Thursday, October 30, 2008
It is 9:35 and I am avoiding cleaning up the breakfast dishes... okay, we had breakfast for dinner but still I don't feel like doing the dishes! I had a busy, busy, wonderfully busy day. Tomorrow is Halloween. I made a special trip to the dollar store yesterday for craft supplies to do some Halloween art and to pick up candy corn. The artwork hasn't happened. The store was out of candy corn (the 2 boys that were with me were not happy at all about that) and to my knowledge that is the only store that carries a brand that does not have a nut warning. My kids have been doing a Halloween count down all week and suddenly after seeing this, I don't feel as if I am excited enough! (I am so impressed with those costumes!) Did I mention that I feel like rambling? I better get to my thankful list.
Here are a few of the ways my thanks tank was filled this week:
1. Last Thursday's Post: Going all the way back to a week ago- I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to write the post about David's allergy. I have made some wonderful connections to other people dealing with food allergies. It was also great to have a reason to document our journey.
2. Our church: Our church has been tremendously supportive of us educating others about David's allergy. We were able to talk about it during church on Sunday and then I wrote a small article in the church newsletter. They have encouraged (and proded) me to be vocal.
3. My husband's attitude: Seth has had a crazy week at work: going in very early some mornings and working very late some nights. He has been encouraging to me when he has been home. That is priceless and very appreciated.
4. Teamwork: As an individual I cannot always accomplish what I wish I could (due to simple demands of motherhood). Today a group of moms reached out to another mom in a way that couldn't have happened if we hadn't all worked together. One mom watched the kids (a bunch of kids, I might add) and the rest of us we able to be there for a friend. It was powerful to me to see teamwork in action.
5. Humor: Oh my--tonight my 7 year-old sang this song to the tune of Jingle Bells. It is a take-off of the Batman Smells version.
Jingle Bells, Daddy Smells
Momma laid an Egg
The Toyota lost a wheel
and the kids all got away.
I laughed pretty hard at the song and even harder when he was explaining each verse.
v1: Because Daddy smells when he has gas v2: Because Momma has babies v3: Because the van broke down once v4: because we want freeeeedom!! I thanked him for singing the song to me. I was tired and I had 4 very tired kids with me. It was the perfect bit of humor on the drive home from swimming lessons.
6. Spiderman Punching Toy: I alluded to this toy here (AJ: This was a favorite gift. I may sound unappreciative but I am not. This is more about my kids learning to share than about the actual toy.). The day after the birthday party, I got out the toy. I am thankful that I bit-the-bullet and got the toy out of its hiding place. I am thankful that I didn't lose it when my kids immediately starting fighting over it. I am also thankful (please forgive me) that we discovered that it has a small hole in it.
7. Exercise: This week, I had a chance to go jogging and I also tried out a water aerobics class. I am thankful for how great I feel when I exercise.
8. Stillness and the sound of silence: The other night I as I was jogging (and walking), I had my IPOD turned up loud. Then, I was struck by the beauty of the stars. I stopped, turned off the music, stood still and took in the beauty of God's creation.
9. Children asleep in my arms: One of my darling boys was so tired tonight that he couldn't stop getting frustated and crying. I held him, rocked him, read to him, and he fell asleep in my arms. Elsie also fell asleep in my arms last night. That such a sweet feeling.
The dishes are about done (because I keep going back and forth). I better finish up and make sure I have everything ready for "dress-up day"!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I just found a great Halloween allergy website thanks to Nut Free Living. Stop by Allergy Free Halloween for a list of candy that are the most free of allergens, to download a sign for your door and to help spread the word.
No matter what, I believe that you must, must, must always check the candy labels. If it doesn't have a label and I am not sure about it, my son is not going to eat it. Still, I think this is helpful information for anyone with a peanut allergy (or another food allergy).
Monday, October 27, 2008
Here are some things that I most definitely did not do this week:
I most certainly did not crack into a gigantic smile today when I discovered a voicemail that my husband left me last week. I did not get any pleasure out of listening to him say that Tennessee’s football team was going to wipe up the field with Alabama. I did not listen to the message more than once just for kicks. No way – not me.
I did not decide that salsa and chips would make an excellent lunch today. I am not sitting here at 2:15 eating them while I type out this list. That would not be healthy so I would not enjoy the salty treat at all –not me.
I did not take my kids to 2 different pumpkin patches this weekend only to decide to get pumpkins at Wal-mart because they were bigger and cheaper. I was not totally thrilled that they didn’t mind that we didn’t make a family trip to Wal-mart (because the game was about to start). All of that- it would be totally insane- so I wouldn’t do it- not me.
I did not give a gift to a 4 year-old that required one of his parents to spend time getting it set up, during the birthday party. I did not later admit to the parent that we had a similar toy, which the boys loved, that I have since hid because of the fighting it caused. That might mean my thoughtful gift wasn't that thoughtful - so I didn't do that - not me.
I did not give my 11 month old her first taste of a pop-tart this week because I was running late and out of her favorite Ritz crackers. That would be too extremely different from the homemade baby food that I prepared for my 1st son. I cannot imagine that I would do that-not me.
I do not secretly love it and cringe every time my son tells people over and over and over (repeat 5 times) that he is allergic to nuts. This happened today at the birthday party. I could not feel proud and embarrassed about that at the same time—not me.
I did not groan loudly and exaggerate my disbelief when my husband complained (in a ‘I know I shouldn’t be saying this way’) about how hard it is to adjust to the noise at home after being out of town. I would not react in a childish way like that- no way, not me.
I am not sad to make myself stop blogging because I have a ton of housework to do. I thrive on laundry and washing dishes so finishing this post couldn’t make me sad – not me.
Thanks for reading what's not going on here. Feel to let me know what you are not doing.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In 2006, my husband was deployed to Iraq. I was a stay-at-home mom of 3 boys (or more accurately, 2 boys and a baby). Being a single-stay-at-home mom was extremely challenging. I decided to tackle my chaotic isolation by being involved in activities. I made a conscious decision to be busy. I thought that if I stayed busy, I would be too busy to be worried or sad. I got involved in as many activities as I could. I found that if I was giving to others, I was less likely to focus on myself. It worked to a degree. I wasn't constantly focused on myself.
The downside was that the constant busyness was very taxing. Being busy all of the time became a burden. It was a different burden than the loneliness I was trying to avoid but it was a very heavy burden. I was constantly loading up the kids. I was constantly planning how to get to the next activity. I was constantly trying to figure out how to get everything on my list done. I was revolving around my life. I was weighed down by the constant motion of my days. I was exhausted and that made my emotional state unpredictable. I was exhausted and that made my spiritual life shallow. I was exhausted and that made it impossible to take care of myself physically.
I decided to begin this blog simply because I wanted a place to write. I wanted a creative outlet. The title was appropriate when I started blogging because it represented what I was experiencing. It is still appropriate because it reminds me to take inventory of what I am doing day-to-day. If I try to do everything that interests me, my life gets too busy. When I try to do too much, I cannot excel at anything.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Sometimes things happen right when you need them to. Do you agree with that? I often struggle with feeling successful. It's ridiculous and I know it. I chose- no I choose- to stay home with my kids. Yet, I have days where I wonder why I worked so hard in school. I wonder if I am having any impact on the world outside of my home. Then, I think about how that shouldn't matter. I go round and round and still I spend a lot of time struggling with feeling satisfied.
So, for lots of reasons, writing about David's allergy was incredibly encouraging to me. It was humbling and exciting to see so many wonderful comments on my post at Rocks in My Dryer. It is comforting to know that there are so many other people walking a similar path as me dealing with food allergies. I was honored to be able to share with so many people about my experiences.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was most important to say in the that post. My prayer was simple: Let me help someone understand allergies better. I spent time last night going through all of the comments and then following some of the links to the commenter's websites. I was touched that several people linked to the story on their page. I am amazed, humbled and incredibly thankful that my words are having an impact.
This experience made me realize again (this is a lesson I keep having to learn over and over) that no matter what I am doing, if I put my heart into it, great things can happen.
My challenge: Put my heart into my day. Whatever I am doing today, dedicate myself to it. I want to give my tasks my best effort.(Colossians 3:23). That's what's on my mind (and heart) today.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"The story of Christ's birth is a subversive story of an upside-down kingdom. It's a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love that is still changing the world to this day. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling that we somehow missed its purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?"
Christmas can [still] change the world. This year, give Presence.
These words resonate with me because I like the mission of Advent Conspiracy. I have been learning about Advent Conspiracy the last week or so. It is just what I need. I had already been stressing about the holidays. Isn't that crazy?! These words (and this group) remind me what Christmas is all about. I am changing my focus and I hope to begin teaching my kids that Christmas should not be about indulgence.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Overnight Coffee Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I omitted the nuts)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups confectioner sugar
3 T milk
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon; sprinkle over coffee cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refigertator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Combine confectioner's sugar and milk; drizzle over warm coffee cake.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I turned to see this:
And that is how I got to re-plant some of my neighbors bulbs!
And so it begins.
It should be a fun week around here.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday was one of those days.
- It was the kind of day when your kids fight, then argue, then fight some more.
- It was the kind of day when you give 2 of your children a big bubble bath in the middle of the afternoon with toys just hoping it will help them play nice.
- It was the kind of day where you realize that bubble bath and fighting kids lead to a great big mess.
- It was the kind of day when your baby wants to be held constantly and definitely does not want to take a nap.
- It was the kind of day when you show up for the soccer game you wonder why your kid is the only kid that has a yellow shirt on. Then you come to find out that everyone but you and 2 other players from the team (that showed up after you) thought the game was the day before and didn't call to find out which was correct Thursday or Oct 15. (Thursday was correct... but it is hard to play with 3 players. We had a beautifully confusing scrimmage as part of the blue team.)
- It was the kind of day when your button pops off your pants (at the soccer field)after you pick up your 5 year old to swing him around. You realize the button is gone immediately because the pants are too big (thus the constant pulling up on the pants that probably wore out the threads on button). Without the button, the zipper keeps sliding and the pants are barely hanging on.
- It was the kind of day that find yourself in the wrong checkout line...you know the one where the cashier has a problem and has to call her manager. You can't change aisles because your stuff is already on the belt and someone is behind you. That's when you wonder why you decided to go on to Walmart with the drooping pants.
Today is the kind of day when I am GLAD (oh so very, very glad) that it is not Thursday.
After all, if it had been Thursday, Elisabeth would have called 911 on the phone (how did she get that phone?) instead of 711. Thank goodness, huh? I can just imagine the Fire Trucks and police cars at my house.
Now THAT would have been quite the story!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
This rock has been in my kitchen for almost 10 years. It has made many, many moves. I always place it near my sink or on my kitchen window sill. I place it somewhere that I can see it when I am washing my dishes or cooking. It is comforting to me. It reminds me that the world is a beautiful place. It reminds me to thank God for the beauty in the world.
Sometimes when I glance at the rock, I remember to smile. Other times, it is like the breeze on a warm day. I don’t really notice it but its mere presence provides happiness.
The rock is also special to me because it was a gift from my great uncle Dwain. Dwain painted the rock. I imagine he had no idea how much joy his simple gift would bring me. Naturally, the rock reminds me of him, as well. He passed away not long ago. Though it had been several years since I had seen him, he was never far from my thoughts. His gift brings me joy and thankfulness. His memory makes me smile. He was the kind of person that always made others smile.
Something else I realized thinking about the rock this morning. The best gifts are ones that come from your heart. As I think about the holiday season approaching (yes I am already thinking about it and yes [yikes] it is around the corner), I hope I can remember that truth.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Then, she said: Are they ALL YOURS??
I sort of felt like superwoman and a freak of nature all at the same time! It didn't matter, though. I could have hugged that women for helping me get in the post office.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Today I stopped everything and enjoyed a rainbow. It was one of those afternoons where rain showers would blow in and out. The clouds were moving relatively fast. When I noticed occasional sun breaks, I started checking out the sky for rainbows. I love rainbows! When one appeared, I stepped outside to enjoy it. I stood under our gazebo and listened to the soft sound of the drizzle, took in the smell of the rain, and watched as the rainbow gradually became brillant. In the moment I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promises. Today I thought about how God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). I am so thankful for that! (Here's a picture of the rainbow from the front of the house.)
Here are some other ways my Thanks Tank is being filled:
1. Sweet Pleasures: My boys got really excited about getting some candy corn tonight. (I was excited to give it to them. It takes a bit of extra effort to locate a bag that does not have a peanut allergy warning.)
2. Color: I love the colors outside! Our world is such a beautiful place. I love the colors of Fall. I also love my pansies.
3. Strawberries and Bananas: For the last 2 nights this fruit combo has been a part of our dinner. It is so yummy!
4. Coffee: I have been able to enjoy several lattes this week. Yum!
5. Quiet: My house has been quiet ever since I got the kids in bed. The radio is not on. I am not listening to CDs or my IPOD. The TV is not on. I am listening to the sound of nothing. I LOVE it! (My hubby would be going crazy if he was here!) The next few nights are going to be so incredibly peaceful.
6. Quilts: I have a lot of quilts in my house. The finished quilts are a sum of love, friendship and memories. I have the quilt that my grandmother made for our bed as a wedding gift. I have the very first quilt my grandmother ever quilted. I have a quilt that my husband's grandmother made. I have a quilt that my mother-in-law made for my living room. We have a quilt that was made to honor Seth's service in the Army. Now I have a quilt that was made for Elsie from the women at the church. I look at this quilt and I think about all the women that made it. I am thankful for each one of them.
7. My unique children: I appreciate when I can recognize the ways my kids are different. They can be SO different. One day this week, Thomas drew all over his hand and his arm (the picture does not do it justice because you cannot see the inside of his hand, which was much more colorful). He was so happy and proud. A minute or 2 later, David got some ink on his thumb. He was devasted. We had to go wash his hands right away.
8. Baby Playtime: I love playing with Elisabeth and I love seeing Seth play with Elisabeth. I am still struck by the fact that he missed this time when Thomas was a baby.
9. Pictures: I take pictures of everything (as you can tell from this post!). I love my pictures!
Thanks for stopping by. Spend time being thankful. You have so much to be thankful for!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
I was in a women's group and we were talking about stress. We had been sharing about our lives and everything that was wearing us thin. We all felt overloaded and too busy with activities. Someone suggested cutting back on activities. But, we lamented that even when you restrict the activities for each family member, there can still be places to be each night of the week. We were all feeling burdened by commitments. Someone asked if it was possible to keep from getting stressed. 'I mean, HOW are we supposed to handle it??"
I sat there not saying what was on my heart because I didn't want to say the "churchy thing." All day I have been wondering if it is a bit ironic that the right thing is so simple that we make it hard. The right way to handle the daily stress: Talk to God. Take it (all of it-- every little tiny stress) to him in prayer.
Now that I think of it, my answer is convicting. Why do I tend to pray about the big things and stress over the daily grind? I spent the last week overburdened and unable to relax at night. I prayed--sure-- but not over the nagging things I couldn't get my mind off.
I am convinced that the only way to let it all go is to pray about it. And maybe that means writing it down in a prayer journal (oh, wait- I don't write any more) or typing it out on the computer. It helps talking to a friend or spouse but it all changes when we pray. Praying not only changes my attitude. It allows me to let go. It is a turning over of self. If I really want to get rid of stress, I have to be willing to own up to it and turn it over. I have to stop clinging to the details of my life so tightly that my knuckles are turning white. I have to give up. I have to recognize my need for God more than my need for control.
Now that I have hashed out my thoughts in this post, I realize where I am going to spend my energy this week.
Monday, October 06, 2008
I most definitely did not carry a screaming child to the car, struggle to get him in his seat, and smile as I was buckling him in. I did not think to myself- ‘Forget safety, I am thankful for the person who created car seats so I can restrain my fit throwing 3 year old.” I didn’t smile to myself as I got him buckled in—not me!
I did not hand my child fruit loops in a ziplock bag and a sunny delight as we were headed out the door this morning. I did not choose the most sugary yummy cereal because I wanted to get him in the car with a smile. I was not in a hurry because I was running extremely late. I didn’t do that—no way, not me!
I have not let flowers sit in a vase in my bathroom for way too long, simply because I am holding on to that special moment when I was surprised with the gift of flowers. I am not still enjoying the flowers, even though they are starting to stink! There is no way I would do that- not me!
I did not spend the first part of last week in frustration, complaining and griping to both God and my husband, that I was not the person for “the job”. I did not step up to the task at the last minute and realize that God inspired me with a vision and the means to act. I certainly did not try to resist listening to God—no, I wouldn’t do that... not me...
I am not struggling with jealousy because my husband is going on a mini-vacation to the beach this weekend. That would be immature and selfish. I am not having a hard time with my attitude—-not me.
I did not stay up until around 1 am for 3 or 4 nights this week simply because I had too much on my mind. I did not get frustrated last night when I crashed at 8:30 because of exhaustion. That wouldn’t make any sense. I would not be that out of tune with my body—not me!
Now, I am off to throw out those flowers. (Maybe next time I will remember to take a picture.) Enjoy your Monday and don't forget to laugh at yourself!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
My Thanks Tank is full but my battery needs to be charged. I know from recent experience you cannot get anywhere in a car with a full tank of gas and a dead battery! I don't know if that makes sense to you or not. I have so many wonderful things going on in my life right now but I seem to be wrapped up in the busyness of those things and unable feel the right amount of gratitude in my heart. My Thanks Tank is full but I have been wearing myself too thin. I realize that this exercise is a benefit to me, inspite of myself. So, here it is, my list of thankful thoughts this week:
1. Football: I am having fun with BAMA's football season so far. It has been a long, long time since my team has had this kind of success. I am thankful for the enjoyment me and my hubby get out of watching games... and the joy I get every time my dad calls me when BAMA scores! Oh, and the joy I get hearing my kids say "ROOOOLLLLLL TIIIIIIDE"
2. Baby Smiles: Recently I woke up in the worst mood (it happens more than I care to admit) and I could not shake the blues no matter how I tried. Then it was time to get Elisabeth out of bed and her smile melted my heart. Baby smiles are precious.
3. MOPS: I am thankful for the gals in my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I had several MOPS meetings this week so it was on my mind a bunch. I am thankful for the growing friendships in the group.
4. Excitement about School: Jonathan had his school open house this week. He was so excited about the open house that he the days leading up to it. The night before the day of the open house he prayed that we would be excited about what he had been working on. It was priceless. I enjoyed every minute of him showing me his class and telling me about what he was working on. I am thankful that he loves to learn.
5. Routines: I have always been a believer in routines for my kids. I like to get my little ones on a routine early. It helps us (them and me) know what to expect. I learned this week something that I should have learned a long time ago, I benefit from having a routine for myself. Bit by bit, I have been organizing my days and setting alloting time to clean, read, and take care of myself. As a result, I am much happier at the end of the day.
6. Taking Initiative: I am thankful for the ways I am being stretched right now. I talked to someone today that really encouragement me about a new project I am taking on. I am thankful for the reminder I got that investing your heart in something (caring) produces a better outcome.
7. Dead Car Battery: I am thankful my car battery died on Monday. As strange as that seems, I was able to maintain a good attitude, change plans, enjoy my morning even when I thought I wanted to be doing something else. I am thankful for the reminders that 1) I am in control of my emotions and 2) how I handle difficulties affects my kids.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
This week's Works for Me Wednesday Carnival has a Kitchen theme. I thought it would be a perfect time to tell you about the tool I used last week.
There was a birthday celebration at David's preschool and the birthday child was celebrating with cup cakes. Due to his peanut allergy, David cannot safely eat cupcakes unless I know the ingredients. I made a batch of cup cakes so he could enjoy a cup cake with his class. I got to use the Cup-A-Cake that I bought in anticipation of birthday celebrations. It was wonderful! The Cup-A-Cake opens up and a cup cake fits snuggly inside. It avoids messing up the yummy icing.
This is an awesome cup cake holder!
Here are some pictures.
By the way, I picked mine up at a kitchen store in the mall but if you are interested, here's the website: Cup-A-Cake