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts us each week to share 5 of the favorite parts of our week.

1. 3 Day Refresh.

I love BeachBody programs and this one didn’t disappoint.  I lost 3 pounds but more importantly it jump-started me on healthy eating habits that I’d grown lax on over the past few months.  I’m not gonna lie, I was crazy hungry the last night, but overall the rest of the the time wasn’t bad at all. Though Sunday night was hard- mostly because I ice skated for 2 hours and shoveled snow for 30 minutes on the 3rd day of 900 calories a day- overall I did not feel deprived of food because you’re consuming something every few hours.  I’ll definitely be doing it again when I plateau and need something to zap my metabolism to attention.


But once in awhile I did think of this and giggle.

goal weight giphy

2. The Princess is loving school.  This is a huge blessing.  I knew she would but still worried about it since she was so adamantly opposed to the idea at first.  And her new teacher is great. We had an unsavory experience with SoCal public schools, but I’ve been beyond impressed with the educators at her school so far.

3.  An ice skating birthday party with the Princess.  It was fun to get an afternoon out, just us. And we had a great time ice skating with her friends.

We liked to think of ourselves as this…

ice skating yes giphy

But in reality were more like this…

ice skating no giphy

We had so much fun I didn’t get a single picture!  🙂

4. Hubs was supposed to be out of town all week and ended up only having to be away Monday & Tuesday.  Though we do fine on our own when we must, life is always better with him around.  I never sleep well when he’s away so it’s comforting to have him home.  Excuse me while I go swoon.  😉

dalmatians giphy

5. Finishing projects.  I was able to finish 3 projects this week!  I hate weaving in ends and blocking and such, so I have to plan in times to finish up all the projects I’m working on.  I also cast on a fun new secret project and was able to problem solve a way to smooth out some edges that were pretty gnarly at the color switch.  They’re still not perfect, but a lot better, and I’ll keep experimenting to see if I can make it even smoother.  🙂


And bonus, I got to go on a little reading date with this sweet boy.  He’s started reading chapter books and I’m having such a tough time finding age-appropriate books (he just turned 5 at the beginning of the month).  We’re doing Nate the Great and Encyclopedia Brown but any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!  He’s also in love with TinTin books. ❤

reading date


Friday Fave Five: Freezing



fff winter button

Welcome to Susanne’s Friday Fave Five where we share five blessings from our week.

With The Princess’ first week back in school being riddled with snow days and late starts, I did not get the commenting and blogging done that I wanted but small progress is progress- I did get my house cleaned and lots of snuggles in.  My goal is to actually get around and comment on every body’s posts this week.  🙂

1.  My first blessing is surviving our first serious cold streak here.  Yikes.

IMG_3326 The first time we went out in “real snow”, Little Warrior got snow in his mittens so his hands got too cold and he screamed bloody murder (he does that, sometimes…) for an hour after coming inside, despite going straight in to a warm bath & sitting by the fire with hot cocoa.  But, after getting some new, water proof mittens to wear OVER the wool mittens, he’s gotten the hang of being out in the cold and loves it.


They’ve mastered the art of sledding down the hill behind our house. 🙂

2.  Finishing & mailing a bunch of knitting and sewing projects, including this ginormous one. Whew.


3.  Music.  More specifically, a sound system that plays it with amazing clarity and range.  Hubby wanted to use his Christmas money for a sound system on our main living floor, but I said, “Honey, we really don’t need it. I just play music on my laptop.”  Words I have since eaten with a slice of humble pie because I use the sound system all. the. time.  I seriously can’t hear Barber’s Adagio enough on it.

And Foo Fighters and Nirvana are pretty great on it too.


4.  Totally materialistic- but my next fave is pressies.   I got a few amazon cards and used them to buy a few books I’ve been wanting to read before starting grad school and then a bunch of birthday presents for folks. Then I used the money I would have spent on birthday presents to get a new purse.  I’ve been majorly crushing on this Marc Jacobs one, but no way I’m paying that much so I trolled eBay until finding this more affordable, used gem.  I’m in love.  And getting rid of all my other purses makes it sort of simplifying, right?


And my awesome, leak proof Contigo coffee mug broke so my sister ordered me this gorgeous coffee mug that I’ve also been crushing on.  Squee.


5.  Time with this little nut. I haven’t had much time to myself yet because of how schedules have been working out with snow days, but I’ve definitely had more time with this little guy and he’s a different kid with big sister being in school. Back to his old, sweet self. We are both such introverts that we can happily do our own things without talking while sitting in the same room. He loves to play with the Princess and can’t wait for her to get home, but she’s so extroverted and talkative, I think it just wore him out to be around it 24 -7.


This Dino-ologist kit has entertained him for. hours. and. hours.  Even now, he’s sitting next to me meticulously brushing away plaster.  Oh my heart.


When I was a kid I used to do my school work by the fire so my Mom named our homeschool “Fireside Academy”.  Little Warrior decided to continue on the tradition.  🙂


He’s also obsessed with this carved angel and takes it around everywhere.  He cracks me up.



That’s been my week of surviving the first winter storm.  We’re expecting more snow next week. Yay.  Where did you find JOY in the little (and big) things this week?

Friday Fave Fives: First of 2015

fff winter button

Every week a lovely group of bloggers gather to celebrate our ‘Faves’ of the week.  It’s an exercise in gratitude and seeing the blessings in our days.  Susanne at Living to Tell the Story graciously hosts each week.  In case you missed it, I really need reasons to find JOY in my life these days!

1. My sister and nephew came for Christmas.  We all ended up sick so we stayed in all week and it was actually just what we needed.  A week of downtime while the cousins played and the adults drank copious amounts of coffee & tea.

cousins christmas 2015

2. FaceTime and Skype.  Staying connected with our families made the distance feel not quite so dismal. Though we missed talking with my older brother and his family. Hopefully, soon.  🙂

3. Hubby is home for the whole week!  It’s been amazing. After working 80 hours a week with almost no leave for 3 years, we are LOVING this new job.  Plus, he’s got a ton of leave saved up that he needs to burn.  🙂

4.  A surprise visit from a childhood friend of Hubby’s who is a Marine now. We just love opening up our home, and it’s fun to carry on in my parents’ tradition of giving a place of rest to young Marines in need of space from barracks life. He’s a great guy and it was fun to connect after years of keeping up via Facebook.

5. Lots and lots of knitting.  I actually made my thumb split & bleed at one point from knitting so much to try to finish a project before Christmas (I failed, but I’m mailing it off tomorrow).

knitting gma blanket

This is the Cabled Cradle Spread from Pickles but on bigger needles, with bigger yarn, and knit much longer.  I’ll post more details once the recipient gets it.  🙂

Bonus: Figuring out how to use Giphy in my blog posts:

star trek new years giphy

Because who doesn’t need more Kirk and Spock in their lives??

Happy New Year!  May the Lord bless you and keep you in 2015.

Word of the Year 2015: JOY

Baby, it’s cold outside.

jan 1 weather

It’s cold and clear and I’m not feeling well (the endo is raising its vicious head these days and I think I’ve got the black lung)

black lung giphy

so while my husband played with the kids in the playroom, I curled up with some coffee by the fire.

coffee 2015

The Princess got me this mug for Christmas with her very own money. Melt my heart. ❤


As I snuggled up by the fire, I transferred all the pictures from my phone to my computer (2500 of them… yikes…). I was struck with the themes and emotions I felt watching them upload.

My word of the year for 2014 was Health.  As the photos flipped through, there were countless pictures of fitness.  Despite feeling ill today, I’ve made dramatic strides in my health this year and am proud of how far I’ve come.  25 pounds gone, more strength and better sleep.


So, yay.  I improved financial, physical, and spiritual health this year.  I have been loving the study my bible study is doing- it’s been a key source of spiritual health for me.

that i may know him

I’m so grateful for these ladies who have taken me in and loved me and encouraged me in my faith.  Time in the Word has been a source of strength to weather this year.

I was most struck, though, by my emotions as pictures from this summer and fall started popping up.  So many fun family outings captured as memories.  But instead of joy at seeing these great days, I felt sick in the pit of my stomach remembering how hard those times were. Oh, that was the day that this child screamed for 2 hours straight when we got home, or the day that child hit someone with a folding chair, etc etc.

See, these past 6 months have been tough.  We’re doing a lot better, but man was it hard. We’ve had such great support and I’m so grateful for that.  And we’ve got great insurance to help with the costs of all the various therapies my kids need. Most of all, I’m grateful I’ve got such an amazing husband walking this path with me. He’s truly been my rock this Fall.  Not to mention, he’s smokin’ hot. Bonus! 😉

autumn walk

This was actually a great day! Yay, happy memory! 🙂


There have been some really good times, too.  Times that bring hope to keep me going. Hope that we might some day have normal, regulated kids.

But it’s been a dark time for me.  Emotionally, I’ve failed to be healthy in 2014.

george michael sad giphy

And let’s be real here, there’s not a lot of understanding for parents with traumatized kids. Because unless you’ve walked the road, you don’t get it.  And I can’t expect you to.   You don’t realize why we can’t get a baby sitter so we can get a break (hello there, abandonment issues… let’s aggravate them by leaving the child at bed time- tots brill), or why we have to have crazy strict boundaries (or someone will get hurt, or save a container of pee in their room, or whatever).

I wonder, sometimes, if my neighbors think we have a medieval torture chamber in the basement because of all the crying and wailing that comes from our home.  But no, I just asked my kid to get a pair of socks so we could go to the park.  45 minutes of melt down screaming because I asked the child do something that removed them from being in the same room as me (this was during the 3 week long post-Halloween everything-is-scary minefield).

haloween giphy

Or the 20 minute howl fest, accompanied by frantic running back and forth along the hall, after the tiniest paper cut in the history of mankind.  Said child later declined a band aid for it.

eye roll giphy

It was a hoot, in retrospect. Not so much in the midst of it, wondering if the neighbors would call CPS or something over my poor, dear child’s paper cut.  But afterwards I laughed with great gusto sharing the story with my bible study friends (Who, incidentally, have never once told me it was normal or brushed the trauma under the table.  They’re kind of amazing like that.)

But there has also been success.  Little Warrior went to get a hair cut and did not cry at all!  2 years in the making- most of the credit goes to finding an awesome barber out here willing to patiently work through it every 4 weeks (we tip him well…).  And also thanks to a quick phone call to Bapa right before we went in– to “make him brave”.  🙂


He was so proud of himself.  🙂


The Princess has had a great attitude this year. I’ve been so proud of how much she’s grown in maturity and what a sweet heart she has.  She did this puzzle all by herself!!!  So, so proud!

the princess puzzle

She was pretty proud of herself, too. 🙂


So, please don’t think it was all bad this year.  We had good times to celebrate. Especially their adoption in April!  I love them each so dearly.  It’s just been hard to move so many times and be so far away from our families.  And I don’t share this to have a huge pity party- though I sure do throw an awesome pity party!- but to encourage others in the trenches.  Fostering and Adopting traumatized kids is HARD WORK.  We need open and loving channels to share about it and I want people to know what they are getting themselves into BEFORE they start the process.  Because in this amazing adoption movement we see happening, my biggest fear is the lack of honest education about the trials people will face as they enter the wonderful world of loving the the precious little ones who’ve been hurt by the world.

kids need love


Going in to the new year, I’m determined to pull out of this funk.  The kids are slowly regulating and that’s finally allowing me to come out of overdrive and start healing myself.

To that end, we’ve decided, after much prayer and thought, to put The Princess in school.  While it’s academically best to homeschool her, as a family system it’s too draining  on me and I really need the break it will provide.  I did the math, and with her in school and Little Warrior in preK I will have TWELVE hours a week ALL TO MYSELF.  As opposed to the 50 minutes a week I’d get to sit in my car by myself while waiting for Princess at ballet when Little Warrior was in preK.  Add in the hour they’d be in Sunday School each week and I’d usually get about 2 hours a week kid free (any true introvert knows that sitting in a sermon is great, and a blessing in spiritual development, but you’re not really alone).

12!  I might be doing a happy dance right now.

yoda happy dance giphy

As I move in to this next year, the thing I’m craving- the thing I need most- in the next year, is JOY.  So my word for 2015 is JOY.  True JOY comes only from our Father in heaven and I pray that I find that JOY and it spills out into my relationships with family and friends.  Because after the dark of this year, I could use the light found in real, gospel-centered, grace-sharing JOY.

joy pillow

I think the Lord was pressing the word JOY upon my heart long before I knew it, because I was obsessed with this Christmas pillow from the first time I saw it and I waited a month before giving in and purchasing it.  I plan on leaving it out all year as a reminder.  🙂

May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   ~Romans 15:13

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but REJOICING comes in the morning.   ~Psalm 30:5

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY,  for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.   ~I Peter 1:8-9

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   ~Psalm 16:11

My lips will shout for JOY when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered.    ~Psalm 71:23