Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer Fun!!

I don't even know where I first found this picture, but it made me so happy! Because it would add a functional space, to our backyard. We live in the southwest, so there is plenty of sun around here. :)

I asked my hubs about it. And he told me, this project should be an easy one. If I do the sewing!! I think I can manage this project. :) I might even try to figure out, how to cover the top too!! We get so much sun, that it would be nice, to have a little shade. But not a heavy fabric. Something lightweight. That still makes it a fun and functional space. ~Maggie

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Perfect for Tea Time!!

My girls are what you would call, "very girly!" We spend tons of time playing dress up, tea party, and dollies. That's our life. In a nutshell. But I love it so much!! Having daughters, has really changed my life. Showed me to slow down a bit. To embrace all the beautiful things in life.

I've been looking for things to add, to our supply of toys. Being a family of 6, on 1 income, can be a bit tough at times. My husband works so hard for us. And let's be honest, things like food, mortgage payments, and gas, take up most of our money.

This is one of the reasons, that I have completely embraced crafting. I want to be able, to provide my family with clothes and toys, that are handmade. And more affordable for our family. I'm grateful, that I have some skills, even if they are very basic, that allows me to provide for my family.

With all that being said, I wanted to update my kids' toys. I've been searching for patterns, and ideas everywhere! And when I seen this particular pattern, it just made me smile. Perfect for my girls!!

I've printed the pattern. Searched out the perfect colors, for each of my daughters. And spent many late nights, crocheting away!! I'm hoping, to have the 3 tea sets done, in the next week or so. Yes, I'm waiting to have all 3 done. I want for each of my girls, to have something very special. That is meant just for them! ~Maggie

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Crafty in the Backyard

Now that Spring is officially here, I've been looking for some projects to work on. With my kiddos. I came across this project. And I just knew, it was perfect for us! Bird feeders for our backyard!

On Friday, I called my Mom. I just knew she'd have the bottles. She had 8 of them. :) And I happened to notice, that Hobby Lobby was having a good sale. This week. On the rest of the pieces! The wooden bits. And I had a bunch of lids. Years ago, I bought a vintage suitcase. When we got home, I noticed it was loaded with old canning lids. I didn't know what to do with them. So they sat in our garage all this time! And we have tons of spray paint. Any color you'd need! I knew this project was meant to be!

This weekend we each made our own bird feeders. We have a lot of birds around here. 6 feeders just seemed appropriate! :) We helped Audrey with hers. And the rest of us, worked on our own. It was really an easy craft! And in less than an hour, we were done! Then my hubs painted them all! Everyone picking out their favorite colors. :)

Jake was so excited! He and my hubs went to buy birdseed. And they came back with a few different kinds. We filled up our bird feeders. And spent the rest of the weekend, watching all the cute birds. It's nice to have some useful projects in our yard. You should trying making one of these too! ~Maggie

Friday, April 20, 2012

Perfect Spring Dress

Audrey is all girl!! She reminds me so much of Lola. Her Godmother. :) Audrey loves shoes. She smiles so big, when you put her in a dress!! And since she was teeny tiny, my sweet baby girl, has liked bows and headbands. Yes, my daughter, is all girl!

And let's be honest here. She's our 3rd daughter. And mostly wears hand-me-downs. There's nothing wrong with that. But I want for Audrey to get some new clothes too! I thought about sewing her something. My mom recently brought me a whole stack of fat quarters. And Audrey is still small. A couple of fat quarters could make her, some cute dresses. :)

But recently, I took to looking for some crochet patterns. It's funny how quickly, I'm becoming a crochet addict!! But I found this pattern, and just loved it!! So I printed it out. Knowing that I'd buy some yarn, when I got my next JoAnn's coupon.

Well, Audrey happened to see it. And just loves it!! Audrey has walked around with this pattern picture, for days!! Telling everyone, that's her dress. :) Yes, I'm positive, that she already loves it!!

My dad just about died from the cuteness! Audrey just loves the idea, that she is going to get this dress. To a HUGE surprise to all of us, he showed up yesterday. With 2 giant skeins. While my sweet girls are napping, I've managed to get most of the headband done. :) And you know exactly, what I'll be doing, for the next week or 2. Quickly trying to crochet this dress. For my sweetest baby girl!! It just makes me laugh, that she things I can make anything. ~Maggie

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Sweetheart

I hate to disappoint all you lovey ladies out there. But I'm married to the World's Best Husband Ever!! Did you get that? Besides loving me with all his heart. Being the Best Daddy Ever, to our kiddos. Protecting us. Loving us. And providing for us. He likes to spoil us a bit. :) And over the last 3 years, he's surprised me with little things. Every week. Some weeks it's beautiful flowers. Other weeks, it's my favorite dessert. :) And every so often, something from my favorite shop!! Fun things. That I'd never think about. This week, I got this cute Heart Necklace. Thank you my love!! ~Maggie

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's Our Song

I heard this song yesterday. It had been a tough day. Elizabeth was so sick. There was an accident in the car. A long wait in the doctor's office. Horrible traffic on the way home. As I'm trying my darnedest, to get there before the school bus. It was just a tough day.

This song came on. I hadn't heard it before. My brain was in overdrive. Trying to remember if I had fed Audrey lunch. And did I really have that 2nd medicine at home? I hoped that I wouldn't have to go back to Walgreen's. But these words spoke to me.

This song made me realize, I'm not in this alone. I have the most amazing man, who loves me. The man that vowed to be my husband, for all eternity. This man, that I've loved for almost my entire lifetime. We've had our ups and downs. Pretty serious ones. But in the end, we came back to each other. Because life, didn't make sense without each other.

My hubs knew it was a tough day. He'd called at lunch time. When Audrey was asking for a snack. I was pulled over, on the side of the road. Trying to clean up Lizzie. And the car. While I was on hold with the doctor's office. He could tell, it wasn't a good time. He just knew.

My hubs told me, he loved me. It was going to be OK. Did I need any help? I assured him, that I could handle it. And honestly, just hearing his voice, made me feel like I could. While I calmed down Lizzie, he talked to Audrey. Remember, I was on the side of the road. Kids in the car. Mommy trying to hold it together.

My hubs got off of work early. When we pulled into the driveway, my hubs was there. Getting Jake and Bri into the house. I'm sure, they were fully involved in conversations about crayons, kickball, and all things elementary school. :)

But he stopped. Turned to my car. My hubs came and gave me a big hug and kiss. Held me. In that minute, all the chaos was gone. I felt safe. I knew, together we could get through this. Lately, things have been so tough for our family. I just needed my husband.

Kisses around. Audrey was so happy to see her daddy. And a sleeping Lizzie was carried to her bed. By her very own, "Prince Charmin." We walked into the kitchen. Pizza, salad, and dessert waited for us. My hubs tended to Lizzie, before she fell asleep. Then the 5 of us, sat down to an early dinner. He thought of everything!

As the girls and I cleaned up the kitchen, my hubs took Jake outside. They had buckets in hand. It made me curious. As the girls settle into playtime, I went to check on my 2 favorite guys. "Jake we have to take care of girls. Especially our girls. It's the most important thing. We have to love them. Make things better. Safe. Do you understand?" They were having a "father-son talk."

In these little moments, I know that I have the best husband in the world! He's an amazing daddy. I know, our kiddos are going to grow up, and be amazing. Because of the man I love! They show him, how to treat people. And how they should be treated. He teaches Jake how to be an amazing man! And shows our girls, how men should treat them. :)

Last night, long after the kiddos went to bed, my hubs came to bed. Our sick Lizzie, nuzzled into me. Feverish still. "Babe, I love you. I should tell you more often. But I do." "I love you." "I heard this song today. It's perfect. It should be our song." Ya, we'd heard the same song. And thought about each other. I told you, we've had a complicated life together. But I'm telling you, we were meant for each other. 100%!! God gave us each other, for the good and the bad. He's made our relationship stronger. I for one, am so grateful! ~Maggie

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Getting Real

I read this, and it just hit home for me!! Like a ton of bricks. For those of you, that personally know my hubs and I, you know, it hasn't always been easy. It's been a struggle. At times, I didn't think, we would make it. It's the truth. A tough pill to swallow, but the truth. And this post, says everything that I was feeling, at a very difficult time in my marriage.

We are high school sweethearts. That didn't skip a beat. We married, moved in together, bought a home, had babies. We did all the things, that we had ever dreamt of. Things that people expected us to to. From the outside, we were the perfect couple. With a boy, and a girl. In a home. With a large yard. My hubs working a successful job. Living the perfect life!!

In Fall 2007, our world crumbled. And fast!! It was all those stresses, that no one tells you about, that just kept piling up. We wouldn't talk to anyone about them. We didn't talk to each other. Just walk around with a chip on our shoulder. Going to bed mad. Hubs and I, started to get resentful. Finances were tight. Really tight. My hubs worked long, long hours!!

Life of a SAHM, is tough. No one told me that. Everyone talked about all the good things. Not about the bad days. When kids were sick, tired, teething, had the runs, wrecked the house, cried all day. No one talked about the days, when you pinched for pennies, to buy diapers, and ate macaroni's for the 10th day in a row. Definitely, no one ever told my hubs or I, about the days when we'd have to pick between food for us, and our kids. Or between house payments, and water. Or gas for the car, and medicine.

Those days, were a dark time. A time when my husband and I, just lived under the same roof. I felt like he didn't understand my life. He didn't get why or how, I could stay home all day, and the house was always a wreck when he got home. I resented him for it. He resented me, for working 10 hour days, and coming home to a messy home. And no dinner on the table. He didn't understand why we only had $50 in the bank, when he worked so much.

Deep in our hearts, we loved each other. The same steamy, hot and heavy love, that we had since high school. But all this other stuff, was killing us! Smothering our lives. Killing us very slowly. Making us miserable. Resentful. And even hateful to one another.

Finally, I'd had enough of it. Enough of the pleasantries, in front of our 2 small kids. Enough of the late night fights between us. Enough of this "fake life" that we were living. I didn't want our kids, to think this was normal. Or acceptable. One day, my husband went to work. And my kids and I, got in the car. I didn't exactly have a plan. I just knew, we needed to get out.

I drove, and drove. Then I called my cousin. I had pulled over. Was sitting at a rest stop. While my 2 sweet kids napped. I had no plan. Nowhere to go. No idea of what was next. I was 45 minutes from my home. Yet, I knew I had to keep driving. My sweet cousin, told me that we were welcome at her home.

Before I knew it, I was unloading my 2 small kids. Over 200 miles from our home. With 2 small bags. Not knowing, what our future held. How long we'd be there. Or if we'd ever go home again. Little did I know, we'd spend the next 9 months living there. Making the 3 hour (one way) trip, twice a month. My hubs and I, didn't want our kids to miss either of us.

It took almost 6 weeks, before we told anyone, that I was living with my cousin. Not even our parents knew. I'm afraid, the only reason we told anyone, was because I was pregnant. For the 3rd time. The timing couldn't have been more crazy!! It seems as thought, during my last week at home, we made our sweet little girl.

My hubs and I spent the next 10 months, evaluating what was best for us. And our family. We had 3 kids to think of. We had a long relationship to evaluate. We tried to make this time, as easy as we could, on our kids. We had plans. That we carried out, to the letter. Every 2 weeks, our kids would stay with my husband. For the weekend. Once a month, we'd ask either my parents, or in laws, to watch our kids. For one evening. So my hubs and I, could talk. Try and make some positive decisions.

This was the hardest time of our lives. I felt so alone. Like no one understood. I know, had it not been for my cousin, we wouldn't have made it. There is absolutely, no way, we would have made it!! She was in college, working, battling her battles. But she kept us going. Was the ray of sunshine, that my kids needed. The support system that I needed. And the lifeline, that my hubs needed.

Our separation was never about dating other people. My hubs and I, made that very clear. We just needed time apart. But we stayed completely faithful to one another. We worked at things. Went to counseling. Tried our hardest.

We planned little activities for our kids. Little trips, that would make them feel safe. And happy. We reevaluated everything. Finances, family, life, religion, parenting. We worked through all those things, that no one ever talks about. All the tough stuff.

It was not easy. Elizabeth was born during this time. I was still living over 3 hours, from my husband. My hubs was able to be there. But after Lizzie was born, I stayed with my cousin. I wasn't sure, what the best move for my family was. I now had 3 kids. A newborn. And was living with my cousin. Jake was just months away from, having to be in kindergarten. We needed to make the tough decisions. Because our kids deserved better. Jake needed a stable environment, as he entered school.

Ultimately, my husband and I, choose each other. We choose to work on this thing. To put us first. To talk about things. Not put them under the rug. Not pretending like we were living a magical life, when in reality, we were both at the breaking point.

This for me, was the toughest time in my life. I truly questioned everything in my life. The only thing I didn't question, was my kids. They were the shining stars, that helped me, to move forward.

The summer before Jake started kindergarten, our family, for the first time, lived under the same roof. Things were different. My husband now understood, that some days are tough. He's going to come home, and the house is going to be upside down. The kids might be crying, or sick. Dinner might not be on the table. I might even still be in my pjs. It's just the reality of life with kids.

I also know, I need to talk to my husband. Tell him, when I'm overwhelmed. When life is just getting to be too much. We need to talk about money. About upcoming expenses. About unexpected things that come up. We need to come to each other, when life is too much. We can't keep these things from one another.

But I'm positive, the thing that really changed, was our relationship. Not just our marriage. But the way, that my husband and I see each other. We go to each other. And know, that the other is our rock. They are there, because they want to be. Not because they have to be. We both know this. We don't have to be here. We've tried that already. But we want to be together. Married. Raising our kids. We want to be a family. And walk hand in hand, through life. Be each other's, shoulder to cry on.

Since we separated, and choose to do this thing together, our lives have greatly changed. We take time to do things together. We ask for help. Yes, we ask our parents to watch our kids. Not all the time. But at least, once a month. Just for a few hours. So we can go on a date. Reconnect. Catch up on each other. Things that easily get lost, when you're trying to navigate through life and parenting.

We also use this time, to talk about things that are bothering us. Or big decisions that need to be made. We talk about budgets. Upcoming expenses. Field trips, bills, doctor appointments, cars, etc. are on the table. We don't hide these things from each other. We talk about them.

Since the Summer of 2008, many things have changed. I've also reached out. To my cousin. Who became our rock, during that hard time. We've added to our family. Welcoming Audrey to the mix, in August 2010. We've simplified life. And become more active as a family.

Now, there are baseball games, dance practice, PTO meetings, etc. Church has become a priority. We make weekends, all about family. My husband and I, are more understanding of each other. I realize, that during the week, when he's working long hours, I need to cut him some slack. I need to be supportive. Because he's the one, that is out there, earning the money for our family.

I'm telling you, people never talk about the tough stuff. Never. They never really tell you, how tough it is to parent kids. How you can go months and months, on 2 hours a night, of sleep. How one kid gets sick, and then it slowly makes it's way through the family. Somehow a small bug, lingers in your family for 2 months!

People never talk about how marriages can become strained. How 2 people that are deeply in love, can begin to resent one another. No one ever talks about this! But I wanted to post this. Hoping, that if someone else is in the same place, they know, they are not alone. Because I always felt alone. Felt like a disappointment, and a failure.

Most of all, one day, I will sit all my kids down, and be honest with them. I want them to know, that marriages are work. Good marriages, are a lot of work. Being good parents, is also a lot of work!! I would never change any of this. I've grown so much, as a person, a mother, and a wife.

Life is not easy. But my struggles, have made me closer to God. It's helped to enrich my family. It proved to me, what real fighting, for the people you love, means. I've learned that spending good, quality time, with each of my children is vital. Nothing is more important, than letting them know I love them. That they are special and unique. One on one time, is so important! Because that's the time, when you really get to know your kids. Make the real connections.

I've also learned, just what a good marriage takes to survive. Listening, communication, reaching out, dates, intimacy. All of those things, are so important. We've realized, that our bedroom, needs to be for my husband and I. No straggling children, in the middle of the night. Mommy and Daddy need their time. And their space. Because grumpy parents, make for a very grumpy and non functioning family.

You are not alone, if you are struggling in your marriage. You might love your spouse to pieces, but can't get it together. Sometimes, it just takes stepping back. Looking at the situation from all sides. Think about your partner. Think about your family. Doesn't it make you wonder, how Cinderella and Prince Charming did it? I do!

I know that this could be a shameful topic. But really, there is nothing to be shameful about. Nothing to hide. It's life. And everything in life, has it's ups and downs. Everything!! If you are willing to work at your marriage, anything is possible. Believe me. There were many dark days, when I thought, my marriage was over. But I had to fight. I had to fight, not just for me and my husband. But for our kids. They deserve a happy, and functioning family. I only hope, that they can learn from their parents mistakes. And realize, that after the "I dos," it's not all sunshine and roses. But it's worth all the hard work! ~Maggie

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Perfect for My Girls!

Very rarely, I find something on the internet, that I must try. I'm not a big DIY-er. I'm just not that skilled. Drills and saws, scare me. So when I find a project that I want to recreate, I generally have to convince my hubs. And he is usually game. As long as it doesn't take months to finish. And we have room, for the finished product.

Having 4 kids, we don't have much extra room in our home. We have a large home. But we also have a lot going on. This clothing rack, is just perfect! At least for my girls. They have so much going on. Play clothes, pretty dress, and tons of dress up clothes. I say, we convince my hubs, to make 3!! ~Maggie

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!

We wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Easter!! This is such an amazing day!! The day when Jesus gave of himself, for us. This time of year reminds me, to be a better person. A more caring mother. A better wife. A better person, that God is working through.

We don't have many plans for the day. The most important part of our day, is going to church. Showing our kids, the real meaning of today. Then we are going to have some family over. For a little BBQ, and Egg Hunt. Happy Easter! ~Maggie

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fun with My Girls

I like to play with my kiddos. It's not out of the ordinary, to find me on the floor, playing with them. Having a tea party, building a fort, or playing in the mud. I feel like I'm going through my second childhood!! :)

I also like introducing my kiddos to games and toys of "yesteryear." I think a parent can only take so much Disney, Disney princesses, plastic toys, video games, and cartoons. I'm just being honest. I'm not going to apologize for it.

When I was little, my grandma sat on the floor, with me and Lola. Taught us how to play jax, tops, pick up sticks, dominoes, Old Maid, etc. I LOVED it! We also made our own paper dolls. That was one of my fondest memories!!

I found these paper dolls. For free!! And I was so excited. I printed out 4 sets. On Sunday, my hubs and Jake went to help some friends of ours. The girls and I, had baked lots of cookies. For my uncle's funeral, that was earlier this week. And I knew we needed something to do. Something to unwind. That's when I remembered these little ladies!!

I let Bri and Lizzie cut their own. And I cut out 2 sets. One for Audrey. And one for me. :) I printed them out, on some white card stock. And honestly, we played for hours! Until the boys came home!!

And then, for another hour, while they went to pick up dinner. Oops! We totally played right through our cooking time. :) I never realized just how much my girls, would adore paper dolls! Who would have thought?

I'm thinking of investing, a little bit of money. In sheets of magnets. I have the perfect little tins already. And I think, I could print these on magnets. So they'd be a little more durable. Last through lots of playing!!

Anyway that you spin it, we had a fun time! My girls enjoyed them. And haven't stopped talking about their paper dolls. Bri even took her's to "Show and Tell!!" And I'm thinking, this would be a fun theme for Audrey's 2nd birthday!

What are some of your favorite games or activities, to play with your kids? Are they from yesteryear? I'd love to hear about them! Please share! ~Maggie

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"See You Later!"

My uncle always used to say that. He didn't like to say goodbye. Said it was too final. We never said goodbye. It was always, "See you later!"

It's been just over 2 years, since my auntie past away. It happened suddenly. Unexpectedly. I for one, didn't see it coming. For the last 2 years, we've seen my uncle struggle. It's clear, that he missed her. His heart was broken.

It was really heartbreaking. They were married for over 50 years! Almost unheard of, in this time. To say that my uncle missed his love, is an understatement. He'd break your heart. Every time you'd talk to him, he'd remember my auntie. And you could just see, life was not the same for him. Not worth living.

Yesterday, we laid them to rest. Together. My uncle past away, very suddenly on Palm Sunday. We're all still in shock! My cousin, actually found him. He'd just talked to him. And was on his way, to meet my uncle for church. By the time he got to my uncle's home, he was gone.

It's been a sad time for our family. But I know, my uncle is where he belongs. With his beloved. They were laid to rest, together. In the National Cemetery, in our capitol city.

To me, just seems so sudden. So final. Very unexpected. My auntie and uncle are such an inspiration. For so many! Over 50 years of marriage. Loving. They will both be missed dearly! We said our final goodbyes yesterday. To 2 of the most amazing people, that I'll ever know! ~Maggie

Monday, April 2, 2012

Adding Color

I was reading some blogs on Friday. And this picture kept showing up. I had to just stop and take it all in. We've got some wooden spoons, that have seen their better days. Oh ya! Not only that, but it's Spring. And don't you feel like, in Spring, you clean and refresh your home? I feel like you do!

Well, I decided our wooden utensils needed some sprucing up. On Friday, I picked up some non-toxic, enamel paint. I also picked up another 4 pack of wooden spoons. Wally World just has some good buys. I think in total, I spent $10.

We had some bad news last week. And we've had a difficult time, scheduling our week. Because we are waiting to hear, about my uncle's final services. We didn't want to plan anything, because we weren't sure if the services were going to be Sunday, or early this week.

Saturday, we decided to stay home. But the weather was so nice! I wanted to do something crafty with the kids. Preferably outside. I convinced Jake and Bri to help out. Beth and Audrey were happy helping daddy. My hubs was busy with yard work. Yes, it turned into a nice and colorful weekend. Complete with painted utensils, and new flowers in our backyard. It turned out to be a very nice weekend! ~Maggie