We had a fantastic weekend. No, it wasn’t spent at my 20th high school reunion. (which my hubby and I missed) We spent the weekend with family in Eastern Washington. I can’t wait to tell you more about it. There were tractors, pigs, motorcycles, barn owls, bee hives, fishing, fun with family, and BARNWOOD! Thanks Uncle Brenty! I love the treasures hidden in those old barns!
Trying this post again, since it didn’t post with a picture last time…
I’ve had this little planter hanging next to my back door since I moved into my house. My stepdad made it for me before he passed away. He always loved wood working and I convinced him to start making some cute little projects to sell at craft fairs and farmer’s markets.
I’ve always loved this little picket fence, but couldn’t plant the tiny containers with anything. With the slats in the back, the dirt would always just fall out. I don’t know why I didn’t think about lining it with burlap before. The water drains through the burlap and holds the dirt in place. Most importantly, it looks cute and who doesn’t love burlap?
Papa Dave would be proud.
I feel very fortunate to have such a happy life. I have a wonderful husband, who has been in my life since I was 15 years old. We have two fantastic kids, who are happy, healthy, and well adjusted. We are close to our families and have an amazing support system of family and friends. My husband and I are both lucky enough to have decent jobs and I like to think we balance work and family well.
Home is where my story begins. There is nothing more important to me than having a happy home life and building great memories for my children.
When you walk in my front door, there will be good smells. There will be a homemade snack or meal, made with love, and there will be plenty to share with friends and neighbors who happen to stop by.
I have the kind of house where guests feel comfortable enough to curl their feet underneath them on the couch. There is nothing formal about our home. In every room there is an art project, game, or fort ready to be made.
Ten years ago, today, I was sitting in my child birth class. I was pregnant with my first baby. At the beginning of class, the instructor went around the room and asked each of us how we were feeling. When it was my turn, my response was that I was feeling “done”. There was a little laughter in the room because I was four weeks away from my due date.
As we were driving home from child birth class, I remember telling my husband that I didn’t know what it felt like to be at the very end of pregnancy. I had never had a baby before. But, I told him that I just felt like the pregnancy was at the end. Done. I made him stop at the drug store on the way home and I bought some of those disposable pads they use on hospital beds. I had a fear of my water breaking in bed and then having to replace the mattress. I went home and put the disposable pad on my bed, went to bed that night, and my water broke. Just like I said, “I’m done.” My baby boy came four weeks early, which was a good thing because he was over 7 pounds.
Happy Birthday to my big 10 year old!
Just for fun, I thought I’d repost the story of how we came to live in the best neighborhood in the state. The tagline on my blog says, “At the end of the day, it’s all about home and family.” I think I may need to change that and add neighbors to the tagline too. “At the end of the day, it’s all about home, family, and awesome neighbors.” It has a good ring to it.
AnNicole writes one of my very favorite blogs, Our Suburban Cottage. This week she has invited her readers to a linky party and asked us to share the story of how we met our house. I LOVE this idea. It really is a like meeting a new friend when you meet your house for the first time. I love the idea of sharing these stories with each other.
Here’s my story:
Just after my husband and I were married, we bought our first house.
I felt so fortunate. We had found a truly perfect house for us. It was a great price, close to work, in a nice neighborhood, with a beautiful yard and there was plenty of room to raise a family. I felt like we were living happily ever after in our “forever” house. We built a fence, bought a puppy, and the babies followed shortly after.
Life was good, but that was just the beginning of the story of our house.
You see, my sister lived in a beautiful neighborhood in Snohomish and it just so happened that my husband’s sister lives in the same neighborhood. Our kids are all about the same age and we all enjoy spending time together. My sister called me one day and told me about a house in her neighborhood that was For Sale By Owner. I told her that I thought that was really nice that she thought about us, but that we were not moving. She persisted. The next day she called again. She told me that she really thought we should just come out and see the house. Again, I told her that we were not moving and we didn’t even have time to come drive by. Undeterred, she went to the house, knocked on the door, and asked if she could come in and take some pictures to email to her reluctant sister.
This was the picture on the brochure.
The house that my sister had chosen for us was within walking distance to her house and my husband’s sister’s house. It was close to the elementary school that all the kids would attend. The house was within our budget, in a perfect neighborhood, and it was much larger than the house I thought was our “forever house”. When my husband and I opened the email with all of the pictures attached, it was all over. We didn’t even need to see it in person. It was love at first sight. We drove out that very night and made an offer.
Moving to our new “forever house” was the best decision we’ve ever made. There were, and still are, lots of cosmetic changes that need to made. We can handle that. It’s a small trade off for letting my kids grow up with their cousins and I mean REALLY grow up with their cousins. (We see them every day.) I always have someone to go to for a cup of sugar or when I’m short just one egg. I come home from work to find that my sister has “broken in” and left some things she had borrowed on the kitchen counter. We have one really tall ladder between all of us, because why would we want to store more than one ladder when we live so close together? We share dishes, childcare, good days, tough times, home baked treats, and most importantly – we share our lives together. At the end of the day it’s all about home and family. I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel that my home and family share the same neighborhood.
Check out these parties!
I’ve been loving my crock pot lately. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I would survive working, laundry, cleaning, gymnastics, football, and homework without it. Planning ahead is key here. It’s called a SLOW cooker, friends. If you’re not up for dinner prep before work, then just stop reading here. My crock pot is programmable, so I can set it to go for eight hours and then it turns to warm. Isn’t technology wonderful?
The crock pot liner is my 2nd BFF. I’ve been trying to reduce consumables, like Swiffer refills, and disposable mop pads. This is one disposable that I can’t possibly give up. My crock pot has always been a huge chore to clean. Not so much after finding this product! It just sits right inside the crock pot and when dinner is over, the mess goes right into the garbage. I still wash out the crock pot, but there is absolutely no scrubbing.
Earlier this week we had crock pot chicken. I put a whole chicken in the crock pot with a little water and garlic salt. Dinner is just about done when we walk in the door. This time I made a batch of quinoa with veggies and threw some of the chicken into the dish. Instant balanced meal! Gotta love that!
Image from Food Network
Then it was pot roast night. We trying to eat less red meat, so this was a treat. A few veggies and water in the bottom of the crock pot, along with a little garlic salt, and voila… dinner is served. I roasted some potatoes when I got home from work and made GRAVY from the leftovers in the crock pot. How’s that for a quick fall meal?
Image from Sodahead.
One of my neighbors just posted a picture on Facebook of her crockpot sitting in the front seat of her car. They have 3 kids and spend Tuesday nights at the soccer field FOR THREE HOURS! Ugh! I think she’s brilliant for making a pot of clam chowder in her crock pot and bringing dinner to the field. Nice work, Michelle!
I’m reading a book right now called Raising Happiness by Christine Carter. I decided to read this book because my kindergartener tends to be a “glass-half-empty” kind of girl. When I’m feeling joyful because it’s sunny, she’s pouting because it’s too bright out.
Chapter 2 in this book is about building a village… It takes a village to raise a child. At first glance, my thought was that this topic doesn’t really help make my child happier, but I was wrong. I often think about how lucky I am to have family living so close to me. My sister lives in my neighborhood and so does my sister-in-law. All of the cousins go to the same school and help me tremendously with with before and after school care. The grandmas are both retired now too and jump in to help quite often. Some of you are probably thinking, “Well, that’s great for you, but I don’t have family close by!”
Let me tell you about another VERY important member of my village. Her name is Diane and even though we aren’t related by blood, I feel as close to her as any other member of my family. Diane and I met when our kids were in the same infant room at a daycare center. (Actually we met in our child birth class, but we didn’t even remember each other.) When our oldest kids were three, we started mom and me swim lessons together.
Pretty soon, we found that our kids played really well together and started trading child care now and then. When our kids were three, we were both pregnant with our second babies. At that point we started working on something we just called “The Plan”. Our crazy idea was that if we both worked part time, working exactly opposite schedules, we could share child care and save ourselves $1,500 each month in child care. We would raise our kids like they were brothers and sisters (except they’d go home to their own houses at night). We started when our babies were 9 months old and the big kids were 3.
My son is now 9, and my daughter is 6. The babies have gone off to kindergarten and the big kids are fourth graders.
WE DID IT! We made this crazy plan of ours work. We created a village and raised our children together.
So, why am I telling you this story?
In chapter 2 of Raising Happiness, the author talks about building your village. As a parent, I COULD NOT SURVIVE without my village. Yes, some of my village members are family. But there may be someone out there who is just waiting to invite you into their village. Relationships with other people is KEY to providing happiness in our lives. Children who are embedded in a strong network of parents, friends, neighbors, and family are happier children. Playing with other kids teaches friendship skills. When YOU make connections with the parents of your child’s friends you are modeling how to foster relationships!
I’m urging you to reach out to families. Invite kids for playdates and get to know families on a personal level. Maybe you’ll find a Diane, someone who is as close as family and ready to be part of your village.