Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Moment to Cherish with Justin

The boys and I had a full day of "everyday" fun... nothing dramatic or exciting, just a typical day full of being together. Library story time, running around the house, lots of puzzles, art projects, reading books, lining up cars and trucks, opportunities to practice sharing toys ;) as Nathan learns to crawl and get into big brother's toys, etc.

After dinner, Justin and I went on a walk together down the street while Daddy gave Nathan a bath. Just the two of us, hand in hand, noticing the cars, the rocks, the paint on the road, the dogs, talking about our day, etc.

As we returned home, Justin initiated our last mini-conversation.
Justin: "Justin happy."
Me: "Are you happy, Justin? Why are you happy?"
Justin: "Mommy here."

There is nothing else to say. My heart is full and I am thankful.

Monday, August 27, 2007

All's Messy but the Notebook

Okay, so I took my dear friend Missy's advice and have started my very own Home Organization Notebook. I'm inordinately excited about this thing. So excited I figured it was worth breaking my internet silence over. The front half is home/personal and the second half is for work. The front half has sections for a calendar, several categories of to-do lists, library (books to read for kids and for me-- yes, I'm trying to read more than Sandra Boynton these days) lists, weekly meal planner, birthday calendar (sorry I've missed so many birthdays lately everyone!), phone lists, etc. I've been giddy about this thing. The above site has FREE printable sheets in those categories and more.

I used to be a daytimer chic- I was newly out of college and in love with the supple leather, then I became a Palm Pilot ace- enjoying all the beaming and sinking, and now I'm back to 3rd grade with a turquoise 3-ring binder and fluorescent section dividers. I couldn't be more thrilled. I got tired of my computer losing my information, my palm dieing, not having a place for things only found on paper, waiting for my computer to pull up wanted information, fighting off wandering toddler hands, etc.

Now I have a place for everything... well, it's getting close anyway. And it's all in such a cute system I can use whenever! It's been so much fun to fill out the divider sections and arrange it all. I had forgotten how fun it was to stack papers, punch holes, click that 3 ring, all that. As I've come upon a new needed section for my notebook, I've sprinted to my hubbie in delight to announce the addition. I've showed him the update at every turn, sometimes every 10 minutes, and he's been graciously excited with me. He came home today with a "surprise" for me. Guess what it was? A new bright orange zipper pen pouch- equipped with 5 colored pens- that attaches to my 3-ring binder! It might be one of the most thoughtful gifts he's ever given me. That's a compliment to him and my notebook, not a statement on last gifts! Shame on you!

As I've had my head buried in the sand of my new home organization notebook, somehow my home has gotten quite disorganized. Now, how does that work?? I guess my time has been put to the bigger picture for a time while the toys and mail and laundry build. Hopefully like Tiger Woods new golf swing (am I good or what, Doug?!), after a time of organizational shifting and tweaking, the home will rise to a new level of peace. As I complained of the clutter this evening, Doug's advice was to simply "if you place your hand in such a way as to block the lower half of the room, everything looks great!"

He can use his hand, I'm going to use my new notebook.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Quick Hi

Just stopping in to say "HI!"... life is crazy amidst our household lately as students return to campus and i start a new part of my very part-time job. I'm probably going to pull back blogging for a bit to help maintain some order around here. Some semblance anyway!

If I had some more time and energy to devote here, here are some posts swirling in my brain I would write about. Any you want to make sure I tackle at some point? Who knows, I'll probably be itchin' to be back here sooner than I think. Writing is becoming therapeutic for me!

our real life experience last weekend with The Big Red Barn

process over product in justin's art

update on nathan and reflections/questions

more cultural observations from our side of town: the used appliance store, the dry goods store, yard sales not in anyone's yards, big southern brick churches, my mom's cultural shock while in our side of town- things from her perspective

recipes to post: what to do w/extras from the garden: zucchini bread, squash casserole, rachel's chicken veggie soup (did i post that already?), chicken bistro

some children's bk reviews

adult bk reviews
including a mystery of marriage update

organizational projects we've been tackling of late

sending off melanie

On a logistical note, thanks to the willingness and blog-smarts of my dear friend Marshall, I can now boast a "recent comments" section. Thank you so much for saving me from more headaches, Marshall! This will be a treat to have.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Smelly Towel

(insert "Smelly Cat" Friend's song, just sub in "Towel.")

My bath towel smells really awful after just a few days. I think we've finally discovered the 3 culprits... I use mine more often during the day as a hand towel so it stays wet in some places, our bathroom doesn't get much air current (should be a normal issue in bathrooms I think?), and I generally smell much worse than my dear husband Doug.

I decided to bring this reality into the public. I'm thinking if I can connect with other smelly women, we could bond over our unfortunate reality.

Men tend to get the bad rep for smells in all areas of body odor. I shall expand... by that I mean armpit odor, bottom area odors, and mouth area odors. I won't go into much more detail because I'm SLOWLY taking ownership of the fact that most people don't feel as comfortable talking about all areas of potty humor as much as my dear husband and I do. I think you're all really missing out, but I'll just leave it at that for now.

Anyway, it's true. I smell bad, and my husband smells amazing. No, I don't just have rose- colored glasses on... those fell off a long time ago. (I think they wilted from the smells.) He just really doesn't have body odor. He never wears deodorant and doesn't need it. I'm serious. I've stuck my nose deep into the chasms of his armpits and there is no odor! The only exception is when he spends hours on a ball field or mows the grass or something of the sort. Or these days, he can smell after driving his unairconditioned car in 100 degree heat. But even then it's not bad.

Then there is me. I can smell after simply being inside all day. It seems that after I started having babies, my smells have only intensified.

The plot thickens... currently, my sweat smells like maple syrup. It's true. The sweet smell is a byproduct of all the Fenugreek I'm taking to increase my milk supply. While it is strange and leaves us both craving IHOP at all hours, it's been a nice reprieve from my normal smelliness.

But I know this too is just a season. Soon I'll be forced to bathe in my own unaltered smells.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Dinner Fit for a King

Are you ready for my newest recipe recommendations? Here you go!

Hot dogs... Nathan's Hot dogs are the best if you can spare the change; we had Bryan's today- they were fine. Corn syrup was third in the ingredient list, doesn't that sound amazing? If you have hot dog buns, great- we didn't. Ketchup is a nice topping. Homemade not necessary.

Macaroni and Cheese... we've discovered that "Best Value" written in Spanish on the box is the cheapest and tastes the same. I'm not fooled by Kraft's "real cheese" claim, are you?

Green beans... frozen and generic, defrost, warm, and serve. No flavor needed.

I realized today that I don't want my blog to only be about the good ole times at our abode. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the dinner (well, Justin couldn't stomach the beans, but he loved the rest, especially the ketchup which is made from tomatoes, don't forget!). But I feel the need to include here the reality of our family life. That sometimes the best choices in one area sacrifice the best choices in other areas.

When I get into hyper-cooking-planning-ahead mode, I can stock the freezer with 4 loaves of zucchini bread, 2 spinach mushroom quiches, and 8 marinated chicken breasts in 2 days. Oftentimes, that's what my Mondays and Tuesdays look like as I prepare food for much of the rest of the week. But today I can't think ahead. My mind is a bit fried after flying solo for several days. So we'll probably have a frozen pizza tomorrow.

And that's okay, I'm reminding myself. I love to serve my family yummy, healthy food. And I love to save us money by planning meals well. But my dear husband reminds me he'd rather have me enjoy my days, enjoy him, and be well rested than to feel like I have to "produce" a lot during a day. And I'm just now starting to believe him and agree with him. He's usually right about these kinds of things.

So today we loved on an emotionally needy older son and kept inappropriate toys from our younger son. We did about 5 different art projects with Justin and rescued Nathan from the hardwood floors- which seems to often jump up and hit his head. I worked for a few hours on the front porch as Daddy kept the kids inside. When I was working, I wanted to be with them, and when I was with them, some of the time I wanted to be working. We all took naps and basically spent lots of time sitting on our bums.

Was it a great day? I wouldn't say it was great. But it wasn't a bad day either. It was a day. And that's how most days really are. And I'm thankful for this day too. These are the character-building days, I remind myself in hope. I'm thankful I'm not the One in charge of that!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Making Sacrifices for your Children

First, an update on "Nursapalooza!"... we went to our awesome family doc yesterday and weighed Nathan. He gained 5 oz in just one week! So "Nursapalooza!" is working. I'm so thankful. I've always read and encouraged others that you can increase your milk supply simply by increasing nursing frequency, because of the supply/demand principle of breastfeeding... but experiencing it myself was required a deeper level of faith in the process. It was really incredible to experience it firsthand.

"Nursapalooza!" is requiring a lot of sacrifice on my part. (I'm nursing more often and longer than previously, etc. so my time is eaten up. For one thing, if I get to finish this post, I probably won't edit it!) I don't say that to brag about sacrificing, "whoa is me! aren't i so great?!" but more to bring up the idea of sacrificing for our children.

Isn't it difficult to know when, how, and to what extent to sacrifice for them? When is sacrificing for them a place for us to grow in our character, part of our responsibility as parents, a way to love them in such a lavish way as to reflect --even just a little-- God's lavish love for them?

And when is sacrificing for them unhealthy for us? When does it become a way for us to find our value and identity to unhealthy extremes?

Lately I've been sensing the need to sink into this mommying thing more and more. I'm doing a lot of "sacrificing" as it would appear... but is it really even "sacrificing," I wonder? When I have sacrificed just a little smidgen for my kids, what I have gained from the experience of mothering FAR tips the scales. Abundance, joy, and deeper relationships have followed. Not that it's formulaic in any way. (This is when good editing time would be really helpful- in order o expand here... anyway...)

In addition to the everyday selfishness in my own heart, there are so many things telling me to take care of ME. Every other commercial is about a drug that claims to meet a need I didn't know I had. The radio station's call sign is "MY 103.4." My organization's web page's employee page is called "MYpage." There are places to get manicures and pedicures on every corner. I can even order my latte EXACTLY the way I want it. Etc.etc.etc. We have SO MUCH more than any other time or culture or country can offer, yet we keep longing for rest from more of these things. It's our very being to be all about ourselves. I'm definitely not saying any of those things are bad. But I'm starting to sense in my own heart when I'm hoping things will give me the rest my heart and mind and body desire. I'm sure you are following me.

And so I'm trying to find the rest in the everyday "sacrifices." And the Lord is meeting me here. Today I'm exhausted. But I look forward to being met by the Lord in the little moments with my children. In the little moments that come within the space of being in a day not too filled with things to distract me from them. In the stirring, the changing, the wiping, the tower-building, the book-reading, the putting one child down crying to chase the other, even in the redirecting, teaching, disciplining and the changing. It's in these moments I pray the Lord would give me eyes to find His rest. That I would look for Him here. That I wouldn't pray for the moments to pass or for the circumstances to change. But that I would long to be met by Him amidst the craziness, knowing having Him in ANY circumstance is a great great blessing I all to often take for granted.

Friday, August 3, 2007

"Bald Chicks Rule..." and so do men with receding hair lines

I have to take a moment to celebrate my brother and cousin. My cousin Hillary has been kicking Leukemia's booty for several months now. Her attitude has been so inspiring to so many people. Check out her blog for her wide smiles, humorous stories, and joyful perspective. Consider taking a moment to pray for her amidst the journey and to send her encouraging words via a comment on her blog.

My brother Brett (notice his hairline) participated in a bike ride that raised over $700k for The Lance Armstrong Foundation. He alone raised over $15,000! He's tied for first place as the largest individual fundraiser for the event. The event was a 24-hour bike ride "24 hours of Booty" and my brother rode 225 miles... unbelievable. I have a hard time driving for 225 miles, by the way. Brett tore up the street as he connected with legions of other bikers and stories... someone even gave him a pink ribbon pin worded "Bald Chicks Rule." Way cool!

There are many beautiful things to talk about here, but I wanted to celebrate my brother's participation in this event. He trained hard for this event and raised the money all the while raising money for his daughter and my niecey Caroline, who has insulin-dependent Type 1 Diabetes. He and Caroline's Mommy work hard every day to take the best care of Caroline.

The goal of my blog is to "Make Room for More." Amidst all the monotony of daily activities and the pull in the world towards foolish and wasteful things, I want to try to make room to experience and engage in the fullness of all that is offered us. That is what my brother has done. Amidst all the significant things on his plate, like caring for his daughter, he took the time to participate in an event that brought great help and encouragement to my cousin. His involvement speaks volumes to me of the size of his heart. And so I celebrate him here. Well done Brett. I'm thankful and proud to call you my brother!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Nathan had his 9- month well check-up yesterday and we discovered he's lost over 3 lbs since his last visit almost 3 months ago. Naturally, I was devastated. Somehow his weight loss had alluded me. There are a lot of things I don't feel good at during this stage of my life, but I've always felt successful at being attentive to my children. Well, there goes that one! So now I'm steeped in Mommy-guilt and heart break... I can't believe I couldn't tell my child was in a state of constant hunger. Oddly enough, he's not been acting overly fussy, sleeping differently, none of that. Feeling hungry must have become his new "normal." I so badly want him to know that I love him and want nothing more than for him to feel full and satisfied right now!

Apparently my milk supply has decreased significantly. Nathan has always been a fast nurser; I probably should not have been assuming he was "done" whenever he popped off and glanced at me. And all those times I've popped him off in order to chase his brother have come back to haunt me as well... as supply is based upon demand.

In an effort to increase my milk supply and let the Lord pull me out of my "pit of despair" (reminding me of the oft-quoted phrase with my college roommate Kara- back when we thought we had problems!), I've declared it "Nursapalooza!" around here. I'm nursing Nathan several more times a day, I'm offering him both sides twice, and I'm never popping him off-- even his comfort sucking will be good to stimulate supply and might bring on another let-down.

Nathan loves "Nursapalooza!" and as you might imagine, their Daddy does too. Unfortunately, his big brother doesn't appreciate that he's been dragged to the "Nursapalooza!" festival without his consent. Spoiling Nathan right now means leaving Justin out, and that is hard. I'm doing the best I can and trying to be content in the process. Mommy-guilt, be gone!

I'd appreciate your love and cheers during all the concerted effort at "Nursapalooza!"-- our one familied-festival! Whatever your background is... single, no kids, kids fed on formula, kids breastfed for the short haul, kids breastfed for the long haul, kids fed food early, kids fed food late, and everything else in between... bring on the lovin'!