Getting Brave

It’s a new year, and I’m trying to continue the trend that I started last year of stepping out of my comfort zone (read: rut) and do things that scare me.

I scare easily.

Last year it was going to a Hello Mornings meetup. In person. And while I was nervous, that led to me meeting some ladies who have turned into good friends. Real-life friends.

It also led me to my bookclub, which has been so awesome.

Last year it was also attending (in)RL – another in-person meetup. Maybe not quite as nerve-wracking, because two of new friends from that Hello Mornings meetup were there as well.

And (in)RL? Led to another friendship that has been supportive and encouraging. It also led to me attending Influence last fall, which led to …

Well, you get the idea. Small steps of bravery (that might not seem so brave) led to bigger things.

And yesterday I took another small step, that might or might not lead to other things, but at the very least it kept me from giving in to fear, and that alone makes it a big step.

Get Help

    One Bite at a Time Project 51, Get Help

    I think Project 51, Get Help, could easily have been one of the first projects included in the book, but then I think that perhaps Tsh organized it this way because after working through 50 earlier projects you’ve probably gotten a better idea of what sort of help you most need.

    I know where I need/want help the most. I’d love to find a mother’s helper to come over a couple of mornings a week and play with the kids. Take them outside if the weather allows. Play games with them. Just … entertain them to give me a break. Time to read a book that requires closer attention. Time to write. Time to deal with household tasks such as paying bills and updating the budget. Time to tackle bigger projects like the basement storage mess. All those things that are at best, really really difficult to do with small helpers. One day a week for more traditionally seen as productive sorts of stuff, and one day a week for things that are more productive in the “keeping Sheila sane” realm would be glorious.

    Why haven’t I done this? The challenge of finding someone. The feeling that I’m being frivolous with our money by wanting something like this. The knowledge that it would require some creative budget rearranging to work it out to be a regular occurrence.

    I think the main reason I haven’t made it happen is guilt. Guilt that I feel like I shouldn’t spend our money like this. Guilt that as a stay-at-home-mom I feel like I shouldn’t need help during the day.

    So how do I move beyond these feelings? I know that having a regular break from the kids would make me a better mom the rest of the time, so how do I stop feeling so guilty about wanting it?

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy a copy of One Bite at a Time using my link, I’ll get a percentage of the price, but it won’t cost you anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Seven Quick Takes: Kid Edition

Seven Quick Takes

Feel like it’s been ages since I did one of these. Perhaps because it has been. ;)

— 1 —

H continues to pick up words on a daily basis. She’s 18 1/2 months, and it’s such a fun age. She’s also just getting into the “I have some strong opinions about things and I am not hesitant to let you know them” age, which isn’t quite as fun.

— 2 —

We just said goodbye to my inlaws again after a very very brief visit. And they don’t have another visit planned as of yet – it seems like forever when we’ve said goodbye to them without already knowing when we would see them next. I’m sure it won’t be all that long though – the two grandkids out here are too much of a draw.

— 3 —

We got the kids a small table, and they’ve had a few afternoons where they have actually played at it together. Peacefully. It was so astonishing to me that I took some pictures of it to show their dad when he finished working. He was shocked as well – “They were playing together????” Well, not really together so much as next to each other, but either way. Progress.

— 4 —

H is a much bigger fan of crayons than G ever was – I’d try him on them every so often but he was never interested. He’s started to like coloring now, and H has to color as well whenever he is. And she’s also done some coloring even when he wasn’t – unfortunately all over the walls. I missed a crayon when I thought I’d gathered them all up after they were done. So most of the downstairs walls are scribbled on in blue crayon, right at H height.

— 5 —

G got his hair cut last weekend and was not at all sure about that “lean back into the sink to get his hair wet” thing. The faces he made during it were hilarious! So wish I’d had a camera with me to capture them. Once he got into the chair he did a great job of sitting still and letting our friend J cut his hair. And he looks like a different kid once he gets the mop cut back. As J said, he’s got my hair – ridiculously thick and heavy.

— 6 —

Still no need for H’s first haircut. I’ve tried to put barrettes in her hair but she never leaves them alone, instead yanking them out as soon as I get them fastened (the little baby barrettes as her hair is still so fine and wispy). Yanking them out that way ends up pulling hair out as well so I’ve stopped trying.

— 7 —

H got a baby doll from her aunt & uncle for Christmas and she LOVES it. She immediately had a new bedtime routine – must have baby tucked under her arm before she can go to sleep. It’s so cute hearing her call “Beebee!” when she spots her baby doll as we get her settled for bed.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Evaluate Your Home

    One Bite at a Time Project 50, Evaluate Your Home

    So close to finishing the book, I have to get back to it and wrap up the final projects. And number 50, Evaluate Your Home, is one that we’ve kind of been in the process of doing for a couple of years.

    Two years ago we began house hunting, after living in our first home for 7 1/2 years. We’d been there long enough to know what worked well, and what we really wanted in our next house.

    Eighteen months ago we moved into that next house. It’s a great house, and it has most of what we wanted, so why are we still evaluating? Because there are things we’d like to change, ranging from simple to potentially more complex. And what we haven’t decided is what all we really want to do, and what sort of time frame we want to do it in.

    For example: Our kitchen sink and faucet aren’t the greatest. Kitchen sinks and faucets are also fairly inexpensive and are easy to replace. Except our counters are in terrible shape. Stained, scratched, and peeling laminate make them also something we’d like to replace. Not so inexpensive and not something Mr. SJ can do by himself, like he can the sink and faucet. We’ve also talked about making some changes to the kitchen layout, which makes things not only more expensive and complicated, but it means that we definitely don’t want to have spent money on new counters if we’d end up with a new layout and counters that no longer fit. So until we know what we want to do, we’ve done nothing. Not even replace the sink.

    We’re also doing some thinking about the master bedroom and bath. From a simple change of adding one window (my biggest complaint with the house is probably that the natural light is skimpy, so adding a window would be a big help), to potentially bigger changes.

    What we’re not really considering right now is moving. We just did, and neither of us want to do that again any time soon. We like where we live, and we love our house. It works well for us, and we’re thrilled that circumstances fell into place for us to get it.

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy a copy of One Bite at a Time using my link, I’ll get a percentage of the price, but it won’t cost you anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Seven Quick Takes: Brother Edition

— 1 —

Nothing like a surprise blogging hiatus. I wish I could say it was for some happy reason, but it’s not. My last post in November was right before we went on a 2 1/2 week vacation, and I hadn’t managed to get posts written ahead and scheduled. A little over a week after we got home from our trip (or, in other words, right about the time I was finally caught up on laundry and our routines were semi-functional again), I learned that my brother lost his fight with leukemia. He didn’t even make it six months from his diagnosis. I couldn’t even begin to write anything over here I was so devastated. Still am, but I’m at least functioning and am figuring out how to get back to what normal is now.

D&S 2 Watermarked
One of my favorite pictures of my brother & I, because of the happy memories it brings to mind. I was still in college here, so it’s from a long time ago.

— 2 —

I am so incredibly thankful that during our trip I was able to see him. It ended up being just over two weeks before his death – I saw him on a Sunday, and he died on a Tuesday 16 days later. For all that I’m so grateful that I saw him, I still can’t really think about that day that I spent with him. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to remember it without breaking down into tears.

— 3 —

My brother’s funeral was held in his home state of Colorado. Unfortunately for me, a poorly timed blizzard closed the interstate and kept me from making it to the funeral, reception, or burial. We had to stop just west of Hays, KS, and ended up turning back the next day when the roads proved to be so bad. My sister-in-law’s cousin’s husband (i.e., I have no idea what to call him beyond “a relative”) was so sad to hear that I wasn’t going to make the funeral that he recorded it for me. I haven’t gotten the video yet, and don’t know when I’ll be emotionally ready to watch it. If ever.

— 4 —

None of it seems completely real yet. Would that be different if I had attended his funeral? Maybe. Maybe it still wouldn’t, because I still expect that I could call him up any time and get an enthusiastic greeting. I still expect to hear second-hand stories of his latest adventures from my parents.


One of the last photos I have with my brother, from two years ago. I wish I had other, more recent photos because I really hated almost all of the photos from that session. Some of the worst family pictures we could have possibly come up with, and now they end up being the only ones we’ll have with everyone. Although, I guess we’ll never have pictures with everyone in that I was pregnant with my daughter when this photo was taken. So there’s at least one more family member who didn’t make it into the group shot.

— 5 —

It may sound crazy, but I am kind of dreading my birthday this year. I always, ALWAYS got a call from him on my birthday. Last year I missed his call thanks to dealing with the kids, and I still have the voicemail he left me. It was only a few weeks later that he got his diagnosis, so that call/voicemail was the last time I heard from him when we still all thought everything was “normal.”

— 6 —

I really thought I might make it through this post without crying. Not so much. Other things I’m dreading: the anniversary of his diagnosis. His anniversary & his wife’s birthday (which are on the same day). His kid’s birthdays. His birthday. The anniversary of my last visit with him. The anniversary of his death. I guess we’ve at least made it through the first round of firsts – first day, first week, first Christmas, first New Years. And today is the first month anniversary.

— 7 —

I just miss my brother. I know he’s in a better place, and I’ll see him again someday. I don’t know how I would cope if I didn’t have that to hold on to. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m grieving that he’s gone, and that we didn’t get the miracle for which we prayed.

D&G Watermarked
My brother and my son. He never met my daughter sadly. The day I went to see him right before he died she was getting over a cold and we couldn’t risk her sharing any germs with him as his immune system was nonexistant.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Seven Quick Takes

— 1 —

My husband was cleaning out his text messages from his phone and told me that he found that on six separate Sundays I’d sent him a text saying that our son was completely obnoxious. So, the question is: is my tolerance for his behavior lower on Sundays? Is it that my husband is gone most of the day hanging out at his friends house watching football that makes my son so obnoxious (I know he misses his dad and endlessly repeats that he misses daddy & wonders if daddy is coming home soon. Is it some of both?

I’m not sure, but either way I’m looking forward to the end of the NFL season and no longer being a football widow. Or, more specifically, a football single mom.

— 2 —

R is building a mudroom-style area in the garage, just next to the door into the house. The way the house is laid out there is no space for it inside, and since we’re almost always going in and out through the garage, this makes more sense than trying to use the coat closet near the front door. He’s got plans for a bench with space underneath for shoes and boots, and a setup with cubbies for gloves and hats and the diaper bag. Plus hooks for hanging coats. I am super excited about the functionality this should add.

— 3 —

Is anyone else as dumbfounded as I am that Thanksgiving is next week?

— 4 —

Sunday it hit 66 and we were running around outside with long-sleeved shirts or hoodies only. Monday it never even reached 40 and was snowing. We did not run around outside in hoodies only.

— 5 —

I never planted tulips this fall. I’m going to regret that in the Spring.

— 6 —

As I’m writing this post, my son is sick AGAIN. I’m not sure if I’m imagining it or not, but it feels like he’s already been sick as frequently this fall as he was all last fall and winter. Poor guy. And poor the rest of us, who may or may not catch what he has, but we all have to deal with him being sick and miserable.

— 7 —

At what point do the stores put out next year’s calendars and planners? I keep looking every time I’m at one of the big box stores, and so far it’s still (clearanced) academic calendars. I’m hoping to get one that I can see & examine first, instead of just buying one online like last year. I liked the one I bought, but not as much as I’ve liked others, so I’m trying to avoid getting the same kind. And I hate hate hate going to those sorts of stores during the Christmas shopping season, so I feel like I’ve lost my best chance to get one. Bummer.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Scripture Memory Failure

That sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

I don’t think I’m a failure because I haven’t finished memorizing 1 Peter 1. I think I’ve failed because I haven’t made any efforts to memorize it in over a month. (Actually, since right after I got myself caught up before.) I went to a conference. My kids got sick. I got sick. My kids got sick again.

Life got in the way, and I got out of the habit. Why is it so hard to continue with good habits that are established with great effort, and so easy to slip back into bad habits that you think you’ve managed to break?

Hmmm, that reminds me of a passage by Paul.

No matter. I’m way behind, but I’m going to start again. I won’t finish according to schedule (which would be, if I’m calculating correctly, this week), but I can still work on it.

I don’t want to just let the rest of the chapter slide. I want to learn it all.