Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Breaking Rules

I've been thinking a lot about rules lately.

Rules can be good - they keep us safe; they keep our society working; they give us predictability and guides.

Rules can also be bad - they can restrict our choices; they can ruin our creativity; they can create waste, tension, stress, etc.

Some rules are imposed upon us by our families, cultures, faith, or societies; and some are rules we create for ourselves (often without realizing it).

So, I've been thinking about my family's "rules" and why we follow them.

I'm a person who likes a certain amount of order, and I often realize that I've unintentionally created a rule for myself or my family. After a while, those rules can build up and become walls and barriers that begin to fence me in. Those rules need to be broken. In an effort to free us from some waste, stress, and "fences," we are taking a look at how and why we do some of the things we do. I find myself asking:

1) Where did this rule come from? Is it a societal rule? Is it a family rule that my husband or I learned from our parents? Is it a rule that one of us created?

2) What is the purpose of the rule? Does it keep us safe? Does it provide needed structure or order? Does it benefit us?

3) Why do we follow the rule? Is this something that we do because "that's the way people do it?" Is it a rule we follow because "that's what we've always done?" Do we follow it out of thoughtless habit? Is following this rule something we do intentionally, and with consideration?

If the answers to these questions are not satisfactory, I then ask myself
if there might be any benefit to breaking or changing this rule.

One example is the way I used to organize my kitchen. We bought my grandparents house a few years ago, and when we moved in, I put most things in the same cabinets and places that my grandma kept them. In my mind, that's just where everything went... because it had always gone there. The thing is that we have six people living where two people used to live & that system just wasn't working for us. After I realized this, I completely rearranged the kitchen. I cleaned out the pantry, painted the inside white, and now use it to store the dishes we use daily, as well as snacks for my kids. The cabinet that used to hold the dishes now contains my baking goods & a few pantry items. This works for us because the kids can now set the table without clogging up my very small kitchen.

Speaking of dishes, we also solved another problem by thinking "outside of the box." With five or six of us being home all day (for three meals and at least one snack), we had an overflowing dishwasher at the end of every day. We bought everyone their own dinner plate, smaller plate, and bowl - in their own color. Now, instead of loading up the dishwasher all day, everyone is responsible for cleaning their own dishes after each meal. At the end of the day, I've only got dinner dishes & the few pots/pans/etc. that didn't get hand washed earlier. I even fill one side of the sink with a bit of hot, soapy water before we sit down to eat so everyone can wash their dishes as they finish eating. Because I'm helpful that way.

Do you ever feel fenced in by your own rules? How can you change them to break free from your fences?

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I cannot believe my last post was in July. That's so sad. But my lack of posting is a testament to how busy we've been. A lot has changed in the past several months. I will spare you the details (for now) and just give the bullet points:
  • We moved. 
  • I went part-time at work.
  • We pulled our boys out of public school and homeschool.
Ok. So that's only three changes, but they're all HUGE ones. And they all happened in a matter of weeks. I'm still reeling, unpacking, organizing, and trying to find my retainers. (If you happen to see them, will you please let me know?)

Anyway, what I really want to share today are pictures from Halloween! It was SugarPlum's first Halloween, and probably the only one ever that she didn't have a say in her costume.

This year we had a duck hunter, Batman, and Robin.

 Hubby dressed as a busy Dad who had to work late, and then return to work after the celebrating was over. (Which was a huge bummer.) I went as a homeschool mom:

easiest. costume. ever. 

I was already wearing the mismatched pajamas, teether clipped to my shirt, and messy topknot hairdo (complete with pencils).  I just added a few extra Cheerios to my hair, and I was ready to go! Am I the only homeschool mom who feels this way?

We partied with Hubby's family, trick or treated, and consumed way too much sugar.

Here are a few more images of our festivities (which pretty well lasted all month long).
We managed to get a little decorating done...

I am always in charge of the deviled eggs at family events!

SugarPlum actually kept her headband on (for a while, anyway).

We did a few great fine motor activities and decorated the mantel.

October + science = making slime.
What did you do for Halloween???

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Baptism!

Our beautiful baby girl was baptized last Saturday evening. It was a lovely ceremony, and our new pastor even used her baptism as the base for his sermon. It was so wonderful to see our daughter begin her journey of faith.

She has two godmothers: her Aunt Angie (my sister in law) and her Aunt Becca (my life-long best friend. Seriously - we've literally been best friends since I was born.) Both are strong women of faith, and I know that they will lovingly guide her through matters of faith and morality.

After church, our fmaily came back to our house for the three F's: Family, Fellowship, and Food.

One of my little sisters is a professional photographer, so all of our important events are recorded beautifully. You can see the wonderful video she made here. And for specifics on Kinsye's gown and bonnet, check out my knit blog. In the mean time, I'll leave you with a couple of photos of our adorable baby from her photo shoot this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Brick!


Just because I'm feeling weird today. I stumbled upon this while tidying up my laptop.

I made this video for a class I took a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Try it Out Tuesday - Banana "Ice Cream"

Since we are preparing for our Independence Day BBQ, I went with something simple this week: a recipe.

For ice cream.

That uses two ingredients (neither of them is or cream),

And... it's healthy.

You can find the original pin on my "In the Kitchen" board HERE. And you can find the original post HERE.

So, what are the two ingredients?
1) frozen bananas
2) peanut butter (optional)

In a Nutshell:
You peel and cut a banana into smallish pieces; put it in the freezer for about an hour; put it in your blender & pulse until it turns crumby (literally); continue to blend until it turns creamy. Enjoy.

Modifications I Made:
  • I didn't peel & cut up the bananas before I froze them. My solution for bananas that are slightly past their prime but still okay to eat is to put them in the freezer. Peel and all. (Because I'm very lazy efficient like that.)

  • I had to add a little milk because I originally tried it in my Magic Bullet, but it dislikes certain textures. Even after the milk, I had to transfer it to my actual blender. By this time, the bananas had defrosted a bit, and the final consistency was more pudding-ish. My boys still absolutely loved it.

For the Win:
  • My dudes loved this stuff!
  • This is a tasty-but-healthy recipe that is actually both tasty and healthy.
  • My kids decided that I am (or was, at least for an hour or so) completely cool. Since it is completely healthy, I made this for the boys to go with their breakfast, which made it even better because, seriously, what UN-cool mom would serve pudding for breakfast?
  • Now that I know the Magic Bullet will give me attitude dislikes this particular recipe, it will be really simple & quick to make.
  • I absolutely hate - and I mean HATE bananas - the smell, texture, feel on my fingers, taste - ugh. The thought makes me shudder & gag. This recipe is a WIN because frozen bananas do not feel or smell like bananas.

  • I absolutely hate - and I mean HATE bananas. I can't even swallow them because they come right back up. So I didn't get to enjoy this particular treat.
  • My kids are going to want this all the time, so I'm going to have to stockpile nearly-spoiled bananas in the freezer.

Would I Do This Again?
Yes. In fact, I'm pretty sure the boys are going to request it for breakfast or snack tomorrow!

Do you have any tasty-but-healthy treats that you enjoy?

Don't forget to check out my Try it Out Tuesday counterpart, Becca. You'll find her over at A Long and Winding Road.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Miscarriage, or, How I got My First Broken Heart

This is a post four months in the making. Actually, I think it's going to have to be a series of posts because there is a lot of stuff bouncing around in my brain. My hope is that, in sharing my story and some of my thoughts and feelings, I might somehow help someone out there who is going or has gone through a miscarriage.

Because, y'all, it is not something to go through without a little help. I was blessed to have a lot of support, and I don't mind telling you that some of that support came from people and places I did not expect. I appreciated every little well-wish, prayer, note, text and bit of advice and wisdom I received. I especially appreciated the women who shared with me the stories of their own loss through miscarriage. I'm part of that club now; the club that nobody wants to be a part of. I found the others here to be incredibly supportive.

Most of the people who read my blog already know the story (since I am either related to or married to most of my small readership). But, just in case you have stumbled across this purple brick road from somewhere other than my family tree, I will share the story of how I came to experience my first real broken heart.

Matt and I already have two fantastic sons, and we talked about maybe having another baby eventually. But it had always been a decision to be made later. Then, in October (while Matt was out of town for a five day bike trip) I discovered that the good Lord had taken the decision out of our hands. I was pregnant! I was excited. I was scared. I was a little frustrated at having to wait FOUR MORE DAYS to tell my husband. I had been faithfully taking The Pill. (By the way, that statement on the little insert that talks about oral contraceptives being 99.8% effective? They are not kidding.) But there they were. Two very clear, pink lines.

When Matt came home, I told him. We told the boys. We told our families. We went to the doctor and got the first ultrasound. The picture of what our four year old called, "a splotch" went up on the fridge.

And time marched on.

We got a second ultrasound, saw the heart beat and even saw a little wiggle. We told our bosses and coworkers. We started to throw around some names. We nicknamed the baby "iBaby version 3.0." (actually, the baby's godmother to be came up with that one!)

And time marched on.

I went in for a third ultrasound because there was some question about the due date. Matt went to work that day, I went to the doctor's office. It was routine. My biggest concern that morning was whether I could finally get an abdominal ultrasound, or if I would have to "drop trou" again. Ahem. I walked in, joking and laughing. We tried the belly, but couldn't get a good picture. I changed out of my pants and into a large napkin, and the doctor started the ultrasound. Size looked good; we were narrowing down the due date!

And then time stopped.

There was no wiggle. No flutter. No heartbeat. iBaby was gone. The doctor was very kind, although he used words like "blighted ovum" and "25% chance" and "chromosomal abnormality." I think. I'm not sure. It was hard to hear him over the very loud voice in my brain that kept yelling, "THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING." I made the very long walk to the other end of the medical complex to get a better ultrasound. A tech and another doctor were very kind as they delivered the same verdict using many of the same words. They gave me a picture and sent me on my way.

I was numb. I barely cried during that hour. My brain had a hard time accepting this information. The whole time, I had a text-versation going with my husband and my best friend. Both offered to meet me at the office, but what could they do? I was holding it together, mostly out of shock. I kept thinking that someone would catch me in the hall or call me and say that they were sorry because it had all been a mistake, and what were the odds of two different ultrasound machines in two different offices breaking on the very same day... 

Matt met me at home and we talked. We hugged. We prayed. I cried. A lot. We planned. We had to figure out how to fit this into our life, our family. We had to tell everyone. We had to tell our boys. I had to schedule a DNC because it seemed that my body was as unwilling to accept this news and let go as my brain had been.

And time marched on.

Three days later, I had the DNC. My doctor was kind enough to forgo describing exactly what the procedure entailed. I didn't want to know. I still don't. That morning was hard. I woke up with a baby in me, and I went to bet empty. In more ways than one.

And time has marched on.

I'm okay with it now. Four months and a lot of reading, crying and praying later, I can honestly say, "I am okay with my miscarriage." This does not mean that I'm not still sad. Or that my heart isn't broken anymore. Or that I don't sometimes turn my face to God and ask "why did you give me this?" I still cry. I still think about it every day. My heart still hurts.

They say time heals all wounds. They are mistaken. Some wounds never heal. This is one of them. For the rest of my days on this earth, I will have this break in my heart. It is not healing with time.

But, with time and prayer, I am learning to live with it. I might even be learning to be thankful for it. But that's a post for another day...

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Rainbow of Blessings!

The month of March has inspired us to think about rainbows! Winter is receding and color is returning to our world. 

Our Family Faith theme this month is

"A Rainbow of Blessings."

This is along the same lines as 1,000 Gifts, but we are listing blessings as a family. And we are using the rainbow to learn that blessings come in all different shades. I am encouraging the boys to find blessings in unexpected places, and in unexpected shapes and colors.

Every day we each name a blessing we noticed during our day. I write each on a piece of paper, the boys choose a ribbon, and then post it on the pantry door. The photos below we're taken last week, so we've added several blessings since then.

This has also provided a great opportunity to review the story of Noah, and to talk about why God set His rainbow in the sky. 
This is along the same lines as 1,000 Gifts, but we are listing blessings as a family. And we are using the rainbow to learn that blessings come in all different shades. I am encouraging the boys to find blessings in unexpected places, and in unexpected shapes and colors.
 Every day we each name a blessing we noticed during our day. I write each on a piece of paper, the boys choose a ribbon, and then post it on the pantry door. The photos below we're taken last week, so we've added several blessings since then.

This has also provided a great opportunity to review the story of Noah, and to talk about why God set His rainbow in the sky.