My Heart Hurts

Ugh…  I have to stop watching the news.

As a new mom, everything just seems so overwhelming…  Everything brings tears to my eyes.  It all just hurts.  Hurts my heart.

Internationally, we see Israel and Palestine continuing the wars that have gone on for centuries – and now they’re bombing schools where innocent children and women are seeking refuge?!  We watched the Malaysian plane go down in the Ukraine, apparently hit by a missile?!  What kind of heartless people do such a thing?!  When I see these stories on the news, my heart starts racing and eyes start tingling…  I think of those mamas – living in war torn places, never knowing when their world will be shattered by the loss of their husband or kids…  And I wonder, how is it that I’m lucky enough to be sitting here, on my patio, on a peaceful summer day in the middle of Minnesota… with my biggest worry of the day being the question of “what is killing my garden?”  It’s not fair.

Nationally, on the news this week, I’ve seen tornados and wildfires take homes and lives.  I saw a random lightening storm take the life of a young man while he was surfing in Southern California.  I saw a small plane make an emergency landing on a beach in Florida and kill a dad who was walking the beach with his daughter (and who earlier that day sent a note to his wife, excited to live their next 100 years together)…  So much sadness.  So many lives that started out with ordinary days, waking up with loved ones one minute – and gone the next.  It’s too much.

And last night, in the area of the Twin Cities where I worked for 10 years, a cop was killed during a “routine traffic stop.”  He was in his forties, had served that town for 19 years, had a wife and two teenagers…  As I watched the news unfold and the manhunt commence for the killer, the tears flowed.  What does it take for someone to lose it to the point of killing another human?  I just don’t get it.

And yet, our country does nothing about tightening laws on guns.  Gee.  Wouldn’t want to hurt that lobbying group.  (Can you feel the dripping sarcasm?  Sorry about that…)

Maybe it’s because I’m a mama now.  But I see these stories differently now – I’m more raw than I used to be.  A year ago, I could watch and witness, and know that these things were far away…  I’d pray for the situations and people involved, and secretly think, “Thank God that didn’t happen to me…”  But now, I physically hurt for them.  And I think, “My God, what if that happens to me?”

I refuse to live a life of fear.  I won’t stop going out and doing the things I love.  I won’t let Sawyer grow up scared…  But.  It will hurt.  This world has become so violent – it feels relentless at times.  I find myself scared for him – for what he will witness and endure in his lifetime.  I know I can’t protect him from everything…  But I hope I can raise him to be strong, kind, and hopeful in the midst of whatever this world hands him.

But for now…  I’m going to turn off the news for awhile.  (Not forever – I believe in being informed.  Just for now…)

My heart needs to heal a little.

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Keepin’ It Real

Gross.  Ish.  Ick.  Nasty.  Ewww…

All words that were said and thought today…

I went downstairs to make lunch for baby and me – and there were ants everywhere!  Seriously.  On the counters.   On the floor.  Coming out of all the crevices in our oven and stove.  By the front door.  Near the door to the garage.  I even had one crawl on me from the COUCH!

Seriously.  Anyone who knows me, knows I am addicted to Clorox wipes – and my counters are clean.  What do these stupid ants not understand?

Hubby came home for lunch – and got to jump into helping me.  I had to laugh when he turned on the oven full blast, and all four burners.  As the ants raced out of the cracks and crevices, they were instant “crispy critters!”  Ha!  Got ya!  (And in the process, found out that our vent has a safety measure – it turns on automatically if things get too hot.  Huh!  We’ve lived here 8 years and have never seen it come on by itself…)

I avoided the kitchen the rest of the day.  Hubby brought home ant killer and has been cleaning behind and under the stove and refrigerator….  I cleaned all the counter tops and emptied and filled the dishwasher – in the midst of making and cleaning up dinner.  Not the way we thought we would spend this evening…  (And I have a constant case of the heebie geebies…  Sleep should be fun tonight!)

Oh!  And my diet has kicked into high gear.  Limited calories = limited energy and a sinking mood.

Gross.

On the bright side…

Lovin’ my hubby.  He’s good stuff.

Got some stuff organized today.

Sawyer’s playing Peekaboo!

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I added a bit of peanut butter to my diet brownie – much better.

I have plans to go out tomorrow night.  There might be a glass of wine in my future.

Dad sent me a lovely text today.  Made me smile.

Watching our dog go under the baby gate makes me giggle.

My orange bell peppers are finally turning orange!

One of my best friend’s birthdays is tomorrow…  Thank God she was born!  I have no idea what my life would have been like without her..!

This little guy makes me smile…  Who knew baby proofing could be fun?

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So there ya go…  Not everyday is paradise.  Some are just downright icky.  Sometimes, you just need to make a list and remember the good things.  And so what about those annoying ants?!  They’ll be gone tomorrow…  Right?

Please?

What annoyed you today?

Remembering Today

“What do you want to remember about today?”

The fact that it is an ordinary, everyday kind of day.  Nothing extraordinary is happening.  Nothing spectacular.  Nothing over the top crazy fun.  It’s just a day.

And it’s worth remembering.

Remembering…

…Sawyer’s big smile and giggle when I went in to get him this morning – sitting up in his crib, gripping his monkey, bouncing up and down with excitement as Mommy wished him “Good morning!”

…Toys and blankets scattered all over the floor in the loft.  Giraffes, mooses, books, balls, rattles, a “minky” blanket, the star that plays classical music when shaken…  All kinds of fun to be had!

…His first glimpse of Elmo.  A big smile.  Suddenly interested in what it is happening on the TV.

…The drool-y, messy, open-mouthed kisses that have begun.

…Walking away to change the laundry, and peeking back to see Sawyer crawling towards things that are off-limits – with a grin on his face.  Oh boy!

…Watching the dog sprawl on the blankets, til the little boy make a beeline for her.

…The hubby coming home for a quick lunch break – with kisses for both of us.

…Sawyer giggling with black beans, sweet potatoes, and cereal in his mouth – and oozing out…  What a mess!

…The fragrance of clean laundry.

…The warm taste of fresh coffee in the morning.

…Catching a glimpse of this:

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…The feeling that life is good.  I’m where I’m supposed to be.  I’m loved – and have so much to love in return.

 

What is worth remembering about your day?

“Made It” Monday – Baby Food

So, I usually need some inspiration on Mondays.  So I was trying to think of something fun – and thought, what about “Made It Mondays?”  I could write about something I made – like, craft-wise; or a new recipe; or a goal I achieved; or even a journey I completed!  Whatever comes to mind…  Whatever I “made” over the last week.

So, here goes…  This week, I made….

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Baby Food!

When I decided I would give it a go, and try making my own, I started combing the internet for “how-to” articles, recipes, suggestions for equipment, etc.  I felt like I was diving into the unknown and wanted to get it right for my little one…

I ended up buying a little baby food gadget that would steam and puree the food easily and without much hassle…  And found a couple of lists of what foods to start with.  But that’s about it!

And, actually, I tried the gadget – and it was broken when I got it.  I already prepped some food and had to get them pureed, so I did it over the stove – and Wa-la!  Everything worked so easily, I returned the gadget.  Silly me.

So, if you’re reading this, and you’re like me – wondering where the heck you start with something like making your own baby food.  Here’s my two cents:

1)  What you need: a small sauce pan and a cheap steamer basket (Target has a great one for $7).  Then, put together a little kit with: a small cutting board, paring knife, small spatula, maybe a vegetable peeler, and a small food processor (or small bowl insert for your large one!).

2)  How to do it:  Wash, peel, and chop up the fruit or veggie being used.  Steam it for about 10 minutes.  Pop it in the food processor and whiz it up til nice and creamy (with some veggies, I added formula to make it a creamier consistency).  No need to add anything – it’s that easy!

3)  To store it:  Some people put the pureed food in ice trays, freeze til solid, then pop in ziploc bags.  Great idea!  I chose to go this route, though – I LOVE the Oxo Baby Blocks.  I use the small ones in the fridge and to take with us, and the large ones to freeze.  I have two sets and it’s working perfect – and keeps me from making too much food.  If I make food once or twice a week, for about an hour each time – we have plenty!

4)  What I’ve made so far:  I started with two things I didn’t have to cook (avocado and bananas).  Then moved on to:  sweet potatoes, apples, peas, cantaloupe, carrots, peaches, edamame, and we’re introducing black beans this week.  Each food is introduced for 4 days before we try another new one (just in case there is an allergic reaction).  I try to alternate fruits and veggies – and now I’m adding in meatless proteins (I’m exactly excited about pureeing meats!).

It really is that easy.  And he actually seems to like his food – and eats very enthusiastically!  (At 7 months old, he’s all boy – eating lots!)  And get this…  It’s fun!  I actually like taking the time once or twice a week to make his food.  It’s the kind of task that you get to actually see the results of your labor – and the smiles it brings.  And whether I’m entertaining him while cooking (turning the radio up and dancing around the kitchen) or I’m by myself after he goes to bed…  It’s relaxing and fulfilling.

Who whuddathunk?

What have you made this week?  I’d love to hear!

Why not?

So…  I have this friend.  We’ll call her “Jill.”  She has – several times over the last few years – gotten me to do things I had no interest in doing.  I could despise her.  But instead, I love her all the more!

A couple of examples:

Several years ago, I planned a sledding outing for the youth group kids at my church.  I had every intention of being the photographer and snack lady while everyone else went up and down the hill.  (I’ve had an irrational fear of going downhill with anything other than my own feet or a car for as long as I can remember…  Bikes?  Ick.  Rollerblades?  Absolutely not!  Skis?  Ahhh.  #$&& no!  Even sleds…  Not so much.)  But Jill, her hubby, and their kids cheered me on til I gave it a try…  And I loved it (screaming and laughing all the way down the hill)!  I even bought sleds for my hubby and I that Christmas!

Another time, we took the youth group kids to the Mall of America to spend the afternoon at the amusement park within the mall.  We rode every roller coaster and ride we could, multiple times, and had a great day!  Then, it was dinner time and we decided to try the new “cowboy” restaurant…  Which just happened to have an electric bull.  Yep.  You guessed it.  I had no interest in doing it myself, but was more than willing to cheer on the other adults!  (I am the klutziest, most uncoordinated and ungraceful person I know.  This was not going to be pretty if I tried…)  And yet.  I was convinced to give it a go!  Ha!  Those things are not easy (just to get on it was a trick!).  But I tried – and it was so fun!

And tonight.  We went out to celebrate a dear friend and co-worker as she bids farewell to move home to Alabama – and we let her decide where we would go for the evening.  Jennifer is the queen of competition and chose a bar that had a spelling bee.  (Have you ever heard of such a thing?!  Hilarious.)  So a bunch of us went – I was planning to do what I do best.  Cheer her on! But nooooo…  Once again, Jill convinced us all to do it!  You don’t get to just write down the words and turn in your answers…  Oh no.  You have to get up on stage like a real spelling bee and spell for the whole room!  Oh no.  I went into panic mode.  (I have no problem giving a sermon to 150 people – talking about personal things like faith and life experience…  But a spelling bee?!  In front of strangers?!  Good grief.)  I did it.  And had FUN.  And made it to the fourth round.  Huh…!

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I’m sure there’s been lots of other things she’s gotten me to do, too.  She’s a fun-natured, spirited, lovely, dear, slightly crazy person that I adore.  And she’s opened up my world to all kinds of silly adventures – and I love her for it.

Why do we stop ourselves from trying new, silly things?  I think I always assume I’ll screw up, look bad, make a fool of myself, yada yada yada.  But really.  Who cares?!  I’m good at laughing at myself – I’ve perfected that art.  So, why not?

When I feel the urge to say, “No, thanks.  I’ll cheer you on.”  I’ve got to remember to think of Jill.  Life’s too short to not participate.  Bring on the fun!

Do you have a “Jill?”  Someone who inspires you to take big – and small – risks?  Are you good at jumping in?  Or do you hold back?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Have a great weekend – and try something new!

Thankful Thursday

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It’s that time again!  Quick, what are you thankful for today?

Here’s mine:

  • Days at the zoo!
  • Friends who make time to meet the little one and I at the zoo – of all places!
  • Trying more new recipes.
  • Routine.
  • Missing the little man after he goes to bed…  That’s a good thing, right?
  • Fresh picked blueberries.  Yum!
  • Picnics.
  • Celebrating Dad’s birthday!

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  • Doggy cuddles.
  • Blue skies.
  • Seeing two eagles in one day!
  • Six month old giggles.
  • Fresh peaches.
  • Breezes through the windows at night.
  • “Sleeping in” til 7am!
  • Being missed.
  • Baby milestones…
  • That “I can DO this” feeling.
  • The smell of fresh, damp air early in the morning…
  • A hubby that can’t wait for “boys’ night” with the baby, while I go out with friends.
  • Faith.  In God.  In myself.  In others.
  • A great week!

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Fabulous AND Flawed

Awesome.

I’ve been dieting recently – but I keep a stash of Dove dark chocolates in the house so I can have one purely decadent moment a day…  Yes, it’s cheating.  Yes, it will probably slow the weight loss.  But heck!  Life is short – and what is life without a little chocolate?!

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So, I open my little rule-breaking cheat today – and inside the wrapper, it says, “It’s OK to be fabulous and flawed.”

YES!

Haven’t you always wanted someone to say that to you?

Seriously.  First and foremost, I am fabulous.  So are you.  Fabulous.

Now quick – name all the ways you’re fabulous!  No holding back – just yell out the things you love about yourself!

Here’s a few of mine:  I’m… a good listener.  I’m always laughing.  I find the good in just about any situation.  I usually have a twinkle in my eye.  Heck – I like my eyes.  They’re pretty.  I’m creative.  I love God.  I’m thankful.  I like to cook – and do it reasonably well.  I’m a wife, daughter, sister, friend – oh!  And mom.  And I love all those roles.  I like a good adventure.  And a good book.  And making a new friend.  I love life… all the nitty gritty and the pure magic.

Ok…  So first we have to admit we’re fabulous – just the way we are.

Now…  It’s ok to be flawed.

It’s about time!   Hallelujah!

I’m totally flawed – you?  My hair frizzes out to Timbuktu.  My feet are wide (like – think “duck feet”).  I cheat on my diet.  I don’t exercise enough.  I procrastinate.  I don’t always follow through.  I can be really naive.  And gullible.  And too trusting.  I’m stubborn and like to do things my own way.  I rarely floss.  I can be lazy.  I can’t use Twitter for the life of me – no matter how many times I’ve tried to get on board.  I have no idea who “One Direction” is – and I don’t care.  I haven’t read “Fault in Our Stars” and I probably won’t for quite a while.  If I could eat pizza every day for the rest of my life, I would.

Perfectly flawed.  (And there are so many more for that list…!)

It’s a nice little reminder, though, isn’t it?  It’s OK to be fabulous and flawed.

Good thing because I’m pretty sure every one of us is both.  And it’s OK.  Laugh it off.  Celebrate the good.  Be thankful that the flaws aren’t worse than they are!

And then, enjoy the magic that is today…  And for goodness sake – enjoy it with some chocolate!

What Do I Do?

I took out my “Q&A a Day” book this morning, and the question I flipped to asked,

What do you want to say when someone asks “What do you do?”

Ha!  I’m still figuring that out!  This is the first time in my adult life that I haven’t had a paying job, a workplace to go to everyday…  And yet, “What do I do?” seems even more complicated than ever before.

I’m hoping, soon, I’ll be able to say, “I’m creating a home for my husband and kid to thrive in with love, stability, and joy.”  That sounds like a nice mission statement for a SAHM mama, right?

Although, some days, I’m happy if we don’t have any meltdowns, I catch the poopy diapers before they explode, and I can actually get the kid to eat and sleep on some sort of schedule.  Oh, and get the bottles cleaned before I need one.  And keep the dog and kid apart so there are no nips and growls.  Oh yeah…  And now that he’s crawling and we haven’t quite baby-proofed yet, chase him around and keep him away from any dangers.  And make dinner.  And that pesky laundry…

And still find time to encourage the kid’s discovering of new things, trying new tasks, singing and playing on the floor, reading books (over and over again), tickling and laughing, going for walks or adventures…

And then Hubby comes home…  And we try to have dinner together, feed Sawyer, give him a bath, read to him, and put him to bed…  By the time that’s all done, I’m exhausted.  Normal, right?  I know.  But…  I’m working on finding more ways to be “present” in the evenings, too.  I pictured staying at home as a gift not only to the baby, but also to my husband.  I hoped to make his life easier, too.  And I don’t know if I’m really accomplishing that yet.    We’re still figuring it out.

I’ve always been a homebody – and so far, I really am loving this new job.  I feel like I do pretty well with the kid.  I’m working on maintaining the house in a way that a little gets done everyday – so it never becomes an overwhelming chore.  I’m starting to cook healthy meals again – which feels FANTASTIC!  I’m making our own baby food (which is so fun and easy – and makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something!).  I’m starting to get out more, both with and without Sawyer.

We’re getting there.

What do I do?  I’m creating a home for my husband and kid to thrive in with love, stability, and joy.  The key word is creating.  Meaning, it’s in process.  It’s happening – slowly, with hiccups, and lessons to learn.  But we’re on our way.  And that’s what matters.

How would you answer the question, “What do you do?”  And what is “in process” in your life?  (I’d love to hear other stories of where people are at – and where they’re headed!  Life’s a journey…  Right?)

Oh, Baby…!

Here we go!  This happened this weekend:

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I went to his room, thinking he was sleeping, just to check on him.  I found him sitting up in his crib.  This was the first time he’d done that!  So I ran to get the camera in order to show my husband…  When I got back, he was kneeling.  Huh.  First time he’d done that, too.  Looked down at my phone to get the camera function up and running, looked up… and Waa-la!  He was standing – with this terrified look on his face!  

It was one of those moments when a thousand thoughts run through your head, all at the same moment.  I was amazed, excited, terrified for and with him, and dismayed that my easy days at home with him were about to be over.  I knew if I said anything – whether it be a “yeah!,” a “oh $#&*!” or nothing at all – he was going to fall forward and bump his little head…  And sure enough, within just a couple of seconds, he did.  Ugh.

After I calmed him – and me – down, I went downstairs to where my husband was grilling our dinner and said, “It’s time to lower his mattress.”  Hubby looked at me and said, “Ok.”  (Probably thinking we’d do it tomorrow…)  “Now.”  I said.  I told him what happened and he obligingly went upstairs to do just that.  We finally got the kid to sleep – way past his bedtime.  Dinner was late…  And we both stared at each across the dinner table, thinking, “Here we go!”

Sawyer is 6 1/2 months old…  I really thought I had awhile until I’d be dealing with these kinds of happenings…  Maybe I was naive?  Or wishful?  Either way – in a matter of 19 days he taught himself to: sit up unassisted; army crawl; go from crawling to sitting up and sitting up to crawling; and now, apparently, he pulls himself up on furniture to a standing position.

Uffda.

Gotta say, I’m having a hard time with this.  It’s all going so fast!  I guess I thought I’d have time to get used to the crawling (and baby-proofing) before the standing by the furniture.  Now, I’m really curious when he’ll try to walk.  He has a long ways to go to figure out the whole balance thing – but he’s already figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other when we hold his fingers…

Too fast!

I already miss the days of having him in my arms or in a baby carrier most of the day…  It seemed like I would never be able to get anything done, every again…  And yet, it was so nice to have him so close.  And then, the days of him in his little seat or the swing – laughing at me while I danced around, cleaning the house or making meals.  I was so proud of myself if I could win a smile or a giggle!  And lately, just getting him to crawl five feet to “come to mama!”  His look of determination should have warned me what was coming next!

Now, when we find him pulling himself up – whether on our hands, the couch, or in his crib – he’s so proud of himself.  It’s fun – and terrifying – to see that “look what I just did!” smile.  When we say “sooooo big!” he lights up – it’s as if he knows exactly what we’re talking about.

It’s pretty amazing…  Watching him become his own person.  And to think, I always thought I wasn’t a baby person.  I would have been perfectly happy to jump to the four-year-old days.  And now?  I wouldn’t miss this for anything!  It’s crazy and exciting to see what he does every day…  And trust me.  There is literally something new just about every day!

(In fact, he just grabbed my finger and put it in his mouth – and guess what?!  I finally felt a tooth!  The journey continues….)

What excitement did you encounter this weekend?

July: Currently

Over at Elise’s blog, EnJOY it, once a month she does a quick “where am I at?” post…  And I love it.  It’s so simple, and yet – a great check in.  So, I’m going to give it a try!  Here goes:

coming to love this new, simpler life.  (After years of working in a job where you don’t always know if you’re actually making a difference every day, it’s kind of nice to see the results of everything I do, every day.  A happy kid and happy home is a great way to end the day!)

feeling very tired (little one has been waking up every couple of hours the last few nights…  teething?  growth spurt?  all of the above?).  But still very blessed.

looking forward to the weekend and lots of family time (we miss the hubby during the week when he’s at work)!  Maybe we’ll finally manage Sawyer’s first visit to the pool?!

starting to establish a daily routine.  This feels good!

laughing at Sawyer’s giggles and wiggles.  He is quickly becoming a monkey boy!  (I think he may climb before he walks…  This is going to get exhausting real quick!)

squeezing in time for me…  Last night’s chocolate date with a friend was just what I needed!  Thanks, Beth!  (If you live in the Twin Cities and ever want a fun chocolate experience, check out the Chocolate Chateau and meet “Dr Chocolate.”  He’s right out of a storybook – sweet, quirky, and enchanting.  I’d go back just to chat with him again!)

believing I was meant to be at this place, in this role, at this time…  I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that before…

thinking about baby-proofing…  So much to think about!  Ugh.  (Our struggle will be striking a balance in a house that has been child-free for almost 10 years…  Yikes.)

knowing I need to start making plans to get out of the house with grown-ups.  But my introverted self is quite content at home…  Ha!  (As I write this, I’m pretty sure I will have three outings planned next week – with three different Jills!  How often can one say that?!)

fighting with the asian beetles that are killing my first attempt at a little garden.  Not cool, stupid beetles.  Not cool at all.

thanking my husband, Mike, for all he does for us.  (Tuesday he dropped everything to go grocery shopping, so I could plan and prepare meals for the rest of the week for the baby and me…  He’s a keeper!)

being me.  Really being just me.  It’s pretty nice!