Monday, September 22, 2014

There's Just Something about Morning...

We had a rough couple of nights last week.

Daughter-who-shall-rename-nameless-A woke up at 5:30 in the morning (and thought it was the middle of the night) and cried on and off for an hour and half.  

Why?

Because she had a runny nose and was doing some sneezing.

"A bloody nose?" you may ask to clarify.  

No, a runny nose.  As in snot.

Then, 2 nights later, Daughter-who-shall-remain-nameless-B was awake in the middle of the night for over an hour and a half because her bottom itched.

I really don't know what to say about that, other than I just needed to get to sleep.  I ended up finally being able to coerce her into bed by laying on the floor in her room.  

I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed that.

Back to Daughter A, though.  While she was cuddling by me, we saw the sun begin to rise, and slowly but surely, the runny nose became less and less dramatic and traumatizing.  

It reminded me so much of when my girls were newborns.  

I remember feeling like the world was ending when they would cry at night.  I felt so alone and overwhelmed and desperate.  Seconds inched by like hours.  Sometimes I was so tired that I felt sick.  For awhile, I even had the late night/early morning TV schedule memorized.

Did you know that when Gracie was a newborn, our local NBC station replayed The Tonight Show at 4:00 in the morning!  I feel like we're all better off with that knowledge ;)

I digress.

But, after a hard, hard night, when the sun would stealthily sneak over the horizon, I would feel hope.  Even though I had been awake for far longer than I slept, I felt better.

I don't know anything about "the psychology of sunshine," if there even is such a thing (which I'm guessing there is because of Seasonal Affective Disorder).  There is just something life-giving about the sun.

Everything is harder/more difficult at night, and all of those things seem more manageable and less overwhelming in the morning. 

Even my girl, Anne of Green Gables, agrees.


But, more importantly, the Bible tells us the same sort of thing.

When King David was literally running for his life, he saw hope in the morning.


I don't know about you, but I'm not running for my life.  Sometimes I do fight for joy, though.  I love the promise of God's unfailing love, and the utter trust that I can place in Him.

David is speaking more figuratively here (in the context of repentance and such), but the truth is the same.


I don't necessarily know why I'm sharing this with the internet today, but maybe you need to be encouraged.  

Whether you're up in the middle of the night with a new baby, a child with a bad dream, or stuck awake with your mind racing, rest in the fact that morning is coming!

Or maybe you're in the midst of a dark season in other ways...we've all been there.  Don't lose hope.

There really is an end to a struggle.  

There are bits of joy in the midst of sadness.

There is rest at the end of upheaval.

Underneath all of that, though, is the loving faithfulness of God...who walks with us through the difficulty of a long night or trying season.

His mercies really are new every morning.

Enjoy this day!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Project 365: #37

We had a great week, and I sure hope you did, too!  We had a few rough nights in terms of sleeping, so a relaxing weekend is in order!  I think we're going to try a new to us restaurant and visit Maggie's new favorite park!

Day 255:



We picked out a fun birthday card for our friend Charlie's birthday!


Day 256:



Maggie is having so much fun in the wigwam at the Children's Museum!  We had such a great time!


Day 257:



Movie night!  We watched the old animated Robin Hood, and the girls loved it!


Day 258:



I went to parents' night at Maggie's school and sat by her spot <3


Day 259:



Leah rigged up butterfly wings with an old scarf and some painters tape.  She is one creative girl!


Day 260:



We be roundin'!


Day 261:



Gracie Girl and I had a great walk!  She has such pretty eyes <3


Have a great weekend!  Do you have any fun plans?

In case you missed posts earlier this week, check out Alliterated After School Snacks and a really fun Things I Like!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Things I Like

It's time for another edition of things I like!


I like all things Rend Collective!  My girls and I especially love "My Lighthouse," but "All That I Am" is another good one!





I like this article about daughters and dating!  Best line?  Raise a daughter with a fully loaded heart and mind so that a fully loaded shotgun isn't necessary.  YES and AMEN! 

My Aldi now carries jalapenos and CILANTRO!!!!!  I like that a lot!

I like Andy Dwyer and think he's hilarious.  Please don't hate me lovers of Ron Swanson; I think he's funny, too!  I thought these were hilarious...and certainly very motivating :)  Here's my fave:  

source


I like pretty much everything from Mel's Kitchen Cafe!  I found this to be incredibly helpful and wish I could be half as organized.  Check out the awesomeness!

source



I like good conversations!  Here are some great ways to turn small talk into smart conversations.


I especially like good conversations with my daughters!  Here are 25 creative ways to ask them about their day at school.


I like reading book dedications, so you know I was excited to see that Sally Lloyd-Jones does, too!  Here are some of her faves!


I like all things Laura Ingalls Wilder, so it should come as no surprise that I pre-ordered this book!

source

On that same note, I liked reading these two articles about Laura.  And, for the record, I don't care how much Rose helped/changed her writing...the books inspired me to pretend my bike was a horse when I was little :)


I like it when people are brave, like this girl.


I like resources for mighty girls!


I like this idea a whole lot...so much so that we're going to do it!  This is not a joke...who want to come over for dinner?  Seriously.  I'll invite you!  Even my pickiest eaters like spaghetti (granted with butter and cheese, but we can roll with that)!  Tell me if you want to come...fo' realz!


Last but not least, like just about everyone else in this world, I like Kid History episodes on youtube!  My favorite is probably episode 6 :)  Here it is for your viewing pleasure:



Have you found anything you like lately?  Tell me!  

And seriously, let me know if you want to come over for dinner!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Alliterated After School Snacks

I mentioned on my first day of school post that I was wanting to do alliterated snacks, which I know is a little over the top.

But, here's the reason: after school snacks make me a little crazy.  Sometimes it just blows my mind how hungry they are, and there's just a lot of...needs.

I liked having a plan.  I felt less stressed, and the girls looked forward to seeing what they were having.  As you'll see, the snacks aren't high end or complicated, because I just don't have time for that!


Monday:  We had M&M cookies (recipe below).  The girls loved them, and I thought they were great, too!  I only had 1, because I made a couple of meals for people this week, and they got the cookies!

Tuesday:  We had Tea on Tuesday!  We had Lemon Ginger tea which the girls liked better than the Good Earth Originals Sweet and Spicy tea from the previous week.  I made these shortbread cookies but also added some almond extract.  They were very delicious!  We put jam on them, too!

Wednesday:  Wheat Thin Wednesday!  We had Wheat Thins with sliced co-jack cheese. 

Thursday:  We had these yummy smoothies for Thirsty Thursdays!  They may be my favorite smoothie and taste a lot like McDonald's Mango Pineapple smoothie (which is a treat we get after the girls go to the doctor).  

Friday:  Fruit on Friday!  I told Maggie and Gracie that we were going to have apple pizzas, and they freaked out...as in they didn't want to eat it at all.  I tried to explain it, but I decided to just make it and not give it a cute title :)  I just cut apple slices (in a circle, through the core) and cut out the hard core middle bits.  I melted some peanut butter in the microwave until it was pour-able.  I drizzled the peanut butter on to the apples and sprinkled some mini chocolate chips on.  Most of the chocolate chips fell off, though :)

Here's the recipe for the M&M cookies that I got from my friend, Mandy.  She is the queen of all things M&Ms, so I knew she'd have a great recipe!  The only change I made was to use butter instead of margarine.


M&M Cookies
You need:
2 sticks butter at room temperature (this is 1 cup)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
small box instant pudding (I used vanilla, but Mandy says the chocolate kinds are good)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup M&Ms (be generous!)

Directions:
Cream together the butter, sugar, and pudding.  Add eggs until well combined.  Mix in baking soda and flour.  Stir in M&Ms.  Scoop the dough, about a tablespoon at a time onto baking sheet (I literally always use a silpat or parchment paper).

Now, if you want to make sure you have pretty M&Ms on top, put them on your dough ball.


When it bakes down, the M&Ms will be on top!

Bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes!

Enjoy...without without a cute little friend :)


Have a great day!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Project 365: #36

We've had a great week and are getting into the swing of things in the school department!  Gracie and I are really enjoying our days together, too!  I'm going to have to be intentional to get pictures of Leah and Maggie into Project 365, because I just don't see them as much with school...

Day 248:


Sleeping sweetie after the end of a big week of school.


Day 249:


Super fun Saturday at the parade!  I was guessing we'd see 3 people dressed as cows, 4 political things, and 5 marching bands.  If you picked the over on political things (5) and the under on marching bands (4), you'd win in Vegas.  I'm sad to report that there was only one person dressed as a cow.


Day 250:


Maggie is reading her Bible to her dolls before church on Sunday.


Day 251:


Happy Monday from this silly!


Day 252:


Tea on Tuesday!  Leah's pretty excited :)


Day 253:


We fold lots and lots of laundry!  Playing on the tablet makes it more more tolerable for Gracie.


Day 254:


Gracie and I were both wearing our black fleeces on our first trip to Costco!  We put it on and at the same time we said, "Twinsies!"


Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'll Do a Lot for Some Free Parking

Earlier this summer, my friend, Amy, and I took our kids to a nearby tourist town for an "adventure hike."  I'd read that there was an area that had free parking.  The catch was that you had to pick up a free parking pass at the town hall.

I saw that the address for the town hall was on the main street with all of the cute shops.  I didn't think it would be hard to find.

Oh, was I wrong.

There were about a million signs for the million adorable little shops.  To say that there was a lot to look at would be a gross, gross understatement.  

We finally ended up in a residential area, so I used my stellar skills of deduction and realized we had missed the town hall.

We could see the police station from where we parked.  The police station's address was really close to the town hall.  I feel like the town hall had a "1/2" for the house number and the police station was the whole number. 

Seeing as I have literally no shame, I suggested to Amy that we lug our children into the police station to look for the town hall or get directions.  As I was unloading the girls, I noticed that one of my tires was a bit low.  I didn't think much of it, because I choose to ignore things like that until it's really bad.

I like to think that my kids and Amy's kids were excited to go into the police station.  It's certainly not something they do on a regular basis. 

I talked to the officer of information, and, come to find out, the town hall had moved, they just hadn't updated the website yet.  We actually found the right place...according to our bad information. 

Note: UPDATE YOUR WEBSITES!!!

Naturally, as we were leaving, Gracie thought she had to go to the bathroom when we were in the police station.  I drew the line there.  Granted, we were in a small town, and they probably would have had her use the same bathroom the officers use.  But, all I could think was how I didn't want my (then) 3 year old using a bathroom in jail.  This, my friends, is what happens when you watch too many cop shows on TV.

Because I have the following-directions-to-a-location skills of a small raccoon, Amy led the way.  

We found the actual town hall without a problem.  It was shine-y and lovely and still smelled new.

We walked in with my 3 kids and Amy's 4 kids.

An older lady sitting at the information desk greeted us with, "Well hello there!  Are you on a field trip?"

A field trip?  I will choose to take that as an enormous compliment!  Perhaps Amy and I look too young to have 8 year olds!  Maybe she thought we were nannies!  Or au pairs, if we're feeling fancy.

"No," I replied.  "We're just here with our kids."

She just stared at me...possibly confused as to why on earth someone would willingly bring their kids to city hall.  I pointed out which kids were mine and which kids belonged to Amy.

"Anyway," I said, "We're here to get the free parking passes."

"Oh, we changed it.  You don't need to pay for parking any more as long as you're in the correct area."

Are you kidding me?

"OK.  Well, thank you.  We'll park there then."  I paused as I was turning to leave, and said to the lady who probably doesn't know how to check her email, "You might want to change that on your website."

I managed to say that without gritting my teeth or shooting lasers out of my eyes which I count as a sign of maturity...seeing as we had just been on a wild goose chase with a kid who had to pee. 

We walked passed the public bathroom on the outside of the town hall, because there was a line of senior citizen women snaked to the outside.

We got to our free parking, and I made the mistake of speaking a thought.  That tire of mine was really, really low.  I pointed it out to Amy, but Leah heard and kind of started to freak out.  I talked her down, though, and we managed to find a bathroom in the really cool park!

We headed to playground area.



It was pretty basic, but the kids liked it!

They loved the merry-go-round!



We could have stayed there the whole time and they would have had a great time!

Amy stayed with the kids while I drove on a flattening tire to get some air.  I called Aaron on the way, and he started coming to meet me to rescue us from our sad tire.

When I got back, Amy, the kids, and I did some exploring!

We found this bubbler/drinking fountain/water fountain for people and dogs!



We got to walk under this beautiful trellis, too.



After exploring the park, we found Aaron in the midst of taking off our tire to bring to a tire store to be patched!



We then took a short hike along the river.



One of my daughters kept a running commentary going about how much her feet hurt, wondering when we'd be done, and noting how hot it was.

Charming.

Aaron brought the tire back, put it back on, and headed back to work.  Amy and her kids had to head for home a little bit before me and the girls.

We went back to the charming downtown and found a cute, old time-y ice cream shop and enjoyed a treat!



The girls even wanted to walk around downtown to look at the stores.  We had an amazingly fun time!  

Interestingly enough, when we were driving home, I asked the girls what they thought of the day.  The aforementioned complain-y daughter was effusive with her praise of how great the day was..."hike" included.

This made me realize that she just says every thought that comes into her head, but she doesn't necessarily have the motive behind it that an adult would.  I heard complaining, but she was really just asking questions and making repeated observations.  It was a good reminder to me that I can't assume motives when they girls say or do something.

What a day!  Full of ridiculousness, but full of fun memories, too :)


And Babies Don't Keep

Friday, September 5, 2014

Project 365: #34 and #35

I'm playing catch up again!  Enjoy :)

Day 234:


It's good for kids to work together with their friends, playing in the sand by the lake...


Day 235:


Happy Birthday Party Day to Gracie!  I made this cake...it was sooooooo good!


Day 236:


Chillin with Daddy, playing some NBA jam...or whatever it's called :)


Day 237:


Gracie looks disgusted by the mountain of ramen.  Can you tell we live in a small college town and students are moving back?!


Day 238:


Happy Real Birthday, Gracie!  She's celebrating with breakfast in bed.  You can see Leah's knee at the right edge of the photo.  Gracie's too extroverted to enjoy solitary breakfast in bed :)


Day 239:



Day 240:


Breakfast picnic at the park!  So fun!!!  It was followed up by the most ridiculous bike ride ever!


Day 241:


One last adventure hike with friends!  It was also feed the snake day at the nature center, so naturally I texted Aaron a picture of a snake eating a mouse.  I'm romantic like that... ;)


Day 242:


Maggie the grandma...


Maggie the movie star!


Day 243:


We had a fun day with friends!  Leah took this fun picture of Bri and Gracie!  Gracie was making that face in every picture her sisters took...so there's that :)


Day 244:


Apparently I like taking pictures at Walmart.  I enjoyed the "chainsaws" sign above the soda stream stuff :)


Day 245:


Feeling fancy for Kindergarten :)


Day 246:


Playing at the park with her baby...sometimes named Dakota.


Day 247:


Well look at this!  They hung their up backpacks and took care of their lunchboxes without being asked!  We're off to a great start!


I hope you have a great weekend!