Friday, January 31, 2014

Last Day of Jan!

This has been crazy hard!! I'm hoping it'll get easier as time goes on.

Today I took the day off from stress- tomorrow I'll jump back in.  It was kinda nice to just hang out with kids and ignore reality for a day.  I hope I didn't put myself to far behind and hope when I wake tomorrow I'll be ready and rested to jump back into my crazy life.

I'm sorry I do not have much more to say tonight- I stayed up late hanging with my husband and am going to bed.

*edit- I totally forgot to push publish last night... (2/1/2014) so I'm going to 'publish' this on the right date.... even though it is the next morning*

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Poor Baby

Yesterday I spent the whole day feeling awful from a headache- a bad headache I kinda felt fluish- so stayed home from school and rested.  At about 10 I felt better so was trying to get some homework done.  Right when I declared that I was going to bed; Avi woke up and started crying.  Poor thing had gotten sick and thrown up on her bed.  SO after cleaning her up I spent the remainder of the night taking care of her.  Each time I thought that she was well enough to go to sleep I'd put her to bed and then go crawl in my bed and she'd start crying again.  I didn't get any sleep.  I did decide that I need to set up a second bed (or at least have a cot I can put together easily) somewhere in the kids room so that when kids have nights like these I can get a little more sleep.
Avi continued to feel sick all day today- though it seemed to mostly be a headache and not flu for her.  She's sleeping now so hopefully she'll wake up happy and refreshed.
My brain is spent from lack of sleep and worry over her- so this is all you are getting tonight.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Tonight is going to be more of a venting post for myself- therapy I suppose.  I'm only 3 and a half weeks into this semester and I'm already doubting my ability to finish strong.  It isn't that I doubt my ability to draw- through a lot of hard work and tears I've managed to get to a point where I could probably be considered pretty good.  No the problem lies in one class in particular.  I thought it was going to be a little different then it has ended up being.  The class is called 'Conceptual Illustration' I honestly was very excited as I had gotten it mixed up with 'Concept Design' two very different things as I've now discovered.  Conceptual Illustration is illustrating a concept or vague ideas.  Concept Design is of course designing characters, buildings or whatever you can think of for (primarily) video games.  (Visual Development is what it is called when you are designing characters, buildings or what have you for a movie or story book- ultimately very similar).
In any case- I am in the Conceptual Illustration class, and I think I might be in over my head.  I'm excited on a more intellectual level to learn to grow and expand my creative process- on a more practical level I'm terrified.  Not of learning something new, not of going outside of my comfort zone; but of failing.  And not in the way you might think.  Failing and learning from my failures is one thing- failing the class and having to drop out of school is an entirely different thing.  Thanks to last semester I'm on a tight leash- not that I didn't try hard. I tried my hardest to do my best in all of my classes last semester. I did OK- considering the circumstances.  That hardly matters when it comes to the way the University looks at the numbers attached to my record.  I dipped below my overall 'B' average and I don't even know what to do now.  Well I mean I know what to do- work my rear end off and hope for the best.
I need to let go of the stress because it is squishing my creativity... but that is much easier said than done.
That is all for tonight- I just needed to vent a little.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Roman Woman

I don't have a lot to talk about today- I pretty much spent the whole day working on this:
I wouldn't say that it is 'finished' but it is as done as it is going to get before I turn it in tomorrow- largely because I've been working on it for to long and am zoning out and making more mistakes then I would be if I started working on it fresh tomorrow.  Unfortunately it is due tomorrow morning so there it is.  I've only spent about 22 hours on it so far- and I think it could use another 10 more minimum.  Just to finish up the shading and polish up some of the rendering.  


Monday, January 27, 2014

Cute Kidlets

As most Monday's go I'm pretty beat and do not have much to say- so I'm sharing some silly pictures of my kids.  

I took them at the end of last year- unfortunately neither one took it seriously.  BUT that is how they are- and how I'll forever remember them at this age- goofy little kids.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"It's not a big deal"

(image found through Google search)
A few weeks ago my daughter and I had some sort of misunderstanding.  She was hurt and offended by something that I no longer remember.  What I do remember was coming out of the kitchen to see her drag a blanket over to her howling spot and then sit down and proceed to cry.
"Oh Avi!" I cried, "It is not a big deal"
She stopped for a second and looked at me; her eyes got bigger- more round and you could see reflected in them the emotion 'how can you say that?'
She broke down into greater sobs- more heartbroken then before, not only was she upset about whatever it was that had gone wrong- she had no one on her side to emphasize with her.
This moment was no longer than the space of an intake of air- and suddenly I was that small girl- and I was upset about something, and someone was telling me, "It's not a big deal"
"grown ups are so dumb" I remember thinking, "of course it isn't a big deal to them; they are bigger than me" I resolved at that time to never, ever, say anything like that to my kids.  I would try to see it from their point of view before I ever passed judgement.  I cannot remember how old I was- but I was quite young; and it was such an important thought to me that I repeated it often in my mind as I grew up.
Eventually it had faded to the back of my mind and it slammed right into me as I looked at my little girl.  I did what I thought was right at that point- walked over to her and picked her up and talked to her about what had happened.  I remember she wasn't in trouble- she had just made some mistake due to the limitations of her small body.  I truly wish I could remember what it was- I just know that I had to comfort her.
As adults we still utter this idea to each other- not always in these exact words- but it still comes across as such 'oh- well at least you aren't going through <blah>'  I know I've done it- it's hard not to.  As if somehow pointing out that your life could be so much worse will somehow help the situation.  No one means it that way but that is how it comes across 'it's not a big deal, get over it'. This isn't to say that this piece of advice isn't perfectly sound sometimes- but I think most of the time- it is a big deal- maybe not to the one outside the problem- but for the one inside the problem, the person that is in that particular moment; it is.  I've looked back on situations in my life that were so hard to get through- that I laugh at now.  I have more life experience, I have more emotional maturity- if faced with the same situation I would react VASTLY differently; because I've already been through it.
Back to the moment with my daughter.  After I helped calm her down and we talked through her sadness- she went to her tasks that are so important to an 18 month old; and I went back to whatever was pressing at the time.
My mind stayed stuck on the situation that had just occurred and I couldn't help thinking; as I have often done since having kids; of the relationship between Our Father in Heaven and ourselves.  So many times I have prayed (I suppose everyone has) for help getting through a situation, or just pouring out the anguishes of my heart to him.  He's been through everything I have and more! There is no way that my troubles could be perceived as a 'big deal' to Him.  And yet- I feel like he listens; and I feel like I get answers to my prayers.  Sometimes the answer is, 'It's not a big deal' but it comes across with such love and in contexts where the sentence continues a bit further.  "It's not a big deal because I love you and will help you through it." In every way we are like children to him- and our little spirits have limitations- the reason we are here is to grow and learn.  He'll help us through all of our hardships and sadness.  That love is a powerful force.
This all came to mind again today as I talked to a girl I'd never met before- and mentioned to the poor girl- who had just gotten married not 5 months ago- all of the frustrating things that had happened over the last 2 years.  I do not know what I did this- except I needed to talk and she came over to talk to me for no particular reason that I could see.  She smiled and said 'I'm sorry- I couldn't even imagine going through all of that" It was not the response I was expecting- I don't know what I was expecting- but not that.  It brought back to my mind that idea that had crossed my mind so many weeks before, "I love you and I will help you through it"
So I thought I'd share.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Healthy Eating part 2b

So it was interesting to see what happened this last week- I didn't have a plan and never got to the grocery store- so what happened? We totally reverted... So not really that interesting- more like predictable.

This week I have a plan- not a solid 'this day we eat this and this day we eat that' sort of plan, (which I sincerely hope I'll have time to put together next week) but a list of meals and snacks.  My plan this week is to refer to the list as sort of a menu.  I bought most of the food today- not the produce part of the food 'cause we have some in the fridge still and frankly all the produce at Wal-mart looked... undesirable.  So Monday after school I'm going to go get the remaining items on my list and cut up the fruit and veggies for the fridge again like I did last week.

Now while I didn't put together a real meal plan I did think about snacks this past week- and I jotted down some snack combinations that I thought sounded pretty good and that would be healthy:

·         Snack ideas
o   #1
§  Apple
§  Celery
§  Raisin
§  Peanut butter
o   #2
§  Cheese cube
§  Apple
§  Carrot
o   #3
§  Broccoli or Cauliflower
§  Small tomato
§  Cucumber slice
§  Cheese cube
o   #4
§  Banana slice
§  Apple slice
§  Peanut butter
§  Crackers
o   #5
§  Pudding (store bought)
§  Crackers
o   #6
§  Fruit cup (store bought)
§  Cheese cubes
o   #7
§  Cottage cheese
§  Broccoli or cauliflower
§  Small tomato
§  Cucumber slice
o   #8          
§  Stuffed tomato
·         Cottage cheese
·         Tuna fish
·         Onion
·         Celery
·         Cheese

If you have any ideas of things to add; please share!  Monday night after I buy any of the produce I am missing I'm going to put the snacks into inexpensive Ziploc Tupperware containers.  The hope is that we'll be eating more complete snacks and not just grapes :3  (as I've mentioned before)

One other thing that I accomplished this week that I think will help with eating better and hopefully losing some weight.  I got most of the house de-boxified.  Yea I know that isn't a real term.  So the living space feels more comfortable that it used to.  I also got a table cloth for our table so it'll feel more like a real table.  (the table we use is one of those white fold out tables that you use at church- to conserve space)  I'm hoping this will help encourage us (having a nice place to eat) to eat together as a family. It's something I think is missing from our lives for a variety of reasons.

Next week I hope to have a share-able meal plan, unless the 'menu' system works- in that case I will share what we used as a menu this week.

Good night all!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Memorable Moments #1

In church I brought some quite toys for my children to play with.  Little girl decided that every time she did anything with the toy she needed to throw her hands in the air and shout 'YAY I DID IT!' 
Lesson Learned: There is no such thing as a quite toy.

Little boy was off with someone on an adventure (grandma I think) So I was home with Little girl.  Dinner came and she requested something to eat.  I went through the pantry looking for something she could help me make and pulled out some easy mac- I showed her the package and she looked confused, so I pulled out a box of regular macaroni and cheese and told her that it was the same thing.  With this information she began jumping up and down clapping her hands and shouting 'oh oh oh!' (she doesn't do anything quietly) 
We dumped the pasta in a bowl and then put water in- then I put it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  She fell apart.  Wailing, crying, laying on the floor fist pounding- classic tantrum.  3 minutes were up; and I added the cheese- she immediately calmed down and ate some food.  
Evidently in her mind the steps to making a meal are as follows:
open box
eat food

When cleaning the living room I announced to the children I was about to vacuum.  Little Boy ran in and immediately started picking up small toys. Little girl went around the room finding all of her snack stashes and shoving them in her mouth.

After climbing on me for about an hour- clawing at my face and pulling my hair- I finally  set Little girl outside of the room.  She sat on the bottom stair across from my office and proceeded to wail, throw toys and do anything else she could.  Then she fell asleep.  It was kinda cute at the end. 

I'm sure there were other cute stories from this week- but I'm drawing a blank now.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hello again

I hope that next month I can get this blogging thing down better- and hopefully I can make the quality of the entries go up... instead of the rapid decline they have been in.  So far much of this month has been 'ahhhh! I have to write a blog post... ooh well; no big deal I had all these awesome ideas of what to write all day.' and then I open up blogger and... mind blank. -_-

I used to pride myself on my writing skills... but I was young and arrogant.  I'm still arrogant I'm just older and arrogant.  

Today I had a tough day emotionally.  All of the struggles I've been dealing with over the past 2 years kind of fell on my shoulders all at once.  Normally I can deal with everything- but sometimes I just feel crushed.  That was today.  However- in spite of this; I got myself out of bed. (ok ok; my kids got me out of bed) and I made a list and tried to be productive today.  I only completed 2 1/2 sections on my list- I hope to finish the rest tomorrow.  Funny how even though I accomplished alot- I'm coming to the end of the day feeling worse than when I started.

To add to my emotional frustrations my daughter tried to kill herself.  (not on purpose)  She failed thankfully; but seriously that girl will put ANYTHING in her mouth... usually not a big deal but she found a small bit of plastic and nearly got it caught over her air pipe.  Fortunately her bodies natural defenses kicked in by the time I rushed into the room and she puked it up.  The thing that makes this so irritating- is that I was in and out of the room every 5-10 minutes to check on her.  She just moves fast.  I keep thinking I have all the toys with small removable parts out of her reach... and then she manages to chew off another piece.  Her older brother helped me gather up almost all of their toys into a big box today- so I'm going to sort through them this weekend and pull out all of the toys that she could potentially harm herself on.  It's not fair to her older brother- he's going to have a lot of his toys out of reach; or possibly gotten rid of.  It seems when we clean up his little ken-ex or Legos (he only has a handful of either) we don't always get all of them off of the floor... I'm always pulling them out of my little girl's mouth.  In any case... I'm just frustrated so I'm venting a little bit.  I don't know what to do about her- because big brother needs to run to the bathroom I cannot just barricade them in their room- and I cannot trap her in her room without her brother... 'cause he needs to be able to get at the toys that are in there.  

I'll do some research and see if I can find some help on the mommy forums.  Something besides me having to hover over her ever second of the day (sad fact is; that just isn't an option while I'm finishing school)

Well; that's all the babbling I'm going to do tonight.

'night all

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

@.@ (pointless rambling; don't need to read this peeps)

Most of the cartoons and images I use is because I actually like something about the illustration.  This one... not so much- (someday maybe I'll talk about the little pictures I use and why- but for now; I have another short tangent.) This image I thought conveyed well how I feel when I hit a deadline for a painting.  I'll have to draw my own version someday.

I spent all of my free time over the weekend working on this one painting.  I meant to take a picture of it so I could put it on the blog.  I forgot to and turned it in.  :(

My brain is very sleepy- so this is all I'm going to write-

real post tomorrow I swear.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Painting Night

I've been painting all day and will be painting all night.
and here is a picture of a snail:

Monday, January 20, 2014

In Which Cinderella's Pumpkin gets Smashed...

My husband and I have struggled financially pretty much since day one of our marriage.  I'm not going into the entire 6 years of history but just to this past summer.  Mostly because I don't know if most of our friends and family know the full story.  Those who are curious, read on, those who are not interested... well we still love you.

In about May of last year my husband got a new job- through a connection he had made at school.  Everything about this job was wonderful.  It was an actual programming job! The pay was slightly better than what he had before and he was able to work a reasonable amount of hours.  For the first time in 5 years we were not stressed about paying rent and our bills.  Not to say that we ever did not pay these things- but after paying for the basic negativeness of living we'd only have about 5% of his monthly income to spend- and that honestly usually went to diapers.  We've always stretched our tax return out so we wouldn't feel so poor and have an illusion of spending money.  Those days were through!

It was fantastic.  Really quite amazing.  About July we got wind from our upstairs neighbor that our landlord was selling the house to a group that planned on demolishing it and paving it over.  We decided of course to move.  With careful planning we could see that we would be able to afford a deposit and first months rent within a month or so.  So we started looking.  After a few weeks of looking we talked to our landlord again and he assured us that the house would not be selling before the end of October at the earliest; on top of that we would be able to stay until about the end of January- giving us plenty of time to find a new place and get packed to move.  Since we didn't want to move just before a semester- and since we very much loved where we were living we stopped house hunting.

After that all of our communication with our landlord was pretty dodgy.

I prepared our home and meal plans and whatever else I could think to prepare for the coming school year.  Then August 15th I got a call from my husband telling me that he would be laid off from work at the end of August.  He was understandably panicked about losing his job when he had a family to support.  I, being as stupidly optimistic as I am, convinced myself and him to just stick it out in the apartment and not move right before school.  We didn't have any money to move- where would we move to? Best to stay put I thought- student loans were coming we could use those to cushion the next few months while we got through the semester.  It's not like we were paying anyone rent after it was sold- we were in all essence being very nicely evicted.  I later found out that was a lie.  Not only would we be paying rent but we'd be paying to the very man that sold the house.  I still am puzzled on that one (oh and there appear to be people living in our old home now- which just makes me mad as you will soon see.)  If we had had any assurance that we would be able to stay in the apartment we had at that time- we would've figured out a way to do so.  It was an amazing apartment (except for the fact that the bathtub never drained- but that is more of a rant about the lazy landlord then anything else).  The apartment was very large and had a yard.  Not something we really wanted to give up.

But we did- because the landlord got increasingly weird every time we talked to him (oh and never did pay us back our deposit, or a list of charges stating why he didn't give us our deposit- I know there is something legal I can do here- but fuzzy as to what that is).

I should mention that our student loans were almost a month late- we had to pay a couple of payments for tuition out of whatever we had saved in the bank and ended up being more than completely broke for a bit there.

My mother cleared out her basement for us in a very short period of time- and by October first we were moved in to my mothers basement.

During that period of time from September 1 to October 31, my son had to go to the hospital for oral surgery (minor surgery; but still- small body and anesthesia was involved- so still scary).  My dad went to the hospital for heart surgery.  On my husband's side of the family- his uncle was at the hospital for a procedure, ended up having a heart attack and then went into a coma.  He woke up but wasn't really himself again after that- sadly he died this last week.  My husband's father also had to go to the hospital for a procedure.

After that we had a mad panic trying to catch up in school and not be to emotional about the way our lives had seemed to crash around our feet.

It is why we've been less than sociable and why I've put up so many posts on facebook that are grumpy.  I keep hoping that someday we may have a break.  We will- its just not right now.

Since then my husband has gotten another job in his field- one that pays well and has good hours; what is more it works with his school schedule.  We'll be living in my parents basement for the next few months- hopefully we'll be out by May 31.  I'm praying that we'll find an apartment that will fit our family and not cost to much.  We're at an interesting transition right now- I don't know if the storm has passed and we're waiting on the next; or if we're in the eye- experiencing that eerie calm before the rest of it hits.  Either way- we're plugging through our Spring semester and doing our best (now that back to school expenses have been covered, to save up several months of rent and utility payments.

We've been through a lot- but that is life I think.  There are so many things that are hard about it- but you keep living and moving forward.

I want to say this: thank you for all the people who have been there over the past few months.  I've put up thank-you's before but I just don't think I can say thank you enough.  I have so many friends who have lent a listening ear as I cried about the hard things we've had to endure- I appreciate all of you for just listening and not trying to tell me 'well at least this hasn't happened' or offering other useless sentiments.  It was nice to just be able to talk through the things that were going on.  To the person who left us an envelope full of money- I don't know who you are but it was well timed and helped us pay for that move.  To the ward members who dropped everything they were doing to move us out of our old place and into our new one- you don't know how much that meant to us. To my friends, both old friends and new friends, who came and helped me put things in boxes or deep clean the old apartment (yes; he made us deep clean the apartment- dumb landlord) thank you.  Thank you for coming and dealing with a very stressed and very irrational me.  It was amazing how much that helped.

I get frustrated and depressed by the things that go wrong in our lives- it seems they cannot just go a little bit long but very wrong whenever something bad happens.  However, I'm grateful to have so many people in our lives that will help us.

So we're rebuilding our pumpkin- and maybe this time it'll get turned into a carriage and we can ride for a little while until the next disaster.


*note: on Saturday I indicated I would do the second part of Healthy Eating part 2 tonight.  I've spent much of my weekend working on homework so I will not be writing that today as I didn't get any shopping done today.  I hope to go shopping and write it up tomorrow- but as I have a rather full schedule homework-wise I do not think I'll get to it until Saturday.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New(ish) Sketching stuff

I've spent about 2 hours going over different ideas to post about tonight- most of them I feel like I need more preparation before I post about them.  (collecting pictures making sure that they are slightly well written... you know- stuff)
Instead of coming up with anything to write- I played with a sketchbook and pencil set I got last week.
and I drew a really awful mushroom while watching a movie
truth be told I wasn't trying for a good mushroom- I was mostly just trying out the pencils; and they are indeed awesome.

So tomorrow I'll have a real post- and real posts for the rest of the week (that is my plan anyway)
So until then!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Healthy Eating part 2a

Phase 1 ended up being a success!! ~well... mostly...

The success:
Having apple slices and the grapes w/o vines ended up giving us quick easy snacks to grab.  The added bonus was that since we were looking in the refrigerator for fruit snacks we also ate more oranges and carrots.
The problem:
we drastically underestimated how much of these things we would eat- and ate through most of the fruit early on in the week.  Veggies were largely untouched 'cause we went for the sweet things first.  Also the sweet fruits were more visible in the fridge then the veggies.  Also the apple slices went a little brown because I was lazy when I packaged them.
The Solution:
Instead of having containers dedicated to just one type of fruit or vegetable we will have fruits and veggies sharing snack containers.  So it will actually be a snack instead of a bunch of pre-cut fruits and veggies randomly thrown into the fridge.  Also; looked up how to keep apples fresher and will be trying some new things this next week.

The next success:
We snacked better!
The problem:
we still ended up going out to eat or otherwise grabbing fatty pre-prepared food because we still didn't end up having time to cook every night.  The other problem is our schedule but I'll get to that in a minute.
The Solution:
This next week we will have a menu for each day- and a more 'restricted' amount of food to eat.

The goal here is both to eat better and to lose weight.  We both want to lose about 100 lbs each by next year.  On the eating better thing: we are hoping to raise our kids with good habits so that they will be able to take care of themselves on their own.

So for this next week- I'm putting together a menu, shopping list and master plan for the next week.  I'll post it Monday for anyone who is curious (Healthy Eating part 2b).  Within that meal plan we will have the following things:

2 snacks
and Juice (like the green juices you hear so much about)

The Juicing is something we tried over the summer and it was amazing how much more energy we had and also how it curbed our appetites so we were not eating as much nor did we desire as much junk food.  (the reason we stopped would be a very long story so I'll have to share it later)

Since it is a holiday weekend admittedly I've been spending more time with my family and less time preparing food or even doing homework (oops!) but tomorrow I'm back to reality and will have to start working on practical things again.  That is why I'm not posting the meal plan until Monday- which is also the day I'm going to go shopping and prepare all the food.

So for now that is what I leave you with.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Titles Titles Titles....

I have the hardest time with titles.  As in I myself have a hard time putting titles on things; be it paintings, drawings, blog posts, poems, short stories... well you get the gist.  This has always been the case for me.  I was always able to write great papers for all of my English classes and get high marks on them- but titles were the hardest thing for me.  There were several times when I wanted to just put the title as 'Paper #3 of Term 2' or something equally lame. I'd often just find a phrase that I liked in the paper and throw that up as the title.  I really don't know how people come up with clever titles.  It is simply something I have not yet mastered.

Along these lines I've found a recent trend in Blogs that I really really do not like.  It is the 'gotcha' titling mechanism.  I think whomever started it must have read a lot of those cheap gossip rags you can get in line in the grocery store.  The anatomy of one of these titles is as such: "I'm doing <something incredibly shocking and not very moral> because of <something that sound moral and reasonable>".  The two extreme statements often send a person's mind into a fit of worry... the sad thing is this: the title works- it catches your eye and you do click on it- why? Because you cannot believe that "I'm getting a divorce in 2014 because I love my wife".  The title sounds insane, stupid and builds curiosity.  It also plays on the trend of consuming depressing and terrifying media that we've let into our culture.  (this is in no ways commenting on movies and books- it is a comment on our 'news' and the fact that we dwell on the worst things- and make things worse through gossip- I diverge)

SO you click on the title- you end up with a 'viral' article- that within the first paragraph completely dispels your worries that the title created.  From there I've noticed that one of two things happen to me- I read through their thesis and end up reading what is intended to be a heartfelt story of whatever revelation they have had- or I get bored because they simply wanted viewers and used a very silly mechanic to get them.

In either case I find the tactic more than a little offensive... the first with the heartfelt story/trauma or whatever I get annoyed that they would belittle their own story by using a 'gotcha' title in the first place.  People go through some really very big things in their lives- and they end up coming away from it changed.  I love talking to friends and finding out what they have overcome- or even reading it on their blogs.  The thing is though- they are telling their story- something near to their heart.  They aren't blasting the world with a desperate plea of 'look at me!'.  Maybe people who use the titles are sincere- and like me, have a hard time coming up with a proper title.  It doesn't feel like that to many readers... Admittedly I myself am guilty of sharing one or two of these trick titles- because I did end up liking what the person had to say.  HOWEVER I've shared many blog posts that had great stories or messages who did not use a gimmick- they were just honest.

I'm afraid that this makes me sound a bit bitter.  I'm not- my blog is for me- if people read it; awesome- if no one reads it; well that is ok as well.  I love getting comments and seeing my little counter go up- but ultimately I'm not writing this for fame.  So I'm not bitter- I'm just frustrated and frankly a little confused by this trend. Lying or shocking people shouldn't be the way we share are heartfelt struggles.  If you want to share your struggles and subsequent triumphs with the world- do it! But please; be honest about it- ask people to share your story, promote it.  Don't just shock people into visiting your page.  It's not really fair to anyone.  Especially you.

Honestly though- what do I know?  I'm just some random chick who writes a silly blog.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

A piece of my sketchbook

I sat down to write tonight and decided since it ended up being yet ANOTHER day that I haven't had a second to think/breath that I'd share a 30 minute drawing that I did.  Actually at first I was going to share a few of my sketches- but then as I flipped through the book I realized that most of the sketches I do would probably not be appreciated by the masses.  In order to be as amazing as I want to be in drawing and in painting I do a lot of sketches from life.  Specifically from nude models. *gasp*  Well how else am I going to learn to draw and paint figures that feel real? In any case- even though I'm comfortable with what I draw I doubt most people want to see sketches of nudes.

So I found this sketch- I actually did it today.

of course after photographing it I'm seeing every stinking thing that I did wrong in the sketch.  So I might go back and work on it some more.  But for now this is what I'm sharing.

As coincidence may have it I was feeling a little uncertain about sharing the picture when I checked to see if there were any messages up in a group I am in and I found this link  which led to a cyanide & happiness cartoon that I have posted below.

Seriously one of the best things I've ever seen.  It's so true though- as human beings no matter what we are doing; be it scrapbooking, fine art, music, dance or whatever we tend to stand back and say 'that really isn't any good'.  I love that this points out that what we forget is this: we are better now than we were before!

It really is neat.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Authors I love

# JRR Tolkien- pretty much everything written by him
#2 Patricia Mckillip- again pretty much anything written by her- but a good first book of hers to read would be "Winter Rose"
#3 Lloyd Alexander
#4 CS Lewis
#5 Robert Jordan
#6 Terry Brooks
#7 CJ Cherryth
#8 Micheal J Sullivan
#9 Brandon Sanderson
#10 Charles Dickens 

I honestly could go on- but that seems like a good place to stop for now.  Oh and this list is in no particular order :D

I'm always looking for new authors- what books/authors are your favorite?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another day...

This is another one I'm not going to post to facebook.  Like yesterday I'm ending the day exhausted, stressed and sleepy.  I've spent almost the whole day attempting to do great amounts of homework. Instead I've been hopelessly distracted by my children; and unfortunately not in a positive way.  Since my first post about my son and his going to bed anxiety he's actually been a lot better.  Tonight however he's gone back to sitting down and screaming.


I'm going to do school work.  I hope tomorrow I can write a much better post- something that I'll actually feel like sharing with people.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Computer Issues

I'm writing my post tonight; but I'm not linking this to facebook.  Why? because it will be short, full of my frustrations and less thought out than my usual post.

So my computer had issues a few months ago. The issue it had was water getting spilled on it in a cartoon-domino fashion.  The computer promptly died after that happened.  SO we thought to ourselves 'we're smart- lets go ahead and just order the components and replace them'.  The fact is we are smart enough and capable enough to fix/build our own computers- but my computer was damaged in such a mysterious way we were not able to bring it back to life.  After spending the money on the components that we did we decided to put them into my husbands computer.  Which we did- about 3 days after I got my new computer.  Upon opening his computer the machine he had basically disintegrated.  The posts from the case to the motherboard were loose and most gone and his motherboard had a crack next to the processor.  We have NO idea how this happened.  SO we put the motherboard from my computer into his case and ordered a new case.  Which arrived today.  Husband was sick today so I decided to be a nice wife and assemble it all.  So now it is all assembled and the BIOS isn't posting- for some mysterious reason... everything is in there correctly (we double checked- and right now I think he is triple checking...).  I believe it will start working eventually- I just don't know when that will be.

In any case putting together his computer to HOURS and now I'm here posting my little post and tying it up quickly so I can go do my homework.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

A few of my likes/dislikes

# likes dislikes
1 Flowers; alive or dead raspberries
2 Bears small domestic animals
3 The Color Black Burned Cookies
4 Playing with my kids People not living up to their potentials
5 Drawing & Painting My home being a mess
6 Butterflies cleaning
7 the smell of dirt in a garden trying new foods
8 scrapbooking the way I sometimes talk without thinking
9 Being Creative my babies throwing tantrums
10 Cooking with my kids spelling


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Healthy Eating part 1

So one of the struggles we've had over the past few years is eating well.  Not that we don't know how to eat healthy- we just have our days so full of stuff (good stuff) that when a meal comes along we are suddenly faced with a 'Holy Cow! I'm hungry- what should we do about that?' Our minds are usually so wrapped up in whatever we are doing we have to break out of that mentally and start to focus on food.  Which usually ends up being a 5 minute discussion about what we want to eat and then segways into a conversation about whatever project we are working on ('I'm having the hardest time getting this texture to look right in my painting' or 'I've been looking at my code for an hour and I cannot figure out why it isn't working').  Then after about 30 minutes we realize once again that we are still hungry.  At that point we just grab whatever we have around the house and eat it so we can get back to our projects.  Honestly introducing kids into the mix hasn't really solved the problem.  It just means that I prepare them something to eat while talking to my husband about food/projects- and we just hang out in the same room as the kids while they eat and then grab whatever and go to our offices.  (*note here: my office historically has been in the same room as the kids play room OR at the very least right next to wherever they play- so we don't just feed the kids then abandon them... I noticed when re-reading that paragraph it didn't sound quite right)

Anyway- the result of this habit of being stressed and not making time to make healthy foods has been detrimental to our health in more ways then I can count.  This year we have made a resolve to start eating better as a family- and to each (the parents) loose a significant amount of weight.  We puzzled together and apart as to why it is so hard to eat well.  I mean outside of the fact that we both are full time students and have full time jobs of one sort or another.  We came up with what I think is a clever list.

#1- if it isn't instant we aren't going to eat it.
The sad fact here is this- we don't have time to prepare a meal for 20-40 minutes; and most meals require that amount of time.
#2- too many choices!
Frankly when you go to prepare a meal- or go grocery shopping you are faced with an INSANE amount of choices of food- this isn't bad; but it makes super busy and already overwhelmed people have a difficult time narrowing down what to make/eat.  The result of this has been a lot of food going bad in our fridge before we could get to it.
#3-planning healthy meals for a family is hard
I need to clarify this one a bit.  There are lots of yummy meals that I know how to make- and most of them have a lot of elements of healthy food.  It's not that I have a difficult time making healthy food persay- but when you don't have a good structure for what you are making when it is easy to go to a simpler meal that is really not good for you (even if it pretends to be good for you.)
Also- have you ever looked into 'dieting' at all?  There are lots and lots of amazing meal plans you can get on the internet- well balanced, practical foods and stuff that you could continue eating after you have lost the weight you want to.  They are also created around a single person loosing weight.  So while I'd love to snatch one of those up and just use that it isn't practical.  Scaling those things up for the family takes a LOT of time- time that I might as well have spent collecting our own recipes and making a family meal plan that we would actually like.  I know there are meal plans that are created by all of the awesome mommy bloggers in the world- complete with shopping lists and whatever; they are pretty awesome.  Unfortunately do not take into account the fact that there are many people out there with dietary restrictions.  I sadly have many dietary restrictions.

Now the solutions.

#1 - this is the one I hope I solved today. We went a bought a whole bunch of veggies and fruits today and instead of just tossing them in the fridge with the idea that we would later prepare them to eat; we actually chopped them up today and put them in little cute containers.
look the inside of my fridge- I know you wanted to see it :D
I'm probably a little to excited about this; and probably many of you already do this- but I feel like a genius.  Everything is ready to go; if I want some cucumber slices on a sandwich I just grab the thing full of cucumber slices and toss them on.  No work.  At least not then.  You know what I mean.  
So this (I hope) solves the issue of 'its not instant'
#2- We've decided to limit our protein consumption to eggs, chicken, ground turkey, fish and beans.  I know that is still a big list- but it gives us structure when we go shopping; it also forces us to think within more specific types of recipe.  It really does simplify life.  Fruits and veggies we can have as many of whatever happen to be in season during that time of year. ('cause it is cheaper to buy in season) and dairy... well I'm not able to eat most dairy so outside of milk for the kids, cheese and yogurt we really don't have much around anyway.
#3- I actually solved that at the beginning of last semester- I took a week out of my summer and planned out a months worth of meals and grocery lists that I could rotate.  Next week for phase 2 of healthy eating I'm going to revise that to match up with our new dietary restrictions and use that for the next few months.  (I have a day each week built in  to try 1 new recipe (on a day I don't have class)- that way the meal plan doesn't get to boring)

I'm excited- and I'm hoping that phase 1 works this next week.  Hopefully we'll be eating better by default because most of the instant type food we have around is pre-cut fruits and veggies. :D


Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Ways to win my heart

So I keep finding myself not writing this until pretty late at night and by then my brain is pretty fried.  Which leads to me staring at this blank screen for far to long; so in order to help myself get something written each day that is semi meaningful (as is the goal) I did a search on writing prompts.  More specifically writing prompts for a blog- which seem to come in the form of '30 day challenges' for the most part.  I found that there seem to be about 5 of these on the internet- and the seem to be written for single people; more specifically single 14 year old girls.  So I chose one at random and the first subject was about winning a heart.  It kinda made me laugh- but hey- it was a starting point.

Honestly I'm not sure what the intent of this particular prompt is- I don't know how I would've answered it in the past but now I think it comes down to a few silly things.  I imagine this list will be more than 5.

Cookies mixed by little hands, most of the batter stays in the bowl;
cookie crumb kisses for no reason,
sticky hands hugging my leg,
giggles of joy at absurd toys.
Compliments at the most random times- usually involving the words 'mommy- I think you are beautiful today' followed by 'am I handsome?'
Hugs and tag and hide and seek;
missing toys- pirate ship in the sink!
Wilted flowers from who knows where-
scribbled notes on scrap paper.
Random 'I love you!'s through out the day.
Cuddles with husband while watching a movie-
late night treats when kids are sleeping.
Clean floors, picked up by someone else.
Yummy Korean dishes prepared by a handsome man (specifically MY man :D).
Kids playing with Dad when I need some quite time.

It is a silly list- but honestly I'm of an age and a point in life where my heart is not to be won by extravagant gifts or other pricey things.  Not to say I don't enjoy going out with my husband just the two of us to eat and watch a movie.  At this point though it is more about laughing and hanging out together.  Also I feel like I have more than one person competing for my heart- the nice thing is it has enough capacity to love that I have room for all 3 of the people competing for it.

That is all tonight- maybe tomorrow I'll use complete sentences :D

PS: I need to find my copy of photoshop and re-install it... editing images in paint is hard!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Today I had one of those days that was just a good day.  Part of what made it good were these two videos I got to see.  I debated back and forth about writing some commentary or just linking the videos.  I've decided to link the videos- 'cause honestly they say everything better than I could.

The first is John Cleese on how to be creative.  It has many awesome quotes.

I think my favorite thing he says is towards the beginning "Creativity is not a Talent; it is a way of operating."
The second is Steve Jobs speaking at Stanford.

I loved the insight about how you cannot connect the dots until you look back on your life- it reflected something that I've been thinking about all week.

Regardless about how you feel about either man these speeches are pretty amazing.

I swear I'm not being lazy; I just think these are both worth sharing.  Makes me want to be a more awesome person.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

20 'random' facts about me

1.  I love math and am kinda good at it
2. I have lived in the Philippines
3. I have a working knowledge (grammar and sentence structure) for Portuguese, Japanese and German; I just do not have a lot of vocabulary in any language
4. I love watching animated films and shows- cartoon-a-holic here!
5. Fantasy and science fiction are my favorite genre's (for both movies and books)
6. I know WAY to much back-story and lore to Tolkien's world and Star Trek... not enough to be a true guru but enough to be kinda scary
7. I love ice cream but cannot eat it
8.  Same with bacon
9. I love hiking and camping but haven't done either in a long while
10. My second toe is bigger than my first
11. I write stories- though I've not been gutsy enough to get anything to a publisher (though one of my goals for this year is to send one in)
12. I am pretty good at photography
13.  I once built a bed with a built in couch and a closet + storage area out of an old bunk bed.  It was pretty cool
14. I typically only get about 4-5 hours of sleep at night
15. When I say 'sorry I have to do homework' what I really mean is 'I have about three 40 hour projects I need to somehow complete in the next 5 hours.
16. I hope to one day work for a video game company like Blizzard entertainment
17. I've always wanted to back-pack Europe and visit all the castles and megalithic ruins. (I will do this one day...)
18. My favorite candy is Andies chocolate mints
19. I collect teddy bears in general; more specifically I collect care-bears
20. I never have time to read- but I listen to about 4 audio books a month


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A letter to myself- 10 years ago.

One of the things you hear in life a lot is to not compare yourself to others.  I think it ties for some of the BEST advice and some of the most DIFFICULT to follow that is ever given out.  In my own life I find it nearly impossible to not compare myself to others.  Especially when I look around and so many others are so much farther along in life- or seem so much better off.

When I was 18 I was in a youth meeting at church and we were given a piece of paper each and asked to write a letter to ourselves to read in 10 years.  The letter was supposed to go over the things that we wanted to accomplish in that time period or something like that.  I remember looking at the paper for a long time and getting progressively more and more angry.  I barely knew what I was going to do the next day let alone 10 years from that point.  How was I to know who I would be? What I wanted to accomplish? How could I possibly at that second predict the twists and turns and roadblocks that life would put into my path? How could I tell myself to whether the storms, to get past the trials and the difficulties.  How could I possibly write anything that my 28 year old self could read and say 'hey- go me!'.  I obviously was over thinking the activity.  I remember looking up at the other girls in the room busily scribbling away; assuming that they had bountiful ideas and were writing long lovely elegant letters.  They probably were not; at least not all of them.  At least they were making a show of writing on the cute stationary in front of them.  So I looked down and jotted down a bullet list and drew a picture. I thought- maybe I'll write one of these when I'm 20 so I can open it when I am 30.  I never did.

I have no idea what happened to that original letter- In all of the many moves I've been through since then I've lost track of many things- I'm enough of a pack-rat it it is probably stuck in some notebook somewhere.  In any case it is not something I could find right now.  I do however remember the list I wrote, it was a series of questions.  I don't remember them all word for word- but that letter has always been in the back of my mind.  So I'm going to take the time to respond to it now.

Dear Nikkie;

First off- you did end up getting married! Surprise! I know it isn't something you really thought you'd do- but you did.  Guess what? You know your best bud- yea him, the guy two years younger than you that you think is terrific but it hasn't even crossed your mind to date.  You marry him.  He's awesome.  Like anyone- he'll let you down here and there- but he loves you so much.  He is absolutely one of the best things that has happened in your life.  You  might not believe me on this- but it is true.  While we're on the subject- you're going to have 2 kids.  Yea- I know what you are thinking- take a deep breath- we never wanted kids; huh? Well I can tell you now- I cannot imagine my life without them. You have a boy:
He's a bit OCD but amazing, and your daughter:
She's our little 'Panic Button' but when she isn't crying or throwing a fit she is super sweet and very loving.  They both are- and they do complicate your life- but ultimately in a good way.

So that is your family- at least how it is when you are 30- I cannot tell you anything past that age since it is a mystery to me as well.

Schooling; oh schooling... yea it has taken me, erm... will take you years to get to where you want to be.  You'll take time off to get married, to have your eldest kid and to go on a mission- not necessarily in that order; but you get the gist.  I'm sorry to say it takes you awhile to figure out exactly what you want to be when you grow up- you try every major you are thinking you might like.  The thing is you like all of them.  It takes awhile but you finally settle into Illustration.  I'm not done yet but I'm moving forward.

Those are the big things- the stuff on your mind that you are mostly curious about, but I have a bit more to say.  

I'm writing to you from your 30th birthday, and I've had a lot on my mind lately- about how much everyone I know appears to be doing so much better than I.  My advice to you is to let it go.  I was in church on Sunday and while listening passively in relief society I thought about my upcoming birthday- I thought about my friends, what they have accomplished; and in many ways their lives seem to be so much better.  I'm admitting this with more than a little degree of embarrassment.  All at once sitting in that meeting I realized that it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter who is done with school first, who has more kids, who has a great job, a beautiful house or any of those other things.  We have our whole lives ahead of us.  We have so much to do.  The things that matter now are how happy we are day to day- who is in our life not what.  Like I said; I'm not done with school yet- but I've met so many AMAZING people that I'm actually grateful that I am in school still.  On top of that I'm still learning so much.  We (my dear hubby and I) don't have our own house yet; in fact we're living in mom's basement at the moment.  It's not ideal but it also isn't the end of the world.  We've been married nearly 6 years now and have lived in 8 different places.  4 of those were in the first year of our marriage.  Crazy huh? It's the way it has been.  Moving around that much hasn't been fun- but we've always been where we needed to be.  We've been able to meet some amazing people and come away from each place with fuller lives than we had before.  Life is really really hard- and it is easy to get discouraged.  Even your friends who are doing so much better than you; well they aren't really.  They have their own set of difficulties and their own set of blessings.  So; don't compare yourself.  It's hard but don't do it- you'll be so much happier if you just focus on your blessings and focus on the ways you can help those around you.  

Also- this: 

is something silly- but will mean more to you than all of the other things you could ever have in your life.  

So remember to smile; remember to look at the good in your life.  Everything will be ok.

me I mean you... you know what I mean.


Good night everyone- thank you for the well wishes on this day- it was a really great day- and I look forward to the next decade of life.  'Cause it will be amazing.


Monday, January 6, 2014

blah, blarg, googleblug...

That has been the kind of day it has been; I woke up to early and was sick to my stomach then had to go to school.  I'm super excited for all of my classes- but was rather distracted all day by my upset stomach.  Basically that leaves me tired and without much to say tonight.

So I'm going to go on a truly random tangent.

Is Om-Nom.  I'm sure you recognize him even if you haven't played 'Cut the Rope' the game he is from.  This little guy earned a special place in my heart fairly rapidly because of a series of conversations that I had back when I was just out of high school.

Anyone who knows me will know this: I have a habit of not only making up words but combining several words into one word.  Sometimes I do it on purpose- usually it just incidentally happens while I'm talking. There was one word my best friend and I said a lot 'Blarg'.  At some point she became Queen of the Blarg minions- I've always had this image of what a blarg-minion is in my head but haven't ever drawn it.  We were young and goofy- though when we get together even now we're still pretty goofy.  So during one of our conversations about nonsense I responded to a question by saying 'oh googleblug'.

What is a Googleblug? Honestly I wasn't sure.  I'm not even sure where the word came from because at the time google was not a super power.  I'm not even 100% they really existed as a company- if they did; I certainly didn't know anything about them.

So I went about trying to decide what a googleblug was.  Passively of course- it wasn't a huge focus of mine.  I started to visualize something small and green and something that was mostly teeth and big eyes.  I never really got a clear picture of it in my mind.

Until Cut the Rope.  First time I saw Om-nom my mind said 'wow- it's a Googleblug'.

Naturally I had to own one.

I know that picture is tiny- but honestly he's going to pop up in this blog from time to time; why? 'cause he's adorable.

I find that I get kind of goofy with him.  

So I happily now own my very own Googleblug.

And this is my post today- and I know it is silly and random; but I needed some silly randomness today.  I'm going to try to post earlier in the day- I think it'll make my  posts more meaningful.


oh PS I have a computer again.  W00t.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

a few short ramblings

For me the year begins 3 different times; there is the first day of the calendar year and then there is the first day of classes and finally my birthday.  Each time I sit down and review the same list of goals adding or taking away from them until the night of my birthday when I finalize my list.  I don't know why I do this; I have for years now.  Tomorrow is my second 'new year'- I have mixed feelings about starting classes this semester.  I want to be done with school; and if life was ideal I would be by now.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow after my first day of school.  Tuesday is my birthday; and I'll say more about that on Tuesday.  It's a big week for me.
I don't have a ton to say tonight- I need to get stuff together for this week and go to bed early- I'm back to getting up around 6 am for the next few months as opposed to the 8:30 or 9am that I've gotten used to over the last 2 weeks.  I'm going to miss sleeping in.  I'm incredibly distracted tonight so I'm going to stop writing now before I throw in any truly random sentences.


and this picture is just random- but I thought it was cute and needed to be shared

Saturday, January 4, 2014

More Cleaning, some plans and a movie

So if you recall the pictures from yesterday my office was a disaster.  It's gotten better! Though I've still got a lot left to get done (hopefully) tonight.  One of the problems I was facing when I started cleaning this room was just the sheer amount to be done- I'm still a bit overwhlemed by it- but I figured out  system.  I'm opening boxes one at a time- quickly jotting down on the side what I see in them and then give it an unpacking priority lable (high, medium, low) and stacking them accordingly.  I think I might be able to go through the majority of them tomorrow because 1- I'll know what is in them; and 2- I'll have a better idea where to put it.  Once the boxes are stacked and labeled (they nearly are) I'm cleaning off all of the surfaces in here and figuring out EXACTLY where each catagory of stuff goes- so unpacking the boxes will be pretty easy.  That is my hope at least.

So I've been giving this blog/365 challenge a lot of thought as I've been cleaning the past few days- and as much as I like writing a journal of my thoughts to the world; I feel like I could do more.  So I'm going to put 'themes' on each day of the week.  (spiritual thought on sunday, weightloss wednesday, sketchbook saturday- I'm digging the aletiration :D) I've not yet figured out the total schedule but other things I was thinking about writing about are things like: book or movie reviews,  at least one just journaling day, a writing prompt day (creative writing maybe? or another journal writng day?) a craft day... Those are the ideas I've had- I'm not going to set anything completely in stone yet (as far as what day of the week I'll do what; I probably will eventually though) those are the thoughts I've had- any ideas anyone else has are welcome :D.  I'm doing research on ideas myself of course but comments are welcome.

Also- I know there have been some technical difficulties with the blog (the font choice was hard to read- might still be I'm not sure) I know that at least one of my friends was having trouble having her comments show up- if that happens send me a message on facebook or an email (I think I have an email link on here somewhere) and let me know and I'll try to trouble shoot the thing,  I'll have a computer again (yay!) this next week so I'll be able to fix more of the technical issues at that point.

Hubby is going to take me to see the new Hobbit movie tongiht- so I need to get at least 6 more boxes  gone through and labled before then- so good by for now!


oh and this was something cute I found while cleaning:

guess he didn't want to help clean; silly omnom

Friday, January 3, 2014

Still ringing in the new year

I'm taking a break to quickly get an entry in; so hopefully this will be short and I won't ramble to much.  
School starts Monday- when that first day of next semester hits I'll really feel like this is a new year.  In the meantime I'm trying incredibly hard to unpack from our rather paniced move that happened at the beginning of last semester.  I've been able to get a lot of good work done these past few days- the kids room is clean, unpacked an organized; they actually have a place to play! The living room and the bathroom are also finally unpacked and good to go.  I'm still working my way through a massive amount of laundry that piled up- so our laundry room/kitchen is still a mess- but it isn't to bad- once I have all the clothing cleared out of there It won't take to much more than mopping the floor and putting away a few odds and ends.  So ultimately I think I'll reach my end goal of having the apartment ready for Spring semester.  
Of course there are 2 rooms I'm still working on- our bedroom/my husband's office and my office/storage area.  Our bedroom should pretty much fall into place after I get all of the laundry washed and the floors vacuumed- and my husband doesn't have a lot of stuff for his office (he does programming so it is fairly self contained- though even with that said I would love some day to live in a home where he didn't have to have his office in our bedroom- for his sake)
My office on the other hand is a disaster.  I'm an artist- well an aspiring one at least; I also sew quilts (when I find time), scrapbook and have countless other little projects.  SO I have a lot of stuff.  The art alone takes up most of the room- and it's all mostly in boxes.

Last semester was so stressful and so busy I never really had time to unpack- so I've just been opening boxes pulling out what I needed and then throwing the box back on the stack.  Here are some photos to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with- I took some of these sitting down in a chair (that is taking up the entire center of the room so there isn't much standing room at the moment)

this room is honestly pretty cute- you can see the books in the background of most of my messy boxes- it's my mom's library that I've kinda taken over for now.
My mom gave me my birthday present early:

Some really cool storage boxes.  I'm really excited to get this room organized.  When I got in here with the storage boxes I just sat and stared....  I had no idea where to start.  I finally just picked a corner and started moving stuff and cleaning.  

I'll post pictures later when it is done; I hope by tomorrow night at the latest to have our whole home sorted and put away.  :D

Well that is all for now-