Monday, November 30, 2009

the ceiling

For the last 6 months I've been waking up in the very early morning hours with my back hurting -  aching.

"I'm only 33," I tell myself.  This stuff happens to old people.

And so, taking it into my own hands, I've been researching the benefits of healthy sleep positions (since I am one to toss and turn for at least a half an hour before the waves of blissful sleep begin to come over me).  And in my research, I've found that you can train your body- with a lot of self control-  to sleep in a position that you want.

Two nights ago, I decided to sleep on my side (which is my favorite) with a comfortable pillow between my knees to help support my spine.

In the morning, my back didn't ache.  As much.

Last night, Bill, being the supportive husband that he is, decided that we would both try sleeping on our backs with support pillows under our knees.  (which supposedly is the best position for a healthy back).

He ran downstairs and gathered all the extra pillows we have.  He was anxious for my scripture reading and internet perusing to be done so he could help me get my pillows situated 'just so'.

After getting me situated, he then worked on getting himself comfortable.

While staring at the ceiling, I asked, "um, sweetie, who's gonna get the light?"

(He did)

And this was the conversation that followed, after laying in the dark, staring at the ceiling,  for a few minutes:

Natalie:  So, how are you?

Bill:  How are you?

Natalie:  I'm actually really comfortable in an odd sort of way, but at the same time I'm having an inner battle trying to resist the overwhelming urge to flip onto my side.

Bill:  Yeah, me too.


Bill:  So, what does the person win who sleeps an entire night in this position?


Natalie:   Hmmmmm.  I don't know.  What do you think?

Bill:  How about the winner gets to choose the movie and we have a movie/date night after the kids are asleep.

Natalie:  Sounds good.  If I win, will you play with my hair while we watch the movie?

Bill:  Yep.

A few minutes later, I can tell by Bill's breathing that he is asleep.  (The guy can fall asleep the moment his head hits the pillow....I on the other hand cannot).

I'm still awake at midnight; comfortable, but wanting to turn to my side.  I'm 'willing' myself not to.  "I can do this," I think to myself.  "If I can just fall asleep, I've got it made."

At 12:30 Bill rolls to his side in his sleep.

"If he's sleeping on his side, than so am I!"

I roll to my side.

I fall asleep.

I wake up at 5 a.m. and see that Bill is on his back again.  Drat!  I know the alarm is going to go off soon, so I hurry and position myself on my back again before Bill notices. :)

The alarm rings.  I hurry and get up, get dressed and go grocery shopping while everyone is still asleep.

As Bill is helping me bring groceries in he asks,  "So, how did you sleep?"

"Alright.  How 'bout you?"

"Pretty good.  I don't think I turned to my side."

"Yes you did.  In your sleep.  About 12:30.  I know, because I was still awake staring at the ceiling and as soon as you turned, so did I!"

Bed time at our house has turned into quite the fun adventure ... and into quite the competition.

I think overall though, both nights that I have gone to sleep, determined to sleep in a good position, with support pillows, I have waken up with far less back pain.  Which is a good thing.

I'm just thinking that we might need a security camera installed in our room to be able to declare the official "Slept On Back the Whole Entire Night" winner.  We might just have a couple cheaters on our hands.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

To love and lift another -

This is what we are called to do.

Our family was blessed today by someone we care about a lot.

It meant the world to me.  Lifted me when I needed lifted.

Humbled me.

Especially when I found out this person had a heavy, sad heart.  Had experienced a loss during a time when we are supposed to be the most happy and thankful.

This person was in pain,
 and this person sought to lift and serve me and my family.

This person was our angel today,
reminding me of perfect, Christ like love.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

good ol' Dave

I've enrolled in a 13 week class on Wednesday nights from 8-10 p.m.  (I tuck Evelyn in bed, say good bye to Porter and Bill and head out the door).

I'm attending the  Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University.

I've gone twice so far.


Since I have started going, I feel empowered.  Hopeful.  I think about money in a completely different light.

The people that I am taking the class with are awesome.  I love our discussions.  I learn so much from them and walk away each class so renewed and ready to face our family's finances.  We all come from different backgrounds.  But the theme is resounding with each of us - and that is, no matter how much money one makes, we are all looking for ways to become at peace with our finances, using a budget, reducing our debts, being generous with our money, and building wealth.

Dave Ramsey's motto is "If you will live like no one else, Later you can live like no one else.

I love that tithing to one's church is a huge part of Dave's philosophy and one of his steps.  I also love how important it is to him that we teach our children these concepts and that we make the words "debt, 401K, mutual funds, savings, compound interest, etc.," a part of our family's daily vocabulary and conversation.

We've made some really good strides.  But because we are on such a tight budget to begin with, we've had to make some cut backs in other areas of our life in order to be able to follow the steps in Dave's Financial Peace course.  Here are some that we have been doing:

-Our family has only eaten out once in the last couple of months  (We have usually eaten out about once a paycheck).  We havn't missed it.

-I am making larger portions of the foods my family likes so that we can try and eat these meals a couple of times during the week.  Plus, I'm still making my own bread.

-I've seriously cut back on buying fruit snacks, granola bars, crackers and other expensive snacks.  (I've always had a love/hate relationship with them anyway - loved that they were convenient, but hated how unhealthy they are)  My kids are, well.....coping.  In our Sunday morning family council where we discuss family matters, Porter has helped us come up with some healthier, more economical snacking ideas which has helped.

-I've set my washing machine to cold and I'm using homemade powdered laundry soap and having great results!

-And yes.  I've done the unfathomable.   I have seriously cut down my trips to Costco.   (Since it has come to town, my grocery budget has really gone up and I havn't necessarily seen HUGE savings)  I am very loyal to WinCo (a large discount grocery chain in my area) and I know their prices by heart, so I feel, at least for the time, that I will be saving money by loading up at Winco and having an occasional trip to Walmart or Costco.

-Nothing is going on the credit card.  Nothing.  It's not an option.

-We have down-scaled Christmas.  A lot.  But we look forward to being together and sharing in our many wonderful traditions.  Plus, we can't wait to give away the homemade gifts that we have made together this year.  They rock.

We are working hard at heading towards financial peace as a family.  It feels really good.  And I have Dave Ramsey to thank for reminding me of the things I already know, but he puts them into such a fun and innovative light, that it seriously has given me a completely new perspective on handling each and every dollar that comes in.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A How to

Many have requested a pattern for the naughty little sock monsters.

I didn't really use one but I used this as a general guideline.

I however, did not use the heel of the sock to make the monster be able to sit.  I used the heel of the sock to make the fun mouth on mine.  I found my crazy socks at Freddys on clearance for about 2 bucks a piece.  If they are socks that go to the knee, I was able to get 1 monster per sock.  If they were just above the ankle socks, I had to use the other sock for the arms.

To start, turn them inside out, flatten them with the heel up.  Draw a general body pattern on the sock, using the link above for guidance (I used a sharpie marker for light colored socks and a white makeup pencil for black or dark socks).  I used a sewing machine on low tension to sew the body and the arms.  Be sure to leave a hole in the crotch so you can stuff him with fluff.  Turn it right side out.  Stuff him.  Sew up the crotch and sew on the stuffed arms using a needle and thread.  Also, tuck the heel in and sew it in place to create the  monster mouth.  Buttons and felt for the face and details.  And walaaaaaaaah!  You have a naughty little sock monster.

Oh yeah, don't forget to include a cute tag that says:  This sock monster was made for you with love, by Natalie....and then give each of them a name (this was the fun part, we went with nursing home names) and some hilariously quirky characteristics and you are good to go!

Super duper economical gift.  I was also able to find some fun socks at the Dollar stores in town.  When I first started sewing, it was just kind of a trial and error experiment.  I even used a couple for experimenting.  But it got easier after a time.  They do take over 2 hours to do one.  So it is going to take some time if you do more than one.  So plan ahead.

But do be careful, it doesn't take long once they are complete for their naughtiness to erupt. 

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Monsters Have Arrived...

They have been relentless and have shown no mercy - it's been nothing but chaos.

They have taken control over my life for the last 2 weeks.

All 26 of them.

Bruce has been the ring leader.  He is quite the character ...  he enjoys juggling chainsaws and making artisan cheeses.  Oh, and running over orange construction barrels.

Ida has taken over my television, watching roller derby until all hours of the night and is constantly listening to Barry Manilow.

And Beatrice.  Oh Beatrice!  She's busy marking up my new hardwood floors ... you see, she is obsessed with red stiletto heels.

But I guess I cannot completely blame them.

For I have created them.

Each and every one.

With some crazy socks, some stuffing, and a few odd buttons.

10 of them found new homes yesterday at a benefit craft fair for little Tegan who has cancer.

A few more will be given as Christmas gifts.

And the rest will be shipped off this week to my brother in Ecuador so he can give them to the little kids there.  He is serving a mission for our church.

All I can say is, I'm so glad to be finally getting these guys out of my house.  They've created havoc.  And they had better behave in their new homes ...

Or else.   :)