Thursday, January 31, 2013

Maybe God just thought since we got those old time photos, we need a real taste of the old times. Early last week we started to notice a difference in the amount of hot water we were getting.  By the end of the week, we totally lost the ability to even have hot water and could only get warm water to run.  We made a call to a repairman, no make that 2 repairmen, but no one returned our calls.  The following Monday night our hot water was completely gone and all we had was bitter cold water.  Jeff called a 3rd repairman.  He assessed the water heater and determined it was toast.  The tank had a leak which shorted out the electronics on the unit. 

Good news is that the tank was under warranty.  Bad news is that the store it was bought from was out of business.  We had to call the manufacturer and have one ordered and shipped.  We have to pay for shipping and installation, and disposal of our old one. All of that was going to sum up to 250$.  In addition, we have the wait for it to arrive and for the repairman to come out an install it.  So, for the past 4 days we have been doing it old timey.  We have been heating water on the stove and taking sponge baths.  It's not bad if you can just use one kind of soap and be done.  However, for this Mama taking a shower is a process.  Plus, when there's a chill in the air and your standing there in a cold bathroom, wet and naked, it makes for some killer goose bumps on your legs which doesn't exactly make it easy to shave them.  I got a lot of nicks on my legs last night.  Ouch!

I don't feel sorry for me and don't want anyone to feel sorry for me.  It is what it is, and I'm thankful that I still have a wonderful home, nice and cozy warm bed, heat in my home, food on my table, a great vehicle, the list goes on.  If anything, I'm finding it very amusing to see my husband use my tea kettle each morning to warm up some water and carry his basin of water to the tub.  I'm not sure why that cracks me up so, but it does.  It sure is creating some memories that we won't forget, and it really drives home how different life for the pioneers must have been for my children.

I double dog dared Jeff to take a cold shower instead, but he seems to think he needs a really big reward if he does that.  The only reward I was thinking of was the funny memory.  Guess that doesn't really cut it, does it? 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

In true Branson fashion

You can't live in Branson and NOT have one of these, so we got er' done!

If you ever decide to visit us again ya'll, we'll get you the hook up with one of these here purty pictures ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thankfulness 9

It's been awhile.  So here goes:

1.  Having super affectionate kids. 
2.  Watching a strong bond form between my kids
3.  The hilarious things my Kindegarten class says that brings me to tears in laughter
4.  Watching Kindergarten light bulb moments
5.  Watching Super Nanny with my kids and having them behave better because of it
6.  Hearing my youngest say, "I'll never treat you like that!"
7.  Christmas break, Martin Luther King Day, President's day (school calendars, yes!)
8.  My house, I love it, and it's home
9.  The ability to host 24 people all at one time in my home
10.  An older neighbor that wants to take a girl's only road trip with me
11.  A mother that helps me understand what getting older will be like
12.  A mother that's hanging on despite her health struggles
13.  When you ask for your husband's opinion on a serious topic and he just says, "I just want you to be happy"
14.  Opportunties
15.  Excitement from anticipation that those opportunities can afford me
16. Excitement about summer and being able to travel
17.  My van
18. Seeing my kids get excited about a big box, enough so they will pick up their play room so they can play in it
19.  Hearing my youngest say, "I just want to be with you!"
20.  Unpromptu kisses on my cheek from my oldest
21.  Hugs from my oldest and listening to, "I love my Mommy!"
22.  Grace when I know I can do better
23.  Being committed to make the next day better
24.  Seeing a little trouble maker finally make an effort to control his behavior
25.  Understanding autism a little more and why some children act like they do
26.  Being asked by a 1st grader if she can do the musical activity she learned at home
27.  Showing Kindergarteners how to make paper snowflakes for the first time
28.  Being asked to tell more Bible stories because I do them in a fun way
29.  New intruder drills at school to be prepared just in case
30.  Someone to confide in at work  and share funny stories with
31.  Feeling balance between work and home life
32.  A funny husband
33.  An affectionate husband that sends flowers and chocolates for his "girls" while he's on his man trip
34.  An affectionate husband who gives me physical affection
35.  A husband who makes a consorted effort to play with the kids at night
36.  A husband who tries to make fun conversation at the dinner table
37.  A husband who meets and EXCEEDS my expectations for a father figure in my children's lives
38.  A husband who I am so proud of and who is a provider
39.  Being able to take care of an unknown credit error
40.  Being able to get enough rest that getting up at 6 each morning is relatively easy.
41.  Seeing huge strides of improvement in my students
42.  Being hugged by so many students at once they almost knock me over
43.  Constant loving affirmations from students
44.  Listening to Bren belt out music every morning on the way to work
45.  A system for getting Kadyn to the bus that works for our family
46.  Great neighbors that help us and we help them
47.  A neighbor that feels close enough to us to send us pictures while on her vacation
48.  Season passes bought for Silver Dollar City after a year of not having any
49.  Pool time after hair apt. next weekend
50.  Contentment with my hair style for now
51.  New lunch totes for the girls that are adorable, personalized, and hold more than anything else
52.  Watching Kadyn develop a passion for gymnastics
53.  Excitement over watching my girls discover their passions
54.  Working with Bren on reading blends
55.  Snuggling with Bren every single day after school
56.  Playing rhyming games with Bren
57.  Having more mature talks with Kadyn because she's older
58.  Watching Kadyn have a passion for her faith
59.  Reading a song Kadyn created urging others to believe in God
60.  Hearing Kadyn question whether a little girl has God in her heart because of her naughty behavior
61.  Knowing I must be doing something right
62.  Reading some of the things my oldest writes on her homework and her little loving drawings of her family
63.  Watching my oldest spend her allowance money on books
64.  Seeing the excitement my oldest has on sharing her new book with her teacher
65.  Teasing a neighborhood cat (in a nice way) only to get the "talk to the butt" reaction
66.  Having a husband who backs me up on discipline and children who respond to him
67.  Upgrading Sattelite recievers so we can watch our shows from any room in the house :)
68.  Commiting to doing a craft with my little one who has been asking for awhile
69.  Doing oragami with my oldest
70.  A dishwasher I can program to come on later
71.  An oven I can program to turn on later while I'm out of the house
72.  Easy meals to cook
73.  Leftovers
74.  A short lived cough for Kadyn
75.  An extra room to put sick kids in to seperate them
76.  An unexpected giftcard and card as a thankyou from a sweet friend ;)

77. A rug that caught most of a coffee spill
78.  Only one cold this school year so far for me
79.  Being able to look at my skin and feel proud to be in it
80.  Eating subway and playing wii bowling with our neighbor and my children for a girl's night
81.  Prayers for contentment in whatever path I am to take next school year
82.  Thankful that my husband's job is our bread and butter
83.  Thankful that I have a career that I am passionate about
84.  Thankful that work doesn't feel like work most days, but fun
85  Thankful that I can say with confidence that I am fulfilling a calling
86.  Thankful that God has opened doors for me my whole life
87.  Thankful that my relationship with my spouse is solid and closer every day
88.  Thankful that we are able to provide for our children the way we want to
89.  Thankful that we have most evenings together as a family. VERY VERY THANKFUL!
90.  My children's teachers.  So awesome!
91.  Feeling like my entry hallway is super organized, shoes, coats, bookbags, etc.
92.  My upstairs stays relatively clean most days
93.  Humidifiers during dry weather
94.  Electric fireplaces during cold days
95.  My plants...I love plants
96.  My cute adoring ratters!  Could care less if they creep others out.  They are some of the most affectionate creatures I've ever known.
97.  The different spirits God puts into each and every pet.  It fascinates me!
98.  A small kitchen that cleans up fairly quickly due to it's size
99.  A kitchen that HAS to be cleaned up regularly due to it's size
100.  An extra freezer to keep larger quantities of food
101.  A new motivation to get healthy and the means to do so.

There you have it.  Always something to be thankful for!

Can we do this?

With every new year, you think about that new's year resolution that most of America has, get healthy!  I feel good about what I eat.  I do good eating a well balanced diet.  I suck at sweets though and portion control.  I don't feel like my weight is out of control, but I could stand to loose a few pounds.  I have done all kinds of things and have experienced success with all of them.  Eating Vegetarian for a year coupled with portion control was the easiest and showed the best results out of all the things I've tried.  However, after a year I got tired having to be creative in the kitchen every night and having a family complain for a year about being made to eat that way got old so I caved on that one.

I tried counting calories, keeping a food log, and walking regularly.  Experienced a lot of success on that one too.  However, now that we live in the Ozark Mountains and I have children, walking outside has gotten harder.  They last one hill and then they're done.  Walking without them isn't an option unless Jeff is there to watch them which usually isn't until it gets dark.  Trying to make it to the gym is super difficult because who is going to watch them if I go at a time childcare is not offered?  If I go when it is offered, it's during dinner time.  Nope that's not going to work either.  If I am going to make exercise a priority it has to be easy to do so there can be no excuses.  This only leaves one option, having the ability to exercise in your own home.  There really is no excuse if you have the resources to do it in your own home.

We have owned in the past an exercise bike and treadmill. However, once the motivation wore off, they just became dust collectors and space takers.  When we moved to Springfield there was no place for them, and it seemed silly to keep them in a garage so we sold them.  Now our motivation is back.  SO......Jeff purchased an exercise bike.  We will be buying a treamdill soon.  I feel lucky we actually have the room for these things again.  We also have an exercise ball, excercise videos, jump rope, mini tramp, and will be getting a hula hoop.  Between all those things, we can switch around to prevent boredom another motivation buster. 

We want to make exercise time a family affair.  Don't they say having a buddy to exercise with makes it easier to keep going?  We can hold each other accountable.   I am such a stickler on eating healthy but exercise has been my one fault.  I set a horrible example for my children when I preach on eating healthy but don't back it up with actual exercise.  Really hoping we can make this a life change, but know from my history it isn't going to be easy and there are high odds we'll give up eventually.  We shall see.


The Green Bilberrys

I thought it'd be fun to introduce you to my newest endeavors and one old one.  Keeping some new plants alive.  I have always desired to have more live plants in my house.  I think they make a home feel a lot more homey, but while I was doing daycare this just wasn't very feasible,  unless they were all taking up counter space somewhere out of reach.  Counter space is precious, so I just didn't do plants until I quit daycare last summer (with the exception of one). 


My biggest obstacle is finding plants that tolerate low light situations.  Our house is very dark until the afternoon sun hits, but even then the light is filtered as we have a light filtering film on all our windows to save energy.  Plants aren't a big fan of that.  I have been wanting a spider plant FOREVER.  I first discovered them when I was working in KC.  One of the teachers brought in a bunch of babies she cut off her plant.  I thought it was the cutest thing and never knew of a plant that made "babies."  Ever since then, I've been on a quest to find my own spider plant.  I finally came across one at Walmart.  We call it "Spidey."  It was pretty puny when we bought it as it was severely dehydrated, but it was the only one there and cheap, so I took my chances and bought it.  After repotting it and giving it plenty of water, it perked up a lot.  Then I discovered Spidey doesn't like overly wet soil.  Suddenly leaves started yellowing and new growth stopped.  In an effort to dry it out a little I put it directly under a lamp.  I was nervous the light would burn the plant because it was soooo close, but the opposite happened.  Spidey liked the lamp light.  She suddenly took on another growth spurt.  Leaves started getting a lot more color too.  Eventually, she got too tall for that lamp so I moved her under a slightly higher lamp and now she seems completely content as long as I turn the lamp on for several hours at night which I did anyways when we watched television and I have to let her stay relatively dry.  Kadyn is SOOOO excited for her to make babies, but I'm guess it will be quite awhile until she matures enough to make any.  I'm just glad I figured out what conditions she likes to thrive.  I dream of the day when I can cut off some of her babies and send them with my girls when they go get their first apartment at college.  How cool will that be to take a little piece of home with them?


  Mr. Pothos was named after his actual name, Pothos.  I knew this was a slam dunk of a plant.  EVERYONE has one of these.  They are super tolerant of low light and neglect.  After I had such great luck putting Spidey under this low lamp I thought I'd treat Pothos to it too because he didn't seem to be growing.  Still looked healthy, just didn't want to make new leaves.  I figure it was because he didn't have enough light.  I was right.  He likes the lamp too.  Since I put him under it, he is starting to make new leaves.  He may get too tall for this lamp too, we shall see.


This winter I started itching for a big plant.  Big plants are expensive.  And having our low light issues, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that may die.  Who can resist those Norfolk pines they put out every Christmas?  Norman was big and tree like with glitter and pretty red ribbons when I bought him.  And all this beauty for only 12 bucks!  What did I have to loose?  I was a little nervous.  The year before I had bought 2 small Norfolk pines only to watch them die a slow and painful death.  They dried up and eventually died.  I watered them so much thinking that is what they wanted that I started getting those little gnats hovering around them all the time.  Norman added life to my music class for the first month of his time with me and then came home over Christmas break and stayed ever since.  He did great the first month despite my constant memory lapses to water him.  Eventually he started to dry up one branch at a time like the others I had before. This time I did a little research to try to figure out how to help.  I read the suggestion of spritzing him with water every now and then.  Norfolk's are tropical plans and like humidity.  So I gave it a try.  Crossing my fingers, but he seems to be happier now and the drying up is starting to stop.  I give him a tiny cup of water once a week and spritz him A LOT.  I took his pretty bows off too in case that was making him unhappy.  This summer I hope to give him a good spritzing outside with a hose to try to get off all that glitter.  I bet that'd really make him happy!  Sure hope Norman sticks around.  I've grown quite fond of him:)

Ivy has a special place in my heart. I think technically she is an English Ivy....I think.  Anyhoo, she came to us as part of an arrangement with 2 other plants in the prettiest little container.  Jeff got her as a congratulatory plant when he got his first financial planning job almost 7 years ago.  All the other plants in her container died, but she just hung on.  She has suffered SEVERE neglect.  I rarely water her and she can be bone dry and still thriving.  She just got forgotten when all the babies came.  I have to trim her back every now and then.  Low light, no light, doesn't seem to phase her. If you have a brown thumb you have got to get one of these.  Her soil can not possibly have many nutrients in it as it was partly some moss substance and a little actual soil, but she doesn't care.  Every now and then I'll fertilize her just to be nice.  Doesn't seem to make a difference.  She's just happy no matter what.  Her pot fits perfectly on our wall shelf which is why she has been the ONLY plant I owned for 6 years until I stopped doing daycare.   I'll be sad when she finally dies.  I have no idea long how long house plants actually live for.   I hope she has many more years ahead of her.  Sweet Ivy.

I told myself that if these guys make it a least a year and get larger, I may splurge and buy them much cooler and prettier pots. If I can manage to keep them thriving, I may add onto my collection too.  Food for this gardeners soul during those long winter months.  

Speaking of gardening, I don't think I'm going to plant a vegetable garden this year.  Last year was the first time I actually planted one in the ground that was pretty self sufficient because of a soaker system I had.  The plants actually thrived, but produced little to no fruit.  It was very disappointing.  Stupid hot weather!  I had much better luck vegetable gardening in pots ironically the year before.  I also discovered last summer that I prefer flower gardening to vegetable gardening anyways.  I've done flowers here and there, but not to the degree that I did last year.  It was a commitment in terms of watering, but it was so worth it.  They made me feel happy every time I looked that them and I felt so proud each time I drove up to my house and admired them.  I also  LOVED the unexpected surprise of having flowers that attracted butterflies and bees.  They were thoroughly amusing and entertaining to watch when the kids were outside romping around.  

So there you have it, the green Bilberrys.  Every living thing in our house is part of our family.  Even the plants ;) 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just things

Haven't felt led for awhile to post.  I'm not sure I've had much that is post worthy really, but it feels weird not posting something at least once a week so here goes.  Life has been plugging along for our family.  My work is good, Jeff's work is good, the girls are doing good in school.  I have a real sense of peace about life that I haven't had in a long time.  About the only thing that has been on my mind lately is what God's plans are for me next school year.  Will I find and get another job?  I can't even begin to tell you the excitement I feel over the possibility of returning to full time to music.

With the holidays past us now, I am beginning to think about summer and what it will hold.  I am going to try to drive out to see my family with the girls, likely by myself.  I have never driven that far by myself. I know it will be good for me, and I thank God (literally) we have a GPS.  Without it, I'm not sure I'd have the courage to do this on my own.  Pathetic huh?  I would like to take at least 4 or 5 days visiting and a day or two of driving to and from with a stop in Garden to break up the drive.  I may or may not make the trip with my sister.  Most likely not as she will have to contend with her job.  One of the perks of being a teacher, summers off......or not.  My work situation really depends on a couple things.  First, if I get another job, I am taking off my summer for sure!  If I do not, I may try to get some hours at my current school.  I won't really go into why until I know more information.

Either way, I will have a lot more time off this summer and I'm looking forward to it....and kind of nervous too.  Every summer I've had my hands full watching daycare kids.  EVERY summer.   My kids are at such easy ages right now.  They play well together.  They are the best of buds.  They have spats every now and then, but for the most part, they are quite the duo.  This frees me up a lot.  I may actually have to take up sewing again just to keep myself busy.  Jealous?  Of course there's the library program in the summer, plenty of pool time, play grounds to play on, picnics to be had, school work to do (just to make sure no one forgets what they've learned), stories that have to be read, and crafts to make.  Maybe I'll have time to get creative in the kitchen too.  Oh me, oh my, what a summer this will be.  Now that I think about it, why in the world am I nervous?  I'll stay busy.

Jeff wants to make a family trip to Annapolis to visit the Chase family and possibly spend a day in New York.  We would like to spend a lot longer in New York, but this will give us a little taste for later.  We have been promising to visit the Chase family in their town for years, but could never seem to find the right time. Now that they may be moving soon, we knew there would never be the right time, and we just have to make it happen now.  I'm stoked!

Speaking of things closer in time, this Spring we MAY go camping with some friends of ours from college.  They have some children close to our children's ages.  I hope we can make it happen but am nervous it will be too cold.  Hard to plan for those things. 

So there's my chit chat for this week.  Hope you are all having a good week.  Life is good.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let the race begin!

Today I checked websites, as I usually do for teaching jobs next year.  One job popped up today in a community that would be a pretty long commute from where I live.  However, I don't believe it would be any longer than what I used to commute when I lived in KC.  So....I applied.  It's just been awhile since I've had to commute like that, so it seems far right now. 

I have such a nervous energy right now.  I want my career back so badly it hurts.  I have all these questions swirling around in my head.  Will they even call me?  What if I get offered a job before Branson even posts a job?  What if NO ONE calls me?  What is my competition?  What if I never get THE job ever again?  How am I going to make a commute work with children to pick up from a bus stop and preschool 45 min-1 hour from work?  Should I consider switching my children to different schools if I have to commute?  Is this really the best thing for us right now?  If I get another job that requires a decent commute, should we move to that community at some point?  At what point? If I get a commuting job, should I keep holding out for Branson, or settle in for the long run? Is it best to take any public school job just to get my foot in the door? By taking the first job that comes my way, am I totally botching my chances for THE job?

I feel like I'm running a race and with each passing day, the goal is getting closer and closer.  I KNOW I'm letting myself get my hopes really high and that scares me because I know I'm letting my self worth get tied up in getting THE job. I know I shouldn't do this, but I feel powerless to stop it.  It just seems natural to wrap part of your identity in what you do and are passionate about.  I suppose that's why it's so easy to do.  I feel like I really have to prove myself because to these people I am a complete stranger.  A nobody.  I just want to stand on a mountain and shout, "I'm good people!  Dang good!  Please read my letters of recommendation and make some calls about me.  You won't regret it!" 

About the only thing making this whole experience a little different this time is having children to think about.  I'm at a point in my life where I am finally allowing myself to focus on me and my desires.  However, I still have a responsibilty to these little lives I created and love.  They have to factor into my decision.  As much as I want to say I'll pick the job I really want no matter the cost.  I would never do that.  I will just have to see if and what God opens up for me and then go over my options.  Because the truth is, no matter how badly I want my career back, I can't do it if the logistics of this job aren't going to work for our family.  We shall see.  I have to start somewhere.

And just to keep the record straight.  I love my current job, after all, I'm teaching again!.  I am INCREDIBLY thankful to be where I am at this year.  In a nutshell, I really want to go back to teaching music full time and want to be paid what I'm worth. Thus, I haven't arrived just yet.  Will this be the year?  Will there EVER be a year?  Time will tell. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas with Friends Part II

Apparently hosting the Chase family is a big draw for some old High School friends.  Can't say I blame them.  They are a pretty amazing family to know.  We hosted 24 people at our home for a little reunion.  It amounted to 14 kids and 10 adults. I admit, I was very nervous about it.  It started out as only 14 and grew into 24 even down to 2 hours before.  Thankfully, my hubs overprepared food, so there was plenty to spare and everything went smoothly.  I was afraid it would be a cramped in your face kind of gathering, but it really wasn't.  I was very grateful to have a full unfinished basement stocked with toys and a TV and DVD player for all the kiddos.  I felt bad that I was such a stickler about shoes on the carpet, but everybody was very respectful and even kept food and drink in the kitchen (someday I'll have hard floors and won't have to worry about carpets).  We ate in shifts and it worked out perfectly!   It really was a nice visit and makes me hope we can all get together more often in the future.   

Kids ate first, of course.

Guys living it up like old times

There were the CUTEST babies to dote on.  Love me some baby smiles!

Catching up with old friends is always the best

Boys watching Monsters Inc. 

Meanwhile girls were playing dress up

Group photo men

Group photo women

There were so many blondies.  They could've passed for cousins!

This little Lobmeyer won the "most spunk" award.  Cute!

Little Chase was stoked to hold one of the babies!
The 14 kids
Good times.  What a blessing!

Christmas with friends part I

A family pic at Silver Dollar City

Kiddies enjoying the rides

Oh the lit trees!  You must see!!!!

Mr. Chase and his cute son!

Did I mention it was cold?

She loved the carousel. 

A last minute gag gift from Mrs. Chase to the best buds.  I guess Mrs. Chase won't allow Mr. Chase to grow a real beard so this is the next best thing.  Beirdo Men!

I love the friendship these two have. 

Christmas 2012

Christmas for the first time was celebrated by the Bilberry side of the family at our house.  Usually it's just the 4 of us.  Those crazy Bilberrys!

Jeff did 12 days of Christmas with the girls this year.  Each day they opened up a different Christmas book to be read.

Proof that my husband has a fun sense of humor. These were bought for the Bilberry men to wear as PJ tops on Christmas Eve.

K got a locket from Santa. She had been wanting one FOREVER!  Santa was very talented and made a tiny family photo to go in it too that even said, "Love!"

B got a Baby Alive doll from Santa

Our own little Junie B. Jones with some new Junie B. Jones books to read.  She read them all by the end of the break.

Jeff cued up "I'm Sexy and I Know It" and played it while uncle Jason opened up his very own "Sexy and I Know It" T-shirt.  Again, this is all Jeff's doing.

Bama is really into wind chimes!

Brennan's favorite gift, a whole box of dress up clothes.

K took a lot of naps.  She was sick for half the break.  Jeff was sick for half the break.  And I got sick at the end of it.  Yuk!

Aren't they cute?

A thankyou hug for giving each other gifts. 
A huge puzzle was completed

Matching baby doll jammies and big girl jammies

Monopoly was played beginning to end. I won!

Naps were inevitable

Sugar cookies were made for Santa

Family Dog Pile!

Good food always equals good times.  Chile Renos for Christmas day.  Koehn family tradition brought to the Bilberrys.  It cracks me up how small my apron is on him.

I guess Baba likes Candy Canes.

Teaching Baby Alive how to walk
It was a good Christmas.  This was the family part.  The friend part is next.