Archive for the 'me' Category

Taking Stock

I’ve been fighting the winter blues for weeks. January is notoriously hard but this year probably takes the cake. Lots of looming questions about the future, short days, cutting out sugar; it can make everything feel terrible so quickly. The fog and damp cold gray days feel like a wet blanket clinging to everything and my tendency to brood has obviously gone into overdrive. After yelling at EVERYONE this morning, even the poor dogs didn’t escape my fury, I realized I need a new perspective. As soon as possible.

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So I cleaned my carpet and washed my windows. Two things I really didn’t want to do, but when I finished it felt like I’d scrubbed away a little of my bad attitude.

I went to bible study. I didn’t really want to go. But I went and I was encouraged and listened to and I noticed I felt a little better.

We talked about being grateful. About saying thank you and making that the focus of life…not all the stuff that makes us feel bad or consumes us with worry or draws us away from the truth. And the truth is that God is love and He never changes that way.

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So I’m wrestling with that, wondering how to change the way I think and drinking a cup of tea and listening to Mumford and Sons. Little by little my life is coming back into perspective. Just a little.

Today I’m grateful for a clean slate to start over. For random phone calls from my husband and texts from friends. For the peace lily on my kitchen counter and the sweet toddlers sleeping cozy in their beds.

When I take stock in my life, I am overwhelmed by its goodness. And I feel sheepish for being so cranky. Here’s to holding onto a simple truth: gratitude beats out brooding every time.

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I figure I have 10 minutes max before my dilapidated laptop crashes on me, but one of my resolutions this year was to write again and four months into the year I haven’t done a thing.

I decided my desk in the kitchen is no longer good inspiration. The debris from daily life is too distracting. So I unplugged and went outside. I even took a picture for proof…or maybe as a reminder to try this again another day.

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A mom at preschool drop-off this morning asked the ever-loaded ‘what are you up to these days?’ question. Why does such a simple question feel like a punch to the gut some days?

‘Just momming,’ I answered casually.

But it stopped me in my tracks. What am I doing these days? Mothering. Cleaning. Pushing swings, wiping butts, countertops and toilet seats. Driving my car, reading stories, cooking food, saying no, saying maybe, doling out timeouts, jobs, discipline, hugs and kisses.

Also, I’m working out. And as I was running today, the thought occurred to me that for literally six years to the month my body has been working hard at sustaining other people’s lives. I have literally been pregnant or nursing with only a tiny 3 month window from January 2008 through January 2014.

And when my body was working so hard during that time I was proud of it. All those flaws that bothered me faded to the background just a little bit. That stuff that eats at me when I look in the mirror and echoes in my brain; it was just background noise. I had this intuitive respect and kindness for my body. It gave me three precious babies and I fed them with my own body, watching them grow and thrive. You can’t hate yourself when you have such tangible proof of its usefulness.

And then that season came to an end. As it was supposed to. My baby and nursing years are over. And I’m all wrapped up in relief and grief. What is my purpose now? Of course it’s to continue mothering…

But I am connecting how much I appreciate the feeling of my body at work. And so instead of growing babies, I’m hitting the pavement. Slogging along, huffing and puffing, feeling equal parts deflated and elated as I compel my body towards strength, resilience. The soreness in my legs and the burning in my lungs, pushes all those thoughts into the background. Those flaws melt away just a little and I’m simply me. Breath in. Breath out.

All to say, I’m not really sure what I’m up to these days. It’s a loaded question. Surely the sweet spot of balance is out there somewhere, maybe I’ll find it this year?

This and That

I wake up on Mondays and think ‘this is the week I’m going to get organized…slow down…set time aside to read, cook, finally build that marble run for Jack…’

HA.

Even though none of that is happening, other really good things ARE.

Game after game of Spot it. Bike riding in the driveway (because we’ve had exactly one skif of snow this year). Chocolate chip cookies. Trying out hot yoga. Attempting to pitch crap from the garage, my closet, the ridiculous amount of toys in the basement.

Just regular life stuff.

I have a regular column in our local magazine and before the archives get so old I can’t reference the recipes anymore, I thought I would link to a few of them:

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Balsamic Roast Beef

Cinnamon Rolls

Cheese Tortellini Soup (which I think is posted somewhere on the blog already…)

 

I’m also reading a really good book. Actually, I guess technically I’m re-reading it. It’s called Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. I loaned it to a friend and she ended up ordering me a new copy because she splattered so much stuff in her kitchen cooking recipes out of it. The pages are dog eared and starting to stick together. A small group of my girlfriends started a book club/dinner club based on the book and it has been SO fun. We cook the recipes from the book, drink wine, talk late into the evening and even though we are as different from each other on paper as can be, we are finding so many lovely connections.

 

We had our first lazy weekend in months and I actually woke up this morning refreshed. We went to Lowes and Costco as a family, watched football (go Seahawks!), the boys skied a half day on Sunday and Scarlet and I vacuumed out the car and went to the library. Seriously, it was awesome. We need more of that margin in our life. I know we do and I know I am responsible for creating that space in our family, but it just doesn’t come easily.

If I had any new year’s resolutions this year, it would be to create margin. To learn to say no. To be ok with home and the occasional bout of boredom. To turn off the TV, Instagram, Facebook more often and open a book, the window, my own brain on a regular basis.

So that’s what I’m thinking about these days…more food (duh), more books, more time as a family. Less other (even the good other).

How about you?

 

 

What a Difference a Year Makes

One year ago today I was hugely pregnant, on my due date, adrift in every emotion possible.

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Today, my baby girl wore jeans for the first time, took 7 steps in a row and is currently screaming indignantly from her crib over the injustice of having to take a nap.

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To say that the tail-end of my pregnancy with Scarlet was torturous would be a compliment. It was a distinct time in my life where I truly felt like I was wrestling; wrestling with expectations, my worries, hopes and fears and certainly in my relationship with my Creator.

As September has come around again THIS year, memories and emotions have flooded back to me. While wrestling isn’t comfortable, its agonizing really when you’re in the thick of it, it’s also sacred. And I’m grateful for that sacredness.

While I feel bittersweet over my last baby turning one I am marveling at what a year it was. A blessed, challenging, holy, amazing, sanctifying year.

 

Kitchen Captivated

I think I’ve professed my love for cooking and eating enough times on this blog that you all know that I like to…well…cook and eat. All that cooking and eating opened a fun little door and I’m now writing a regular column for a local magazine in my hometown. It’s small potatoes for sure, but it’s a fun project for me that I’m really excited about.

My first column was published a couple of weeks ago and I wrote about my newish obsession with grilling pizza. Seriously, it’s the best.

So, if you have a minute, check out my column here and the next time you’re in the mood for pizza, try this recipe:

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Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 2/3 cup bread flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (can be swapped for bread flour)
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast (or one packet of yeast)

Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand for a few minutes while the yeast activates. The yeast is ready when it gets frothy and bubbly. Add dry ingredients, oil and honey. Stir the dough until ingredients combine, then knead on lightly floured board until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes). Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour).  Divide the dough in half and using a rolling-pin, form the dough into two 12-inch circles.

My most favorite toppings are simply garden tomatoes, fresh basil, a little garlic and mozzarella. Nothing beats that combination and on the grill, the tomatoes soften and roast perfectly.

To cook your pizza, heat your barbecue to 500 degrees. Use a pizza stone or pizza pan to cook your pizza. You can use a cookie sheet, but it doesn’t work as well. You can also cook your pizza directly on the grill. Simply place your rolled-out dough directly on the grill, cook on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes, flip, add your toppings and finish cooking for an additional 5 to 8 minutes. Most pizzas will cook on the grill in about 10 minutes.

When your pizza comes off the grill, top with freshly chopped basil (doesn’t matter what kind of pizza you’re making, the basil will up its wow factor by 100 percent). Every spring, I buy a couple of basil plants at the grocery store and plant them in a pot on my back patio. All summer long, I’ve got lots of basil on hand for pizza, salads, pesto or whatever I’m making.

I’m a little bit in shock that August is just a few days away. It doesn’t seem possible July has come and gone so quickly. I think a few more pizzas on the grill are in order.

Date Night

I really love date night.

I just do. I love to put on lip gloss and kiss the babes goodnight and head out the door.

It’s weird. I get mom-guilt about (a lot of) random stuff, but date night just isn’t one of them. I wish we could do date night every week.

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What I really like is bad selfies taken in a restaurant. But we’re on a date! So we had to.

I really like the smirk on Aaron’s face.

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I love him. Lots.

Thank goodness for date night.

 

Squeemish

I don’t think I’ve ever watched an entire episode of Fear Factor (remember that show…wait is it still on?). Even Grey’s Anatomy can be a little gross for me. I don’t mind blood, as long as it’s a run of the mill scrape or bruise. Don’t get me started on broken bones, weird rashes and hacking coughs. Oh, and I really hate puke. Like, really hate it.

This does not bode well for motherhood.

I probably should have thought that through a little more before having three kids in rapid fire succession.

Luke woke up a little pale and slow-moving on Sunday. We pushed ahead with getting ready for church until we saw his waffles again. My darling, fearless, completely NOT-squeemish husband took one for the team on that one.

Lu layed around like a limp noodle the rest of the day and then seemed fine. Until today, when the other half of his digestive tract decided to rebel.

In a decidedly violent and surprising way. On the carpet.

Oh parenthood. You humble little devil.

Enter super hot, super helpful, completely wonderful, calm, amazing, (did I mention handsome?) husband who shampoos the carpet. Oh yes he did.

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And I know I’m a ridiculous cliché right now. But I don’t care.

He and all his barf-catching, rug-cleaning glory are mine all mine.


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