Look Back and Laugh 004 {throwing up over a cliff}

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In 2005 I went on a missions trip to Acapulco Mexico to partner with some of our church’s missionaries that head up an orphanage there.

We kept busy the entire time with various projects, but one evening we had the opportunity to go to watch some cliff divers. These incredible athletes would climb up 100 feet onto a tiny ledge and then plunge into the Pacific Ocean with style and finesse.

I really wanted to see the performance, but I didn’t feel all that great at the time. Yet I talked myself into going. We had been working so hard and this was our chance to see some of the sites the locals had been raving about.

The place was packed with hundreds of tourist all gathered around hoping to catch a glimpse of the acrobatic stunts. However, just before the show began my stomach started doing some acrobatic stunts of it’s own. I felt really queasy and despite doing everything I could to resist the urge to vomit, my body began to launch projectile chunks over the edge of the rocks. I distinctly remember looking over at the strangers beside me and muttering “I’m sick”. I guess I thought I needed to explain myself? But there was no way out and the show must go on and so did I.

On the way back down the rocky hillside I continued to make “deposits” every few steps. My biggest fear in that moment was that it would start coming out the other end if ya know what I mean. I expressed this concern to my husband and his response was “it’s okay, we will still love you.”

Luckily that didn’t happen (at least not until I reached a bathroom.) I did however have a lot of tourist accuse me of having too much tequila. In the end our whole team came down with montezuma’s revenge because we had tostadas with lettuce that was rinsed in local water. That’s all it took to knock us out.

It’s been 11 years since that trip and I still can’t eat Tostados to this day. Despite all that it was still a really successful trip. One that I will never forget and neither will the strangers next to me on the cliff that night.

By |May 3rd, 2016|Laughter|2 Comments

Baby Elle 5 Months

Here we are on the tippy tail end of Aril and Elle is closer to 6 months than she is to 5, but I haven’t posted an update yet.

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At 5 months she weighed 17 pounds. She is in the top 25th percentile for weight. Maybe that’s why she isn’t very mobile yet.

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The day she turned 5 months (April 10th) it snowed, which is crazy, but as soon as the weather cleared up a little I took her outside. I wanted to get a picture of her in some winter clothes that she wouldn’t be able to fit in next year.

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Unfortunately Elle was captivated by all the sights, textures, and sounds of the outdoors and she didn’t give me and my camera the slightest glance. I eventually gave up. The perk of being a photographer is that when she woke up from her nap with a big smile on her face I grabbed the camera again and started shooting.

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She rolls over now. Mostly back to tummy and she can push herself up a lot more than what you see her doing in this photo.

She still has blue eyes although I can already see some pigment coming in. The jury is still out on whether they will be brown or green though.

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Elle continues to do well in occupational therapy and speech therapy. She is also still exclusively breast fed and obviously not missing any meals (I hear that comment a lot). So everything is going great with baby Elle. She could not be loved anymore than we all love her, that’s for sure. She is precious and I am beyond blessed to be her mom.

 

By |April 29th, 2016|My Life|2 Comments

Mail Organization Tips for Small Spaces

As someone who has a large family in a small space I know how challenging it is to find ways to have good mail organization without an office. However it’s even more imperative that we do keep papers and files under control because we don’t have any room for error.

I am currently reading The 8 Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds and it’s been such a game changer. While the book is not about small space living, I have adapted it and combined Leeds organizational style with methods that I’ve already had in place.

 

Tips for mail organization

 

Here are 5 mail organization tips that we use to keep incoming mail from overtaking our limited living quarters.

 

  1. Keep Your Mail in the Mail Box until you are ready to sort it

In the book The 8 Minute Organizer, Leeds recommends having a basket, but a basket of mail would take up too much valuable flat-space-real-estate (i.e. counter or table top). So in our case I consider the mail box the basket. This means keeping all the mail out of the home until you are ready to sort it. It’s one way to maximize exterior space as storage.

   2. Sort and toss 

Because we live in a tiny space sorting the mail immediately is pretty crucial. So we forgo the basket idea proposed in the book. I suggest immediately throwing away junk mail and shredding anything that may contain personal information (or in our case rip it up).

  1. File important mail

8 Minute organizer recommends action files labeled “Pending, to call, to do, to file, to pay, to read.” That’s sounds like a great idea. We are not that organized yet. For now we each have individual files. The kid’s don’t get much mail other than medical documents, but they do have homework.

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This system has been a tremendous help to us. Since the files are up on a shelf it saves floor space. We do have a filing cabinet where we keep critical documents, but for the pending everyday stuff we use these Ikea cardboard magazine files in the kitchen (they’re only 99 cents for a 4 pack!).

4. Stay on top of the old mail

It’s not about just sorting incoming mail. If you file something that needs to be paid, or a form that is supposed to be filled out you should schedule it on your calendar immediately so that you don’t forget about it. You should also go through your pending files regularly. For me I go through each family file monthly. I am not saying I have mastered all this, but I have come a long way!

5. Go paperless as much as possible

Direct deposit, ebills, and AutoPay are our best friend. For one, you are automatically more organized because the computer is paying things on time for you. Also, you are helping the environment by trying to be as paperless as possible and lastly you are saving space because all of those letters and envelopes  are no longer floating around your home.

Most of these mail organization tips can work for anyone that wants a better system for mail organization, not just those living in small spaces. Still, there is a lot of information out there about organizing mail and not all of it works when you don’t have a home office, or even an average size home.

I have to give credit to my husband because he is the one that gets the mail and pays the bills, but I did the filing system. And together we learned that keeping the mail in the box until you are ready to sort it, filing right away, going through old files regularly, and doing online bill pay has made all the difference.

Hopefully these 5 mail organization tips have been helpful for other small space families. For more tips, tricks, and advice about living in a small space check out Lots of Hope in a Little Home here on Messymom.com.

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Good luck with all that mail!

 

 

By |April 28th, 2016|Lifestyle, Simple Living|2 Comments

Look Back and Laugh 003 {Broken Glasses}

Untitled-2-300x300This post was originally from March of 2009! I only had one child at the time. Talk about Time-Warp Tuesday (sorry, I guess that doesn’t have quite the same ring as Throwback Thursday.). Thankfully this embarrassing moment never happened again.

I was pretty exhausted and feeling a little brain dead after having just gone grocery shopping with my one year old (need I say more?). When we leave the store I throw on my sunglasses and head home. I felt like one lens was really dirty, but I was driving so I didn’t want take my hands off of the wheel to fix it. It was a beautiful day and a lot of my neighbors were outside. I smiled and waved as we drove past. Even J was outside doing yard work . As I pull up he starts motioning to me. I thought maybe he was gesturing for me to park somewhere else so I rolled down the window to ask what he wants and he says “your glasses” and points to his eyes. I then looked in the mirror to see that I had been driving around with one lens missing.

I looked utterly ridiculous. Z had thrown my glasses on the floor in the grocery store and one of the lens busted out. I just popped it back in and thought they were fixed, but apparently I was wrong. I think this deserves a face palm.

By |April 26th, 2016|Laughter|2 Comments

Home Stretch for This School Year

It’s official. I turned in re-enrollment forms for both of my school age kiddos. SJ will be going into 1st grade and Z is going into 3rd. I’m really excited about this next milestone for these two.

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Not a lot will change for SJ because her school uses a montesorri type format. So she will be in the same classroom with a lot of the same students next year, except now she won’t be the youngest. You would think this would be an easy transition (for me), but I get anxious almost every year.

The schedule is the same for SJ which means she spends about half of her time doing academics and the other half is speech and language. This year I felt great about that because even her hearing peers were only doing half day kindergarten anyway, but in 1st grade I have to worry about her getting a “full day” of curriculum in half the time. I worry so much about her being behind. I practically had to have a voluntary intervention at the parent teacher meeting last week.

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Thankfully we have the most amazing team of teachers, directors, even the audiologist was in there at one point. They all encouraged me by answering my questions and telling me what an incredible job SJ is doing. They also reminded me to remember how far she has come and she really has!  I feel 100% better after going to this meeting and now I am ready for next school year. I make it sound like I am the one going to school. I know I’m not, but I might as well be. We’re in this together!

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Z is going to be switching classes for the first time when he starts back up in the fall. He said he is a little apprehensive about that, but I know he’ll be fine. I am beyond excited that he gets to be at this school for the 4th year (new building, but same school by the way). I love his school so much and we weren’t sure if we were going to be moving, but we’re not. We are staying in our rental home another year. After that we’ll try to become home owners again and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

The funny thing is, even though I don’t have to worry about Z falling behind I worry about him being challenged. With Z he has shown a lot of signs of being at the top of his class and he’s really great with technology and math. He wants to be an inventor and I want him to be able to do that. How do I harness his abilities without being pushy or overbearing? I know I sound like such a worry-wart, but I prefer the term over-thinker. The other day he had to remind me that college is still 10 years away. I am that mom.

Regardless of my tendency to fret I can assure you that these aren’t thoughts that constantly pervade my mind. With 4 kids I don’t have time to obsess. I am all about kids being kids and learning trough play, yada, yada, yada. I think all moms want their kids to succeed and reach their fullest potential. That’s what it boils down to.

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I am genuinely excited about wrapping up another successful school year. The last day of school for both Z and SJ is exactly 5 weeks away!

Look out summer, here we come.

By |April 21st, 2016|Schooling|1 Comment

Look Back and Laugh 002 {Switching Seasonal Clothes}

Sorry I’ve been so absent lately. My website is still down way too often and so for those not on Facebook you may think I have abandoned ship, but this is not so! Please don’t give up on me. As for today’s link up, this isn’t an embarrassing moment, but it is a funny exaggeration so that’s why I am posting it for today’s Look Back and Laugh. Maybe some of you will relate.

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Now that we finally have some spring weather it’s time to pack up the sweaters and bring out the shorts. This is always a big task to tackle, but this is the first time I have done it with 4 children. And let me tell you, it is a NIGHTMARE!

I have been working on it for daaaaays. Maybe there are people that have containers and storage for all this, or their closets are big enough  to fit winter and summer clothing year round. None of this is the case for me. We have hobbit closets and live by the philosophy if it wasn’t worn by 8 different children then someone didn’t get their money’s worthSo clothing rotation in our home is an art form and one that I have yet to master.

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One problem is how to group things. There is the obvious grouping by size and season, but we have up to size 10 and both genders. If I had a bin for each size, gender, and season we would have forty bins of clothes. So I try to scale down as I go through everything.

Let’s start with the first son. I have to decide if it’s something that will fit him next year. If yes, I put it in the size “8ish” winter pile. If not then it is either a future dust rag, donation, or I hang onto it for when the next son is in size 6 or 7.

See that’s the other problem, just because something says it’s one size it doesn’t always fit that way so you may have everything from a 6 to a 9 in a closet at one time. Then you have things that you want to pass on or give back to a specific family. That’s another pile. There are always a couple items that look like they need to go through the wash once more before being packed up, so you’ve gotta throw those in a pile. Or maybe it’s something you feel is valuable enough to sell. Start a pile for that too. Do this four times over and you have 23 piles and house that looks like an episode of Hoarders Buried Alive.

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I do realize in hindsight that there is no 5T or 6T, but after going through so many toddler clothes I got carried away with the T.

Then heaven forbid your child realize you are getting rid of one of their prized possessions. Oh it’s all over! Go ahead and bring in a professional counselor for this part. Yesterday SJ wanted to know what the letters on the trash bag spelled and I told her it said “Donation” and she gave me a quizzical look. Donation? What is donation? She asked. I dodged the question. We’ll talk about it later.

Then Z saw a pair of jogging pants in the trash pile and he freaked out on me. I told him they are a size six and too small, but he began to protest.

Z: That’s just a label mom. They still fit me.

Mom: They have holes in them. They are going in the trash”

Dad: You could cut them and make them into shorts.

Mom: He has plenty of shorts! You stay out of this.

This conversation went on for a long time and I kid you not he wore them to school today. Sigh.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I am just as much a culprit when it comes to clothing attachment issues. I see a vest that Z wore for Easter of ’09 and I react like my 13 year old dog is being euthanized. 

It’s all just too much. I mean, I understand why we have clothes I guess, but sometimes I wonder if they are overrated. Maybe unisex rompers will become a thing. Until then I better get back to sorting or it will be winter again before I finish.

By |April 19th, 2016|Laughter|1 Comment

Look Back and Laugh 001 {Experimenting With Essential Oils}

Who’s ready to stop thinking about all the chaos in the world and have a little laugh? I am willing to let it be at my expense if that’s what it takes. This is my first time hosting a link-up so if anyone wants to participate in the future feel free to join in. For now I just plan on trying to post one every Tuesday and keeping it casual. However, any and all Look-Back-and-Laugh links are welcome anytime (check out the guidelines for more info). If you do share a link I will be the first one to jump over and read it. I am sure I will be laughing right along with you.

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My first Look Back and Laugh is about experimenting with essential oils.

In 2004 another diet book hit the scene called The Maker’s Diet by Jorden Rubin. This was before I had kids and I was exploring an alternative wholistic lifestyle while working on a farm tending chickens and milking goats. So I bought the book and delved into the philosophy of treating my body the way The Maker had intended (it lasted a month or so).

In chapter 11 Dr. Rubin talks about using essential oils as they are referenced in the Bible. Keep in mind this was over ten years ago before anyone was into essential oils at all. At least no one I knew had heard of them. So consider me a pioneer, or maybe guinea pig is a better description. The idea fascinated me and I ran out to the health food store and picked up a couple bottles of these concentrated elements.

One of the oils was Cassia: 

“a species of the genus Cinnamomum, known for it’s effective antibacterial and antiviral agents that God provided to protect the Israelites from disease.”

I figured if it worked for the Israelites I might as well give it a try. So I went through the instructions given in the book.

“Place a few drops of one of the biblical essential oil blends on your palm, making several clockwise circles with your fingers. Then rub your palms together and cup them over your nose and mouth. deeply inhale the aromatic vapors.”

As I was breathing in the essence of the oils it filled my senses with the sweet fragrance of cinnamon.

Ah… exhale.

The joys of healthy biblical living. How nice.

Oh my. I am starting to feel a little tingle.

Ouch… okay my face burns a little bit.

 Oh God help me! I think my face is on FIRE! AHHHH!
I look in the mirror and the entire area around my mouth and nose was swollen and bright red. I panicked thinking that I was having an allergic reaction. I was about to seek medical attention, when I read further down in Dr. Rubin’s directions “HIGHLY CONCENTRATED, not for topical use. Burning sensations may occur. If irritation occurs apply vegetable oil immediately.”

Obviously I lived to tell about it, but I never tried that form of aromatherapy again.

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By |April 12th, 2016|Laughter|3 Comments

Messy Blog

Every once in a while I have to do some house keeping on the blog. If you know me, or even if you just note the name of my blog, I am not that great at house keeping. This is why my blog is a mess. It might not look like a mess to you, but if you could see behind the virtual walls you would find broken links, outdated articles, and probably some messed up code.

It was a year ago that I launched The New Messy Mom Blog and basically I am ready to do that again. I won’t be doing a new site this time, but I will be taking the time to clean out ALL my old blog post.

Here is what this means. I am going to be going through over 1,500 blog entries! A lot of them I need to throw in the trash, but some I will update, and some I am basically rewriting and republishing. 

Last year I took a big step by changing to self hosting, having a custom design and incorporating some high quality videos like my welcome video and gender reveal video. I started having sponsored posts, and reviews, as well as some giveaways. It was a good year, but I have so much more that I want to do and I’ve got to take care of some maintenance stuff before I can really move forward.

 

So I’ll be sharing old stuff remixed, some new stuff that I am really excited about, and regular family updates. Thanks for following and supporting me. I am sorry the site has been down so much. I know I have announced that it was fixed in the past, but hopefully that really will happen soon.

I’ll sign off with a recent photo of baby Elle and my new haircut just because I don’t think I posted any here on the blog.

Happy Monday everyone.

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By |April 11th, 2016|My Life|6 Comments

Getting Emotional About the Last Baby

While in Texas last week I got to spend some time with Connie (the pastor’s wife at the church where we did ministry for many years). She is the same age as my mom and always has so much valuable wisdom to impart. When talking about motherhood Connie reminisced about her only daughter graduating from High School and leaving for college. This was close to 15 years ago when she was about to become an empty nester and her daughter asked her Are you going to miss this? 

Connie replied

Yes. I am going to miss you, but I have always missed every stage that you have gone through. I missed having a little baby around, I missed the toddler stage, and when you turned 16 and no longer needed me to drive you around I missed that. But then I also always looked forward to the next stage. I get to watch you grow and discover new things.

That’s it. That’s what I have had to remind myself over and over. It’s hard knowing that aside from whatever could happen with potentially adopting a chid we are done having children. Baby Elle is the last time I will experience so many of these things and it’s all happening so fast! I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck over it.

I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and I’ll admit I have done that when I have read lengthy status updates about someones first baby turning one and how the world is ending because their baby is “all grown up”. Then I know plenty of other people that are just shy of detesting babies/toddlers and toast cheerfully to each passage toward independence.

I don’t do change quite so well.

Ten years ago I was so reluctant to have children. I never wanted to disrupt the connection between my husband and I or our childless freedom. I could hardly fathom life tied down with babies. Now that J and I have children of our own our relationship has definitely changed, but it’s become so much deeper and stronger. We both wish we would have started our family sooner!

Then when I had Z my world changed forever as I stepped into the role of mom. I didn’t want to upset that relationship either. I don’t know how many mothers I have talked to who have all said the same thing- I don’t know how I could ever love another child as much as I love this one. Then they had the next child and the love only grew. I do have a soft spot for those first two years of motherhood when it was just Z and I, but there is nothing like getting to watch siblings interact and bond with one another. You not only get to love more children, but you get this amazing gift of watching them bond and love each other. It’s amazing!

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Every stage so far has had it’s pros in cons. You trade in sleepless nights for power struggle days cushioned by adorable phrases of overwhelming cuteness. Then chubby little faces turn into grins with missing teeth. Before you know it you begin to connect on a deeper level and have conversations about history, and ride bikes together, or play board games where you are actually challenged. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, but I see a pattern. It keeps getting better. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

I’m sure this stage of parenting is just like the other stages that I was reluctant to embark upon. If I had only known all the joy and fulfillment that was coming I might not have been so hesitant. I know there are parts of this season of life that I will miss, isn’t that always the case? But for now I am just soaking it all up. Living in this moment that is a gift from God and knowing that there are so many more new and wonderful memories that await.

Of course I sound all sentimental and peaceful now, but we’ll see how I feel in 15 years. Shoot, with the way my emotions swing you can ask me how I feel tomorrow. For now, I can handle the bitter sweet fact that my babies will not stay babies forever.

By |April 7th, 2016|Babies & Toddlers, Motherhood|1 Comment

Personality Tests

I have been reading H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick while we are out of town for spring break and it has been really enlightening.

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In the chapter “A Habit of Self- Discovery” Lomenick suggests several different personality tests and recommends reviewing the results side by side looking for echoes.

The first test I did was similar to a Strength Finders test and found that my main talent (according to this test) is “Believing”.

The results showed that

Individuals with the Believing talent can have a solid set of core values by which they choose to live. This talent can enhance ethical standards and integrity, and when presented with alternative paths will tend to choose the ‘right one’.

As I said at the beginning of the year my word for 2016 is “Next” as in just do the next right thing. So that’s was a cool confirmation.

The next test I took was the Myer’s Briggs. I have taken this before, but I always forget what the 4 letters are. It looks like I am an ENFP (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving). Everything I have read about this personality seems to fit my own.

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The last one I did was DISC which was also neat. These are my results in a nutshell.

 

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Out of all of these results I realized that I am really high on the emotional strengths and lower on the structured ones. For example some of my highest strengths are being a positive, motivating, harmonious unifier. The things I am the most lacking in are being commanding, responsible, strategic, deliberate, and disciplined.

As I have mentioned before J and I are opposite. When we chose our core values for our family mine was compassion and his was self control. We are apart on love language too. Mine has always been words of affirmation by a landslide and  his is acts of service. Acts of service are almost pointless to me. I appreciate them, but they don’t make me feel more loved. I guess we balance each other out.

According to H3 Leadership personality tests are a way to “step outside of yourself and more clearly survey how you’re built.” It’s an emotionless snapshot of you identify, gifts, and passions.

Have you taken any of these tests? What areas do you thrive in the most?

By |March 30th, 2016|My Life, Uncategorized|2 Comments