Monday, October 31, 2011

Catching Up

via this site via pinterest


Hopefully my last post will explain a little bit of the infrequent posting around here.  Surprisingly, I have not thrown up yet (jinxed myself with this post), but I am feeling like I could at any moment pretty much all day everyday.  Cooking hasn't happened much over the past while, and I've entered my typical first trimester reclusiveness accompanied by extreme moodiness/irritation.  My poor kids.  The muffin has learned new requests like "watch a show, mom", and good nutrition for everyone has hit an all time low. The current influx of candy isn't helping matters.

Despite the hard things and inconveniences, there is so much good.  I feel blessed that I have this opportunity again.

Today I was helping out at Miss A's classroom party and was a little stunned with a comment by another mom there.  She observed that I have a lot of kids in a short time when I told her I have two at home and one on the way.  My kids are all between 2 and 3 years apart (the muffin will be 2 1/2 exactly when our new arrival comes) and I feel like I've had time to recover and regain functioning and even relax a little between each baby.  And although I was slightly surprised by the comment, I've kind of been preparing myself for that very thing.  I've felt hesitation in sharing our news this time, even with some of my dearest friends, for diving into the waters of what may seem to some a "large family".

The weekend we found out was the same weekend as general conference, and one of the messages that confirmed the promptings I'd felt months before and reiterated this blessing was entitled "Children" by Neil L. Andersen.  One of the greatest lessons I took away was that, "we should not be judgmental with one another in this sacred and private responsibility."  I couldn't agree more, and I admit that I have work to do in this area.  I have friends who passed the 4 kid mark long ago and are currently busy caring for large families with amazing dedication.  I also have friends with empty arms who wish the path to children wasn't such a difficult one for them.  Growing up and thinking about the future I never thought about the stresses that accompany family planning.  In my naivete I assumed that marriage and kids was just the way things went, never foreseeing the amount of prayers said or tears shed when growing a family.  It's been eye-opening and humbling to be in the child-baring years with my friends and seeing all of the struggles that accompany the journey to motherhood.  I have gained a new perspective and a softer heart for all who are on this path in any stage of their journey.

Rachel Jankovic, a Christian blogger, was also quoted in Elder Andersen's talk, and her words were extremely validating to my current feelings.

“[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”

Right now, I feel grateful for this perspective.  There will be more curious souls who feel the need to comment on our family planning, I'm quite sure.  But the opinions of others don't really matter when it comes to matters of the heart.  




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Thank you for all your well-wishes and congratulations.  You're the best!  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Announcement



1

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4

June 2012


Monday, October 24, 2011

Priorities

inspiring words+design via Danielle Kroll

This week is craziness.  I just finished up a to-do list with approximately 475 items to complete before Friday.  Ha!  Really, many of these are non-negotiable, must get done things.  I have some items for my dad that need to be done, both for him personally as well as the behind-the-scenes of managing his affairs.  I have several major church things happening this week, including a brief speaking assignment at one of them (and although it's brief, preparation is still required).  The primary is in charge of the ward Halloween party Saturday night, so this week is the time to pull together all the details and follow-up on assignments.  Speaking of Halloween, this week is the start of parties and for some ridiculous reason I, the non-crafty/not-so-much-a-seamstress/cheap mom decided to put together my kids costumes myself.  But now the deadline for said costumes is looming and I've still got to finish things up.  Every year I say I won't do this to myself again, and every year here I am.  Too cheap to buy the costume they desire ($30?!? I somehow think I can always do it for less), but kicking my own butt when I'm reaching for crafty genes I just don't possess to complete projects that I usually don't have time for.  I've been working on pieces of the costumes all month, so I'm also slightly surprised that I still have so much to do- I thought I was on it this time!

And then I set the to-do list aside for a minute and thought about my kids.  Miss A has had a wide range of emotions lately, letting me know how much she really needs me right now.  De-Man was bored to tears today while I checked off some to-do list items, and bored to tears with him equates to naughtiness. Somehow I need to up the fun factor while I'm trying to get things done.  Really, he just wants me to sit down and play legos and watch him do his "math problems" (which translates to him asking what 16 plus 16 is and then writing down fairly illegibly 16+16=32 in his journal).  The muffin is needy in his own way right now and probably needs a visit to the doctor.  We've been re-introducing dairy which was going fairly well until I think I went too far- yogurt may have been slightly more than he was ready for.  He's got the worst diaper rash to date from any of my kids, and so far nothing is touching it (product recommendations welcome).

Thinking about my kids and my to-do list makes the week feel impossible.  But I know that somehow things will get done.  There is help to be found all around me, and particularly help from above.  My goal for the week at this point is to keep myself focused enough to not let things get done at the expense of my kids.  Sometimes they have to be patient with me as things must get done- I think it's part of family life and ok for them to learn that part of sacrifice/helping out.  But sometimes my ever-present to-do list needs to get shelved so I can be there for  them.  I have to make sacrifices, too.  And I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity every day to sacrifice for them.  I sure love these three.

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For a few more thoughts on priorities, this talk is one of my favorites. This quote is one that comes to mind frequently for me: "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities."  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Truth

print via Persimmon and Pink, one of my faves currently hanging in blue in my kitchen

Last week I gave a little lesson during primary.  One of the suggested parts of the lesson was to share various ways prayers are answered and give examples from the scriptures or from my own life.  It was a blessing to reflect on the many answers to prayers that have come over the years.  There were big blessings, like when my dad began walking again after his stroke.  There were smaller blessings, like Miss A's first experience with an answered prayer when she prayed for her primary teacher to find a missing part of her lesson, and when her teacher pulled the manual from the bag there was the lesson.  There were answered prayers that guided paths about jobs and homes and family planning.  Many times the answers I thought about did not come immediately, and sometimes they did not come the way that I'd hoped for.  But I can look back and recognize that answers did come.  It's almost impossible to look back at a week, or even a day, without seeing answered prayers.

I was reminded while preparing for this lesson of a simple but profound truth: there are blessings that Heavenly Father is ready to give us, but they are conditional upon our asking for them.  I have thought of this often this month- how many blessings am I missing out on because I relax with my prayers and don't ask for the blessings that are waiting for me?  It's made for some great reflection as well as an increased effort towards prayer.

The best part of my lesson last week was when I asked all the kids to look at me as I made them a promise.  I promised each of them that Heavenly Father knows who they are, and He will answer their prayers.  I know it.  I know it because my prayers have been answered.  The prayers of those I love have been answered.  And I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us and desires to bless us as He answers our prayers.  I know it.  If you don't know it, put it to the test.  I promise your prayers will be answered, too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Currently Making Me Happy

via pinterest


I feel like I'm in a good place right now.  There's good (funny kids, fabulous weather) and bad (more antibiotics, flat tire/$225 unexpected expense), but I feel content.  Thought I'd share a few things making me extra happy today.

-A Blog About Love found yesterday via Kelly.  Oh my, I went back and started at the beginning reading past posts, and this is instantly in the top 5 of most inspiring blogs I read.  So real and amazing.  I dare you not to become hooked.  (I can't figure out why I can't subscribe to this blog-only the comments- so let me know if you have any tips)

-Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I have beef stroganoff in the slow cooker.  Last night I made the most perfect french bread, which was not surprisingly gone this morning (the husband used to buy loaf after loaf in his single days when he didn't feel like cooking). There are many fantastic cooking blogs I love, but this one suits me well.  I love that it's reliable+mainstream(no trips to the store for ingredients I've never heard of)+oh so delicious.  And don't think I won't continue linking to the tried+true favorites I make from this site.

-Helpful in-laws.  Yesterday they watched my boys so I could take my dad to the doctor.  Today they picked me up after my flat tire incident (so tired of the road construction!) and proceeded to help with school pick-ups and car pick-up and anything else I needed. Hoping the rest of the week stays quiet so I can give them a break, but even if I had an emergency every single day they'd still help.  Everyone needs good back-up, and I'm so grateful for them and the service they provide for my little family.

-Good weekends.  Ours was semi-productive (we almost finished staining the swing-set), we picked more of the tomatoes off the tired vines (and now they're waiting for me to do something with them), and I caught up on a few things around the house (laundry+meal planning+bathroom cleaning).  Church was just what I needed Sunday, and I'm grateful I could hear great messages despite the chaos taking place on our row (the muffin clocked Miss A with a metal car, causing a small head injury early in the meeting).  And although there are still things to iron out in Primary, I am really loving it.  I love that we end up just where we're supposed to be exactly when we're supposed to be there, and right now Primary is exactly right for me.

Hope you're having a lovely week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

via pinterest

1.  This week the muffin abandoned mama and started calling me mom.  He sounds way too grown up for my liking.  He's also repeating pretty much anything I ask him to say, along with many things I don't ask him to say.  "Hello, stinky poo-poo" is one of those often repeated phrases that I don't ask him to say.

2. I shouldn't post late at night when I'm feeling particularly exhausted, or things like Monday's post happen.  Yes, my house is currently in disarray and I'm feeling tired, but I may have gotten a bit carried away in my exhausted state when I brought up hibernation.  Oy.

3.  Despite the lack of motivation mentioned Monday, I do still desire to be better.  I've had conference talks bouncing around in my head and thoughts sorting themselves out as to where my focus needs to be.  I love the planning that comes along with improvement.  But after the planning is done, I really just need to get down to work, and I'm ok with that, too.

4.  I have found better cooking success recently if I can get the majority of my dinner prep ready before Miss A comes home from school.  Those after-school hours are craziness and have left me feeling flustered about dinner regularly, often resorting to breakfast for dinner as a fast/easy/no-brainer meal.  But I'm tired of pancakes and waffles and ready for dinner that feels a little more put together.  Tonight I'm making a family fave.  I received this recipe from my aunt several years ago and have made it more times than I can count since then.  I've shared the recipe dozens of times, and it's my go to for a new-mom meal.  Homemade taste+a few shortcuts along the way=dinner success.

Chicken Pot Pie

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1 package frozen vegetables
pie crusts for top and bottom (I use the Pillsbury crust to save time)

Heat butter over low heat until melted.  Blend in flour, onion, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in broth and milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 min.  Stir in chicken and frozen vegetables.  

Place bottom crust in at least 9" pie dish.  Pour chicken mixture in and put the other crust on top.  Close crusts together and poke a few holes in top crust before baking (I usually make a heart shape because I'm just sappy).  Bake at 425 for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is brown.  


There you have it.  You know the drill.  I'll be back soon.  I need to empty a few posts out of my brain.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Settling In

image via pinterest
It's the time of year when I start settling in. Fall/Winter brings out the recluse in me.  Getting out of the house becomes much less than desirable.  Motivation becomes a thing of the past.  We've had a stretch of cool, rainy days, and it's left me wanting to finish up the chores and batten down the hatches.  My freezers, inside and out, are both full to the brim, but it's not stopping me from still double-batching things every time I have the desire to cook, because I'm not sure when it will strike again.  I'm pretty sure I'm the kind of creature who could easily hibernate.  Usually, I don't start thinking about it until November.  The fact that the urge for long naps and laze is striking so soon definitely points to a long, long winter.  Hoping that it really does warm up a little this week so I can be good for something, and so maybe I can come back and write again soon.  It's been far too long since I've written about the dad story.  In fact, a year ago this week is when he moved out.  I need to get back to recording this piece of my history.  And of course, many other thoughts to share.  Hope your week is off to a great start.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Boy, oh boy

self-portrait of de-Man in his converse.  he's got places to go...

There are days (weeks? months?) when motherhood feels overwhelming, especially in regards to various stages my kids may be going through.  The oldest boy has been in a funk for a long time, and there are days when I think it might do me in.

Not that I want to blame his behavior on any particular time, but really, almost two years ago things turned upside down in his world and I don't think he's been the same since.  First, he got a baby brother.  Six weeks later he turned three.  A week later he had a grandpa move in, and he often had a hard time getting along with him.  He's been on an emotional roller-coaster ever since.  I'm not quite sure how to get him off.

This boy is really a fun kid.  He's happy and silly, always making jokes and trying to lighten the mood.  He can be really sweet to others when he decides to be.  Oh, is he sensitive.  But he has also been quick to anger lately, frequently yelling about how rude everyone/thing is over the simplest requests.  His moods change quickly and are rather unpredictable.  Getting him to accomplish a task, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant the task may be, regularly turns into a show-down.  His current desires revolve around screen time and sugar, things that would be gone if I had my way, leaving him always wanting more.

I know he is bound for great things.  I've felt it since he was tiny.  But I think he's at a point where I've tried to let things slide and coax him along as much as possible.  I'm needing some serious parental inspiration.

I'm grateful that I can find answers from an eternal source with much more parental wisdom than I currently possess.  I'll be digging deep for answers for just what this boy needs.

Any 4-year-old boy wisdom is definitely welcome.

Monday, October 3, 2011

And now for something good

print via The I Am Project


Unintentionally, there has been a lot of blah on the blog lately.  Sometimes that's just what life gives you, and I try to let my writing be a reflection of what's going on.  While mentioning the low points of the weekend I left out the good, knowing that I wanted to come back and focus on the good things that happened over the weekend.

This weekend was one of my favorites of the whole year.  It was general conference for our church, one of two opportunities a year to hear counsel from church leaders.  It was just as wonderful as usual.  Saturday afternoon session found all the kids asleep and the husband and I looking at each other with disbelief as we actually had about an hour of uninterrupted listening.  There was much chaos during the rest of the conference watching, particularly on Sunday, so the chance to really focus was a welcome break from the norm.  The chance to snack on chocolate chip cookies from my mother-in-law didn't hurt matters.

Here's my favorite thing.  Conference is full of talks meant to instruct, uplift, and inspire.  As it ends every year I'm left wanting to be better, and you all know how excited that makes me.  But the really amazing part to me is that all of this counsel comes with love and understanding.  There is no, "you'd better improve or else...", but instead the tone is more "you're doing a great job, and keep doing your best."  All post-conference motivation to change comes from each individual as they internalize the messages and decide for themselves with the guidance of the Holy Ghost what is most needful to work on.  I love it!  And I wish I could be more that way with my own kids, somehow communicating my love and support for them and motivating them to make changes on their own.  (I can dream try, right?)

A few parting links of my favorite weekend messages:
-this talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf was amazing and full of things to ponder regarding the worth of a soul
-this talk by Ian S. Ardern on time management was both entertaining and 100% accurate- loved it
-this talk by Elaine S. Dalton on how father's can raise daughters was incredibly sweet

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While I'm sharing inspiring links, The I Am Project has launched a shop with their prints, many of which I share here.  Thought you might like to know.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Slow Down, take two

via silverbox creative via pinterest (ps, I've added a pinterest button if you want to follow me)

I suppose the husband wasn't the only one who needed a reminder to slow down.  Thursday night I could feel it coming on, and by Friday I was down for the count with strep throat and a sinus infection.  I think the stress of the past few weeks finally caught up with me.  The antibiotics are starting to kick in, and I'm hopeful I can make it through the week without canceling/postponing too many things on the already full calendar.

After the past two weeks, I have been reminded of how grateful I am for good health.  It's something I frequently take for granted.  Our bodies are truly amazing.  The ability they have to heal and improve is a blessing.  The demands I put on it everyday are varied and strenuous, from the ability to lug kids around to bending every direction to pick up toys to being on my feet for hours cooking meals to getting on the floor playing with blocks or changing diapers.  It is easy for me to get wrapped up in doing these things everyday and to forget that I'm so grateful that I can.  It makes me want to take better care of my body so that I can do these things for a long time to come.  I feel a great sense of stewardship to care for the gift I've been given of a healthy body, but it usually takes getting sick/injured to regain that perspective.

Exercise and I have an on-again/off-again relationship.  When I'm doing it, I'm loving it.  When I'm busy, it's one of the first things I let go.  When I'm in the habit it's easy, but if I fall off the wagon I have a hard time re-creating that habit in my life.  When my dad came to live with us, exercise came to a halt (I'm sure it was also coupled with the fact that I'd just had a baby), and I've had a hard time getting a routine since then.  I'm often very casual in my approach, taking a walk with the kids or playing tag in the backyard and calling it a workout.  Don't get me wrong, I do think pushing 70+ pounds of kid in the stroller is a workout, but when I'm squeezing it in once a week I don't think it's having quite the benefit that my body really needs.  I like to go for a jog or do a quick workout video via netflix, but I have very little consistency.

When I'm sick, it helps me refocus on healthy habits in hopes of preventing future illnesses, because I am definitely a believer when it comes to an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.  I feel comfortable with the diet portion of things, increasing my fruit/vegetable intake and cutting back on sugar (and if you're looking for tips regarding better health, I've been loving word of wisdom living).  I'm hoping I can find a groove with some sort of regular exercise, even if it's just being more consistent with my walks pushing 70+ pounds of kid.

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What helps you to form a habit when you've gotten casual?
What's your favorite way to exercise?