Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WHY-Wednesday: Why I slow down time.

It's ironic that I find myself writing a post on slowing down time, when just a couple of weeks ago I wrote on longing for these little years to be gone.  But hopefully I find an empathetic ear out there who understands the daily battle between longing to be child-free and not wanting to wish my life away.

About six months ago I read the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  I am actually borderline embarrassed to admit I even read it.  I am not a huge fan of hers, and her style of writing is kind of annoying to me.  But, if you can get over her overly melancholic way of expressing herself, what she has to say is pretty awesome.  You can find her blog here.

Anyway, the whole point of her book can be summarized by her following quote:

"Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention."

A second quote by Mark Buchanan that compliments Ann Voskamp's previous quote is:

"I cannot think of a single advantage I've gained from being in a hurry... through all this haste I thought I was making up time.  It turns out I was just throwing it away."

The moment we start rushing through our days, trying to keep up with laundry, dinner, and our never-ending to-do list... yes, our life gets lived out effectively, but there is nobody there to enjoy it.

Yesterday was one of those days.  My sweet children were there usual selves, and had I continued doing all that "needed to be done," I would have never been able to savor the precious gift of simplicity through them.

1.  Getting to see my little girl imitate the only mom she knows to be hers, and liking what I see.

2.  The way my fearful girl learns to overcome simple fears such as getting close to a cooking stove.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WHY-Wednesday: Why I lie down in the afternoons.

Okay, so this week's post may be extremely obvious to some, or a luxury to others.
But for me it's been a novelty... and revolutionary!

To lie down for my own nap in the afternoons.

You mean, I should not use my quiet to...
... catch-up around the house?
... fix dinner?
... fold laundry?

To rest while the kids are resting themselves?!
 ** What a waste a time! **

Right around the time I was struggling with my emotions of mild depression, I heard a friend say:
"We should not work to rest, but must be rested in order to work."

That is, we must not work ourselves so hard that we have no other option but to need rest.
Instead, we must always be rested so we can then work.

Again, this may be obvious to most, but revolutionary for me.

So now, when the kids go down for their naps at around 1 PM, I may straighten the kitchen a little, poke around Facebook for a few minutes, but shortly after I put myself in bed.  No iPad, no phone, no book.  I lie down under the covers and stay there for at least 30 minutes.  I make myself shut down.

If after 30 minutes I have not fallen asleep, I can get up and continue with my chores.  But if during that 30-minute period I do fall asleep, then I stay asleep until I wake up on my own or the kids do that for me.

I have never been a napper, but to my amazement I do end up falling asleep on most afternoons.  Which makes me wonder... 

how long have I been living this incredibly sleep-deprived life?

Monday, September 08, 2014

The messy Slouch

BB continues to be a lazy little man.  I like to call him "Slouch" or "Flojito" because of the way he likes to sit while he eats.

Last Saturday night was no exception.  We had lasagna for dinner, and my oh myyy... how I wish I had recorded him!  He made a huge mess all around his face, then proceeded to put the food all over his hair, then rub it all over his belly.

There couldn't have been a happier Flojito.

"Just Me and My Dad"

Daddy and Emma went on their first camping trip last weekend.  Byron had the desire to experience that with his little girl, and finally got to do it.

All four of us headed out to the family picnic area early in the afternoon on Friday.  We lit a fire, roasted hot dogs, ate some dinner, then BB and Mommy returned home and left the campers behind.

BB was fussy until someone began feeding him.


"Mami, tengo miedo." aka-- my fearful daughter saying she was afraid.
After Mommy and BB headed home, Emma and Daddy set up the tent.  Byron says that as soon as the tent was up, Emma stepped back and said:  "That's a good tent."

They had their family worship time, sang, looked at the moon and stars, and then was put to "bed."

Poor girl, she had a hard time falling asleep, but once she finally did at 11 pm, she slept through the night.

Woke up a happy girl bright and early at 7 am.

Memma and Poppa brought pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast.  
Mommy and BB hit a few yard sales in the morning before heading out there ourselves.

Memories in the making :)

He likes rocking chairs

Actually, he likes pretty much any high spot he is tall enough to get on.  It's fun to begin noticing the striking differences between him and Emma.  While Emma is as fearful as they come, this little man loves a good chase, high places, and a good challenge.

He likes to climb on chairs, boxes, steps... anything really, then just sit there until somebody spots him, then he just flashes his big grin at you.

His big (scary) thing he does now is not only climb on the rocking chairs, but also stand on them (and rock them while at it).  The nursery workers at church are terrified of him doing this, and say that no other child has ever done that.

She wears her daddy's pants

"Those are just a tad too big for you, Sweet Girl."

One of Emma's big things to do these days is to loop Byron's belt on him.  Byron puts on his pants, tucks his shirt in, and then little Emma Girl comes around and laces his belt around his waist.  
Love seeing that girl at work!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Oma and Great Gram in town

We enjoyed both Oma and Great Gram's company last week for a full week.  They drove down from Illinois to Georgia to be with us.  Emma warmed up to both of them pretty quickly, though my very-attached-to-me son did not do as well.

First night they arrived they got straight to work-- read, read, read!

Great Gram got to meet her first great-grandson for the first time.

One of our favorite outings while they were visiting was to a peach stand 30 minutes from our home.  We got to purchase some delicious home-made peach ice cream, enjoy it with each other, and buy beautiful one-pound peaches.


Oma and G. Gram got to see where both Emma and BB go to MDO.

Oma got to take the kids to the park some, and the kids came back with some flowers for Mommy.

Sitting around the table right before dinner was served.

On their last day visiting us, they took us out for breakfast.  

Waiting for our table.

Oma took the kids to the park again while I took advantage of being kid-free to put the house back to normal before they left later that day.  It was super hot, but the kids and Oma all had a great time!

Good having family in town to love on our children all week long.

All in all, it was a great trip until four hours into their drive back to Illinois (right outside of Atlanta) my grandmother fell and fracture her hip.  She had surgery done the next day, and as of today they are still trying to figure out what it is they need to do.  They are away from family and in a non-familiar hospital/town.  Mom had to postpone her long-awaited trip back to Mexico, and is now living as a "hobo" (her words, not mine) in my grandmother's hospital room.  She had to turn in her rental car, she left her cell phone at my home, and my grandmother's cell phone she does not know how to use and has run out of credit.  Like Byron likes to say:  "this is a book in the making."

Praying for you, Mom :)

WHY-Wednesday: Why we don't own a deep freezer.

(Update on September 20, 2014-- I got a smart phone last week, and did not realize that the pictures on it where linked to my blog's pictures.  I began deleting a whole bunch of them, including the ones that were on this post.  You can still read the post and "learn" from it, and if you are absolutely in dyer need of seeing what's in my freezer, you can come on over anytime :) )

A friend of mine asked me a few weeks ago via Facebook if I had a deep freezer.  With all my chicken stock, and meat-freezing, where do I have room for everything?  

You must have a deep freezer! -- she assumed.

Well... truth be told-- I would love to have one, but don't.

We don't have room for one, they bring up the power bill, and the hubby is afraid I'll be storing 15-year old dinner casseroles, then serving him some.

So how do I do it?
How do I manage to successfully store everything in the one I have?

Let's take a peek at my freezer and see if we can answer these questions.

My lovely freezer as-is.  Nothing polished, nothing added, nothing (obviously) organized.


Bread scraps.


All my whole wheat bread-making ingredients.
Which reminds me... I haven't made a loaf in a while.


Ground coffee.
(Only if it is not in an air-tight container).

Cookie dough.


Old bananas.

Bell peppers.

Cooked hot dogs.

Deli meat.

Squeezed lime juice.

Meatloaf meat, ready to be thawed and cooked.

Onion and celery scraps for making chicken stock.

Lentil soup.

Fully cooked black and navy beans.

Chicken breasts.

Ham bone, and leftover ham.

Frozen fruit for my morning smoothie, and some ice cream.


Artichoke hearts.

Chicken stock.

Thoughts in response to what I keep in my freezer--

*  I hardly ever use my freezer space for fully-cooked meals.  I will never put a casserole, a whole pizza, or convenient food from the store.  What I'll do instead is freeze partially prepared food.  For example, I'll freeze my bread scraps, but won't freeze the french toast casserole I'll be using them in.  I use my freezer space to make dinner prep in the afternoon go smoother, not to eliminate it completely.

*  I always keep a few "regulars" in the freezer such as my nuts, bread scrap bag, onion/celery bag, and bread-making ingredients.  Other than that, everything else rotates pretty quickly out of the freezer.  Notice how aside from my meatloaf bag, all of my other ground beef bags are gone.  I've used them all!  Now I am working through my chicken breasts.  Only one main meat will "dominate" the freezer at a time.

*  Whenever I am planning my weekly meals, I always look through my freezer to see what I have on hand.  This is what helps me rotate through my freezer quickly.

*  Notice how I only have one ice cream box.  As a matter of fact, I rarely have desserts like that (it was leftover from the kids' parties).  Desserts and ice cream like that are yummy to have, but are not the best way to maximize your freezer space.


My concluding thoughts:

1.  Focus more on freezing partially prepared meals opposed to fully prepared ones,
2.  Rotate through your freezer quickly,
3.  Freeze items that would make your life easier, not yummier.