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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Zephyrs of Change

Last night, none of us rested well.

The zephyrs of change blew in sleepless excitement.

That phrase was crafted somewhere in the midst of my sleeplessness.

Like the night before a big road trip, or for children, the night before Christmas, those are the nights that you can't possibly turn your brain off for all the details that keep rising before you. For the traveler, the phone charger and toothbrush, checking the oil and tire pressure, and wondering about the weather make for little sleep; and the child alike dreaming up what might fill his stocking or whose is the largest gift under the tree...the poor dear can't help but knock on his parents' door at 3am to see if it's time to get up yet.

So it was with our family. Today isn't exactly special, but it's the potential of special on the horizon. Emery's a pro at thinking through the big details, and I tackle the smaller ones (though that's mostly an assumption, I don't actually know what he was thinking all last night). And between the two of us, it seems we've usually thought of most everything.

We enjoyed breakfast together this morning at 5:30, and I admit it is a rare happening. Emery usually has to fend for himself before leaving at 6am. But we were all awake and with a strong pot of coffee brewing, so we seized the time. Hattie blew her first kiss this morning, and very appropriately, it was to her daddy as he left for work.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More on cloth diapers and general 'crunchiness'

A few months before Hattie was born, I got into research mode. The more I learned, the more I realized I was in fact: crunchy. Cloth diapers, delayed vaccinations, baby-wearing, breastfeeding, home birthing, and at one time I may have been known to make green smoothies (which Emery politely sipped, but was more than happy to leave the majority for me).
It was a little funny for me to come to this realization because I do not consider myself at all hippie, because when I think of crunchy people, I think of hippies.....nor do I even consider myself very 'green'. I like the earth and all, and I feel like we should be good stewards of it, but my choice to buy cloth diapers was not about me trying to save the it. It was about the chemicals in disposables that I wasn't sure if I wanted my baby exposed to, and it was about being economic. I bought cloth nursing pads too because I thought we could save a little dough that way. I found out, however, that I am not one of those women who can use cloth nursing pads effectively; it didn't mattered if I doubled or tripled up on those things, I was going to soak through them, and probably still would, even almost 11 months into our breastfeeding journey.
Anyway, as I continued to learn more about these subjects, I found my decisions based upon what is the healthiest for our family. I feel like a lot of our standard ideas about child-rearing (from society's point of view) are blindly accepted as best, when I'm just not so sure they are. Vaccines, for example,
 I know they save lives, but they're also loaded with heavy metals and toxins, and I shudder to think of such being injected into a newborn. And if you give birth to your baby in your home, think of how many less germs you're exposing the child to than if he/she were in the hospital where MRSA (staph) and VRE are rampant. I chose home-birth because I didn't want to be pressured into doing something  simply because of protocol rather than medical need. Birth is natural and pregnancy isn't a disease, and it shouldn't be treated as such.
Every woman and couple has to make the decisions about what's best for their family. I'm not trying to judge anyone or start up 'mommy-wars'. For us, if our choices label us (mostly) crunchy - then so be it, and if you're doing what you feel is best for your family, then I applaud you.

Hattie and our hydrangea


***I also want to note that we pursue health/natural living in moderation. I think health, like getting organized, can become an idol, and while these things are important, they aren't the most important. We don't eat much organic food, we don't soak our grains (Nourishing Traditions), and don't spend all our time (and money) just trying to be healthy. We want to serve the LORD to the best of our ability (including with our resources), and we want to be fit enough to do the work He has called us to. For me, that involves managing our home and chasing Hattie around to keep her from getting into too much trouble, and keeping Emery healthy with plenty of Gluten Free food on the table.***

Monday, March 26, 2012

Shelby Farms, Memphis, Cloth Diapers, Steve Jobs

--You might be wondering what all those things have in common, and the answer is nothing at all. --

Since we moved to Memphis, I have frequently been asked if we've been to Shelby Farms. Everyone raves over it. Now I know why. Shelby Farms is HUGE, and for a population of city-dwellers, it feels like you're getting out in the boondocks, but you've only driven 10-15 minutes to get there. 4300ish acres of ponds, bike trails, bison pasture, shooting range, etc etc etc. It's big and beautiful.
We took a little picnic up there Saturday and enjoyed exploring the park. They recently built a fancy new playground, but we didn't even venture to join the masses and try to play on it. No, we stuck to the old-school one across the pond....it even had a jungle-gym like the ones I played on in elementary school. : )
Emery. Hattie, and I had a sweet time just spending the day together.

Memphis is beautiful in the spring. I love riding around and seeing the pretty homes with their manicured lawns all a-bloom. I'm glad Emery likes to drive, because I sure enjoy looking out the window.

This afternoon on our walk, my friend Stephanie and I were discussing cloth diapers. The pros and cons and how much we used them. Our conversation has inspired me to get mine out again and throw 'em on the baby. I kept saying I would start again once the weather was warm enough for me not to have put pants on over them (bulky!), and it's surely spring now, and I haven't any excuse. I'm not sure if I'll fall in love with them all over again or be completely under-whelmed. Either way, so long as Hattie IS diapered, I'm sure I'll manage.

On a completely different note, I've been reading Steve Jobs' biography. I don't think we would have been friends - had our paths ever crossed, that is. He was pretty manic, or at least he was in the 80s - which is as far as I've gotten. He was quite the visionary, though, and certainly changed the personal computer industry. So kudos for that.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Shorts: Aww Shucks

Friends, I'm honored. This little bloggy has had more than ONE THOUSAND views in less than a month! Wow! I'm rather stunned. My last blog, well, it seemed I had a loyal half a dozen readers, and I didn't really expect much more for this one, but wow oh wow.

Thanks for your support & love. Truly.


By the way, since Hattie and I planted our hydrangea, it seem to be turning purple! (It was yellow-ish in the pot, and I'm thrilled to have some vibrant color now that it's in the ground.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Driving me buggy

In the three apartments we've lived in, I'm thankful to say that none of them have had a pest control problem. I know some people have to deal with horrendous infestations, and the thought of living with that makes me shudder...but y'all, the bugs we've had lately are about to make me nuts. There was a roach this morning on my oven mitt in the cabinet, just chillin'. ACK!!! DON'T THESE BUGS KNOW MY BABY IS CRAWLING ON THE SAME FLOOR THEY ARE??? Insufferable. We've had rolly-pollys (pollywogs?), spiders -eek - and big nasty roaches. Up to today, these pests have mostly followed my rules: No renegade spiders upstairs and no roaches in the kitchen (but the latter I just made up today). But if they're going to be rebellious, I'm going to have to ugly about it. These buggers carry all kinds of disease; I just can't tolerate it.
Now, I know that practically the Great Wall of China could fit in the gap between our back doors, and I ought to be thankful that the problem isn't a lot worse...but really, really? That stinker of a cock-roach this morning made me go put shoes on so I could squash the thing, while potentially running the risk of blotching my recently painted toe-nails, and was he kind enough to let me squash him when I return? NO! He crawled into a dark spot and will probably jump out on my foot when I least expect it. I'm going to be so busy watching that hole in the baseboards by the stove, I'll probably burn all the food up. ARG.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Small things

It's not even 12:30, and so many great things have happened already today.
  • I got the very best parking spot at Aldi
  • Hydrangeas were on sale and we got one. When we first moved here, the management told us we could plant anything (legal) that we wanted. From then, I have dreamed of a hydrangea in our yard. Hattie and I planted by the front door, and she thought it was too fun to watch me dig in the dirt. Her giggles and the flying dirt were timeless. 
  • On the way home from Aldi, I saw a PINK dogwood - my favorite tree (even if it is a hybrid). What a visual delight! 
Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ms. Gert's favorite quiche

Three years ago (before Emery came along), I moved to Maryland to work in an assisted living. My pastor was part owner of the facility, and within a few months he installed me as the evening cook purely based on the merits of my being southern and Primitive Baptist. For him, those two points were enough evidence that I could cook, but uhhh lets just say there was definitely a learning curve. I had never cooked for 20 people, nor had I cooked on an even regular basis, but he had confidence that I could do it, so I jumped in with both feet.
Around the time I started taking the suppers, Brother Steve made Ms. Gert the official breakfast/lunch cook. Ms. Gert and I worked great together. She did the grocery shopping; I made the menus (though, we rarely managed to stick to them), and we became great friends. She had grown daughters at the time, and I was 19, but we were kindred spirits, and I still smile to think of her.
She liked to call me 'Lizzie' and she loved my quiche.
It's a flexible recipe and easy peasy.

"Easy Quiche" - crustless

2cups milk
4eggs
3/4cup biscuit mix (I use Pamela's pancake mix, GF)
1/4cup butter, softened
1cup Parmesan cheese
1 (10oz) package frozen broccoli (fresh or frozen spinach is yummy too)
1 cup chopped ham (optional, Emery really likes it with ham)
8oz shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to  375 F. Grease a 10'' quiche dish - or a 13x9, if you go heavy on the meat/veggies.
Beat in a large bowl eggs, milk, biscuit mix, butter, and Parmesan cheese. Stir in ham and broccoli and cheddar cheese. Pour into dish and bake 50minutes or until golden brown and eggs are set.


I made this for dinner last night, and we all enjoyed it, even Hattie. : )

Monday, March 19, 2012

Infectious Diseases

We all know that nasty cold/flu is still going around, and several folks have had pneumonia recently, and the children had hand, foot, and mouth in the winter, but y'all, we've really got to bump up the hand washing because the baby train has started at Grace Chapel -- and you know it will make it's rounds.

Three families have announced their pregnancies this month, and I fully expect a few more to jump on board soon.



 Medically, of course, pregnancy isn't contagious, but it sure seems like it. And I like babies. I like the full cry-room...though I always hope my baby will manage to sleep through the sermon so I can hear it without distraction.

I can't say if the Sayre family will have any happy news to announce concerning the baby train, but I hope so. Hattie needs a sibling. : )

I'm thankful the LORD orders our families perfectly, and He knows just when to 'increase our borders'. It's beautiful to rest in His sovereignty.

Fiesta

One day I was sitting at a stoplight, and I happened to notice the car ahead of me had a Mexico license plate. Now this is rare. I've seen all kinds of plates, but never to this day had I seen Mexican ones. So I pondered the fact a few moments, and then I saw the make of the car. It was too good to be true. A Ford FIESTA!





Mexican plates, driving a Fiesta.

It's fitting and appropriate, and it cracks me up!
 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday shorts

Hattie has a runny nose. I'm not sure if it's allergies or a cold...do you know what Emery said?


"She's a double barreled snot-gun"


Oh my.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Whether the weather...

This morning when we got up, I looked out the window and beheld, with a sinking feeling, what looked like tornado weather. The sky was dark, the air was green. Hattie and I went to check the weather channel, but to my surprise, there were no alerts or warnings about tornadoes.
Do you know what the one alert was? Local Pollen. That's right.

"It's not tornado weather, it's just the pollen!"

Ahh, the Southern springtime. I love it. I love seeing the trees come alive again and all the grass getting green. My favorite part is when the dogwood trees blossom, but that will be a while yet. I'm not sure if it's the dazzling beauty after the bleak winter, or if it's the fact that the world seems coated with this green haze...like rose colored glasses, but green. Whatever it is, I like it. I even smile a little when I have to run my wind-shield wipers a couple of times to be able to see through the pollen.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

weekend mugshots






A few 'official' pictures from the ordination. I couldn't tag these pics on facebook, so I wanted to be sure to have them stored somewhere. :)



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dream Vacation

Emery and I have been dreaming about a weekend getaway for several months, just the two of us. Of course, since Hattie's still nursing, it would be have to be  few more months before we had any possibility of going. I dutifully peruse all the Groupon Getaway emails, and always sigh at the sight of all the luxurious places we could go (but that I'm entirely too frugal to actually take the plunge and go to).
But then I realized, we just returned from our dream vacation, and it was just as it should be: filled with the laughter of nieces and our nephew, filled with church-going and worship services, delightfully exhausting...perfect.
Emery proposed to me five miles from Asa and Karla's home. We had the pleasure of seeing the old sights and reminiscing over that special day three years ago (in July), and it was terribly romantic - then and now.
July 17, 2009 was a hot, steamy day. It had rained just enough to scare everyone else away from the park, and Emery and I enjoyed a picnic by ourselves under a gazebo. Karla helped me pack the basket, and let us use her china and stemmed glasses. We walked the boardwalk by the bay, thankful for the slight breeze off the water, and then he asked me to marry him. I gladly accepted. After a while, we stopped in at an ice cream shop, and made calls telling the family our happy news.  
It was a whirlwind courtship and engagement, but the LORD was so evidently in the matter, we were couldn't have been happier.




7 girls on one couch!



Baby Kate

Laura - ready for her wedding :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hear ye, Hear ye

It's officially flip-flop weather in Memphis. So go ahead pull 'em out. Last year, I lived in my flippers - as I affectionately call them - but, last year I was also pregnant and I suppose that was as close to being barefoot as I could get (what's that saying about being barefoot and pregnant?).

I recommend breaking your feet in gradually if you, like me, find your feet not nearly so tough and ready to battle the elements as they were last September. A few walks around the block in increasing increments should do the trick.

Did you know I usually walk holes through my 'flippers'...yes, they're THAT trusty and dependable. I suppose I should note that I rarely buy the entirely rubber ones. Those would be difficult to walk holes through; I like the ones with fairly thin soles and cloth, but don't worry, I throw them away when I can really feel the rocks poking my feet.


Thank you for flying Delta airlines

We're home. It's time to start recovering from vacation. : )

What a weekend. It was so wonderful. My brother, Asa, was ordained on Saturday to the full work of the ministry. The Lord blessed him to respond to the questions powerfully with concise clarity. It was like hearing a dozen mini-sermons. You can listen to all the sermons from the ordination here.

I used to live in Maryland. Mt Carmel PBC used to be my church home. It was a sweet reunion with many dear friends (and family, too). Harford county is such a beautiful area, even in the winter, but in the spring and summer, it makes my heart hurt for the beauty of the hills and green green fields.

Hattie managed the airplane travel like a champ, and she slept the majority of our flights. We stuffed food in her while she was awake to try to keep her ears popping with the air pressure changes, and, thankfully, it seemed to work. : ) She never warmed up to anyone on the trip and was practically stuck like velcro on my hip, but that was alright with me considering how far out of our quiet routine we all were.

Asa and Karla have a lovely LITTLE home. We managed to squeeze 13 people into their 3-bedroom apartment, but 6 of them were under 4 years old. We went out to Cracker Barrel one night, and the hostess did a double-take when we told her we needed a table for 13 with six high chairs.









Thursday, March 8, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane

One of my favorite scenes from Armageddon is just before the crews board the space shuttle and they start singing "Leaving on a Jet Plane". Each guy sings his own interpretation, and it's such a sweet moment as Liv Tyler listens and hopes for their safe return.

We're not going to save the earth from an asteroid, but we are leaving on a jet plane today.

I hope your weekend is filled with as much family and friends and fun as I expect mine to be.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To market, to market to buy a fresh (pig?)

We all know about the *ritzy* grocery stores. The ones that may or may not charge you $5 for a dozen eggs (because perhaps the laying hens were fed from silver feeding troughs?) The ones that sell all organic, gluten free, cage-free, eco-farmed, natural foods.
Today, I managed to visit not one, but TWO such stores. And I never cease to be amazed at how much they feel they need to charge me for their goods; I'm surprised they don't charge admission for the ambiance (you know, the smell of foreign cheese and essential oils).
However, aside from the exorbitant prices, I really don't have a problem with these types of stores. I mean, we enjoy eating healthy, and I appreciate having a source for GF specialty foods....but if you're going to have a health foods store, PLEASE have the sense to occupy a large enough space! Because really, I don't want to get run over by 14 people (who may or may not believe in deodorant) while trying to get to the next aisle.

I think the commotion at the health foods store somewhat embodies the 'rat race'. Everyone is rushing to get the next healthier thing that might make them a) live longer b) feel better c) fit in with their friends or d) all of the above....but everyone is so busy trying to achieve their goal, that no one is able to slow down and enjoy the trip to the market.

Maybe it's me, maybe it's because I didn't want to have an encounter with the spider in my car, and we haven't been out much this week, maybe I'm old fashioned, but if I'm going to go on an outing, I want to enjoy it. Even if it is to the grocery store.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Things that go bump in the night

My family goes to bed early. Emery and Hattie don't have much problem settling in and going to sleep. I, on the other hand, have to work to get to sleep and it takes me a couple of hours to succeed. My brain feels fresh and clear in the later evening, and it's difficult to get all my thoughts about the day and the day to come processed enough to settle and rest.

Last night I was dreaming up a storm. Emery was cooking up something in a frying pan, and birds of all types were drawn in at the smell...eagles, ravens, vultures, even penguins. About the time one of the penguins did a little dance, a noise jolted me awake. It was a bump. A thud. And obviously in our room. It was probably something precariously placed and shifted or fell, and I wasn't overly concerned. I drifted back to sleep, and a few minutes later. BAM. That same stinking noise! ARG. I looked around the room trying to figure out it's source. I woke up enough to figure out that it was 11:30, and most likely Emery had kicked our carry-on bag at the foot of the bed that I'd been packing earlier in the day. He was sleeping soundly, completely unaware. Not me. All the way awake. I kind of wanted to wake him up to see if he had heard it too, and ask what he thought it was, but clearly he didn't hear it, so there wasn't any use.

I'm thankful my husband can sleep through jolting noises that go bump in the night and Hattie's occasional wails. He has to get up the earliest of us all, and I do want him to rest well.

I did manage to squeeze in a few hours last night. But suffice it to say, my dear coffee cup was much loved this morning.

Also, Hattie laughed in her sleep during her morning nap, and thoroughly melted my heart. Those kind of moments make up for when she's such a stinker, and I love her.

Monday, March 5, 2012

That cooked over a flame taste

There are pros and cons to living in a townhouse. On the plus side we can save on our energy bill since the neighbors have the heat/ac on too. We also hear their thumpin' afternoon music. And apparently my neighbors are grilling out today because the grill smell is filling up my living room in a hurry. Now, I'm a pretty observant neighbor, and I know their grandparents and/or other family are in town, so they've got a reason to party if they want to....but the grill smell, it's getting to me.

My man Emery loves him some cooked over a flame burgers. He'll go to Burger King for the taste of the flame, regardless of how delicious (or not) the burger itself is. I think the flame grilled smell might be strong enough in my house to just make burgers in the stove and pretend they were cooked outside. It might work.

Explorations

What's your favorite part of visiting a new park? The scenic views? Picnic tables in the shade? Cleanliness and the lack of bees? Mine is the playground. I love new, unexplored playgrounds. I love to see where each bridge leads, and find the ladders and the tunnels, and unearth the slightly hidden treasures of the jungle-gym. Now, Hattie's favorites are the slides (ridden with me, of course), but I'm sure that will change as she learns to walk and enjoy the wonderment that is: the playground.

There's isn't much 'unexplored' territory these days. Old Columbus and DeSoto and all the other explorers of centuries past, they had the pleasure of venturing to uncharted lands - uncharted to them anyway.....but I don't crave that much glory. I'm very content to peek into the nooks of playgrounds and ride around the countryside with my darling husband just to see what we can see.

As children, I think the most important part of a trip is the getting there (are we there YET???), but I savor the getting there. Interstates and flights do make travel more efficient, but the you can't capture the character of a town while sailing by at 70mph. The best you can do is imagine based on the exit names. In Alabama, there are two towns, one is named Gu-in and the other Guin. I've been to either because the highway is a good distance from both, and so we're left to ponder the fued that must have taken place years ago that divided asunder these towns. What intrigue. And probably, I'll never know the truth.

Airplane travel, with all the stress of security, does have the benefit of people watching. Do you know what the downside is of people watching? It's incredibly rude to actually laugh at the subjects of your observation....though I often want to, badly. Thus, you have to bring along some required reading, not for reading unless you find yourself in solitude, but for laughing behind so you don't incur the wrath of someone that you might have to sit beside for hours on end.

We'll be taking a trip soon, and though I'm excited about it, I'm also nervous. Security-induced nerves, and making sure every thing is proper to the tee, and getting through it all with Hattie on my hip to boot. I probably won't have time for any extra observation (you know, just enough to make sure Hattie doesn't stick her finger in a socket or chew on someone else's luggage), but the thrill of watching her during her first take off and landing, and having sweet friends and family to welcome us at our destination...ah, it's worth it. Besides, we change planes in Atlanta, and I'm sure to have some good stories from our layover there!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Brownie Attack

Last night at 7:15, I looked at Emery and told him I sure wished we had some brownies. He mentioned that we did have ice cream and chocolate morsels, but he could go pick something up. Now I love ice cream and chocolate, but they aren't a substitute for brownies. It was too 'late' for me to send him out for anything - we're early to bed, early to rise kind of folks - and whatever he brought back probably wouldn't be gluten free, so it just wasn't worth it.

I ran to fetch my cookbook to see how quickly (read: easily) I could throw some together, and to my great pleasure, they were super easy and we could give Hattie a bath while they baked. Yes! I would have my brownies this night!

Emery pulled out the little pan of heaven from the oven, and I poured the milk. Then he said, "ice cream?" Oh! I hadn't even thought of brownies a la mode. Yummo. Even gluten free brownies can be thoroughly delicious.


This little gem of a cookbook saved my evening. It may very well be my favorite GF cookbook. I'll tell you why. If you've ever looked into the GF world, you'll know that most recipes call for multiple flours (and starches), which can get pretty complicated. But Roben Ryburg gives ONE flour (or starch) based recipes like rice, corn, potato, or oat, And she gives usually three variations of each recipe with a different base....so it's super easy to whip something up from what you have in your pantry. She also goes one step further and tells you which version she likes best while providing short descriptions about each recipe.

The book does have some pictures, and although pictures are usually a great selling point for me, I don't think they add much to this book.

So there you have it. My go-to cookbook and a satisfied hunger for brownies. Double Win.





Photo credit





Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Orleans

Last year, we wintered in New Orleans. It wasn't as glamorous as it sounds. Saying it that way invokes imagines of charming villas, Spanish moss, and trolley cars, but that just isn't how it was. Emery's work took us down there, and we spent three months hotel hopping. Three months of cookie-cutter make-your-own waffle stations (though one did have a pancake station). Three months of industrial detergent on hotel sheets and frequenting Wendy's because we wanted to save the per diem pay (instead of saving our arteries, I suppose - though we did usually have chili/baked potatoes). Three months being thankful we didn't actually live there; thankful for the temporary.

But New Orleans does have a culture all it's own, and they're PROUD of it. There's even an exit off the interstate named: Elysian Fields. I'm afraid we laughed a mocking laugh every time we drove by that; it might be possibly the very opposite of Elysian Fields. It isn't a Southern city afterall. The natives sound like could be from New York or Chicago, and "Who Dat" is proper English.

Redeeming qualities? The trees. The Live Oaks. These trees look like they've seen America since before it was settled as such. Can you imagine watching 200-300 years of history? Can you imagine all the children that might have played in your boughs? Dripping with the lace of Spanish Moss, these stately trees bring a sober elegance to a city that is very far from classy in my mind. And that's why I loved them while I was there; A refreshing repose from all the glitter and glam the city boasts.



                                                                      photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/CityParkNewOrleans2005-07OakTrees.jpg

Not only the live oaks, but the citrus groves made me smile. In the midst of strip-malls and restaurants (outside of the city proper), all of a sudden you would come upon a 1/2 acre orchard heavy with beautiful fruit. The sight of it gave me a zing akin the first bite of a juicy orange. So sweet and slightly sour. So picturesque, but slightly out of place. 


My New Orleans is in those trees and groves. I don't want Bourbon St or Cafe du Monde (though the beignets are tasty); I don't care for the shopping districts or gourmet cuisine. Let me revel in the beauty of God's creation, that's more than enough for me.