Go Home and Love Your Family

Here is the next post in our Best of 2016 series. This post was first published on Election Day on Figuring Out the Plot. Re-publishing it on Inauguration Day seems fitting. 

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta
By the end of today, about half of my friends will be happy, while the other half will be in despair. Most of us will just be glad the 2016 election is over. 

So what are we to do now?
Go home and love our families.  

What we do in our own house will affect the world more than what gets done in the White House.  

Raise your children with the values you were looking for in a President. Love your spouse in a way that honors the institution of marriage. Help your neighbor. Smile at a stranger. Support those causes you have spent months arguing about on Facebook. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Donate to an crisis pregnancy group. Be an usher at your church. Raise kids–whether yours or someone else’s–who know that both lying and name calling are wrong, even if you are running for President. 

This country is made up not of political parties and platforms and debate answers. It is made up of people and families and communities. If each of us made an effort to make a difference in our little part of the world, the entire world would change, one difference at a time. 
So whether you celebrate or lament tonight, what happens tomorrow is up to you. Go be the difference this country needs. 

Discovering Podcasts 

Well, as usual, I am late to the party.  Last week I learned about podcasts.  And how to listen to them on my phone.  Y’all.  My life is changed. I can listen while driving or running or feeding babies…just by clicking an icon!

In case you are slow like me, here is a step by step on how you can find and listen to podcasts on your phone. 

See that little purple icon in the top right corner of my screen?  That’s for podcasts, as the label might suggest.


So you click that icon and you go into your subscriptions.  When you start, it will be blank.  So you can go to the search option in the bottom right corner and find podcasts you want to listen to. 


Search by name or speaker or topic–whatever.  I, personally, have only added a few so far:

  • Hobo for Christ:  This is my real life friend Meg.  She’s awesome.  Hasn’t had a new one in a while (she’s been in Italy) but you can listen to her vintage stuff!  She is Catholic and her podcast is pretty much all reglgious focused. 
  • The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.  Someone recommended this and I love it.  I have listened to like 6 episodes already! She is awesome, honest, down to earth, and has great guests.  I want to be her real life friend.  Who knows her and can introduce me??  I’d say Christian women are her main audience aim.  Listen to her one with Rachel Cruz.  I loved it!
  • Ted Talks.  I love listening to Ted Talks and this is an easy way to hear them!
  • Good Life Project.  Haven’t listened yet. 
  • Dave Ramsey. I enjoy his radio show, so this should get me my fill.

What are your favorite podcasts?

Funny Convetsations with Husband


Me: Guess who’s pregnant!?

Husband: Better not freakin’ be us!

{It’s not us, for the record.}

—-

Husband (looking around our living room):  It looks like someone had a college party in here but with tractors and blocks instead of beer cans!

{Watching Friebds and Chandler and Monica are slow dancing to the mixed tape that Janice made Chandler}

Husband: This is where you get your ridiculous ideas about relationships, isn’t it?

—-

{He was reading Little Blue Truck to BB.}

Husband:  “Then he drove by the frog and almost hit him so he jumped on the truck.”

Me:  That’s not the story!

Husband: I like my way better.

Little House Tour (Guest bedroom and bath)

And the tour continues!  
When we first bought the house, this was our master.  Now, I am not sure how we fit our king sized bed in there at all!  Ah, we were newlyweds and so happy to be living together….now we are old married folk who need their space!

So here we have our guest room. 

It is the only room in the house with carpet.  We re-carpeted when we moved in…hindsight we should have just waited and done the laminate wood floors like the rest of the house.


We got the bed at Bazulla in Amarillo.  The bedding was mine before we got married and is from JC Penny.  


Just to be sure it’s not too girly, there is a hide from a deer Husband shot hanging on the headboard. 


In one corner is my quilt rack that holds some of my favorite quilts. 


And my hope chest that belonged to my Gran.  My grandpa gave it to her, as you can see from the little inscription under the lid. It holds lots of treasures, chief among them, Gran’s favorite hat. 


The closet is storage for things like my tub of gift bags and tissue paper I have saved, yet-to-be-needed baby items for LL (like the walker and jumper), and my impressive diaper stash. {Speaking of, I share diaper deals and coupons every Monday on Instagram @littlehousebiglife}

This painting was a gift to Husbsnd from his Nana.  It was painted by his very beloved great grandmother and is actually of his Grandpa.  It was a very special gift.

The guest bath is small, but it was re-done cute when we bought the house so other than re-doing some old plumbing, we didn’t have to touch this room. 

Enjoying Your 10 Cows 

This is another in our Best Blogs of 2016 series previously posted on Figuring Out The Plot.

My friend Jerry is quite the philosopher. You might not expect this if you saw him, as he would likely be wearing boots and jeans, talking to you with an unassuming smile, and maybe drinking a Natty Light. But over the years I have heard many pearls of wisdom come out of his mouth.
My favorite, though, is the most recent. 

We were talking at BB’s birthday about the little cow herd we are building. Jerry told us that he now only has 10 cows. “Some big rancher I am, huh?” 

But, he said, he enjoys them. When he goes to feed, he can pet half of them. He likes to see the calves come every year. And then, the pearl….

“You know, I bet you I get more enjoyment from my 10 cows than {a certain big rancher we know} gets from his 2,500 cows.” 

And that really struck me… I hope that I live my life in that same way that Jerry thinks about his cows. 

I hope I can get more enjoyment out of my life than someone who might have “more.” I want to feel more appreciation, more love, and more gratitude even if the material things we have are less. I hope I will always enjoy what we have, whether that be 10 cows or a little house or an older vehicle. I want to appreciate sunsets more. To enjoy small family trips even though others are taking extravagant European adventures. I want to remember where we started when the list of house projects left to do seem overwhelming. I want to be thankful for the little moments, like BB’s laughter or Husband’s grin, or the cows running towards us with the cake bucket. I hope that when I wish we had more–land or money or stuff or time–I will remember to be grateful for that which we have been given.  

I hope that I–like Jerry–always enjoy my 10 cows. And I wish the same for all of you. 

Closet Project 2017

For years, I have seen this idea online around New Years.  You turn all of the hangers in your closet around backwards.  When you wear something, you hang it back up with the hanger facing correctly.  Then, you can really tell what you wear and what you don’t.  After a year, you can get rid of stuff you honestly never wear. 

I am a week in and so far, I really like this little project!  It has really made me try and wear a bigger variety of clothing so I can turn more hangers around. 

I will keep you posted as the year goes on!

BB’s Birth Story 

I figured since I shared LL’s birth story, I should move BB’s to this new blog too.  As you will see, far less dramatic (and far less quick) than LL!

I hesitated to do a birth story blog. For years I’ve cringed at the thought of reading anything another person writes that contains words like cervix or dilated or birth canal. But, ya know, this blog is where I happen to chronicle my life and store my memories, so leaving out such a momentous event didn’t seem right either.

In light of that, I’ve decided to do some sort of a compromise. I will be writing a birth story. But I won’t be writing a graphically detailed, gory version and promise not to use the word cervix. I’ve decided the best approach is to tell the story as I’ve heard Husband tell it to other people. He is super private and I figure if he feels comfortable including it when he tells the story, it’s probably safe to share.

Background

At about 36 weeks I started having contractions and beginning to dilate. At that time, the doctor told us that he thought we could be having a baby “any day now” and that he didn’t think we would make our due date, which was great because we would not have to discuss things like induction. With that info, we hurried around and got our hospital bag packed, carseat ready to go, and waited on a baby. Well….said baby decided to prove the doctor wrong. (My dad swears that all doctors tell all women at 36 weeks there will be a baby any day just so they don’t jump out a window thinking they have a month of pregnancy left. Maybe he’s right.)

At our last scheduled appointment, which happened the day before BB was due, the ultrasound tech spotted something concerning on the ultrasound that she brought to the doctor’s attention. In light of this, the doctor told us that we needed to go ahead and plan on having a baby the next day and that we should induce. So, there was the plan.

After a lovely dinner with one of Husband’s co-workers, we headed home to get some sleep before heading to the hospital at 6:00 am.

The Day Of

Once we arrived, they got me checked in and gave me Pitocin at about 8:00. They asked if I wanted an epidural and my answer was that I thought I’d wait and see. I didn’t like the idea of not being able to get up and walk around, but turned out, because they induced me I couldn’t get up and walk around anyway. So in light of that, after about an hour and a half of pretty serious contractions, I decided an epidural was a good idea. It just didn’t make sense to me to spend all day in pain when there was medicine to help with that. So the epidural man came in and took care of me….and I wanted to kiss him. I could still feel a little pain, but nothing too bad.

So from there, we basically hung out for the rest of the day and just waited. About 1:00 they came in and said I was progressing nicely and we would probably have a baby by 4:00. (Perhaps something else they tell every poor woman…)

At 4:00, they said we’d wait another couple of hours. At 6:30 they came in, I was ready to go, and we decided to start pushing. The nurse told me she thought I’d probably just need to push about 30 minutes and we’d have a baby. The kickoff for Monday Night Football was on, Patriots v. Steelers. We started pushing about the time kickoff happened.

The Delivery

Well, after pushing for 4 hours, still no baby. My favorite part of this time was during the midst of this, the nurse says, “Who in the family has red hair?” Well, there is red on both sides of the family, so we knew there was a chance of a red-headed boy. It was hilarious that before he was even born, that red hair was a topic of conversation.

The Husband was a champ. He held my leg in the air for hours, held my hand, handed me barf bags, was right in the middle of it all.

4 hours into this, I was exhausted. I had been vomiting all day. I was starving. I was on oxygen having a hard time breathing. The baby was beginning to show signs of distress. The doctor came in an said that we were in a situation where we needed to do something different. I was out of energy and the baby was starting to have trouble. He very calmly explained we had three options: forcepts, vaacum, or c-section.

Husband sort of took over at this point and asked what the doctor thought we should do. He said he really thought he could have the baby out with forcepts in 2 pushes. Decision made.

At this point, people started running into our room. All day it had pretty much just been us and the nurses and a couple of nursing students who were hoping to see their first delivery. Suddenly, the room was full of probably 10 nurses everywhere. The doctor got everything ready and off we went.

Now, when I heard forcepts, I didn’t really know what that meant. I pictured some sort of long tweezer-like things that would grab his head. No. What I saw were these tong-looking things the size of the dang spatchula Husband uses on the bbq grill. I can’t even.

The doctor was right, two pushes, horrible pain, and the baby was out. He didn’t cry and all I could see was that his legs looked blue. Husband could see him and assured me that he was fine. Dad cut the cord, the doctor finished up working on me, and that was that.

The Baby

So, with that, BB arrived. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 10.9 oz. (For the record, I had guessed he would be 7 pounds 11 oz earlier in the day.) Measured at 19.5 inches long. He had the cutest little face, the longest little feet, and hair that is just barely tinged red.

The baby was delivered exactly as the coaches shook hands after the game. While the doctor was working on me after the birth, he asked the nurses who won the game. “The Patriots,” I responded. The doctor replied, “You were watching the game during that?!?” What can I say? I am, indeed, a football fan.

The After Party

After he arrived, the family came back in to meet BB. My parents, Husband’s mom, and Husband’s sister were all there.

Honestly, all I remember about this time was that I was so thirsty and starving. They let me have some water right away but made me wait an hour for food. By this point, it was midnight, nothing was open, and Husband was also starving. Enter our friends Austin and Dylan. One text message later and these two showed up in the middle of the night bearing Whataburger for Husband and red gatorade for me. That, kids, is what friendship looks like.

And just like that, we were a family of three.

So, there you have it. A birth story. Without using the word cervix. You are welcome.

Couponing Apps: Ibotta

I love me some coupons.  But it seems like the coupons coming in the Sunday paper like in the good ol’ days has passed.  Recently, I got started using a few online couponing apps.  It’s the same idea as clipping from the paper, just more high tech. 

My favorite is Ibotta. I have been using it  for about a month each and have already earned $25 in savings!

(I also use Checkout51 and Mobisave–referral code for Mobisave is PFPLZCPW if you join!–blogs on those coming soon).


  Ibotta seems to be the best one I have found, because it has the most offers, and the best signing bonus and referral payment. 

To get started, all you do is download the app (or log onto your computer), create an account, and you are ready!  

When you set up your account, put in my referral code [hcixwgc]  if you don’t mind so I can get a little credit! 

Once you are signed up, you just select whatever store you are going to and then browse the list if availablecoupons and unlock any that you want to use. 


After that, you go shopping like normal.  When you are done, you will click “verify purchases” and that will have you scan the product bar code and take a photo of the receipt. 


And that’s that!  They credit the value of the coupons you use to your account, and when you get to $20, you can have it put into pay pal or get a gift card. 

If anyone needs help getting started, let me know!

Quick Summary

How it works:  You unlock coupons (i.e. $1 off Pampers diapers) and after you purchase the product, you scan the bar code and take a picture of your receipt. 

Bonus: When you redeem your first offer, you get a $10 credit!

Referral payment: If you refer a friend, you get $5 when they first use the app.

How you get paid: once you earn $25, you can have it transferred to your pay pal account or get a gift card to one of several stores of your choice.

My referral link/code:  Click here to sign up and enter this code [hcixwgc] when they ask!

Marry the Good Guy

This weekend, I was grumpy.  Husband was not home much.  Instead, he was busy helping kids at a local livestock jackpot.  And as I tried to keep our two kids (15 months and 2 months) alive and hour house standing and food cooked, it was fairly easy for me to get annoyed that he was not here helping me. 

And then I realized, the reason I was home alone was that I married the good guy.  

Photo by Britt Fisk Photography

The guy who would spend 9 hours of his time on a Saturday shearing sheep for every kid in the county.  The guy who would fork over a $20 when a kid was short on entry fee money.  The guy who gives pep talks after classes don’t go the way you wanted, and high fives when they do.  

I’ve seen him lose sleep over someone being treated wrong, rush in to help friends who I am not sure would do the same, and not think twice about giving someone the shirt off his back. 

There are lots of things that go into finding the right spouse.  It’s the most important decision you ever make.  My advice, girls?  Marry the good guy.  Let the other details fall where they may. 

And maybe don’t be grumpy when he’s gone all weekend. 😬

Little House Tour (Kids’ Room) 

Today we will continue our tour of our little house.  (If you missed the first post, click here.

We only have 3 bedrooms and since we live in a town with no hotels, keeping a guest room was important to me.  So, we decided for now the kids would share a room.  It’s small, but for now it seems just right!

They each have their own side.  BB has his bed and LL has the crib.  They share a dresser that actually was mine as a kid that Husband repainted and redid. 

On BB’s side, we have his name (sweet gift from my former secretary and friend!) and a little gallery collage of farm animals.  

Letters from Etsy, canvas prints from Texas Trio in Amarillo
 
His bed is a twin with no box springs and rails that Husband made to be sure he won’t fall off. Said rails work perfectly as a ladder, turns out…  

Bedding from JC Penny, bed from Chuck’s Rustic Furniture in Amarillo

Over the bed hangs a painting of Husband’s horse done by my parents’ super talented neighbor and a prayer card for The Infant of Prague.

On LL’s side, we have her crib, decorated with a John Deere quilt made by my aunt and a cute blankie from her great grandma.  Her name letters, again, came from my friend, Deb!  I found the pink print at Hobby Lobby and thought it was perfect.


In the corner we have a side table for playing and storing the massive stuffed animal collection they have. 

Finally, we have a quilt rack that holds all of the beautiful (mostly handmade) quilts that people have given the kiddos.


I am excited with how we were able to decorate for both kids in the same space.  Hopefully, they love it as well!