Christmas Advent Calendar

books

So my bestie and I decided we were going to do something special to count down to Christmas for our kiddos. This time we were ahead of the game for once (which didn’t last long, I’ll get to that in a minute). My oldest is such a bookworm we decided we would get 24 Christmas books to make the count down. Wow are kids books expensive, 24 new Christmas stories were going to be well over a hundred bucks and we couldn’t justify it. We found an awesome site called Books by the Foot. They sell a box of Christmas themed books for $29.99 plus shipping which for our location was $25.00. The site said they pack around 100 books per box so we decided we could split a box. So it cost $55.00 and we each got about 50 books from the deal, not too shabby! That is around .55 a book and since we split the cost was only $27.50 each. We wrapped up 24 books for under the tree and each night the kids get to pick one for their story before they go to sleep. They actually  look forward to getting ready for bed, it’s awesome! And the even better part is we had enough books that we can do it again next year and it won’t cost us any more money since we already have the books.

A few things if you plan to do this:

The books are pre-owned. For the most part they were in good shape but there were a few that were well loved.

We actually got 2 shipments, the first box that came was not the Christmas box we ordered. They were just an assortment of children’s books which was fine the kids liked those too but when I contacted the company the were super helpful and sent the Christmas box right away, free of charge, and told us to keep the first box! Great customer service ❤ !! (Of course the second box didn’t show up until after Dec. 1st so that put our advent calendar behind a bit. So much for being ahead of the game for once but next year we will be ready 🙂 ).

You may get some duplicates. We didn’t mind since we just split them up anyway and ours were actually not the same book just the same story like 2 Rudolph the Reindeer books or 2 Christmas Carol books by different authors. Would work fine if you are sharing the box or planning to use the box to do a calendar for more than 1 year.

The age range is large. We had everything from board books to chapter books.  That actually worked great for us since Brit’s older kids are well into chapter books and her and my youngest are still trying to eat their books. I wouldn’t recommend this box if your only kids are in their tweens or teens. However, the site has tons of other options for older readers if you don’t mind them just being books and not Christmas themed.

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Overall it has been a great way to get the kids in the holiday spirit and us too! This is one tradition I will continue for the foreseeable future.

STUCK

 

I have a friend who is heartbroken and grieving her 3rd miscarriage. Her latest post reads:

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Somehow I find myself struggling to wake up in the morning. Not just this morning, but every morning. This is a black abyss that I find myself swimming in. I can’t decide if it’s depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, loss of interest, a breakdown, or just what my life has become. I’m at a standstill. I had a mess of a life as a teenager, I made some risky decisions yet I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I had things to look forward to. I had wonderful friends. I had more time on my hands than I ever thought I would miss, I had less bills and more freedom. I had somewhere to go every night that resulted in the best memories and lasting friendships, I went to college earlier than most of my classmates to get ahead and I didn’t care to be stuck with the same people for the next 2 years. I was an extrovert for the first part of my life. I had a lot of friends and was social with everyone.

As I got burnt little by little I began to notice it’s safer in a smaller circle. I pushed all of my energy into a creative outlet. Music, art and self-expression. I often think of what the past had given me but I know that is not the place we were meant to stay. The time is now, the present. Where I get up at 8 every morning after a restless sleep, put on the bare minimum of makeup just to cover up the bags under my eyes, get dressed with the same outfits I’ve been wearing for 2 years, let the dogs out and yell at them to come back when they run away. I leave the house at 8:30 on the dot, I used to stop to get a Mountain Dew and something terrible for breakfast (now I’m eating healthy which hasn’t helped). I would punch into work where the only good thing is my co-workers.

I don’t make enough for it to amount to much even with a degree. And I’m glad my husband makes so much at his job but I am so tired of making half as much with more college experience and to be told that I don’t know what “work” is or that my job isn’t really a job. I do wish I had a job where I could exhaust myself, where I could do something I enjoy and not sit around waiting for quitting time. And at the rate I’m going I’ll be in debt until I die. I go to my second job where I don’t mind the work, but I make even less, and it partially feels like high school. I get home around 10:45 to either a quiet house, or a party and when it’s either one I want the opposite. I have a few days off a week but I don’t always have the motivation to clean up the mess I haven’t been home to make because I never have any drive to do anything but sleep. My life has become so routine to which the excitement I do get is out of spending money I don’t have and going to bed so I can rest my exhausted mind and body.

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Don’t get me wrong I have done some memorable things this past year. I got a second job, I got my first tattoo, I got married, I lost another child, I quit school, I bought a house, I got another dog only to have him injured and pay for him 14x over, and I’ve spent the least amount of time in record history with my family and friends. So there’s that. If I can make it through 2015 without someone dying also that would be great. It seems as though I find myself losing people too frequently. I’ve lost a father, grandparents, children, an uncle, family friends, friends, classmates and military buddies. I know that I’m not the only one to suffer loss and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone but when you lose someone, it changes you. And it keeps changing you. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I could have them back, but I won’t get and that’s when you know you’ve lost your mind.

You don’t ever stop wishing for the impossible. I constantly wonder if I have sold myself short. What is it that I’m missing, why do I not do the things I enjoy? Why don’t I write, play guitar, sing, attend concerts, draw, paint or use the imagination that I was blessed with. All it seems to be good for is leading me down the path of “what my life could be”. My father always said don’t bother with the “what if’s” they’ll never get you anywhere. In a happy world I would wake up ready to tackle the day, looking forward to my job. I hope to work on projects where I matter and I can’t wait to go back again. I want to make a difference. I want to come home to my happy, supportive and appreciative husband, crazy and unique children whom I can call my own, go on adventures, travel and experience life instead of just surviving it.

I know how to count my blessings and trust me when I say that I have many. I am with a man I love, in a home we own, with pets who adore me, a car that runs and friends and family who care very much. I am thankful that I have a job, let alone 2. I’m thankful for enough money left after bills to buy food for our family. I’m thankful for it all, but I doesn’t make it better. And this is where I know I have a problem. I’m surrounded by blessings and I still feel this way. Ernest Hemingway once said, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know”. Many people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 80. I don’t want that to be me. I don’t’ want to let the flame die out because I know that I have passion and I have drive, I just need to find the way to uncover it and actually use it.

I’ve tried to seek support but I don’t always find my answers and relief is temporary, which leaves me discouraged. Eventually I realize that numb is my emotion. Numb is familiar. I try not to react badly to anything anymore but little did I know that fiving up the bad was to give up the good as well. You can’t just turn off sadness, or the ability to get mad without losing the ability to be happy or hopeful. The worst part about this type of situation is that you don’t feel anything. No pain, no happiness. Just empty and you can’t even explain it which is frustrating to myself and others. And when you suffer this way, simply existing is a full time job.

I know she is hurting and feeling stuck for reason unfamiliar to me but much of what she wrote hits home. At first I thought welcome to being a grown up. Then realized going through life on auto play is not living. I too feel stuck, burned out from the daunting routine of day to day life and believe there has to be more. I miss my former risk taking, inspiring, live life to the fullest self. I have made a pact to my friend and to myself that we will not only exist but thrive. I will find what makes me fulfilled and come hell or high water turn that passion into a career. I refuse to work the rest of my life just to survive I need to do something that gives my time here meaning. I will feel again, cry with my friend for her loss, support her in new endeavors and bring back the me, the her, the we I no longer recognize.  

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Wish me luck, a new journey starts now!

World Cancer Day is Today #KISSCANCERGOODBYE

KISS

Valentine’s Day can mean something different for everyone. This year, make it about how you #KISSCANCERGOODBYE! Whether it is with your friend, family, partner or pet, post a pic of you sharing a kiss on your social media account! Make sure to use the hashtag #KissCancerGoodbye and tag friends to do the same!

Ready? Kiss!

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Check out all the great events at standup 2 cancer & world cancer day

House to Home

I am beyond excited for my bestie who is doing her final inspection on her new home today! I hope everything turns out great so they can move in right away because everyone wants to move when it is -30° with wind-chill! Yes, it came at a bad time of year to move but the upgrade is definitely welcomed and worth braving the cold. A bigger yard and more space for her beautiful family to grow is a great blessing. She on the other hand is not as excited as me because as anyone in her situation knows, moving is a lot of work! Don’t fret buddy, I will help you pack, move, paint or whatever you need. 🙂

Now to find the perfect housewarming gift to make your new house feel like home…

A new outdoor mat

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Energy conserving socket because a bigger house means bigger electric bills!

Belkin

 Fold flat colander and grater because there is never enough kitchen space.

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For mom’s office.

popart

For dad’s man-cave.

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 For the kids.

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Winning Weekend

 

4-peatThis past weekend we traveled to TX to see our college team play in the FCS Championships for the 4th time, making history being the one of only 3 football team to have a successful 4-peat! The game was insane! Totally worth the trip and sleep depravation. Here is the highlight excerpt from Sports News:

After blowing a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, NDSU quarterback Carson Wentz needed a touchdown if the Bison were to join D-III Augustana College (Ill.) and NAIA Carroll College (Mont.) as the only teams to win four consecutive national titles.Unfazed by the pressure, Wentz needed 61 seconds and six plays to travel 78 yards to put the Bison back on top. Wentz threw for 237 yards (15-of-22) and one touchdown, but he did most of his damage on the ground, rushing 16 times for 87 yards.The key play: a five-yard rush for a touchdown with 38 seconds left to make it 29-27.

With that final score, the Bison finished 15-1 and sparked the expected jubilation. The Dakota Dynasty put its mark on the record book and “the thundering herd”, as fans refer to themselves, rushed the field.

Storming the field

Storming the field

 

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We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone had a wonderful day and got to enjoy quality time with their loved ones.
I didn’t get any great pictures but here are a few from our day and Kenley’s first Christmas….the boys and my brother engrossed in their new games, a Kenley collage, and the only time I could get Ryann to sit still long enough for a picture. We will try get a nice one of them all dressed up soon, but today was pajama day for the big ones so they could show of the jammies they got from Santa. Kenley is a peanut and Santa bought jammies that were way too big so she didn’t participate today 😉

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