Monday, September 23, 2013

Happiness Is...

My mama. She has come to save me (yet again) before this baby is born. She did it with Rita too. I am so grateful. Grateful that the waiting is anticipated with joy by more than just us. Grateful for the extra hands to help and most times just DO the dailies so I can catch up on some rest or just snuggle with my kids. Grateful for the extra set of arms to love on and embrace the kids who anxiously await the arrival of their baby sister. Grateful for another mom set of eyes to see and just DO what needs to be done. I realize how blessed I am to have such a wonderful mom……and to have one who is willing to put a pause in her own life to help with mine. To help so willingly, lovingly, and selflessly I might add. Thanks Mom. We love you SO VERY MUCH.

A dear friend who is constantly teaching me what it means to give and be a friend. This past year we have been given the gift of a friendship with a particular family that has blessed us in every way. Not only do we as parents enjoy each other’s company, but our children are relatively the same age and consider each other “best friends”. All of them. The example of their fidelity in their faith, their love and compassion towards each other, their generosity and willingness to give and serve. It truly is inspiring and we feel so blessed to have found such friends. And we look forward to years ahead.

Waiting. I can’t believe I’m writing this. But, yes, happiness is in the waiting. Our life has slowed down in anticipation of this baby. Everything has become about getting ready for baby. Activities have been considered based on exertion to help move baby out. Everything we do, our conversations, our prayers, our cleaning and daily activity are all rotating around the fact that this baby is about to come. And we are SO EXCITED to meet her. We have drawn ourselves closer to each other in the day to day as we wait. And it has been a beautiful thing.

But seriously, she can come out….like right now and we’d be just as happy. ;-) (hint hint)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another School Year

Oh this summer has been full. My goodness! And my absence was intentional at first but then turned into the blog being put on the backburner. I mean, seriously, I've got a million things to do! I thought about closing it down altogether. But then I remember how much I really genuinely love writing and rereading the memories. I always get a chuckle and often times I forget some of the goofy details of my life. And so I begin again on the eve of the start of our school year.

Yes, I know it's early. However, I am due with #5 September/October and intend on taking a few weeks off from school. I thought starting early would give us a jump start. Plus, the kids are actually excited to get rolling again. Yvette is for sure. Hayden thinks he likes the idea (typical boy). And Wyatt, nah. He'd just as soon stick to playing. Good think because preK doesn't start until after Labor Day. We decided to send him to St. Mary's for preK. They have a fabulous program there, the teacher is phenomenal, and since Wyatt has absolutely NO interest in school we thought maybe being forced into a "fun" school environment might light a little fire for learning. Hey, a mom can hope can't she?. Plus I like the idea of staying somewhat connected to our parish school. It really is a fantastic one and I do miss visiting with the teachers and families there.

This year's curriculum choice was not so difficult to settle on. I was so happy with how thorough most of the subjects were last year that we just stuck to the same this year with the exception of math. Math is a tough one - I've heard. We used Math-U-See last year for both Hayden and Yvette. Neither of them liked the DVD lessons or used the blocks or concepts. They just ended up doing their own thing and figuring it out. Which was dandy because I really didn't like how they presented the concepts either. This year we are going with Saxon Math. A bit more "hard core" - or so I've heard. But from what I've seen and paged through, it looks a lot like what we ended up doing last year.

I always like to see what other people are using for curriculum and how they pair things up. It's encouraging to see what works for other people.

So, the curriculum layout.....

Math: Saxon
Science: Nancy Larson Science (very excited about this)
Religion: Faith and Life
Handwriting: Zaner-Bloser
Spelling: MCP
Language: First Language Lessons
Writing/Narration/Dictation: Writing With Ease
History: Story of the World v1
Reading: long reading list

We have the full Rosetta Stone for spanish that we might start mid-year....depending. It is a full year with just what we have, although I love the idea of starting foreign language early. We'll see though.

For extra curriculars, Hayden has been in tae kwan do for a few years now and will continue that. Yvette wants to try gymnastics. If she doesn't like that she wants to do dance. And, of course, if she doesn't like that she'll probably figure out something. ;-) She knows as well as we do that a social outlet is absolutely necessary for her. We've got our round of regular playdate friends, church activities, library activities, and the like. However, she has made it crystal clear that she want to "do something". So, this year is her experimental year. One activity at a time, of course. We'll give each one a few months of commitment before moving on, IF she so chooses.

And of course there is Wyatt. PreK on MWF mornings. He is old enough to give tae kwan do a try this fall, to which he has expressed a big interest. I'm okay with that. Two kids in the same activity makes my life a whole lot easier.

And me? What about me, you ask? Well, my extracurricular will be breastfeeding a newborn, chasing after a not-quite-two-year-old, schlepping everyone around, milking goats, and in my spare time I plan on sleeping.
Okay, laugh. That's fine. I would to if I wasn't me.

Any other crazy moms out there?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Happiness Is...

A new dishwasher.

Shortly after Christmas my dishwasher died. I mean completely no chance of revival dead. And right around that time we had some major repairs done on our van to the tune of about $1400. Take that plus recovery from the holiday and I got a "we'll you'll just have to handwash until our savings recovers a bit." Well, you can guess how long that took. Me hand washing all the dishes worked fine at first. But then I got pregnant and was terribly sick for about 10 weeks. Dishes piled up constantly and we were never NOT doing dishes. I was getting exhausted but we still had a hard time throwing down $700 for a new dishwasher. And, of course, other things became a priority over that. After all, it wasn't that the dishes weren't getting cleaned. I mean really, a dishwasher is actually a luxury. Apparently. According to my husband. Who probably actually did the dishes a total of maybe 3 times in the 6 months we were without a dishwasher.

Anyway, long story short, John knew I was reaching a breaking point. It's one thing to hand wash dishes once or twice a day for a couple people in your family. I make nearly everything from scratch and we've got 4 little mouths who like to eat all day long. I'm not a firm believer in disposable things so we use actual dishes when we eat. I spent the past couple weeks expecting to go dishwasher shopping at the end of May, like John said we would. Well, the time got closer and he clearly wanted to push it off longer. We DO need to buy a new lawnmower ($3000+) this summer, fix the well (hopefully only $500 but maybe $10,000), the garage roof needs to be reshingled ($500), the roof on our large steel shed needs replacing - VERY necessary before winter ($3400), and finally we need to buy a more stable family vehicle before the baby comes ($9500). Yeah....this summer is going to be an expensive one. I understood that. And John being John, would prefer to pay cash for as much of it as possible. Understandably. However, I reached a melting point and fell apart Friday morning. It was everything. Just a lot for a mama to keep up with plus I'm not physically able to do it all as this pregnancy has really put some limitations on me. John sat and listened to me, held me, and said, "We'll go look for a dishwasher this afternoon." Really?! I mean, you can't joke around. We can't go if you aren't serious. We found one, bought one, and he installed it on Saturday.

I am one VERY happy mama .... and wife.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Wyatt

This week started VBS. Early, right? The schools just finished up last week. I was looking forward to VBS maybe mid-June not the week after school is out. Oh well. My kids love it either way.

So Hayden and Yvette have been gone every afternoon this week from noon-5pm. Which leaves me with a napping Rita and Wyatt all to myself. That boy. Melts.My.Heart.

We were out shopping today and he says to me in the sweetest voice, "Mom, I just love you very VERY much."

"Oh Wyatt, I love you VERY MUCH too. You want to know a secret? YOU are my favoritest Wyatt in the whole wide world."

All smiles with kissable dimples. He says very matter of factly, "Mom. That isn't a secret. I knew that already."

That boy.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coconut Oil

I never thought I'd convert. I loved my olive oil too much. But over the past few months I've took some steps in cooking outside my norm and used coconut oil in place of olive oil. And OH.MY.GOODNESS.

I no longer buy olive oil for cooking. I use it strictly for salads only. Coconut oil is my preferred product. Not only is it nutritionally superior (for cooking), it adds this rich slightly nutty toasted flavor to food.

Our most recent obsession is asparagus. Our seasonal obsession. We LIVE for asparagus harvest. We are fortunate to have wild asparagus on our property. And for those of you who have had the absolute pleasure of eating WILD asparagus, you can appreciate our love for it. It doesn't come close to anything (even the organic version) you'd buy in the store. The flavor is amazing and I'm lucky if the picking actually makes it to my kitchen. Most often it is consumed on the walk back home. The kids LOVE it and prefer it raw.

John and I, however, have fallen for a baked version.

preheat oven to 450
liquify a couple tablespoons of coconut oil
drizzle it over asparagus and roll it around
sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper
bake for 5-7 minutes or until soft but slightly firm

And ENJOY. Seriously, this is heaven. A complete meal.

My brother stopped in tonight. I offered supper (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, baked asparagus) to which he declined. Which was shocking. Apparently he had just eaten. I insisted he grab an asparagus spear to nibble on. He accepted and as soon as he bit into it his eyes got huge..."OH....that is.....(sigh) good...." Needless to say he grabbed another before he left.

Heaven, I tell you. Absolute culinary bliss.

OH....and not all coconut oil is created equal. Just like olive oil, you get what you pay for. This version is both affordable and scrumptious. This is part of a short list of "subscribe and save" groceries for me:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Waffles and Spaghetti

I was talking with my oldest brother not too long ago and we were deep in a conversation about relationships. I’m 32 and have been married nearly 9 years with 4 kids. He’s 36 and never been married but close (I hope). Usually the relationship conversations are directed towards him…loads of questions coming from him. But that particular day it was my turn to vent. My turn to unload. I wasn’t necessarily looking for any answers or solutions. In fact, THAT is exactly what the conversation was about. How men, when faced with a woman with a problem (be it emotional or otherwise) they, by their nature, usually seek to put a solution to it. And women, when presenting themselves and their problem(s) to their men aren’t necessarily looking for a solution but just someone to listen. We laughed at how different we were. My brother was telling me how men often times see fairly clearly when it comes to emotional issues:

Your sad because you’ve let yourself go and can’t fit into the clothes you want?
Workout. Get back in shape.

You find out a girlfriend is gossiping about you and it isn’t kind things she’s spreading?
Stop talking to her. Or in the very least, stop telling her personal things.

You’re tired and overwhelmed by all the work you have to face staying home with 4 young kids all day?
Get to bed earlier. Eat healthier. Workout.

You feel depressed and you don’t know why?
Chances are it’s hormonal. ;-)

And on and on and on.
90% of the time we just want them to listen, nod, and say, “Oh honey. I’m so sorry your feeling this way. Is there anything I can do to help?” But men aren’t like that. Not usually anyway. They’ll either spout a solution or they’ll keep their mouth shut until prompted to speak.

“Waffles and spaghetti,” my brother says with a chuckle.
“Huh?” I respond.
“Waffles and spaghetti,” he replies matter of factly. “You see, men are compartmentalized. Like waffles. Everything has a place in our world. Open one door only after closing another. Women are spaghetti. Everything is intertwined and often times messy. Breakfast and dinner. The difference of night and day.”

I LOVE this analogy. Waffles and spaghetti.

Y'all know what I'm talking about?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

When I Said "I do"...

Not "our song" but still a favorite

In the wake of yet another young couple’s nuptials, I am a bit nostalgic and am reminded of my own. John and I were married almost 9 years ago after a whirlwind courtship of exactly 9 months. I remember so many details of that day…

morning mimosas
Getting butterflies as my bridesmaids scurry around saying “he’s here he’s here” and the photographer is trying to take my individual pictures
Stolen glances throughout
Aukward moments even
And then the drive to our honeymoon spot - we went directly to a secluded cabin from the reception

It is that drive that I am remembering most right now. I remember thinking that I am no longer my parents’ daughter first. I am first a wife. And we, John and I, were the ones making the decisions for ourselves. I didn’t have to call my mother to let her know I’m okay and I’ll be home at a particular time. It was no longer my father who would be my security…my rock. And it was during that hour long drive that my heart began to shed itself of that child and become cloaked in a woman…a wife. I had no idea what I was doing nor what I was in for. There was certainly a naivety about how I saw our young married life at that particular moment. I smile as I remember. Sometimes I long to be that girl again. Other times I am so happy I’m not her anymore. Well, I am, but we’ve managed to scale those early mountains and have come out the other side with some bumps and bruises but for the better. I’d much rather focus on what’s in front of me instead of behind me. Still, the romantic nostalgia of young married life is sweet.

Do you have a favorite memory from your wedding?