Category Archives: Winter

New Year, New You?

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Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I never have before, but I decided that I would floss my teeth every day in 2016.  I know that’s a seemingly small thing, but it makes my bedtime routine that much longer.  However, I know it’s good for my health, so I’m working on consistency and haven’t missed a day so far.  

I also decided that I would work out every day, even if it was just for five to ten minutes.  I must admit that I have already failed at this one, but I have been much more active this month.  My mom gave me a Fitbit for Christmas, and we have been challenging each other to meet our step goals.  This past week, I challenged the four friends on my list who always have the most steps for the past seven days to a “Workweek Hustle”.  I amazed myself by taking over 18,000 steps on Monday and again on Tuesday!  Obviously, I am highly motivated by competition.  

  
I woke up at 4:30 or 5:00 am each morning to work out on our elliptical, and I tried to stay moving throughout the day.  I had gained a pound earlier in the month and lost that pound this past week, so I am challenging those same friends to another “Workweek Hustle” and hope to lose another pound this coming week.

  

Yesterday, I completed a burpee challenge and a sit-ups (crunches) challenge using a free 30 Days app.  I had never done burpees before, but I ended the challenge with a set of 29!  Crunches are easier for me, and I ended that challenge with 126.   I have already completed the starting tests for my February challenges:   push-ups and sit-ups (crunches).

As this first month of the new year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished in January. I have been trying to eat less and move more, but the scale doesn’t show any weight loss. Fortunately, I don’t rely solely on my weight to determine my progress. In the last month, I have lost an inch on my waist and 3/4 of an inch on my hips. I know I could have lost more if I would have eaten less, and that will be my focus in February. It will be difficult with four birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and two banquets, but I am determined to lose at least four pounds in the month of February.   

What are you doing to be healthy?

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Happy New Year

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Happy New Year

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“The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.”
~The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

We love Dr. Seuss books. Our wintry weather this morning reminded me of the opening lines of Theodore Geisel’s most famous children’s book, so I read it to the twins. They sat in my lap for about three-fourths of the book and then listened to the rest while playing.

They have developed quite a love for reading in the last week or so, bringing us armfuls of books at a time to read to them. I read at least half of this stack of books to them yesterday afternoon, and now we are reading them again.

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We also love books by Eric Carle and Sandra Boynton as you can see. Most of our Dr. Seuss books are not board books, so they are not on the shelves for the little ones. We are still working on turning paper pages without tearing them. I’m just glad they enjoy reading and listening to books as much as their mama and big brother. I hope they always maintain their love of reading.

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This is a perfect way to spend a cold, wet holiday–reading a good book next to a warm fire. I hope your New Year is starting off as wonderful.

Children, Children Everywhere

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It seems like I never get a moment alone anymore. The big kids have been out of school since December 12th, and the little ones are always home. I have heard about other mothers of preschoolers hiding in the bathroom to have a moment alone, but I can’t even manage that. As soon as I mention to anyone that I’m going to the restroom, the twins run ahead of me and stand against the wall right in front of the toilet. They have “assigned” places too. It’s quite comical.

Evenings are difficult with the younger ones wanting to eat early and wanting to be held while I’m trying to prepare dinner. The older ones usually choose this time to watch TV or start arguing, both of which add more noise to the toddlers’ fussing. Noise stresses me out. I hate to have the TV just on. I don’t even care about having music playing in the background. Silence is golden.  Whining, crying, fussing, arguing, noise, noise, NOISE!  (I’m starting to sound like the Grinch.)

A couple nights ago, I was working on dinner when I realized it was relatively quiet, and I was the only one in the kitchen. I could hear the twins playing nicely together in the game room, and the big kids were down at their grandparents’ house. I almost missed the little ones hanging on my clothes, trying to get me to pick them up. I almost missed the big kids underfoot, trying to help prepare dinner and set the table. Almost. Instead, I relished the peace and quiet for the few short moments that it lasted.

One day they will all grow up and move out, and then I will miss them being in the kitchen. I love my children and cherish our quality time together. Sometimes there is just too much quantity time together (too many children and too many hours with all of them). They wear me out mentally and physically.

One of the twins fell asleep in my lap thirty minutes ago, so the others walked down to their grandparents’ house. I’ve been sitting here in relative silence, rocking my youngest while the fire burns in the fireplace. I think I’m ready to face the chaos of preparing dinner now.

Mini Me n Stitches

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I shared our baby girls’ birthday portraits on here a couple days ago and mentioned that my sister had embroidered their adorable shirts. My sister has recently started taking orders for shirts, tote bags, jackets, etc., so I thought I’d help promote her business–Mini Me n Stitches. You can contact Lindsey at briansmama03@aol.com or 903-985-0667 (text or voice) for more information or to place an order.

These cute shirts were a custom request from me because I wanted the babies to have shirts to match the conversation hearts theme of their birthday party. She was able to download the design online, and they turned out perfectly!
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The balloons were a little too big for you to see the whole design, but I had to use something to keep them sitting relatively still. Here is a close-up shot, so you can see all of the cuteness.
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Once again, here are the “LOVE” shirts she made for the twins.
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Our Vegetable Garden

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My husband built raised beds for a vegetable garden at two of our previous homes, so he has had practice building the frames and filling the beds, and we have learned a few things from our previous gardens.  We sold our previous home two years ago in May after planting our garden.  It was actually a big selling point for the wife who bought our home, but I was disappointed that I had done all the work, and they were able to reap my harvest.  Oh, well.  I would rather have my current home and garden anyway. We are fortunate to live just down the driveway from my husband’s parents. Their house can be seen in the background of some of these photos along with their barn.
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For our current garden, we decided to build 4′ x 8′ beds to maximize the space between the side of our house and the pasture fence, so my husband bought 8-foot-long two-by-sixes and cut some in half for the 4-foot sides.  He also bought 4-inch square landscaping timbers and cut them into pieces about six inches long to put in each corner.  He screwed the side pieces into the landscaping timber pieces, forming a rectangle, with Big Brother’s help.  He made seven of these wooden frames for our garden.  This is the most we have ever had, so we’ll see how well I do at tending our garden.
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My husband sprayed Round-Up on the grass and weeds first to try to prevent them from growing in our garden.  Then he put down a weed barrier fabric, using nails to secure it to the ground.  We placed the wooden frames on top of the fabric and filled each one with a soil mixture that he bought by the truckload.  We actually put part of the fabric down, placed a wooden frame on top, and he backed up his truck all the way to that frame to fill it.  Then he would unroll more fabric, and we would place the next frame and fill it.  This saved us from having to use the wheel barrow to move the soil to each bed.  Sissy thought she could help Daddy with spreading the dirt, but that shovel is quite a bit bigger than she is!
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We also purchased a truckload of decomposed (crushed) granite to line the walkways.  This keeps them from being muddy, and my husband won’t have to mow or use the weed eater in the garden.  We did this in our last garden as well, and it helped prevent grass from growing in the beds.  This time, my husband also put the weed barrier fabric under the walkways, so I’m hoping I won’t be constantly pulling grass out of the walkways either.  He put metal edging around the garden against the fence and on the back side to keep the granite from spilling into the yard.  I leveled out the space under the gate and fit the square paving stones in place, which took me at least an hour.  It was a good workout though.
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Below is a photo of our garden taken today.  We have planted broccoli, cauliflower, onions, basil, carrots, and sugar snap peas.  (Disregard that holly bush in the middle of one bed.  Hubby put it there, so it would get watered this morning, but the wind blew it over.  We will start on our landscaping this weekend and find a place to plant that holly bush.)  I started romaine lettuce in a flat container today, and my mother-in-law started my tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in her green house a couple weeks ago.  We will also plant cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, and butternut squash later, but we are planning to plant those towards the back of our backyard, since the vines would go everywhere and take over our vegetable garden.  It’s a work in progress, but we are looking forward to having fresh vegetables this summer.
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Birthday Girls

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I did not post the twins’ birthday portraits a few weeks ago like I had planned, and a month has already passed since my last post. I’ll post updates this week showing you what we’ve been busying ourselves with the last few weeks, but here are the babies’ portraits. Sissy is shown first because she is the oldest by one minute.
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My sister made these adorable shirts for the girls. They spell “LOVE” and that fit perfectly with their birthday falling just a few days before Valentine’s Day. My sister also made their hair bows. She’s quite talented.
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Little Sister is next. We could not get her to stand still, so we let her climb on this crate. Oh, the joys of toddler photos!
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They enjoyed smashing their cakes. Little Sister even ate a little, but Sissy didn’t want to try hers. That’s usually how mealtimes go as well. Little Sister will put anything in her mouth, but Sissy is more cautious when it comes to food, which is the complete opposite of their personalities in general.

A Lovely Walk

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We went for a walk in our neighborhood this afternoon and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was 68 degrees and sunny this afternoon. Tomorrow’s high temperature is only 47, so we had to take advantage of what God blessed us with today.

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20140120-220230.jpgThe babies enjoyed their first ride in the wagon. That is our gravel road in the background, and the asphalt roads in the rest of the neighborhood were almost as rough as the gravel. I refuse to try to push a regular stroller on the gravel, and we haven’t bought a double jogging stroller yet, so the poor babies had to endure a very bumpy ride in the wagon. They never fussed though.

A dog in a fenced yard barked at us, and Sissy was fascinated. A man was using a chainsaw to cut up a tree, and Little Sister watched long after we had walked past. Sissy doesn’t like loud noises, but she loves animals. Loud noises don’t bother Little Sister, but she is not as fond of animals. They are so different. I saw this quote last week and thought it fit them perfectly:
Two unique souls united by birth.

Big Brother and Big Sister rode their bikes on our “walk”. I find it a little ironic that they beg me to take them on a “walk”, and then I end up being the only one who actually walks. At least I got in 45 minutes of exercise today.

20140120-215240.jpgThe photos don’t do justice to this hill. It’s a awesome slope down to the bridge over the creek and then an almost equal slope up the other side. They love to race down the hill, up the other side, and then back again. They can go several times before I can walk to the other side. It’s a good thing there is very little traffic in our neighborhood.

20140120-215827.jpgWe love living out in the country. I’ll take the bumpy roads for the peacefulness and serene beauty any day.