January 31, 2012

Room by Ikea

First off, boy #1 is not grabbing boy #2's butt. Oy, forgive me for even writing that sentence. We were walking around Ikea when Greg and I noticed the boys walking arm in arm. I love to capture memories like that. I didn't realize that I captured the hug in motion, which resulted in a strange picture. Walking around Ikea often causes me to break out in a spontaneous hug as well.....just a warning in case we ever shop Ikea together.
{in process of being changed}
So, yeah.....we decided to sign the lease on our temporary abode for 1 more year. March will end the second year in our new state. We literally went up to the very last minute with our decision.....our realtor is still sending us house pictures. We are going to take another year to decide about a few things. Is this where we want to be? Should be? If we stay, which town will we settle in?  When we decided to hold off on purchasing a home, we started looking into moving to a new temp place. The hunt got too confusing, and we realized we are pretty content where we are.

Well, except that the walls are too thin for our taste, we have an interesting neighbor who likes to hang out in his window (absorbing vitamin D) wearing only his knickers for hours each day, and the boys need more space. Otherwise, we are trying to continue to view this as a fun adventure. How many times will we get to live in a funky apartment 25 miles outside of NYC? Probably not many.

{ahhh, white bookcases }

With all that being said, we decided that if we were going to stay another year then we would change a few things. You may remember this. It worked fine for us, but I was hoping for some brighter colors, and a simpler look in our homeschool area. A trip to Ikea and only $130($40+$50 for the bookcases, desks were $20 each) bought us 2 bookcases and 2 desks {I had one bookcase, and the chairs came from storage}.
I still am feeling worn out from this cold, but I was determined to get everything back on the shelves. 
These are quick pictures.....hoping to purge some of the books, organize and hang some things on the walls. I've figure out that I like changing things up, and sometimes it takes a while before you get it right. I also learned that I should turn off the lights before taking pictures.

We are thinking of getting bunk beds for the boys. What do you think? Wonder what the odds are for falling off the top bunk? 

January 28, 2012

A Classic Morning With Consideration & Rambling

I woke up with the boys cold, and listening to one of their classic conversations.
From what I could hear, they were talking about WWE wrestlers, which then turned into a
debate over something....

Boy #1 "You are being inconsiderate!"
Boy #2  "I am not. YOU are being inconsiderate!"
Boy #1 "I am not."
Boy#2 "What does inconsiderate even mean?!"
Boy #1 "I think it has something to do with compassion"
Boy#2 "I'm being compassionate. I care about what you are saying {other things I couldn't hear}"

{remember this started with a debate over WWE wrestlers}

Boy #1 "now you are rambling"
Boy #2 "I am not rambling. What does THAT even mean?"
Boy #1 "It means you do not stop talking"

And then a whole discussion about rambling, consideration, and their favorite WWE wrestlers continues.....at this point, I'm wide awake and have joined the conversation. Clearly, I will be adding some extensive vocabulary to our curricula.

January 24, 2012

A Cold Day In The City

Saturday brought a surprise snowstorm to our area. We woke up to slush, ice, and cold. That's all fine and good. I love a good snowstorm, but we had special plans to go into the city to visit friends and snow was not part of those plans. My dear friend, Tiffanie, (and her sweet husband) were visiting NYC for the weekend. Because of the weather, we had to postpone our visit until Sunday right before their flight back to FL. Those FL natives experienced some cold, gray NY weather. We shared a hot coffee, long overdue hugs, and not enough time.

  After we parted ways......Greg, the boys, and I walked down Canal St. for some chinese food. We couldn't find the restaurant we were looking for, so we followed the crowd into another spot. We were quickly ushered to our table. Before we even got our coats off they were offering us food (Dim Sum). Greg was saying "yes" to just about everything and anything.

The boys favorite was this vegetable.....they said it tasted like a cross between spinach and broccoli. It was Choy Sum and it was really yummy.

After eating Choy Sum, Shu Mai, shrimp dumplings, bowl of veggies, pork buns, some unidentified yummy thing, lots of tea, and a couple other things I can't fully remember...our bill came to $21! We were stunned. We then walked into Little Italy for some dessert.

We each chose something different and shared. My chocolate mousse cannoli was wonderful.

Then we took our little ninjas/ Rey Mysterio look alikes men for some city walking. At one point I spotted some scarves and purses I wanted to check out. I yelled "Greg" because he had continued walking on with the boys. Suddenly, the owner of the store came outside and yelled "Greg"....and then he followed me around the store while saying "you need Greg. Greg has the money. Where's Greg? Go get Greg".  Not the most pleasant browsing experience, but it did make me chuckle. I'm a sucker for those mom and pop stores (having been raised in a mom and pop store). I tend to want to purchase everything just to help them out. This time, I actually left empty handed.

We actually accomplished a lot in such a short time.......Into the city around 11am....sweet friends, Chinese food, Italian dessert, some browsing and back to our town by 3pm. It took us a few more hours just to warm up from the super cold weather.

January 16, 2012

My Hormone Haiku

 My Haiku

Hormones wreak
Havoc on the heart and mind
I need chocolate

Is that how you spell havoc? It didn't show up wrong in spell check, but you never know. It's been a day. A day where I feel all weepy, wonky, and annoyed. I decided to try and make myself laugh at the day instead. That's why I wrote that little haiku up above. It represents my day. Seems that Greg had a similar day. He just came home from work and showed me his pants. Apparently, first thing in the morning they split up the back. Can you imagine? I giggle just picturing it. Fortunately, he's the type of guy that would chuckle as soon as it happened. Still, it's a good representation of the day.

I've learned that sometimes you just have to go with your hormones.....or split pants. Accept and understand how you are feeling.....knowing that tomorrow will be a new day. Those around me are learning this coping mechanism, too. Greg just walked in the room with a bowl of soup.....I asked him to please go in the other room because right now the sound of someone eating soup would just about send me over the edge. Fortunately, he's the type of guy that also would chuckle at that.... and then leave the room.

Please don't judge me. It's just one of those days. It involved Capoiera teacher's not showing up, my car still stinking like vomit, and just all around feeling "off ".

Have you ever written a haiku?

Greg just dictated one to me.....

Pants split
Man swallows pride

How do you deal with crazy hormone days?

January 15, 2012

Lessons from a Big Change

Here we go again. Our lease renewal arrived, I took a couple trips out with a realtor and  logged many hours on to realtor.com. For the past 2 years, January has been the month of big decisions. Do we stay, do we buy a home, do we make another big change? Through all this contemplating, I've realized a few things.

What frustrates me most about our move is paying more money for much less space. It drives me wild. I can deal with moving to a small space. In fact, I've realized that our house was a bit too large for my taste. If we were paying less than we paid for our home than I'd be excited, but we are too close to NYC for that. It is what it is.  I was raised in a town with big yards and a variety of houses with logical prices. Additionally, I learned from Suze Orman that it's a good time to rent and to go slow when making the next house purchase.

I prefer smaller homes
After living in various style homes and now living in a 2{4}story townhouse apartment I've learned that we don't need a big house. If we had about another 400 sq ft I'd be super happy. I think layout makes all the difference as well.....and closet space. The closets in this apartment are not bad, it's just that we brought too much stuff with us.

It feels good to simplify
I cannot believe all the stuff we brought with us. This was after we purged, sold, and gave away much of our furniture and stuff back home. We also have a storage unit back home filled with some antiques, outside furniture, and things we were not ready to part with. Here, we have a garage semi-filled with things. We've been slowly purging and it feels wonderful. We have plans to simplify some more.

This change has stretched us
I realized this after our first move many years ago.....when in our hometown I felt a bit frozen. Whether we realize it or not, we acquire labels as we grow. Family & friends know certain things about us.  Mostly because they've been along on your life journey. My sister and mother have told me that they didn't realize I was as strong as I was. You see, back home I am the youngest of 5 children. My mother had me when she was 32. I'm the baby, and I'm pretty much treated like the baby whether I like it or not.  When I'm in a new town there are certain things I am forced to do....certain ways I am stretched beyond my comfort zone. I remember while living in Ohio, I started an infertility support group. This shy and sometimes insecure gal from upstate NY reached out to people and organized meetings. I also volunteered with the Red Cross. Much to my mother's surprise, I spent many nights alone in Ohio while Greg was traveling. I'm the girl who crawled in bed with her parents until I was in my teens. I'm the girl afraid of the dark. You do what you have to do, right?!  It may be my childhood friends who remember me being shy or my mom remembering that I don't like to sleep alone, but when you are in a new town with new people and a new way of doing things you often stretch yourself because you have to. And it's a very cool thing. You learn things about yourself {and your children} that you never knew before.

This current living situation is temporary.....there is hope in the future
When we first moved to this new city, and this new way of living I would laugh to myself and repeat "what are we doing? This is so strange." It took a long time to process the big changes. Life is very different here. It even took a while to realize that we could go into NYC or drive to the beach when the desire struck. I still have not figured out how to use the train {and there is a station in just about every town}. I started realizing that we should take all the opportunities and adventures we could fit in because we may move again. And that brings me to hope in the future. Sam reminded me the other day "we won't live here forever, we are just temporary". Oh yeah! This is a temporary living situation...... going into it's 3rd year.......but still it's temporary. That gets me super excited and hopeful.

Who do I think I am?
Ok, that is a thought that's been running through my mind a lot....and probably not in the way you may think. When I start thinking about what type of home I would like,  complaining about this or that, I think to myself.....who the heck do I think I am? There are so many people in need, so many homeless or hungry, so many lonely. I don't want to focus on wanting that crown molding or wood floor.....I want to keep my focus on realizing how thankful I am to have a nice place to live, thankful for the great job Greg has, thankful for the beautiful twins the Lord gave us, that I'm able to stay home with our boys, that I can go to the grocery store and buy the food of my desire, that I can drink clean water! I don't take these things for granted. I want to be content in the here and now.

Take it slow
When we first moved to NJ I had this idea in my head of how things would be {or should be}. Shy me became this dorky outgoing girl who would go up to people introduce myself and shake their hand. I soon became discouraged when I realized that people were not as friendly as I had hoped. I soon realized that we weren't in Kansas upstate NY anymore. People are a bit more guarded here, a bit less approacheable. I've made a few mistakes along the way....because I was anxious to recreate what I had back in NY.....I allowed some wrong folks into my life. My gut heart told me to run, but I ignored that gut heart feeling . Let me tell you....if the Lord is speaking to your heart....listen! It will save you a ton of heartache and trouble in the end. Also, when a friendship is the real deal {and a gift from the Lord} you just know it. You can just be yourself and they "get you". I've learned to trust the Lord to put the right people in my life, along my path. I've learned to take it slow and listen. Well, I do often babble, but I'm trying not to be the gal who fills up the silence in the room. Why do I think that's my job?? I've been burned a few times and had a couple of really odd situations happen here in NJ, but y'know what.....even those things were probably necessary to get me to this knowledge and this better {emotional}place. I'm SO thankful for the real, dear friends in my life......near & far. You are like gold to me, my dears {and you know who you are}.

It's ok to be homesick
There is no place like home. I'm not sure when/if we will live in our hometown again. I love that I can close my eyes and picture it all......the houses, the parks, the stores, the people. It's ours wherever we go....wherever we live. We will wrap up those special friends & family and take them with us wherever we go. I've found that I've sort of been living in two places.....back home & here. I've not fully given myself to this new state. In some ways, I've remained temporary. Maybe it's because we will move again, or maybe it's just part of the process. It's all about going forward, learning from the past, and embracing the now.

And yeah, I'm still learning from this big change. I'll keep you posted ;)

January 4, 2012

Praise On

Our kitchen wall had contained a messy cork board and white board. It was blah. Most of our framed art is in storage back in NY or wrapped tightly in the garage. I'm telling you....living with many things in storage is either causing us to

A. Decide we don't really miss what's in there and can pass it on to someone else, or....
B. Makes us miss it enough to unwrap and put into our temporary abode 

We've found a nice balance between A and B. In fact, with our next move {which could happen next month or next year}we are hoping to take even less stuff than we did during our big move.  Ok, back to the kitchen wall....

I've been keeping my eyes open for an inexpensive but fresh piece of art. Happy art....the kind that makes you smile when you look at it. After a semi successful art searching trip where I found the print with the pop of green, I had an a-ha moment. Why don't I paint some myself? That thought lasted for about 5 minutes. I blame part laziness and part I have no clue where my paints are and don't want to purchase new ones. And that's when I noticed some leftover Christmas gift wrap. I simply taped it to the back of an old 4 window photo frame I owned{after removing photos}.

Then my wheels really started turning. I remembered reading about some free prints online, quickly did a google search, and downloaded a print. That would be the Today will be the best day ever  print. I love that saying. Which leads me to my final picture/print.

This one really makes me smile because there is a story behind it. I was searching for some keep calm and carry on free downloads, quickly found some in various colors, chose my color and downloaded. It was so easy and fast. And then it started printing. I wasn't really paying attention, and quickly put it in the frame....and that's when I noticed it. It didn't say Keep Calm and Carry On.....it said.....

Keep Calm and Praise On

I got chills. Ok, maybe I was just crafting too quickly and it said it all along, but I'm telling 
you I never once saw that it actually said praise on until it was in the frame. Now that is happy art, the kind of art that makes me smile.

January 2, 2012

On Words & Resolutions

Have you read how some people choose a word to represent or motivate their year? Well, I wasn't really thinking about choosing one for myself....in fact, if I really think about it....this word chose me. What I mean is that all the days and months leading up to this new year have brought me to this place and this feeling {this word}. This past year, I have been stretched......knocked down....spun around....and placed back on my feet again.

Y'know what always makes me nervous about resolutions or choosing a "word"? I almost feel like it's setting myself up for failure. It seems that as soon as I would say I plan to do such and such....the plans get sabotaged {or I sabotage them}. I have thought of words in past years only to quickly forget the chosen word by February. In fact, I know I chose a word last year, but couldn't even begin to tell you what it was.

I do hope my word retention will be better this year. I have a few resolutions stored in my heart. I think I will slowly reveal them to you, my friends, as time goes on. You do remember that I wear my heart on my sleeve, right? Well, I can tell you that it's still there. So, how did I come up with my word? I don't know if it's the spring like weather we've been having, or the rearranging and purging I've been doing, but I can almost feel my word...


There it is. I've felt like I've not fully been myself for almost 2 years now {since the big move}. I'm hoping this feeling of being re-freshed will last longer than February.
                                                         fresh perspective
                                                         fresh organizing skills
                                                         fresh attitude
                                                         fresh hopes
                                                         fresh recipes
                                                         fresh .......I could go on and on........

The Lettered Cottage

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, Vlog style

I do believe I've made my first music video. I think I should introduce the cast of characters in this spontaneous video.....First, you have 2, at first a bit resistant, but oh so cute lead lip syncing vocalists. Next, the dashing driver who thankfully expects and puts up with my occasional antics. Finally, you may spot my cameo appearance......I would be the hyper person handling the camera, singing off-key, and encouraging my 3 men to get funky. Actually, I think it's Ross who accuses his mama of acting a bit funky. Shouldn't we all get down and funky now and then {and suck in our lower lip while car dancing}? I think so.

I'm not sure why I'm so video happy lately?? Thanks for humoring me and feel free to not click the play button.

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