April 8, 2014

transition.


I'm not surprised it happened this way, I expected it really. I go a month and a half without writing a post or even signing into blogger and then the day before I have a baby I wake up at 5:00am and think, "I should write a blog post."I'm not even fully sure what about, exactly, but it seems like the right thing to do. So here are my thoughts this morning...

There is time in labor that happens (yes, I'm actually using a birth analogy. It's on my mind a little bit, okay?) called transition. It is this noticeable shift into the second stage of labor when the baby is engaging and things really start happening. The emotions that come at this point are almost out of your control. It is intense. From my own limited experiences, this is the time when I go through these waves of "I can do this. I am so damn close." and "Nope, I'm good. I think I will just sit here and remain pregnant forever." It's the time when my (already amazing) husband steps up and knows exactly what to do and say to not let me give up. It's a gift, really.

This is the best way to describe the season of life we have been in lately. There has been a shifting. A noticeable change in the way we go about our day. It can be intense. There are days I'd rather just give up and others that I actually have some resolve to get through. Regardless, I know who is by my side and that it is worth every moment of it. I've never met a parent that holds their brand new baby in their arms and says, "Yeah, that was so not worth the pain." In fact, it's quite shocking how quickly you forget.

We are doing well, I'm not at all implying that we are in a bad place as a family. It's just life and I'm really quite looking forward to get the next stage. The transition in between stages can be rough but very necessary and every so worth it. I've missed this place and interactions that happen here but sometimes when there is just SO much on your heart, it's impossible to share it. The good thing is, I know what's ahead and so I'm not giving up yet. :)

And don't worry, I will be sure to introduce you to our son very, very soon!

February 11, 2014

relationship with my kids.


So if you haven't noticed, the longer I go without blogging, the easier it becomes.
It's not my intention, I simply forget about it sometimes.
I'm finding I have to work a lot harder at being consistent. With blogging, with parenting, with everything.
During these long winter months there hasn't been anything entirely pressing and I've let it effect way too many things. 
Like parenting.
As soon as I feel like I've got a good handle on things God uses my kids to show me that I don't.
At all.

Both of my girls are anything but passive.
I feel like somedays we are just playing bumper cars with one dramatic meltdown to another.
I am learning to navigate a lot of unchartered territory and seem to be doing it every way but gracefully.
My fuse is short and it isn't producing anything good in my kids. And then I'm surprised when their own reaction is different than mine? Hmmm...

I justify it at times by saying "I'm just fighting for their hearts", when in all honestly, we have their hearts. It's evident in the way that they always comes back and love on us so genuinely.
They aren't holding back on us.
They are human and they make mistakes but it doesn't mean that we have lost them.
I don't know why I didn't see this before.


I get so consumed with trying to shape, mold, and keep them in line that I'm missing out on the relationship with them.
It's true that right now it is critical in establishing their worldview and many other fundumental basics to  becoming a decent human being. But I think what hit me this morning is that the best way I can do that is by investing more in my relationship with them.
What I am doing now is important for establishing boundaries and showing them how to trust those boundaries....but I want them to also trust me. I think that is where the connection is getting lost.
I can get frustrated at times that my husband is by far the girls favorite. I am the one here all day long, investing in them, dammit! The thing is though, they are craving relationship, and that is what he is giving them. His  "Come and talk to me" "Tell me about your day" "Let's wrestle" versus my, "Sit up, eat your dinner. Use your fork, not your hands" "Hurry up and get out of the bath" "Put the books away and climb in your bed...quickly."
I am in no way saying throw the rules out the window and just be "fun".
But would it hurt me to take the extra time to be more fun on occasion? They are still so little! It's ok!

In the past I've thought each day was a battle to winning their hearts.
No. They have given me their heart, freely. It's my job to keep it and in order to do so I need to work on building my relationship with them. Simple as that. 

I am far from having this all figured out, and I'm aware I probably never will. 
But I am grateful for the little things I am learning along the way and that I haven't permanently damaged my children as of yet. :)

January 23, 2014

cherry almond shortbread cookies.



Today my sister, my best friend, and their little munchkins fly into town. I'm pretty excited about it to say the least. I cannot think of a better way to break up the winter "blah" than to see their faces. 
I am ready for couch time, coffee time, talking time, and play time. 
We have no intentions of really venturing out in the bitter cold so I have prepared by stocking the kitchen with all sorts of things that will be a great addition to the mentioned couch/coffee/talking/play time.
These cookies are my husband's favorite and he has been dropping (not so subtle) hints that it's time that I have these in the cookie jar. 
I originally got my recipe from the farmers nest. I changed it a little by substituting the vanilla extract for almond and the strawberry jam for cherry preserves. They are buttery. They are tart. They go really well with tea. 



Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Dough:
3/4 lb butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Topping:
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
Cherry preserves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix dough ingredients together until it forms a ball. In a separate bowl combine the beaten egg and water. Put the flaked coconut in a separate bowl. Scoop a tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Drop it into the eggs wash and cover. Roll the ball in the coconut flakes. Place on cookie sheet and make an indentation with your thumb. Spoon a small amount of the cherry preserves into the thumbprint, just to the top. Finish with the rest of the dough.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the coconut is just lightly toasted. Move to rack and cool.



January 20, 2014

quotes from my two.


You guys. I have been doing "quotes from Ashlynn" posts for almost two years now. Well, now I am needing to add Selah to the list. It's hard to capture her personality because most of it includes her facial expressions. The conversations between these two girls have found Ryan and I just staring at each other  thinking, "What have we got ourselves into?"


Ashlynn- "Did you know that Jesus lives in our hearts, in the sky and in every home?!"
Selah- "No he not. He lives in Alaska."

After opening their stockings, "Hey Selah, can you go throw this wrapping paper in the garbage?"
"I can't. It's all Ashlynn's fault."
"Um, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure you opened a present too..."
"It's just too tricky."
"Well I guess we will have to take your presents back then...."
"Look, Mom! No more tricky!"

Ashlynn-"Oh, Mom! I just came down and smelled the soup you are making...It's totally horrific. I can't wait for dinner!"

"Sometimes...I just really wish you and I were twins, Mom."

Angry at her sister, " I would just like to go up to Alaska by myself with no one else so I can have some time to myself. That would be a great time."

"Did you know, when you drink beer in town the cops will trap you and put you in jail?"

I stopped Selah running into the bathroom with the air freshener, "Selah. What are you doing?"
"It's a big one..." Yes. She meant that.

Ashlynn screamed, "THERE IS AN ONION IN MY CEREAL!!!! Oh wait. Nevermind. That's just my thumb."

Ashlynn- "Mom! It's game day, where is my Seahawks shirt?"
"It's in the washer."
Totally horrified, "But, Mom......it's G A M E DAY!!!!"
Yes, we are doing something right.

January 6, 2014

whipped cream.


I'm going to share with you my stance on whipped cream. Yes, I have a stance on the subject.
I believe that cream, in a pure form, is not "bad" for you. That is how I feel about all real food, actually.
So many foods get a bad rap but I think it is because we have taken a good thing, add a ton of unnecessary and artificial extras, put it in a can and ruin it. Not cool.

In the last few months I have begun to replace the things in our fridge with only real food. If I want something, I need to make it myself and know what goes into it. Whipped cream was the first. 
Have you ever whipped your own cream and then poured a piping hot cup of black coffee over the top?
It is divine.
Nothing artificial, just raw cream and good beans.


I challenge you to try it. Pour cream into your mixer, let it beat until peaks form and store whatever you don't use in a container in the fridge to be enjoyed on a daily basis. I think when we take the time to make even the most simple things we love ourselves, there is a special fondness rekindled to our relationship with food.

January 1, 2014

o n w a r d.


It is a new year. Definitely a reason to celebrate! I try my hardest to not let negativity be a part of me, so I will say this instead...
 2013 was a year full of blessing and I am deeply grateful for the ways the Lord provided for us. However it was a chapter that our family was ready to close. We are welcoming the '14 with our arms and hearts wide open.


I felt last year that the word "trust" was going to be the theme of my/our year. ( You can read my post about it here). Was that an understatement. I felt like every turn there was an opportunity to exercise trust. Each day there was a choice to be made. I am so very grateful for it though. I learned more about waiting and being still than I knew I needed. 

That being said, both Ryan and I have felt a stirring inside of us that this new season is going to be drastically different. That our time of feeling almost stagnant is a thing of the past. It has us wildly excited.
I've been asking the Lord for another "theme" for this year. Trust was such a gift to me before and I have been craving the same for the next. This morning it came.

Onward. 
Definition- adverb- in a continuing forward direction; ahead.
                  adjective-going further rather than coming to an end or halt; moving forward


When it came to me I squealed. This has been my heart's cry and it completely encapsulates what we have been asking for. I immediately started to search for scriptures on moving forward and when I read this, tears flooded my eyes. Isaiah 43:18-19. 
Isaiah 43 is our family verse and life-line. Of course I would find it here.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."


    • adjective 1.going further rather than coming to an end or halt; moving forward.“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

I love what it says in The Message as well

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I am about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands."

This is quite the promise and I am holding fast to this word tighter than ever.

Cheers, 2014. You are already beautiful.

December 24, 2013

merry christmas to you from us.


As we close this year and start a new one, we are overwhelmed with gratefulness for all that we have and where we are in life. He is faithful in every single moment and our day to day is proof of that.
Thank you for being a part of us and adding great wealth. Blessed doesn't even begin to describe...

Merry Christmas to you, friends.

Love Ryan, Kaylee, Ashlynn, Selah, and Bridger.