Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Right Now

gorgeous print via The Paper Nut


-I constantly crave chicken and dumplings.  I made this version again tonight.  Delicious.

-My orders of inspirational prints are rolling in and packages should be finished soon for my giveaway winners.  While browsing art I love via etsy, I noticed one of my favorite shops, The Paper Nut, is closing its doors.  The shopkeeper/artist/designer Jeanie is actually a friend of mine from college, and I was thrilled to come across her shop and see where her talents had taken her.  I ordered the giraffe print above (and love that there are 6 giraffes, just like our soon to be family of 6!).  I'd order fast before things are gone for good.

-Eating sweets=heartburn.  The end of the day=swollen ankles.  My belly=popped.  Hello third trimester.

-My kitchen chairs are draped with snow bibs and wet mittens and scarves and coats and hats.  We finally had a couple inches covering the grass and I decided it might be now or never as far as a day of snow play.  There's a tiny snowman in the backyard with a carrot nose.  Chances are good he'll be gone tomorrow.

-I'm making my lists for a primary appreciation dinner tomorrow.  30+ teachers, cub scout/activity day leaders, choristers, and pianists will be there, so it had better be awesome.  This is the kind of thing I used to put together for church regularly with my old calling, but it's been a while.  I'm currently combing dessert recipes and printing tags for favors.  It feels good to do this kind of thing again.

- The dryer keeps doing a 3 minute spin cycle letting me know it's ready to be emptied.  The washer is full of clothes that need to be dried.  I really dislike when I still have laundry going at this time of night.  So it goes when you forget to change loads earlier in the day.

-I ended the day with my kids on a grumpy note.  The husband arrived home two+ hours late while we were in the middle of the bedtime routine.  My patience was gone.  I prodded de-Man 27 times today for every.little.request.   Ending the day this way leaves me filled with regret.  I wish that I could do it all over again the right way.  Hopefully a batch of waffles in the morning will be the start of a good apology and a better day tomorrow.  I am far from the mother I want to be.  Luckily my kids are (usually) forgiving of my shortcomings.  Luckily I can start over everyday.  It wasn't necessarily a bad day overall, but I sure managed to sink it quick with an ending like we had.  I'm looking forward to a fresh start tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday+Prayer

love this quote from Abraham Lincoln, who according to Miss A, is a lot like her since their names both begin with A and they both like to read

It's Monday, and I think I can safely say I've had a case of the Mondays today.  Maybe it's the fact that I'll hit the 26 week/3rd trimester milestone this week, or maybe it's just the pace of life I've been keeping, but I'm feeling a little worn out. It's time to dig deep and make things happen- a good idea since there's a lot happening!  

Over the weekend my thoughts were turned to prayer.  On Friday Miss A came home from school and shared that earlier that day she'd been frustrated because she made a mistake on a math worksheet and couldn't figure it out.  She related to me that after working on it she decided to say a prayer to ask for help.  It was the kind of moment as a mom that is hoped for.  I felt a small confirmation that I'm doing something right.  I feel great joy knowing that she thought to turn to prayer when in a moment of need.  

I am grateful for prayer in my own life.  Although prayer is a part of my daily life, I far too often rely on my own strength instead of relying on the strength of One far greater than I am- prayer is currently an untapped resource much more than it should be.  I have also had periods of my life when prayer was a constant life-line and I felt like I could barely make it through minute-by-minute without that heavenly help.  I know that my life is better and that I am better- more balanced, more at peace, more happy- when prayer is a constant.  I know that prayer can help me through anything- even a case of the Mondays.  
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Hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dreams+spring fever

photo via etsy

March is next week and spring fever is setting in, making dreams and plans run rampant.

It's this time of year when I have the sudden urge to get rid of at least 50% of the contents of my house and freshen every space.  I am pinning away my inspiration and planning for organized pantries and closets and big trips to DI to drop off the things I'm ready to be rid of.

I've been daydreaming of our summer garden and trying to decide how much gardening I think I can manage with a newborn and how much canning I really want to plan to accomplish.

I've been dreaming of a long weekend away with the husband and trying to decide on the perfect destination.  I'm currently debating between somewhere with more options for fun with a little more travel involved, or somewhere close to home with less time spent traveling and more time spent relaxing+playing.   Suggestions for a 3-4 day escape are welcome.

I've been dreaming of our finished basement.  I can't wait to have this new space and to move bedrooms around and create spaces that are perfect for my kids.  There is a lot of discipline that needs to happen between now and then so we can save to make the basement dreams a reality.  Hopefully dreaming about parties to be thrown and decorating to be done and doubled living space will help the discipline come more easily.

I've been dreaming of warmer weather.  Although this unseasonably warm winter hasn't been too unbearable (and makes me nervous for what the summer may hold with the water supply), I'm still dreaming about days spent outside in t-shirts and flip flops and dinner on the grill and spring bulbs starting to emerge.

It's the time of year when I start to plan a million parties in my head.  Hopefully at least a few will come to fruition, but there are some that are definitely on the calendar (30th birthday for a dear friend, our annual back to school bash, and maybe something spring-y before a newborn throws my groove off).  Parties aside, I'm hoping a few breakfasts with friends and family dinners will satiate my social needs.  While pregnant I alternate (sometimes hourly) between being totally anti-social and needing to be surrounded by friends/family.  I'm always better off when I make myself be social, so I need to plan things for my own sanity.

It's time to find a few fresh notepads and make list after list after list.  Spring is just around the corner, you know.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two items of note

photo by John Kernick for Martha Stewart (not a traditional fasnacht, but these donuts will have to do)


1.  Hannah is blogging again, and I have a feeling if you like reading Bee you're going to love her new blog that's along the same lines sharing her life lessons.  Check out Majoring in Me- she already has a darling free print up for the taking!

2.  Today is Fasnacht day (the PA dutch version of Shrove Tuesday).  Instead of pancakes or king cake or other Mardis Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday fare, the Pennsylvania crowd eats donuts.  Little things like this remind me of my Pennsylvania childhood and make me proud to give it a nod every once in a while.  Although a traditional fasnacht will be hard to come by in Utah, a trip for some donuts is definitely on today's to-do list.   I recommend pretending you have ties to PA for the day and indulging in a donut.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A few thoughts from the weekend

fantastic print from John Tibbott

Friday night the husband and I went to dinner and talked non-stop about all the things we haven't been able to talk about with crazy schedules.  I shared with him some of the thoughts I'd had while preparing for my talk on Sunday, and I couldn't get through certain things without crying.  The server came to see if we wanted things boxed up, and I'm sure he must have thought something was wrong when he saw my tears.  We talked as we left and stopped on a small bridge on the way to the car as I broke down while sharing my feelings with my sweet husband.  I felt overwhelmed thinking about discussing such personal experiences and feelings in stake conference as I realized I couldn't even talk about them with my husband without becoming emotional.  

The topic I was assigned to speak on was not easy for me- essentially how to teach children to apply various aspects of the Atonement within family relationships.  I spent several hours studying and several more writing in hopes that I would convey the message that others needed to hear and that my Heavenly Father needed me to share.  I spent time at the temple on Saturday and felt great peace along with immediate blessings for my service there.  I attended stake conference Saturday night and after I came home I wrote for another few hours.  

The essence of my message was that my current role as a parent is to point my children to Christ.  They're not at ages where we can have deep discussions on how it was possible or the depth of suffering Christ endured or all that the Atonement encompasses, but they can understand that Christ is a source of strength that never fails.  I first spoke of teaching in small moments- probably one of the most common ways I teach my children.  Below is an excerpt of what I shared.  

The thing that I feel like I have tried to do [in teaching the Atonement] and that I will continue to do is to point them to Christ in all things.  I feel like if I can teach them to turn to the Savior always, lessons of the Atonement will come more readily line upon line.

When normal sibling squabbles occur, we talk of Christ as we discuss principles of forgiveness and repentance.  When they’re scared during the night, we kneel in prayer and we talk about the Savior’s power to remove that fear as they replace it with faith in Him.  When they are sick we let them know that there is someone who knows exactly how they feel because He has also felt that way, and we testify that Christ knows how to help them since He has also endured their pain.  When things seem too hard whether it’s practicing the piano or building a Lego model or learning to ride a scooter, we remind them that there is One who can help them if they seek His help to accomplish their desires.  When I make mistakes as a parent and react in anger and without patience, I apologize to my children and seek their forgiveness and pray that the Savior will heal our relationship that I may never lose the love and trust of my children.  I recognize that these are all small examples, but as I teach my children these principles I hope that I am helping them to realize that we all are completely dependent on Christ in all we do- not just when we’re in the depths of sin, but when we’re in the depths of life.  

I then went on to discuss the principle of teaching by example- one of the greatest single ways we can teach our children, and by far one of the most difficult.  I shared some of the story of caring for my dad and the personal lessons learned about the Atonement through that experience.  I know that there is a strengthening power in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that he can make our burdens light.  

My husband and I reflect on this experience as certainly the most difficult, but also one of the greatest that we’ve been through.  We learned many lessons that could have been gained in no other way, but we also were blessed to show our children an important example through this experience as we pointed them to Christ.  I can’t count the number of times I’d drop my dad off at therapy and one of my older two would ask, “Why do we have to take care of grandpa?”  Their innocent question was one that I asked myself during this time, as well.  They felt the affects of this choice and knew it was a difficult thing our family was doing, and they couldn’t understand why this was something we were going through.  It was a humbling experience to be able to say to them (and to reassure myself as I tried to teach them) that we were taking care of grandpa because Jesus asked us to, and Jesus was helping us to be able to help grandpa.  These lessons and testimonies have become part of our family story and continue to bless our lives.  I am grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to teach our children to apply the Atonement within our family by our examples in doing so.  

It is always a good experience for me to prepare to teach or to speak.  I learn so much and am always reminded of lessons that have already been written in my heart, but maybe I've just forgotten them.  I remembered much as I prepared for this talk about the power of example.  Actions really do speak louder than words, and I hope that everyday my interactions with my children are teaching them the things that truly matter to me.  I hope that as I nurture them and help them to grow, that they will begin to understand the love of their Savior as I try to share a small piece of that with them.  I know I have work to do.  This motherhood thing is overwhelming, but it's the best.  

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Thank you for humoring me as I shared a few thoughts that have been weighing so heavily on me over the past week and a half.  If you want some good reading, I found the following talks to be particularly inspiring regarding teaching my children of Christ.  

Help Them on Their Way Home by Henry B. Eyring
A Legacy of Testimony by Henry B. Eyring




Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Weekend

free printable via Joy's Hope

Today was the husband's Friday off, which lately translates to a Friday full of appointments for me.  This morning was a trip to the midwife where we looked at each other and didn't have much to say because this pregnancy hasn't really had many new tricks in comparison to what I've done three times before.  The midwife said, "I feel like we should talk about something," but there really wasn't anything, and so she measured and we listened and I was on my way.  This afternoon was spent at the podiatrist with my dad thanks to a staph infection on one of his toes.  It is truly miraculous that his feet are in tact after all of the wounds and diabetic related issues they've been through.  I think the husband and I are lucky enough to sneak in a date tonight thanks to our sweet trading set-up, and I'm really looking forward to it.

This weekend will hopefully be filled with writing and studying and thinking and inspiration as I prepare to speak on Sunday morning.  This weekend needs to include a new pair of shoes for the husband, a good clean of the house, menu planning, some piano practice for Miss A, and some family fun.  I'm excited to have Monday this weekend for an extra day to be together (minus the husband who will be back at work) and an extra day to relax after all of this talk stress is done.

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments this week.  I'm glad to share Bee with each of you and look forward to continuing here.  As I was choosing a winner, I wished I could send a package to each of you, but since that wasn't entirely feasible I chose three winners instead.  The luckies chosen by random.org are Britley, Sammie, and Hannah.  I'm excited to finish putting your packages together!

Enjoy your long awesome weekend.  See you back here soon!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just Wanna'

Today the muffin has followed me around with request after request.  "Just wanna' read a book."  "Just wanna' look a mirror."  "Just wanna' piece of cheese."  "Just wanna' watch a show."  His opener makes everything seem like a small request- he just wants to fill in the blank, it's not like he's asking for anything too extravagant.  I thought I'd share a few of my just wanna's today, since the phrase seems to be stuck in my head.

Today I just wanna' have a dinner fairy bring dinner over.  I think it's turning into a breakfast-for-dinner night.

Today I just wanna' have my talk finished.  I have to speak in stake conference (a meeting of 1,000+ church members from several congregations coming together that occurs twice a year) on Sunday morning.    I've been doing a lot of reading/thinking, but it's time to sit down and put my thoughts on paper.  I'll be relieved to have it done. 

Today I just wanna' have a few days at my house by myself to deep clean top to bottom.  I've got a lot of organization projects that need good chunks of time to complete, but I haven't had good chunks of time to give them.  

Today I just wanna' have a nap.  I had a great time catching up with a friend last night, and we talked way too late.  I enjoyed the conversation way too much to say I regretted staying up, but I'm definitely feeling it today.

Today I just wanna' love on my kids.  I wish they all thought cuddling and giggling together are as great as I do.  

Today I just wanna' go on a date.  The husband and I have been lacking in our time together lately.  Two nights ago we stayed up late talking because we've been hard-pressed to find time for good conversation.  Two late nights in a row is probably why I'm feeling it today.  I could use some time in the temple+delicious dinner+talking about life with my best friend.  

Today I just wanna' have time to blog what's on my mind and heart.  I'm needing to rework some time management things, because there are things I need to record that are slipping away before I get a chance to write them down.  

Today I just wanna' treat.  I suppose that's something I can remedy.  Off to choose between a quick rest or a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

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If you just wanna' have a few new fun prints for your home, don't forget to enter my giveaway.  I'll announce a winner tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentine

the husband and I, summer 2011, photo by Melissa


Last night we talked about things we love about each other for Family Home Evening.  When it was my turn to share what I love about the husband, I couldn't help but mention his sense of humor.  I tend to take things too seriously sometimes (shocker, I'm sure).  I am always in need of a good laugh to lighten the mood and provide me with much needed perspective, and he's always there with the laugh and the perspective.  We're a good team, I must say.
Marjorie Hinckley said the following of her marriage to Gordon:


“Well, his sense of humor got us through all the crises of our lives. Because he never took himself too seriously, or anything else too seriously- except things that should be taken seriously, of course. But he was not a worrier.” 

I can echo her sentiments.  The husband's sense of humor has gotten us through the crises of our lives, and I am truly blessed because of it.  I'm grateful for my funny Valentine who fills my life with laughter and my heart with love.

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Happy Valentine's Day to you, my friends.  Hope you're surrounded by those you love today!  My day has been filled with a class party, treats for loved ones, and will end with a family Valentine's Dinner+a few fun surprises.  In case you missed it, don't forget to enter the giveaway.

Friday, February 10, 2012

One

print via The Black Apple

One year ago I jumped in and made it happen.  I started Bee.  That is, after almost one whole year spent thinking about it.  It hasn't been perfect.  I've had many grand intentions yet to be brought to fruition (soon I always tell myself, and then life happens and time passes and I find myself again saying soon).  I have a list of posts yet to be written.  I'm still defining and refining this space.  But I am happy with the humble start I've made here.  Post after post of lessons I've learned and my journey as a mother and recipes and daily happenings and lots of things that probably don't matter, but I can look back and say that they are all things that matter to me.

As I write, many of these things are said for my children.  I want them to have this record to look back at someday, to read some of the lessons I've learned so maybe they don't have to repeat them.  To get to know me as a person instead of just as their mom (wasn't it a shocking realization when you saw your parents as people instead of just parents?!?).   To read the things I felt were important and (hopefully) be able to say that it's nothing they didn't already know because how I lived showed them the importance of those same things.

I also write for you, my friends and family.  Hopefully something I've said over the past year has helped you to be a little better.  We're here to help each other learn and grow and progress, and this space has been one way I've tried to help those around me.  I appreciate all of the comments and emails and feedback that have helped me to learn and inspired me to continue on this path.

As a small thank you, I'd like to have a little birthday giveaway.  You all know my love for inspirational art.  I include a piece with practically every post (unless I'm busy showing you pictures of my kids or things captured on my iphone or I'm too busy to post a picture at all).  I'll be picking a lucky reader to send a pretty package with a few of my favorite prints.  I'm still in the process of choosing what to send, but you can be sure that prints from Sarah Jane and The Wheatfield will be included in the mix.  If you'd like to throw your name in the ring, tell me something about Bee- how you found your way here, a favorite post, something that's inspired you, or what keeps you coming back.  I'll announce a winner next Friday.


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Happy Weekend, friends!
Mine will be spent continuing to nurse sick little boys who can't seem to shake this virus, making Valentine's for school celebrations next week, and hopefully not getting any more sick than this nagging cough that has already caught hold.  Hope yours is full of relaxation and productivity and spreading some love.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Slow Days

great print from this new-to-me etsy shop


Monday was a day that I'd deem near perfect.  As I recounted the things I'd accomplished to the husband that evening he was sure I must have harnessed super powers from somewhere.  We made it to our early morning piano lessons on time.  I visited my dad and went to the bank and had dinner going all before 11:30.  I spent the afternoon making chocolate chip cookies and cornbread and other dinner preparations.  I packaged cookies to deliver to friends for Family Home Evening that night.  I took care of two boys who were in the beginnings of getting sick.  Although the list of "accomplishments" was long, I somehow did it all with patience and without rush.  There was no frantic feeling pushing me from task to task, it somehow just all was done and I thought to myself at several points how surprised I was that I didn't even feel tired after all that I'd done.

 Yesterday and today the productivity part of things has stopped as I've been busy taking care of two boys who are full-blown sick instead of just in the beginnings.  My body has felt tired as I've had several middle-of-the-night wake-up calls, and I'm hoping I don't give in to the germs that cover me as I hold hot little bodies.  Today is devoted to laundry and cleaning and disinfecting and sanitizing.  I don't think anyone likes the sick days, but I'm always grateful for some slow days at home.

I'm still wondering about Monday, though.  It was a day full of things, but it somehow still felt slow.  It was a gift.  I'm looking back and trying to figure out how to recreate it because most of our days are full, but the ability to remain calm and even and happy through it all was a welcome change to my usual state of being wound too tight.  I love the print above- I think abandoning the rush is the trick.  Now to re-train myself to stop rushing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A list to start the week

I was so happy to get back into the routine I ended up spending the week doing just that.  I was by no means a perfect mother fresh from my getaway, but I went to bed each night feeling content.  Amidst the tantrums and the sass and the messes were hugs and teaching moments and gathering my kids around the dinner table.  The current pace of life is a busy one, and I love it, but my efforts to really soak it up last week left for little time around the blog.  There are so many life lessons learned lately that I need to jot down so that I don't forget them.  I'm hoping to make more time for them in the coming weeks.  In the mean time, I'll start the week with a snapshot of the present in list form.

-February is a short month, so I've made a goal.  I'm shooting for dinner at home every night for the month.  I'm giving myself a couple of nights off when the husband and I get lucky enough to go on a date and we make quesadillas for the kids before we leave, but no take-out on a bad day or quick pizza on a busy night.  I'm sure this seems like a lame resolve, but it's amazing how regular of a habit this has become (at least once or twice a week) as I chalk it up to being pregnant with #4.  24 days to go.  

-While I'm talking about my goal, I've spent a lot of time thinking about food and family dinners.  Family meal time is huge to me (so much so that I'm sure I'll revisit this topic later).  The big thing I'm focused on right now is the planning.  I've always been one to plan several weeks of meals at a time.  I used to be strict enough that I went grocery shopping every two weeks, but I haven't been that on the ball in a while.  In trying to keep up with my goal I've been tweaking things and reorganizing which meals for which nights based upon commitments that come up, something I haven't done successfully in the past.  I'm hoping I can keep up some of these good habits after the month is up.  If there's interest, I'd be happy to share some recipes/menus along the way.

-While I'm talking about food, I'm pretty sure food is also on my mind quite a bit because this week I took de-Man for some tests.  He's been having digestive issues that have seemed similar to what the husband deals with, and when our kids show any of those symptoms it instantly puts us on edge.  Test results have rolled in and showed that he's allergic to wheat, peanuts, and sesame seeds (a much happier alternative to what we were concerned about, but still nothing fun).  Sam was so excited he could still eat cheese he didn't quite realize that he can no longer eat bread.  I'm not planning to turn his diet totally upside down until we meet with the allergist, but I'm guessing some occasional posts on allergies will continue to make an appearance around here.  

-While I'm talking about de-Man, I can't believe that this week is kindergarten registration.  I've started working on the highly detailed packet and still have a few documents to gather to finish the lengthy process.  He goes back and forth between being excited and terrified.  I'm sure we'll cycle through this until after school starts.  

-While I'm talking about school, the muffin has started to cry after we do pre-school drop off.  Sometimes he insists that he's going to pre-school.  Other days he's upset because he doesn't want his brother to go.  de-Man is the first person he asks for upon waking up 9 times out of 10, and it's sweet to see how much he idolizes his big brother.  I love watching my kids' relationships with each other.  

-While I'm talking about relationships, I'm sure I'll have more to share on that soon.  It is the month of love, right?  

Hope your February is off to a great start!