Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simple Epiphanies

After a restless last couple months of pregnancy, I slept in the guest bed by myself a.lot.  It was wonderful having it all to myself, as well as the five pillows I'd squish in for comfort; between my knees, next to both sides, under my head, and one under the arm of the side that I was sleeping on.  Complicated, I know.  After baby came, obviously, it was a goal of mine to begin sleeping in the same bed with my husband again.  To feed Lydia in the beginning, I'd take her from her crib into the guest room and feed her while laying down (the BEST nursing position ever, in my opinion!).  Often I'd just sleep with her next to me (a known controversial statement) and feed throughout the night.  I could never do that with Vera.  My anxiety and not knowing how to nurse on my side were the obstacles, but this time around, I had it down.  And I have to say, it's pretty blissful sleeping next to a baby.  When Lydia began sleeping through the night, I began weaning myself of the guest bed.  It was harder than I thought it would be.  Chris and I share a queen sized mattress and although it is a very, very comfortable one, it was a transition going from a bed all on my own back to sharing space and having only one pillow (sniff, sniff).  I can say that jokingly now since I'm glad to be bed buddies with the hubs again.  (Although I love me a nap in the guest bed from time to time...and I will take Lydie there for an occasional 6am feeding, then put her back in her crib.)

All that to say, it arose in me an epiphany.  The only way to sleep all night in the same bed with your husband, is well, to sleep all night in the same bed with your husband.

This spoke to me in other areas.

The only way to run longer and faster is to (wait for it), run longer and faster.

The only way to spend more time reading the Bible (you guessed it) is to spend more time reading the Bible.
What is a short term goal that you have?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dang Expensive, But So Worth It!

And as I turned the corner, my heart skipped a beat and I heard the angels in heaven singing "The Hallelujah Chorus."
How are you welcoming Fall?

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Frequent Activity

We go on a lot of walks.  I have Marlow on a leash, Lydia in the Ergo, and Vera leading the way.  It's a fun way to meet neighbors.

Currently Snacking On...

How I Got Pee On My Face {And Other Musings From My Week}

Lessons learned...
1) Always check to make sure the pee is no longer in the potty before chucking it under your arm to carry through the carpeted house to the car (for those times a toilet is not around, such as the park or long road trip).  
2) Driving around town with the emergency brake on is not in the best interest of your car.
3) Before leaving home, make sure child #2 is in the backseat, not just secured in her car the garage.
4) Tantrums in the middle of Target are not a big deal.  Tantrums in the middle of Target are not a big deal.  Tantrums in the middle of Target are not a big deal.
5) Homemade chai tea latte has the potential to fix just about anything.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's The Little Things

What makes your home special?  What are the details that you love, even if they don't matter much to anyone else?  What gives you that cozy feeling when you walk in the door?  Are there sentimental items that are important to you, no matter what the price tag was?  What holds memory or value?  Here are a few snapshots, which I love, from around my home.

A chalkboard sign right outside our front door.  On the other side is written, "No Soliciting" for those times we start getting door-knockers at dinner time.  I change it up seasonally, too.  Last year we welcomed guests for our Christmas party and it read, "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry with the Bonsers."

This little item I picked up for $10 at Pier One a long time ago.  I love displaying holiday cards, birth announcements, and other photos we get in the mail throughout the entire year.  This is on a wall in our hallway.
On Chris's first business trip to Singapore he brought me back this jewelry box, which is by far the sweetest, most thoughtful gift he's ever given me.  I love it.
For whatever reason I just love the linen closet.  (And that little furball.)
With the very little cabinet and counter space that we have, we found this to be the perfect storage solution for my knives.  The blue and red tape (a frequent question) was to differentiate my knives from my fellow culinary school buddies' knives.  When we paid the tuition fee for school, it included our books and equipment, therefore everyones' knives looked the same.
Maximizing storage in the pantry meant utilizing the door.  Thank you, Elfa!
Silly to others but wonderful to me.  When we retiled the master bathroom, I chose to install corner shelves in the shower.  I always hated soap getting wet in it's normal spot on the side. 
This shot was taken as I sat on the floor of my closet.  I believe this was meant for belts, but it seemed perfect for necklaces.  The only downfall is that it is at the perfect height for Vera to play with.  I really don't mind that much though.
My sister-in-law gave us this new-to-us entryway mirror.  It was perfect for this spot.  A place for Chris to throw his keys and wallet when he walks in the door.  We also hung our pool bag here for the whole summer which contained everything we needed to hop in the car and go at a moment's notice (sunscreen, swimmer diapers, hats, pool toys, towels, and Vera's flip flops).  I loved having it at the ready.  This is also the spot I write a daily love note to my hubs.
What you can't see in this photo is what I really like about my small countered kitchen.  There is a little white dish drainer down there on the left side that fits pefectly.  I got it from Ikea a long time ago and never knew how much I would love it.  We don't keep dishes in there very long, but when they are drying, they are only in the sink and not cluttering up the countertop.
What are your house loves?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If Only I Had Some Canned Pumpkin

Who's there?
Banana who?

Who's there?
Banana who?

Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say banana?
 Wow, today has been a fun day.  We are focusing on learning the color orange and it has been been a hit with Vera.  She picked out an all-orange outfit (picture to come) with a little help, including hair accessories.  I cut up some peaches and added them to her oatmeal which I dyed orange using food coloring--so fun!  And her milk was orange, too.  After the gym this morning we went to the grocery store and just meandered throughout pointing out orange foods.  We left with some whole grain Goldfish for an afternoon snack.  We got home and piled on the living room floor all sorts of things from throughout the house that are orange.  She really got into the treasure hunt.  We would say, "Orange thing, where are you?" and run around until we found it, then we'd throw it in the pile.

For lunch was roasted sweet potatoes, carrots with hummus, yogurt (dyed orange), cheddar cheese, and papaya.

This afternoon the plan is to pull out all the art supplies that are orange to color and decorate an old shoe box.  I fished out the scrapbook paper, finger paint, chalk, markers, colored pencils, crayons, stickers, glitter, and yarn.

DIY Dry Erase Board

I came across this idea on Pinterest and decided to use the same concept for wall art in our guest bathroom.  Originally I had written "You look lovely today," as a little pick-me-up, but decided to write something a little more honest and wise.
(I bought Chalk Ink, wet wipe markers for this job.)

What words of encouragement do use as a pick-me-up?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baby Names That Make You Think, WTF?!

You've come across names before, I'm sure, that have different spellings or pronunciations.  You've probably even heard a lot of odd names, and like me, wonder what in the world the parent was smoking when they signed that birth certificate.  They make good laughs though, right?

I have a good friend (a hilarious blogger) who works as a Labor and Delivery nurse and has met these unfortunately-named babies herself.  In fact, cruise on over to her blog if you want to laugh so hard you have to cross your legs to keep from peeing in your pants.  (Orrrrr, perhaps that's just me.)  She's writing a series right now on 'FAQ to the L&D Nurse.'  If you don't mind reading about vaginal discharge, pooping during delivery, and obese pregnant girls that lost Twinkies in their rolls and never knew they were knocked up...then you're in luck because this blog is for you!

In regards to funny names, I thought I'd gather a list of peculiar names of people my friends have personally met.  These are great and if you're in the market for a baby name, perhaps these might be the inspiration you were looking for.

First off, sisters named by the same momma...
Rondayvoo (pronounced Rendezvous)
Dayjavoo (pronounced "Deja vu")
Saylavee (pronounced "Se la vie")

Next, a great idea if you're wanting a no-nonsense masculine name for your little boy.
Imaman (pronounced "I'm a man")

This one with the emphasis on the "th" sound, such as "thing."

Great if you're wanting to incorporate real creativity:
La-ia (pronounced La dashia)

And the winner in my book...
Abcde (pronounced much like Obesity)

What's the most crazy name you've ever heard?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Competitve Parenting

Recently I debated whether or not to start Vera in preschool.  I saw how she could really benefit from a group learning environment, the social setting, and learning to respect and obey other adults.  I decided not to enroll her because I simply wasn't ready.  I'm sure she would love it, but the gut feeling I had was that it just wasn't necessary.  I think Mothers Day Out programs are great and I don't think anything less of moms who do send their kids to these types of day cares, but I suppose I am being selfish in that I want to be around my daughter as much as I can before she has to go away to school someday.

But wrestling with it got me thinking.

I know this isn't a new problem, but being fresh in the roll of parenting a toddler, I am just now recognizing the social expectations/competitiveness of parents.  I started to question whether or not Vera was up to speed and on track.  I started wondering if I was doing enough; teaching her enough, exposing her enough to new environments, and giving her enough new experiences.

It bothers me to be around other parents who feel they have to 'one up' you with the amazing-ness of their kids.  Do you feel me?  Written best by Alicia from Magical Childhood, "We are such a competitive culture that even our toddlers have become trophies and bragging rights.  Childhood shouldn’t be a race."  Well said.  Here's more wisdom found from the same website that, to me, is profound.
So here, I offer my list of what a toddler should know.
  1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

  2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
  3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
  4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
  5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.
But more important, here’s what parents need to know.
  1. That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.

  2. That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
  3. That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
  4. That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
  5. That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

Recent Reads

What have you been reading lately?  I'm looking for a historical non-fiction next, like WW2 era or pre Civil War.  Suggestions?

Muffin Tin Smorgasbord

 (strawberries, brown rice, slow cooked black beans, applesauce, vegetable soup, shredded chicken)

I ran across this idea online and thought it would be perfect for a lunch time change-up for Vera.  She loves containers, compartments, and sorting things, so I knew this would be right up her alley.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Monday Morning Run

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Adventures in Thrifting

Chris had a conference call tonight.  Working from home, I left him "in charge" even though both girls were already in bed.  I had an errand to run and on the way back home stopped by the Goodwill.  If you know me you know that I LOVE thrift-store shopping.  There's something about digging through what looks to be piles of junk and discovering a gem.
I really loved these metal canary-yellow chargers, but there were only three.  They'd make fun wall art for somebody though.
Who doesn't need a cute clipboard?  However, I already own a boring functional one.
I did buy these though.  I found a great crafty idea that I plan to make for gifts.  I bought the entire box for $1.99, which means that for one ornament, the cost was 16 cents.  Steal!
Great bones to this piece.  It mostly inspired me to try out contact paper on the back of my china cabinet.  (I'm wanting to make our dining room less formal feeling.)
$6 Franko Sarto wedges with a peep toe half a size too small?  Absolutely!
Have you any great finds lately at a thrift store?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

On Mindless Eating

When running a half marathon last year, one of the most encouraging things about the race was all the people on the sidelines cheering me on along the way.  Sure, they didn't know my name and I didn't know them, but they were out there to support somebody and I soaked in their applause and cheers as if it were meant for me.  Some held signs on poster boards, encouraging the runners.  "You trained for this!"  "You got this, girl!"  "Make this race your bitch!" < - - Quite frankly my favorite one.  They gave me so much inspiration (and laughter) that it was easier to finish the race because they reminded me that I believed in myself, and yes, I could do it.

You shall have no other gods before me.  -Exodus 20:3

Recently I have admitted to myself that I have used food as an idol.  How does that play out in my life?  I am a mindless eater.  I don't do a very good job watching the amount that I eat or listening to my stomach to stop eating once it's satisfied.  I eat without much thought sometimes, probably a glazed look over my face, not even realizing what I'm doing.  Snacking here, snacking there.  It doesn't seem like it would add up to much, but at the end of the day, I feel sluggish and bloated.  I don't think that's how God intends for us to take care of ourselves.  After all, we are His temple.  I think He wants us to choose wholesome fuel so that we can be productive and efficient for His Kingdom.  Eating right and being physically active makes me not only feel good, but it makes a spiritual connection for me, too.  You see, I feel worshipful when I practice self control (one of the fruits of the Spirit).  Instead of indulging myself, I have been making a mental effort to choose ChristHe alone satisfies.

I don't desire to be skinny.  I just want to take care of the hot body that God has already given me.

I refuse to eat all that low-fat crap.  It's fake anyway.  I choose real food; eating less and moving more.

(On a side note, I think God has given us wonderfully diverse food to enjoy and sustain us.  I just go a little far with the enjoyment part.)

I don't want food to be a god in my life.  Can you identify?  If you're in this race with me, here are some signs along the way to cheer us on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

On Fire

In case you haven't heard, surrounding parts of Austin have been engulfed in wildfires.  The relentless dry heat and record lack of rain this summer offer no containment for the burning.  Many people have lost their homes.  My best friend's parents had to evacuate their home, but fortunately they had a place to stay.  I think the count now is up to 400 homes that have been lost.

Though our home is not in the endangered path, I cannot help but think of those who've lost everything.  I know that possessions don't hold eternal value.  I know they do not make up the sum of who we are.  I know that it is just stuff.  However, we live day in and day out using this stuff that we've accumulated over the years and can find ourselves attached to it.

You've probably thought about this before, but what would you quickly gather if you knew your house was burning down and you would lose everything inside?  Besides the obvious of my family (Marlow included, of course), I'm not sure.  I guess grabbing social security cards, birth certificates, marriage license, and business identification would be good choices.  I inherited my great-aunt's china from Japan, but I'm not personally attached to it.  I have some hand-made clothes my mom has made, but I could live without those.  There are a lot of pictures in storage from my childhood, before digital photos came about, so once they are gone, they'd be gone forever.  But even without those, I could carry on.  Wedding ring?  Honestly, I could do without it.  It symbolizes the commitment of my marriage, but still it's just stuff.  Once I'm in the ground someday, it won't have any value to me then.  I am sure there are things that I would genuinely be sad if I lost, but today I'm trying to keep the perspective that none of it really matters.
What about you though?  What would you take in case of a fire?

Update: I would be devastated without the journals that chronicle my life, beginning in 5th or 6th grade.  A rather narcissistic response, I guess, but writing was often my lifeline and my way of finding sanity at times.  As an avid journaler, I have books filled since 1995.  God's story of redemption in my life, personal growth, and perseverance through trials are in these books.  Can't be replaced.

Aaaaaannd our computer hard drive!!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Growing Old Together

For the last couple of weeks I have been waking up around 6am.  As much as I covet my sleep, it has made a world of difference in the mentality of my day.  Blurry-eyed, I put on my tennis shoes and head out the door with Marlow at my side.  He's up and ready for his walk and though it takes a few minutes for the sleep fog to vanish, I love our quiet morning walks in the neighborhood.  The heat hasn't yet set in and there are few people out.

Except for this sweet, little old couple.  I've never spoken to them.  We haven't crossed paths yet, but I've seen them from afar taking their daily stroll together.  He wears black socks pulled up almost to his knees and she wears a sunhat.  The man uses a cane and isn't very steady on his feet, yet they still hold hands.  Be still my soul.  Tears come to my eyes watching them.  Slow and easy they go.  Perhaps their walk only consists of going around the block or even just up and down their street, I'm not sure.  But they are always together, hand in hand.

Some words that come to mind as I imagine who they are and what stories their lives could tell; commitment, perseverance, forgiveness, laughter, companionship, heartache, mountains, valleys, babies, death, victories, long haul, and friend.

It settles rightly so in my heart when I think about waking up next to the same person for the rest of my life.