Friday, July 11, 2014

Good morning, beautiful

It's a gorgeous, dewy morning here in central Mississippi.
I love how the morning sun filters through the leaves of our birch tree.

We've had more than a week of travels, and I think, after almost a week of recuperation, we're getting back to normal-ish.
That is, if normal-ish means that your toddler forgot how to control her bladder whilst on the road, and it seems like you're back to square one with potty training. And if normal-ish means working on day-time weaning Adele, which she isn't so thrilled about and woke up nearly every hour to try to compensate.
Normal-ish.
But my kitchen is clean. The laundry was finished yesterday.
These are good things.

It's funny how things change. I've always appreciated nice landscaping, and when I watched that house-hunters international, I would be shocked at how the driveways in Ireland were paved right up to the house. No bushes or anything. Well, in the last week, I've found myself praising a potential house because there was, "no fussy landscaping". It's a season of life. I don't have time to prune and weed and   mulch flower beds. I count myself a success if I can remember to put the potted plants in the rain and sunshine sometimes…the ones that aren't dead already. It's just the way it is. Maybe when my children are a little bigger I'll be able to appreciate landscaping again. Who knows?

Happy Friday, friends.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

wedding thoughts.

A good friend of mine is getting married. Soon.
There are so many things I want to talk about with her; Things I want to tell her about how much fun it is to be married to your best friend. But it feels like there isn't time. She's planning a wedding after all, and is, I'm sure, busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger, and I, of course, have my two littles always near my feet - and it's hard to talk much with those blessed little distractions.

We went shopping for her wedding gift today. I'm afraid I'm the type of person who looks at a registry and then promptly disregards it. That's mostly because I like to do wedding shopping at places similar to TJMaxx or HomeGoods, and you never know what you'll find there.
I do try to note color themes from a registry and buy things that won't clash (too badly). Sometimes it's challenging to find things that fit what I think a person would like rather than just what I would like -- though I Never buy a gift that I wouldn't like to receive…but especially when you haven't spent much time around the bride and groom and aren't really sure what their cumulative tastes might be. But that, "I hope they like this!" feeling is a little edgy and exciting, and since you'll probably never know if they don't like it - all the better.

But marriage. Only God could have designed it so.
Women need love. Men need respect. That's clear as day in the bible, and it's so completely true.

And those newlywed days are so sweet. You're so delighted just to be together.
But you have no idea why on earth he would do something in that particular way, and he has no idea why you would be crying over that. He probably has no idea how he hurt your feelings, and it's all so new that it's hard to deal with the situation. And it's shocking that he doesn't do things the way your daddy and brothers do (which seems like absolutely the best way, of course), and, of course, he has very specific reasons why he does things the way that he does - even though it's different from what you're used to.
It's like the old toilet paper roll backwards or forwards debate. Do you twist or roll the toothpaste tube? Does it make any significant difference? Not a bit, but you're learning more about each other everyday.

You get to be your spouse's best friend. It takes work and time, but it's more precious than can be expressed.
Make your days special. Make memories. Dance in the rain. Arrange your little home. Smile. Laugh.
Have picnics. Make coffee with whipped cream on top. Snuggle. Work together. Smile some more. Smile so much your face hurts.
It's such fun. Relish each moment.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You might as well know….

….. I've got the fever.

Baby fever.

It became official to me on Saturday. We were shopping at Target, and I found myself gushing over the littleness of bitty baby shoes and preemptively buying maternity pants (because they were on sale and looked SO comfortable).
I knew I had almost swooned over the size of a friend's newborn a few days before, but there at Target, I realized that I had the fever for sure and certain.

I'll also tell you that I'm wearing those comfortable maternity pants right now, because this mama isn't ashamed to wear maternity clothes when I'm not pregnant….except when it's the 4th trimester and I'm so over having to wear maternity. But that's another story.

I'm not saying I'll have any announcements anytime soon, but I sure wouldn't mind having something to announce.  So there.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Singing School

I try to be real here. {Isn't that the mantra of most mommy-bloggers these days?}

This is singing school week, and we're beat tired. Adele fell asleep in her high chair while I was taking a shower. That kind of tired.

I was dreading singing school this year. I shouldn't have, but I was. In case you don't know, we're hymn-singing Baptists. Primitive Baptist. No accompaniment. Just voices praising the Lord.

A cappella.

{Do you remember that Andy Griffeth episode when Andy asks Barney what he would do if he was asked to sing a cappella? "Well, I'd sing it Andy. A cappella. (snapping) A cappella. A cappella. I just can't remember all the words, Andy."} Lol.

We sing shape-notes.  "Do" is a triangle. "Re" looks like a bowl and so on. "Sol" happens to look like a note in regular music, and consequently, if we come across a piece of non-shape-note music, it all looks like "sol"s to us.

Anyway, I was not looking forward to this week of learning music. I was raised going to singing school almost every year, plus I was in the band in school, so music was something I was very familiar with, but my girls are just learning. So, we've spent the week in the preschool class - though I've longed to be singing with the advanced group.
As tiring as this week has been, it's been lots of fun - which I should have expected. And what's more, this mama has gotten to visit with other mamas all week which is both rare and very enjoyable.

Next week, we'll probably hibernate. I'll probably wish we were doing it right now but alas, singing school only comes once a year at our church, so we'd better soak it up.

Hugs. Its time to sing!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Life is funny

Life seems all kinds of funny today.

Case-in-point: I have a crock pot of beans cooking in the bathroom.


Our a/c is not working right, and I'm trying to avoid heating up the whole kitchen and living room…so into the bathroom the crockpot went. If I had a garage, I'd have put it there.
And we're having guests tonight - which means I want the house to be at a semi-comfortable temp, if possible.

Also, I got Emery his Father's day gift yesterday and, as usual, gave it to him already. He has a trip coming up and needed a new suitcase, but since I don't have any place to actually hide a suitcase AND because I have NO self control when it comes to gift giving, I just left it out the couch with a few things  I knew he would appreciate inside.

Anywhoo, happy friday!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Home

We travel some.
Not like those who live in a RV and are always on the road, but in the last two months we've spent two separate weeks on the road….and being away from home for that long wears. me. out.

There's something about coming home. Suddenly you can relax. The children run around embracing their favorite things that they've missed to pieces and didn't know it until they returned.
And you're together as a family at home. No other people around, which is a welcome change.

{Not that we don't like other people, but everyone in my family is more at ease when it's just us.}

And so, home is delightful.
There are mountains of laundry to be ironed and put away. There are toys and books and shoes and dishes to take care of, but these things will wait till Monday. Today we're resting. Doing our usual Sunday thing, soaking up the beauty of being home, together.



By the way, how is it already JUNE?? Can someone please tell me what happened to the first half of the year?


Friday, May 16, 2014

Potty Mouth.

 I'm going to talk dirty today. Be warned. This is about Potty Training.

Last July, we started potty training Hattie. {Did I blog about this? I have no idea.}

Anywho, I was thrilled at our "progress" until, at three weeks in, everything exploded and she was no longer potty training and we were dealing with MAJOR meltdowns, oh, twice a day.
And then I was like, "So the terrible twos are real." I'm a believer now.

But there's a little beauty to the story because those terrible, very bad days passed in a few months (and we eliminated the dairy, which helped baby-girl a lot)….and looking back it seems like not-so-bad.

{Funny thing about motherhood, in the middle of a rough season you're in tears every day because it's that bad, and then give yourself a few months and every this is not so bad - and that's why mama's keep having more babies because they keep forgetting how bad labor and teething and potty training can be. But of course, we learn secrets along the way, and we're sure we'll cope better next time. I guess that's why some people -like my brother - say it gets easier with every baby -they have 5 children 6 years and younger.}

Anywho again, we gave up on the potty training for a while, a long while. But about a week before her third birthday, I started telling her that after her birthday she would start wearing panties again. The first  two days of course were accident laden, but after restructuring our goals/rewards we started making fabulous progress. So fabulous that my girl hasn't had an accident all week, and we just started last Thursday!
Hattie loves to pay for things at the store or restaurant -even if what we're buying isn't really for her. So one of our smaller goals was to use the potty three times with no accidents and she could get one things AND pay at Dollar Tree. If we got to ten times, then we could get a little something at Target (ooohhh ahhhhh). And for every success, she could choose a chocolate chip or a jelly bean. Hattie likes chocolate, and that worked well for her.

Of course, we haven't made it to the three week mark yet….so we'll have to wait and see if any regression happens, but I don't think it will because she's got the hang of things now. Back then, I had begun to wonder who was training whom. Which is to say, it felt like I was the one being trained to take her potty before she had an accident, instead of her telling me when she needed to go.

So here's a big hip-hip-horray for Hattie. Way to go baby girl!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chilly

In Mississippi, you're not supposed to need sweaters in May.
But we needed them in the house this morning and last night coming out of church. Brr.
It always feels colder when you've gotten used to 80+ degrees and all of the sudden it's in the 50s…compared to the middle of the winter when 55 feels balmy and great. It's all about perspective.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The breeze

11:17am.
Adele is napping.
Hattie is laughing at Sid the Science Kid. {She finds him hilaire.}

And I'm watching the breeze.
The beautiful springtime breeze that tickle my birch's limb and flutters her leaves. The humidity is low, and that makes the weather delicious.
There's a blue-jay on my fence.

Tomorrow is a birthday.
It's hard to know how to spend the day before a birthday. For tomorrow, we'll be making cakes and celebrating and being liberal. But today is not tomorrow yet. And it seems a shame to just do the ironing on the day before a birthday.
Nevertheless, the ironing IS done, so maybe we can do some sort of birthday-eve festivity.

I never knew until I became a mother how special birthdays are. For the child, of course, but for the mama that birthed the child…to think back on the birthing day and the miraculous birth of YOUR child. Wow.

Three years ago tomorrow, I went swimming in a pool that was too cold to swim in, but I took the plunge because if I waited until after the baby was born and all the after birth stopped, then that Mississippi pool would be warm as bath water and not at all refreshing. So we swam. When you're nine months pregnant, you float pretty easily. I mostly floated ---and I was in labor, too, so that deters good swimming.
Our sweet little apartment, where we welcomed our daughter into the world. I love home births. She was so beautiful from the first instant. Not wrinkled up and red, just beautiful with all that dark hair that has since turned almost blonde.

I love you sweet girl.
I love hearing all your imaginings…about your husband who is an engineer, and your children: Jack and Jill and Jane. And you're often headed to your wedding at the castle or just got married.
You love old fashioned stories, and I'm not sure which of us has been enjoying the Little House on the Prairie books more.
And how you cook! Our day at the beach a few weeks ago, you made "butter" in your pail and stirred that wet sand to your heart's content.
Grow baby girl. Follow the Lord with all your heart. Spread your sunshine to everyone you meet.

Friday, May 2, 2014

hello May.

I've been absent a long while. Sorry about that.

Today, I feel a little lonely without social media.
By way of explanation, I deactivated my Facebook account back in July, and some months ago I got rid of pintrest too - my account kept getting spammy. And largely, I've been perfectly happy without the influx of useless information….ah, but today, today, I was wax nostalgic and wish I could see some pictures of my far-away friends' new babies and what life has been like lately for them. I wonder if I'm falling way behind the trends without pintrest to guide me (but that's completely out of character because I've never been one to follow the trends anyway, though I guess I like to at least know what the trends are). And maybe, just maybe, I have a little crafting quota I need to meet….probably by way of spray painting some cardboard boxes to make them more appealing storage.
All this started at the park.
The girls and I did a little shopping (so many gifts to buy this time of year!), and were happily headed to the park. The weather here is still gorgeous - low humidity, breezy, temps in the 70s - and we haven't had time to go to "our" park in a while. But then I saw that it was a little crowded, and there were mom groups. Sigh. Something about groups of moms at the park really makes me feel lonesome. If the moms just there with their kids, I don't have any qualms about making small talk, and etc, but when the other moms are in groups - oye! That makes me wish I had a group of moms to go on play-dates with, but I don't….and thus all the lonely thoughts and longings for social media.

I know what our mamsie would tell me. She would say, "Have you taken your PLUS?" And I'd have to say "No" because I can't remember to take those things for anything. {btw, PLUS is from Mannatech, it supports your endocrine system with herbs and such}.

Anywho, that's today's story.

I've been thinking for the last few days about culinary journeys. Not the travel around the world kind of journey, but the journey of where you started cooking and how things have changed over the years.

My journey started with Martha White, $.88 bags of muffin mix, complete with little pellets of fruit flavor and maybe even chocolate -if my dad was feeling liberal. One bag made six muffins - which is a shame when you {I} really wanted to eat four of them myself. And there was virtually no way to mess them up. I remember being in 4th or 5th grade and making muffins by myself. And I loved it.

Of course, when I was much smaller, my mother would get out her wooden biscuit bowl with self-rising flour always in it.  And she'd make a well in the flower and add a handful of shortening and some milk and make biscuits, and she'd always save my brothers and I a few scraps of dough to eat…but I never made biscuits like that on my own until I was in middle school and my parents were divorced.

From muffins, I'm not sure where I progressed to exactly, probably boxed cakes and brownies. It was a step up from the muffin mix because you had to add eggs and oil or water. The muffins you only had to add milk - I think. And then biscuits, from scratch. I messed them up at least one time so badly that they were inedible, but my dad choked one down for my sake. You've got to watch whether you're measuring baking soda or baking powder, and I had gotten them confused. Eventually, I made some cakes from scratch, pound cakes usually because they Dad's favorite.
I'd make various baked items to take to church in my teenage years, but never anything worthy of a main course. I preferred baking, but I didn't feel at liberty to use any of the meats anyway to take to a church dinner that my parents weren't attending…and consequently, I didn't get much practice in main dishes before I left home.
After high school, I moved to Maryland to work in an assisted living which was owned by some good friends of ours, and before long I found myself appointed to be a cook solely because I was Primitive Baptist and from the South ---these facts apparently ensured I COULD cook….though I would only go so far as to say that I could follow a recipe. So I cooked dinner for about 20 every night, and got some decent practice in, but mostly I made things that were frozen or came out of a box with canned veggies - there wasn't too much imagination in it, but at the same time, I didn't dare try anything out on my 20 very particular residents, or I was sure to hear about it for as long as they could remember.
After 8 or 9 months in Maryland, I married prince charming and all of the sudden had to learn how to be gluten free. Talk about a learning curve. I had been used to making whole bread - grinding the wheat and everything - and I really really had to weigh in the balance of whether I wanted to give up bread to marry Emery. Of course, I chose Emery in the Long run.
It took me about a year to build up enough confidence to start baking gluten free items from scratch. Gluten free is tricky. Some of my cook books have recipes that I've never been able to make turn out correctly. Oh well. Live and learn and sometimes scratch out a recipe.
Somewhere along the way, I got comfortable enough in the kitchen that I stopped measuring things. It's a little harder to ensure things will for sure turn out right, but it's worth it not to wash extra dishes to me!
Down the road of life a little further, we had to remove dairy from our diet. That was a HUGE shift. I'm still mourning that one some days. But we've made adjustments, found new recipes that suit our needs and our taste buds and move forward.
I hope I'm not done learning. I hope I get better at learning which cuts of meat to buy and the best ways to cook them. I hope I find a way to get enough protein in my diet without dairy - especially when/if we get pregnant again. And I hope I can do a better job of letting my girls help in the kitchen where they can, even though it's often more of a hassle - it's worth it.


Oh, and speaking of pregnant, I want to be! A friend of ours just found out they are having twins, and I found myself a little jealous. Maybe I'm crazy, but twins sure does sound fun….yes, that must be the hormones talking.
BUT Adele still nurses too much at night (uh, and she wants to EVERY time I sit down during the day), for my body to consider hosting another human being. So, you could pray for Adele to start sleeping through the night - if you wanted to - I wouldn't mind that prayer one bit! {Though I can't say that I've ever minded having folks pray for me.}

Hattie's months of anticipation about her birthday are drawing to an end. We're in the single digits on our count-down and she's elated. "I'm going to be 3 on my birthday!" And when I ask her what she might like for her birthday, she usually replies forks and plates ---which we've already bought to have cake and ice cream after church on Wednesday night.  I sure do love my almost three year old!!

If you've had enough fortitude to stick around to the end of this post, I admire your effort. Thanks for putting up with me -my long silences and habitual rambling.

Welcome May. I'm glad you're here.