My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

the summary continues

averaging a post every five days.  not enough!  want to remember things that have happened.  snapshots...

mother's day.  or the day before.
my man took the girls to lowe's on saturday.  they came home and wrapped a long box.  when asked, i had said, "blender."  but this was long, not tall.  not a blender.  he talked big girl into letting me open; she wanted me to wait.  this was no blender.  it was a ninja!  we put it to work right away...
shaved iced--covered with our home-made lemonade
cut the butter into the flour for apricot white-chocolate scones
i love this thing!  and finally got to toss the barely-working, oil-leaking 15 year-old blender in the garbage tote.

mother's day.
compassion sunday at church.  6 kiddos were sponsored.  6 kiddos will hear the gospel at the compassion center.  6 kiddos will experience the love of Jesus through letters and monetary gifts and prayers.  

went to aunt becky's.  burgers and hugs, laughs and monkey bars.  big girl is getting so big.

even later...
went to lowe's.  bought flowers for nana's planters.  went to nana's.  planted flowers in nana's planters.  hands in dirt = good times.

even later...
tears over the very daunting task of being a momma to these beauties.

we didn't get out of our pj's.  good day that started off with more tears but ended with blessed assurance.  in between:  dancing to toby mac, painting nails, calling from room to room with walkie-talkies, and my fave--fashion shows (walking down the hallway in scarves, sun visors, toboggans, house shoes, and the like while the other two of us cheer wildly).

girls went to a b-day party recently at a place, of which i knew absolutely nothing until we walked in the door.  two girls in salon chairs, pink hair, make-up, getting their nails painted.  after all girlies were sprayed and painted, they went behind a curtain, dressed up, and "modeled" for all the parents. can't say i love this, but boy, my girls did!  do!  want to do fashion shows all the time.  oh my.  =)

quiet time spoke over and over to my fears.  He is ever so good to me.  fresh confidence for the day....which included making bread with a friend, walking through her beautiful garden, and then coming home to work on my humble one.  patio extension project underway.  seriously fun time with my man.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Life Summarized

I don't like when I go so long between posts because then I feel overwhelmed.  So much happens between each post, so many little epiphanies, so many memorable moments...I don't know how to pick two or three jewels out of a thousand!  Here I am, trying to be real and transparent, really transparent, and capture snapshots for my girls, and how do you do that when there are 1,814,000 seconds in three weeks and you are trying to summarize them in about 1,000 words?  That's not real.  But I'll try for transparent.

First, let me just start by saying the eating thing...well, I'm still trying but I'm a far cry from being successful at going all-natural, or even mostly natural.  The first couple of weeks were great; I felt great AND I lost 4 pounds.  This past week was a total flop, and I gained two back.  But I've been trying to get back on track since yesterday with veggie omelets, black bean salsa (an all-time fave in this house), and lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

I also made 5 ingredient granola bars again today, but added my new favorite pantry item--Sunbutter! granola bars are the yummiest.  Seriously.  The last ones wouldn't even hold together and were a little on the sweet side for me, but these hold together, are not too sweet, and are just yummy.  I played with the recipe a bit...I used 4 cups oatmeal, 1/2 stick of butter and about a half cup of the following:  brown sugar, honey, Sunbutter, and choc chips.  Spread evenly in a 9x13, baked for about 18 mins, and ate way too many pinches while I was cutting the still-warm deliciousness into bars and transferring from the pan to wax paper (a necessary step if you don't want them to crumble when you cut them).

Detour:  For those of you that don't know, I am a little freaked out by peanuts right now (along with a few other foods that have seemingly caused a mild reaction).  I have not had peanut butter in my house for a couple of years and really did not miss it.  BUT I forgot just how much I loved it until I had Sunbutter recently (butter made from sunflower seeds), which tastes a lot like PB, but is peanut free, and the kind I buy is all-nat.  Ingredients:  Sunflower Seed, Evaporated Cane Syrup, Salt, and Natural Mixed Tocopherols to preserve freshness.

The reason we got so off our diet (as in "the way we eat," not "an effort to lose weight") is because we have all been a bit crazy around here...going to a Derby tea with some other momma-sisters and their little ladies, practicing for a children's musical, and then presenting the actual musical itself, attending the AWANA awards program, getting surprised with a visit from Mom/Ma-ma, graduating from preK, going to the zoo with the preK graduates, wrapping up the year's activities with a "children's celebration" at church, watching our friends' kiddos while they went to the doctor, getting a crown, and between all that, prepping our garden and working on our brick patio extension.  It's been a fast and fun week.

Today was a rare day in our home when I felt like everything just came together.  These days never come, so when they do I must document them!  I had my temporary crown replaced this morning.  I never thought I would have a crown, but I do, and I hope to never have another.  I abhor Novocaine so I did it all without any anesthesia.  It wasn't terrible, but I still hope to never do it again.  Afterwards, the girls and I went to the store to get foods that would get us back on track to healthy eating.  When we came home, they went to bed and I went to work, washing and prepping foods.  I have heard from multiple sources that the thing to do is wash and cut your fruits/veggies the day you buy them; then they are ready to use.  I've always done this to some extent, but now...the day I go to the grocery, I spend that afternoon in the kitchen.  This makes the rest of the week a breeze--as far as cooking goes.

Big girl woke first and wanted to make lemonade.  Since the all-nat bug bit me, I have said no to Kool-aid; so, big girl has had her heart set on making real lemonade.  We bought lemons today and took a stab at old fashioned lemonade.  Yum!  We just juiced, and sugared, and watered until we had a pitcher of something drinkable.  We figured that it took us about 4 lemons, 2 cups of sugar (yikes!) and a gallon of water to make real lemonade.  Just so we're clear, I never claimed I was cutting out sugar, just processed junk.  Sugar is still in our diet in a big way.  Maybe that will go next, but for problem at a time.  It was tasty.  And lots of fun to make with my big girl.  She did a super job of juicing those lemons!  (have a pic but can't get it to transfer to my computer.  weird.)

We also made the 5 ingredient granola bars before supper.  After supper, we played domino's, Candy Land, and a Dora memory game.  We watched Dora, read books, and went to bed super late.  It was fun, relaxed, and productive.  I LOVE this kind of day.

Maybe it has something to do with the late-night Pride and Prejudice viewing last night.  That always makes life better, right?  I seriously can not explain the depth of longing I have had all week to just curl up on the couch and watch a movie.  I rarely watch movies or TV.  And I never crave it.  But I have desperately looked forward to the day I would have two hours to be brain dead and still.  It came last night about ten o'clock and I relished it.  Thank you, Jane Austen, for Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Picture over-load coming soon as I can get my photo stream to work again.  For now I must go make sure I didn't burn up my dishwasher.  I ran it thru an entire cycle without water.  Lovely.  I know you are wondering, "How does one even do that?"  You must have a portable dishwasher, friends, the kind that hooks up to your kitchen sink.  I ran it again with the faucet turned ON this time, and just heard it shut off.  Here's hoping for clean dishes...

G'night all!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hurry, God! Give me some patience!

Listening to the radio in the car--on a rare outing by myself!--and I just heard the greatest analogy for patience from Susan Merrill:

"Patience is like my car keys; I lose it and find it in the strangest places."

I love it!

She then went on to talk about a lesson she learned in patience, a time when she had to rely on the Holy Spirit to give her some insight into a situation with one of her children.  She has an adopted daughter who had grown up in a difficult situation before adoption and, as a defense mechanism, had learned to lie about things; even when nothing was wrong, the child's natural tendency was to lie.  Susan knew of one thing her daughter had done wrong but she knew she would not admit to any wrongdoing.  Because Susan wanted to build a relationship with her daughter, she hesitated to come down too hard and possibly increase her daughter's resistance and build walls between her daughter and herself.  She talked about the delicate balance between discipline and building relationship.  She said she became so tired of the struggle and the lies that she came to dread picking up her daughter from school.  This is when she came to the end of her rope and asked God for help.  She said she just lay down and asked God to show her how to handle the situation.  Susan then told her daughter to go to her room, that she knew one thing she had done wrong and that her daughter couldn't come out of her room until she had written it down and confessed it.  Susan said that all sorts of things came to light in that situation, and that her daughter made several lists of things she had done wrong before writing down the one thing Susan knew about.  Susan said that when she was finally willing to let go and patiently let the Spirit do the work, God was able to do what Susan had never been able to do--get the child to tell the truth!

This story immediately reminded me of a very recent struggle that took place under my roof and the way God brought something to light.  I realized that I should record it for my girls because they might need it some day when they are mommas.

For weeks, probably more like two months, baby girl was hitting my big girl.  And I don't just mean every now and then, but every day, multiple times a day.  I couldn't understand it.  I tried everything--time out, increasing the time out, lecturing my head off, separating them, taking away privileges, giving natural consequences (if the situation allowed the opportunity), flipping out, and finally (this is going to raise some of your hackles) spanking.  Yes, we occasionally spank.  But, let me be really honest:  I did not like this consequence for this particular behavior, because as I was telling baby girl not to hit, what was I doing?  It felt wrong, but I had exhausted all possibilities and nothing was working and I had lost all patience!  (After a few days of spanking and realizing that wasn't working either, I went back to time-outs to ease my conscience.)

What did I finally do?  Pray.

Not that I hadn't prayed over discipline before.  Believe me, there have been MANY times that I have fallen to my knees right in front of my kids and asked God to show me how to discipline them.  And I clearly remember sitting in the kitchen floor with baby girl one day after she had sat in time out for hitting, yet again, and crying for some help.  We sat there, in front of the stove, knee to knee, while I dropped my head and prayed aloud for God to give me wisdom.  I was exasperated.  I felt like I had tried everything with absolutely no improvement.  And I was at a complete loss.  I just wonder now...why did it have to drag on for so long before I came to my senses and prayed?!

And, no small miracle occurred soon thereafter:  I inconspicuously witnessed the prelude to a hit.  And I began to witness such preludes frequently.  To keep this relatively short, I'll spare you the details, but let it suffice to say that big girl was antagonizing when she thought I wasn't looking.  I was slightly surprised to see this bit of deviousness in her, but we are ALL sinful from birth (Psalm 51:5).  She wasn't doing anything blatantly wrong, but she would get in baby girl's face or block the way to the sink or repeatedly boss baby girl or...anything to push her sister's buttons.  And it worked.  Every time.  Baby girl, not being quite as articulate as her big sis, would get so frustrated that she would eventually push or hit.  Then big girl would come running.  But God had given me new eyes.  The first time I realized what was happening, I only punished big girl; she had to sit in time out and received a long lecture while baby girl's hitting was "over-looked."  The subsequent times, both girls sat in time out, both girls got the after-time-out lecture, both girls had to 'fess up or own their part of the argument, and both had to apologize and give their sis a hug.  Guess what?  After a day or two, baby girl stopped hitting.

When I relinquished control and placed the situation in God's hands, patiently waiting for Him to resolve the situation, the problem was resolved quickly.  I just wish I would patiently wait consistently, rather than patiently waiting after I've lost my patience.  I wish I would learn to wait patiently--now!  Smile.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry."  Psalm 40:1


For more about Susan Merrill, visit her website.

When I visited I read another bit I loved:

My go-to answer is panic, not prayer.  In a tough situation, I’ll have a good cry, but then, as the tears subside, my mind takes off as if it’s in a NASCAR race, around and around and around, but not in a good way. (click to tweet)  Every circle around the track is a different scenario of the situation, in a thousand shades of depressing gray.  I overreact in fear. 
Fear, worry, anxiety and panic are not the solution, but prayer is.  Prayer is the only guaranteed panic prevention.  It is OK to have a good cry, but we can’t allow that grief and concern to convert to fear.  We must cap off the panic and download all our passion into fervent prayer. (click to tweet)  It is not easy to choose to be still in prayer and resist spinning into action of some sort.  It is still hard for me. 

(Read the rest here.)

Yep.  All that hitting?  My go-to panicky thought was, "My kid is an emotional wreck like me!  She doesn't know how to handle her emotions and she just hits!  What if she never learns how to handle her emotions?  What if she is always emotionally unhealthy?"  I smile now, but I was seriously and intensely concerned that she was spiraling out of control.  Panic made me fearful;  prayer made me tranquil.


Attitude of Gratitude:

#232.  a Sabbath, in every sense of the word
#233.  watching my sweet pig-tail girls sing and smile in front of a full sanctuary, growing before my eyes
#234.  holding my big girl's hand as she stood, back to the crowd, and recited, "God is truthful...God is truthful, John 3:33."
#235.  wild strawberries
#236.  the mystery of the iris bloom that splits paper-thin leaves right into and emerges from the middle when no one's watching
#237.  the courage to step outside my door each day and brave the black-widow infested world
#238.  gardening gloves!
#239.  the familiar, but too-long missed smell of home-made sourdough bread--truly, it is a miracle that the starter is still alive
#240.  lunch at the tea house with three friends and their daughters for derby day
#241.  watching my little girls hold big glasses with both hands and drink lemonade iced tea
#242.  having another tea party at home with daddy, using our new tea cups and tea pot
#243.  the squish of saturated ground underneath my wellies  =)
#244.  a man who does his own labor
#245.  a yard that makes me feel warm-fuzzies
#246.  a visit from my sis
#247.  a beauty that loves life, loves to learn, and simply loves (as evidenced by every creepy crawly thing that she picks up and begs to keep
#248.  the wisdom to know what to feed the caterpillars to keep them alive--ask, and you shall receive!