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Less of me.

I remember posting about organization and gardening. It feels like a whole lifetime ago. Before I get all angsty here, I’ll share a few changes from this past year:

Last March/April we started training for foster care through a wonderful Christian agency. We had foster care and adoption on our hearts since we were first married. Basically youths. Little babies, dreaming a big dream.

The Monday after our training ended, (our last class was CPR/First Aid on a Saturday) we were thrown into a new world. When I checked on E. he has having a seizure in his bed. It’s hard to think about what happened during the moments that followed. It’s been nearly a year, and with time the realness fades a bit. In a heartbeat… the sound of sirens, hearing songs or bible verses we clung to during that time… the memories come flooding back, nearly choking me. I know it’s partially PTSD from the trauma, but it’s also a way of healing. It’s real, and it’s hard. It’s therapeutic to share E.’s story these days. I’m following my heart in how much to share, and when to share. I hope to write more posts about all that happened to E.

In August, we resumed our foster care/adoption home study process. and fast forward 3 months we were certified for both and had our first placement. It’s been a wonderful experience so far. I hope to share more about this ever-changing journey of foster care. We’ve been learning so much about many aspects of foster care and adoption. There are many hard decisions to make, and often only minutes to an hour to make these life altering decisions. It’s a calling for me. I know I wouldn’t be able to do any of this on my own strength. God gives us the strength we need, through the Word, Prayer, Songs, and other people.

Both O. and E. started school last fall. O. is in Kindergarten, and loving it. She’s studious and hilarious at the same time. She has a refreshing perspective. E. started preschool in October. He’s receiving speech therapy there, as well as learning how to interact with other children. He loves his two days a week there. It’s hard for me to let go, to let them mature and become independent at their own pace. Sometimes it’s a bit delayed, and other times Mama bear holds on too tightly. This parenting thing is not for the faint of heart. I’m so thankful God pours his love and mercy into our lives, filling in gaps and leading us.

I’m hoping to share more this year as I have time, or let’s be honest…sleepless nights. 🙂

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What I’m reading: finally, but it’s taking me a looong time

What I’m listening to: Hillsong

What I’m watching: Part 2 of this heartbreak

Happy weekend, friends.

Life Lately.

IMG_6110This is a different Life Lately post. I’ve been thinking about posting for a while, and keep grasping for words and ways to start. Lately I’ve been learning the meaning of trust and surrender, and knowing where the source of my strength is.

          Psalm 121
 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
 From where does my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord,
 who made heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot be moved;
 he who keeps you will not slumber.
 Behold, he who keeps Israel
 will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord is your keeper;
 the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
 The sun shall not strike you by day,
 nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
 he will keep your life.
 The Lord will keep
 your going out and your coming in
 from this time forth and forevermore.

I find it hard to even think about everything that happened, much less post about it. I shared some on Instagram and Facebook. I guess it’s hard to share the feelings/emotions we’ve gone through without feeling vulnerable. I keep thinking, maybe with time I’ll be able to share more. My posts might be a little disjointed; be assured, though, I still love organizing (it really is a wonderful coping mechanism).

Hold your family close today.

Less is More (Children’s Clothing Edition)

It all started with trying to fit all our Christmas decor (minus the tree) into one tote. I realized how much excess we really had, and probably still have. I browsed the internet for wisdom in simplifying, minimalism, and organization. I found many good ideas, some I implemented and others that inspired me to keep going.

I want to focus on children’s clothing today, and how I am taming this monstrous beast. Please tell me I’m not the only one to go through this. 🙂 We have two children, a girlie and a boy so with them came an outrageous amount of cute clothing. Seriously cute. The gifts accumulated quickly and that, paired with my love for thrifting caused this thing I call a beast. Easy to add to and hard to minimize. Oh, each year I’d go through the totes, pairing things down. Being sentimental is not easy, each piece of clothing brought back memories (am I the only one?). I tried to get rid of them, I really did. This year was different. This year I wanted a system that worked. Something I could rely on. Here’s what happened:

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J. helped me figure out approximately how many items each child could live with. So the original list was made.

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Please don’t judge. 🙂 I went through 6-7 totes of children’s clothing, and kept less than half. What we kept, I put into cardboard boxes that would fit into our closets upstairs. No more totes in the basement! Also, can you imagine the fun our children had going through these with us? Our children loved this project. It made me a bit batty. We clearly labelled the boxes, so we can grab a box if we ever need to.

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As you can see, the boxes aren’t all that full and they include coats and boots. Obviously the bigger sizes fill up quicker, but then I need to get rid of more. I didn’t necessarily stick with the list for these boxes. I tried to keep less than listed in order to leave room for new clothing (if we are blessed with more children).

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Here are two closets in their organized glory. You can see that we have plenty of room for games, sleeping bags, pack-n-play, swimming gear, extra Pampers and wipes and a few odds and ends. Once the extra clothing was sorted and organized, I started thinking about the clothing our children currently wear. Would I dare get rid of some? That seemed a bit crazy, but throwing caution into the wind we started sorting. This time I stuck with our list (see first photo) to see if this was actually doable.

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So far, it has worked well. It’s been a few months since we started.

With everything organized, I needed a system in place to keep everything organized. Have you ever been at a thrift store or clearance somewhere, saw a pair of pants or a cute dress in a bigger size? The next thought is, “hmmm? I can’t remember how many pants I have for E, or how many dresses for O. . . I may as well buy it. It’s cheap!” This is how I ended up with excess. Cute and cheap! Somehow I needed to stop this cycle. Well, I tried to take my planner with me everywhere I went. That just didn’t work. So I thought of my phone, which is usually in my purse or pocket. I found an app and decided to try it. It’s called Sortly, and it works for me. I know there are other organizational apps, feel free to choose your own. Here’s how I organized my app:

IMG_4170In the shoes category, I have a list of our family’s current shoe sizes. The clothing category is organized like this:

IMG_4171And further organized:

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As you can see, the main item includes the quantity needed. Then I can always see what we need. It sure makes decisions easier at thrift stores or any stores for that matter. 🙂 Organized clothing makes me happy. Each child has one drawer dedicated to the larger size.

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It seems so easy…now. Some of you veteran Moms will probably smile, maybe even laugh at this post. That’s okay! If you’re just beginning to think that you have too many children’s clothing, be encouraged.

Enjoy this brand new week, friends!

More Simplicity.

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It’s easy to accumulate things. This year I’ve been determined to minimize. I wouldn’t say that I’m becoming a minimalist, but I’m gleaning lots of organizational ideas from minimalist blogs. And just trying to adjust my way of thinking. This week I spent two days minimizing and organizing my kitchen. Tupperware! Why on earth did I keep so much Tupperware? Whisks! Can I use more than one basic whisk at a time? 9×13 pans! Oh, the list goes on. There were duplicates of lots of things that I realized were just unnecessary.

It all started with going through our Christmas fluff. We had three totes/boxes full of things to decorate for Christmas. Of course, I didn’t use nearly all of it. I wondered if I could possibly whittle down the fluff to where it would fit into one tote. I analyzed everything. Probably too much.

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But it worked! All the Christmas fluff in one tote, minus the tree. And I felt free!

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The Great Christmas Fluff Purge led to other things. Our kids clothing was a big one, I’ll share later on how I tamed that beast. Well, I should say I’m still taming that one because it’s more about the process of buying than saving.

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You might wonder if your kids have too many toys. Chances are they do! The toy situation can quickly get out of control. I’ll share later on how to have less toys and not feel like a mean mom.

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My goal is to have a simplified home, where I can focus easily on our family and not get bogged down with all that goes with having too much stuff. I’ll bring you along for the ride. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Life Lately.

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What I’m reading: Shiloh Autumn, by Brock and Bodie Thone

What I’m listening to: I Get To Be The One, by JJ Heller

What I’m watching: The Drop Box

Blog recommendation: Skies of Parchment

Today we’re enjoying a snow day. Being at home with family is my favorite.
So far today we have:
• played piano (on our new/old baby grand!)
• ate our first dutch baby (YUM!)
• had Sunday School (hello Daniel and being committed to praying)
• sang too many songs to count
• painted with watercolors while listening to relaxing music
Still left to do:
• take naps
• finish blogging
• play in the snow

We’re enjoying our day, and hope you do too!

Simple Christmas Decor.

As promised, here are pictures of the simple Christmas decorations we put up around the house. I enjoy decorating so much. This year I was determined to keep the Christmas decor simple and meaningful. I had a tote and two boxes full of Christmas decorations. I have since whittled it down so that everything fits into one tote. The rest will be going to a thrift store or sold at my garage sale next year. The Winter purging is starting early this year. 🙂

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Have a joy-filled Christmas, friends!

Simplicity is Freedom.

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It’s the most wonderful time of year. Some years I feel like doing it all. Decking the halls, baking all kinds of goodies, buying/making gifts (galore), sending out Christmas cards, and anything you could possibly think of. And it’s fun! Other years, it feels a little forced and overwhelming. What if all the doing is robbing you of joy? Maybe not even robbing you of joy, but making you feel overwhelmed and more than a little grumpy. I’m sure a few of you have grown children and you have plenty of time (am I right?) to bustle about in busyness. Are you finding joy in doing it all? Some of you may be single, not a care in the world (right again?!) and also have so much time to do everything. Are you finding joy in doing it all? I’m guessing there are a few mama’s with little children. Ah, someone who relates! When the days are long, but at the same time have a way of flying by. At the end of the day you sink exhausted into bed and wonder what you accomplished that day.

This year I’m taking a little break from all the doing. Our decorations are staying simple (pictures coming later this week), our presents are quite puny, but our joy is still here! There is also much freedom in saying, “Hey, I don’t need to do it all!” When I hear “Mom, can you read this book?” I will more than likely say yes. I should probably sweep under the table after lunch, but I don’t (unless it’s absolutely horrid). I’m guessing you understand. I play more with L. lately. I get the house with the blue garage door and she gets the schoolhouse with a manger scene. She gets lemon meringue and strawberry shortcake and I get a mouse and two little puppies. It’s okay, my puppies each have a separate bed.

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This is often my daily view when I look down. I’m not complaining, I love my little side-kick. We’ve had many adventures, whether it’s on top of the washer while I iron or beside the stove while I cook. Sometimes Mom is very loved.

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So with all the extra time on my hands…..oh wait! Somehow these days fill right up. Time seems to have a mind of its own. But every day I try to say yes to reading another book and squeezing in more snuggles during the day. I’m doing the best I can, and so are you. If you find yourself doing it all, WAY TO GO! Keep going! If you’re like me, and would like a little break…TAKE IT!

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“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” – Margaret Young

Simplicity is freedom.