Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15

Many of you may not even understand the significance of October 15. Quite frankly, neither did I until just a few short years ago. It's not a date that will be marked in red on your calendar, nor will you be reminded of its significance by the general public or the news, but it's still an important day, nonetheless, to some more than others.  You see, October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I will never forget that day in Februray 2008. I got a positive pregnancy test, and Brent and I were over the moon. We had been married about two-and-a-half years, and we were thrilled to be having a baby of our own. We told our parents and friends right away, and I made an appointment. I could hardly wait to go!  The day finally arrived. Brent took off work to be with me. All the usual prenatal tests were done. We even met with the insurance lady at the office to work out a payment plan for all my prenatal care.  We excitedly waited for our turn in the sonogram room. We couldn't wait to see our baby...our baby!

I don't remember all the details now, but I do remember knowing that something wasn't right when the technician went and got the doctor. It was the first time I met Dr. Little, you see, because I was a new patient, but even then, his sad eyes told me before his gentle voice did, that our baby was no longer alive. He told me he would like to schedule a D&C as soon as possible. I understood, but I was numb at first. However, when the tears began to fall, they fell fast and hard. I was mourning for our baby...our baby, that I would never get to see and never get to hold. I questioned God. I asked Him why it was me who had to endure this. I wondered why it couldn't be someone else.

The next few days went by in a blur. I continued to teach, although there were some who did not understand why. What else was I going to do as I waited for that dreaded day? Mope around the house alone while Brent worked? I was already going to have to miss 3 days, so I didn't see the point of taking off more. Besides, staying busy helped keep my mind off things.

The procedure was short and simple. My nurse was so sweet and gentle to me. She held my hand as I drifted off to sleep. She had been there, too, not too many years ago, and she still remembered the pain that it caused; not the physical pain, but the emotional. It meant a lot. On the way home later that day, all I could think of was that I was getting to come home but our baby...our baby, was not. I slept a lot that afternoon. I felt okay physically even after just a few hours, but my heart was broken in two.

I went back to work on Monday. Most people didn't say anything. They didn't know what to say, and I was actually a little glad that they didn't say anything. That may sound mean, but if you have been there, or if you have ever grieved at all over someone you loved, you know exactly what I am talking about.

A few months went by. My heart began to heal. In September, I found out I was pregnant again. Brent and I were excited, but a little scared at the same time, but we still decided to tell our parents and friends the news. I felt good about things. I mean, I had a miscarriage. I met my quota. Things would be fine, right? Yet, somehow, on the way to my 8 week appointment in early October 2008, I knew things were not okay. I can't really explain how I knew, but I did. This time, when the technician sent for the doctor, I knew why. Again, Dr. Little came in and gently told us that our baby...our baby, was no longer alive. I was scheduled for another D&C. I believe this is when he shared part of his story with us. His own wife suffered through a couple of miscarriages as well, but she made it through. He assured us that many women suffer through two or more miscarriages and go on to have healthy, full-term babies.

Again, I continued to teach as I waited for my appointment day to arrive. Again, I am sure some of my coworkers, friends, and family members thought I was insane for doing so. Again, I thought it was the best thing for me to do. Staying busy helped me keep my mind off things at least a little.

The procedure went smoothly again. My nurse...a different one from the first time, was just as sweet as the first one had been, and just like the first time, I was home in a few hours and resting. Again, I healed physically very quickly and I was back to work in a couple of days, but this time, I went on an emotional roller coaster like I had not done the first time. I became very angry. I begged to know why this was happening to me when there were women around the world who were dumping their babies into trash bins or aborting them just because they were an inconvenience to them. I wasn't even sure I wanted to try to have another baby at first, but after much prayer, God changed my heart, and seven-and-a-half months later, on Memorial Day of 2009, I somehow knew I was pregnant before I even took a test. I felt different than I had before, and to be honest, it's the only time I have had that feeling. Sure enough, I was pregnant. I was so excited that I drove to Brent's work to tell him. I'm sure he thought I was crazy!

This time, we wised up and decided not to tell anyone...not even our parents, about the pregnancy until after we went for a sonogram. You see, the first two times, we had to go back to several people and deliver our devastating news just weeks after we told them exciting news, and we decided it wasn't worth all the heartache.

Well, our plan of not telling anyone about the pregnancy fell through the cracks one morning in June when I didn't show up at church for VBS. Anyone who knows me knows that I am on time and that I don't just "not show up" for things. When I make a commitment, I stick with it if at all possible.  However, on this particular morning, I threw up about 5 times. I was exhausted and knew I had about an hour before I had to leave for VBS, so I laid down for what was supposed to be a 30 minute nap. The next thing I knew, I was awakened by my mother-in-law banging on my front door. It was three hours later, and the VBS director, a friend of mine, became very concerned when I didn't show up and  even more so when I didn't answer my phone (I was out of it!), so she called my mother-in-law at work. My poor mother-in-law drove frantically from her work, and I'm sure she thought I had lost my mind when I groggily answered the door, but still didn't offer a good explanation. I felt like a fool!

After all the commotion and the embarrassment, Brent and I decided that we had to come clean, at least with our parents. This was not a situation that would explain itself otherwise. So, that evening, we retold the story to my parents and then Brent's parents and we made our big announcement, but we had them promise not to tell anyone else yet.  A few days later, I was at the doctor's office begging for some relief from "morning" sickness that lasted all day, and I was so thankful that it was summer break! Because of my history, they assured me that this was a good sign. Being sick often indicates a healthy baby, but just to be sure, they went ahead and did a sonogram that day, and there he was (although we didn't know he was a boy at that time), our baby...our Chandler! His heart rate was perfect, and he was moving around. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen or heard! The tears came again, but this time they were tears of joy and thankfulness. The summer went by, and I was so glad that I wasn't having to teach, because I really don't know how I would have been able to do it while throwing up multiple times a day, but finally, by the time school started back in August, I was beginning to feel some better.

My body grew and changed. We found out at 20 weeks that we were having a son, and we announced his name. I took pleasure in feeling and watching him move. Brent loved to see my stomach jumping those last few weeks. Things went well. Chandler was growing and healthy. He entered this world on Friday, Febrary 5, 2010, just two days before his due date, weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. He was such a site to behold! He made me forget about all the vomiting, all the pain. He was so worth it! I knew even then that I wanted to give him a brother or sister one day.

So, I consider myself to be a smart, educated, and well-rounded person, but I guess I never dreamed I would miscarry again after having a full-term pregnancy and healthy baby. We were excited to be expecting another baby with a due date just one day after Chandler's second birthday. Since Brent, Chandler, and I all have February birthdays, I thought it was awesome that this baby should share a February birthday as well. However, miscarriage #3 was just as hard as the first two. The only difference was that this time I had my sweet little boy to love on as I grieved. I cried over him many nights, thanking God that he gave me this special gift from heaven.

After miscarriage #4 just a few months later, Brent and I had genetic testing done, and we found out that I have a genetic abnormality called Robertsonian Translocation. We were given the okay to try for another baby, but we were also told that the odds were against us. We decided it was worth trying for. We so badly wanted to add a child to our family.

Four more times we went through this process, knowing that the odds were against us. That's right...I have been pregnant nine times, and I have miscarried eight of those times. Each and every time, God brought me through and made me stronger. While miscarriage is not what defines me, it has certainly been a big part of my story and it always will be. God has allowed me to use my own experiences to help others already, and I believe He has even bigger plans in store. Will we adopt one day? Maybe. Will we try to have another biological child? Not unless God changes our hearts. Are we content and happy with our family just the way it is? Absolutely! 

I am eternally thankful to God that he has allowed me to be a Mama to my sweet and precious little boy, Chandler, who stole my heart before he was born, and who continues to steal it every day, even at the silly and sometimes trying age of four-and-a-half. He is a blessing to me, and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. He has brought so much joy and laughter into the life of me and his Daddy. He is our little miracle....our baby!

If this has touched you in any way, or if you know of someone who might could benefit from hearing my story, please pass it on. I have written it in hopes that someone...even if it's just one person, will find the hope and strength they need to hang on, even in a difficult time such as miscarriage. - Salena

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Where Did Summer Go?

It happens every year. I look forward to summer vacation, and then it comes and goes so quickly. It has been a great one, though. At almost 4 1/2, Chandler is big enough to explore and try more things than he ever has before. I love that he is now old enough to make memories that he can hold for a lifetime.

He is growing up so fast, and although we have our challenging moments, and sometimes even our challenging days, I wouldn't trade it all for the world. He is a sweet and special blessing! Here is a recap of some of the things we did this summer.

Myrtle Beach with my parents (Grandmama & Grandpa)

You can't go to the beach without having a picnic at least once! 

Dollar Movies- He loved them! 

Level Grove Donuts With Dad (He loved Level Grove, by the way!)


Swimming Lessons

He received some cool treats from the library for reading this summer.
Slime was one of them. He had a blast with it!
Making cupcakes for no particular reason
(and staying in our jammies all day sometimes!)

Playing at the park

Enjoying Sunday School with friends

Swimming at Don Carter State Park
with some friends from church
Watching the Demorest 4th of July Fireworks with Brent's parents
(Nana & Grandad)
Catching an Atlanta Braves game
(complete with Coke, Cotton Candy, & Ice Cream!)

Earning a certificate, medal, and fishing pole
for reading 100+ books this summer 

Throwing sticks for Jack to fetch at the lake

Catching a movie at the Tiger Drive In
(a first for all of us!)
The occasional nap
(Unfortunately for me, he decided most days this was unnecessary!)

This summer really wasn't so much about what we did. It was who we spent the time with…each other. I am so blessed to have Brent and Chandler in my life. They are both special and precious to me, and I thank God for them.

Monday, June 23, 2014


On April 17 of this year, after lots of prayer and discussion with my husband, my parents, my in-laws, and a few close friends, I turned in my resignation to Cornelia Elementary School. It wasn't an overnight decision for sure. It's the only school I've taught at, and I was there for 11 years. I was hired the summer after my college graduation, and I stepped into my first classroom as teacher at the young age of 22.

That first year, I was with fourth graders. The next ten years were spent with first graders. I worked under three different principals and four different assistant principals. I met many life-long friends. I worked hard, I learned many lessons, and I had the privilege of teaching over 200 kids who I claimed as my own while they dwelled in my classroom with me. All of these things will always be a part of me, but when I felt the call to leave, I had to answer. I had to take a huge leap of faith. I had to step out of my comfort zone.

Some thought it was because of family issues (we have been considering adoption, as many of you may know, but we have not made any definite decisions on this), some thought it was because I no longer had the desire to teach. Please don't worry, though, I am not giving up teaching. I think it is what I have been called to do. I am, however, taking a different path, at least for now. It's what is best for my family. 

Therefore, I am proud to officially announce that I will be a part of the Trinity Classical School family beginning in August. Chandler will be joining me there as well as a member of the newly-formed preschool program. It has been amazing to see how God has orchestrated all of this. 

If you are reading this, I ask that you pray for us as we make this new and exciting transition. We are very blessed, and I know that God has some wonderful things in store for us on this new journey.

See My Page on Trinity's Website

Saturday, June 21, 2014

To The Beach: Take 5

For the fifth year in a row, we packed up pretty much all that we own and headed to Myrtle Beach for a week. (I keep thinking this will get easier as Chandler gets older, but so far it hasn't.) My parents met us there. Our itinerary? We didn't have one. It was a trip planned solely for relaxation. 

Our original intentions were to sleep in, but the cute little four-year-old with us had other plans. He had his own room this time for the first time ever on vacation, and he loved it. However, I think the lastest we slept all week was 7:30 a.m, but that's okay. It maximized our time together. The only problem was that this same cute little four-year-old only napped one day of the trip, too, so there were usually a couple of let's say "challenging" moments after dinner. 

We enjoyed watching the other early risers at the beach from the comfort of our balcony and/or the breakfast table of our condo. Then, we would soon slather on tons of sunscreen and meander down to the beach for a while. Some sandcastles were built, Captain Hook was buried and then rescued by Jake and the rest of his crew, some waves were jumped, and several novels were read. One day we even hauled the cooler down and had a picnic on the beach. Talk about true SANDwiches! Most of this was done in the shade of our umbrella. I'm way past the days of desiring a tan. I'll just stay pasty white, thank you very much.

The pool was refreshingly nice on the hot, humid days, and the hot tub was nice in the evenings. We went out to dinner a few times, but stayed in a few times, too, opting for calzones one day (yum!) and grilled burgers and hotdogs another (compliments of chef Brent). 

Chandler was all about putt-putt, so Brent and I took him one evening and then treated him to ice cream. It melted faster than we could eat it, but that was part of the fun! It was a good, relaxing trip overall, and I am so glad we got to go together. 

Part of the lovely view from our balcony

Chandler begged his Daddy to dig a hole. He loved it!

This sandcastle was demolished less than 5 minutes later. 

I think the picnic on the beach was one of the highlights for him. 

Chillin in the shade



Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Summer is here. Just like most educators, I am so thankful that this time of year is here. You see, I spend ten months out of the year pouring my heart and soul into other people's children, and now I get two whole months to pour my heart and soul into my own precious child.

It's not that Chandler gets ignored during those ten months. Don't you worry about that for a minute! It's not that I don't enjoy pouring myself into other children. On the contrary, I feel that is what I have been called to do. However, it is nice to spend time with the child God gave to me without having to worry about other kids for a while.

Summer is the time of year that I can explore new things, refresh my mind, and do new things with my son. At four, he's at the perfect age to do a lot of things he's never been big enough to do before like go fishing at the lake, watch a movie in the theater, catch lightning bugs in a jar, go to the drive-in, play hide-and-seek at dusk, and more. He's also old enough to start making memories that he will be able to remember for years to come. For these reasons, I have decided to make the most of this summer.

Many of the things I have planned are for the whole family, like taking a trip to the zoo, catching an Atlanta Braves game, and pizza at Louie's. Other things are just for the two of us while Brent is at work. I can't wait to spend time with my sweet little guy (and the big one too) this summer.

Is everything going to be perfect? No. Will everything work out according to plan? Absolutely not.

Will there be lots of laughs? Definitely. Will memories that will last a lifetime be made? I think so.

Stay tuned for updates on our summer happenings.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Closing of the School Year

Today marked the 11th time that I have ended a school year with a group of students. Ten of those years, I have been with first graders. I'm not going to lie, I have a tough job. Sometimes I lose my patience, sometimes I have a hard time keeping my cool when kids seem not to be listening to a word I say. Sometimes, I get frustrated.

However, today was the close of my teaching career at my current school. It's bittersweet although God has given me great clarity that I am doing the right thing, not only for me, but for my family as well.

I wasn't going to cry, and I didn't until it was time for buses. That's when he cried. He looked at me, hugged me for at least the millionth time this school year, and began crying that he was going to miss me and that he loved me. I lost it right then and there. He pulled my heart strings.

Yes, my job is tough, but that moment was one that helped me know that I do make a difference, even when I feel daily like I have failed. God has closed one door in my life, but I look forward to new doors that are being opened.

Linking up with...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bubbly Teeth

Not long after I dropped him off this morning, Chandler and my mom had breakfast and brushed their teeth, just like any other morning when he is there. However, when my mom was brushing her teeth, she noticed that the toothpaste seemed to be a bit more bubbly than usual.

She stopped, looked at him (I'm sure he had either a big mischievous grin or no expression at all at this point), and asked him what he had done. He said he had put soap on her toothbrush. When she asked why, he replied that he was using it to clean the sink. 

As she retold this story to me this afternoon, I was in stitches. I think she's just glad he wasn't cleaning the toilet with it!

My little boy is a crazy mess, but I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fish, Sharks, and X-Rays

As usual, Spring Break went by a whole lot faster than I wish it had. However, it was nice to have some time at home with my boys, and the weather was absolutely beautiful! We didn't really have any big plans, but at the end of the week when we found out Brent was going to be off work on Saturday, we decided to use our two free Georgia Aquarium tickets from Brent's work and take our little guy to see all the sea creatures. Since we only had to buy one ticket, it wasn't too expensive, and we certainly had a lot of fun!

Because I have been on four different fieldtrips with students to the aquarium, as well as a teacher fieldtrip and one other family trip, for once I knew the ins and outs of a place better than Brent! I knew the best spots to see what we wanted to see, and I knew which exhibits were okay to spend less time on. It's a good thing, too, because most Atlanta area schools were beginning their Spring Break as ours was ending, so there were tons of people there, and we were able to avoid at least some of them by knowing where and when to go.

Chandler loved looking at the sea horses, sharks, and "x-rays" (sting rays) best. It was adorable to hear him talk about all the "x-rays" as we sat in front of the large window aquarium. He enjoyed the 4D show because he loved wearing the glasses, and he enjoyed watching the dolphins at the Dolphin Tales show.

I enjoyed watching the expressions and hearing the questions and exclamations from Chandler. It was a joy to be able to spend a day with my loves and make some memories together!

My loves!
Watching the sharks, whales, and "x-rays"

He loved the glasses for the 4D show!
Me and my favorite little boy

Saturday, March 29, 2014

In God We Trust

It's been on our currency for years. 
I see it on license plates everywhere I go. 
But, how many of us truly live this out?
How many of us as Christians are showing non-believers
that we trust in God?

Sadly, I know that I fail every day.

We pray, and we say we have faith. 
We read scripture, and we are part of the local church. 
We listen to Christian music,
 and we teach Bible stories to our children.
We give thanks before our meals,
and we live "good" lives in front of others.

On the flip side, though, we doubt.
We don't exemplify faith.
We often have bad attitudes, 
and we don't always have the nicest things to say.

When we do these things, 
we are showing the world that we indeed 
don't always trust in God, our Father.

Is this what we want to do?
I think most of us would say no.
However, in order for things to change,
we have got to make a decision.
Each of us, as a child of God, has to decide to take a stand.

None of us are perfect, and we never will be.
I know that I fail every day. 
We can all, however, be a light in this dark world.

We can step out on faith, even when we are scared to death.
We can have a positive outlook on things,
even when the way looks dark and bleak.
We can use our tongues to uplift others
instead of tear them down.

We can show others that
we do, in fact
still trust in God.
He is the one who carries us through
in the good times and in the bad. 



Friday, March 21, 2014


I remember the day I got a positive pregnancy test. It was my third one, but somehow this one felt different, even early on. I was so excited that I went to Daddy's work to let him know. We tried to keep it a secret because of the previous miscarriages, but when morning (all day?) sickness hit, it was hard not to let others in our our little secret.

I remember documenting the growth of my tummy every couple of weeks, watching how you grew and changed me, and the kicks and turns were one of Daddy's favorite things to see in those later weeks. We got your nursery ready, others showered us with all the things we needed for you, and we waited patiently (or not) for your arrival.

The morning you were born was one of the happiest of our lives. I remember counting your fingers and toes when I finally got to hold you in my arms, and we couldn't believe how much you looked like your Daddy.  I cried all the way home two days later, and your Daddy didn't understand how full my heart was. Now, a little over four years later, I love you even more than I did then.

 Linking up with.... 

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Mind is Crowded

 Linking up today with...

I am a full time wife, mom, public school first grade teacher,  preschool Sunday School director, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, and friend. We are contemplating adoption, and we are getting ready to send Chandler to school for the first time next fall. That's not even mentioning all the personal things going on in my life right now.

Needless to say, my mind is very crowded. At any given time, there are at least a hundred different things floating around in my head, from meetings I have to attend, to lesson plans that need to be completed, to soccer practice, to meal planning for my family, to spending time with the ones I love. There are days when I simply cannot do it all.

Sometimes I just have to remind myself that it's okay if I don't have everything under control. It's okay if everything doesn't line up perfectly. That's not always easy.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Separate Email Accounts Can Help With the Online "Clutter"

I learned several years ago to have different email accounts for different purposes. I have three email accounts right now, and although that may sound like a lot, it has really helped me declutter and keep my life organized. Maybe you can try this, too, if you haven't already!

1. Work Email Account
I check this account multiple times a day and receive a couple of hundred emails a week through this account. Not all of the emails apply directly to me, but many of them do. Thankfully, this email account has tools that allow me to save the emails into different categories, and it is setup by the school system where I am employed, so it is free. If your employer does not provide an email account for you, there are many free ones out there for you to choose from. Just do some exploring and find what best meets your needs!

2. Personal Email
A few years ago, I learned how important it is to separate personal emails from work emails. It was just too much to process having everything come through one account, especially when so many emails already come through my work email account. Also, my work emails are monitored, and there are some pieces of information that I don't care to share with my employers.

3. Temporary Email (Specific for a Cause/Group)
I am on the steering team for the local Evening MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, and it is my job to update the blog and Facebook page for this group. I had to have an email account in order to do this, and I wanted to create an account that is only related to this topic so that the information doesn't get lost in the shuffle of my "regular" personal email. Also, whenever my time with MOPS is complete, I can delete the email account and not have to worry about it. If you are ever a team leader for a fundraiser or event, this is a great way to go, too.

                  If you have found this post helpful, please share it with others. Thanks so much!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Homemade "Febreze"

A few weeks ago I shared an easy and frugal way to clean a shower using products most of us already have around the house. If you haven't tried it yet, I really encourage you to do it. I promise it works like a charm if you follow the directions!

Today, I would like to share another awesome and frugal cleaning tip with you. I have been a huge fan of Febreze for years. I love how it helps freshen up furniture, carpets, rugs, bedding, and curtains, as well as almost anything that has been in storage for a while. In a busy house, it's really a necessity. However, I have never liked the price of it. That stuff is stinkin' expensive!

So, you know me; I went to my friend {Pinterest} for some ideas, and ladies and gentlemen, she did not let me down! There were several pins/blogs about how to make your own "Febreze", so I read about three of them and compared them. All of them were pretty similar, so, I set out to get what I needed and tried it out. I was not disappointed, and I don't think you will be either. Just make sure you follow all the directions, and you'll be set. You'll also love the extra bucks in your wallet!

Here's what you need: 

* 1/8 cup liquid fabric softener  (I got mine at Dollar Tree.)
* 2 Tablespoons baking soda (I already had this!)
* A funnel
* Hot tap water 

NOTE: I used my existing 27 ounce Febreze container. If your spray bottle is a different size, you may need to adjust the amounts of fabric softener and baking soda. 

What you do: 
1. Pour the fabric softener into the spray bottle.
2. Add the baking soda.
3. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with hot tap water.
4. Shake well and don't forget to shake the bottle before each use. This step is very important!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why I Didn't Clean My House Over the Weekend

I've made several posts lately about how I keep my house clean. Please don't misunderstand me- my house is definitely not spotless! There are days (and sometimes several days in a row) when I don't do much cleaning at all around my house. This past weekend is the perfect example. Let me tell you why.

Last Wednesday was Chandler's 4th birthday. His Thomas the Train party was Friday night. I went straight from work to Ingles, to the church to decorate. I wanted to make it magical for my special little guy. We weren't home until after 9:30 p.m., but we had a blast!  I opted for bed rather than cleaning.

Saturday morning, the three of us got up and headed for the circus. We made a day of it by having lunch at Red Lobster, buying Chandler's soccer gear, heading to the Verizon store, and stopping by Race Trac for some yummy yogurt before heading home. It's the first time in a while I've spent the entire day out with my two favorite guys! I didn't do any cleaning that day, either, although I did do a couple of loads of laundry out of necessity.

Just know that it's okay NOT to clean your house every day. It may mean that you have to do a little extra next time, but that's okay. Life happens. Memories are made. Smiles come in abundance.

I have learned that little ones don't stay little long, and it's definitely more important to spend time with the ones I love than to have a magnificently clean house. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Last Time

This morning was the last time a three-year-old boy climbed sleepily out of bed at my house.
This morning was the last time I carried that same three-year-old boy across the hall to the bathroom.
This morning was the last time I helped that three-year-old boy put on his socks and shoes. 
This morning was the last time a three-year-old boy rode in the car to Grandmama's house.

This afternoon was the last time I brought that three-year-old boy home.
This evening was the last time that three-year-old feet ran across my kitchen floor before dinner.
Tonight was the last night I got to read and cuddle with my favorite three-year-old boy.
Tonight was the last time I tucked that three-year-old boy in as we said goodnight prayers together.

Right now is the last time I will cry over that three-year-old boy, for tomorrow he will be four.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I have always heard that God opens and closes doors in our lives. Now, at almost 33 years old, I have personally experienced the opening and closing of doors several times in my life. Sometimes, those doors open and close unexpectedly. Actually, that is almost always the case. Sometimes it comes along with grief, pain, and sadness. However, each and every time, He has brought me through.

I will think I know exactly what is going on and exactly what I should do. I'll have a "perfect plan". The funny thing is, God has always had the perfect plan for me. He just has to wait on me sometimes to realize it. I'm a little stubborn like that. I am so thankful, though, that He hasn't given up on me yet. I know He will lead me in the direction I need to go if I just take his hand and follow Him.

Friday, January 31, 2014

How I Keep My House Clean: Part 3

You've seen my daily and weekly lists, so now here's an overview of monthly tasks I try to tackle. I don't necessarily do all of these things on the same day always, but many of them are simple enough that I can do several of them in one day. What would you add to this list?

MONTHLY TASKS: sweep out and clean up garage, dust ceiling fans and light globes, wash walls and light switch plates, clean baseboards, clean out fridge and both freezers, wipe down all doors, cycle clean the dishwasher and washing machine, clean garbage cans, wash bed quilts, straighten up all closets

* Garage cleaning is something Brent and I do together. We remove the car and truck first, and then we sweep, use the shop vacuum, and put away stray items. It's about a 30 minute task, and we try to do it on a day when the weather is nice.

* This is another team task since I can't reach some of the ceiling fans without getting on a ladder. If you have ceiling fans over your bed, clean them while the linens are in the wash or use an old bed sheet to catch the dust bunnies. This task takes less than 5 minutes per ceiling fan.

* Okay, so I don't wash all of the walls from top to bottom necessarily, but I do go to each room and look for hot spots (around light switches, near the baseboards, Chandler's room, etc...). Most of the time I just use a soft wet cloth and gently scrub any spots I see. Switch plates are fairly easy to clean with just a damp cloth.

* Baseboards are not my friend! They collect dust way more quickly than I like, and they take a lot of time to clean.  However, a couple of years ago, thanks to Pinterest, I discovered that wiping them down with a dryer sheet helps keep at least some of the dust from settling on them. So, after I clean them well, I usually wipe them down with a dryer sheet. I am teaching Chandler how to do this in hopes that he might take over one day. (A girl can dream, right?)

* I take everything out of the fridge and freezers (I have a small one in addition to the one with the fridge) and wipe them down with a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water. It takes about half an hour to do all three as long as I don't wait too long in between cleaning sessions.

* If I ever build a house, the doors inside of it will be solid with no panels. Dusting doors with panels isn't necessarily all that difficult, but after you do about 10 (or more) of them front and back, it can get pretty boring. As long as I don't wait too long between cleanings, I can usually use a damp cloth for this task.

* Clean cycling the dishwasher and washing machine are actually two of the easiest tasks on this list. I use vinegar, and it works wonders!

* Cleaning the garbage cans is something I generally have Brent to do. He generally uses dish detergent and the water hose outside, and then he turns them over to drain and dry for a while before putting them back inside. When I first started asking him to do this, he thought I was crazy. However, it's a necessary task in order to keep a clean and fresh-smelling house.

* Washing the bed quilts is another relatively simple task, and it keeps our beds looking and smelling fresh.

* I like to go through all of the closets in the house about once a month and do some general straightening up. I spend about five minutes per closet putting things back in their proper place or tidying up the spaces. It saves me a lot of time later on, and I love the way it looks.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How I Keep My House Clean: Part 2

A couple of days ago I posted my daily cleaning tasks. Here, I would like to elaborate on the weekly tasks I do in addition to the daily tasks. Some weeks, I do all of these things in one day over about a three-hour span. Sometimes I do one big chore a day throughout the week. It really just depends on how busy things are in my life. (Some weeks I am mostly on my own because of Brent's work schedule, but when he can, he helps, too.)

WEEKLY TASKS: dust and wipe down all furniture, vacuum entire house, vacuum under sofa cushions, sweep and clean all floors, wash bed sheets, deep clean kitchen and bathrooms, wipe down and clean out refrigerator, shred junk mail, clean all glass and the microwave

* I must admit that dusting is one of my least favorite tasks around the house. Thankfully, I do have two helpers most weeks with this task. Chandler loves having his own duster! I also wipe down all the kitchen chairs and use a lint brush as needed on our sofa. (For some reason, dust likes to settle there.)

* We have mostly hardwood floors, so vacuuming my entire house doesn't take very long. If you have mostly carpet, it may take a little longer, but it is necessary to vacuum regularly no matter what size your house is to cut down on allergens in your home.

* While I have out the vacuum, I usually go ahead and vacuum under the sofa cushions. I have a preschooler, so I always find all kinds of "treasures" here. If you don't have small children, you can probably get by with doing this task monthly.

* Since I sweep the main part of the house daily, sweeping the entire house really isn't all that bad. After sweeping, I like to use my Swiffer Wet Jet.

* Bed sheets can honestly be one of the dirtiest items in a house. I like to wash ours once a week. Thankfully, Chandler's is the same color as ours, so I can do one large load and save some time and money.

* Because I am in the habit of wiping down kitchen and bathroom counters daily, it doesn't take long to deep clean these rooms. I do spend extra time in these rooms on which ever day I decide to deep clean them. I found an amazing way to clean my shower and tub recently, and it saves me so much time!

* While I am deep cleaning the kitchen, I wipe down all the shelves and drawers and throw out any old food. (We don't throw away much around here, so don't worry!)

* Since we sort mail most days, we like to save up a week's worth of junk mail and shred it at one time. If you don't have a shredder, make sure you blot out personal information, and then you can recycle it if you wish.

* I've tried other brands, but Windex is by far my favorite for cleaning all the mirrors, glass, and the microwave at our house. This is a task that Brent usually does while I am working on something else.

Do you have some weekly that you would add to this list? I would love to hear all about them!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How I Keep My House Clean: Part 1

I like neat and tidy spaces, but I don't like to spend all my time cleaning. I do have a few "secrets" for keeping my house in order, so I thought I would share them with you. Today, we will take a look at my daily tasks.

DAILY TASKS: make beds, prepare lunch, wipe down bathroom counters and toilet seats, sweep the kitchen and main living area after each meal, wash or put dishes in the dishwasher right away after eating, open and file mail, do a quick pickup of entire house, laundry, lay out clothes for the next day

* My dad always made my sister and I make our beds before school, so this is a habit I formed years ago. I make Chandler's bed while he goes to the potty each morning. The timing is just about right. He is learning how to do this on his own already, too. Brent and I take turns making our bed.

* I prepare my lunch each day right after (or while I eat) breakfast. Then, all I have to do is grab it on my way out the door! 

* Wiping down the bathroom counters and toilets is one of my newer routines. I like using Clorox wipes for this task. With a preschool boy and a husband, this is a must for me!

* Sweeping is honestly not a favorite task of mine, but I found that it takes literally less than two minutes to sweep my kitchen and main living area after each meal. It really isn't that bad!

* I hate a sink of dirty dishes! That's why I like to take care of them right away whenever possible. I have also started washing dishes more often by hand to save water. It's another task that Chandler and I enjoy together. He's learning and having fun at the same time! I try to only run the dishwasher twice a week. (We do only have 3 people in our house, though, so I can understand why some families may need to use the dishwasher daily.)

* Mail...we get a lot of it, and at least half of it is junk. This is a task I have turned over to Brent for the most part. He's usually the one that goes to the mailbox, so I set up a mail sorting system and showed him how to use it. We have a place for bills (with a whiteboard nearby so we can post due dates), a place for papers that need to be filed, and a place for papers that need to be shredded. (More on that later.)

* The quick pickup around the house involves the entire family. We put up items that have accumulated around the house since the day before. It takes less than 5 minutes. I usually like to do this right before Chandler goes to bed. I want him to learn the habit of putting away his things when he is finished with them.  At times, when the house has gotten a little extra dirty or piled up, I have been known to set the timer on the microwave for 15 minutes, and we "race" to see who can get the most done!

* Until recently, I saved up most of the laundry for the weekend. Now, I do a load a day (if needed). It's much quicker and easier to put away when there's not so much at once.

* Picking out my clothes the night before is something I have done for a long time for myself, and now I also do it for Chandler. It has saved my morning many times, and I can sleep a few minutes later than I could if I didn't do this each night before bed.

Do you have some daily tasks that you would add to this list? I would love to hear all about them!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Still Small Voice

I usually pray when I first get up and take a shower. 
That's about the only time of the day I am alone and things are quiet. 
My alarm is set on a Christian radio station, 
which helps jump start that prayer time on most mornings.
More times than I can count, 
the very song I need to hear is playing when I get up. 
 I think not.

This morning when I awoke,
I felt especially moved to pray about 
something specific in my life.
As the water from the shower ran over my body,
tears also fell down my cheeks 
as I poured my heart out to God.

I know He heard my prayer this morning,
and He hears it anytime I call out to Him, 
because He gently reminds me
in that still small voice
that I am His,
and everything is going to be okay. 

I have no way of knowing what 
the future holds,
but I can trust that He will 
lead me where I should go. 
He's always been faithful to me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Where Do You Find Encouragement?

Encouragement is something all of us need whether we are young or old, or somewhere in between. We all walk through the valley, and we all throw pity parties from time to time. We all get discouraged about and overwhelmed by different things, and sadly, as women, we often let those things take over our lives and we start missing out on the good things around us called life.

We all need that handful of friends that will pick us up when we need it most, and we need to strive to be that encourager in the lives of others as well. Have you encouraged someone today?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

He Is

* hard working and committed
* faithful
* compassionate
* thoughtful
* sensitive just when he needs to be
* smarter than he gives himself credit for
* kind-hearted
* creative
* a problem-solver
* a night owl
* a Mr. Fix-It
* messy (although he has gotten better)
* stubborn
* hilarious (sometimes when he's not even trying to be)
* a wonderful Daddy
* a perfect partner in crime
* my best friend
* a gift from God
* my husband

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Shower Cleaner That Really Works!

I like things clean, neat, and organized. However, the everyday task of keeping things that way isn't always fun. I am always on the lookout for shortcuts that actually work, and if they save me money at the same time, that's even better. A penny saved is definitely a penny earned (and money in the bank for something I actually enjoy doing).

So, I am here to share my most recent discovery, thanks to a couple of friends who tried it before me and were kind enough to tell me about it. It's so simple, you will probably be a little skeptical. I certainly was at first, but now that I have tried it, I will never go back! The best part is, you probably already have the items you need on hand!

Here's what you need: 

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
4 Tablespoons baking soda
1/2 cup blue Dawn dish detergent
small scrub brush

Here's what you do:

Pour the vinegar in a medium-sized microwavable bowl and heat in the microwave for 90 seconds. Allow the vinegar to sit for about a minute in the sink before adding the baking soda. (It will bubble!) Then, add the dish detergent and stir if necessary. (You could also try putting the mixture in a spray bottle if you have one on hand.)

Pour or spray the mixture in the shower, using a cloth or scrub brush to make sure you really soak the tough spots. Leave it alone to do its magic for about two hours. Then, using a cloth and the scrub brush, wipe down the shower starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom, rinsing with warm water as needed. (I made sure I had some of the mixture on my cloth when I started this process.)

The results: 

I was simply amazed! I didn't have to do any heavy scrubbing. There was even a little mildew around the edge of the shower, and there was definitely a good bit of soap scum. An extra bonus is that it actually smelled good while I was cleaning. With everything else I have tried, I felt like I had to wear a mask in order to safely clean the bathroom. I challenge you to try this in your own home, and I would love to hear your feedback. Happy (and frugal) cleaning!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I Just Realized...

My little boy is not a toddler anymore. He's a preschooler. I guess I've known it for a while, but it really hit me hard this evening as I watched him play with all his new toys, and then as he sleepily crawled up into my lap, ready for his pjs. He didn't want the green dinosaur ones tonight. He wanted the red fire truck ones, and he told me so.

He's potty trained, he has mood swings (pouts and complaints included), and he makes up his own silly songs. He remembers things that happened over a year ago with pretty accurate detail, and he knows the words to lots of books and songs we have read or sang together. He can (mostly) dress himself, and he now often has input on what he wears when we go out. He even knows what he likes to eat and drink at various restaurants and can tell the person taking his order what he wants. His jokes sometimes even make sense now, and he knows how to flash that sweet dimpled grin to get himself out of trouble. (In other words, he knows he's cute.)

He gives sweet hugs and kisses, and he loves to tell secrets. His facial expressions give him away. He can count to 20 and spell his name (with help; it is 8 letters long, you see), he plays well alone, and most of the time he gets along with other kids, too. He likes making messes, but he likes for things to be in their place as well when the day is done. He hates having his hair washed, but he loves taking a bath. He enjoys being naked and would run around without clothes more often than not if we allowed him to.

He loves the people in his life with his whole heart, and he talks about all of us often, naming each of us regularly. His giggles are contagious. He likes to help out in the kitchen, and he even helps clean up around the house. He gets excited easily and his little eyes dance. He has a wild imagination, and he hears everything we say, even when we think he's not listening. He says a short and sweet blessing at meal times (or designates someone to do it instead), and he says sweet bedtime prayers, too.

How is it that almost 4 years have come and gone so quickly? I never knew I could love someone the way that I love my sweet and precious little guy. God must think I am very special, you see, because he chose me to be this sweet little boy's mama.