Friday, November 30, 2012

Be Ye Kind...

I've been thinking about this post for a while. It is my over-sharing post of the decade. But hey, if I can't over-share on my own blog once in a while, what's the point of having it, right? I'm hoping it doesn't come out as me fishing for compliments, having a pity party, sounding completely self-absorbed, or whatever else it's not meant to be. It's just me talking about me for a moment.
These past few months I've been trying hard to figure myself out.  I got married at nineteen, first baby at 21, so I've been a "grown-up" for a while, but for some reason having a third baby really sunk that feeling in. I'll be 28 this February, and while that's not old by any means, it's getting older. I look around and see women who are definitley on the older side of life, and they seem to have spent their entire lives wishing they were someone different, hating who they are, and to me it has been a bit of a wake up call because I do not want to be them.
My whole life I have cared entirely too much what others have thought of me, and for the most part disliked who I was. Actually I pretty much hated everything about myself. I think as a Christian, I was looking at my self-hate and thinking I was just a good humble girl, but that definitely wasn't the case. It's like a case of reverse vanity, but vanity nonetheless. (It was actually Joel that told me that a year or so after we were married, and it was exactly what I needed to hear, it put a totally different perspective on my thought process.) I spent so much of my life worrying about what others think of me, feeling guilty about things not in my control, and wishing every single thing about me was different. I can still see my little twelve year old self, and feel how little I thought I was worth, how ugly I thought I was, how fat I thought those scrawny little legs were, and my heart breaks for her (is that weird to say about myself?). It's by the grace of God I made it out of high school with only no confidence as my main baggage.
And then I met my husband, and I thank God everyday for him. He has spent the past nine years making me feel loved and special. I think over time I kind of started to believe that if the person I admire and love the most in the world thinks I'm pretty great, then maybe there is something worthwhile about me after all. (I've been a Christian since I was six, but I had a messed up view of who God is. You can read my testimony here, but basically I never realized that God is love until I had my own child.) And then I had my precious Sam, so perfect in every way, and that thought grew a little more.
And then, then God gave me my daughter. My beautiful, baby girl. The thought that one day she could grow up and hate herself because of some silly standards that she has placed on herself, made me die a little on the inside. I also realized that if I would be the one placing those standards on her, if I continued to expect them of myself. One of my greatest wishes is that my children will grow up and know that they are loved and cherished. That even if their mama and daddy fail them from time to time, if the world fails them, they will always know that they have a God who cherishes them
After she was born, I made a promise to do my very best to be kind to myself. More specifically, to never call myself fat, talk about weight in front of her, or dwell on physical qualites. I know that to me, my mom was (is!) the most beautiful person I could have imagined...I couldn't wait to grow up and be just like her. I feel as if I only have a few short years to help Annaleigh grow, and I don't want those years to be ones where she learns mom is unhappy because she needs to be on a diet or whatever else it is about myself that is bothering me (although I still have those thoughts all the time, I just save them for when she's not around).  Before we know it, she'll have the world pressuring her to be perfect, and as much as I can help it, I don't want that pressure to come from me as well. I don't want my issues to become hers.
I definitely still struggle a lot...I feel sick to my stomach whenever I put pictures of myself on facebook. I'm trying to come up with a better descriptive word for myself other than "dull." There are a hundred other little things, and one day I'll post about my new coat that's a step in the direction I want to go, haha. I also realize that I need to learn how to be confident apart from my family, but that's for another day as well.
 It's actually been well over a month, almost two, since I first wrote this post, and while it feels wrong to post something where I've spent so much time talking about myself, I just can't help but think that this might be the most important thing I've written in my blog.
Mama's learn to be kind to yourself, because even if you can't wrap your mind around the fact that you are worth it, then just remember that your precious babies are.
So anyways, I am trying to learn to be kind to myself, to learn that I do not have to be perfect, that who I am is enough, and to like who that person is. And you know what? The more I think about how God has entrusted me to be the wife of my husband, and the mother of Sam, Annaleigh, and Owen, the easier that is to do. I am the only one in the world who gets to do what I do, and that alone makes me pretty special.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

The tree is up!

Obligatory baby playing in a string of lights picture...

all done!

hung from the dvd case with care...

our dollar store village


let's be honest, how many of you with a fake tree have one of these in the house??

Friday, November 23, 2012

on to the big one...

Since stripe quilts started popping up on pinterest, I've been a little obsessed. After my five hour ruffle skirt fiasco, I've decided that whenever possible, I'm going to try doing a rough draft on doll size items before going full size.

So, with just a couple of fat quarters, we got this:

Annaleigh picked out the fabric!
Now, get ready to squeal with me for the cutest fabric you've ever seen. I just ordered it off etsy and cannot wait for it to get here!!
Michael Miller's Groovy Guitar Lagoon
I was planning on making Owen a baby sized quilt, but then I came across this:
 And now I'm kind of thinking about making one of each of the prints if Annaleigh ends up sharing a room in the next house. I don't know though, it's definitely more for me than probably won't end up happening but it sure would be cute!
Here are some of the coordinating fabrics:

Here's another combination that I already have that I think would be really cute:
 I just have to decide how much money I can justify spending on fabric. Unfortunately, there is a limit on how many quilts one family needs...I guess I need more friends to have babies!


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you all had a relaxing day full of yummy food and family!

Owen tried a little of everything. He especially enjoyed the turkey. My kinda boy!
After dinner, we took a walk in the open area behind our house. The weather was perfect!

I ended up not brining the turkey (seemed like too much work at the time) and I totally failed twice at making the original caramel sauce I had planned. The pink bowl is because I didn't follow directions, and the black bowl I overcooked. Oh well. I was able to make an easy version at least!
I had planned on making a pilgrim book with the kids. We didn't totally finish it, but here are a few of the pages:

I felt pretty clever coming up with the corn idea. ;)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Our house

 So far Joel is the only person left in his class that does not have orders. I'm starting to get a little anxious! Five people are going to Germany, and the rest are scattered at not great places. I  hope we find out soon so that we can either be happy, or at least get used to being disappointed. ;)   (It could be a while though because he's higher ranked than the other students, and he gets orders last)  We have already spent a lot of time talking and thinking about what we'll do if we move abroad...for example, we could use a new washer/dryer set and would get them on Black Friday, but we can't take them with us if we go overseas, so we're going to wait on that. We'd also need to sell a car since the military will only ship one. It's just a bunch of little details that would be nice to know so that we can plan things ahead of time (or so we know we don't have anything to do). I really want to go to Germany (or Hawaii I'm not picky, lol!), but I just remind myself that wherever we do end up, we're there for a reason!
So here's the second part of my little house tour. The first part is here.
Here's the dining room. The curtains cover a door that leads to a little fenced in patio area. You can kinda see my sewing desk area in the back of the room. I've been spending a lot of my time there lately!
I've already shown the below picture, but to explain the layout of the house a little, when I took the picture, I was standing in the dining room. On the other side of the kitchen (to the left) there's another hallway that connects to the dining room + the staircase and a bathroom. The layout of the downstairs is a little difficult to work with as far as baby-proofing goes.

my bookshelf with all my (and Joel's) favorite knick-knacks

Instead of showing pictures of my toilet, here's the art in my bathroom. This set is one of my very favorite decorations I own. We got them as a wedding gift from a family in France.

I love this little Avon lavender wreath.
the kids get a sparkly shower curtain
 Here is Sam and Annaleigh's room. It is a total mash up of girl and boy. I think if they were going to share for a long time I'd try to neutralize it a little bit, but we're only here for a few months...
 haha, you see that brown dresser in the back?? That was totally my special project to do while I was pregnant with Owen. You can see how much I accomplished with that tiny spot of blue paint. :P

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Easy Apple Ducklings...Dumplings

I don't think I have any original recipes on my blog yet. I kind of figure there are people who dedicate their whole days/lives to cooking, so I'll leave the originality to them.  However, I figure finding the good ones in the thousands of recipes out there is something.

I've never had apple dumplings before, but my husband has been asking, so I do what any good wife would do and google "EASY apple dumplings."

Quick dumpling story: I got chicken dumplings and apple dumplings confused, so I ended up making chicken dumplings, but Annaleigh thought I said ducklings, and because I thought it was kind of funny, I didn't correct her (although I thought she might get upset, and then I would have to). She's normally a pretty picky eater and hates trying new things, but she was so intrigued by the thought of having ducklings for dinner she tried them. Her conclusion was "I don't like the chicken but I do like the ducklings." I guess from now on, I just need to pick more adorable baby animals to serve for dinner. Whatever works, moms. Whatever works.

Anyways, the first time I made these:
Joel was pretty certain I was getting it all wrong when he saw me pouring mountain dew all over it, but it works.  There are a lot of reviews on how to cut calories, but I just make it as is and cut the recipe in half. I like to pretend that that means I'm getting 50% less calories.

served on top of vanilla ice cream=dessert perfection!

I love my Cinnamon Sugar Grinder from Trader Joes. There are no Trader Joes anywhere close to where I live, so I'm a little dissapointed it's almost gone.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Trouble With Kids...

The trouble with kids, is that they are crazy. The make the simplest of tasks so much work. I have put off going to the post office for weeks...pssssh....months (sorry Mom you never got your birthday present!) simply because that quick trip with kids is such a headache.

Today's example: yoga. I know that there are some people that really enjoy working out. At one point in my life I was one of them. I loved running. Now I love sitting on the couch in a quiet room with a bowl of ice cream. (My husband often asks me why don't I watch tv or something, but the truth is, it's the silence I want.)

Anyways, I'm working on getting the rest of the baby weight off. Owen is only six months, but eventually I'll have to stop blaming him for the extra pounds. I'm not sure exactly when that day is, but I know it's coming.

The trouble with working out is that it's so much work. I did six crunches, and called it a day for my abs. Then I threw in my yoga dvd, and even though it was morning, decided to do the night time stress reliever, or whatever it's called. That's how I roll these days-I figure with three kids, I have plenty of stress! I absolutely love the parts where you get to lie on the ground, and still get to say you're doing yoga. That's about as good as it gets.

At least it would feel good if doing yoga wasn't an invitation to become a human jungle gym for your three year old. At right about this point, I start giggling when the lady starts using the words "calm" and "relaxing" to describe poses and state of mind :

how's my form? ;)

And then at this point, I happened to look under the couch, and I found my missing pack of Sweet Cherry & Island Lime gum. Of course, I had to immediately see if it was as delicious as I remembered (it is), which ultimately led to the demise of my workout program. It's hard to take exercising seriously when there is a cherry limeade explosion in your mouth. Oh well, there's always tomorrow...
I figure that if all else fails, I have enough, ahem, "squish" to make this genius product work. I may just have to give it a try...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Meal Plan

The weather has been so warm here the past few weeks, I can hardly believe that it's almost Thanksgiving! Yesterday morning a cold front came in, and today I've been blasting Christmas music, and I realized I should probably be thinking about what I'm going to make next week. It's only our little family this year, but I don't care...I'm still going all out. That's what Thanksgiving is about after all. ;)

I've more or less followed this turkey recipe the past few years, and I've never been disappointed, so I figure why mess with a good thing? I'm going to do the gravy this time around though, which I've never done.

These Pioneer Woman mashed potatoes are insanely good.  If you read the ingredient list, it's easy to tell why, but I figure they are so rich you don't have to add butter once they're done, and that must count for something. Plus, they are make ahead which makes them even more lovely.

This is the first year I'm going to do homemade rolls, and I'm thinking I'm going with these:

These may or may not happen. I've actually never had brussel sprouts, so if they don't get made on Thanksgiving day, it will happen soon.

Okay, so here's the classy part of our meal. I can't help it, I love this stuff.

And finally dessert. I can never choose between cheesecake, pumpkin pie, or apple pie, but I figure we'll get two out of three with this pumpkin cheesecake.

So there you have it. What Thanksgiving food is your favorite?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Princess Project

I'm not a big "brand" person. I'll spend more money for quality, but not for a logo. I will definitely  pay more for fair trade items, and things that support a good cause though. Thanks to World Vision I've got all the extended family's gifts purchased, and it was definitely the best I've felt over Christmas presents. It's my goal to find gifts with a good cause from now on. How awesome is it to be able to give someone a present, and make a little bit of a difference in the world!?

Here is one I'm excited about!

Punjammies are pajamas created by women who were enslaved in prostitution. When these women are "lucky" enough to get out, they face a huge problem of re-integrating into the population. What do you do when you have no education, and your  family and society shuns you for what you did? It's one of those horrible vicious cycles that can be impossible to overcome.  The International Princess Project provides a care center for these women. It helps them recover from the trauma of their lives, and it teaches them sewing skills to help them provide for themselves. At you can purchase the clothes that these women make. The prices of the clothes  are low enough that anyone can help out (of course you can always donate money without a purchase), $15  will get you a cute pair of shorts!

Cute, right? Here are the links to check out!
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