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I think I found the secret to helping January go by quickly and feel less... depressing.

1.) Don't overly decorate your house for the holidays
Just a little here and a little there goes a long way and when its time to clean things up, your house won't look like you took away all the fun and brought back all the boring ;-) 

2.) Travel
Nothing extravagant or expensive. Just leave. Go somewhere further away from home so it really feels like you're getting away. Ethan and I went to LA to visit friends and family and I'm telling you, between the getting ready and anticipation of that trip, the going and returning, it really helped January feel fun and exciting! 
I feel bad for January. It gets such a bad rep because it comes after all the holiday crazy, it has winter weather (hello! its a winter month) but for some reason we all expect maui temps to return simply because Christmas is over. 

3.) Don't cram every little thing into December. 
Because its still winter, save some of your wintery activities and trips for January! Maybe even ask your husband to save some of his time off for January and go on a mini getaway. Or stay home, silence your phones and don't answer your door if friends come by. We've done stay cations before and they're seriously so fun. 

Just the other day I told my husband that one of the reasons I feel like I've fallen off the "blog wagon" is that I never feel like I have anything to share and no real advice to give. I don't feel like I'm a magical wife, or raising kids in a mysterious unknown way, and I barely ever wear make-up and have NO sense of style or fashion, so there goes the idea of just sharing about that stuff.
And lets be honest, Instagram has made even blogging seem like a chore. I can go post pictures for the Grandparents, sum up what we're doing in a few short sentences and move on with my life.
But I do like blogging. I love to write and I often learn more about myself when I express myself through writing. So I just need to get out of my own head and quit thinking this has to be a format for me to teach, or guide, or entertain. Funny too, because my most favorite blogs are people just talking about their everyday life. Nothing spectacular or outlandish, just life.
I'm the kind of person that's always thinking it would be so fun to be a fly on the wall in situations and I guess for me, that's what blogs are.
Except its not creepy and the person is allowing me in to see what they want me to see. (oh my goodness, I miss emojis when I blog! Just then I really wanted to put the laughing emoji there and couldn't. Apple has officially ruined me.) 

So, life. Ours is moving along nicely. People often ask me how I'm doing and full disclosure, I hate the question. But I love the people who ask it, so never feel bad.
I mostly hate the question because the answer is technically very long. I usually say that I'm fine or OK or ups and downs, stuff like that. The truth is, I'm doing SO much better than I was a year ago and not as well as I was doing a few years ago. How's that? :)

...My pancreatic issues are still a bit of a mystery. They don't know the WHY but they know what's wrong and I'm thankful to at least have that. My pancreas no longer creates enzymes to digest my food. So I have to take herbal enzymes before I eat. When I say this to people I usually get big wide open eyes and then they gasp. Which always shocks me, because compared to so many people who struggle with really serious health issues, mine seems so small and insignificant.
Taking pills before I eat is a little annoying but I'm used to it and we tend to forget so fast. I can barely remember the days when I could just eat and didn't have to worry about how my body would react. I have a lot of food restrictions. This has been the hardest adjustment for me because so many of the foods I can't eat are healthy.
I'm allergic to all dairy except butter. (But because of my pancreas I have to go easy on fats, so butter is limited.)
I can't eat nightshades. I have a rather deathly allergic reaction to them because over time, they literally poison me. So, any vegetable or fruit you see with a cute little green leaf topper, I can't eat those. Bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries (most berries), white potatoes, white rice... and the list goes on. This would include any spices that have those. So any kind of pepper or seasoning that would have tomatoes, jalapenos, paprika, etc... No no's.
After I was hospitalized in August with my pancreas going crazy, I was taken off all red meat. Another crushing blow. I love red meat. Oh, and no alcohol, but I rarely ever drank so that wasn't a blow at all. If they said no coffee, that would be another story.

I tend to post a lot of food on Instagram and the common misconception is that I'M eating the food I'm posting. I don't. But I LOVE to cook and refuse to give that up, so I still do cook. I also love cooking so that other people can enjoy my food, so there's that. I'm slowly buying cookbooks and learning how to cook things I can personally eat, but 95% of what I cook for my family I myself cannot eat. Again, I usually get met with really sad faces when I say that to people and really, don't feel bad. It truly could be worse. I love that I still get to feed my family and love them in that way. It is hard to feed me though and I totally get that. When we go to people's houses for dinner (or any meal) I always tell them I will bring my own food and just let them cook for my family.
I CAN eat gluten and sugar. Haha! People always assume I can't. Those two things are fine, though I do stay away from processed sugars.


We didn't send out Christmas cards this year :( First time in the 12 years of being parents that we let that ball drop and for some reason it really did make me feel like I had truly failed at something. Funny how things that really don't matter at all become so important. So because of that I'll give you a rundown on the kids.
** remember in The Office when Jim doesn't know what a RunDown is? haha!

The kids are doing well; growing like weeds and reminding me on the daily life is slipping by.

Ethan turned 12 on Monday and is literally about to hit the 5 feet tall marker. He's really excited to be catching up to me in height, all the while I feel like there has to be a medication out there to help parents cope with this kind of thing! 
He's half way through the 6th grade (this has been a school year where I'm amazed he and I haven't killed each other yet) He plays flag football and basketball, takes piano lessons and is teaching himself how to play his new guitar... that's what you do when your parents drop the ball on finding someone to teach you. 

Rachel is 10 1/2 and in the 5th grade. She's our artist. She loves to draw and write. We find illustrated stories of hers all over the house. She is full of emotion, a good communicator, generally very happy, loves to sit and visit with people who come over and has a new found love for Jane Austin movies. She is really good at math and enjoys working on puzzles. Rachel is quiet. We don't live in a big house and yet I find myself always having to go find her. And yet when she's with people and talking, she's loud. She reminds me of me that way. She's also on a basketball team and takes piano lessons. 

Kara is so much of a mini ME it makes me laugh sometimes. And then in some areas she isn't like me at all. She loves to cook, so we share that passion. She's always in the kitchen with me and has a cook book collection that is quickly catching up to mine! She's 8 years old, in the 3rd grade and always moving and always jumping around the house or rolling on the floor. 
She likes to be busy, loves to laugh and loves her friends deeply. She gives out hugs to her little friends at church and gives cute little pep talks to the girls on her basketball team each week. Last week after her game had ended her coach asked the girls (in front of all the parents) "is there anything you girls would like to say before we end the meeting?" and Kara stood up, put her hands above her head and said, "We all played great!!" and every girl on her team smiled and clapped. I felt so proud of her in that moment, mostly because they had lost their game, so I was so happy that's what she took out of it. Kara takes piano lessons as well. We found an awesome teacher just down the street from our house and the kids love her. 

I like to say that Miles defies most "baby of the family" reputations. He IS the baby in our family but in so many ways has more maturity than our older kids, hah! He's 4 1/2,  and is very responsible, cleans up his own messes, gets himself dressed, makes his bed, puts his own shoes on, gets sippy cups of water ready to take out to run errands, etc... he follows our house rules better than the older kids too! I told my friend the other day, I think younger siblings tend to do those things well because they've been able to see how parents deal with the older siblings breaking the rules ;-) I remember this from my childhood! There were things I never tried or just didn't do because I knew the rules. 
He's learning how to read, can write his own name (I didn't teach him how and I'm not sure which of his siblings did, but someone worked with him on it) if Daddy is at work and I can't be found, Rachel is his go-to back up parent. He loves her so much and they are sweet and tender with each other. 
Miles is a cuddly, affectionate boy. He holds a very special place in our hearts and we tell him all the time what a gift he was and is to our family. During a few difficult years of losing babies and not knowing what was going to happen, God slipped him there for us and we are eternally grateful. 

Jason and I are doing really well. We're busy, but not overly so. Our busyness is usually wrapped up in our kids. Homeschooling is wonderful. I really love it. I have days where I second guess our decision and worry WAY too much about the books we use, the methods we use, are they learning enough, am I doing an adequate job, etc... but we love it. I love that its a family affair and has given me SO much time with the kids before they grow up and leave us (insert ugly cry face here).
Jason got a job promotion this last year which bumped him up to "Manager" status at Amazon. I'm so proud of him and the work he's doing. He loves his job and any of you wives know, that's a huge bonus for the family because a Dad who loves his job, comes home happy and fulfilled :)
I am everyday so thankful for our marriage and our family. Truly. I still go to the door all giddy when he comes home from work because being together is SO much better than being apart. We don't have a ton of hobbies or do anything fancy or extravagant - just being together. Games, movies, talking, going places together, walking, driving long distances together, you know... married stuff :)

Well, folks. Its dinner time over here and tonight on the menu is buffet style burritos! I need to go to get that ready.

Since it will take about a month to read this whole post, I'll see you all in March! :)

6 {comments}:

Emily said...

I love your newsy post! For those of us not on Instagram, this is wonderful. =)

Stef said...

Hi Emily!!!

Nicola said...

Thanks for posting. I've been wondering how you all are doing. I'm glad to hear you're doing well. Take care friend.

Charlotte said...

Love this update and that you are blogging!

So I totally feel the same about not having anything to blog about. One of the requirements for being on the Homeschool Review Crew is blogging once a week. Anything. And I am actually really glad for it, because my blog has become my family journal.

Praying for your health issues and so neat to see how you all are doing!

Melissa Joy said...

I love this. So much!

Gina said...

So I'm TOTALLY late in reading this but I do so appreciate that it's here to read. Instagram is great but I feel like it's just part of the story. Though I agree blogging feels like SO much work these days. Still I value it :-)


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