Friday, April 30, 2010

taking time

I was talking with a friend at our Moms and Tots group this past week, and it really got me thinking...what a surprise.  These melancholic tendencies result in a lot of that!  But, I digress...

Angela was telling me about a book her mom is hoping to get for her, a book that stresses the importance (or, shall I say, dire need) for mothers to take time that is truly just for them.  And this isn't "mom time" spent alone at the grocery store or at the bank.  The book is talking about a true mini retreat of sorts - time for a mom to reflect, rejuvenate, and, dare I say it, relax!  And you know how often the book suggests?  Once a month - setting aside several hours, an afternoon, a full day...every 30 days.  A guaranteed 12 times per year that moms should take for the betterment of herself and ultimately for the benefit of her family.  Who's in?  I am!

When I think about putting this into practice, I instantly think about our already-packed family calendar.  How the heck am I going to find time to take a whole afternoon?  It would need to be on a weekend, and family time already comes at a premium around here it seems.  But we make time for these other things that we deem priorities...why shouldn't this hold the same weight?  And in my mind, this differs from simple time for myself.  This would be intentional, purposeful, and a means to an end - the end being self-care that is a gift to my family in the hopes that I would return home with an open heart and open mind regarding the vocation our Lord has chosen for me.  That sounds pretty important - so remind me again why it's not a priority?

"Well, we're busy as it is."  "I already don't get enough time to spend with my husband."  "I won't be able to do much that won't require my credit card."  "My husband works hard all week - I shouldn't be the only one who gets to relax on a weekend."  Oh the list goes on and on.

In the end, God (and my family) desire my well-being.  They desire my efforts at self-care, knowing that the nature of being a mother makes this all too rare.  They need me at my best since my job requires 24 hours per day of on-call time.  And they desire my holiness which, at least on my end, becomes further and further out of reach the more run-down I am.

And you know what?  I desire those things, too.  Looks like time away really should be a priority for more reasons than I thought! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

baby update

At 15 weeks along today, I, thanks be to God, am feeling great.  I finally have my energy back and am not counting down the hours until my next nap opportunity.  In fact, I've been extremely motivated lately to work on projects around our home, cook, bake, and be productive.  We'll see how long this lasts!

We had an ultrasound and appointment today just to monitor the goings-on in the womb, and the midwife was quite happy with what she saw.  Some of the issues present in our last pregnancy do not seem to be an issue at all right now.  I will start receiving weekly progesterone injections in two weeks with the possibility that Drake might be able to administer them at home so that I do not have to go to the OB office every week (that would be some serious spousal love).  The purpose of the progesterone is to strengthen my lining to help prevent premature labor this time around, and I'm really praying now that our insurance will authorize this.  In any case, Drake and I are confident that our Lord will provide for our needs, whether physical, financial, or otherwise.  

In five weeks, we're scheduled for our ultrasound that determines the baby's sex.  And if it's a boy, we're going to need the remaining 20 weeks to agree on a name!

Monday, April 26, 2010

sippy cup rage

Alright.  That's it.  I've had it!  All of our sippy cups leak like crazy...and of course, they all advertise "Leak proof!" or "No more spills!"  Lies, all lies!

We have sippy cups made by Avent, Nuby, and Munchkin, and I can't rely on a single one of them to not get milk/water all over our carpets and everywhere else.

HELP!  I'd really prefer not to by Dr. Brown at $10 a pop, but I'm getting desperate here.  Suggestions?

Friday, April 23, 2010

want to go green? grow your family!

I just finished reading this article from one of my favorite websites, and I would highly recommend it. 

And now I'm even more excited for the arrival of sweet Steed baby #2 :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

some sweet photos

I know I've been slacking in the photos here are a few gems to make up for lost time :)


I fall more and more in love with this child every day.  And really, I struggle to put into words the immense love, joy, and beauty that God has placed in my life in the form of this beautiful child. What a ridiculously unbelievable blessing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

family reunion of sorts

Our family took a long road trip this weekend up to the Wausau area of Wisconsin.  My grandmother lives there in an assisted living home, and many of my dad's siblings were flying in for a surprise 90th birthday party for my grandfather.  Since so many family members were going to be in the same area, we blocked out the weekend in our calendar as well to make the 8 hour drive (one way) up there.  It was great, though, because most of this family has never met Thomas since our wedding was the last time everyone was together.  And to top it off, Thomas was a hit!  Despite so much travel time, he did amazingly well and was so happy to see everyone (and just simply be out of the car) when we arrived.  His great-grandmother was completely mesmerized by him, and all the great-uncles really got a kick out of his seemingly constant clapping and waving (sorry, Uncle Bob...he's not quite fist-pumping yet).

I definitely had good intentions about taking more photos of the trip, but sadly that didn't pan out as I had hoped as I was busy with motherly duties the majority of the time.  We sadly didn't get any of Thomas with his great-grandpa, so it looks like another trip is in order sometime!

Our family with Thomas' great-grandmother

Most of the family (minus Great Grandpa Joe, my dad (the photographer) and a couple of my uncles' spouses)

Overall a great trip...just wish we had had longer to spend in the (chilly) state of Wisconsin!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

recipes per your request

Since my post last week about homemade toddler snacks, I've had some requests to pass along the recipes for a few of the food items I mentioned.  Here you go, ladies!

Sweet Potato Wedges: (Note: you can use white potatoes for this as well...our family just prefers sweet potato...and I've read it's the healthier option, too!)
3-4 potatoes
Olive oil/Canola oil
Seasonings of your choice
Cooking spray
Directions (Fair warning: this is extremely informal, and I usually just make it up as I go along!):
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Wash potatoes and cut them into wedges (or any shape you like)
3. Mix the cut-up potatoes in a large bowl with the oil (just enough oil to coat each piece)
4. Add the spices (I've used anything from seasoned salt to paprika to creative!) and mix
5. Spread the potatoes on a well-sprayed cookie sheet (might need to use 2 sheets)
6. Place in the oven until crispy, flipping every 15 minutes or so

Granola Bars (this is from the More With Less cookbook which I highly recommend!):
Preheat oven to 350
Place 6 cups rolled oats in ungreased 9x13 pan
Bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir in:
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. powdered milk
Add to dry mixture:
2/3-1 c. honey (I know there's some debate about little ones having honey - our pediatrician says its fine, and Thomas has shown no adverse reactions to it...if your child is allergic or you don't want him/her having it, you might need to find another recipe or perhaps a honey substitute would work - maybe Agave Nectar?)
2/3 c. oil (I use olive or canola)
1 t. vanilla
Raisins, dry cranberries, or any dried fruit (measured to your preference)
1 beaten egg
1/3 c. milk

Mix well and press mixture firmly into a well-greased 10x15 pan (I just use a cookie sheet).  Bake at 350 until nicely browned.  Cut immediately into bars.  Remove from pans when cool.  For sweeter bars, increase honey.

Thanks for so many great recipe suggestions!  Hope you enjoy these as well!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

if only

Most days I find myself wishing I were know exactly what I'm talking about.  The mom who makes all her childrens' clothes, has a hot meal ready for when her husband comes home, bakes all homemade snacks, volunteers at Church, exercises, finds time to shower (daily, in fact), has a spotless house (maybe except for some toys strewn about the floor), makes her own household cleaners, saves the family hundreds of dollars in groceries each month thanks to endless coupon-clipping and deals, is on top of emails and phone calls, spends at least 30 minutes in mental prayer, updates her blog daily, is seldom late to play dates, looks great no matter how much sleep she got the previous night, and still finds time to host dinner parties and spend quality time with her children and husband.

Yep, that's the mom I so often dream about being.  And then I'm brought back to the reality of my messy apartment, dirty dishes, dirtier bathroom, overcooked dinner, and dusty sewing machine as a result of getting very little use despite my best intentions.  I'm reminded of the ever-growing to-do list, the errands still awaiting my attention, and the laundry waiting to be folded and put away.

But you know, it leaves me room to grow...and I'm thankful for that (while simultaneously frustrated in my prideful ambitions).

Thank you, Lord, for the humility that abounds!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a new set of wheels

Several weeks ago, Drake and I sent out an email to friends and family asking that they would keep their eyes and ears open about anyone they knew selling a mini van.    We were hoping to purchase one through people we knew, rather than a stranger trying to earn a quick buck.  Interestingly enough, the latter is what ended up happening!

Several people emailed me back assuring us of their prayers and open eyes and ears, and we had one lead on a car that didn't work out.  We decided that we would wait it out for a while until we heard from someone.  A good friend of ours emailed a few days later and let us know that he saw a mini van for sale in the parking lot of his condo.  With only the phone number to go by, I called to get more information.  The car was a 2000 silver Dodge Caravan with 47,000 miles on it, and this man wanted to sell the car because it belonged to his grandmother who had recently passed away.  It seats seven - 2 captain seats in the front, 2-person bench in the middle, and 3-person bench in the back.  The benches fold down (though not into the floor).

Drake called a few days later to get more information so that we could plug it into Kelly Blue Book, Carfax, etc.  After several phone calls, a couple appointments up in the suburbs to go look at it, and some price negotiation, we now own it! (Sorry, I tried to insert a picture but had no luck...I'll keep working on it).
And after driving around a tiny Aveo for so long, this mini van feels like a bus...and I love every second of it!  Seriously, I feel  like I could be a chauffeur (which I know I will be in the upcoming years) and be the happiest woman in the world.  Perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration...but the point is that I'm SO thankful for this van.  It was in the lower end of our price range, too!  We've had two mechanics look at it, and both are quite impressed with the van.  It's really in amazing condition, and that very low mileage is incredible!  We'll be selling the Aveo soon and will become a one-car family again...but Drake will rely on public transportation when school starts so that I can have the van with the kiddos.

This was truly an answer to prayer and is one thing crossed off a to-do list that includes about 9723094 more items before our big move.  Thanks be to God!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Healthy Toddler Snacks

I was talking with a few mom friends yesterday about the difficulty in finding healthy snacks that toddlers like.  It seems that so much of it is "cracker-based," which, in my opinion, is fine but just gets boring after a while.  Thomas usually gets either Cheerios, graham cracker, rice Chex, or Goldfish. (Note:  in reality, he gets the knock-off brand of each of the aforementioned name brands).  I decided to take matters into my own hands today and did some snack searching.  Throughout this afternoon and evening, I'm hoping to make the following snacks:

homemade sweet potato chips (my own concoction...let me know if you want my very informal recipe)
yogurt-based cookies (no egg!)
raisin granola bars (nut-free)...(from the More with Less cookbook)

I'm still on the look-out for more toddler-friendly snacks...any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Charmer

As I was doing our usual routine with Thomas for his afternoon nap, I teased him about how many poopy diapers he's had today.  I admittedly was a little frustrated because it's been nearly every diaper today!

As I leaned in to whisper to him, he looked up at me with those gorgeous eyes and thick eyelashes and planted a sweet kiss on my cheek.  How the heck could I be mad after affection like that?