The Future for Us and This Blog

 

There is this one question people keep asking me lately.

1.) Are you moving this summer? Do you have orders yet?

Yes and no. We are moving this summer, and we DO know where we are going. The person in charge of that has reassured Alan over and over again of where he’s assigned.

However, we do not have orders yet, so until we do, we aren’t announcing it. Last time we moved, we made this big announcement to the kids, and they keep waiting for this. The thing is it keeps dragging on for so long the they are having bad dreams, so we did tell them, “Look, more than likely, we pretty much know we’re going to this city.”

That helped them a bit. It just got to me yesterday when Daniel told me his dream. He dreamed we kicked the boys out of the house for three days, and then we finally let them back in because we were all moving. Even as he was getting in the car, he didn’t know where we were moving to.

Sad!!! I promise you we’d never do that. It was just a dream from a boy with an uncertain future! These moves were much easier for them when they were babies!

The Blog

It feels like I hardly ever blog anymore. When the boys were younger, I HAD to have the blog as an outlet. It was air to me.

Plus, there was no schedule much to life, other than what self-imposed schedules we devised. Now that the boys are older, life moves FASTER. I can’t keep up. I literally keep 3 planners/calendars, 4 if you count Caleb’s, which I’m teaching him how to use.

Driving from place to place and drop-offs to pick-ups is pretty much what I do. When I’m home, that time is taken up with helping my middle boys study, cooking, cleaning, and getting ready to leave the house again.

I love having school-aged children. It’s a completely different kind of stress than having toddlers, a fatter phase of life for me. I was so much thinner when they never let me sit down!! Ha!!! This has made a solid 10 pounds of difference.

Apparently driving the mini-van all over town does NOT count as exercise…

I’m also enjoying sleeping through the night and not changing diapers! Every phase has its perks!

Changing the Blog

Towards the end of the year, I went through a crisis of decision. Should I drop the blog altogether? After all, I cannot write much about my oldest boys on here at all anymore out of respect, you know?

Should I switch to a single topic?

I couldn’t decide what to do at all, so I’ve still focused on one Real Army Wives story per week, and I’ve signed on for a couple of product reviews/ unboxings.

The blog must go on until the Army Wife series is complete, and the story will be complete at the end of the first deployment.

Past that, I haven’t decided. What do you think?

Me with my 3 thespians after their school’s Christmas play

Wonder

I keep meaning to write about this book: Wonder. Joshua, Caleb, and I read it together, and we loved this book. It was deeply personal to me, since I grew up with a sister who was a wonder in her own right. Everyone always stared at her too, so I felt a connection to the story of Via in the book. Via is the sister of Auggie, the little boy with the deformed face.

This book will may you cry, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s also inspirational and uplifting. Read it! See the movie!

Moving Again

One last topic I MUST hit on. Moving again. Y’all know we’ve moved 9 times already in the past 16 years, and it has always been an adventure.

There’s a huge difference between moving to different houses and moving to different states/ cities/ cultural regions!! It has been quite a ride!!

Moving is my favorite and least favorite thing about military life. I love the new experiences. I hate putting the kids through it.

It used to be easy to sell as “Oh we’re moving to so-and-so. Yay! This will be so fun and exciting.”

But now they can remember the past TWO moves, and they aren’t buying it.

The boys and I were all riding in the car the other day, and they were griping, and I exclaimed, “Hey! Moving is a grand adventure!”

The three oldest all gave me a resounding, “No! Nooooo it’s not!”

Sigh.

Y’all, they will be fine. I will too. We are trusting the Lord. And if the kids start to look mopey, maybe I actually will just buy them a puppy!  Hahaha! Because that would clearly solve our chaotic situation, right? Yep. I’m serious though.

So many decisions to make! Okay. I’ll end this here. A kid stopped up the toilet, and Alan called. I should find the phone and answer it. Probably I should also make dinner…

This photo made me laugh. I mean, you just gotta look at the camera when they’re taking a photo right? Who can resist?

 

 

Why I’m Such a Crystal Paine Fan Girl

******Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, I will be paid advertising fees. All opinions are my own.*******

When I started my blog, in 2008, I was only in it to provide news of our family to my husband while he was in Iraq for 15 months straight. Blogs provide the perfect spot for photos, stories, and videos, without bombarding your Facebook friends with such a vast amount of footage!

It wasn’t until 2013 that I decided to set the blog to public and go for it.  I was already spending about 7 hours/week on my blog, might as well make a little money off of it, right?

The thing about blogging is that it’s one of those jobs that did not exist yet when I was in high school, or even in college. You couldn’t major in blogging.

Once you begin to blog for profit, you need skills, or people who have skills, in the realm of writing, computers, marketing, and design. That’s an elephant-size amount of skills to learn! And I still have a long way to go!

Learning the ins and outs of blogging, without spending much money at all, has led me to a few inspiring bloggers.

The one who I have learned the ABSOLUTE MOST from is Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom and YourBloggingMentor.com. That’s the perfect name for that website because she is literally my blogging mentor.

Allow me to introduce you to my favorite blogging celebrity: Crystal Paine

My Fan-Girl Confession…

Now, first of all, I have to admit to you that I have never actually met Crystal Paine. I’ve seen about 15 or 30 of her videos (YouTube & Facebook), so I feel like I know her…..the celebrity effect….but in reality she only knows me as yet another obscure little blogger who emails her a lot….

Yes, I admit it. I have emailed her about 20 times over the past few years. Yeah. In fact, I’ve emailed her so much that recently I am getting replies from her people rather than from Crystal herself…

I know. You may be shaking your head at me right now and thinking this sounds awfully stalker-like. I promise I’m not a stalker.  I prefer the term “fan-girl”.

Hello, my name is April, and I am a Crystal Paine fan girl.

I subscribe to two or three of her newsletters, I’ve taken about 4 different online courses that she’s taught, I follow her on ALL of her social medias, AND I’ve read several of her books.

One time, I even got to be on her website. You can see that here: Making Over Your Morning as a Night Owl.

WHY I’m such a Crystal Paine fan girl

You see, in a world where no one teaches you how to be a blogger in school, you have to go hunting down that information for yourself. Crystal has proven to be an excellent resource this past year, as I have attempted to take my blog to the next level.

I love how her blogging products offer practical, actionable advice.

But even before I sought to learn from Crystal as a blogger, I was already an occasional reader of her website, Money Saving Mom. I enjoyed her videos because she pours her personality and work into them.

The biggest reason I am such a fan is that she seems to possess all of the exact skills that I struggle to acquire, and she teaches her strategies in a fun, easily accessible way that I can truly relate to.

Plus, we have so much in common! She’s a writer, a mom of kids similar in age to my own, a Christian, and she strives to live a healthy lifestyle.

My Favorite Crystal Paine Books and Classes

She has so many more than just these. These few are the ones I benefitted the most from because of who I am as a person and where I was in life at the time. I’m also super-stoked to read Say Good-bye to Survival Mode and listen to her FREE WEBINAR about that!

By the way, huge deal alert: Say Good-bye to Survival Mode is only 99 CENTS for Kindle for a limited time!!!

 

Crystal wrote a book about living a disciplined life! I scooped that up in a heartbeat!! Having a plan and a schedule is this huge struggle for me. It’s something I have to work hard at and learn from people like Crystal.

My default is to wake up, tell everyone to leave me alone while I drink my coffee, get the boys ready for school, then tackle my day with little to no plan at all.

Yes, I know. A failure to plan is a plan to fail…yada yada yada. We are trying, okay. There are four growing boys here. It is a j-o-b!

I cannot explain to you how hard I struggle to keep all the balls I juggle up in the air!!

All the kids….the house cleaning….the cooking…MOPS leadership….volunteering at school…teaching Sunday school…..and oh yeah!! The blog!!!

Can I get an amen here? Are there any of you who are just in this ultra-busy phase of life? Sometimes I just want to shut it all down and say, “Nope. From now on, I enforce rules and cook dinner. That’s it.”

That’s why I love Crystal’s books. She is juggling so many of the same things I am, but she brings time-management and discipline skills to the table that I KNOW I can learn from.

Alan is a fan too!

 
When Alan and I got serious about getting out of debt (car payments) back in 2009, we bought the book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. I found it quite helpful, and not only that. It was actually realistic!

But my favorite Crystal Paine moment was this….

Our Family’s Major Life-Changing Routine Inspired by Crystal!!!

Do you remember when Alan took over the laundry at our house? That was because of a YouTube video of Crystal’s that I watched where she talked about the strategic ways she and her husband divide up the work of managing their household.

I know. You want the YouTube link so you can show it to your husband too, but I have no idea which video it was!! I’m so sorry! It might have actually been part of her blogging class a while back that is no longer for sale…

I told Alan about it, in a very light, kind way, and I asked him what thing he’d like to make his responsibility. In a perfect world, we’d have a maid and maybe not have this problem, but in reality we can’t afford one right now.

I said something like, “Hey, honey. You know how sometimes I’m bad about not planning through everything? It occurred to me that I’ve never actually asked you what you would like your chore to be at the house. You do a lot, but nothing is like divided up and assigned to you except trash and the lawn. We need to have very specific jobs assigned to all 6 of us in the family to make this work.”

At first, Alan was very deer-in-the-headlights. He apologized, and we agreed that ALL the jobs can’t be mine alone now that there are four children. It’s not possible.

My husband’s decision

Alan thought about it long and hard, and he chose laundry, which was perfect because my doctor had just told me a few weeks ago that I did not need to be carrying baskets of laundry due to my low back and hip arthritis.

Spending less time on laundry was life-changing for me!! Plus, Alan usually does a better job of keeping up with it than I ever did.

Thank you so much for that, Crystal and Alan!!!

My Work Mentor

I enrolled in a one-time blogging course she did last fall where I learned the importance of doing Facebook Lives, which turned out to be an amazing way to grow my Facebook following.

Then this year Crystal opened up a whole new website for bloggers. If you blog, you have to check it out: YourBloggingMentor.com

When Crystal launched the “5 Days to a Successful Blog Launch” course a couple of months ago, I decided to read it. I didn’t think I needed it since my blog was obviously “launched” a long time ago, but eh, why not?

Oh, y’all!! I could write an ENTIRE POST on all the things I learned from this simple little 5 day course.

Spoiler alert: Some of the 5 days have way more practical ideas than you can implement in only a day. I have this huge list that I made from Day 5’s assignments that is going to take me all of September to get through.

So don’t let this fool you. It is not just for blog babies.

If you need to improve your blog traffic, take this course whether you already have a blog or are just starting one.

Link to Blogging University: Blogging University

 

Ya’ll!! I can’t tell you how much I have learned!! But this article has run long, so I’m going to save all of that information. Look for a future post in September, dedicated solely to how much I’ve changed my blog since taking this simple, inexpensive 5 Day Blog Launch Course!!

More good news!

I noticed that she is currently running a special FREE webinar for beginning bloggers, and I could not recommend that highly enough. Here’s the link if you’d like to try it out.

Now I’m just holding my breath and waiting for the intermediate course. You know she will probably do one before the year’s over!

So what about you? Are you a member of my Unofficial Crystal Paine Fan Club?? Do you read MoneySavingMom.com?? Which of her books would you like to read? Leave a comment below to let me know I’m not alone in my fan-girl-ness!

 

 


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Stories is Included in 10exposed.com’s List of Top Mummy Blogs

I just wanted to let you all know that I was so excited to be included in a new list of

“Top Mummy Blogs to Follow in 2017”

Wahoo! Who doesn’t want in on a list like that? Fun! There are a good number of mom bloggers on there who I truly admire.

The best part was looking around at the pictures of the front pages, and wondering why mine looked so…..bare. Granted, you can’t see my sidebar or header in the photo, but I think a re-design is in order yet again. Eventually, I’m going to get this ol’ web page looking like I want it to look!!

Be sure to check out the article here. Thank them for including me, and while I have you here, I’ll leave you with a couple of pretty Israel pictures.

Joffa, also known as Joppa. We’ll talk about this town in my next Israel article.

My Army Wives series has been my most popular posts this year. I’m thinking about bumping the Army Life posts up to twice a week. What do you think? Drop me a comment and let me know. It would be a continuation of my story, dating back to 2002, though I’m still hoping someone will let me share their story too.

Click here to read my funny story from Tel Aviv. It involves discounts and me changing clothes in a back alley while hiding from a man with a camera…

 

Click here to read about our 2002 trip to New York City.

psalm 100

Thanks so much for all of your support!

 

 

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