Wednesday, January 31, 2018


On one hand, I'm all, "How are we already finished with one month in 2018?"  "Did I turn over any new leaves or make any headway on new goals?"
On the other hand, I'm all, "Isn't it like January 74th?"  "This month has gone on forever." "Why does winter hate me?"

So, you know, nothing dramatic over here. 🤣

I'm ending this month feeling a little drained by life, but even as I review January, I'm reminded of all the good.  And the hard.  Basically, normal life!  Here are a few of our highs and lows that hadn't yet surfaced to blog level.

High: We had a mostly fun family day that included a trip to the children's library, where I cleared up my library debt that was almost the maximum allowed. 🙈 It's a proud moment when you realize that you managed to pay for a very free service.  🤦🏻‍♀️  We also took in a Trojan's basketball game where the dog tricks at half-time were the kids' favorite part.


High: Our Honor Roll recipient got to be cheered on by Nana and Papa!


Low:  William and Violet have fully realized that they can leave their room after bed time. Violet, in particular, takes full advantage of this, and William is a super willing partner in crime.  On several occasions, we found them playing in the shower with the curtain drawn.


Clearly, they are very concerned about being caught. 🤦🏻‍♀️

High: Random lunch dates and an unexpected and almost unheard of child napping on my arm.


Low: I did a smoothie detox where I made up my own rules.  Mostly, it was fine, since I wasn't actually depriving myself too much and the smoothies tasted great.  (I've had about the results you might expect with such discipline - mixed).  The twins wanted to drink my smoothies all the time, and since they were my meals, I was feeling peeved by that.  So, I made them their own smoothies that I took into school for them to help the transition from school to car to go more smoothly.  You know - smoothies to make things more smoothy.  This was a great thing until I dropped one and shattered the glass in a school parking lot.  While I was in a hurry.  And then there was green all over my shirt.  And I only had one smoothie and two twins.

(pretty example of something I had on my "detox")

High: Dinner with friends we don't get to see enough!


High: Lunch with this precious nugget and her mom and another adoptive mom.  What a gift to walk with mothers that share this journey with us!


Low: We've had a hard month parenting wise - different things with each kid.  We've had potty-training regression, lots of screaming and back-talk and one child who tells us each night, "Don't be surprised if I come out in the night because I can't sleep." 😴

High: At least our children all super love each other - really.  V & W really like to have their beds together and ask to sleep this way every night.

I also finally taught the girls how to ACTUALLY play Monopoly, which they now want to play together all the time.

High: Having great friends who sometimes show up matching for breakfast.  (Can you tell which one is the "fun" Enneagram 7? 😜 For the record, John is also really fun.)


High: Movie date night at the new Movie Tavern in town.  I went out on a limb and ordered the Steak and Shrimp which was passable.  It is a really fun experience to have someone wait on you while taking in a movie!  We saw The Post, which was fine, but not as good as it could have been.


We rounded out the month with the 100th Day of School today where Bella got to dress as a 100 year old.  We borrowed clothes, and I let her pick her ensemble, which was subtle and understated.


That rounds us out - hope your 2018 is off to a good start!

Sunday, January 28, 2018


So, as we are getting the help, I am also diving deep into personality profiling.  I started some of this last fall, but with the new year, I'm all in.  Truthfully, I've done quite a bit of this in the past - especially in college.  My major was in Family and Human Services with a minor in psychology, so I took quite a few tests back then.  However, I seem to have lost touch with parts of myself in the last years, and also, I wanted to see how much I had changed since college.

It also seemed like a good idea to have a better idea of what I am working with as I seek help in addressing some of the issues in our lives.  Knowledge is power - am I right?!?  Turns out, self-knowledge really is helpful, though I'm not sure it makes me feel particularly powerful.  Instead, I have a better understanding of how and why I've landed in some of the messes because of the ways that I am wired.  But, I would rather know than have my head in the sand.  (most of the time)  And, I am reminded that ultimately, I can change certain habits and work on perceptions, but I am fairly hardwired to be me, and only by God's grace can I address any of the problems that creates.

Let me start by saying, I quite like me.  I always have.  I'm over-confident to a fault at times, which certainly does not mean that I don't battle insecurities, but I am less likely to be beset by them.  I don't mean to brag, but I am a good time. 😜 Making and finding fun are like breathing to me.  It has taken me a long time to realize that not everyone approaches life this way. 🤣

The personality profile that I have the longest history with is the Myers Briggs, because I took it starting in late high school, again in college and again in grad school.  I recently retook it and churned out the exact same four letters as always. * ENFP *  In a nut shell, this indicates that I am an extraverted, intuitive person who gathers information through my gut.  I lead with feeling slightly over thinking, and I am more spontaneous than planned.  I used to test out very extremely in all of these things, and as the years have gone on, I've come more to the middle on each spectrum.

In the last month, I have been spending a lot of time learning about the Enneagram typing system.  My Book Club read The Road Back to You, which I now understand to be an excellent primer to all that Enneagram is.  It is an ancient system that goes deeper than most personality profiling.  The Road Back to You does a fantastic job of tying in spiritual issues as well, making it far more personal than our run-of-the-mill Book Club usually goes.

As I read through it, I also subjected John to all of it and made sure that we could figure out what he is, and it has been enlightening to be able to read through each of our "types" and see the strengths and shadows that we bring to the table.  Both of us are strongly identifiable as our numbers - John is a 2, "the Helper", and I am a 7, "The Enthusiast."  Reading his chapter helped me better understand some of his underlying motivations that I had never considered, and I found the same to be true as I cringed through reading my own chapter.  It is no fun to realize challenging things about yourself that seem clear upon inspection.


Our Book Club discussion was engaged and interesting, and the next night, we dug into it all with our D-Group, because all of the D-Group ladies are also in the Book Club.  So, we were able to discuss each other as couples and understand more about each person that we regularly do life with - such a gift to get these insights!

(One of the Ones "Perfectionists" from our group brought this white board for us)

As an "Enthusiast," I have a need to avoid pain, which has shown up all of my life in various ways.  Though I never would have chosen some of the specific paths of pain that I have had to walk, I am so thankful that the Lord has worked those inside of me and continues to do so.  Even as we are walking through a painful time presently, I can sense myself wanting to distract and avoid it all.  However, that does not do any good for myself or those around me.  Understanding some of my own coping mechanisms and looking for healthier ways has been really helpful.

I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about the Enneagram (I just downloaded The Sacred Enneagram), and once you get in there are all kinds of words and things that take a minute to understand - like wings, stress and security arrows and so on.  But it's so good!  I highly recommend taking the time to learn and also dragging all of the people that you surround yourself with through it with you.  Being able to talk through it all with dear friends who are also learning has been super helpful and fun as well.  (There I go again with the fun 🤣)

If this is all peaking your interest - I'd recommend the book we read as well as taking an online test to determine your type.  There are a LOT of tests online - I did this paid one and actually tied between two types, however, as I read through each one, it became clear to me pretty quickly which one I am. There are LOTS of websites and podcasts about the Enneagram, and it's a rabbit hole you can chase forever or just get what you need and take that with you.

Happy learning!

Thursday, January 18, 2018


I thought about titling this post "Snow Day 2018" in the hopes that this will be the only one we get all year.  Then, I used the word "shenanigans," and apparently the title line doesn't spell check (good to know 😬), and I had to type it into my phone notes to make sure I was spelling it correctly.  Why is it so hard to spell?

Anywho... it snowed here in AR.  If you've been around this blog long, you will know that I have a love/hate relationship with snow days that has drifted towards hate in past years.  It is TERRIBLE for our business and requires a lot of extra work for my husband who drives around, picking people up for work and also shovels sidewalks and salts the parking lot.  He barely slept on Monday night, because we were trying to figure out what/how much was going to happen and also because children kept inexplicably appearing in our room, which is actually pretty unusual for us.  Adulting is awesome.

All of that negativity aside, I will say that I am coming around on the kid side of snow days.  It is much less terrible than it used to be, and we are actually nearing fun and at some points, relaxing.  Everyone happily played outside two separate times, even though the temperature was barely in the teens.  (Arkansas say what?!?)  John had the foresight to buy sleds several weeks ago "just in case," and they were a huge hit!  And the big girls helped the twins a ton, which was just about the sweetest thing ever.


After round one of sledding and outdoor play, we moved on to the hot chocolate portion of the day.


Snow day aftermath is no joke.


The twins always want to pull out bikes, and who am I to stop them?  Especially with that smile.


John did get to come home for a bit for a little baseball and some Star Wars.


School was canceled for the girls the next day, which turned out well for us, because I hadn't realized they were supposed to do school work until getting onto Facebook late the first night. 😱 So, the second snow day allowed us to finish their snow day work and go see The Last Jedi in the theatre, because we blew through all the other Star Wars on Christmas break in preparation for Disney World.  We got to see all but the last five minutes when the fire alarm went off, and we were evacuated from the theatre.  I read later in the news that pipes had burst, which would explain the water pouring from the lobby as we left.


All in all, I feel more positively towards snow days than I ever have, though they aren't great for chicken selling.  I hope you are staying warm wherever you are, because it is still SO cold here!

{Snow Day 2017}
{Snow Day 2016}
{Snow Day 2015} - We had a LOT of snow that winter
{Snow Day 2012} - The year we lost power for 5 days starting on Christmas.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Our sweet Lily turned nine on the ninth, which obviously called for her "Golden" birthday party.  Truthfully, she wanted a very small party, which she reiterated over and over again.  My sweet little introvert with an over-the-top mother who needs to be reined in.  But, it felt good to go small, and since the Science Fair took over our life, and Christmas is barely over, going small was about the only thing possible.


The show-stopping piece of this party was the giant gold sequin backdrop.  Special thanks to Main Street Studios for helping a sister out and to Mom and Wes for being couriers both to and from NW AR.  I loved having this backdrop at Mom's 60th, and it was fun to use again for a different party.

We sent out golden invitations to a small group of friends and family.


Once the girls arrived, we served dinner at the table.  Lily dictated the menu of CFA nuggets, cinnamon rolls, pineapples, golden apples, a golden juice concoction, and chips.  Dinner of champions over here. 👊🏻  This was chased with puppy chow and donuts, obviously, cause it was a party.


After dinner, there was a scavenger hunt around our neighborhood that included rhyming clues ultimately leading them to collect several golden treasures along the way.  John and I drove them around the neighborhood, and it was so squealy and SO fun.  They really got excited to "Ding Dong Ditch" someone's house (she was in the car and thought it would be hysterical to do to her parents and sister, and I texted to give them a heads up), but you would have thought this was the most exciting thing that had every happened to any of them.  😂

(lost that "Y" at some point in the evening. I love golden birthdas. 🤷🏻‍♀️)
(Such a sweet group of girls and SO much fun to have them celebrating with us!)

Once the girls had solved all the clues and rung the doorbell two separate times and collected all their treasure, they headed back to the house for their final prize, which was their personalized take-home cookie favor.  I really tried to not overcomplicate this.


Next on the agenda was cake!  Lily had made a very specific request - she wanted brownies with m'ms layered with ice cream.  This thing was SO very rich that most people could only handle a couple of bites at a time.  And, I don't think I will ever do another ice cream cake.  Or a cake that is actually brownies, but we all live and learn, and it did taste good. 


Lily had really wanted a sleepover, but I vetoed that and opted to just do a later movie night.  This was a good call, and we rounded out the night with Cinderella and popcorn.


Special thanks to John (ALWAYS), for helping and being supportive of parties of all levels.  And MVP to Mom and Wes for coming from Kansas with the blingy back drop and helping make party dreams come true.  We loved having them for the weekend!


For Lily's past parties, here's a trip down memory lane, and to see other Spenst parties, click here!