Monday, March 3, 2014

Basement Diaries

Oh, dear.  It's been so long again!  I just can't keep up with this thing.  In case you were curious, things have been good.  I can't really remember everything we've been up to, but we've been well!

We had a nice weekend.  After church and lunch on Saturday, we headed to Greenville with a few friends.  We went to our favorite park and in the evening toured downtown and ate dinner.  We finished it off with our favorite ice cream place.  I really, really, really love that ice cream.  I may have dreamed about it before.  Did I mention I love it?  So anyway, it was a good day.  On Sunday, we worked outdoors and on the garage and walked to a nearby playground during the late afternoon.

Today was rainy, so we stayed home pretty much all day.  I got the girls the game Headbands the other day and they LOVE it.  We played it all morning.  (If you are looking for a fun game to play with your kids, I definitely recommend it.  It's easy to make work for a variety of age levels.)  We also did a few projects around the house.  I hung a few things I've been meaning to hang and worked on the basement.  Yes, you read that right, we are still working on that darn basement.  It's a project that I'm having the hardest time with.  There's just so much to do.  My way of doing things so far has been to start working, get overwhelmed, go upstairs, shut the door, and forget about it for a few days.  I repeat that every few weeks and believe or not, it still looks like I just started.  I'll get there.  Eventually, I will need to suck it up, and finish it.  In fact, it should be soon.  Mark and I are going on a trip to San Diego to celebrate our 10 year anniversary at the end of March and my Mom is coming here to watch the girls for us.  We are so excited, but I know I've got to get that area all cleaned up and organized, because I would hate for my mom to see the craziness that is my basement.  It's shameful:)

Here are a few pictures from my phone from the last few weeks...
We had snow!  It was beautiful and so fun.  We did tons of sledding with our neighbors, made snow angels, built snowmen and snow forts, and drank gallons of hot chocolate.  Fun, fun, fun! 

Wasn't it a pretty snow?!  I don't want any more, but it was fun while it lasted! 

Kiki has very strange sleeping habits.  She rarely sleeps in her bed anymore.  We find her all over her room.  One night, we were frantic looking all over for her, and finally found her behind the rocker in the corner.  A few nights ago, I came in to find her wearing panties on her head.  Where did we get this kid?!  

I was reading a book, and they said, "Take our picture!!!"

On the warmer mornings, I've been drinking my coffee on the back porch while the girls play.  I just love it! 

This gelato is amazing!  

Another place I've found Kiki sleeping.  

Another project.  Found a shelving unit for the playroom closet.  It's really helped with keeping things organized! 

These are a few pictures from Sabbath.  I thought they looked so sweet in their dresses.  They both still seem to love dressing alike.  I'll be sad when that changes.  

Rosie girl! 

I love these kids!!!

We went to a birthday party at a gymnastics place and the girls really loved it!  Sometimes Rosie surprises me with her bravery.  She was the first to jump to the end of the trampoline and vault into the foam pit!  

Kiki loved it, too! 

Walking the balance beam 

She was exhausted on the way home.  

That's her behind the chair sleeping.  She brings all kinds of things with her...three books, her water bottle, her blanket, pillow and fake money.  

I probably should get off of here, and go work on the basement...but...I might just read my book, and call it a day.  Good night!  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Murrill Girl Update

We've been on the sick list this week.  We are pretty much over it (knock on wood), and we couldn't be happier.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Just thought I'd jot down a few things the girls have been saying/doing lately, so I won't forget.   Probably only things a mother/grandmother would love, but enjoy anyway:)  

-  Kiki calls American Girl Dolls, "Musical Girl Dolls"

-  This morning, Mark and I were in bed and Kiki climbed in with us.  We started asking her random questions and the stuff she came up with was just priceless.  I asked her what her favorite animal was and she said she loved monkeys.  Then she said, "Mom, you like monkeys, right?  They are gorgeous."  

-  Our friend Dave came with us to the Biltmore today.  We were walking along and Kiki said, "Is that dude coming back to our house?"

-  Rosie wears her bonnet EVERYWHERE.  She's gone into full Little House on the Prairie mode since it arrived.  She eats, plays, and sleeps in it.  My mom sent them a few weeks ago.  They were mine when I was a little girl.  She also sent one that was my great grandmothers, which is pretty special!   

-  Rosie is very into "working out" lately.  She likes to use canned vegetables as her weights, she jumps over pillows, and Mark has taught her to do jumping jacks.  

-  Mark has been taking the girls swimming on Sundays at the gym and in last few weeks they have improved so much in the water.  They used to be terrified, even with floating devises on.  Rosie would rarely leave the steps.  Now (in their life jackets) they jump in from the side and go all the way under.   They "swim" across the pool in their jackets and float on their backs.  It doesn't seem like much, but remembering where they came from, this is HUGE!  So proud of my girls.  

Rosie, aka "Mary"

Laura or Carrie, depending on the day

It snowed this week, and the girls were very excited to get out in it.  

Late night sledding with Dad. 

Sledding wreck aftermath.  

Such a sweet little sleeper.  

Ready for church today.  

Enjoying children's story.  Rosie's such a caring big sis.  

Someone got a haircut and seems to be proud.  

Little flirt!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Slowing Down

Happy Hump Day!  It's been a nice week so far.  Last week was a little crammed and I'm loving the slower pace this week is bringing.  The group I sing with had a big performance on Saturday, and it seemed like every minute was taken with practicing.  I'm always a nervous wreck leading up to things like that, so I'm floating on air now that it's all done.  Whew!

I have a few projects I'm working on around the house.  Mark built me some awesome shelving in the unfinished part of the basement and it's my job to organize all the holiday decor, girls old clothes, etc.  I've also been trying to eclectify (I know it's not a word) my bedroom.  I have a hard time making decor seem effortless and unmatchy.  I'm really trying to do that in my bedroom, but I'm struggling.  When I get it all done, I'll take some pictures.

The girls are doing well.  They really keep me on my toes!  My dad gave the girls some harmonicas when we were there at Christmas.  Isn't it funny how those people who don't have kids or don't have any around anymore love to give noisemaking gifts?!  Well, the girls LOVE them.  Last night, we had put the girls down for bed and after much laughing and talking, things had finally gotten quiet.  Mark and I could finally relax for the evening.   Then, all of a sudden, we started hearing dueling harmonica music coming from their room!  It was so surprising that we couldn't help but laugh!  I think my dream of a traveling family band is getting closer and closer!

I think I've mentioned it on here before, but my feet have a problem.   They apparently go nuts when I sleep and after awhile, I put holes in my sheets!  Crazy, huh?!  I just ruined my third set of sheets.  Yesterday, while the girls were at Mother's Morning Out, I spent some timing picking out some new ones.  I actually bought two, and let Mark make the final decision.  One set had a print that I loved, but a very low thread count.  The other was sort of cute, but very soft.  Mark actually choose the good print ones.  We realized what a horrible decision we made last night.  It felt like we were sleeping on sandpaper.  From here on out, it's comfort over beauty!  I guess it won't be long before I put a whole in these and we can get new ones.

I haven't taken too many pictures lately.  Here are a few off my phone...

 On Saturday night, Mark and I tried our hand at sushi making.  It was so fun and yum!

We also made lettuce wraps.  Mom Murrill would be proud:) 

I opened up my blistex and found an olive and some tomatoes.  Aren't two year olds creative? 

It snowed yesterday!  It was those big beautiful flakes.  We were sad it didn't stick around, but the girls still had fun! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Top Ten of 2013

I think we've all had good years and bad years.  2013 was definitely a growth year for me.  It was one of those years that I was ready to be done with it, but at the same time, I was thankful for it and the lessons it brought.

I thought I would share my Top Ten Lessons I've learned about myself and life in general this past year.

1)  I love my family and I love being us.

Well, yeah, of course I do.  That's a no-brainer, right?!  You'd think, but somewhere along the way I started thinking that I needed to be "going and doing" all the time to be happy and content.  When I was home with my family, I felt like I was missing out on something.  That they weren't enough, somehow.  Even my children would wake up each day asking where we were going and who we were seeing.  They seemed let down if I told them we were staying in.  I really don't know how it happened, because that's not me at all.  I'm a natural homebody and I've always loved being just us.  When I was finally able to put things in perspective, and figure out that I needed to be content with us and us alone, my attitudes started changing.  I can't tell you what a relief it has been.  Before, I always felt stressed and didn't feel like I was being the kind of mom, I wanted so badly to be.  Now, my days with the girls are so fun, and I finally feel present.  Not to say, I don't love the occasional playdate, coffee break or girls night, but I don't need those like I used to.

2)  I love to sing.

I have always dreaded singing, from the time I was a kid.  I did it, but it ate me up inside...every...last...time.  I was terrified during every performance and critiqued myself to death after.  This year, after getting involved with the group I sing with, Carolina Heart Song, I've learned that it is not only something I like to do, but something I love to do.  What a surprise!  The whole experience has turned out to be, surprisingly, really nice.  I've made some unlikely friendships and the Lord has helped me become a lot more comfortable being upfront.  I'm also learning to not be so hard on myself because it's not about me, it's about God and how He can use the music.  Did I mention the beta blocker that I take now to slow my heart rate down before every performance helps a lot, too?  Well, it certainly does.

3)  Confidence should only come from God.

If you get your confidence/self worth in anything/anyone other than God, you're going to be let down.  God's been trying to hammer this one into my brain for years!  Hopefully, now it will stick!

4)  I love Goodwill.

Yes, I have to admit it.  I love thrifting, antiquing or whatever fancy name you want to give it.  It's fun to find someone's old trash and make them into my own unique treasures.  It makes me happy to find a horrible looking frame, slap a coat of paint on it, and turn it into something I love.  It's so invigorating!  Repurposing is one of my passions.  If I could turn it into a career, I would...will? :)

 5)  It's so much easier to see the positive in people.

I've realized something about myself in the last few months that has really troubled me.  I have spent a lot of my time finding the faults in people.  That sounds terrible, doesn't it?!  I didn't really do it on purpose, but it hit me, that instead of finding the good things in people, I was zeroing in on the bad!

A few months ago, I decided my way of doing things wasn't working.  I had to do something different, and asked the Lord what I needed to change.  Through study and advice from family and friends, I realized I needed to start focusing on people's strengths and, can I just stay, it's made all the difference in the world.  The more I concentrate on the good things, the more the negatives seem so unimportant.  I mean, who doesn't have a long list of negatives?!

I've also realized that those so-called negatives, were more just differences.  I think I was very afraid of differences before.  Different, in my mind, equalled bad.  Now, I'm starting to realize that most problems stem from people struggling with how different personalities interact.  Some people do things so differently, but that doesn't make it wrong.  It doesn't mean I have to pick them apart or get flustered by them.

When my attitude changed, the way I interacted with them changed, too.  People that once drove me nuts, seemed completely fine.  Not to say those people will be my closest friends, but I can not only be around them, but enjoy our interactions.  It's been nice and actually, quite freeing.

6)  I need exercise.

Yes, everyone knows this, but for a good five months this year, I forgot about it.  I just wasn't interested and instead of doing metaphorical growing, I did some actual growing.  It hasn't been pretty, friends.  Getting back into it has been hard, but well worth it.  I'm already feeling better about myself and my health.  It will probably take awhile for me to start actually seeing the changes, but my mind is getting there.

7)  Not everyone is going to like me.

This is a hard one for someone with my personality to accept.  I absolutely would love it if every last person in the world liked me, but that's just not going to happen.  Doesn't mean I have to stop trying.

8)   I want to be a Champion!

Not like some athletic one, although, that would be awesome, too.  What I mean is a champion friend.
I learned about the "Champion" this fall, when I was working with a few friends on a worship we were doing for the girls' dorm students at Fletcher Academy.  We were reading the book, "Queen Bees and Wannabes" by Rosalind Wiseman.  It's a wonderful book that I would recommend to any mother of girls or really, any woman!  She explained the types of friends there are (Queen Bee, Sidekick, Gossiper, Target, Banker, Etc.).  Although, we were teaching the girls, I learned a lot, too.  From reading the descriptions, I learned what kind of friend I often was and what kind I wanted to be.  This year I hope to be a Champion--someone that is able to be friends with a variety of people in different groups, always building people up and bringing them together.  That's my goal for 2014!

9)  Not everything makes sense.

There will be some situations in life that I may never understand.  At some point you just have to give up on trying to make sense of it, and just accept it.

10) Growing is Good.

As painful, uncomfortable and scary as growing can be, it sure is worth it.  I truly believe that the Lord has used situations in my life to help me see where He's wanted me to change.  He wants our lives to be the happiest they can be, and sometime we have to do some growing in order for that to happen.

Actually, I just thought of another, so let's make it my top 11.

11)  Life is better with a good vacuum.  

I really didn't realize it, until right before Christmas my vacuum officially bit the dust.  It actually started on fire and I finally knew it had seen it's last day.  To be honest, it probably should have been retired 3 years ago.  It was so hard to push and barely picked up anything.  Anyway, Mark surprised me with a new vacuum for Christmas and I couldn't be more excited.  I love vacuuming now!  I can't believe I actually wrote that.  I'm so old!!!

Wow, lots of lessons, huh?  Happy New Year to you!  I look forward to continuing our journey of learning and growing together!

Christmas and more

Wow!  It's been so long!  I mean a year has passed since the last time I blogged (this joke never gets old to me).   Things have been good.  We had a wonderful trip to Kansas City, Tulsa, and Memphis to visit our families and celebrate Christmas and New Years.  The girls did really well on the trip, although, it was really nice getting back home to normality!

I don't even really know where to start.  We've been busy and not busy at all, all at the same time.  The girls seem to be growing like weeds, and Mark and I are working hard at sticking to our New Year's resolutions.

Kiki has created her own bad word.  She uses it to be funny, or if she is mad at us, she calls us one.  We haven't figured out exactly what it means, but obviously, it's not nice.  Are you curious yet?  The word is boobyhiker.  I know!  Where does she come up with this stuff?  I'm so worried she's going to say it at school.  It's really embarrassing!

One conversation that I overheard this week that pretty much sums up my children...
Rosie:  Mom, when I grow up, I want to be an animal doctor.
Kiki:  Mom, I want to be an animal.

I'm really going to try and be better at blogging this year.  I hate forgetting things, and this is my only way to ensure I won't!  So, hopefully 2014 will be the year of the blog!

Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks...

While we were in Tulsa, my sister-in-law set it up for us to get family pictures done.  I threw our outfits together in a few minutes, and I don't love them, but it was so nice to have more pictures!

My sweet girls 

Our family!  There in the background is the barn I lived in during my first year teaching.  Well, it wasn't a full year.  I started getting scared at night when I would hear coyotes, and moved back in with my parents.  

The Whole Gang 

Papa, Nana and the Grandkids

This is the night before we left for Kansas.  We let the girls open their gifts from us before we left.  They LOVED the whole process.  They also loved having three different Christmas's!  

One of the only pictures I took in Kansas!  Sweet little bathers.  These kiddos got along so well.  We didn't hear any bickering the whole visit!  We miss seeing these four grow up together. 

It was good to see my sis-in-law, Lisa! 

Vivi, Nana and Kamryn 

It's so nice when we are all together!  There are days that I would do anything to live in Tulsa again.  I hate being so far from my family.  

Kiki loves her some Greyson.  Poor kid got A LOT of love on this trip. 

Sweet little man

I can't get over how much this kiddo has grown.  

Another treat was lunching with these two ladies on my trip.  I miss them so much and couldn't be prouder of their successes.  Can't wait for them to come visit us:)  


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sew Tired

I'm taking a little break from sewing to write to you.  To tell you the truth, I needed a rest.  I wish I could say that sewing was a stress reliever for me, but sadly, it makes me tense.  I'm not that skilled at it, so I think that's the main problem.  I wish I was better than I am.  Tonight, I've been working on a few  projects and I'd show you pictures, but they are Christmas gifts.  I'll have to show you after they've been given.

I think the last time I wrote, I was getting ready for our Favorite Things Book Club.  It didn't disappoint.  Jackie hosted and she outdid herself!  The food was delicious and the discussion and gifts were great, too.  I drew number one, so I got to go first and last.  For some reason, this was very exciting for me, and I may or may not have danced a tiny bit.  Yes, I'm as embarrassing as ever.  I ended up with something I've really been wanting to buy.  I had in fact mentioned that I wanted one to two people last week!  It was a French press, along with some Starbucks coffee and the cutest mug.  Perfect!

On Thursday morning, we went over to a friend's house to make and decorate Christmas cookies.  The girls thought it was the best thing ever!!!  Our friends had recently gotten a new Golden Retriever puppy, and I have to say, he is the cutest thing I've ever seen.  He reminds me so much of our old dog, Cooper.  Just for a second, my cold heart melted and I thought very seriously about going right out and getting the girls one!  But then I remembered I'm still in the throws of potty training, and I should probably get one done, before I start on another.  I do think we're getting closer, though.

The rest of the week went quickly.  On Friday night, we went over to another friends' house for the loveliest dinner of soup and sandwiches.  We ended up staying way too late, and it was pretty hard to get up for Sabbath School and Church the next morning.  After Church, we napped until late afternoon.  We were supposed to go over to a neighbor's house for dinner, but at the last minute, they had to reschedule because of a sick kiddo.  Instead, we took the girls to the school for a special babysitting thing they were doing and Mark and I hit the town for a fun date.  We stopped at Starbucks for a warm drink, then headed downtown to our favorite Mediterranean Restaurant.  We did a little shopping and finished the night with dessert at a restaurant we had never tried.  It was great!

When we got back to pick the girls up, one of the babysitters told me that Kiki told her that she got a quarter every time she poops.  She wanted to see if she was supposed to give her one.  This took me by surprise, because 1) we've never given her any money for pooping and 2) I had no idea she knew what a quarter even was.  My child the entrepreneur/swindler!  

Today, I've done a whole lot of Christmas shopping.  I was able to mark pretty much everyone off our list, except one, and Mark is in charge of that one.  I'm feeling much better.  I still have a few gifts to make, but I got all of the supplies.  I still haven't sent out all my Christmas Cards.  They've been ordered, addressed, and stamped for days, but I can't seem to get them to the post office.  That's on my to-do list for tomorrow.

My French Press in action! 

My attempt at the Nativity Lunch! 

The belly dancer at the Mediterranean Restaurant.  It was so awkward when she came to dance by our table.  We didn't know what to look at!  What is protocol on that?! 

When I came home from shopping today, I found my three loves asleep on the couch together.  How sweet is that! 

Well, I better get back to sewing.  At least I have the Griswold family to keep me company as I work!  Best movie ever!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back on the Potty Train

Does it get any better than Christmas?  I sure don't think so!  I just love everything about it--the decor, the food, the music.  The best part is the whole reason for the season, of course!  The girls are really loving everything.  They are constantly singing Christmas carols, or at least their versions.  Kiki's favorite song is "No Way, A Manger?" instead of "Away in a Manger".  It's so funny to hear her sing it.

We are deep in the trenches of potty training.  We started on Wednesday, and for the most part, Kiki has done amazing!  Not to say she hasn't had her share of accidents.  She definitely has, but we've gone three days accident-free.  I also don't have to ask her if she needs to go anymore.  She just goes on her own.  She's an old pro and I'm so proud of her.  I still don't trust her in panties, after a very gruesome poop incident, but I feel we are getting close, and pull-ups will suffice until that time.  My favorite potty training memory thus far happened on Thursday after Kiki, having spent quite some time on the potty trying to go,  came out of the bathroom and stated, "Sorry guys, it's just not coming out."

I just realized I didn't get to tell you all about our Thanksgiving!  It was lovely.  Stephen, Michelle, and Greyson came for a week long visit and we were so excited.  It was just so nice to spend quality time with them.  For the most part, we did a lot of relaxing, but we also shopped, went to Greenville, decorated for Christmas, played at parks, ate fantastic food,  each went on a child-free date, among other fun things.

We were so sad to see them go.  Kiki was asleep in the car when we dropped them at the airport and slept the hour long trip home.  When she woke up, as I was getting her out of the car, she looked around and saw that it was just the three of us.  Her lower lip started to quiver and she started to cry.  She sadly asked, "Where's my Greyson?!"  I was so sad, too.  It was so nice having such wonderful company.

The whole visit was good for me.  I was able to cut back on the amount of social media I usually partake in. With my phone at my finger tips, I constantly find myself checking Facebook or Instagram.  It's aggravating to me that I don't have more self control, but having the break has helped me not be as needy of it all.  I'm trying to not get sucked back into the madness!  I still check, but it's not as much of a crutch as it had been.

We had a nice weekend.  On Friday evening, some friends invited a few people over for pie at their house.  It was a little late by the time we got home, but the girls didn't seems to mind being up late and partaking in dessert.  In fact, they seemed very happy about the whole thing.  On Sabbath, we visited a different church than we usually attend, because a friend texted on Friday night and said she needed some help.  Her hubby was out of town and she needed help with her kiddos, because she was singing.  I've been in a similar spot, and was happy to help out.  That night, David and Elizabeth invited us over. We went on a walk around their property, then came back for dinner.  After putting the kids down, we ended up talking for hours and partaking in peppermint ice cream and homemade hot fudge...YUM!

On Sunday, we worked around the house.  I attempted my first batch of toffee.  I had watched Michelle like a hawk while she was in town when she made some, and hoped that I gleaned enough to be successful on my first go at it.  Although it wasn't a total failure, it wasn't perfect.  I have a feeling it's a recipe that takes years to figure out.  I was making the toffee for  the Christmas party for the girls' dorm students at Fletcher Academy on Sunday afternoon.  We watched a Christmas movie and ate pizza and snacks with the girls and they all seemed to have a blast.  After that, I met a few friends to watch Catching Fire, which I had really been dying to see.

This week has been relatively uneventful.  Yesterday, the girls and I worked on a few projects around the house.  We have been sewing a gift for someone for Christmas and that's kept us very busy.  Tonight was the Christmas party for Mark's work.  It was lovely, in spite of the fact that I'm a nervous wreck at things like that.  Tomorrow night is book club and our Favorite Things gift exchange.  It's my favorite book club of the year.  It's so fun to see the different gifts that people bring.  I got my "favorite thing" last night.  It was a hard choice, but I ended up with something that if no one else likes it, I won't mind at all going home with it.  I guess that's why it's my favorite thing:)

Here are a few pictures from the last few days...

Mark and Stephen put some lights out front. 

Now that I have two doors, instead of just one, my wreaths don't work anymore.  I'm not ready to make a huge investment right now, so I reused last year's snowflake wreath idea.  My old one got broken in the move, so I had to make two new ones.  It's a very easy and inexpensive project and also kid-friendly.  All it takes is popsicle sticks, white paint and some sort of glue.  I used hot glue.  

One night, Michelle and I attempted a photo shoot with Grey.  What a cutie-pie!  

The girls and Auntie Michelle at Fall's Park

My best attempt at a group picture. 

My little buddy and me

Uncle Stephen and Keeks

Michelle had a constant companion in Rosie.  

Kiki is never very far from the Christmas tree.  She's even been known to eat ornaments.  I know, so unlike her! 

My little angel