Sunday, May 22, 2016

Of a journal

While it might be considered a mortal ill to some, I don't keep old journals around. I toss 'em like last Tuesday's leftovers. Know why? Because I hate to see the person I used to be...I know that sound awful and hard, but really - been there, done that, got the t-shirt and moving on. And I don't like clutter or boxes full of old notebooks that I'd be embarrassed for someone to read.

But sometime in the last few years, things shifted in my journals. The "I think", "I feel", "all about me-itus" that always left a bad taste in my mouth when perchance reading on old entry became more "I pray..."

And writing my prayers has been a great thing for me -- because I sure can't keep up with my train of thought if I can't see it. And this year, I've jumped on the scripture writing bandwagon. And flipping through a journal filled with {answered!} prayers and segments of scripture is a happy thing.

Now, I'm a ONE notebook/journal girl. I can't deal with a book for this and one over here for that. I've GOT to keep it simple. So, my journals with prayers and scripture also come with recipes and to-do lists and addresses and ideas and goals and meal plans. It's all mishmash in there, with handlettering practice scrawled across one page and the children's artistic endeavors, and yet it's like a little portion of my brain. There may indeed be forty things going on, but their my goings on, and I like them.

I do a lot less reflecting on life and a lot more actively living it these days. My journals evidence that. I do think some personal reflection is beneficial, but I don't have time for it much now. I do have time to think and plan and pray - and to live more in the present, than mulling over and recording what's already happened.

By the time all of the pages are filled, my catch-all notebooks are usually thoroughly worse for wear. But they've done their duty faithfully. As I picked up a journal from earlier this year tonight, I smiled to see it all. I'm not ashamed to reread anything there. I probably still won't keep it very long. I'll flip through and rewrite the recipes and other such tidbits in a more permanent place, and then -so long little journal, you've served me well.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Photo Mania

Y'all. I'm bad at managing my photos.

I'm a "carry the camera around every day and never use it" kind of girl. It's abysmal, really. But, I balance this out by not having any skill at taking a picture and then letting these bad pictures sit on my SD card for eternity. (Which I guess means I succeed in taking a few pictures once in a great while. Maybe on birthdays.)
Anyhoo, I have some fab family with a much better camera than I possess, and said family also usually has more free arms than I possess, and both of these qualities lend to better pictures of my children, which I greatly appreciate.
And now, photo dump. :)
Red curls! Which have since been cut off...

Last June:they look tiny!


Feb of '15

playground fun

I think he's enjoying the wind in his hair here

Newborn Elijah. How was this over a year ago!?!

Adele and Chickens last October. Sometimes chickens think Adele is a chicken - being near their height and often having a parents' rooster has gotten a little aggressive toward her from behind his fence.

These children think "say cheese" means frown and usually look anywhere but the camera

Christmas in our new house!

1st birthday

1st birthday

my FIVE year old!

Jolly boy

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rainy Tuesday and a Note of Clarification

We haven't had rain in weeks. Afternoon thundershowers would be in the forecast, and yet they always fizzled with nary a drip for us. Our Maryland family, on the other hand, has had rain for 3 weeks solid. Yikes.
So, today in soft showers and heavy ones at times, we've had rain. A little thunder. And it could only be improved upon by raining at bedtime. That's the very best time for a rain as far as I am concerned; it's so much nicer to snuggle up under the covers with the steady patter of rain on the roof.
The rain has also given me an excuse NOT to go grocery shopping. Never mind the bareness in the fridge, we'll figure out Something. Getting soaked whilst loading groceries into the van isn't appealing. So we've stayed home and lounged. And it's been nice.


You may have noticed my allusion to Sweet Gum House in my last post. I haven't told you, but we've named our little abode, and Sweet Gum House it is.
We don't have any sycamores in the yard currently, if we did I'm sure the name of our home would have involved a Sycamore, but we do have a prominent Sweet Gum tree in the yard, and we all agreed that Sweet Gum House fit nicely.

Hattie hold that if we were to open a restaurant in our home, then we could call it Sweet Gum Table. And I like that too, though I don't intend to open any restaurant. Hattie tends to give effusive compliments to my cooking when I serve dishes like hotdogs or fish-sticks. "Mom, you make the best {instant} oatmeal in the world!" or "You're the best hotdog cooker ever."
She's sweet and sincere, and I appreciate any compliment I can get, however it'd be nice if she gave accolades over home-cooked meals.  Oh well. :)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

the honeysuckles of Sweet Gum House

For days, the heady aroma of honeysuckles in full bloom met us as we came out the door. Strong and fragrant, and seemingly invisible, for I hadn't detected any blossoms in our walks around the yard. Until one day as we were driving away from the house, I spotted those white and yellow flowers tangled up in some bushes.
Then began the fun. Of stopping on our walks to pick a few - always one or two for now, and one for later (for Hattie, anyway) - and of jumping out of the van to grab a honeysuckle before going inside. If we weren't so sensitive to flowers indoors, I'd have picked a large jug full to permeate the house as thoroughly as our yard was with the fragrance.

But the honeysuckle days seem to be drawing to a close. They've bloomed their little hearts our and filled our world with their presence and now we'll file in our memory banks picking the flowers and tasting their nectar. The taste and smell of May.

Someone told me once that you can't remember a smell. A smell can trigger a memory, of course, but you can't just think of... apple pie for instance, and smell it -- you know of course that it smells of sweet, cinnamony apples and freshly baked to perfection pie crust, but no matter how much you think of it (or how hungry you get in the process) you can't smell it.

A few weeks ago, on the eve of Elijah's birthday, I was eager to soak up my memories from his entrance to this world. To remember the voices, the sights, the exhaustion, and even the smells. I pulled out a bottle of lotion that a dear friend had rubbed on my feet during his labor. It was a lotion I liked, and was glad to have, but after it being associated with HARD labor, I was NOT keen on using it for quite awhile. In fact, the smell was almost repulsive in the early weeks following his birth. So I put it away, to just keeping it for looks mostly (an attractive bottle IS worth something). But on the night before his birthday, that lotion, I found, smelled good again.
And it felt full-circle.
This little boy asleep in his crib is so far removed from the newborn who was such a struggle to give birth to. He's jolly and boy-ish and often hungry and toothy grins and walking and Delightful.
Maybe it's beauty from ashes that keeps getting more and more inexplicably beautiful with every passing day.

I know I'm rambling, I know I don't really have a point I'm trying to make - I keep trying to find one - but this one is just the feels. My daddy says you can't think and feel. So tonight I'll feel, and save the thinking for later.

One more thing I'm feeling. JOYFUL.
Really, really.
My house is clean. My dishes and laundry are washed. My children are pleasant and fun to spend my days with. My husband is wonderful.
I hope to be so much more evermindful of God's bountiful, unending blessings.

PS - Today we played an extravagant game in which my name was Marie Calendar, and let me just say that Mary John and Callie were very valiant to fight Ana Ocho - the monster - and to brave the wiles of a harsh school marm, for their father, Mario, had died and their mother was unkind and they were sent to live with me - Marie. {This was the state of things ALL. AFTERNOON.} It was hilarious, and I love these little imaginations - and that they roll right along with the loops I throw into the story, too.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Adventures with Waffles

This week, we began a new book. Who am I kidding? We began about twenty new books, except most of them were picture books and quickly finished. {I love our library!}
Three of them were chapter books from Sonlight's kindergarten book list...I know Sonlight doesn't really want you to just place holds at the library for all their books, but hey, it's a lot cheaper. And the books are great.
So... Adventures with Waffles.
With a title like this, I didn't have ANY idea what to expect, but we were quickly enthralled. A boy and girl duo get into all kinds of imaginative scrapes, similar to Anne of Green Gables - except set in modern times in Norway.
I was charmed with the physical descriptions of the fjords and the mountains, and honestly, it made me want some heart-shaped waffles.

I've never had heart shaped waffles, but it seems they are quite common-place in Norway and I'm positive they must be delicious.

So positive, in fact, that I've ordered a heart shaped waffle maker!
Do you know, in these nearly 7 years we've been married, we've never owned a waffle maker? We were thrilled when Kroger started carrying Gluten Free frozen waffles -- because we were raised on Eggo Waffles (Leggo my Eggo!), but those are the only ones we've had. NO HOMEMADE WAFFLES AT. ALL. Isn't that a shame? I know it is.
But I have this idea that with my heart-shaped waffle maker, I'll be able to whip up such a lovely and delicious breakfast, and with greater ease than perhaps homemade donuts -- which I also love, but baking is a real struggle for me right now. My three helpers and conversationalists make it difficult to think And read a recipe And give orders about what's to be done. But waffles, I think I can manage.

Maybe I ought to tell the family it's my mother's day gift? ;)
That would be fine and dandy with me.


I ordered myself some red saltwater sandals, finally! I've been eying them since last summer. I picked them up from the shoe store this morning. It's so nice to have a pair of shoes that I trust will travel many miles with me. And Hattie felt she would love it if I bought her some too, so we're twinkies - save hers are silver.
{I never heard anyone call two matching people twinkies until I moved to MS, maybe it's a regional thing, but I'll carry it forward. ;)}
I was going to look for some saltwaters for Adele too, but they only had white in her size, and she already has some white sandals, so we got her some glittery silvery crocs -- they're like the jelly sandals we used to wear as kids, but so much more comfortable. She's happy with them, and with her taste in fashion - I consider this a miracle, she's so hard to judge.


Asa and his family were down for a visit last week. We had a ball spending a few days with them, and it's been so funny to listen to how much more Elijah is talking and jabbering. The girls used to do the same when we lived out of state, they come home with words they'd never said before....all from a visit with cousins.
Unfortunately, we must have also shared germs while they were here. We've been battling fevers and congestion this week. Hopefully, we've just about run our course for this round of sickness. The more children you have the longer it takes to cycle through a bug like this and I certainly hope it didn't take hold in Asa's family and his six children - for that might take 2 or 3 weeks to run its course.

Monday, April 4, 2016

One week

So, it's been a full week since I began Elijah's sleep training process. And, no, I can't exclaim from the rooftops that he's sleeping through the night in his own bed in his own room. But then again, I wasn't expecting, I haven't moved his crib from beside my bed. I'm all about baby steps remember.
{Speaking of baby steps, my baby IS stepping. He thinks he's all grown up now that he can walk across the room. Be still my heart. }
So, naps: he is doing SO great. Naps in his crib, and he's learning to fall asleep there by himself. I'm stoked that he doesn't HAVE to nurse to sleep. And speaking of nursing, I've been letting him nurse at night much less often, to which he hasn't put up much resistance. We're changing habits here, people. In January and February, he had gotten into an awful habit of waking a dozen times a night. I'm not even kidding. And he would only nurse back to sleep. Talk about being a "Mombie." Now, he's down to nursing maybe twice a night, and taking his paci when he wakes otherwise. He's starting the night in his crib, too. I'm very hopeful that as he gets accustomed to sleeping longer, he's be just as comfortable in his crib as in our bed.
Things are going well. I'm encouraged.
Thank you, LORD!

The next phase of this juggling act is getting down to business about potty training Adele.
{I hate potty trainging. Really. Can I outsource this job?}
And today we began the "we're only going to wear panties and you get to clean up your messes" phase. I hope she takes to this like a duck to water. I know consistency is the key, and I've been struggling to give our girl that. Seems like whenever we've decided to start getting serious about training her, someone falls ill and it seems impossible for me to have the follow-through to make sure she's going potty....I guess it's one of the failures of survival mode. Ho-hum. She's got a strong will and determination, and maybe maybe maybe she'll WANT to make this happen --- and get her celebratory lunch with Granana and new panties.
Here's hoping!

Happy Monday. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Looking forward to celebrating recovery....

I haven't had a full night's sleep since...I can't remember when...probably since my 2nd trimester with Elijah, over a year ago.
The bags under my eyes are pretty much triple-deckers. You know it's bad when your blush and your eye concealer are applied in the same place.

But I was inspired by a facebook post the other day, in which the mama of a little boy very close to Elijah's age, had moved the baby into his own room, and while it took a week - he finally slept through the night!
Those kind of posts almost make me cry because I UNDERSTAND the TRIUMPH.
...Because you really do feel like you're coming out of hibernation when you start sleeping like a regular person again.

And you know what? I'm ready!
I'm ready to be productive and energetic instead of just getting by. So yesterday began Elijah's sleep training.
I'm not a die-hard 'cry it out' parent. At all.
I like to ease into things, small changes and adjustments. For us this looks like starting with naps; yes, I'll nurse him to sleep and hold him till he's pretty relaxed, and then put him in his crib. Sometimes, he wants to raise a temper, but usually he's tired enough to voice a protest and then drift to sleep. {I just can't deal with putting him in his bed to cry until he's asleep, it's too much for me.}
Nights are another adjustment. Number one on the list is not letting him nurse as often, and thus getting used to sleeping longer stretches. I think even from our small changes during the day, he slept better during the night than he has in a while.
Baby steps. We will get this!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


We finished our play doings. Part of me says, "Hallelujah" and the other part says, "what time is play practice??"

SCC (Shoal Creek Co-op) really pulled Ants'Hillvania together...admittedly, it was iffy for a while, but they did great on show night.

You can watch the whole production on youtube here.

So this afternoon, I sat down with my planning notebook and thought about this play.
It's easy for me to think that the whole thing was entirely too much to do with pre-schoolers; too exhausting, too much time away from home, too much to expect my littles to handle....but then I thought about the benefits. It's no small deal for preschoolers to be able to learn an entire play, but to know when to move, to sing and dance, and to gain confidence on stage - it was worth it.
So worth it.

Plus we benefited from extra fellowship time with other mamas and kids.

Please remind me of this when the next play comes up, because my first reaction will probably be to shake my head, "Oh no, we're not ready to that again yet," and I'll need to stifle that.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Thoughts on today

  • brought to you by bullets...because I haven't had time for cohesive thoughts.
  • Sometime late last night or early this morning I got to thinking about my internet usage, about times when I want to shut-down my brain a while and numbly scroll through facebook, about what my children will remember about this stage when they're grown. I want to be present with my children. I want to cherish their fleeting toddler days - however hard. It's easy to live in the virtual reality of social media and be aggravated by the real life happening at your feet. Maybe if I hadn't been so absorbed in the newsfeed, I could have circumvented the aggravation with the littles. It's worth it to do hard things. It's the only way to grow. Short story long: I've decided to attempt to limit my internet time to when my children are asleep (Right now!). I first thought I'd proclaim a fast altogether, but I know I need to check my email now and then, and reply to fb messages, so - realistically - I think I can manage having after bedtime as my few minutes to catch up on what's going on in the world.  
  • Let me just say: red. curls. Oh my, and help me rhonda - this little boy has enlarged my heart. Love is an amazing thing. With each new baby, I've loved them so much it hurt, and as they grow, I just get all the more endeared to them. It's hard to believe, but this love multiplies exponentially.
  • I bought some fresh bedding today! It's been 5+ years since we bought new full/queen size comforters, and I was ready for a change. I'd been searching online and looking at prices and getting a little discouraged, but we went to Ohco (it's a strange factory outlet vendor of fabric, rugs, mattresses, and today - bedding) and were blessed to a quilt and a comforter set for under $70. I was a little hesitant about paying that much, but after we got home I noticed the Kohl's price tags...those things would have cost me $380 at the store!!! Thank you, Lord!! I love getting a great deal; it really helps me enjoy the purchase thoroughly. So I'm sure I'll sleep well under these covers. :)
  • The forecast for this coming week says it'll be 75-80 degrees here. I feel a "Hallelujah! Come on Spring!" to be appropriate.
Happy Saturday, y'all!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Instant Coffee

I keep instant coffee in my pantry. Perhaps it's adding insult to injury to tell you it's decaf, too. But as I'm the only {occasional} coffee drinker in our home, sometimes it's too much to get the coffee pot out and sometimes the full caffeine of regular beans makes me all kind of jittery and sweaty and keeps me from sleeping at night -- even when the cup of joe was had at 8am. It's not always worth it.

But the real reason for the instant coffee is nostalgia.

My Granny and Grandaddy are the only people I have ever known who would drink instant coffee quite happily and regularly. The aroma shouts breakfasts at their house - perhaps accompanied with poptarts or doughnuts (we always felt like we were eating well at their house, always the best snacks like sugar wafers and little cups of Blue Bell ice cream). Instant coffee to go along with rounds of Skip-Bo or less often Rummikub or Trianamos, and perhaps a bite size 3 Musketeer midway through the game.
Grandaddy always said Granny would beat him again. He liked to tease from the underdog position, and then would all of the sudden win the game while you weren't looking. Not always, of course, for Skip-bo was one of those games that didn't require any skill and it was just a matter of how the cards fell out. We all stood just as good a chance at winning as the most experienced players, and play we did.

Jolly games around their kitchen table make up a large part of my memories at my grandparent's home. And instant coffee is how it smells.

{I might add that they have recently gotten a Keurig, and are not drinking instant anymore. I don't know what to do with this information, and am choosing to ignore it for all intents and purposes. }