Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Musings (vol. 6): Observe

I have a very busy, but fun, week ahead of me, so I apologize now if the blogging ceases for this week.  I have tons of musings that I want to share, but like I said, I'm busy.  So I'll leave you with this short post for today.  I once joked with you about how "there are moments in motherhood where your instincts to intervene are overridden by "let's see how this pans out"".  Who knew that this was a developmental/educational concept*?

"When dealing with children, there is a greater need for observing than of probing."  
~ Maria Montessori

I first got the idea to do a lot of observing when it came to playing with Matthan from the book The Baby Whisperer**, rather than "playing for him" (such as taking his hands and making him play with the ball, or shaking a rattle in front of his face, but waiting for him to reach for the rattle and allowing him to go at his pace).  I realize that EVERYONE has their own, often very strong/passionate, views about baby books and raising children, and the stuff I've learned may end up being a bunch of crock.  I'm okay with that (meaning, I'm ok switching gears if I learn that I'm doing something wrong or there is a way to do something better).  But for the moment, it's working for me.  This concept is easy in theory, but incredibly difficult to execute.  So this morning when Matthan was playing with the carseat that we had left in the middle of the floor, I was seized with the want of how to show him to "play with it right" (whatever that really means).  But I didn't.  Look at what he figured out how to do all by himself.

We can learn so much from our children if we just stand back and watch.  This concept may have to be an entire post in and of itself one day.  I've learned so much from just watching Matthan.  And sometimes, we don't know what they're watching or how much they're absorbing, until they leave you in awe.  Like when my four-year-old niece said to my sister,

"Mom, I have an idea.  Well, really a question.  Okay.  I know God is three but He's really one, you know.  So, how does God walk on the earth and hold it in His hands?" ~Lailey

*The Montessori Method.
**The full title of this book is The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems:  Sleeping, Feeding, and Behavior--Beyond the Basics from Infancy Through Toddlerhood.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} - iPhone Photos Will Have To Do

~ Capturing the context of contentment in every day life ~

Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter


I was so proud.  I had all kinds of pretty, happy, funny, real photos ready to go for you today.  "Real photos" from our real camera.  Not from my iPhone.  Because I told you that I'm trying to get over my love/hate relationship with technology and trying to learn how to use our camera.  And goshdarnit!  some of the pictures were even in focus!  Well technology is not helping me get over the hate part of our relationship today...oh no!  I've been thwarted!  

"You're not getting your pictures onto me today, Mwuahahaha [evil cackle]" - Mac

"Oh, your blog, you mean you want it to work? MwuahhahaahHA!" - Mac

And yes, our computer's name is Mac, because I'm SO creative.  And yes, I just named him that.  The Hubs installed some sort of operating system update.... or something computer related.... and we almost cried because we thought that we had lost all of our pictures since our last update (luckily we didn't).  I'm not blaming him, I'm blaming the technology gods....I have some choice words for the technology gods.  So!  It's iPhone photos for you today.


It's amazing what you can accomplish when you know you're having people over for the weekend.  Ah, pretty freshly swept and mopped release the one - year - old!  They were pretty while they lasted.  The sunlight speckled on the floor is pretty too. 

The Hubs brought Guido III home the other day.  I think he's pretty.

However, as of yesterday, he has been moved to higher ground.  The cruising one-year-old has discovered him and while his awe and fascination was originally cute...the smacking of Guido's bowl is not.  Guido is safely out of reach now.


My kid is about the happiest thing ever!  Even when technology is against me, he has smiles for me.  

Oh that hair.  He needs a haircut, but I just love it.  You'd be happy too if you had this cutie smiling up at you, no?  If you missed how much he's grown, here was the latest update.


Matthan has decided that some of the places in our home need reorganization.  He took to our bathroom cabinets earlier that day.  

See this bruise on his left (your right) cheek?  That was a crash into our bed frame.  That wasn't particularly funny.

But those bruises won't keep him down!

Check out some more Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real posts over at Like Mother, Like Daughter

round button chicken

Monday, October 21, 2013

Matthan Update ~ 14 months (or the post where I use the phrase "so much" too much)

I realize that I used this picture in Friday's post, but it's so stinkin' cute that it bears repeating.  I'm sure that you'll forgive me. 

Matthan has changed so much since the last time I updated you, that I'm wracking my brain to remember everything.  He changes so much in just a week.  I guess you'll just have to come visit us and see all the cuteness and growth yourself.  :)

The biggest change that we have seen in Matthan is how verbal he is now.  He is saying "mommy", "daddy", "puppy", "baby", "ball", "bye", "na-na" (for banana), "shoes", and "wa-wa" (water).  He "signs":  more, food/eat, milk, hat, and sleep.  He mimics things that we say with accurate inflection.  

For the record, he was saying "baby" to the picture before I started filming.  I'm sure you know how that goes.

He is starting to express his will and his opinion....a lot... and strongly.  

He really likes to do things on his own, especially eating.  He eats almost everything that does not require a utensil by himself.  If a food does require a utensil then he has to have one too.  So while I feed him oatmeal in the morning he has a spoon too and he's slowly figuring out the whole "spoon in bowl, spoon to mouth" thing.  

He has entered the picky eater toddler stage, and after mommy had a slight meltdown over this, we're all doing remarkably well.  He is hesitant about new foods.  He likes to see us eat it and likes to feed it to us.

Oh, and he uses spoons and (insert any stick-like toy here) as drum sticks.

He has become very mobile as well.  He's got crawling down packed and is now pulling up with gusto and cruising along the furniture.  This video is from a week or two ago and he is much more proficient now.

He still loves to carry things around the house with his latest favorite being clothes pins (the wooden ones that I hang his diapers with, not the metal pokey ones).  

He helps me put clothes in the dryer.  I'll hand him a piece of clothing and he'll throw it into the dryer for me.  Then he shuts the door for me.  

Matthan has gotten over his dislike of grass, and has moved on to crawling on and through anything.  In the last week he has crawled through grass, dirt, mud, Georgia red clay, sand, and a pumpkin patch.

First time in sand ~ a boy on a mission

His favorite and most used word is "puppy".  I pulled out his puppy stuffed animals, given to us by loving family members, that have been on his shelf since he was born, and he now sleeps with one in his crib.  We have several friends that have very loving and patient pets.

Matthan takes absolute delight in puppies and kitties (which he also calls "puppy") and giggles endlessly when they lick him.

He gets mad at me when I won't let him eat off of the floor.

He still loves books and "reads" them to himself.  The other day he crawled up to me with a little book in his hand and was saying "puppy, puppy".  I asked him where the puppy was and he showed me the first page of the book he was carrying, and sure enough, there was a puppy on the page.

He still loves anything that makes noise.  

Matthan has turned into quite a ham.  He flirts with people everywhere.  He has a grin for everyone.  And he has started to make funny faces at us.

Look out ladies - my kid can make the duck face

This picture does not do it justice.  He knows how much it makes us laugh and so he does it all during dinner time.  

Over the last couple months, Matthan has grown up so much, and we have grown so much as parents.  Pray for us as we continue to learn how to parent our sweet little boy.

Despite his apparent lack of enthusiasm he was having a good time

Friday, October 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes (vol. 5): Breast Cancer Awareness Month & Wing Sauce

If you have a minute, please read my post from yesterday - "In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month".

Mom, Me, and my sister Sarah ~ approx 1991

I'm sure you know by now that sunshine removes stains from cloth diapers.  But did you know that sunshine removes wing sauce?  You're welcome.

I know that I'm already linking to Conversion Diary today, but I thought you'd all like this particular post that she wrote:  "What is the Religious Climate in Your Part of the World?".  She asked people to answer survey questions such as "How appropriate would it be if a person were to acknowledge that he or she is a believing Christian?" and "What belief system do the politicians in your area claim to practice?".  People answered in the comments section, and the contributors are from all over the world. It is incredible how different it is for people in other countries.  We forget.

I'm technologically challenged.  The only reason I have a picture at the top of my blog is because my husband edited it and put it there for me.  Technology and I do not have a good relationship.  I worked as a waitress in high school at a restaurant that had POS systems for their cash registers.  They told me I couldn't mess it up.  Within 10 minutes I had three computers down and they were calling the manager in to fix them.  Do not underestimate my power.  However, I've decided to try to conquer this long-standing love/hate relationship I have with technology, and attempt to learn how to use our Nikon camera.  We'll see.  The majority of pictures on this blog were taken with my iPhone.  If they're blurry...

...grainy, weirdly composed, or look a little off... I likely took them.  If they look beautiful composed and edited, The Hubs likely took them.  But he had a communication arts major in high school where he was a camera man, so...ya know...he's got a head start on me.  This photo wasn't so shabby...go me and my iPhone!

Of course, it could be more the subject and less my picture taken skillz.  ;)

When I give Matthan a bottle (which he's almost completely weaned off of, oh my breakin' mother heart), I usually snuggle in bed or on the couch with him and hold him in my arms and I hold the bottle for him.  When Daddy gives him a bottle...

"Here son, do it yourself"

That's why he has two parents, because it didn't even occur to me to do it that way.  But that's cool, I'll take my snuggles.

I'm still working on that new painting.  Trying to find time to paint when I have a one year old is a little difficult.  So in the mean time, I'll feature some others.

This is a painting that I did for The Hubs.  It's a 14x16 (approximately, I'm too lazy to actually get up and measure it) acrylic painting of a picture that we took on our second date.  We perched the camera on a rock to get the shot.  


I'm going to do a Matthan update soon.  I have so much to tell you!  But in case you're new around here, here was the last update.

Happy Friday!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There is nothing that made me want my mommy more than becoming a mom myself.

Mom, Me, and my sister Sarah ~ approx 1991

I miss her.  Breast cancer took her from me and my family in December 1992, when I was 6 years old: She was 35.

My sister, Dad, Mom, Me

She was an incredible person - from what I remember, from what I've seen on our family videos, and from stories people have told me.  She was beautiful.  I mean, have you ever seen anyone rock a mullet like that and be so beautiful?  She had an incredible singing voice and played guitar and piano.  She made blankets and clothes for my sister and me as well as for other people.  She was spunky, and made people smile.  Someone told me that she would send people cards for all occasions, in good times and bad.  She smelled like the beautiful perfume that she wore.  I remember that smell.  She served in our church.  She cared about people.  But this post isn't entirely about her.  

My Mommy and Me

Breast cancer affects everyone.  I grew up without a mom.  That has had a profound impact on my life that I can't explain in one or one hundred blog posts.  My husband never got to meet my mom.  (For the record, I think she would have adored him).  My son will never get to meet his grandmother.  

You've probably seen the latest Breast Cancer Awareness Month status posts on Facebook.  This year, people are posting a heart as their status like this.  Then they e-mail their friends and ask them to put a heart on their account as well as post a heart on the "wall" of the person who e-mailed them.

Picture and Name blocked out

Then when people ask questions about the status, they tell them it's for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Last year, people posted a different status of a similar nature.  People post these status updates with the best of intentions, and I know it comes from a beautiful place of wanting to do something; maybe from a place of wanting to help when we all feel so helpless against breast cancer.

I would like to provide ideas on how people can help with Breast Cancer Awareness and with those who are suffering from breast cancer in addition to posting Facebook statuses.  Some of these ideas are from how people helped my family.

1.  Donate your time.

- Make a meal - While my mom struggled with breast cancer, her health varied, making it difficult for her to care for us in her usual ways.  We had people make meals for us.  If your gift is cooking, take a meal to a family who has a member struggling with breast cancer.  I never understood the power of bringing someone a meal until I became a mom and struggled to take care of my little family in the days that followed.

- Babysit - there were several families, related and not related to us that took care of my sister and me when my mom and dad went to my mom's appointments, or when mom was rushed to the emergency room.  They provided my dad with the opportunity to focus on my mom in those difficult moments.  You could also watch the kids so the mom and dad could have some fun time together.  Or, if there is a family where the mother has passed away, offer to babysit so that the father can go to grief counseling.

- Clean house - offer to go over and clean.  If the woman is someone you know to be a person who struggles with the idea of someone else cleaning her house, then you could arrange with the husband to clean the house while the woman is at an appointment.  She'll be so grateful she won't have time to stress about the fact that someone folded her underwear or saw the inside of her dirty microwave.

- Give rides - there was a time when my dad had to work most Sundays during the month.  Several families alternated giving my sister and me a ride to church.

-Just be there - sometimes having friends present when you're sick or in pain is the best medicine.

2.  Donate to the effort of spreading awareness.

- Use social media to spread awareness - use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc to remind and encourage women to do self breast exams and to get their regular check ups and tests.

- Offer to administer personal breast exams to those in your community - 

                         I'm TOTALLY kidding!!!

- Be a billboard for awareness - where those t-shirts with the catchy slogans or place those bumper stickers on your car.

3.  Donate money.

- Donate money to breast cancer research - you can contribute to breast cancer foundations or sponsor others who are participating in breast cancer fundraisers.

- Get creative - send gift cards to families so meals aren't a struggle.   Someone anonymously donated a hospital bed to my family so that my mom could remain at home with us during her last days.  If you can be that generous, that would be such a blessing.

- If you don't have time to help clean, buy a family a maid service.

4.  Donate your talents.

- If you're musical, go visit the cancer wards in the hospital and play music for the patients and staff.  If you can cook, take a family a meal.  If you can make cards, send families encouraging notes.  If you can sew/crochet/knit make blankets for the women who are going through chemotherapy.  Be creative.

This is clearly not an exhaustive list of ways that you can help with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  If you're not sure how to find a family who could use your gifts and talents, check with your priest/pastor/Rabbi or (insert religious leader here).  

If the person or family resists you helping them, you can tell them what a very wise woman told me last year... 

"When you don't let people help you, you deny them the opportunity to use the gifts and talents that God has given them for such a time as this."

So I say to you, God has given you gifts and talents for such a time as this.  What will you use them for during Breast Cancer Awareness month?

My Mom and Me - 1988

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday Musings (vol. 5): NFP and Being Careful With Our Words

Yes... I know it's Tuesday.  Thank you for not pointing that out.  I really tried to post yesterday, but none of my musings were coming out coherently, and I was not in the state of mind to sift through all the pictures we took this weekend.  And I'm just not ready to post about how I'm absolutely failing at our keeping Sunday holy resolution or how motherhood has been kicking my butt the last couple weeks.

So instead, I plan to distract you with gratuitous pictures of my kid while I share something with you that has been on my heart, i.e. Natural Family Planning (NFP).

When we announced our pregnancy to our friends back in January 2011, our news was met with the utmost elation.  At the time, we had been married four and half years.  I was chatting with a friend about the exciting news when she interjected our conversation with the statement,

"...We (another friend and her) were just talking about you guys the other day.  I was getting ready to call you and tell you that y'all were doing NFP wrong."

(Now, I did not take this statement offensively at all.  I felt like I could safely assume that this came from a loving place.  This friend was really excited for us when my husband and I got married and had been super excited at the thought of us having kids, because she loves us and wished all the grace and blessings that come from parenthood upon us.  Plus she knew that our baby would be super scrumptious and adorable, and I'd say we did a good job, no?)

Before I go further, here are a couple notes for clarification:

1) Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the observation of the naturally occurring bodily signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle.

2) NFP Methods are sets of rules used to interpret the signs and symptoms recorded in order to achieve or postpone a pregnancy.

3)  "Responsible Parenthood" is the choosing to achieve or postpone a pregnancy by using the knowledge that comes from NFP.

It was natural for my friend to expect us to have children after we got married.  That is, after all, how God designed it:  For when a man and a woman come together in holy matrimony the natural order is that a baby would follow.

"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become on body.  "  Matthew 2:24

Planning your family, means that during the fertile phase of a woman's cycle the couple either comes together to achieve pregnancy or abstains to postpone a pregnancy.  See, what my friend was implying (whether she meant to or not) was that (according to her) we had been abstaining too long and possibly without just cause.

While the teachings of the Catholic Church on love, marriage, and procreation are extensive, deep, and beautiful, and if you get some time I highly recommend you dive into them; they are very hard to summarize in a blog post.  But when it comes to postponing pregnancy, the Catholic Church gives this guideline:

"For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children." - Catechism of the Catholic Church
I've also heard other words such as "grave reasons" or "serious reasons" used. The Church doesn't list out anywhere what those grave or serious reasons are for postponing a pregnancy.  What this means for me is that every month that my husband and I choose to abstain during the fertile time of my cycle, we do so with prayer and discernment in regards to what God's will is for our family.  That means that every month, at least, we give thought to if God is calling us to have a child.

This teaching was easy for me to understand, but really difficult for me to live out.  What I mean is, it was easy for me to understand the idea of inviting the Author of Love into my marriage bedroom, that He has plans to give me a hope and a future, including in regards to having no or lots of children.  But taking that step of faith and saying "Not my will, Lord, but YOURS be done" was, and still is, a struggle for me.  Cause, you know, I like to control my life.  This means that I acknowledge that my body is not my own, it is His creation, and that I strive to submit to His will for me.  It also means that He will provide the knowledge and wisdom, if we ask it of Him, to discern whether or not we should try to conceive a child this month.

Which brings me back to my friend's statement that "we were doing NFP wrong."  I think this reflects a big misunderstanding that I have experienced from people of all belief systems.  The reason the Church doesn't list out those "serious reasons" is because they are different for everybody.  What may be a serious reason for us may not be a just reason for her and her husband at our current states of life.

I have heard judgements (and, unfortunately, have probably thought them myself) such as "they have seven children, they're such a good Catholic family" or "shouldn't they be having children by now?" or "when are you going to have children?" or "they have a large family, they MUST be Catholic" or "they don't have many children, they're using NFP wrong" or "they have too many children, they're not using NFP right".  I've heard these in various forms from various people of all walks of life.  Some of these may not even seem judgmental to you.

What people don't understand or think about when they say things like this, is that child-bearing is a very personal thing.  They don't know that the person they're asking (often with a combination of joking and seriousness mixed together) "shouldn't you be having children by now?"  may have been trying to have a child for a few years, but is struggling with infertility with every month being met with disappointment and grief when the pregnancy test comes up negative.  And that question, which is so prevalent in our casual conversations, is striking at the deep wound.  Or, the person that they ask, or imply, that they should be having a second child by now is really struggling in the marriage, or that having another child is a topic of tension in their marriage.  Or that person that they have deemed as not practicing "right" because they have "too many" children, has actually chosen to have that many children based on their wisdom and discernment, and not because NFP has failed.

So instead of judging other people's families, let's pray for them, that they would be open to what God wants for them.

And while you're at it, we'd love yours prayers too! :)

Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
He will never be shamed
for he will destroy his foes at the gate.
Psalm 127: 3-5

If you would like to read some testimonials about NFP, NFP methods, NFP and infertility, etc by women from different walks of life, go here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes (vol. 4): Snail Mail, Scary Soda Cans, and Making a Difference

My Little Man loves "reading" books, and he's so cute while he's doing it.

I've started a new painting [deep breath].  It's still in the drafting/sketching/rough draft phase.  When it is finished, it will be hung above our bed.

In the spirit of iconography  (the artist is supposed to pray while they "write" the icon), I am going to try to pray while I paint.  If you have any prayer requests, e-mail me (see e-mail address in #3) or leave them in the comments.

Remember the envelopes I made?  I sent one as a thank you note to my grandma and one is going to a friend in a care package.

That leaves me with four remaining pretty envelopes.  Who doesn't love receiving snail mail?  If you would like to receive a real piece of mail from me along with your weekly junk mail, leave your name in the comments, then e-mail me your address at lostbutholdinghands at gmail dot com (with the appropriate symbols of course)*.  The first four will receive a handwritten note encased in a pretty envelope.

It would be super-fan-tabulous if you had a blog and posted a picture of yourself with the piece of mail/pretty envelope and linked back here, but this is definitely not a requirement.

Did you know that you can take your kids to a fire station and get a tour for free?  My sister did it this week and her kids LOVED IT!!

Would you drink this?

Little Man and I went to have lunch with Daddy this week -

- and on the lunch room bulletin board, I spotted this little gem...

This week, I am supporting my brother-in-law's efforts to make a difference in his community.  I've mentioned it here and here already, but it bears repeating.

My brother-in-law, Dave, will be running the Atlanta Marathon for the second time on October 27th, and this time he is running it in honor of the amazing students at The Joseph Sams School (where my sister works).  To raise funds for the school, he is asking people to donate $26, one dollar for every mile, or any amount that you can spare.  Here is a video about the school: 

Please support Dave's efforts in supporting this amazing school by visiting and clicking on "DONATE" in the bottom left of the page.  All the money goes directly to the school and no amount is too small.  Thank you!

*(From #3) If you're one of the family members or friends that receive my blog posts via e-mail, and you'd like to be a recipient of the snail mail, click on the link at the bottom of the e-mail that you receive to go to my blog.  Leave your name in the comments section.  You can assume that I have your address unless I tell you otherwise.*

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} - A Birthday Interview

This week I am supporting my brother-in-law's efforts to make a difference in his community.  He is running a marathon (I know, incredible right?) in honor of the Joseph Sams School for children with special needs.  Go to the bottom of my Monday's Musings post to learn more and see how you can help.  Thank you in advance.  Now... onto  {PHFR}!

~ Capturing the context of contentment in every day life ~

Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

~ Pretty ~

Happy Birthday to my most favoritist beautiful sister!!  In honor of her birthday, I decided to interview her.  I got the idea from the interview that she did with my niece, and I put together questions from that interview, the internet, and my brain.  I sent her an e-mail with these instructions.  

"Complete the interview below by answering off the cuff, the first things that pop into your head.  Do not over think the questions.  Send the interview back to me with a current picture of you."

Here's her picture.

Check out Sarah Akin Photography on Facebook

~ Happy ~

I probably wouldn't have admitted it when we were growing up, but I am very happy that she is my sister.  She is a talented and creative person who uses her gifts and talents to serve her family and those around her.  She is a woman of God, a wife, a mother, a music therapist, a budding professional photographer, an incredible musician, and someone who always makes me laugh.

Photo taken during my sophomore year of college?

~ Funny ~

Here are the answers to the 30 interview questions I sent her for her...25th birthday (wink).

1.  What is one thing that most people do not know about you?
I am capable of burping very loudly but often don't.

2.  Give me a brief description of the people that live in your house.
Well, there's the littlest one.  He's super adorable, incredibly smart for 2, plays the drums, and loves me.  Then there's the little one.  She is my favorite princess and lights up my life with her spunkiness.  Then there's the big one.  He's an amazing person.  I still love him after over a decade.

3.  If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?
For some reason "Mo" popped in my head immediately, then I laughed because that is SO not what I would say.  Hmm.  When I was a kid I wanted to be named Felicity after the character in the American Girl books.

4.  What is your best birthday memory?
When I dressed up and went to the Cheesecake Factory with Davey for my 20th bday, I think.  Also when you, Dad, and Judy surprised me with tickets to the Newsboys concert...and we had to leave RIGHT THEN! That was fun.

5.  How do you describe your job to people?
I use music therapeutically to treat kids with special needs.  I use music in a group setting to address social needs, emotional skills, speech, physical goals, and more.

6.  Who are your best friends?
My hubs, my favorite sister, Christy (our cousin), and my sister-in-laws Whitney and Julie

7.  What is your favorite snack?
Chocolate chip cookies, veggie sticks (like veggie potato chips in stick form), pretzel chips with Nutella, Pirate's Booty, cheese and fruit.  I eat it all.

8.  Can you answer this question with another question?
Can you?

9.  What is your favorite outfit?
Comfy skinny jeans, a tank top and a light cardigan with matching jewelry.  And converse shoes.

10.  What are you reading right now?
"I am a Church Member"
about to start the last Harry Potter book 
my sister's blog.

11.  What do you want to be when you grow up?
What's "grow up"?

12.  What is the most played song on your iPod?
"Big God," clearly. (my nephew likes to play drums with it and constantly asks for it to be played)

13.  What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Scrubbing the shower.  
Cleaning the garage...oh that's right, I don't!

14.  If you could choose to use any form of transportation, what would it be and why?
Hover board - it looks fun and would solve traffic problems.  You know, just zoom over.  
Or a private chauffeur would be swell.

15.  What is a sound that drives you crazy?  What is a sound that makes you happy?
Anything that is very repetitive.  This could be a toddler asking me the same thing over. and. over. and. over. Or any noise after 8:00pm.  Those are quiet hours in my house.  (where's the answer to the second part of the question, Goober?)

The little one, the mommy one, the littlest one

16.  If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
A messy birthday for Lailey.  Sounds fun...and messy.

17.  What do you/would you do with 30 minutes of uninterrupted free time?
Read, sleep, or blog.  Or eat.

18.  If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

19.  What's one thing that you did growing up that got you into trouble?
ONE thing?  Are you kidding?  Making Amy mad (but it was so EASY!!)

20.  If you could have dinner with anyone (limit to 10, live dead, fictional, real, etc) who would it be?
Mom, Jesus, Christy (since she just moved), Julie Andrews, Mother Theresa, Lottie Moon, 
Harry Potter/Hermione/Ron/Weasley twins, though this would be a different dinner for some reason.  It seemed odd to juxtapose them to the above people!

21.  What is one story that your family is always telling about you?
How precocious I was as a kid.

22.  What was your favorite food as a kid and do you like that food now?
Hmmmm, I don't know.  I loved fruit snacks and still do.  Always have loved fruit as well.

23.  If you could witness any event, past, present, or future, what would it be?
The Resurrection

24.  Do you prefer to talk in person, by phone, in emails, or by text?  Why?
Talk in person.  Though I don't mind the others.

25.  What effect does the color yellow have on you?
Apparently laughter, because I just laughed at this question.

26.  If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Ooooh, I'd want to fly.

27.  What is on your nightstand?
Well, it's really a bookshelf, so books, book light, phone charger, picture of Lailey.

28.  At 30, what is one thing you will try to do differently from 29?
I don't know!  Nothing I'll necessarily do differently, because I tried to reach several different goals this past year, but maybe continue on with those things like finish the Bible, go to Seattle with my family, continue homeschooling, etc.  Maybe exercise?  One can always hope right?

29.  If you could choose one dessert as your birthday dessert (you're not limited to birthday cake) what would it be?  Be specific.
Cheesecake!  Turtle cheesecake, cheesecake with strawberries or raspberries, whatever.  I love cheesecake.  Plain is good too.

30.  If you were to get amnesia and could only keep one memory, what would it be?  
Getting married to my best friend.

~ Real ~

Even though my sister does not live close enough (in my opinion), I'm thankful for the phone and other forms of technology that help keep us in touch.  I'm also thankful for the incredible sister that God blessed me with!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Musings (vol. 4): Sister Time and Helping Those In Need

Happy Monday Y'all!

Welcome to Monday's Musings, where I unload things that are on my brain.

~ Sister Weekend ~

I got to spend this Saturday with my favorite sister in the whole world!!  My brother-in-law sent us on a sister shopping day, sans children, for my sister's birthday.  I meant to take lots of pictures of us trying on ridiculous fashions, but we got caught up in adult conversations that did not include diapers and potty training and were not interjected with parenting phrases like "do not sit on your brother!!!".

Besides, we were too busy holding up the check out lines (as in making people wait longer, not pointing a gun at them) by my sister's our inability to answer simple questions such as "how long has it been since you used your card?".

Little tip:  The benefit of not getting to go shopping very often is that your store card may become inactive (who knew that could happen?).  Why is that a benefit?  Oh, because you get an extra 15% off of your purchase by reactivating your card.  So with the 40% off sale already going on in the store, my sister got a total of 55% off of her purchase!  

~ Recipe ~

I've been trying to find ways to simplify our Sundays in order to spend more time relaxing, refreshing, and hanging with my boys.  I like the idea of a crockpot meal, but we have had little success with this cooking technique.  And when it takes a large quantity of food, that cooks all day long, to get to a result that is incredibly disappointing, you might get a little gun-shy of making crockpot meals, like me.  Do not underestimate my ability to kill a meal.  My sister told me "you can't ruin it" (the kiss of death in my world) to a chili recipe ... and I ruined it.  My sister-in-law gave me a no fail potato soup recipe, and well, it failed.  It tasted like dirt with some cleaner mixed in.  You get my point.

But we have a winner!!  I successfully made pork posole*.  It was super yummy and The Hubs ate seconds interjecting his bites with "this is SO good!!".

Recipe and photo source here

Here are my tips for choosing a yummy recipe off of the internet:

1.  Choose a recipe from a website that uses a rating system.  The above recipe got 4.6 out of 5 stars.

2.  Read the reviews.  Some websites how a "most helpful comments" category.  Read those.

(*I made some changes to the original recipe:  I used green onions instead of a yellow onion because I had them in the fridge and wanted to use them up.  I also used less water per the most helpful comments I read; actually I used 2 cups of chicken broth.  I substituted two jalapeƱos (insides removed) for the green chiles.  And I always put more spices than the recipe calls for; I don't really measure.  I used less chile powder and added some paprika.  As our garnish we used cilantro, lime, and avocado.  It came out more "gumbo texture" than soup, so if you want more of a soup texture, add the amount of water per the recipe.)

~ Homemaking Irony ~

Several months ago I complained on Facebook about my dryer buzzer making me want to jump out of my skin every time that it went off.  The dryer model with the off switch was $500 more.  The next day I came home from Bible Study to find this.

Blessed off switch to my dryer buzzer

My blessed husband had installed a switch on our dryer, for like $1.50.  

Just last week, I was thinking about how helpful it would be to have a buzzer option on my washer because I'm constantly forgetting to switch the clothes to the dryer.  Oh, the irony.  I've just resorted to setting a timer.

~ From The Mouths of Teenagers* ~

"You don't realize how good life is until you've experienced suffering."

(*My husband and I work with the youth group at our church and help with the teens in small groups. )   

~ Donation Opportunity ~

My brother-in-law, Dave, will be running the Atlanta Marathon for the second time on October 27th, and this time he is running it in honor of the amazing students at The Joseph Sams School (where my sister works).  To raise funds for the school, he is asking people to donate $26, one dollar for every mile, or any amount that you can spare.  Here is a video about the school: 

Please support Dave's efforts in supporting this amazing school by visiting and clicking on "DONATE" in the bottom left of the page.  All the money goes directly to the school and no amount is too small.  Thank you!