Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Goals

I was brainstorming on everything that I wanted to change or get done this year!  I started to feel like I did when I walked into the H&M in Vegas… TOO MUCH!  I was overwhelmed and almost scrapped the whole idea of goal setting.  But I decided to pare down and split the task in two - My goals and goals for family.   I chose to start with me and I felt instantly better the minute I did this.  (Probably because I am a procrastinator and being able to push off something until later made me feel like the old me! Ha!)  Honestly,  I don't truly believe in New Years resolutions, so if I get to our family goals in May, that's ok…  As long as they get done!

I wrote everything down on a piece of paper and then picked the things that I REALLY wanted to get done.  Here is what I came up with…

HEALTH:  Exercise Regularly and Eat More Real Food

FAITH: Quiet Time

MONEY: Make and STICK! to Budget

HOME: Declutter Projects

EXTRA:Stop Wasting Time

I am the most sporadic exerciser there is…  One minute I am religious about it and then one tiny thing will get me off schedule and then it will be weeks before I get back in my routine.   Or I will choose something like running, that I detest and then will look for the tiny excuse not to go.  And as much as I wish it were, exercising every day just isn't for me…  So this year I am going to try to walk 4 times a week…. NO MATTER WHAT!

Last year I became obsessed with 100daysofrealfood.com.  I really like her approach of eliminating processed food.   I think that everything is okay in moderation, but choose the healthier alternative when I can.

The changes I've already made in the name of real food:
- Instead of Splenda and French Vanilla Creamer, I use real maple syrup and milk in my coffee.
- I quit my Diet Dr. Pepper addiction and added a Pellegrino addiction.  (I used to hate sparkling water, but last September I stopped drinking wine for the month and this was my savior!  Just add lime!)
- No more store bought Ranch dressing or Taco seasoning etc.
- I started buying my bread and tortillas through greenling.com.  They deliver it from a local bakery.

This year I want to try to eat at least 2 fruits and/or Veggies at each meal.  Dinner will be easy because as is Hare tradition, we have a green salad with most dinners.  Breakfast shouldn't be too bad because a handful of berries or smoothie will do the trick.  But my staple hummus and cracker lunch, if lunch happens at all, needs to be tweaked.

{Note 1:  I haven't braved getting the kids totally off of processed foods…  Note 2:  I MUST stop snitching their junk food!  Note 3:  I took the above salad pic before I took off the cucumbers.  Detest them.}

Does this count as two veggies??

My faith is everything to me!  During the chaos of having babies and raising kids,  I have not devoted enough time to growing spiritually...  Spending time reading my Bible, reading books that inspire me to be better,  carving out time to pray and truly being quiet so I can focus of what kind of woman/wife/mother I want to be and that God wants me to be.

Even though my mornings start at 6 and are cray-zay, I want to wake up earlier and have this quiet time before I start my day.  I am going to start with 15 minutes and then work my way back from there.  I have read a million articles that say the one thing in common in crazy successful people is that they all wake up early…. We shall see.

I am a spender and Stephen is not a spender… REALLY not a spender.  The only way we can live harmoniously is to have a budget.  (Ugh!  I can't even stand that word!)  When a budget is in place, I know exactly how much money I get to spend and Stephen knows exactly how much he gets to save.  Last year, we let the budget fall to the wayside because it was a good year.  And surprisingly, it wasn't as glorious as I would have thought.  Its amazing how overspending can cause anxiety!  This year is gonna be a titch rough, so the budget has to be back.

{side note:  I cringe every time I see someone post on FaceBook how wonderful it is to fill up their cars for so cheap.   Most of Stephen's customers are in the Oil and Gas business, so low oil prices are not a good thing around here!}

Last year we converted our guest bedroom into an office.  We live in a small house and we felt we needed to utilize every square inch.  Stephen was working from the dining room table when he was home and our desk was crammed upstairs in the playroom.  It was a much needed move even though I resisted it at first.   I pretty much have it decorated, but I just threw everything in the closet.  Plus there is a corner upstairs that is still piled with paper work.  {Goodness knows what is up there!} So Project #1- Organize Office Closet

For years we have been over run by toys.  This year I've noticed that the kids don't play with their toys as much.  It makes me so SO sad!  I am not ready for this.  But they A) just don't have the time and B) would rather play electronics.   I did a test over Thanksgiving and put 25% of their toys in boxes in the garage.  My plan was when they asked for a certain toy, to give it back and then donate the rest.  Well, they never asked, so after Christmas I donated it all!    When they finally did realize that things were gone and I told them I donated them, there was a minor melt down.  I promised I wouldn't do it again without their knowing it, so this time around they will have to be involved.  It will slow down the process, but I think they will learn lessons in having excess and giving to those who have less.  So project #2 - convert playroom to media room.

I am sure that this is the case in many of your homes, but our Master bedroom is the landing pad for any and all things that don't have a home.  We dump EVERYTHING in there.  This is the room that is supposed to be our haven and refuge in the chaos of our lives.   It's supposed to be peaceful and inviting… Exactly the opposite of what it is now.  So project #3 - Declutter and Decorate Master

The last goal I have is to stop wasting time.  Some days when the kids would get home from school, I would wonder where the time went and why didn't I get anything accomplished.  I have 7 hours alone, people!!!  As I kept a mental time chart of my day, I noticed that a LOT of time is sucked by my Charm King addiction. (This replaced my Candy Crush, when I couldn't pass level two hundred and something.)   I explained it away in that I only play for 5 lives at at time,  but when I added up how much time I was playing, it was ridiculous!  (embarrassing to admit, but true!)  I went through withdrawals when I first erased, but am actually happy that it is gone!

During the month of January as I thought about what I wanted to accomplish this year, I kept coming back to this:  be content.  I noticed that last year I spent too much time focusing on what others had that I didn't.    This year, I am going to purposefully focus on being grateful for my husband and family and the happy little home that we are building.   I am going to choose to find joy in the little things in my life instead of waiting for big things to bring happiness.  And I will not compare myself to others.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Years Eve

Happy New Year with My Love

In our early 20's, going out in the city was the ONLY way to bring in the New Year...  Crazy late nights and sleeping the entire next day.  As we got a bit older and wiser, we would go out to eat at a fun happening restaurant and then come home to bring in the New Year.  And then along came kids and going out for anything screeched to a halt.  First of all, all we cared about was sleep.  Second, it wastn't so easy to get a sitter on NYE.  And lastly, with all the drunks out on the road, it wasn't worth the risk to be out and about.  The last couple of years we started our kid friendly New Years Eve parties.  We rotate houses with our besties The Farleys and The Wagners.  And honestly, staying home with everyone is a blast… 

Ivy and Me

Sidney and Me

Mitchell, Eli and Luke

The Girls
Briellen, Sidney, Brynne, Ivy

They Farleys
Damon and Amy

The Wagners
Susan and RJ

The Howells… and photobomber

And Speaking of Photobomber… We had the same one NYE 2014

The Girls
My Brother in law Damon is the MASTER cocktail mixer.  He always has a new cocktail for every event.  This night he brought wassail with a bourbon or whiskey something.  I am a vodka girl, so this held no appeal until the end of the night when RJ made us watch the countdown outside in 20 degree weather.  {I was miserable at first, but was so glad that he made us because we saw some amazing fireworks!  Like huge professional type fireworks… in the burbs… craziness!}  

So last Valentines day we had Cherub's Cup Cocktails, which were AMAZING.  I was jonesing for one so I brought all of the stuff to make one forgetting how labor intensive they were.  Enter my master mixologist… He took over and voila…. cocktails!  Check out the recipe here… YUM!

After dinner we did fireworks and sparklers.  Despite the cold, we had so much fun.

Mitchell and Aiden "cheers-ing" their Sparklers.

My Luke
Am so glad I've passed my love of Sparklers on...

The Crew

My kids were starting to get a little sicky and I wanted to make sure they got a good nights rest  so we took them home and put them to bed instead of spending the night per tradition.  Our sweet Nonna came to watch them so we could go back to the party.

But before they left,  a happy New Years toast!  
These kids.

It makes my heart so happy that these little bitties have each other and my prayer is they will forever stay as close as they are now!  It also makes my heart so happy that I have such amazing friends and incredible husband to share my life with!  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year!!

Mitchell, Briellen, Sidney, Ivy and Luke

2015 -- Here we are!

When the babies were born, we were in total survival mode… Forget setting goals and deciding what direction we wanted our lives to take.  Really forget wanting to exercise more or decorating projects!  I just did what I had to do to feed my babies, make a happy home and stay sane.  I really got out of the habit of reevaluating my life at the start of the year, choosing the things I need to work on and then actually doing them.  So this year I am writing down my goals and how I plan to achieve them.   It's my year to thrive… not just survive!

I will share my other goals with you, but my first one is keeping up with my blog.  Why is this important to me?
- It is my journal… my diary… my way to look back and see how my little babies have grown and changed and to remember the funny things they said or the fun summers we shared.


- It is a way for my family and friends across the world to be apart of our lives.

May this year be a productive year for you (and me)… filled with happiness and love!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sleeping Arrangements -- Triple Bunks!

It was over a year ago when I had a panic attack!  My kids were 4 1/2 years old and still in toddler beds!!  I could NOT have my 5 year old babies sleeping in toddler beds!  Plus, it was ridiculous how giant they were for those teeny beds! 

When we moved into this house (almost 3 years ago…) we had a plan for sleeping situations.  We have 4 bedrooms downstairs and a game room upstairs.  The plan was to give each girl a room downstairs and convert the upstairs to the boys room.  But like with any good plan I make, it crumbled…. To convert upstairs we had to build out the attic, add a bathroom, raise the roof line, and more. And trust me when I say it was going to cost a fortune!  Now, I do not mind spending a fortune on anything, but my sweet frugal husband said something about not recouping our money… something, something, something…. no way!  Soooooo, back to the drawing board… How am I going to fit 5 kids in 3 rooms?!?

After lots of thought and talking, I came to the realization that I was going to have to settle on the dreaded bunk bed…  I DETEST bunk beds!!!  The idea of crawling up to the top and changing sheets chills me to the bone… But there just was no other way!  

The 3 kid bedrooms are REALLY small and if you have ever looked into buying bunk beds you know they are REALLY big.  It would have been okay for the boys room, but the girls room would literally just be 2 sets of bunk beds…  One day, Stephen came to me and said he found plans for a triple bunk online at The Handmade Dress Blog…  I checked them out and they were perfect!!  

He downloaded the plans, made a few tweaks of his own and voila!  Problem solved!!
Here's how it went down...

1.  Clean out beastly guest room….  This is how my room looked with all of the junk from guest bedroom in it!

2. Guest room cleaned out.

3.  Buy lots of wood.

4.  Paint room..  (Sherwin Williams 6821-- Potentially Purple)

5. Start building bunk beds.  (1 day to cut wood, 1 day to assemble.) 

6.  Paint bunk beds.  I wanted to have an antiqued white.  We chose a technique where you paint a dark color first and then paint the light color over, rubbed the edges with wax and then sanded where we wanted it to look antiqued.  I am not sure I would choose this again, because as you can see in the final pictures below, the white is coming off a LOT more in the high traffic areas and it looks more dirty than antique.  It took a day for the brown and then a day for the white.  (I used Sherwin Williams 6083 -- Sable for brown and 6119 -- Antique White for white.)  I have heard wonderful things about Annie Sloan chalk paint and still wonder if I had splurged, if I would have the same issues of the white coming off….  Oh well, too late now!   

7.  Assemble

8. Decorate!!  My favorite part…  obviously!  

I bought this dresser from My Happy Place by Deanna Cheriese.  It is a 1936 dresser that she painted using the Annie Sloan chalk paint at a seriously reasonable price!!  I wish I could buy all my furniture from her.

One of the major reasons I love the bunks is there is still room to play in the room!! Not a ton, but enough!!

This is going to be hard to believe, but the girls did not fight over who slept where… Ivy on top, Sidney in the middle and Brie on the bottom.  I was shocked, but went with it!  This is the place that is theirs alone, so they do not switch around.  They haven't even asked!

And in case you want to know… Quilts, pillow shams and drapes from Pottery Barn Kids, Pink lattice sheets and green Euro pillows from The Company Store,  light fixture from Ikea, rug from Overstock.com

8a.  DIY Wooden Book Crate from Family Love Home Blog!  We desperately needed a book storage solution in the girls room and I ran across this cute little book crate tutorial!  Super easy and perfect size.  I painted it the same color as the walls, where in hindsight I would have done a contrasting color…

Brie helping me paint.

I still haven't done wall decorations and as it's been over a year I wonder if I'll get around to it at all… hmmmm…

9.  Start the process again for the boys room… Build.  (Their room was already green, so I just left it.  Sherwin Williams 6710 -- Melange Green.)

10.  Paint bunk beds.  (I started with SW 6524 -- Commodore, but it was too blue, so I had them darken it until it was more navy.)

11.  Assemble.

12.  Decorate again…  Yippee!!

Mitchell sleeps on top.  Luke in the middle.  And cousins on the bottom.

Again, if you want to know… Quilts, pillow shams and drapes from Pottery Barn Kids, Star sheets from The Company Store, rug from Target.

And again, haven't gotten around to wall decor…

13.  DIY light fixture.  I fell in love with this navy and white striped light fixture from Shades of Light, but I was already over budget for the room and just couldn't justify an extra $200!!!  So, I searched for tutorials on how to make one.  The one I found was gluing ribbon on the lamp shade, but since the only cheap white shade I could find (from Ikea) wasn't the same circumference top to bottom the ribbon bubbled.  So I ended up just painting a blue strip on the top and bottom and calling it a day.  Not perfect, but cute!

14.  Try to tame the lego disaster…  I stole this idea from my organizing sensei, my sister, Amy…  Plastic organizers from The Container Store.   Believe it or not, this has kept the lego messes minimal.  Before they were all in a huge bucket and the boys would dump the entire thing out every day and it getting them to clean it up was like murder!!

So… if you ever were curious how a quintuplet family squeezes into a small house,  now you know!!  

Keepin' it real…
1.  I still HATE changing the sheets.
2.  The rooms normally look like a tornado blew through them.
3.  As cute as the light fixtures are, I really miss the ceiling fans….  Two words… Texas.  Summer.

I am so, so proud of Stephen for being able to build these!!  He truly is amazing and the kids absolutely LOVE them!!