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five random thoughts


I have seriously been writing this post for FOUR days. It was first meant to be my “hello, Monday” post, then I named it “random tuesday thoughts”, then Wednesday passed me by, and now it’s happening. Finally. On Thursday. Such is life. ;)

Five random thoughts:

– Christmas music is playing on one of the local radio stations. They switched over to all Christmas tunes last week. I thought this would annoy me since it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it’s actually making me kind of happy and in the mood for the holiday season.

– I finished the entire series of Friday Night Lights finally. I got behind on it years ago when it first aired and never caught up, so when I reached that point in the series on Netflix, I got even more excited to watch it since I had no idea how things were going to play out. I’ve never been a huge football fan. I like to watch the Super Bowl sometimes, and I went to my share of high school football games (just to be with friends mostly). But I’ve spent the past couple months immersed in all things football while watching that series and I have to say, I think I understand the game a little better and might not cringe if I’m flipping channels and the only thing on is football. ;)

– My mom is the greatest! A couple years ago in the fall, we started painting our house. We only got up about halfway and then the cold set in and we didn’t finish. Ever since then, the house has been two colors – the bottom half a lovely color called Earthy Mushroom Taupe (a greyish color with a hint of brown to it) that I adore, the top half a dirty looking yellowish color that I was never very fond of. For various reasons, I chose to focus my time on other things and did not touch a paintbrush to the siding for far too long. It annoyed me every time we drove in and I had to look at the two colors on our house or when someone was coming over and I had to tell them to just “look for the two-tone house”. ugh! But this fall, my mom suggested that we work on it again, so we have. And we almost have it complete. A couple small sections of yellow left way up high (must gear myself up to climb that high on the ladder), the shutters, and a section on the back that will require me to climb up on our roof. When I drive in now, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment that it’s almost done and looks so nice. And it’s all because of my mom pushing me to do it. Plus, she’s been the best ladder holder, making sure it doesn’t slip while I’m climbing to all the high places. :)

** Note: I did it! I climbed up to the peak of the house and got rid of the ugly yellow color. It looks so much nicer now. Two more peaks to paint. Hoping for nice weather next week to finish those sections. When I drive in now … the entire front of my house is Earthy Mushroom Taupe with dark chocolate brown shutters. Swoon.

– My daughter is so resilient. She’s had kind of a rough year friend-wise, but I’m proud of her for not letting the loss of a friendship get her down. She has been spending time with other friends, getting to know some of the other girls better, and trusting God to bring some new friends her way.

– I’m more in love with writing than ever. This month, I decided to be crazy and participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) while still editing my next book, Until Then. It’s been a lot of fun. I am working on the young adult dystopian/fantasy novel that I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before. This idea has been knocking around in my head for a year, so I decided to get the first draft of the first book written. I’m fairly sure this one will be a series of a few books. This is also allowing my mind to think about something besides Until Then, which has been pretty much all I’ve been thinking of and writing for months. NaNoWriMo is a crazy mad dash to finish a 50,000 word novel in thirty days and I’m right on track to finish. I passed 20,000 words last night. That’s more than 40% of the way and it’s going well. My main characters are forming and the hero is getting into all kinds of trouble. Good times! ;)

Have a wonderful weekend!

10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

monday’s list


• It’s chilly today. I refuse to turn the furnace on, so our house is 61 degrees right now. Slippers are warming my toes and a blanket is warming the rest of me with the help of this hot cup of coffee.

• Chloe and I saw two rainbows last week on two separate mornings and a gorgeous sunset one evening. So pretty.

• Zach had a friend over after school on Friday. I got a taste of what it would be like to have two teenage boys. They pretty much kept to themselves, playing video games or on computers/ipods the whole time. Nice kid. Very similar sense of humor to Zach. I could immediately see why they are good friends.

• I spent the weekend painting. Got half of Zach’s walls painted from the green/blue color they’ve been since he was a baby and it was his nursery to a warm grey color. Also painted both exterior doors a Valspar color called Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue. It’s a paler version of the mint color I painted the back door last fall. Much better. I wanted it to be more subtle and it definitely is. Plus, it’s fun to say we used the color that is on the Grand Hotel’s porch ceiling. Here’s a picture of the hotel I took five years ago when we went to the island for our annual Girls Days trip. See the minty porch ceiling. Love.

• Jake’s parents and brother were over from the other side of the state for a wedding this weekend. They came to visit yesterday and we went out to the chinese buffet for a late lunch and had a nice time chatting and catching up. We miss them living ten minutes from us.

• We are getting back to healthy eating and exercising after a summer of not really paying attention to either.

• I’m sleepy. Did not sleep well at all last night. Might be that evening cup of coffee I had. Duh.

Happy Monday everyone! :)

monday’s list


DAYS of SCHOOL LEFT: 5!

• Went to our niece and nephew’s graduation on Friday night. We got to have Scarlett sit with us in the bleachers while Heather and baby Violet sat down on the floor (for any diaper emergencies!). Not surprisingly, it was like a sauna in the gymnasium with all those people. You can see Scarlett in the photo (above left) with her sweaty forehead. She was so cute picking on Zach, playing with his hair and tickling him. hehe. At one point, she kissed his hand. She loves him and says he is her Prince Charming. So cute.
• So proud of Josh and Lexy on their graduation!

• Jake had one final hurrah with his Road Warrior team this weekend. Dinner and bowling. Jake has been asked to keep posting on his Road Warrior blog and they want him to help promote the team for next year’s River Bank Run, so that’s pretty exciting for him. He has loved being a part of it!

• I decided to try out a fun mint color on our back porch door yesterday evening. I like the colors together, but it’s not what I envisioned in my mind. I will be picking up some paint samples soon until I find just the right color.

• Took some pictures of flowers that are blooming in my (weed filled) flower bed. I’m surprised the weeds haven’t taken over since I haven’t been out there to clean them up at all this year because of the stupid swarms of mosquitoes. ugh!

• Chloe starts gymnastics team practices this week. She’s excited!

• It’s the final week of school. I’m excited! haha!

Happy Monday, everyone!

around here


PROJECTS
I started a project. Another one. ;) I forgot to take a before and after picture, but in the picture above (right) you can see the mirror is made of that cheapy builders grade stuff. The vanity is the same. We didn’t really want to replace it. Trying to save money where we can. So I sanded the surface to rough it up a bit and painted it a dark black/brown color in semi gloss. It looks really good so far. Needs another coat (maybe two). Jake walked in last night and said “Woah!” He said it looked like a whole new vanity. I will take more pictures when it’s finished. Will probably paint the mirror for now, but I think we need to replace that and the horrid round hollywood lights before we sell.

MY RUNNING
Mom and I got out and ran our Couch to 5K this morning. We are on Week 2 Day 2 now. It’s helping her to keep running when I just start talking about random stuff, keeping her mind on other things. I’m proud of her. And me for getting back into it. Always feel so much better and more focused after a run. Jake says after his big race, he’s going to run with me and help me go longer distances and improve my time. That’s good, since I’m as fast as a turtle right now.

JAKE’S RUNNING
Well, it’s almost here. After working so hard for the past 6 months running with his Road Warrior team, the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K is just 3 days away and Jake is ready!!! Getting really excited to go cheer him on and celebrate his great accomplishment. Also very excited that my cousin Josh and his family are coming up from Ohio. Lots of moral support. The more the better!

P.S.
Our sewer issue is no more. Whatever was clogging it up has made its way through and it’s running like normal again. So relieved about that.

house progress

It’s been a little while since I talked about the house. Obviously, all the outdoor projects came to a halt over the “winter that would never end”. I’m excited for the nice weather to get here and stick around so we can really get to work outside again. Mom and I will be back to painting the house soon. I’ll be very happy when it’s no longer two-tone. :)

The long winter really zapped me of all motivation. I had all these plans to work on things inside in the colder months, but what I ended up doing was coming up with a whole lot of ideas and not putting any of them into motion. Yet.

Our enclosed front porch is a big ol’ disaster area. We’ve had many tubs and boxes and toys stacked out there for longer than I want to admit. It’s such a nice space to enjoy in the warmer months with the windows open letting in the nice Spring and Summer breezes. It’s been a long time since we were able to enjoy it. Over the years, it’s just become the catch all/storage space since our house has very little of that.

I used to have all the kids toys out there when they were little and I’d stick them out there with the gate up so I could get stuff done without having to keep an eye on them every second.

This was May 2004. Zach was 3½. Chloe was 1. Oh my gosh, they were so little and cute.

I don’t know if it was the sunshine and 60 degree weather (finally!) or the fact that I had been up since 5:30am and was fueled by lots of coffee, but I finally made some progress on that porch yesterday. Not a lot. But I filled up one trash bag and cleared out a small section of floor. It’s a miracle.

My plan is to get that whole space cleared out, sorted and purged. The things we are keeping, but will most likely not need any time soon, will be packed up for the move (whenever that may be). The rest will be tossed, donated or sold. I may end up listing a few things on here as I go through the process before I try listing on eBay. We shall see.

It’s a step in the right direction anyway! :)

paper snowflakes


Chloe and I looked up paper snowflake patterns on Pinterest and made a bunch to put in our front porch windows. I think they turned out pretty good and they look cute out there.

And there it is! My house numbers hand painted on the front door as I mentioned in my last post. LOL! And notice my two-tone house. Hopefully we’ll get the rest of it painted in the Spring.

Had a nice week. Jake got tickets through work for The Story Tour at Van Andel Arena last Thursday. I thought my Mom would enjoy it for her birthday and when I mentioned buying another ticket for the seat next to ours, Jake suggested I take his ticket and have a girls night with Mom. Awwww. He’s so sweet. We had a great time. It was a wonderful concert with some of our favorite Christian artists singing Christmas carols (my favorite was Natalie Grant singing “O Holy Night”, my favorite Christmas song) and then performing songs inspired by The Story by Randy Frazee, which is the stories of the Bible from Genesis to Revelations written in story form. Very interesting. We really enjoyed it. The orchestra that performed the musical score was awesome. There were some really wonderful songs that focused on great men and women of the Bible.

One thing that I have always loved about concerts like this is that feeling of being among family. Praising God in an arena full of fellow believers, singing songs together, feeling God’s presence in the room. At the end of the night, when the songs were over and the room was quiet, they had all of us in the audience sing “O Come Let Us Adore Him” a capella. Just gives you chills. :)

On Friday, Mom’s birthday, we got together at the farm with my brothers and had a little pizza party. I made mom a birthday cake. :) It was the first cake I’ve ever made her. I’m such a bad daughter. We hung out for a few hours and played Blokus and Scattergories. Good times!

Saturday was quiet around our place. Chloe went to her BFF Olivia’s birthday party in the evening. She had such a blast. Those two are so cute. I just love that she’s found such a sweet friend. Chloe is such a bold personality and I think Olivia balances her out just right.

And I have to say that Sunday is one of my favorite days I’ve had in a long time. Things have been busy lately and I’ve missed my husband. We really needed some time together. So the kids went with Grandpa and Grandma to church and spent the day at the farm while we drove to the east side. We visited Heather and Jeff and the girls. Jake got to meet Violet for the first time. I got plenty of time holding Violet, too, after Scarlett and I played (she knocked me over and climbed on me and giggled. hehehe!) and I read her The Velveteen Rabbit. Violet is so precious. I fed her a bottle and then we “danced” around the room with Scarlett. Dad and Mom Noorman stopped by to meet the baby, too.

After our visit, we went out to a late lunch together at Max & Erma’s. It was so nice to have so much time to just be together. Then it was a trip to IKEA with my trusty list. I always have a list of things I want before we go there. It’s so easy to get lost for a day if you don’t and it’s even easier to spend twice as much as you planned if you start wandering around in there. We stuck to the list and got everything we needed. Then we did a little Christmas shopping for the kids at Target. They have such great stocking stuffers. I love Target. Got everything on our list in there, too. So we stayed on budget and the day was a success!

Yesterday, I noticed the sign out front of Zach’s school that told the dates of Holiday Break. Oh my goodness, I got so excited seeing that. Only two and a half weeks until break and I think I’m more excited than the kids at this point. This is the first year I have bought so many of the kids’ gifts this far in advance. And I’ve wrapped them already! What? Who am I? This is so not like me. I’m sure this is just a freak event and next year I will be back to normal, but I’m going to enjoy the here and now. :D

a mossy mess


Things are coming right along on the house, so I thought I would share a few pictures. I didn’t take a before picture of our back door, but this one of the kids from September shows the lovely yellowy color our siding previously was as well as the ugly yellowish border around the window on the door. So gross looking. I painted the small section of house around the door on our back porch, also the trim around the door and window. The new color looks so different at different times of the day. Sometimes it looks more brown and sometimes more grey. I love it either way. I will be painting that door, too, as soon as I decide on a color.

As you can see below, our front porch roof was nasty. This moss got on it from the trees above and has been slowly growing all over the roof and up onto the siding. So gross. I hated seeing that all the time, so I am very thankful we don’t have to anymore.

The porch roof is now replaced and it looks so much better. Jake and my brothers worked hard on it with a little assistance from Mom and I, who cut shingles ahead of time and for specific widths they needed so they didn’t have to keep stopping to measure and cut. It was quite an efficient little system we had going. I only wish we’d done that the weekend before when the guys did the back lower section of roof. It took them twice as long. Live and learn, I guess.

That mossy mess needed attacked, so Mom and I got up on the roof and scrubbed it off with some house cleaner. SO much better. Also scraped and prepped the window for painting.

Then the next day, we got up there again and painted everything except the shutters (I have yet to decide on a color for those). Lookin’ good!

We did more work last weekend. The old broken nasty storm door on the front of the house was removed and the threshold there had rotted underneath, so Jake completely replaced that and did a darn good job of it, too. I was so giddy. I can’t believe I’m so excited over house projects. I guess it’s because nobody wants to live in a house that’s falling apart and I feel better about our home with each project we finally complete.

Also, today I finally finished painting in Chloe’s room. I will share some pictures when it’s a little … cleaner. She goes through little spurts of cleaning her room nicely and organizing everything perfectly, then a week later it is completely trashed with clothing and stuff all over the floor so you can’t even walk in there. Time to clean so mama can take some pictures. :D

how’s it goin’


October has come and gone. The leaves seemed to turn colors and drop in like a week. This is actually the first year that all the leaves from our trees dropped before the city trucks come around for their leaf pickup. The two trees in our yard usually hold onto their leaves as long as they possibly can. Then after the city trucks are done on our street, they let go and our yard is full of leaves again, like we never raked at all. So, I guess that’s one positive thing about the leaves falling so quickly this year.

We did a lot of painting this month. Mom and I were out there almost every warm dry day (does 50 degrees count as warm?) painting trim and the front and one side of the garage and a couple lower sections of the house. I am in love with the color and so happy I picked it. It looks a million times better than it did before. Here is a picture of the before and after of the front porch window trim. Each time we drive up to our house, it makes me smile and I feel proud of the great job my mom and I are doing. We’re not professional painters by any means, but we’re getting out there and making it happen.

There has also been a lot of climbing up ladders onto roofs around here lately, too. Last weekend and this weekend, Jake and my brothers have been up on the lower two sections of our roof replacing the shingles. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it is nearly done. Just a few little details and the job will be complete. In the Spring, we will be looking for someone to roof the top part of the house for us since it is way too steep for us to do ourselves. Looking forward to having a whole new roof. It looks funny right now with two different colors of shingles and partially painted. Ah well, one step at a time.

Now that we’re in November, let’s see how I did on my October goals.

1. Continue healthy habits.
I did pretty good this month. I lost a couple more pounds and some more inches. I didn’t completely steer away from fast food and pop this month, but I ate a small amount once or twice a week, so that didn’t hurt my weight loss. Most of the time, I ate light meals and drank a lot of water. I did well with running at the beginning of the month, but then didn’t run for the last couple weeks because of rain and sickness. I came down with a bad cold last weekend and it knocked me down for several days. Am happy to be starting the month of November healthy again.

2. Finish painting trim on garage and house.
We got the trim on the porch windows done. Still have a couple windows on the house to attend to. The garage trim is done on two sides of the garage. May not get the other two done before winter sets in, but it looks like some warmer days are in the forecast this week (still considering 50 degrees to be warm) so maybe it’s possible.

3. Work on my book for a couple hours a day.
I worked on my book for the first half of the month and got through a second draft, then I stopped to work on some other things. I don’t feel bad about that, though, because I got all the way through all the chapters again and filled in the story some more and I feel very good about it. It still needs another run through and another and another and another until it’s ready for the world (or at least my friends and family) to read, but finally making progress on it after having it sit for three years feels great.

My first two November goals will probably bore you. It feels a little same old same old now, but it really is helping me to put my goals out there every month, to write them down in a list, so when the month is over I can see how much I rocked it or how badly I sucked. LOL. :D
1. Exercise and eat healthy
2. Finish painting trim on garage and house.
Must do this before winter.

3. Christmas projects (yes, I just said Christmas)
— Year in Review books
I have been working on a year in review book for my mom from 2011 for a while now. Other things (painting the house, photography stuff, everyday life) have gotten in the way and I sit down every once in a while and work on it, but it’s been slow going. So, I want to finish that.
— Christmas cards
Have been thinking about a family newsletter style this year. Haven’t done one of those in a while. We shall see.
— Secret stuff
Can’t write about all the projects on here since some are gifts. ;)

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!
And I have to end this post by sharing something really fun. Jake has been chosen as one of 25 finalists for the ROAD WARRIOR TEAM for the 25K FIFTH THIRD RIVERBANK RUN. They have a team of 10 that train over the next six months to get ready for the race. It would be SO awesome for him to be a part of this team and have that motivation and accountability to keep running. He will be interviewed this week by the event coordinators, but one member of the team will be chosen by popular community vote. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO GO VOTE FOR JAKE. Voting closes Sunday, November 4th at noon EST. Thanks so much!

rainy days


taken October 2011. Fayette State Park MI.

It’s been rainy around here lately. All this rain and wind is knocking down the pretty fall leaves. Boohoo. It pretty much rained all last weekend, but we had a cozy Saturday evening at Brenda (Jake’s sis) and John’s for a little pumpkin carving party. That was so much fun. Almost the whole family was there, which was so nice. We ate and laughed and carved those pumpkins.


Here’s our whole pumpkin crew!

We’ve had a couple warmer days this week and we’ve been taking advantage of them. The front porch windows are now freshly caulked and just need a final coat of paint. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment driving up to the house and seeing how much better it looks around the porch now. I did that! Yeah! (with the help of Mom, of course!)

Still running a few days a week. Squeezing in runs on the days it’s not raining. Took my measurements last Saturday and I dropped more inches all around and finally down an inch on my calves, which makes me so happy since they were stubbornly staying the same while the rest of me was shrinking. :D Jake has made the decision to start training for a 25K. What? That’s a looooong distance to run, but I know if he sets his mind to it and works really hard, he can totally do it! I’m so proud of him.

Zach’s teacher conferences are this week. Already. Feels like school just started last week and here we are six weeks later. He is doing really well in all his classes so far this year and has really been on top of his homework assignments, finishing the work as soon as we get home without even being asked. I’m such a proud mama.

Chloe is doing well with all her schoolwork, too. She is loving her teacher this year and the fact that her best friend, Olivia, is in her class again. I was really happy about that as well. She has had some “drama” over the past couple years with other girls in her classes, but Olivia has been the one friend who has stuck by her. They just love each other and are always talking on the phone and writing each other notes. It’s really cute.

Feeling a little under the weather today. hehe. It’s rainy and dark, so I’m inside taking it easy. Hoping and praying for a little sunshine this weekend so we can get out there and get more done!

Have a wonderful weekend!

AJAXed with AWP