Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Learning Patience from Jane

Learning Patience from Jane
This is Jane's six year old birthday photo. Her smile says it all. 
I was about 30 minutes late picking up Jane from school one day. 30 minutes! I know, I know...that is so late. 

The teachers had called me, called Cody and I think one of my emergency contacts that I had offered to help earlier that day! I was so embarrassed and shaken by the experience. I had no great excuse. I had got onto the computer to research preschool curriculum for my nearly 3 year old, and I honestly just lost track of time. I did not know where my cell phone was, so I was not getting the calls and I couldn't call the school back once I realized. Brooklyn was sleeping in her room so I frantically yanked her from her peaceful sleep and into the van with her pant-less sister. My hair was greasy and I started to think of all the things that the teachers were thinking about me. I was mind reading and what I imagined they were thinking was not very nice. Agggh! Another thing to work on.

I rushed to the school and found Jane hanging out with her teacher and the summer school coordinator. They were pleasant to me considering my terrible oversight. The teacher said goodbye to Jane and slipped out as soon as she could, but the coordinator was finishing a story with Jane. Jane was smiling and acting terribly happy for having been forgotten. Then the coordinator started in, "Your daughter is so lovely. She has been really patient. I sure hope she is in my class when she gets into second grade." Even as we walked out the door she was saying, "Your daughter really is so pleasant."

It wasn't until much later that I realized how significant the compliments were. I was way too caught up in the flustered feeling I was getting as a self-conscious mom to notice that Jane was the one that had really "suffered" and yet she was smiling, laughing and finding the best in the situation. As we walked out to the van after picking her up 30 minutes late, I asked her to forgive me and she said, "Yes, mom, I forgive you." Again, this was with a smile. I explained what happened and she didn't skip a beat. No grudges. No trying to rub it in that I had been an irresponsible parent. She was patient while she waited and then quickly forgave me. Wow! I needed that lesson this week. 

There was one afternoon as I was cleaning up and trying to get dinner ready that I started to complain. I was literally saying, under my breath, sarcastic, frustrated things like, "Yeah, I love to sweep five thousand times a day," or "If I don't clean the dishes, they just pile up and no one cares until it's time to sit down to dinner and there are no dishes to eat off of." Like I say, I was feeling pitiful in this moment, and I felt like I might drown if I didn't leave. I simple put the broom back in the closet and walked out the door. 

I took a walk around the block and hoped that Cody could handle the kids. I took deep breathes and tried to get my mind right again. I started with thinking about how I could get a full-time job and leave this suffocating life behind, and then slowly, as the walk progressed, I thought of how patient Jane had been. My life does not look the way I want it to look right now, but I have to keep smiling and see the best in the situation. I know if I am patient, all will be set right and I will receive the things that I want so badly. 

PATIENCE! My life-long struggle to wait on the Lord is in full force as a mother. I want to not only be more patient, I want to be pleasant as I navigate this season of my life. 

I hope we can all be a little more patient, forgiving and pleasant, even when things are not ideal! 



Again, I always want to hear about things that you are learning from little ones. Comment below if you have learned a valuable lesson lately. 

Best, 

Lucy Jo
 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Don't Say Cheese!

So, this weekend was busy. I had a photo session on Friday and Saturday morning. I have not taken photos since last season and starting up again has given me some perspective. I really do love families and how beautiful, unique and complex they are. It can be very stressful when I worry the whole time about getting the one perfect family photo, but the longer I make photos, the more I realize that sometimes the most beautiful shots are the ones that are not posed and that the "money shot" will come. If someone were to ask me why I like to take photos, my answer would be because I really truly believe that every person is beautiful in their own way. I love to capture a moment in time that is unique to that person or group. No matter how many photos you take, not one will be exactly like the other because the subject is always different.

I love to see the love and affection of families and the light in people's eyes and the smiles. To freeze a moment that represents the love that people have for each other is super special and it will never get old. Making photos is not easy, but the results are always worth it. I also know that people that take the time and effort to get family photos or any photos taken almost always see the value...even the dads who historically loathe having family photos taken. 😄 So, I strive for genuine moments and seeing beyond the "say cheese" pictures.

Here is one shot from each session this weekend.

Lucy Jo Photography

Lucy Jo Photography


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Painting Essentials




Cody helped me paint the basement this last weekend. As we were painting I thought about the amount of painting we have done since we moved into our home. We are on our eighth room! Then I thought, I will ask Cody what his number one tip would be for those that are thinking about painting in their home.

His answer: Hire someone to paint for you.

I laughed hard. He is right though. If you can afford to hire a professional, it will save you a lot of work, sometimes heartache, and will likely look better.

Then I thought about what tip I would give for those that, like us, can't hire a professional right now.

My answer: Just get started and get the tools to make the job easier.

It is almost always worth the investment to paint. Usually you are painting a room a color that makes you happy and your walls will look sharper and cleaner after you are done. Getting started, like when you are wanting to exercise, is easier than thinking about or anticipating it.




Tools/Essentials that we use:

Quality paint rollers
Lots of paint trays and liners for the different colors
Paint pails for detail work
Quality paint brushes
Painting ladder and or step stool
Large drop cloths to protect flooring
6-in-1 painters tool
Paint roller extension
Plastic Wrap: we wrap our paint rollers in between painting sessions so we don't have to clean them out every single time.
Paint lid


Paint Edger






As far as progress in the basement, we are done painting the walls. Look how much brighter the room looks with white walls! I bought two colors with the intent to have an accent wall, but once I put the paint on the walls, I decided that I wanted to keep the walls one solid color. There will be lots of room to add color through the decor and since there is low lighting in the basement, I feel really good about having the brighter white (Sherwin Williams Snowbound) reflect more light.

The next step will be to paint the smaller doors that cover water elements and then to lay the flooring. Cody says the flooring should go quickly. My goal is to be able to replace baseboards and door trim before we leave on our trip to Utah.

If you ever have questions about painting, please let me know. I am always willing to share anything that I have learned from my own experience.

Have a blessed and productive day!

Best,
Lucy







Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Asking vs. Demanding


Yesterday, Maurie was in her carseat and the babysitter was going to help her get out, but before she started she asked, "Maurie, can I help you get out of your car seat?"

I was nervous about how Maurie would respond, but she said yes. Even though seconds later she changed her mind and gave the babysitter trouble, her initial response was yes. Maurie's boundaries and rights as a person had been respected when the babysitter had asked for permission first. If you force Maurie to do something she will fight, and I mean literally. She hits, kicks, screams, spits, pinches, bites and the list goes on, but if you ask her to do the thing you wanted to force her to do, she complies with sweetness.

I have thought about Maurie's responses since yesterday's incident, and I have been filled with some guilt. I tend to demand things of people instead of asking.

Cody, come and do the dishes, please.
Jane, pick up the toys.
Brooklyn, sit still.

Most of us are not trying to be defiant, but when someone expects something of me, or demands something of me, my first response is to run the opposite direction or do nothing, just to show them that I have a choice.

Everyone wants to be recognized as an individual with choices to make.

Cody, will you help me with the dishes please?
Jane, will you pick up the toys please?
Brooklyn, will you sit still so you can stay safe?

When we ask, we are saying, Yes, you have a choice and I will respect that choice. Of course, with kids, we have to keep them safe and sometimes that requires doing something against their will because they don't understand, but generally, it really does make a difference when we ask instead of demand. The Golden Rule really is the best way to live life. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Here's to showing respect for the best in each other!

Best,

Lucy

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Movie Review-Wonder Woman



Holy Smokes, Wonder Woman! I was impressed with this movie. I honestly didn't process it completely because it was too much to take in.

I nearly ate an entire box of Raisinettes, drank some of Cody's Dr. Pepper, and nearly passed out from the muscle tightness in my neck and shoulders caused by all the intense action. I came home from the movie SO sick. I was dizzy, shaking and crying uncontrollably and didn't calm down for awhile. I believe it was a combination of a pre-diabetic response and the intensity of the movie. I keep my life very quiet, so the loudness of the theatre and the constant action was an overload for me. Cody took care of me, but I was pretty shaken by it. I have not eaten any treats since then and it has not been hard because I don't want to experience that again.

Now that you know about my traumatic experience, I will share my review.

My favorite part is the scenes on the island of Themyscira where all of the women are strong, disciplined leaders and warriors. Outside of the chance of getting my butt kicked (and no men), I was ready to join the ranks. I loved the idea that Diana grew up not knowing what she was capable of and lived an educated, but innocent life. I believe that her innocence was what made her so powerful in the most trying times of the movie.

Train children when they are young and they will not depart from those ways when they are older. The battle in the world really is hard and unforgiving, and I am eager to equip my daughters to fight a good fight through their own hero's journey.

I loved the role of Steve Trevor (Diana's love interest) and the friends she encounters on her journey. When she nearly looses hope, she thinks of the love, goodness and sacrifice they offer and stays in the fight. I also like the pattern of the society outcasts/troublemakers being much more than what they seem (in the case of this movie, heroes) and the tidy politician that ends up being the ultimate villain.

For comedic relief, Steve Trevor's secretary enters. She is funny, feisty and a lovely contrast between the women on Themyscira and women in England during World War II.

The only scene I didn't like in the movie was when Steve Trevor is acting as a German soldier and talking with the poison lady. I didn't believe her interest in him and found it unlikely that she would divert her loyalty to anyone else. Of course, I didn't love the darker scenes that involved the chemical weapon development, but where there is great good, there is great wickedness and this was well illustrated.

Compared the following clip of Wonder Woman in the original TV series, it is an amazing movie. 😜


Friday, June 16, 2017

New Curtains, a Gift and a New Start

New Curtains

new curtains
 I found these curtains at Target in the clearance section. They are not perfect, but they look nice in the room. After buying and returning literally five sets of curtains, I was so happy to find some that look decent.
new curtains
I found these at Shopko and the solid yellow will be hung on the other window in the front room and the gray and yellow set will be hung in my dining room. I will post pictures once I get them up. They were only seven something each panel!

A Handmade Gift

handmade gift
 One of my dear friends is moving this month and I am really sad about it. I thought a long time about a gift that would have meaning for her. I decided to make something that will remind her of her time in Wisconsin by cutting out a silhouette of the state. I gave it to her last night and she seemed to like it. 

New Start

With my sister in town for the last ten days, I did not get more done in the basement, but today I arranged for a babysitter to come watch the girls every Monday, and I am very excited because it will mean I have four un-interrupted hours to do projects around the house and to work on my blog. Cody has been very understanding about me wanting to have childcare while I get some of my personal projects done, and I have finally found someone that can watch the girls. Life gets so hectic, and I know having some time carved out for me will help my productivity and my spirits. Now I just need to get more organized so that everything goes smoothly for the babysitter. I actually love this new motivation to be more efficient! 

Hope all is well with you! Have a lovely Friday!

Until next time,

Lucy

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don't Judge

Don't judge

Yesterday, I was working on making dinner and Brooklyn kept crying, whining and asking to be held. I was really frustrated that she wouldn't let me work on dinner. One of the times I picked her up, she cried out in pain when I put my arm under her bum and then I realized the awful truth. 

She had a poopy diaper and she had likely had it for awhile. I had not smelled it, and I had not thought to check it earlier because I was occupied with dinner. When I changed her diaper, her bum was red and hurting. I felt so bad. It took a long time to clean the diaper because she cried every time I tried to wipe or put diaper cream on.

Later on, I was reflecting about what my children have taught me lately and this moment came to my mind. I did not know that she was in pain and I simply judged her and got frustrated with her because she was not allowing me to do what I needed to do.

I think we do this to each other sometimes...we judge only what we see and we get frustrated before trying to understand someone. Brookie just needed me to change her diaper. She was not asking me to hold her just to sabotage my dinner routine; she was trying to communicate that she was hurting and it was falling on a distracted mind.

Brooklyn has taught me that I need to slow down and really try to understand the people around me. I especially need to do that with my family. I can get ultra focused and I am truly blind to the good in my life sometimes. Also, I need to remember that I don't see or understand everything. I must always try to judge with compassion and patience because much of what we carry or fight is hidden from our eyes, just like I couldn't see, or smell, Brooklyn's poopy diaper and once I knew that she was poopy, it changed everything. Could your attitude towards someone change if you could see their heart and their experiences as a whole?

I challenge you to pay closer attention to those who may be struggling. Don't judge, but seek to understand and help.

Best,

Lucy

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Summer Initiation

Brookie cried until the ride started. :)


Adell and Maurie

Selfie on the train ride



This was my second time and I enjoyed it better than the first. Maurie was a little scared.

On Wednesday we went to Bay Beach in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It is an awesome amusement park that has no admission and the tickets for rides are only 25 cents a piece. My sister Adell came into town the day before we went, and I was so glad she was there to hang out with me and to help me with the girls. The day was spent putting the little ones on rides, eating a picnic lunch and then more rides. As you can see by the pictures, it was a sunny, warm day and everyone was a good tired afterwards. It was a great way to start out our summer. What did you do to start out this summer 2017? Do you have summer traditions?

I am eager to keep healthy routines for my kids this summer. I asked a friend about what she does to prepare for summer and she sent me an example daily schedule for one of her children and a list of fun activities they brainstormed for when they have finished their morning chores and routines. I was super impressed and I was inspired. When I get my own version made, I will share it with you. Do you stay structured during the summer? I'd love to hear how you make your summers productive and fun.

Best,

Lucy

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Home Project Updates




pink peonies
Pink peonies from my yard. A dream of mine is to have a large cut flower garden, but I am grateful for the beautiful flowers I have.
strawberry patch

gardening



 Jane beat a bird to a strawberry. We really need to cover the strawberry patch. Maurie is concerned about Brooklyn, who is ready to dig with the shovel and get some more veggies planted. =)
home improvement
I have finally got a coat of primer on the basement walls. I always use Kilz primer. Prepping for painting, and painting, is exhausting, but the transformation is very fun for me.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Cut...to the Heart

Maurie had her first haircut. Her long black hair was down to the bottom of her rear. I loved to see her hair fall down her back, but it was really hard to keep untangled and was getting really damaged at the ends. I gave in and went to a cute children's hair salon. I knew I would need an expert to get her to sit still long enough to get a decent cut...picture sitting in a cool car, eating a lollipop and watching a cartoon kind of distracted.

After the cut, the stylist braided her hair, added pink washable color and a dash of sparkles. I was very excited for her and she said over and over, "My hair cut. My hair cut."

I confirmed with a smile, over and over, that her hair was indeed cut. I looked at her and it was as though someone had taken my baby and replaced her with a little girl. Maurie is two, and I know she isn't a baby anymore, but she looks so grown up with shorter hair. As a parent, it is hard to really see your kids sometimes. I think of how people would see my kids and say, "They have gotten so big." In my mind I would think, "Really? I haven't noticed." After Maurie's haircut, I saw her grow in a few minutes.

I think the heartbreak comes from the cascade of questions that I ask as I realize that she is really growing. Do I spend enough quality time with her? Has she felt neglected as I have tried to navigate having two babies? Did I pay attention enough to her getting older? Why don't I take her out one-on-one more often?

My lesson this week is from Maurie--life is shorter than we think and the regrets will not come from spending too little time hanging with the world or looking good. The regrets will come from wasting precious time fostering relationships that last forever.

I challenge myself and you to spend your time where it matters most.

Best,

Lucy Jo




Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Own Worst Enemy


Reflection
I looked through a silver gilded mirror
And saw a beast with scowls cruel and low
I screamed and cried and shook with fear
The creature spit and slapped its foe
Shaking loose I ran for air
Light grew dimmer and dimmer still until I sat
amid the chaos.
Out of darkness and from behind, the beast did lay me flat
In vain, I cursed, and gnashed and wailed this fiend, now a hungry asp,
Finally, we stared, the asp and I, straight into the other’s heart
And soon, I felt more than a vicious grasp
Saw more than the poisonous fang and wily art
There before me, nearly thrust to hell
I knew this asp as me, and I bit before I fell.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Today I ran and, to be honest, walked 5K at the Chocolate Fest. Since it was my first 5K run, I was unsure what it what be like. Now, for many, three miles is a very easy jaunt, but for me who does not consistently run, I was nervous about how I would do. I finished, by the way, and I wasn't the very last person. ;)
For me the challenge of the run was partly physical (breathing and my breakfast feeling like a rock in my stomach), and even more so mental. I gave myself small goals to accomplish along the course, and I had to cheer myself on when my friends and family were not there to do it.
You can keep running until that tree. Walk as fast as you can up this giant hill. What? Another hill? Really? Keep within 5ft of that grandma and her granddaughter. You can see the finish line...push yourself. These are a smattering of the thoughts I had as I ran. Truly, our bodies are capable of amazing things and our minds are no exception to this. We truly are our own worst enemy or our own best cheering section all the time. Do you ever feel this tug-of-war in your mind between right and wrong, kind or critical, determined or lazy? When do you have inner dialogue with yourself the most? I believe, as I demonstrate in the sonnet I wrote (above), that we sometimes don't realize who the real foe is in our personal mental and physical battles...ourselves.
I hope that you are winning the battles in your mind and that you are your own best friend instead of own worst enemy!
I hope your Saturday was stellar and than Sunday is even more so!
Best, 
Lucy Jo

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Garden Boxes

Cody spent most of Friday making garden boxes; there will be six in total when the project is through. They look nice and, they will motivate all of us to spend more time in the garden. 

Brooklyn was the cutest helper. She fell a lot, but she was in heaven getting to play in the dirt with Dad. 

Handing Dad some dirt.


 In between the boxes we laid newspaper down on the ground and then covered it with mulch to control weeds.




The above left picture shows the potatoes and tomatoes planted, and a nice strawberry patch in the corner back. The picture on the right is a close up of the size of the wooden pegs Cody used to keep the boxes square.

Once the boxes were made and laid on the ground, Cody leveled the ground and put small wood pegs on the inside center of each side and in the corners to keep it at a perfect 90 degrees.

The ground in between the boxes was then tilled and covered with newspaper and then mulch to control the weeds and to add beauty. I love the clean look of mulch. 

There are two more boxes to make and one box will have to wait until the strawberries are done producing. We will be planting marigolds in with the potatoes because they are a great companion plant that keeps the bugs away. 

It was a fun family project and it was not too expensive. 

Here is a list of materials and the approximate cost from Home Depot.


(20) 2x6x8 lumber Cost: about $200
(1) box 10x3 1/2 screws: $6.71
(8) Brown mulch Cost: $20
Plants and Flowers : Cost: $95


I will post about the flowers I bought next time. 


How is your garden coming along? My sister-in-law already has full grown strawberries at her house in Reno and my mother-in-law keeps a greenhouse garden going year round. We hope to be able to put a removable greenhouse addition to our boxes eventually. Keep on 


Best, 
Lucy Jo



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Learning from a Social Butterfly and a Giveaway!

This is what the good life looks like for Jane. Cody, Jane and Maurie did some backyard camping last night. 

I took myself out to dinner this last week. Being alone doesn't bother me, but Jane is teaching me that it is the friend sitting across from you that can make life better.  
Jane, in the last few days, has been teaching me about what happiness looks like. She has always been, and, I hope, always will be a happy, energetic person.

On Friday, there was a family picnic at her school. Cody took the day off to work on some projects at the house, so he was able to come with me and the girls to join Jane for the picnic. We came to be with her, but I barely saw her. She was running from friend to friend meeting their families and occasionally coming back to introduce her friends to her sisters and parents. She literally was running around everywhere and we would have to specifically ask her to stay on the blanket for one minute, but as soon as I started to talk to our friends, she was off again.

On Saturday, she played with friends and her sisters all morning and then went to a birthday party in the afternoon.

On Sunday, she went to church and then played with new friends at a birthday party we attended for a church friend.

On Monday, she played all morning at the Memorial Day breakfast (Grateful for men and women who sacrificed all for the freedom I enjoy.), then played all evening at a BBQ with friends and then backyard camped with Cody and Maurie.

Sometimes I wonder if Jane's childhood is okay, but then I think about it and there is little that can ruin her happiness because she draws her strength from her friends and family. She is a social chameleon and considers everyone to be her friend. As long as there is someone to meet and play with, she is good to go.

I have to admit that before nearly every event we attended this weekend I said, "Cody, I'm not sure if I want to go." As you can see, Jane and I have different gifts, but I can certainly learn from her warm friendliness. I have also found that even though I am apprehensive to go to social events, I am nearly always glad that I went. Jane knows that true happiness is in the connections, the relationships that she makes with those around her. I am grateful for her example.

What have you learned from a child? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

GIVEAWAY 

Just a reminder that every Tuesday I will be sharing what I learned from a child in my life. To encourage participation in learning from children, I am giving away the book Parenting with Love and Logic. It is one of my favorite parenting books. To enter the giveaway, please comment below with something you have learned from a child in your life and subscribe to my email list. You can also comment on my Instagram account to enter, request to follow me if we are not already friends on Instagram. I will choose a winner (randomly) on June 3, 2017. 



Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Female Brain Book Review


I have just finished reading The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. It was super interesting and enlightening. It is always nice to realize things about yourself that you didn't know. I loved to read about the many hormonal stages that women go through. I realized that I am not crazy, I am just a normal woman. =)

I am grateful for the research that proves that women's brains are no less capable than a mans just because it is smaller. Women's brains are simply more compact for a smaller skull. There are parts of our brains that are far more developed than a man's brain and these larger areas serve a special purposes in a woman's life.

I was encouraged and my intuition was validated as I read about how a woman changes through the menstrual cycle. I believe I may have some serious pre-menstrual syndrome. I have grown accustomed to the roller coaster of emotions, but it is not pleasant for me or my family more often
than I would like.

The following is a favorite quote from the book.

"So why is a girl born with such a highly tuned machine for reading faces, hearing emotional tones in voices and responding to unspoken cues in others? Think about it. A machine like that is built for connection. That's the main job of a girl brain, and that's what it drives a female to do from brith" (21).



I loved this quote and the idea that my baby girl's brain from birth to two years old is saturated in estrogen and is already practicing to connect with all the important people in her life. Women are driven to create relationships from the very start!

I was a bit scared as I read about the teen years in girls. With three daughters, I am anticipating some rocky times in the future. I feel like I am already seeing some teenage angst in my six year old daughter (slamming doors, lots of crying and talking about a boyfriend at school), so I am a bit frightened at what sixteen will look like. With two girls 18 months apart, I also wonder what that will look like as they enter puberty nearly at the same time.

The biological changes of a mother is super fascinating. I am a mama bear and I am so grateful for the bond that is created between a mother and her children. I honestly think I am more pleasant when I am pregnant and breastfeeding than I am otherwise because my brain has been hijacked to only think about taking care of my new baby. When I am not in baby-mode, my mind seems to become more anxious and preoccupied with other things. After having two babies so close together, I can feel myself coming out of baby-mode and eagerly anticipating more freedom and independence.

The book discusses all the research surrounding a woman's brain and is accompanied with real-world examples from her own life and the lives of her patients over the years. I enjoyed the book and I am wiser for learning more about my feminine nature.

Enjoy!

What good books are you reading?




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Basement Update

This is the basement right before we moved everything and tore the carpet out.

This the the basement now, ready for beautiful flooring and fresh coats of paint on the wall!
Cody finally had a day to work on the basement. Like most DIY projects, the preparation takes a lot of time. I was not a lot of help since I was sick, but I was able to be with the girls so he could have some uninterrupted time to work.

First, he grinded all the nails from the past carpet installation level with the concrete. That was a smelly and messy job and it took awhile to get the burnt metal smell and metal particles out of the room.

Second, he vacuumed and cleaned the floor of any debris. This didn't take long, but then we needed to make a decision about the cracks in the concrete. At this point Cody went to get sealant for the cracks so that there won't be any moisture under the vinyl flooring that we bought. We used Quikrete Polyurethane sealant self-leveling. The sealant has dried and looks fine. We are glad we took the time to do that.


This is the flooring we ended up getting at The Home Depot.
http://www.awltovhc.com/image-8309037-10368321?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fcatalog%2FproductImages%2F1000%2F41%2F41a15c4b-b669-426d-b3af-ab44c49929ae_1000.jpg


It is lighter than I originally wanted, but since I have seen it on the floor in the basement, I am very pleased with how it looks. Since there is not a lot of natural light in the basement, this flooring will help brighten the space, along with the white paint. Once we are done installing the floors, I will post a pictures for you to see. 

Once the flooring is installed, I will paint the walls. The next step will be to plan the toy storage and start working on the wall art that I want. My goal is to have a space where the kids have a play area and I have a place for me to feel at home while I am down in the basement playing with little ones, folding laundry or visiting with friends. I am very excited about the space and it has been hard to be patient about the slow process, but it will be worth it in the end. 

The next phase of the project is actually laying down the flooring, painting the walls and then putting new baseboards in. 


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Behold Your Little Ones

I don't want to forget this age and how cute she is when she cuddles with her blanket and me, and sucks her thumb.

Learning from the Little Ones

Today Maurie was wearing a purple dress with pretty flowers on the front. At first I was a little annoyed that she wanted to wear it for the second day in a row, and then I stopped and admired how easy it is for children to decided what they like, and without any shame, wear repeatedly what they love with joy. Maurie is not thinking about whether or not anyone is going to like what she wears; she simply wears it because she likes it.

Brooklyn has a sense of adventure right now that helps me to see the world differently. She is about 14 months old and has been walking since she was 9 months, so she is very able to explore now. A few days ago she was playing in the dirt in our garden. She squeezed the mud in her hands, threw it, put it in her mouth and immersed herself in the experience of dirt. Occasionally she would walk to a new area, but she was completely content. She is so present when she does anything and it is the first time nearly every time she experiences something lately. I want to wake up ready to be present more often. I want to squeeze, taste and immerse myself in the daily events of my life so that I can really enjoy it. Brooklyn is so uninterested in TV, phones and computers. She likes to mess with them just to get a response from us, but she is unscathed by the screens that seem to consume our attention far too often.

What the Scriptures Teach Us about Children

I learn something from my children everyday and I am determined to pay attention and not miss the lessons they can teach.

In Matthew 18, verses 1-6 we learn a lot about what God thinks about little children.

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
So, I read this and it is confirmed again that children can teach us so much. I have a special duty to care for and "receive" the children God has sent to me. God knows the trust, the love, the forgiveness, the humility, the strength and the obedience that children naturally demonstrate and if I will open my eyes and "behold" my kids, I will become a little more like God each day.

There is a part in the Book of Mormon when Jesus Christ comes to visit the people living on the American continent, after his resurrection. He has been spending a lot of time teaching, healing and blessing the people there. At one point, he asks for all the children to come to him and he blesses them one by one. After he is done, he weeps and speaks to all there, "Behold your little ones." What they saw afterwards is the heavens open and angels surrounding them, encircled with fire and the angels ministered to the children.

This is a powerful image. This event convinces me that God's love for little children is without comparison, and that we should literally and figuratively behold our little ones. I am taking this to heart and starting to record what I learn from my little ones weekly.

A Challenge/Invitation


I started recording months ago in my personal hand-written journal, but I challenge you to join me in my quest to learn from the children in our lives and share our lessons with each other. It inspires me to hear how children are teaching as much or more than we are teaching them. What have you learned from children this week? This invitation is for anyone that associates or cares for children, not just parents. Please comment below!

Best,

Lucy

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Garden Ready?

Are you ready for a great gardening season?

Here are the things we are working on.

1. We till our plots.

2. We cut down or pull weeds and place something to keep the weeds down. Right now we have cardboard down and we plan to put mulch on top to make it look more pretty.

3. Put in wood borders around our plots.

4. We send in our soil for testing to High Brix Gardens. They test the soil and then send us a specially-made fertilizer for our garden. This fertilizer, based on test results, will have the trace minerals and elements that your garden is deficient in. For your garden to grow nutrient-dense food, the soil needs to have a proper balance of minerals and nutrients. If you have any questions about High Brix Gardens, we would love to share our experience.

4. We plan on paper what to plant and where.

5. We plant, water and wait.

Here are some garden tips:

Companion Gardening Guide

Container Plant Watering

When to Plant Veggies

How to Involve Kids in Gardening

I have found that I like gardening much better when it is manageable for my stage of life. Plant things that you will be excited to use and focus on flourishing a smaller garden plot if a large plot overwhelms you. Gardening has a very big learning curve. I have had gardens that produced next to nothing, but it wasn't a waste because I learned what doesn't work. :) Cody is the better gardener between us and he is very passionate about creating a pure food source for our family. We are still learning, but our harvest grows each year.

You can do it! Start small and be patient!

Here are some tools and items that we use to maintain our garden and make our life easier. Click on the images to shop the items. If you live in the city and have small spaces, the vertical garden box look awesome.




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

All You Need is Love

All You Need is Love
3 out of 5 smiling is pretty darn good. =)

When I was about 21 years old I was aching to get married and have a family. I was about to graduate from college with no marriage prospects, and I felt like my chance to find someone was gone. I was really sad that I had not found someone to live my life with and even more sad that I wouldn't have children anytime soon.

Skip ahead ten years, and I am happily married with three daughters. It really does feel surreal sometimes because I spent so much time thinking that it might not happen. Today I see that I am truly blessed, and I need to have more gratitude for what has happened and not dwell on what has not happened.

I walked Maurie up the stairs to tuck her into bed for the second time tonight. As she held my hand, she said, "I lub you." I expressed my love in return and repeated most of the bedtime routine I had done ten minutes earlier. Normally, I would be a little irritated and impatient about having to tuck her in again, but tonight I just enjoyed a little more time to spend with my daughter. She is sweet and loving and with a little encouragement and more love, she is now sleeping soundly in her bed. Most of the time the answer to my problems is not to have less responsibility, but to have more love and patience. I wish I felt this calm and peaceful all the time. It is too easy to get distracted and miss special moments that I won't get back.

My husband and children really are my dreams come true. I get overwhelmed with all that I need to do and keep up with, but at the end of the day I just need to ask myself, "Did the people I care about the most feel loved?" If I can answer yes, I need to count the day a victory despite the other things that may have gone undone.

I honor motherhood and all the mothers before me by doing a little better today than I did yesterday.

Best,
Lucy

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Indoor/Outdoor Rugs

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I am still dreaming about how to make my deck another living space. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite indoor/outdoor rugs with you. These rugs are from World Market and I love the patterns and colors. If you have children or pets, indoor/outdoor rugs are awesome because they are super durable and stylish. What do you do or want to do to spruce up your outdoor living space this summer?


Gray Lanka Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 5Ftx7Ft by World Market 5Ftx7Ft


Gray Lanka Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 5Ftx7Ft by World Market 5Ftx7Ft
Rugs -With an intricate global design featuring elephants in a mellow color scheme, our easy-care area rug is antimicrobial, stain-resistant and suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Material: , Color:. Also could be used forsouthwest rug,global rug,indoor rug,outdoor rug,indoor and outdoor rug,3 x 5,3'x5',3' x 5',3' x 5' rug,3' x 5' area rug,large rug,large area rug,8 x 10,8'x10',8' x 10',8' x 10' rug,8' x 10' area rug,2 x 3,2'x3',2' x 3',2x3rug,2' x 3'rug,2'x 3' area rug,no shed rug,stain resistant rug,mildew resistant rug,easy clean rug,antimicrobial rug. By Cost Plus World Market.10014043






Blue Lace Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 2.3Ftx4.6Ft by World Market 2.3Ftx4.6Ft


Blue Lace Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 2.3Ftx4.6Ft by World Market 2.3Ftx4.6Ft
Rugs -Featuring a geometric design in a bold blue palette, our vivid area rug is antimicrobial, stain-resistant and easy to care for, making it perfect for indoor and outdoor spaces. Material: , Color:. Also could be used forgeo rug,geometric rug,transitional rug,indoor rug,outdoor rug,indoor and outdoor rug,modern rug,long rug,3 x 5,3'x5',3' x 5',3' x 5' rug,3' x 5' area rug,large rug,large area rug,8 x 10,8'x10',8' x 10',8' x 10' rug,8' x 10' area rug,6 x 9,6'x9',6' x 9',6' x 9' rug,6' x 9' area rug,no shed rug,stain resistant rug,mildew resistant rug,easy clean rug,antimicrobial rug. By Cost Plus World Market.10014005







Navy Blue Cortes Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 3Ft11Inx5Ft7In by World Market 3Ft11Inx5Ft7In


Navy Blue Cortes Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 3Ft11Inx5Ft7In by World Market 3Ft11Inx5Ft7In
Rugs -Featuring an intricate geometric design in rich navy blue, our versatile area rug is antimicrobial, stain-resistant and easy to care for, making it perfect for indoor and outdoor spaces. Material: , Color:. Also could be used forgeo rug,geometric rug,transitional rug,indoor rug,outdoor rug,indoor and outdoor rug,modern rug,3 x 5,3'x5',3' x 5',3' x 5' rug,3' x 5' area rug,large rug,large area rug,8 x 10,8'x10',8' x 10',8' x 10' rug,8' x 10' area rug,6 x 9,6'x9',6' x 9',6' x 9' rug,6' x 9' area rug,no shed rug,stain resistant rug,mildew resistant rug,easy clean rug,antimicrobial rug. By Cost Plus World Market.10014023







Orange Cortes Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - Runner by World Market Runner


Orange Cortes Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - Runner by World Market Runner
Rugs -Featuring an intricate geometric design in bold orange, our versatile area rug is antimicrobial, stain-resistant and easy to care for, making it perfect for indoor and outdoor spaces. Material: , Color:. Also could be used forgeo rug,geometric rug,transitional rug,indoor rug,outdoor rug,indoor and outdoor rug,modern rug,3 x 5,3'x5',3' x 5',3' x 5' rug,3' x 5' area rug,large rug,large area rug,8 x 10,8'x10',8' x 10',8' x 10' rug,8' x 10' area rug,6 x 9,6'x9',6' x 9',6' x 9' rug,6' x 9' area rug,no shed rug,stain resistant rug,mildew resistant rug,easy clean rug,antimicrobial rug. By Cost Plus World Market.10014030







Boho Kilim Nagar Indoor Outdoor Patio Rug: Gray - Polyester - 5' x 8' by World Market 5Ftx8Ft


Boho Kilim Nagar Indoor Outdoor Patio Rug: Gray - Polyester - 5' x 8' by World Market 5Ftx8Ft
Rugs -Hand woven from recycled plastic bottles, our earth-conscious indoor and outdoor kilim features a thin flatweave construction with hand-braided tassels. Surprisingly soft underfoot, it's a great choice for high traffic areas, is easy to care for and does not shed. Material: Polyester, Color:Gray. Also could be used for5 x 8,5'x8',5' x 8',5' x 8' rug,5' x 8' area rug,large rug,large area rug, 8 x 10,8'x10',8' x 10',8' x 10' rug,8' x 10' area rug,flooring,rugs,carpet,floor covering,indoor rugs,area rugs,outdoor rugs,boho rug,bohemian rug,kilim rug,tassel rug,water bottle rug,durable rug,flatweave rug. By Cost Plus World Market.516731








Neutral Tweed Mirage Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 44Inx66In by World Market 44Inx66In


Neutral Tweed Mirage Indoor Outdoor Patio Area Rug - 44Inx66In by World Market 44Inx66In
Rugs -Featuring a thick basket-woven texture in two neutral hues, our natural-toned rug looks and feels great both indoors and out, is easy to care for and does not shed. Material: , Color:. Also could be used fororiental rugs,washable rugs,accent rugs,kitchen rugs,everywear rugs,decorative rugs,traditional rugs,contemporary rugs,throw rugs,discount rugs,designer rugs,area rugs,rug runners,lamontage,liora manne,liora,custom rugs,broadloom,indoor and outdoor rugs,outdoor rug,performance rugs,outdoor rugs,easycare rugs,easy care rug flooring,rugs,carpet,floor covering,indoor rugs,2 x 3,2'x3',2' x 3',2x3rug,2' x 3'rug,2'x 3' area rug,2.5 x 8,2.5'x8',2.5' x 8',2.5' x 8' rug,2.5' x 8' area rug,long rug,3 x 5,3'x5',3' x 5',3' x 5' rug,3' x 5' area rug,large rug,large area rug. By Cost Plus World Market.10013903








Gray Bordered Chunky Woven Jute Rug: Gray/Natural - 6' x 9' by World Market 6Ftx9Ft


Gray Bordered Chunky Woven Jute Rug: Gray/Natural - 6' x 9' by World Market 6Ftx9Ft
Rugs -With a sophisticated gray fabric border, our versatile rug looks at home in any decor setting. Handcrafted of renewable jute fibers, this exclusive rug features a chunky woven construction for a great underfoot feel. Material: Jute , Color:Gray > Natural. Also could be used forarea rug, cotton rugs, floor coverings, gray bordered rug, gray rugs, home decor, indoor outdoor rug, indoor rug, jute rugs, made in india, natural jute rug, natural weave jute rugs, outdoor rug, rayon rugs, rug, rugs. By Cost Plus World Market.472966







5'x8' Plum and Gray Wool Kilim Galen Area Rug - 5' x 8' by World Market


5'x8' Plum and Gray Wool Kilim Galen Area Rug - 5' x 8' by World Market
Rugs -Hand woven of 100% wool exclusively for World Market, our reversible flatweave rug features a plum geometric pattern against a light gray background. Material: Wool, Color:Gray. Also could be used forflooring,rugs,carpet,floor covering,indoor rugs,outdoor rugs,area rugs,5 x 8,5'x8',5' x 8',5' x 8' rug,5' x 8' area rug,large rug,large area rug,wool rug,kilim rug,plum rug,gray rug. By Cost Plus World Market.516671






















© Lucy Jo. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.