Thursday, February 28, 2013

allowing myself to miss her

I often tell Brett, "you're going to miss that about me someday" referring so some annoying habit I have, like not closing the lids on vitamins all the way.  He laughs, but then stops and says, "hey you're not going anywhere"

That comment of mine comes from the reality of missing those habits, those things that drove me soooo crazy about my sister, Carrisa.  I miss those now and would do anything to have them back!  Seriously, you can leave a mess and borrow my clothes any day Carrisa!

In the 2 years that have passed I have not allowed myself much time to just miss her.  Life has been busy, things get in the way, and most of the time I just miss Carrisa for Norah's sake.  But she was my sister, and lately I have just taken a few quite moments, to think about her, to love who she was and just miss her to the core.

I lived with her for 17 years, that is a long time, that is a ton of memories, ones that I will never truly have with anyone else.  We shared a bond of loss and love like no one else.  We shared the raw emotion of having our own child, and what it is like to be a mommy and be a sister. 

Carrisa was so thoughtful, when I was pregnant with Maya, she threw me a baby shower in California.  I will never forget it, all of my sisters, my Grandma, my aunt and my cousin and some very very special friends from growing up were all there.  It was a moment in time where I just remember feeling so loved and so blessed! It is a moment I wish I could go back to. I would tell Carrisa just how special she was, what a wonderful sister, what an amazing time, and how truly thankful I was for her.

 DSC00594 DSC00579sf

She was the only sibling to come visit me after Maya was born. DSC01126

She just loved Maya so much, she would continue on and on about how Maya was the cutest baby she had ever seen (even though Maya slightly resembled an old man). Even after Norah was born, Carrisa would still talk about Maya being the cutest baby ever, just wish she could have seen Sarah :O)

I don't ever remember Carrisa ever complaining about Norah, about the lack of sleep or the emotional wear of doing it all alone. Having Norah just seemed to give her more life, and more love, despite so 
much of her pain

 Sometimes I have gone back and read a few things on her blog, but often it is so hard for me.  I can't even bare to read it.  I am sure sometimes things were very hard, she was a single working mom, with health problems, with a hurting heart.  Sometimes if I think about it to much my heart aches for her and all that she was going through, her heartache, her longing to get married, to provide Norah with a mommy & daddy that were together, just some deep sadness's that I wish I would have been a better sister to her for.   If I could go back, I would dig deep, deep into that year she had Norah, see what was really going on in her heart,  know how she was feeling, to know what the true pain that was inside.  On her last day on earth she wrote inside of a devotional, "remember there will be no pain in heaven."

Despite her pain and sadness she had such a hope, a hope of heaven, of Jesus.
I know I have posted this on my blog before, a long time ago, but it is very powerful.  It is from the devotion "Jesus Calling"  It is what my sister read the day she died.
"Your longing for heaven is good, because it is an extension of your yearning for Me.
The hope of heaven is meant to strength and encourage you, filling you with wondrous joy.
Many Christians have misunderstood this word hope, believing that it denotes wishful thinking.
Nothing could be farther from the truth! As soon as I became your Savor, heaven became you ultimate destination. The phrase hope of heaven highlights the benefits you can enjoy even while remaining on earth.
This hope keeps you spiritually alive during dark times of adversity; it brightens your path and heightens your awareness of My presence. My desire is that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

I carry this in my heart.  You ask, how does Jenni remain sane after the hard life she has had?
It is one word, Hope.   
And I hope and pray that even through this blog someone else can find and understand this hope we have.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


This is the time of year where every year I tell myself, "I just want to move back to California."  I am pretty sure it is worse now that I have kids too, because we are cooped up inside, it's cold, I completely stress out driving in the snow, and the days are long.  The hope for warmth...... well that is months away, with only little teases in between.  We get lots of snow and wind in March and April and I dred it, sigh.

Anyway, I just wanted to show you a bit of what we have been up to in the Goodlin residence while we are trapped inside, so here are lots of photos!

sneak peak of the new house
because I never take photos of our, our cat "mew mew"
Norah playing torturing the cat.  The reminds me of mommy Carrisa sooo much!
keeping it classy
pretty girls

hi hair
Maya with her class take home dog "boomer"  She loved him.  And all I could think of was how full of germs he was.....
Boomer's # 1
A family night out to eat, we won't be doing again for a while
We spent 30 minutes getting ready to play in the snow
and 10 minutes playing in it


did I mention it has snowed 3 times in the past week?  like roads are bad snows
Mini Mouse Birthday party with about 30 kids!
I make my kids feed the cat, they love it!
Hi under bite!
Ummm I don't know what face this is
she asks for photos now
passing the time
I am ready to go outside

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Participation station

One thing Brett and I like to do as parents is let our kids participate, to be part of our lives! This is really something I took from my own parents, something they were really great at!  My dad used to take me to work with him, the gas station at midnight, to his classroom while he prepped, to his college classes at night he was learning. My mom always had us help with baking and cooking and I even just let me be with her as she watched one of her favorite shows, "unsolved mysteries." Some of these are my favorite memories, nothing to do with "kid" fun, just being with my parents, it was so special and we would love the same for our girls.

Yes, I could easily make dinner much quicker and with less of a mess if I just told the kids to scram (and sometimes I do).  But Sometimes it is fun to get them involved, to pour a can of beans into a crock pot, to learn how to measure, to learn how to be safe, just to participate in something I was doing anyway. 



 Or doing a "Laundry Party!"  Yes, that is exactly what it is at our house because so many clothes blown up all of the house could mean nothing less that a "Party!"  Usually the participation doesn't hold as much longevity as I would like, but if I at least get them to sort out all of the underwear then the party is a hit!
this is pretty mild
She's been telling us since she was 2, "Jesus taught me how to fold"
Can't you just see the thrill in Norah's face?

We also take our kids a lot of places, we are not afraid to leave, to have to sleep at other peoples houses, to just be mobile.  It does get harder with the more kids you have because the larger the family the more you tend to take over a home you go in to, but that doesn't mean its impossible.

Even now, I have the girls help me pack.  They think of it as "fun" I think of it a  something I need to do and even better that I have help!



Warning! Sometimes letting your kids participate makes everything, slower, messier and requires a lot more patience, not really sometimes, but all the time!  But it is worth it, just to be with my kids!

What are some ways you get your kids involved, or let them participate?

OH and don't worry, Sarah's totally participates!  I don't know where this girl comes from

would you believe that she emptied the whole basket?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A parenting redo

Have you ever wanted a redo?  Like you did something as a parent or friend, or anyone, and look back and thought, "I wish I would have done that differently, "or "I wish I wouldn't have done that at all"?  Yep, I had one of those.  But I thought maybe I could tell you about it, to help or prevent you from doing the same.

It's about Pull-ups.  What a FUN topic.  When we potty trained Maya we Never used Pull-ups, that is during the day..... We wouldn't even let her babysitter put pullups on her, because we had heard that they often confuse children, that they are just a glorified diaper that you pull up, and that is exactly what they are.!

Potty training Maya was easy, she did it in a day and was great, except for the night.  She just couldn't hold it for 12 hours, and I couldn't blame her, she had just turned 2, and for a 2 year old to wake up and take themselves potty, yeah..... not gonna happen.  I talked to her Dr. about it and just said the only way I feel like she would stay dry at night is if I dehydrated her, and the Dr. agreed and said for her age it was totally normal not to be able to hold it all night, so we put her in pull-ups for the night only.

It seemed like Maya was SOAKED in pee every morning for a long time, not even close to being dry..... then we got Norah and well I didn't even want to think about Taking the pull-ups away, we had enough change and then Sarah came..... lots of excuses, right?

Then we potty trained Norah, and she was dry a lot more than Maya, but everytime we stayed some where else or traveled I would put her in a pull-up so she wouldn't pee on someone esles bed.  It ruined her.

The pullups trained Norah to pee herself, most likely right when she woke up in the morning.
And the pullups only prolonged Maya's wettness at night.

 Seriously Maya is 4.5 and we finally just got her in regular underwear at night.  Parenting Fail.  I know some children developmentally take longer to sleep through the night dry, but I really think the pullups made it way worse, oh and my laziness.

So in December we just took them totally away, no more pull-ups!!  They are so expensive and we had 2 kids in them!!

You know what we did for months after that? changed wet sheets every morning, a bunk bed sheet and Norah's bottom sheet! We had essentially trained the girls to pee their pants at night. It is not fun having a pee smelling room and washing and changing fitted sheets every day and re-making the 2 beds!


Brett and I finally started a routine where we would wake up the girls at night when we went to bed, around 10pm and set them on the potty.  They finally started waking up dry...... and suddenly Maya just got it!  She started going through the whole night dry!  She got a very special "Dry Date" with Daddy.
Breakfast at Mimi's and bowling and the brunswick zone IMG_0974 IMG_0975

 Norah is still working on it, we wake her up around 9pm to potty and she is usually dry in the morning.  But sheesh, I feel like we should have done this a year ago!! And you know what it even less fun, waking up to a wet toddler bed the first day you are going to show your house to a stranger in the morning so you can sell it.  Oye, that was major decontamination.

So my advice, avoid pull ups if you can, especially for daytime potty training.  And if you have to use them at night, try to take them away sooner than later.
Please don't misunderstand me, if you have used pull-ups or are currently using them I am not saying you are a bad parent at all, every situation is very different!  I just know for our family it was a prolonged, expensive, unnecessary habit.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Highs & Lows

Well this has been an adventurous week, to say the least.  It may be best to sum it up with a few highs & lows

-Maya got the stomach flu on Valentines day, she missed her first school Valentines party :O(

-I forgot to call my BFF on her birthday, horrible fail
-We sold our house!! (that is actually a high) but had absolutely no place to live
-We close March 22nd, that is in 5 weeks people! Any packing tips?
- It seemed as though a double move for our family of 5 was inevitable, boo
- It has been a stressful time looking at apartment and home rentals that would allow a month by month lease with a cat (seems almost impossible for a good price). 
-I turned 31, but I am not really sure if that is a high or a low....

- Celine died my hair reddish/brown, no more blonde! It only took me my entire life to finally go dark!

 -We sold our house for full asking Price on my birthday!!
- I was more than blessed with an abundance of sweet birthday messages, cards, and lunch!
- I got to spend my birthday with my 3 favorite little girlies
thanks for the cooperation Norah :O)

 - We got invited over to a friends house for dinner!

- We found a house to buy today, and signed a contract, Halleluiah, no double move!

I am not even quite sure what just happened.  I don't know how to move with 3 kids. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

not because He needs to, but because we asked

I will be the first to tell you things in our life have not always been easy.  Not just with the enormous amount of deaths, but just life in general situations.  With friends, jobs, school, and circumstances, everything always seems to be one step or several steps more difficult for us.  Don't get me wrong, we are more than blessed, but we have come to expect difficult times, hard situations, and the unexpected just doesn't surprise us all the much anymore.  Life is just hard sometimes.

I can't tell you how incredibly hard my husband has worked at his schooling and job, but has had so many heart breaking disappointments.  Some of these disappointments have even come in the middle of vacations,  that is just reality for us.  When Brett got a new job at Compassion last year, it had been something we were praying for for 5 years and Brett was working at so incredibly hard.  It was an overwhelming blessing to have happen, but it wasn't without true hard work and pain.  We don't except life to always be fluffy white cotton candy, but sometimes we have asked the Lord to give us a break, for something to be not quite so hard...... not because He needs to, but because we asked and He wants to answer our prayers.

Last year when we looked at putting our house on the market we were met with nothing but discouragement and no hope.  Yes, we could rent our home, but no mortgage company would even think about giving us a new home loan without actually selling our current house or having some king of rental history (new housing/mortgage rules are crazy!).  So the answer was a solid NO.

But we had to make a plan, I told Brett as long as there is a plan and we know we won't be here forever, I am ok with not moving yet. Our home is great, we have just really out grown it and need a yard!  So we made some bigger payments on our home, got the mortgage down, and starting saving some.

When this year started we thought we would just check and see "where we were at."  We knew the housing market had started to climb up a bit and we had payed off more, but was it still out of our reach?  Interest rates are really low and houses are just starting to go up in price, it really is the perfect time to buy.

Then through some friends, we met and amazing realtor through church, Tim Coen.  Within just a few days he came to see our house and talk with us.  He gave us more encouragement and hope that we could have ever expected.  Nothing like the previous year.  Could this be the time?

So within just a few short weeks we decided to put our house on the market! It went fast, we did not have a lot of improvements and change needed to our home, Tim said we could sell it as is,  but for me as a perfectionist, I just wanted to clean and declutter.

Our house went on the Market Wednesday, Feb 7th, and just 5 days later we have received not 1, but 2 offers!!! This kind of stuff does not happen to us!  Nothing is confirmed or for certain yet, but what an incredible blessing and answer to prayer.  Thank you so much for all of you that have prayed.  I can't even begin to describe the stress that is lifted by not having to feel like I am going to have to show my house forever with 3 kids and that we have an incredible pricing advantage with 2 offers.
 This is also way fast than I could have ever anticipated or asked for!

A little home tour.








Don't worry, we aren't going anywhere far, just somewhere with more space, hopefully