Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 17: Go on a date and Day 18: Work on home management binder

I have a confession to make.  I still love spending time with my husband.  I hope that all of you who read this feel like that's not something worth confessing because you feel the same way.  And that's the way it should be.

I love spending time with Brad.  When he's at work, I miss him.  If we have several days in a row where we're so busy that we don't get much time just the two of us I start to get crabby.  When I have an opportunity to go away for a weekend with friends I always almost say no because I know I will miss Brad.  In a perfect world, Brad would not have to go to work ever.  I would much prefer he stay home with us every day.

But we don't live in a perfect world.  The world we live in is one in which our five-month-old son won't take a bottle.  And cries if Mommy's not putting him to bed.  In our world, we have an almost two-year-old who we love reading bedtime stories to.  In our world, Brad works every third weekend.  And anywhere from two to five nights a week.  It can be really hard to carve out time just the two of us.

But we know how important it is that we make time for just us.  Yes, we're Mommy and Daddy, but we're also Husband and Wife.  And we need to continue to nurture that relationship.  So we are firm believers in a regular date night.  But it's not something we've practiced very well since Judah was born.  So, we decided to get creative this month and go on a date that worked for us. 

We stayed in one night.  After the boys went to bed, we used a cheater from the Daniel Fast and ordered pizza.  Yep, at 9:00 at night.  We were going to get a movie, too, but we knew one of us (*cough, Brad, cough*) would fall asleep during it.  So, instead we watched a show on NetFlix and just hung out the two of us.  It was perfect.  And very much needed.  Sure, we'd love to be able to go out on a date and do something fun like we used to, but we're going to make the most of the situation we're in.  And this month that meant pizza and TV after bedtime!

Day 18 my task was to work on the home management binder.  Basically, I added more information to the papers I had already printed and I hole punched the papers to put them in the binder.  I already had page dividers so I just had to label them.  I also want to make a nice cover, but I haven't been able to do that yet.  There's still more to do, but it's coming along and I think it will be ready to use come November.  As we use it, we will discover more of what we need and how to make it really work for us.  I'm actually super excited about it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 15: Clean out the closets and Day 16: Pick life verse for the boys and display

Day 15 the task was to clean out the closets.  This is something that has kind of been done along with other tasks.  But the focus this time was on the closets.  I cleaned out the coat closet downstairs and got rid of all our extra hats and gloves.  I have no idea how we got so many!  I also went through each of our bedroom closets.  The one thing that I got rid of that was really hard was my collection of Piglets.  I've been collecting Piglets since I was in high school.  I can't remember for sure who got me my first one, but I've gotten Piglets from Brad, friends, even people that I used to baby sit for.  When I was younger I thought I was going to have a Classic Pooh nursery for my baby and the Piglets would go in the nursery.  Now that we have children, I've chosen a less theme-y nursery and the Piglets have just been sitting in the closet.  I finally decided that it was time to get rid of them.  I'm not a big fan of stuffed animals so I figured it was time to stop holding on to them. 

Day 16 Brad and I chose Bible verses for each of our boys.  It was not hard because we had already chosen verses for the boys when we named them.  We chose verses to pray over the boys regularly.  Verses that reflect what we hope for them.  The plan is to display them in their rooms eventually, but I have yet to find exactly how I want to do that.  So, in the mean time, we are tracing their hands and writing the verse on them to keep in our Bibles.  Micah's verse is Micah 6:8 "And what does the Lord require of you?  To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."  Judah's verse is Genesis 29:35 "This time I will praise the Lord."  It is our prayer that the boys will always hold these verses close to their hearts and that their lives will reflect them.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 13: Go through scrapbook supplies and Day 14: Clean out bathroom supplies

It's been a busy week.  We have Micah's birthday party tomorrow and with limited time on the computer, I just haven't gotten around to blogging this week.  But I'm back and I will do my best to catch up in the next couple of days.

Day 13 our activity was to go through my scrapbook supplies.  It is so easy to acquire a lot of scrapbook paper and embellishments.  Any time I go to Archiver's I want to buy all kinds of things!  It's hard to resist the adorable paper and stickers to go along with it!  In the past, I had a habit of just buying what looked cute and figuring out how to use it later.  That has left me with a lot of adorable paper that I just don't know what to do with (but I WILL use it someday...honest).  Now, I do my scrapbooking at the store.  I only buy what I will use right then.  It has worked out great!  Sure, I miss out on a lot of cute paper and embellishments, but it also means that I'm not wasting money on things I won't actually use.  And, most of my stuff is girly, but I have boys so most of my scrapbooking time lately has been spent with boy stuff.  So, now that I've changed the way that I scrapbook it's really time that I go through what I have and get rid of the things that I know I just won't use.

But I have to be honest, I haven't actually done this yet.  I had every intention but Brad was working and Judah wasn't cooperating and then I just forgot about it.  So, it will get done, it just hasn't been done yet.

Day 14 was to clean out the bathroom supplies.  Brad and I are so lucky to have two full bathrooms.  And I try to coupon so when I find a good deal on toiletries I stock up.  Most of our extra bathroom supplies are stored in our downstairs bathroom.  As well as other "cosmetic" products, such as sunscreen, bug spray, etc.  Our basket of supplies was just getting ridiculous, so I went through it and got rid of a bunch of almost empty shampoo bottles (Brad doesn't use conditioner so he can finish off my shampoo bottles when my conditioner runs out first) and old lotion that I will never use.  I actually put together a little bag of items to give to GoodWill.  Perfectly good items that just aren't my taste but I was holding on to anyway (why?!).  And now the bathroom looks a lot less cluttered.  Love it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 11: Update Debt/Review Budget and Day 12: Finish a Project

I've written about our financial plan before.  Part of our plan is to update our debt on a regular basis.  Brad and I both have several student loans and it's always encouraging to look at it again and see how much we've paid down.  We've made significant gains in the past two years and I'm super excited to see it continue to go down!

Today was our "finish a project" day.  Brad's project was to tighten the bathroom fixtures.  Several of the fixtures in our upstairs bathroom have come loose and Brad's needed to tighten them for some time.  So, he finally did! 

My project was to create cards for all different occasions.  I've wanted to make cards for a while.  It's nice to have cards on hand so that when the occasion arises I don't have to go to the store to buy one.  Plus, it's a good use of my scrapbook supplies. :) 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10: Sort through CDs

I know, I know, I'm living in the stone age.  We still have CDs.  Honestly, we rarely listen to CDs, but I can't stand to get rid of them.  Besides, we have a CD player in the kitchen that we listen to, which is much easier than plugging in the iPod.

Our CDs are kept in the toy room closet and they've outgrown their holder.  So, the logical solution is to go through them and get rid of the CDs that we don't listen to and probably only bought for one song.  We're not getting rid of that many CDs, but every little bit helps.

And that's just a little bit less clutter.

So, what CDs won't you part with?  For me, I have almost every Steven Curtis Chapman CD.  He's my all-time favorite and I will not part with those CD!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 8 and 9: Clean out the kids' wardrobes

Cleaning out Micah and Judah's closets is so much more fun than cleaning out my own.  I love looking through their clothes.  I get rid of much less clothes, but that's because they're still in good condition and if we have another boy he most definitely will wear them (and since my boys are six months apart I have both summer and winter clothes in just about every size).  So, this was more about putting away the warm weather clothes and taking inventory of what cool weather clothes they have.

Judah has just moved out of size 3-6 month clothes and is moving into 6-9/6-12 month clothes.  So, I had to do a complete overhaul of his wardrobe.  I love when it's time to switch clothes (actually, I hate it because it means my little boy is getting bigger!) because it's like buying all kinds of new clothes without spending the money.  Surprisingly, there were a good amount of winter clothes for Judah.  And since I put my boys in short sleeves all year long (with long sleeves underneath when its' really cold) he has a lot of tops.  Plus, I kind of forgot that I had already bought him a few new things.  Just because he's the second born doesn't mean he shouldn't get any new clothes!  In the end, I am only donating a handful of his clothes.  Just a few items that I honestly don't care for that much and, thus, rarely put him in. 

Micah is currently between a size 18-24 month and 2T.  It's hard to say because he really fits both.  So, I mainly pulled out all of his shorts and obviously summer outfits.  Fortunately, Micah wears a lot of T-shirts that are good all year long.  However, I did discover that he is seriously lacking in the pants and pajamas department.  Guess that means Mama's gotta go shopping! 

I already explained why we're doing this task this month when we sorted through my and Brad's wardrobes.  I will be honest, my boys have more clothes than most.  It's hard for me to pass up a good deal.  And my boys are so cute that when I find a shirt that puts it perfectly (such as "Certified Hunk") I just have to buy it.  So, I guess this task has made me a little more aware of what my boys have.  And it serves as a good reminder that it's okay to pass on the adorable shirt at the store that lets the whole wold know "This is what handsome looks like."

I mean, they don't need a shirt to tell you that, right?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 6: Use Gift Cards and Day 7:Finish a Project

Am I the only one who has a pile of about 15 gift cards?  Some of them have only a couple dollars on them and others still their full amount.  I honestly don't know how I've accumulated so many gift cards.  I try to keep track of what I have and use them when I can, but seriously, I probably have a pile two inches thick in my walled of gift cards.

Not only are they taking up space but they're like wasted money.  I'm like most normal people from the 21st century and I love getting gift cards, but not using them is like throwing money down the toilet.  I'm sure the wonderful people who have given me these gift cards (don't worry, it wasn't any of you!) would not like to know that I still have them.  That's why we've decided that one of our goals is to use as many of our gift cards as possible.  We're trying to be intentional about using them.  So, on Saturday we went out to dinner with Brad's mom.  We picked a restaurant that we had a gift card for and even though she was treating we insisted on first using the gift card. 

Phew!  One down, 408 million to go. 

Now I'm looking forward to doing some shopping. :)

Yesterday's activity was to finish a project.  I know we all have unfinished projects to do around the house.  Or maybe it's a project that hasn't even been started, but you've been meaning to do for forever.  We have a pretty big list of projects like that.  So, we decided that each weekend in the month of October we were going to each complete a project.  Brad and I have totally different lists of projects to do so we thought it only fair that we each do one.

My project was to cut out cardboard letters for Micah.  I've been wanting to do a craft with Micah with the letters from his name for a while now, but I've been too lazy to cut them out.  So, I pulled out a box from the basement (saved just for this purpose) and finally cut out the letters.  While I was at it I cut a few rectangular pieces that I'm going to use to make tactile cards for Judah.  Even though that's not technically one of my projects I'm hoping to finish it this week.

Brad's project was to finish our linen closet.  He's still working on that.

When I was pregnant with Micah (yes, you read that right, Micah), we knew we needed some more storage space.  We had previously been keeping our sheets and towels and extra toiletries in the "guest room."  With the impending arrival of our firstborn we would no longer be able to do that--we now needed room for cute little baby clothes.  So, Brad asked his dad to help him build a linen closet.  And I loved him even more.

It's been great having somewhere to keep all of our linens.  Seriously, you never knew you could be so happy about a closet.  But Brad's dad left him with two steps left to finish the closet: 1)Spackle and 2)Paint. 

Doesn't seem hard, right?  Brad tells me it isn't.  Well, my firstborn is going to be two this month and Brad had yet to spackle or paint.  But yesterday he spackled.  And as I type he is upstairs painting.  He tells me it's going to need another coat...or something.  I'm not sure how long it will be until that actually happens, but at least after tonight when people see our closet they won't ask us if we just put it in. 

Progress, people.  Progress!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 3: Go through adult wardrobes and Day 4: Start home management binder

Day 3 our activity was to go through the adult wardrobes.  This is something we do every fall and spring when it's time to change out the clothes.  However, both Brad and I are still holding on to some clothes that we really shouldn't be.  Whether it's a favorite shirt that is starting to look old and tattered or a pair of pants that don't fit anymore.  So, we decided it was time to be ruthless with our wardrobes.

You might be wondering what cleaning out our wardrobes has to do with focusing on God.  We have so much stuff.  Honestly, it's sad.  We packed up three big garbage bags plus one more bag for my sister to go through of clothes.  That we had that  much clothes in our closets that we really don't need anymore is kind of ridiculous.  It's clutter in our house.  And it shows where our hearts truly are.  We're so worried about how we look and what others think of us that sometimes we forget that God looks at the inside, not the outside.  Cleaning out our wardrobes is like telling God that we know our clothes aren't that important and we're willing to get ride of a shirt that we look good in because we know we'll honestly never wear it again.

In full disclosure, I do have to admit that my closet is practically empty.  I will definitely be buying some new fall/winter clothes for myself, but it will be clothes that I wear regularly, not clothes that will be collecting dust in my closet or drawers.

Today our activity was to start a home management binder.  This is something I've been wanting to do for a while.  I think it's great to have all important information in one place.  This is a big undertaking so I've actually split this activity up into three different days. 

I started by looking online at some examples of home management binders.  This was my favorite site for resources.  I decided what sections I wanted to start with in my binder and found some printables.  Then, I started filling the printables in with information.  I'll go through our binder in more detail when it's finished.

This is a great organizational tool and I think the less time I spend looking for papers and numbers that are in this binder the more time I can spend with my family.  And that's what this month is all about!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

5 months

I'm interrupting my regular blogging schedule to tell you about an important day in the Kolar household today.

Judah turned 5 months.  Seriously!  Where has my baby gone?  I cannot believe how big he is getting and how much older he seems.  Before I know it I'll be sending him off to college. 

This is such a fun age, though.  He is so aware of what is going on around him and he's very interactive.  He smiles and laughs all the time.  The smallest things make him laugh, I love it.  He loves watching Micah.  Sometimes Micah can be a bit rough when he's loving on Judah, but Judah doesn't care.  He loves being around his big brother and doesn't care what he's doing, even if Micah's sitting on him.  He takes it all in stride.  But we keep telling Micah someday he's going to fight back!

This was a very busy month for us.  I feel like I say that all the time, but I'm really hoping that things will slow down a bit (yeah right, we're getting closer and closer to the holidays!).  Here are some highlights from Judah's fifth month:

  *We went to Grand Rapids for a mini vacation.  While there we visited the zoo (awesome zoo!), Meijer Gardens, and the Children's Museum.  Judah did great the whole time. 

  *At his doctor's appointment he weighed 16lbs. 11oz. and was 25.5 inches long.  Big boy!

  *We went to the butterfly festival at Lake Katherine with "Mimi."  I wore Judah in the Ergo and he was so good the entire time!

  *We went to Johanson Farm with our friends.  Judah even got to go on a train ride while we were there!

  *We celebrated both Mommy and Daddy's birthdays.

  *We went to Starved Rock for Uncle Kevin and Aunt Mindy's wedding.  Judah got to spend a lot of time with his aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmas.  He was such a good baby while we were there.  We went hiking and visited the water park twice.  He wasn't fond of the water, but he fell asleep while we were hiking. :)  He also looked super cute in his outfit for the wedding.

  *Judah rolled over for the first time.  He's only done it twice, but he tries all the time.  He gets all the way over, but then he can't get his arm out from underneath himself so he rolls back onto his back.  He gets really frustrated that he can't make it all the way over, but he also hates being on his tummy so it's kind of lose-lose right now.

  *Judah had his first taste of solid food.  We started him on pears this week.  He loves them.

  *We took out the jumperoo this week.  He loves it almost as much as Micah does.  Seriously, he is a jumping fool already!  I was so impressed at how quickly he got what to do.  He even turns himself to go from toy to toy.

Playing in the toy room with Micah.

All dressed up for Uncle Kevin's wedding.

Judah and his cousin Elanor.

At the butterfly festival--beautiful day!

Hiking at Starved Rock.

He fell asleep at the waterpark

After eating pears for the first time.

Loving his jumper.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 3: Limited Computer Time

I know I've said it before, but the computer is a huge time-stealer for me.  I spend way too much time on the computer.  I regularly read probably about 20 blogs and check facebook at least 500 times a day.  Then there's pinterest.  Oh my goodness, I could spend hours on pinterest! 

I have felt the guilt about my computer time many times before.  I try to stay away from it when the boys are awake, but it's so easy to "just real quick check facebook" after Micah has been playing nicely by himself for a minute.  And it's easy to get lost looking for a recipe on pinterest.  I can't tell you how many times I have sat down at the end of the night only to find that I have spent 2 or more hours on the computer and gotten nothing else accomplished.  It's sad, really.

And not how I want to live my life.

This time with my boys is so short.  They are growing up so quickly and I want to enjoy every minute of it.  I don't want to be worrying about who commented on my status update.  Or wondering if I could find more fun activities to do with Micah (seriously, I have enough to last us until Judah is 30!).  I want to be down on the ground playing with my boys.  Going for nature walks.  Reading books.  I want my boys to feel like I want to spend time with them, not like I have to.  And I know that being on the computer so much prevents that from happening.

So for the month of October, I am limiting my computer time.  In an attempt to spend more quality time with my sons I can check my e-mail and facebook when I wake up in the morning.  Then, I cannot go on the computer again until the boys have gone to bed for the night.  And then it's only for an hour.  Seriously.  I have a timer sitting next to the computer.

For the record, I have 27 minutes left tonight.

Maybe you feel like that's too tough.  I mean, what does it matter once the boys are in bed?  But the truth is there are so many other things that I like to do that I just haven't been making the time for lately.  I love to read.  But sitting down at the computer mindlessly just seems so much more appealing lately.  I want to get back into the habit of reading regularly because it is something I really enjoy.  And it's pretty sad when it takes me more than a month to finish a book.  I love to scapbook, too.  And I am so far behind with my books that it's sad. 

I also try to do housework during nap time now.  If I can get it done while the boys are sleeping that is less time taken away from them as well.  Plus, it's so much easier to clean the bathroom when I'm not worried about if Micah is climbing on top of Judah!

I know that this little change is going to make a big difference this month, but I'm really hoping that it will turn into a good habit.  I'm hoping that I will find that I don't miss the time on the computer as much as I thought I would and that I prefer reading a book.  Or spending time playing with my boys.  I'm hoping that it fosters a better relationship because I'm spending more quality time with them.

And hopefully I'll be putting some of those pinterest ideas to good use!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2: Daily Devotions

Today's change is to do daily devotions.  This is something we have striven to do for more than 10 years.  In high school, we learned about the importance of a daily quiet time from our youth pastor.  We both have gone through periods of being really good and consistent and periods of forgetting for longer than we would like to admit.  With each life change comes a change in routine, which means re-setting our priorities.

Personally, having a baby always messes up my routine.  Waking up in the middle of the night makes it difficult to wake up early to read your Bible.  However, I do believe that God knows all of that and understands it.  He gets that it's hard for a new mom to wake up at 6:00am every day when she has woken up at 2:00 and 4:00 already.  But he still wants my time. 

I am in a relationship with God.  And just like all of my other relationships, I have to nurture and cultivate this relationship.  I have to make time to talk with God.  I have to sit down and listen to him talking to me.  Daily.  This might look a little different day to day (because some days I have time for an hour and other days I can barely squeeze in 5 minutes), but it is still something that needs to be at the top of my priority list.

And since this month is about re-focusing on God, what better way to begin the month than by committing to do a daily quiet time?  This time looks a little different for both Brad and I.  I have committed to waking up in the morning before the rest of my family (well to the best of my ability--I really can't control what time Judah decides to wake up) and doing my Bible Study Fellowship homework.  Because of his work schedule, Brad has decided to commit to just having a daily quiet time with God.  Some days it might be in the morning and other days before we go to bed.

I am really excited about this time because I know that whenever you spend regular time with God you will be blessed.  I am eager to learn and see what God has in store for me and my family.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Month of Focusing on God

In July, Brad was reading the book of Daniel in his Bible.  He read about how Daniel refused to eat the king's food and actually was healthier than the other men (read it in Daniel 1).  He felt convicted and remembered hearing about the Daniel Fast.  He thought about it for a few days and really felt like that was something he needed to do.  So, for the month of August he fasted.  Basically, he couldn't eat any processed food.  Which can be really hard to do!  Some people thought he was crazy and they were worried about how radical it seems, but the truth is it's actually a very healthy diet--it's eating the way we really all should be eating.  However, Brad wasn't doing it for dietary purposes.  He was doing it for spiritual purposes, the nutritional benefits were just an added bonus!

He really enjoyed the fast and loved eating new foods and learning how good food can be without any artificial sweeteners or preservatives. 

Then, during the month of September I just kept feeling convicted about my personal spiritual life.  I just felt off focus.  Sure, I was going to a Bible study and attending church.  But my life just wasn't focused.  I knew that I wasn't doing what I should.  I knew that I was being lazy and not making God a priority in my life.  Brad and I talked about it several times and we both agreed that something needed to change.

Ideas started to come to us.  We could do a media fast.  Join a small group together.  De-clutter our house (it's amazing how a cluttered house leaks into other areas of your life).  So many good ideas we didn't know where to start!  As we talked about it more and more, I knew that I wanted to do the Daniel Fast as well.  So, we decided to make a month of it!

The month of October we are going to re-focus our lives.  We are hoping to put God first and make him a part of everything that we do.  The way we'll be doing this is by making 30 little changes this month.  I'm hoping to blog about each change and how things are going.

Our first change is the Daniel Fast.  We're kicking the month off with the Fast in order to help us focus.  The purpose of the Fast is to rely on God and his provisions.  It's a great reminder to pray throughout the day, too, so we thought it would be a great way to kick off the month.

Stop by this month to find out how things are going with us, and don't be afraid to ask if you see us.  We are really excited for all that God has in store for us this month!