Monday, November 28, 2011

Au Naturale.

I've asked this question several times on my blog, several times on Facebook, several times to people I know, several times to people I do not know ... you get the idea. The possibility of doing childbirth with no meds (what I will refer to as "natural", even though I'm not sure if that is the appropriate term) has been lingering in my mind for a few months now and I think I've decided that I want to do it.

I would say I want to "try" it, but I'm afraid going in with a "try" attitude won't cut it. I think I need to be resolute. And I am.

I think.

I have no huge agenda. I have no bias. This decision is one that is simply based on experience. Behold: I was dilated to a 7 with Cub, feeling great, and was totally sure I could go all the way without an epidural. I initially thought for sure I would get one, but because the pain was manageable, I was okay without. Then the doctor told me that Cub (who was sunny side up) had not flipped over and that maybe I should consider that epidural. So, I did. And Cub slowly flipped while I pushed, which resulted in a four-hour pushing marathon. Whee! I'm glad I had that epidural (or whatever was left of it by the time he was actually born).

Then there is the birth of sweet Naomi. I chose to be induced because I was Strep B positive and had been dilated for two weeks (I was a three the week of my induction). It was "easy" in the sense that we simply packed up, went to the hospital at the scheduled time, enjoyed a sleepover in the hospital, and by 1:00 the next day (after only five glorious minutes of pushing), there she was! Easy!

Both of the experiences were precious and perfect because they resulted in the birth of our children. I do not regret any decision and would not change a thing.

However.

If I had to compare the two experiences physically, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my experience with Cub was the better physical experience (the labor, not the pushing). I knew what my body was doing and I was able to respond, with lots of help from my husband, and it was incredible. Don't get me wrong--any birth decision is a highly sensitive, completely personal choice and women have the right to choose what they want to do, including induction. I'm just saying that in my own, personal experience, going into labor naturally was the better experience for me. I think, too, that women have different pain tolerances--just because I "made it" to a 7 with Cub doesn't necessarily mean I handled pain better--maybe what I felt was the equivalent of what some women feel at a 3. It isn't fair to compare experiences. I don't believe that because you want to have a baby naturally that you are trying to prove anything. I'm not. I think the parenting that follows childbirth is enormously more important, with more to prove. Being a good Mom is a challenge all its own. I would not be doing this to prove anything, except that I can do it. Does that make sense?

Now. There are so many variables. Lydia is still breech and if she remains so as her due date draws nearer, it will present all kinds of different issues. I am completely open to whatever needs to be done. Only if she has flipped and everything is normal, will I do natural childbirth.

I have a friend who has graciously offered to be my doula. I'm beginning my research and my reading. My husband is having a harder time because he hates to see me in pain, but he supports the decision and has agreed to be in the trenches with me. I will give birth at my hospital, with my doctor (or whoever is on call).

So, that's it, friends. Those are the thoughts running through my head.

Now, I would love to hear the opinions of my readers. If you planned and experienced natural childbirth, what did you think? I want to clarify, too, that by "planned and experienced natural childbirth" I mean that you went into it with a plan and followed through. If you accidentally had the baby naturally because there wasn't enough time to get the epidural, I can imagine that would be completely horrible, since you had no time to prepare for the experience! You can definitely share that, too, if you'd like, but I would think that going into it with a plan would be a different experience than having it happen on accident. But, maybe I'm wrong!

I am imagining lots of pain, lots of begging for my epidural, possibly some naughty words, and, well, a healthy baby. That's the end goal.

Have a lovely day.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent: Hope.

The purpose of Advent is to draw our hearts towards the celebration and significance of the miracle of the birth of Christ. We pause to prepare our minds, attitudes, and our hearts in anticipation of Christmas morning—and in anticipation that Christ will come again. In the midst of the chaos surrounding this holiday, we stop, still our bodies, and listen, until all is silent … and in the silence we strain to hear it—the cry of a newborn in the darkness. And in the quiet we absorb the miracle and remember that God pierced the stillness and shook the earth through that tiny cry. As the cry pierced the stillness, God’s light pierced the darkness, and we see that light as we light each candle.


Today we will be lighting the candle of Hope.


Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”


As the patriarchs of old hoped for the coming of a Savior, we now hope for Christ’s second coming. We believe in the prophecy fulfilled and believe that Christ will come again. We all hope. We all need hope. In a time of war, economic uncertainty, and a future unknown, we rest in the hope that God will again keep His promise in the coming of a Savior, as He did thousands of years ago.


Let us pray.


Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. In Christ's name, Amen.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Advent: The Prophecy Candle

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
and the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth..." Luke 1:26

The "Promise Foretold" candle. This candle reminds us of all the promises God gave to His people many years before the birth of Christ. The days before the first Christmas were a time of waiting, too. In Israel where the first Christmas happened nearly two thousand years ago, people waited for Christmas. They did not know as you and I do, exactly what they were waiting for. There had never been a Christmas before! But they knew God had promised that He would send them a Messiah, a King. They knew that the men called prophets who spoke for God, had said God would send a Messiah.

A child would be born, said the prophet Isaiah. He would be called, "Wonderful, Counselor, the Prince of Peace". The people accepted the word of Isaiah as the promise from God. They knew God would keep His promise. But when would the Messiah come? And who would He be?

Questions for kids:

What are some promises others have made to you this year and kept?
How did you feel when they kept their promise?
What are some promises God has made to us?
What's most important to you at Christmas?

(Have a lovely day!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordful Wednesday.

One word: Oy.

Two words: I'm tired.

Three words: To-do list.

Four words: Not getting done quickly.

Five words: Kids want their grandparents now.

Six words: Will I get anything accomplished today?

Seven words: Not if I sit at the computer.

Eight words: It's time to get my rear in gear.

Nine words: Clean car, corral kids, finish food, and pack clothes.

Ten words: I think I can I think I can I ...

One word: Can.

(Happy Thanksgiving, friends.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who Splits The Wishbone?

I just rolled out of bed and my hair looks CRAZY. EEK. My Thanksgiving to-do list is long and today we delve into it, so let the fun begin! I figured while I had a few minutes to myself (between waking up and fixing this bird's nest on my head) I would write something.

Hm.

So ... let's see ... Thanksgiving-ish post ... ah!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Does Grandma always roast the turkey? Does your uncle always fall asleep on the couch during the football game? Is there one special dish that MUST make it to the table or blood will be shed?

This is our year to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws and my favorite tradition at their house is Thanksgiving Bunco. I have to admit, I hadn't ever heard of Bunco until I started dating my husband (nine years ago, WOW) and somehow I've managed to move up the ranks to becoming the Bunco Name Card Maker this year. Thanksgivings are always big at their house (there are twenty this year and that's with a significant chunk of the family being out of town) and it's fun to see everyone, from the youngest to the eldest, get into the game, hoping for the glory and fame that accompanies every "BUNCO!" Way fun.

My favorite dish is sweet potato casserole and dressing/stuffing. And mashed potatoes. And fried turkey (my husband fries a mean turkey!). All mixed together. Carb-a-licious comfort food at its finest.

Those are my favorite traditions. How about you?

Time to go tame this hair and hit the grocery store.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Advent Wreath.

Okay. I am not bypassing Thanksgiving and jumping into Christmas, but I realized that the Sunday after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of Advent, so I figured I would go ahead and write a post about Advent wreaths, in case you are interested in doing one this year. That way you have plenty of time to get it ready before Sunday while still having time to perfect your stuffing and roast your turkey. Or dump your cranberry sauce from a can. Woot!

So. What is an Advent Wreath? Traditionally, it is an evergreen wreath holding/surrounding four pillar candles (sometimes five). Here is one I made a few years ago:


Each candle represents a different aspect of Advent. The word "Advent" means "arrival", so the candles are typically Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love; however, that can change depending on tradition/liturgy/preference. For a more kid-friendly version, the candles represent things like Bethlehem, shepherds, and angels and follows the Christmas story. A candle is lit every Sunday in Advent (four candles for four Sundays), and in newer tradition, a fifth candle is lit on Christmas Morning. This would be especially appropriate this year, since Christmas is on a Sunday morning! Each candle lighting is accompanied by a brief reading and prayer. In my family, it's a great way to anticipate Christmas morning, keeping in mind the actual reason for Christmas, amidst parties and shopping and chaos and such.

That's it! Very simple, yet poignant.

There are several ways to make an Advent Wreath. When I was a kid, we would use real evergreen and stuff it into a styrofoam ring. Now I just use a store-bought wreath and place the taper candles inside of it. Some people ditch the evergreen and use walnuts, ornaments, or twigs instead, but I'm a bit of a traditionalist and like that the evergreen represents everlasting life. It's totally up to you, though--you can be as creative as you'd like!

For the readings, I have two kinds. One is a collection that I partly wrote, partly assembled from other sources (a more grown-up version), and another is the booklet we used when I was a kid (a more kid-friendly version). Every year on this blog I post the grown-up readings each Sunday of Advent and last year I received several emails from friends saying that they found it helpful, so I'm going to do that again this year. And, since my kids are older and this blog is really about doing things that are kid-friendly, I'm going to post the kid-friendly readings (I still have the pamphlet, circa 1991!) every Friday. So, if you're looking for a place to do kid-friendly readings, just check here on Friday and you'll be good to go on Sunday. Or, you can just read Sunday's for a more "grown-up" version!

Disclaimer: The Sunday readings are a compilation of my own writing plus the writings of others. I used different sources and forgot to cite them (I'm a college graduate, I promise) so I'm apologizing now for the lack of proper citation.

I hope that made sense. :)

And that's it!

Have a lovely day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Motherhood: Staying Home.

I remember hearing someone say once that the more you stay home, the more you want to be there, and the less you are home, the less you want to be there. The statement was in reference to stay-at-home Moms and our sometimes uncanny ability to be everywhere but at home. There are always errands to run, activities to join, and really, let's be honest ... sometimes we go because we just have to get out! Sonic, Starbucks, or a drive through the park. Sometimes being gone is the little breather we need to finish out the rest of our day, while the kids are strapped in the back!

But besides the necessary driving-to-refocus breaks, I've noticed that the statement is true. The busier I am, the less I want to be home. What I mean by that is, when I've had a few days of go-go-go, I come home and feel like I don't quite know what to do. My home isn't any different than it was the day before, or the day before that, and yet I feel a little helpless and discombobulated. That's when the urge to jump in the car and go somewhere--anywhere--hits again, and while I find comfort behind the wheel, I come home to that same awkward feeling.

However, if I really focus on staying home and don't let my mind wander to the great beyond that lies outside our front door (that usually requires spending money, eek), I find that I really enjoy being home. I love doing fun things with the kids while we're out and about, but I've grown to realize that the best way to fill their love tanks is to just be home with them, spending one-on-one time in the environment they know the best. Oftentimes while we're gallavanting around, their behavior can be notably different. That's when I know we've just been away too long. When we're home and I actually make the effort to sit on the floor and dedicate good chunks of time to playing with them, their response is undeniable. They're more relaxed, they're more imaginative, and I can just tell that they're all-around happier. I have great memories of Disneyland and Sea World as a kid, but the memories of playing Breyer horses on the living room floor with my Mom rank just as highly in my book.

This is a challenge for me sometimes because I don't sit still very well. Ask my husband--I'm that obnoxious person who asks questions during movies and who loves to be on the go. If the kids are playing well by themselves, I use that time to do laundry, wipe the countertops, vacuum, etc. Don't get me wrong--the ability to play alone is hugely important, but sometimes I think I take advantage of it. I love being attentive to my kids, but I've noticed a difference between being conveniently attentive and intentionally attentive. When that urge to "get out" comes, I find that I'm dissatisfied and snappy if I can't, and a lot of the time if I do answer the urge and leave, I'm not really any more satisfied than when I left. But if I push those thoughts out of my head and join the kids in their play, I am quickly reminded of how much I really love spending time with them. I'm reminded that their obedience and behavior are not my primary responsibilities as a parent, but that they are to feel loved and secure and valued--that they were created lovingly down to every last detail. That inner sense of worth is priceless. Obedience, without it, just makes a robot.

So, here's to staying home, and the challenge it can be to sometimes actually do it. :)

Have a lovely day.


Love: Sweet Syrup



We eat breakfast with my grandfather-in-law once a week and today I walked in to find a bottle of real Vermont Maple Syrup, just for me. He prefers pancake syrup, but he knows I prefer the real stuff. It was such a sweet and unexpected gesture! It's the little things. Love.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crazy Number Two.

When I was pregnant with Naomi, I remember hearing several comments from Moms noting the personality difference between their firstborn and their second-born. The firstborn, they would say, was compliant and obedient and easy. Their second-born ... not so much. Wild thing.

I, of course, as a new Mom, nodded in agreement but secretly scoffed at that idea, figuring that my firstborn's personality (which was compliant and obedient and easy) had more to do with, well, upbringing, then anything else. I mean, I worked hard to be a good Mom, so some of that was paying off, right? So then, surely my second-born would be similar, with *obviously* a different personality.

Sure enough, Miss Mouse came into our lives with a grand cry. She was a noisy newborn, but also an excellent eater and fairly easygoing. She was easy. I was proud.

After a few months, the easiness disappeared. She woke up.

She was fussy. She was high-maintenance. She had what we think was colic. She woke up several times a night for a few months for no apparent reason. I saw myself as a champion of breastfeeding and happily doled out advice to Moms regarding it after Cub was born, and now I found myself faced with the choice to wean my daughter before I felt either of us were ready, because of a milk allergy (I held out for four months, weaned her, and cried for three days). Everything I "knew" about being a Mom to an infant flew straight out the window and I found myself in an absolute tizzy.

I soon realized that the biggest challenge was simply learning a new personality--the methods that had worked with Cub did not necessarily work for Mouse, but some of them did. Trying to figure out this new little person was half the battle. Boundaries had to be set and they lay in different places than they did with big brother.

In my mind, I heard the words of those Moms who had said their firstborn had made them confident ... and their second-born had made them humble. And oh my word, I laughed because, in my case, they were totally right. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule, but they were dead-on in my situation! I found myself humbled more and more, looking through grace-colored lenses at my fellow Moms. Simply becoming a Mom had made me understanding to other Moms, but becoming a Mom again opened my heart even more. It was so good for me.

Despite the trickiness, there was spunk. Naomi was a difficult infant, but she was also gloriously delightful. Watching her grow has been nothing short of one amusing ride. When she's happy, she absolutely lights up the room. She cracks us up with her antics, putting on our shoes, eating wood chips, chasing the chickens, and dancing every time she hears music. Her laugh is infectious and her cuteness just kills us. She's rough and tumble but is always gesturing for me to put bows in her hair. She loves dirt and (pretend) lip gloss. Even though she's stubborn, she's sensitively sweet, and when she gets in trouble it melts her world and she hates disappointing us. Once we began to learn her personality and her quirks, we fell into a groove the same way we did with Cub. I realized I had basically given birth to myself, which honestly helped us figure her out! Naomi is by far our spunky pumpkin, but she's a great kid. Our kids, who have totally different personalities, delight us just the same. We can't imagine loving them more.

I sat down to write this as Naomi shuffled by me wearing my TOMS, pushing her brother's new bike. She stopped, looked up at me and smiled, and went on her merry way, her head bobbing back and forth, the bow perched atop it starting to fall. There will no doubt be a mess wherever she stopped and chances are my TOMS will be missing for at least two days. But the joy, the absolute joy of her, is overwhelming.

These are the things I want to remember as we introduce yet a third personality to the bunch. May grace abound.

Just some thoughts today. :)

Have a lovely day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Even Bathroom Breaks Are Accompanied By Little Hands Knocking.

I sneak in a quick shower before the kiddos are up.

The breakfast show gets up and running and both are fed. I call the doctor because Naomi is congested and hoarse.

Help with shoes and boots and dressing and diapers and pottying and etc.

Loading in the van. Buckling, adjusting, toy-distributing. Sippy cups, check.

Trip to the grocery store.

Trip to the doctor. Just a cold.

Drive-thru lunch.

Naomi falls asleep in the car and gets put down at home.

Cub and I eat lunch and play a game.

Cub goes down for a nap.

I organize our pantries and chop the peppers and chicken for fajitas for dinner.

I sit down on the couch and Naomi promptly wakes up.

I feed Naomi lunch.

I attempt to make pumpkin spice muffins while Mouse plays at my feet.

The muffins are an epic fail and all I have to show for them is a pile of dishes.

Cub wakes up.

I put both kids in shoes, grab some paperwork, head out the door.

More loading, buckling, adjusting, toy-distributing. Sippy cups, check.

I drop paperwork off, run to Target.

Zoom through Target with a brief pause to check out the Christmas trees with a wide-eyed Cub.

Come home, unload Target purchases, walk to the end of our loooong driveway to retrieve our huge trash can and roll it back. In the rain.

I let the chickens out, collect eggs, and head inside to clean dishes from the muffins.

Dishes get done, time to start dinner.

I start dinner while two hungry kiddos observe and occasionally beg.

We sit down to dinner and my legs ache from not sitting for a long time.

Prayer, chatting, nudging to take more bites. Crumbs on the floor, on the table, on the Mouse.

Dadda comes home as we finish up.

I run and give him the biggest hug and tell him I'm so glad he's home.

While he eats dinner, Naomi bonks her head and comes running to me for comfort.

She cries so hard she throws up on me.

I change her and myself.

I load the dishwasher and wash the remaining dinner dishes by hand.

My husband puts her to bed as I pick up a few wayward toys.

All with a 30-Week pregnant-for-the-third-time-in-three-years belly. My body is beside itself.

My husband is now playing with Cub while I sit down for ten minutes by myself to type this post.

One word to describe motherhood?

Constant.

The good, the bad, the busy.

Have a lovely day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Drawing A Blank.

I'm staring at the computer, trying to come up with a clever topic about which to write, and my brain is coming up empty. I mean, I try to have at least ONE substantial post a week, one that involves thought and personality and such, but this week, I'm drawing a blank.

...

Which, I suppose, could be a post in and of itself. The Pregnancy Blank, where all rational thought processes are concealed beneath an imaginary sheet of white, and when the brain attempts to pull such thought processes, all it sees is the white. If I'm not careful, my eyes will cross and I will begin to drool.

This pregnancy bit, it's really all-consuming. I look back on my posts as of late and most of them have to do with the baby. So then I think, I should write a post about my favorite current styles and such, something refreshingly shallow. But what would those styles be? MATERNITY. Cool. Not really. Then I thought, what's my favorite make-up? I don't know, because my face is always red and blotchy whilst pregnant (sexy, right?). What about my current favorite music? Ehh ... Fisher Price Christmas lullabies?

It just seems like I'm quite immersed in this baby-and-toddler stage of life.

I mean, I'm not totally irrelevant. I wear (maternity) skinny jeans and chunky jewelry and carry a fancy-schmancy (diaper) bag and I shower, sometimes, and, you know, I'm sure I look awesome in that white MINIVAN in which I cruise around town. I haven't completely let myself "go" (well, except for the minivan, with dreams of owning that coveted Toyota Sequoia), but every time I sit down at the computer to write, it is the things of baby that come to mind.

...

So, that being said, can anyone recommend a good facial moisturizer? I mean, next year is my last year in my twenties, so it seems like maybe I need to use some sort of you're-getting-older facial moisturizer. Do I? Uh, but it has to be cheap. Like, Target cheap.

Do you like how this post has absolutely nothing to do with anything related to facial moisturizer? Until the very end?

That's about right, folks. That's about the level at which I am functioning.

Have a lovely day, friends.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Because Butter and Brown Sugar Were Made For Each Other.



A slightly tweaked recipe from a friend. Tweaked because I just used what I had in my pantry :).

2/3 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 T hot water
2 2/3 cups flour (I used 2 cups wheat flour, 2/3 cup bread flour)
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 bag chocolate chips (I used white)

Mix wet, mix dry, mix both, bake for 8-10 minutes at 375.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Intuition!

When I was pregnant with Cub, I knew he was a boy. Instantly. I had no idea what his name would be (my husband named him later on in the pregnancy), but I sure knew there was a little guy in there. I don't know how or why, but my instinct? intuition? something? told me I had a son on the way. I was confidently confident and, well, I just knew.

With Mouse, I had no idea. None at all, but I hoped she was a girl. Yes, I hoped for a specific gender. Is that bad? I'm the little sister to a big brother, so I think I just naturally hoped my second would be a little lady, since I understand that kind of sibling dynamic. I think it goes without saying that if Baby Number Two had been a boy, we would have been madly in love with him the way we're madly in love with all of our kids, and the brother dynamic would be just as awesome. But, we were thrilled when we found out that there was a little sister in there.

With this pregnancy, as soon as I took the test, I patted my stomach and said, "It's Lydia." The next few days were spent in a bit of a blur, with some crying and almost-passing-out-from-pregnancy-shock and such, but amidst it all my gut just told me that this baby was a girl and that girl was Lydia. We had an early ultrasound and the doctor thought it could be a boy, but I was doubtful, even though, truthfully, the thought of two boys was easier for me to handle than the thought of two girls (crazy, I know!). I wanted a later ultrasound to know for sure (which ended up being quite a feat--Lydia is quite a bashful little pea!) and sure enough, the doctor gave us 90% certainty that our baby was a little lady. And, of course, we're thrilled. I realize that the ultrasound could be wrong and my gut could be wrong, too, but I'll be surprised if it is!

What about you? Did you have a gender inkling during your pregnancy?

Have a lovely day, friends!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shakey-Shake.

Good Morning!

I am writing to you in my pajamas with really awful bedhead on this Saturday morning to bring you some breaking news. We had an earthquake here at 2:00 this morning. In OKLAHOMA. Some people (including our kids) totally slept through it, a trait of which I am jealous. I'm a light sleeper.

Anyway.

It registered as a 4.7, which, if you grew up with earthquakes, you know it isn't huge but it isn't insignificant, either.

In OKLAHOMA.

OKLAHOMA. Where the tornadoes come sweeping down the plains. NOT earthquakes.

Anyway. After the shaking stopped, I sat in bed with flashbacks of my brother and I clamoring down the stairs during earthquakes as a kid in California, stumbling outside with our parents to stand under our front outside doorway and watch the driveway ripple and the trees shake. I'd be okay with it not ever happening again!

That is all.

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

(Oh, and I passed the glucose test. Yay! Bring on the sweet potato casserole!)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sugary Yuck.

I'm taking my glucose test today.

Pity, anyone? Empathy?

:)

Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fretful.

Yesterday was one of those days where every problem or fear seemed like a larger version of itself than necessary. I found myself feeling heavy with worry about the upcoming holidays (money to spend on Christmas presents for a lot of people), the upcoming baby addition (THREE CHILDREN ... sometimes it just feels impossible!), and just the day-to-day responsibilities of being an adult.

I could feel my face becoming fretful. Pouty and frustrated, brow furrowed, mouth set. My Mom tells me I have an excellent fretful face and I believe her now after seeing myself in my children--Cub's fretful face is dead on! It ain't pretty. After putting the kids down for naps, I milled around our kitchen, dark from open windows on a cloudy day, and my mind raced with worry while my heart continued to sink and my brow continued to furrow. I turned on my Pandora radio (set to Norah Jones) while I dumped the chicken stock from the stove into the crock-pot. As I mindlessly pieced through the chicken, I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. My worry had decided to manifest itself through weepiness, something I do not particularly appreciate, and I took a deep breath. A heavy sigh, really.

The kitchen filled with an ominous silence as the previous song ended, and I stood there, staring at my chicken stock through blurry eyes, frustrated with myself for being frustrated.

And then, softly, chords from an acoustic piano began. I recognized them immediately, and realized that Pandora had randomly started playing a piano version of "Be Still My Soul". I blinked through my wet eyes and turned up the song, letting its peaceful melody fill through the room.

Be still my soul: The Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

"Leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change, He faithful will remain."

I just want to say that I am thankful that God wasn't subtle with His desire for me to calm down and set my worry aside. Sometimes I just need a big, obvious reminder, and He sure came through yesterday.

The song played through while I stood in the kitchen, eyes closed, drinking it in. After it faded, I stood there for a moment and turned the music back down as Jack Johnson came on singing about banana pancakes. The hymn had been so beautifully random.

That's all I've got today, friends. I hope you have a lovely day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Thanksgiving Tree.

You might remember my post about a Thanksgiving Tree last year...can you believe it's that time of year again? I can't! Here's a little refresher on the Thanksgiving Tree if you're interested in doing it with your family!

A sweet friend of mine shared this idea with me a while ago, and I'm happy to pass it on.

Firstly, you take fall-ish colored construction paper or cardstock and cut out enough "leaves" to represent each day from November 1 until Thanksgiving Day (this year Thanksgiving falls on November 24th, so you would cut out 24 leaves). Since I used cardstock, I used the first leaf as my template.



Poke a hole in each leaf and feed a piece of string or twine through.


Create a "tree" using a large stick or a bundle of sticks. I have a dried twisted hibiscus I'm using this year. You can either attach all of the leaves now or attach them one at a time. Cub wanted to help me this year, so we went ahead and put all of the blank leaves on our tree.


Every morning, write what you are thankful for on a leaf.

It's an easy way to focus on the poignancy of a thankful heart, and to teach it to our kiddos at a young age. We kept our leaves from last year and plan to continue keeping them--it's so fun to look back!

Plus, it's a great fall decoration. :)

Have a lovely day, friends.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle.

The kids' grandparents took a trip to Washington, D.C. a few months ago and I received a text from their G-Ma saying that she was at the Smithsonian and saw the cutest astronaut jumpsuit costume there and would we possibly want it for Halloween?

Well of course we would!

Ever since we watched the space shuttle launch, Cub loves to talk about how "the space shuttle went WAY HIGH in the SKY!" And, one of the best parts of being a parent is having the ability to play off of your children's obsessions, so I was more than excited for Cub to be an astronaut for Halloween. Then I thought it would be cute if Naomi could be something space-ish, too, and it hit me: A star. She just twinkles, so it was really a perfect match. I hacked up some styrofoam to transform (ha ha) our wagon into a spaceship, and last night we ventured to our church's Trunk and Treat with our star and our astronaut in tow. It was way fun.

And, of course, in the chaos that is Monday in our home, I forgot to bring my camera, so all I have are a few pictures from my phone. Zero points for Mom. But, you get the idea. Also, attempting to get both children to smile at the camera is nothing short of hilarious. My star who giggled and played all night totally looks like she's scowling in both of the pictures. Meh, that's how it goes.



Have a lovely day, friends.