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A New {For a Litle While} Normal

A week ago I left school quite upset about an altercation in my classroom. Little did I know that the week ahead would be so insane in the world.

In this week there has been a lot of change. The biggest notable change, at least in our house is that the girls are now homeschooling. In addition, I will be teaching my students in an online communication only fashion.
For whatever reason, the last few days have felt SO long. 

The strange thing is we normally would be on spring break and this down time wouldn't be a thing. However, I'm comparing this time to when you know an epidural is coming. When I found out the pain was going to stop, after 20 hours into labor with Alex, Tim said I was notably calmer. This happened before the medicine even came. I knew it was coming and that was enough to calm me down. So, normally we know this downtime will end. Now we know if we go back to school at all this year, it won't be until the end of April. Suddenly all of this time feels ominous.

To be totally honest, I've had some MAJOR ups and downs with keeping my faith over fear in the last few weeks. Then I helped with the Blossom Pageant and felt the fear in the sweet girls as they found out their pageant would be a bit modified this year.

I knew that I could either be a helper for God or I could sit in fear. With the help of some incredible friends, my husband and scripture I have been able to pull myself out a wallowing pit of fear a time or two.

Don't get me wrong though, the ups and downs are happening. I am having to work hard to not be anxious. In these times I try to check in with another friend to see how she is doing at this time. Doing so is two part, I get to check in on a friend, and I also get a reality check that everything is going to be ok.

Things that have helped tremendously in this time: forcing myself to workout again (after a five day break) and following in a friends footsteps to just go ahead and jump into homeschooling a few days early.

Below is a schedule based off another that I saw online earlier in the week.
I really am so excited for this time. There are SO many resources available that I am excited to take advantage of. 
YouTube: drawing lessons, early Spanish, kid yoga, science lessons, story telling...
ABC Mouse (we've had to adjust to using it in the evening when the server isn't so crowded).
Prodigy (for math)
Playing card games, board games, making up our own games...

My favorite addition to our day is our Bible time! We are using our stories for our writing prompts.
Alex was to write the verse and then draw a picture. Karoline did the same, but also was to explain what the verse meant in her own words.
A fun resource for ALL: Our church is offering "Live at Lunch," Monday - Friday! Worship, lessons and fun all from your computer! 
For creative time we made gluten free, vegan strawberry and walnut muffins.
We've taken lots of walks outside!
Go Noodle is a great app for "brain/movement" breaks.
We've gone hiking twice already this week! Social distancing isn't terrible.

Homeschooling the girls is something that I have no fear of for this time. 
However, as a teacher for my students, I'm a bit nervous. How do I come up with creative and engaging lessons online? How do I incentivize students to want to do work when they are home? 
I'm working on this and I hope that I can conquer this mountain and do it well for my students.

Random thoughts: 

I want to finally get my tattoo when this is over, I can't do it now because I Google far more than a sane person should and Google told me that getting a tattoo can lower your immune system.

I'm extremely grateful that we figured out Karoline's respiratory distress.

My husband not having a spleen has always made me an A-type germaphobe. I'm running on turbo mode with sanitizing in this season.

I'm thankful for our home. However, if we loose it in all of this, because jobs dissolve and things stop working like they used to, I'm ok with it. I do not need a home, I do not need material things. If we loose everything, but I have my faith and I have my family, I will be just fine. We can live in a fifth wheel, or an apartment or with family. We will be ok. Things don't matter, things aren't important. The people I'm spending my days with, they are important.

I also realized that no one is going to let my children starve. Ridiculous, I know. Restaurants are open, grocery stores are open and even if they weren't we are in a world where 99.99% of people are REALLY good. People help each other.

I'm praying people learn how to be less wasteful in this time. To be thankful for what we have and to make the most of all of it. Reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim...

I'm praying that in this time families foster relationships and have time to rest.

I'm praying for all who are still working. Praying for their hearts to not be anxious. Praying for their feet to not be tired.

I'm thankful we live in a rural area.

I'm thankful for the spaces our girls have to play in our home.

I'm thankful we are still able to go outside and enjoy the earth that God gave us.

I'm thankful for my girls. 

I'm thankful for my husband.

Thankful.

Grace

My heart hurts today. 
The scare of a stupid virus has debilitated me. 
My husbands friend took his own life.
A beautiful mother and her children were murdered. 
My students need love, snacks and hugs.
My own children need more of mama. 
My husband only gets what is left of me and it’s not a lot. 

One day I’ll bow at the feet of Jesus. 
One day this sadness won’t be. 

I pray for all to have hope and grace in times that are scary, uncertain and broken. 

Without this hope, the weight of some weeks would be crippling. 

Pray for hope. Pray for peace. 

How Eliminating Foods Saved Our Daughter


When Alexandra was a baby, just weeks old, I could tell something wasn’t quite right. Her diapers just smelled far too terrible. My husband claimed maybe I had forgotten what dirty diapers smelled like. Our girls are 23 months apart, I hadn’t forgotten. 
In the early morning light, there it was, blood in her diaper. 
I was exclusively nursing. The solution (via our pediatrician recommendation) to solve this irritation, for our girl, was that I no longer eat dairy, wheat, soy, nuts, eggs or corn. I removed these items from my diet (quickly lost all the baby weight) and by the time Alex turned one, she was cleared to resume a normal diet. Her intestines had had time to heal. 
Fast forward six years…

It’s now Karoline’s turn. Once she started kindergarten I began to realize Karoline was needing allergy medicine quite often. She could never fight a cold on her own and her airways were often times very tight. We turned to asthma medicine, an inhaler and continued allergy medicine. Meanwhile, I wondered if it was her room, the air ducts, the environment, this, that, the other…

However, I could not shake the idea that maybe something she was eating was causing this. Karoline also had insanely huge tonsils. We made an appointment with an allergy, asthma and sinus specialist around Christmas time last year. Upon arrival I expressed that I wanted to know if something she was eating could be causing the inflammation of her tonsils and the bulk of her breathing issues. 
The specialist took a look at Karoline’s tonsils and said we wouldn’t be able to know anything until her tonsils were removed, they were just far too large. 

We scheduled the surgery.

In recovery the surgeon told me Karoline’s tonsils were the biggest of the day. 

I was hopeful her dang tonsils were going to be like a splinter. With her tonsils out, there would no longer be any issues. 

Just four days post surgery, Karoline needed her asthma medicine. A few days after we had to add back in the allergy medicine. A few more days, the inhaler. My poor baby needed the inhaler to not cough (think like on the movie Hitch, when Will Smith keeps trying to clear his throat after eating shellfish) four to five times a day. 

I was fed up. I refused to believe that my perfectly healthy six year old needed to take this much medicine for the rest of her life. 
We went to see our primary physician, whom I greatly admire and appreciate. I expressed concern that I just could not stand by and give her more and more chemical medicines every day. He decided to order a simple blood allergy test. 

We did the test. Within a few days we had an answer. Karoline was, and is, allergic to beef, fish, corn, eggs, dairy and wheat. 
At the time my husband and I had just watched, “What the health?” and were trying to live a more plant based life style. Making the adjustments to her diet was not as difficult as one might think. Especially with the practice I had from when Alex was a baby. 

We removed these foods from her diet. In a matter of weeks we were able to cut out ALL of her medicine and the use of the inhaler. Through elimination of the known allergy items I was also able to pinpoint that almonds also are a trigger for her asthmatic symptoms. 

It’s been almost a year since Karoline had her tonsils removed and almost nine months of a modified diet. In the first five months of removing these foods from her diet she gained eight pounds. EIGHT. 

Over the last few months she has fought colds on her own, without the need of a doctors visit or medicines! Her body is finally not fighting the foods that were poisoning her. Now it can fight the viruses. 

Staying on a vegan diet with my husband has been hard. We have been unable to do so. However, I try to have a few vegan dinners a week. 

A few weeks back, I went into our doctors office to pick up a few things and saw a book sitting on the counter. The title was How Not to Die, by Michael Greger, MD. The nurse said that our physician was recommending all of his patients read it. Again, I admire our doctor and respect him quite a bit. After all, he was the one who heard my concerns and suggested the blood allergy test that may have very well saved our daughters life. So, I bought the book on Audible. 

The benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables and less meats and dairy are astounding. I can not adequately reiterate the astonishment, and also the frustrations, I’ve had while listening to this book. 

What I can say is, if you, or someone you love, are currently taking any medicine or are in any pain, you can not afford to not read this book. 

Furthermore, if you are a mom, and you have a hunch that something isn’t quite right, KEEP FIGHTING. Do not take no as an answer. Just because a specialist says something doesn’t mean it has to be true. If your mom gut is talking to you, goodness gracious, you listen and you feed it some broccoli.



*The views and opinions in this blog are just views and opinions and a recount of our personal story. Don’t take my word for anything, do your own research. My only hope is this may spark you to do so. 

Weight: It’s just a number.

I’ve gained ten pounds since some time last May (I would weigh myself when I would drop my girls off at my parents house before school). 

In August 2018, when I started working full time for the first time EVER, I was TERRIFIED. I worried I was going loose all the strength I had worked really hard for. I also had a fear of regaining the fifteen pounds I worked really dang hard to loose. I weighed myself often and adjusted my calorie intake (I always ate but would pass on dessert or a drink with calories in favor of water) to stay between 120-125 pounds. With my new work schedule I would make it to the gym two times a week. 

After the end of the school year I didn’t have easy access to a scale. The concept of weighing myself had slipped by the wayside. Partly because of the lack of convenience and because, well, I felt good, my pants fit, and I had confidence. So, what was the point?

This year, since I’m no longer in my teaching license program, I’m getting to go to the gym 3-5 times a week. Furthermore, fitness has become a must in my life. The endorphins, the time for myself and the fact that it helps me through particularly rough or anxious days, has made it something I have to make time for. 

The other day I noticed a scale. I stepped on it. 

135.

Come to find out, I’ve gained TEN pounds. However, this time around, even with those numbers on the scale, all of my pants still fit. 

I eat every meal of the day (I am diligent about having one serving- most of the time). I also eat cleaner than I did last year. 

But still, I have gained ten pounds, I’m not sure where this weight is hiding. However, I am pretty sure it helps play a part in my ability to do a 40# dumbbell snatch and a squat clean and jerk over and over again in a workout!! My shoulder strength feels good. Actually, I sort of love it.  Side note, sometimes I touch my arm and I am legitimately shocked it’s mine and that it’s so hard. You guys, you should love your arms.


As I am sitting on a park bench editing this I actually do think I know where some of the weight is, I caught a glimpse of my hiney in the glass as I walked by a door, there may be some there! Women of the world, embrace your booty.

What’s the point in sharing this with you? I guess to say if you’re putting in an effort to consistently take time for yourself to fit a work out in, there will be results. Consistency doesn’t yield immediate results. Consistency does produce a habit. Finding a healthy outlet is a must. Consistency may also one day result in a, “Dang, when did they get there?” realization as you walk by your reflection. 


Making lunches makes me bitter...

Some evenings I loath making lunches. I really just don’t want to do it. I remind myself that of course I love the people I’m making these meals for. However, sometimes this isn’t enough to keep me from sulking! I whine that I just want to sit down and have time to do what I want to. 

Some weekends I don’t want to do the weekly cleaning. the laundry, menu planning, meal prep and shopping. 

Last year in the midst of living in in between housing, finishing my schooling, learning how to be a teacher and first time working mom, and building a house I had little time for myself. I kept my gym routine up as best I could. However, the time outside of this hour was always devoted to something else. 

Then I remembered audiobooks are a thing. 

Busy or not, audio books were able to transform my monotonous chores into me time! 

If you’re in over your head and you’re not finding any time for yourself I urge you to try an audio book while you’re doing routine chores. 

A local library card will open the door to thousands of free audio books! 

I recently re-remembered this little trick to make the most of my time and to help me quit pouting about making lunches... 
I just finished City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now I’m a few pages in to Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis.

Last year a few favorites of mine were,  Where the Crawdads Sing and The Language of Flowers. I highly recommend all four of these titles.

I can’t quite articulate what audio books have done for me. I don’t want to be dramatic and say they saved my life. But honestly, last year in the midst of our busiest year yet, they helped me through a really hard season. 

The stories I listen to transform mundane tasks into beautiful stories and something accomplished.

If you’re struggling with finding time for yourself and you need to feel like you’re accomplishing something more, give an audio book a try! 

Do you know about the goodness of audio books? Do you have a favorite? Would you please share it with me so I can add it to my list? 
*Now accepting collaborations for wireless headphones or ear pods. I’m not picking either will do.


Hey Girl...

Hey girl, I know you’re upset, confused, emotional and quite frankly, don’t know what’s wrong or why you feel the way you feel sometimes.
Hey girl, I know you don’t think you can just start out of no where. 
Hey girl, I know you don’t have time or energy.
Hey mama, I know your babies might cry when you leave.
Hey mama, I know the house will be a mess when you come back.
Hey mama, I know often times you don’t feel like you. 

Hey woman, I know it’s hard to be you. 

One more time for the ladies in the back...
Life is hard and there are so many reasons why you just can’t. 

You, way back there, are you listening? Go for a walk, take a step out of the house and out of your daily routine. Give yourself an hour of the day for you. 

Hey ladies, find a place or a group of women who support you every step of the way. Mama, find a routine that works for you, even if that means giving up a precious hour of sleep in the early morning light. 

Women of the world, hear me, you will never regret getting out, taking time for you and catapulting your day, mood, emotions and your health with an endorphin high! 

Mama, I know you, I was you. I could barley breathe, I was drowning. 

Struggling woman, I’ve been working out for two and a half routinely steady years. But today, today I wanted to quit. I put my head down in the ground, I didn’t think I could do it. Then I looked around at all the women working hard and got back up. I can do it. My body can do amazing things. My body, my workout, my speed and my weight, but with the support of other strong women. It’s me that I’m working for, it’s me that I have to strengthen: mind and body. 

Little lady, you are beautiful. Curvy lady, you are beautiful. From A to Z, when you take a step forward to better yourself, you better ALL those around you. Today, without the support of women around me, I wouldn’t have kept going.  

Daughter, wife, mama, lady, girl or woman: Taking time to go to the gym or fit in a workout isn’t selfish, far from it. When you’re able to be your best you, you can be the best for your “them.” 

Find the place in your heart where you want to stop the car, climb to the top of a snow bank and take a picture. Find your fun again, find your smile again, and then keep going back to whatever form of workout it is that allows you to feel the freedom of being happy! Mama, when you fall out of the routine, pick yourself up and start again. 






The House My Husband Built, Part 1: Bathrooms, Side Spaces and Kitchen

We moved into the home my husband built in July! Since then we've still been finishing major projects and trying to find pieces to fill our home. I really would love to just have the whole house decorated already. However, I'm working through decor and pictures we have to try and rework them in new spaces and give them life, even if they aren't my absolute favorite. Hopefully I'll be able to find a few accents and pieces of furniture to fill in a few more spaces as the months go on.
I hesitate to share because I'm no Joanna Gaines, I'm not sure if anything in the house even actually goes together. I am just a girl who is striving for trendy while keeping it simple and on budget.
Hopefully grass will be in place of all this dirt come spring time!
Lots of chalk art on the concrete in the mean time.
I STILL need to paint the front door... We are leaning towards navy blue.
Front entry, still need a fancy rug, I really like this one, a sign and coat hooks. 
The rebar on the rails was left over from our foundation. I found something like this on Pinterest and Tim made it happen!
Mud room, eventually there will be storage closets, a bench, permanent hooks (these are just the stick on) and cubbies for shoes, hats and gloves. 
I’m standing by the laundry room and the half bath. 
This mirror is from Target.
Basket: Hobby Lobby, $4 on clearance.
Gallery wall made up of items we already had.
 The girls' hallways. I LOVE my measuring stick. I've wanted this since I was pregnant with Karoline.
 Girls bathroom (this mirror was supposed to be black but it kept coming broken). There are gold accents in here so this works, too. Vanity is from Costco.
Tim's office, storage, shelving and new curtains needed in this space.
One day this living room corner will house two cute chairs and a round whisky barrel type table.
I love this little corner. Plant, free at school; basket, from a sweet old neighbor; blanket, IKEA, old books, from thrift stores and one from my dear mother in law; candle sticks, free at a yard sale; letter board, Hobby Lobby. The brick on the fireplace is the thin brick version of the brick on the exterior of the home. I'm contemplating white washing it a bit. However, I also really like it as it is.

 Master bath: rugs from Amazon.
 Vanity from Costco and mirror from Ross for $50.
 Still need to find another curtain option. Thinking black Roman shades.
 Master closet, hers.
Master closet, his. Organizer from Wayfair.
 The cake plate with lid, on the top shelf, was my great grandmothers.
 Coffee bar, needs to be painted navy blue (I bought it from a neighbor for $10). A smart friend suggested painting it a color that has meaning to us. Navy would have been one of our wedding colors, had we not decided that spending an insane amount of money on one day for a wedding was crazy.
 Beyond the coffee bar leads back to the mudroom, laundry and half bath.
 Some cool kitchen organization that my A-type heart loves!
I didn't even know a drawer microwave was a thing.
This thing freaks me out. Physics, I don't get it.
This is the only light we will be replacing, not bad for having to make all house decisions while also becoming a teacher and working mom for the first time...
I had wanted a round, farmhouse-y table, Tim said no. So, now the light doesn't quite fit the feel of this space. We will get a black, more square/edgy one... some day. Anyone want this light? We paid $150 (around there), make an offer. Kidding, but not really...
I'd like to find a washable rug for under the table.
 Tim made the floating shelves.
 He made the range hood cover, another Pinterest desire.
Tim also installed all of the cabinets.
Stools and black handles; Amazon. Tim poured the concrete counter tops on his own. Sink is from Costco. Most of the faucets in the house came from Lowes. The pot filler faucet was from a specialty plumbing website.

If you've stuck with me this long, thanks! I'm waiting on our bed frame to arrive and a few more things to be decided on in the girls rooms. Once they are in, part 2 will feature the bedrooms and the living room.

If you see anything you like or have questions on be sure to ask!

If you would like to request a consultation to discuss building your dream custom home, please email timothyreedconstruction@gmail.com.