Friday, February 26

Fast Food Friday: Mini Pizzas

I've come up with a new idea for Friday posts, Fast Food Fridays. I figure that many other mommas, like myself, are always in search of healthy, but quickly prepared foods to feed our children and ourselves! I have never been a fabulous cook...I'm good, make some decent meals and get a little bit creative every once in a while...but I'm simple. I've never been one to fuss with gourmet ingredients or steps in preparation. There are WAY too many other things going on in my life for that.

I regularly revert back to what my high-school student council advisor called the KISS method...Keep It Simple Stupid...I know that last "S" word is not one that we mommas use in our houses, so we'll keep that part to ourselves, but you get the point!

Since becoming a mom I find myself trying to find more and more simple and easy, sometimes fun, things to make for meals...crock pot foods, things with fewer ingredients, and if the "total time" in a recipe says more than 40 minutes, count me out most days.

So anyway, here is my first "Fast Food Friday" entry: Mini Pizzas

This is an idea that I give Ava total credit for. Last night we were making homemade pizza. We had rolled out the dough (pre-bought from Wegmans-whole wheat I might add!) and Ella had thrown cookie cutters all over the floor an hour earlier. Ava grabbed one of the cookie cutters, got up on her chair next to the counter and was about to cut shapes out of the dough.

My first impulse was, "No! Ava, we can't do that."


"Hmmm. Ava, that's a great idea!"

With my help we used the cookie cutters to cut out two stars and one Christmas tree from the dough, and then rolled out the rest to make our pizza. Ava and I added sauce and cheese to her creations and stuck them in the oven. So fun! See pictures below.

 I have to say, I think this works better with bigger the one's you see in the store for cutting shapes out of sandwiches, but for the first time around it was a lot of fun and Ava thought it was pretty cool too. These days I find that anytime I can allow Ava to have some ownership in choosing or preparing her meals, she is much more likely to make an investment in eating them and if you have a toddler you know how many battles that can account for.

Wednesday, February 24

An impatient mommy in a patience requiring world

Why do I become impatient so easily?

I ask the question, and then think, "well maybe it's not that easily..."

I mean, after all, my patience finally hit the end of its line after:

-I got both girls dressed, ready and out the door by 10 for a 10:15 music class.

-During the class Ella refused to sit still in my lap and wanted to use her newly developing walking skills to walk ALL over the classroom, up to other children, sticking her fingers in their faces...I chased her as much as I could while trying to participate in music class with Ava who was trying to tackle me and sit in my lap so that I couldn't hold or walk after Ella.

After music class the church where the class was held was holding an open house for their pre-school. I was interested and the director said it would only take about 15 minutes so we chose to stay. Ella proceeded to wiggle off the couch, onto the floor to walk around again...if I tried to stop her, she screamed...screaming child or walking child? I let her walk. She walked over and into two other women's purses and proceeded to try to pull things out them, to the table where the pamphlets were set up, which she tried to pull on the floor and when I removed the pamphlets she moved onto the vases in the center of the table...Ava, all the while was asking for gum because another two year old had some (NOOO!), and throwing herself around the couch.

Why are no one else's children seemingly all over the place?

We finally got home for lunch and as I tried to feed Ella, Ava poured water out of her cup into her bowl of peaches which then dripped all over her pants and the floor. While we were cleaning that up she decided to take her pants off and Ella started launching her peaches and crackers onto the floor...

When I get them both to sit back down, quiet for a moment, I start to feed Ella who thought it was funny to hit my hand with the spoon full of yogurt and watch it drip and then when I got it in her mouth, thought it was even funner to start blowing rasberries at me with yogurt in her mouth.

Really? Is this my life? Can I go take a nap, pleaassee?

That's when my patience hit the end of it's line...and here I am typing about it because since I no longer see a counselor I need to give someone an earful. Might as well be my anonymous readers and family least you can all stop reading if you want to tune me out.

Shortly after Ava was born I was seeing a counselor every other week for some anxiety issues, not newly developed, but perhaps exacerbated by my new role as a mother. This is what she said to me one day,

"You are an impatient person in the middle of a world that requires a LOT (she emphasized lot) of patience right now. You need to learn to slow down and lower your expectations."
It's been more than two years since we had that conversation and I still think about her words often. Very often.

I AM an impatient person, someone who likes to go, go, go. Do, do, do. Accomplish, accomplish, accomplish...obviously all traits that do not befit motherhood of little ones very well.

So, what can we impatient mommies do about it?

I found the following insight at  essential life,

"Patience is definitely a valuable character trait to develop. It may appear to be passive, however it is an active, purposeful and necessary form of self-discipline." 
Err. It's that word "discipline" again. It has reared it's head in my life over and over again. I'm not a very disciplined person... I think we admire those that are because many of us are not. What I take from this quote though is that it's something I need to develop or work at, and it's something that will take time and practice.

And then, after all of that, I made a bottle for my very tired little Ella, took her up to her room and pulled her into my lap and snuggled my nose into her head while she drank her bottle and started to fall asleep. This moment, I thought, I could sit in forever.

So there is the life of a mom, many moments that we want to fast forward through and others we want to sit in forever and ever.

Here is hoping to be in the moment for the rest of the day and trying to practice patience.

By the way, here is another interesting article on developing patience at wikiHow.

Monday, February 22

(1/2) Marathon Monday

Well, it's official, sort of. I haven't sent in my registration, but I have finally conceded to my sister's nudges to run a 1/2 marathon at the end of May.

She just had her second baby at the beginning of December along with one of her friends-- both of them decided to train for the 1/2 marathon to get back in shape and have been encouraging me to do it with them. After a lot of hemming and hawing about why I wanted to wait until a later point in my life, I ran out of excuses and decided this is the time.

I am nervous. I'm also excited. I've decided to share some of what I'm learning, my training, my success and failures in Monday updates over the next 12 weeks while I train.  At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to write about it; not sure if anyone really cared, and also feeling a little weird about calling attention to it, like, "hey, look at me, I'm doing x", but then I  decided two things: that someone else might be encouraged to do something similar in their own lives through my decision to do this, and that in  writing about it here I'm really committing to it because if I quit now and you all know I'll really feel like a loser!

So, why, besides my sister's pestering, am I deciding to do a 1/2 marathon? Well, at first it was a pride thing. A thinking, "I can't sit on my duff and watch her run a 1/2 marathon- if she can do it, so can I!"

Then, it was a weight loss thing. "Hmmm, maybe this is how I'll finally drop the rest of the baby weight!" Big smile...

And then I read this on marathon rookie,

Whether you are training for a marathon or half marathon, it takes a lot more than good old determination and willpower to get you through training and the big day. Let your mind lead the way, not your body.

By the way, why do you want to do this? Don’t let yourself off by stopping at your first answer! Dig deep! Why do you want to run a marathon or half marathon?When you go beyond that first answer, you will begin to realize what is really driving you. When you learn what is really driving you, then you can use that to push yourself through willpower and determination. 
I realized that pride and a little bit of baby weight were not going to be enough of a driving force to get me through this commitment. I dug a little deeper and I realized that I'm committing to this because there are plenty of things in my life I've done half-heartedly. There are things I've started and then quit, there are things I did not do well because I was not disciplined or committed enough, and there are oodles of unmet goals in my life. I'm running this race because I'm sick of seeing myself as a quitter and I want something to prove it. There it is. 

And, just as the above quote said, I've already used this information to fuel my running this past weekend. On Friday I ran 4 miles instead of 3 on the treadmill, and on Saturday, while I was out running another 4 miles with two other women, both in better shape than me and a good 100 meters ahead of me during the entire run, I used it to dig in deep and tell myself that it didn't matter where they were, this is about me and I was not going to quit. And I didn't. I finished the run at my own pace and felt good about it. 

I also had a feeling during both of those runs that this will be tough. That if 4 miles felt tough, how was I ever going to accomplish 13? The answer is, "One day at a time, my dear." (I have to be my own therapist sometimes!) So, the training has started, and if anyone else have ever considered doing such a race this training schedule really isn't as bad as I thought it would be, check it out. 

So, here I am at the beginning weighing in at (gulp) 140 lbs. I'm 5'1 so an ideal weight for me would be more like 120-125ish, and feeling a little like a quitter at times. I will post a few pics and thoughts as I continue and let you know how it goes! The only thing I know for certain is that we'll be taking one day at a time and there is no quitting allowed! 

Thursday, February 18

Little Miracles

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. 

-- Desmond Tutu

I've been thinking a lot about two things lately; my family and my marriage, and how the two are so obviously and so intimately intertwined. 

I was sitting on my unmade bed earlier today with Ava and Ella, all of us in our pj's, hair unbrushed, and none the unhappier for it. We were tickling and laughing and sharing raisins with each other. For whatever reason I had one of those moments while looking at Ava where I was simply struck by the profound mystery and miracle of life; it was one of those moments  in which I was merely in awe of the true miracle that life is...God's creation made capable through our bodies. 

I just looked at the girls and thought,  "Whoa, you were formed through a mysterious alignment of cells from your father and I that grew and grew and grew and here you are." Crazy, isn't it? 

Even cooler is that while this supreme miracle may be mysterious to us, it is not at all to God. Whoa...things I can't even wrap my head around today. 

And when I found the above quote it just seemed so fitting for what I was feeling. 

It's kind of cool how God brings us all together, in whatever way he sees fit. I mean for us, so far, it was through the birth of our girls. For friends of ours in Massachusetts it has been through the adoption of three beautiful foster children. For Lysa Terkeurst, whose story I heard at a church sponsored women's retreat weekend back in October, it was through birth and a really, really amazing adoption story later on. 

God seems to cobble together these lives, full of differing personalities, and leave his stamp on them to say, "ahhhh, I like it that way, and it is good." And I think we do best when we remember that we are a gift to our family and that they are a gift to us, rather than taking things for granted as is so much easier to do sometimes. 

So today I'm thankful for the miracles of life and of families that somehow seem to come together in the most perfect ways. 

Wednesday, February 17

When Life Hands you Lemons Part 2

So, when I wrote my post yesterday morning I did briefly consider that my bad luck streak was not yet over. I mean, after all, it was only 11:00 a.m.

But, then, the day started to move along at a pretty decent clip. AAA came out and got the car started. Scott's sister (Caitlyn) came over and played with the girls, which they really enjoyed, and Caitlyn and I bundled up the girls to meet grandma and grandpa for dinner, with eager anticipation of Scott arriving home from NJ shortly afterwards.

Things were all back on track.

And then...

I pulled down our street at 8:09 last night and an "uh-oh" went through my head as I realized there were no streetlights on and every house on our street was dark inside. Not a good sign.

We pulled into the driveway, and not only could I not find the garage door opener, but even if I had been able to find it, we would not have been able to open the door to our attached garage because it runs on electricity which evidently was not working.

"What's wrong mommy."
"The electricity is out, and I'm not sure we can get in the house."
"The tricity is not working?"
"No, honey, it's not."

I get out of the car and trudge through snow past my ankles in shoes not meant for snow past my toes hoping the front door is open.


I trudge around back through snow drifts up to my knees to see if the back door (which is sometimes open) is open. Nope. Scott locked it before we had left for Ohio last Friday.

The house is pitch black. We have no way in. And no, we do not have house keys. We have never needed them before.

I get back in the car with socks sopping wet and call my Dad.

"Dad, our electricity is out."
"Well, just go inside and light some candles. It usually comes back on within a few minutes."
"We don't have keys and I can't open the garage door."
"You don't have keys for your house?!!!!!"
"No, we don't." (Thanks for the dig at our stupidity though. LOL)
"Well, see if it goes back on."
"Alright, but we might see you in a few minutes."

My parents live five minutes away and we did in fact drive over there at 8:45 at night...with two very tired little girlies.

The electric company first predicted that the 194 houses in our neighborhood that were affected would have power by 10 p.m.

The girls were doing really well at my parents until about 10 p.m.

And then...we called the power company again and their new prediction was 12:30 a.m.


My parents don't have any extra bedrooms, but Scott's dad has two, so now, at 10:15 we first drive over to our house because I want Scott to kick the back door in (against his wishes and my father's suggestions to not do so).

After six good kicks he informs me that there is not way...I guess we should be thankful that our house is not easy to break into, right?!

I finally concede to spending the night at his father's. Ella is screaming in the car, because it is 2 1/2 hours past her bedtime and she wants a bottle. Ava is crying because, in her words, "the tricity is out and we're stuck in the car."

I am in a separate car and say a prayer as we're pulling out of our driveway.

"Lord, please give me peace and wisdom to handle this situation."

The next words that came to mind were,

"Lisa, at least your house is still standing. Think about those moms in Haiti who have had to sleep on the ground, under thin blankets, with crying children because they have NOTHING left. You have a warm, comfortable place to sleep, with blankets and food."

Deep breath. Let go. Everything is o.k.

"Lord, I'm sorry. Please help me to be in the moment. Being upset about this is not going to help. Please help me to do what I need to do peacefully to help the girls get to sleep. And thank you that we have a place go."

The lemon-aid wasn't quite as sweet last night, but I tried to make it. And I'm thankful for our lives and reminders that even when things seem hard, we really have SOOOO much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, February 16

When Life Hands you Lemons

Sometimes I think these things only happen to me. This morning I was thinking God must be getting a kick out of my life; like maybe He's looking for a little comedic relief from all the crazy crap happening in the world, so He allows the funniest things to happen...just to get a little laugh...and to remind me to keep laughing at myself.

It started out to be a great morning. Scott flew to NJ last night for training so I was on solo mommy duty-- the last time he was away on travel I got about three hours of sleep because Ava was up ALL night. Last night, however, I didn't get up once. Both girls slept through the night and Ella was the first one up at 7:20. Not bad.

Our babysitter Ashley showed up at 8:30 so that I could get out to run some errands and relish in a little mommy time at Panera, with my coffee and my computer.  Looking forward to getting out for a couple of hours I finished fixing breakfast for the girls, grabbed my computer bag, put my coat on and headed out to my in-laws car which we had borrowed for our weekend road trip to Ohio and had not yet returned.

I get in the car, turn the key, and nothing. Turn it again. Nothing. The car is completely dead.

Are you serious?

I walk inside, unsure what my next step will be, but feeling really disappointed to not be able to get out until my darling babysitter (Ashley, you really are the best!) offers me her car!

So, now I'm out, driving in my babysitters Ford Taurus with a Hello Kitty bumper sticker on the back that reads, "I love nerds", and plastic dangly beads and butterflies hanging from the review mirror.

He, he, he.

Because our grocery bills have been so high lately and Aldi (a pretty economical grocery store which makes you pay for shopping carts and grocery bags, but where you save oodles on some grocery items) had grapes on sale for .89 lb. (a steal!) I decided to be good mommy, wife, domestic diva, and save some money by running in to get some groceries.

I flew through the store grabbing everything I had come for, plus more, and landed myself at the cash register with $27 in groceries and some really good deals.

"You take checks, right?" I say to the lady who is cashing me out.

"No, just debit and cash," she says.

Shit. I knew I had left my debit card in my other purse at home, but was certain they took checks!

"Really? Just, cash and debit, huh? No checks?"

"Nope," she says as she looks at me with a raised eyebrow to imply  'didn't I just say that?"

I start fumbling through my wallet, pulling out random singles and change.

"I have $14."

I'm turning red at this point.

"Can we put some stuff back?"

The cashier is being really sweet at this point because I think she feels really bad for the fumbly, bumbly lady in front of her who can't pay for her groceries.

So, one at a time, like in some strange game of The Price is Right, we take items off of my bill, until, the price is right.

I have my receipt to prove that we removed a bag of Salmon, then bananas, then kiwi and tomatoes and romaine hearts and apples and finally Italian salad dressing, to bring me to a final total of...


I'm not an overly superstitious person, but isn't 13 one of the most unlucky numbers?

I looked at the cashier...

"I really better just go home and go back to bed."

She just laughed.

After that I got back into my babysitter's Taurus and drove, literally, like 30 mph, making sure I had my seatbelt on and that I wasn't talking on my cell phone (illegal in NY) because I was SURE I was going to be pulled over very soon.

I decided to drive to Wegmans (where I knew they took charge cards) to buy the rest of my groceries and when a little Chinese lady asked me to help her find the medium sized heavy cream in the dairy case I was thrilled to help because I needed this day to move in a different direction.

And, after I told my story to the cashier at Wegmans, giving her a good chuckle, she asked if I'd like to round up my total to the nearest dollar by donating .59 to the local food bank. I often say no. Not today.

"I'd LOVE to," I say smiling, "I need to move my karma in a different direction!"

She just laughed, bid me farewell and good luck and said I'd better drive straight home!

Ahhhh. When life hands you lemons, smile and make lemon aid, or like my brother Cliff likes to say,

"Life's a garden. Dig it!"

I'm digging and drinking and laughing.

Life, thanks for the smiles.

Can't wait to see what awaits me when I head home to my two munchkins.

Thursday, February 11

Offering Options

I, by NO means, consider myself an expert disciplinarian. If some parents fall either a little too far on the too harsh or the too soft spectrum, I definitely fall in the latter camp. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not a complete pushover and I use the word "No" a LOT. We do time outs, I take things away, I've even given a couple of mild spankings if the deed demanded such...all that said, I think I could set better boundaries sometimes, I think there are moments when I should have put Ava in timeout for hitting her sister  and I've merely asked her to apologize, and sadly I have to admit to bribing my daughter with lollipops or food more often then I should (there, it's out, is there a support group for that?!)

All that said, I do have a couple of tactics up my sleeve that have worked quite well for us, tactics that I can actually say I'm proud of myself for implementing so well. The most successful for us, and for my VERY spirited little 2 1/2 year old has been offering options

Basically, in a given situation, especially when things are starting to escalate and full-out resistance from my toddler is emerging, I always try to offer options.  The options always include what I want her to do and one other choice, which is usually much less appealing. Here are a couple of examples just from today. 

Example 1:

Here is a cute, smiley faced picture of my toddler. We had opened something in the mail just prior to this and it came with a ton of bubble wrap. Ava LOVES bubble wrap, but it was nearing nap time and we needed to head up to her bed and start winding down. So after I let her play for a couple of minutes this is how things went.

Me: Ava, we need to put the bubble wrap down and head upstairs for your nap.
Ava: Two more minutes mommy... (her favorite response!)
Me: Ava, we need to head upstairs now. YOu can play with that after your nap. 
Ava: Errrrrr...Arrrrr....TWO more minutes! (she starts to get into temper tantrum mode here)
Me (still very calmly): Ava, here are your choices; we can either put that in your chair and leave it here for after your nap or we can throw it in the garbage right now, which would you like to do? 

At which point she simply gets up, puts in in her chair and says "Save it for after my nap."

That's it!!! 

Example 2:
We were in the car, on our way home from playschool this afternoon and I had decided we were going to go to this little, very casual pizza place right around the corner for lunch. I mentioned the word pizza and she immediately decided she wanted to go to Pizza Hut, where her uncle Aaron works. I did not want to go to Pizza Hut, but I did quickly call Aaron to see if he was even working, which he wasn't. 

Me: Ava, we can't go to Pizza Hut today honey, Uncle Aaron isn't there, we'll go another day. 
Ava: NOOO ( in a very shrieky voice), I WANT TO GO TO PIZZA HUT!
Me: Ava, these are your options; we can go to the new pizza place or we can go home for lunch, which one.
Ava: The new pizza place. 
Me: Ok. 

End of story. 

One last example, and these are ALL just from today...

Example 3:
We're in a bookstore and I have 2 books in my cart for Ava and it is time to go home. She, however wants some silly Shrek book that isn't even really a book (the books I have in my cart are about God, and OBVIOUSLY much better choices!). This is how it goes.

A: Mommy, I want this book.
M: Ava, I have two books for you. We need to leave that one here.
A: MOMMY, I WANT this book....ARRRRRR. (shrieky tantrum at the very beginning).
M: Ava, here are your options, we can either buy the books that mommy already has for you and put this down, or not buy any books at all. 
A: O.k. mommy, let's get those books. 
M: Say bye, bye to Shrek.
A: "Bye, bye Shrek," she says to the book. 

She puts the book down, happily follows me to the cash register, and no tantrum ensues. 

This tactic has worked WONDERS for us, and as you can see I use it on many occasions throughout the day. I've realized that it is not always necessary for me to simply say no. I know she is just a toddler, but everyone likes a little bit of choice in their life and so I try to give it. I cannot tell you how many full on tantrums this has dispelled! Give it a try and let me know if it works.

Here is an article I found that supports this method-- the article talks about dealing with toddler tantrums

By the way, if you're reading this and have a really great discipline tool that you use, please share!! As I said, I still have a LONG way to go. 


Wednesday, February 10

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Ella celebrated her first birthday yesterday, but my favorite pictures from the day had little to do with her actual celebration. Here they are:

[I had nothing to do with this! She woke up from her nap with this rockin' hair! Made me smile]

[No words needed. This was hilarious!]

Monday, February 8

Losing My Cool...

Has anyone else had a mommy day in which they totally lost their cool? 

I mean really lost it, like throwing things such as stuffed animals and baby monitors across rooms and slamming doors?

Yeah, you know how my last entry said I was enjoying the temporary satisfaction of everything feeling good...we've swung a bit in the opposite direction today...

How did it happen? 

Not sure, except to say that I was trying to clean the mudroom this morning because it was full of utter filth (and we're having a first birthday party here for Ella tomorrow) and when I'm trying to clean anything for an extended period of time and I don't focus on the girls, things seem to go haywire...not with Ella...that little one is such a charm of a child...she was sitting in the middle of the playroom in a major pile of unpicked up toys just quietly playing. She is so cute to watch because she just goes from random object to random object, picking it up, scoping it out, and then on to the next thing, almost always peacefully, curiously and completely contentedly. 

Ava on the other hand...she's pushing ALL of my buttons these days, and does not seem to have the capacity to do much on her own-- there is incessant whining, and the needing, and the jumping from one thing to another and then another and just leaving messes of play dough and toilet paper and wrappers and snotty tissues everywhere and then pushing her sister over and trying to put plastic stools on Ella's head while she is just innocently lying on the floor!!! No lie. I walked into the living room this morning and caught her with a plastic stool in her hand, looking at Ella and saying, "I'm just going to put this on your head." 

"NOOOOOO, you're not!!!" Maybe that's where it all started heading south. 

I'm not sure how it all escalated right before nap time except that after a morning that including more whining and tantrumming than normal conversation and play, she refused to go upstairs and read a book, suddenly claiming she was scared (never happened before), and then started whining because Ella had her monkey...I picked up the monkey threw it across the room, slammed her door shut and told her I wasn't talking to her any more until she stopped whining, which of course resulted in a full fledged meltdown on her part, screaming and crying coming from behind that closed door while I proceeded to throw a baby monitor across the living room floor...

Oh, this is so not how I pictured things going as a mom before I had kids... 

I then grabbed Ella and her pre-nap bottle and fed it to her and put her down in her crib while Ava continued screaming from her bedroom. I finally went in, apologized for the way I had acted and explained to her that she and I both had some things to work on. That the way I had responded was not healthy, but neither was the way she had responded. 

I'm not sure that she totally comprehended my little talk, but it made me feel better. 

So anyhow, here we are at nap time, the house is finally quiet and I'm seriously considering preschool for her next year...she is just so high-energy and high-need and I simply can't focus on just her all of the time...

I feel pretty crummy for reacting the way I did. After all, as my friend Sara, another stay at home mom says, "I have to remind myself that someone needs to be the adult in those situations," I'm not fully sure I succeeded at that today. 

Boy am I glad God's mercies are new every morning because I'm definitely needing a fresh start...

and a nap, and then some coffee...

Sunday, February 7

Feeling Good

Today was one of those days where I just felt really good about everything. I don't know why...I blame everything else on hormones, so probably that is the case here as well...I mean seriously, I have like 6-8 days a month where I'm just down to the world about everything-- I have NO energy and I'm just downright crabby. I have about the same number of days where I am riding high, on top of the world and EVERYTHING seems just fine... I love my house, I'm content with my life, I even like my body and clothes! 

All of the other days, the other 14-18, it's combo of the two... life is just mediocre and depending on what is going on it could get really good or really bad...But today I had a lot of fun. I took Ava out with me to run three hours of errands earlier today and I was bracing for it to be a total mess, but she was really good, and cute and funny. I think she's just so glad to not have to compete with her sister sometimes that she tones down the whining and the craziness. 

We went to Marshall's where she just sat in a car seat that she found on the floor in the kids section and read books while I looked through things nearby, then we went to Party City, and then onto the mall where we hit up Sears (bought a stuffed Pooh bear from Ava to Ella for her birthday), Old Navy, the Gap, had some chicken teriyaki in the food court and then over to Pottery Barn Kids. In between we road several elevators and escalators, got free chocolate samples and saw an endangered owl at a booth set up by a local land preservation society. 

Maybe it's that Ava is getting older and we an do more together, or maybe it is that I bribed her with lollipops to sit in the stroller, whatever the case, she had fun and so did I...

I even had a moment tonight where I thought, "I definitely need to have a third child at some point.."

Whoa. I know. A dangerous thought to think. After all, that thought and a couple of glasses of wine is what led to Ella in the first place!!

Although I think I'm in over my head enough right now to hold out until Ava is in school...and besides I'm SOOO not ready to be preggo again...can't baby making be more like a chia just add water and it grows? 

I'd like to avoid the stretch marks, and the itchy belly, and the potoato salad cravings again...they don't really do great things for my body in the long run...

All that to say, I've come to just enjoy the good days. I've come to just let myself be in the moment and enjoy the bliss...I know the euphoria won't last forever, really good moods tend to dissipate, just as really bad moods do, but I'll take them for what they are and enjoy them while they last...

Wednesday, February 3

Seek First His Kingdom

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

What are you seeking first each day? 

Sleep? Food? Facebook? Television? Exercise? Work? Shopping? 

We all have vices, and crutches. Things that fill our time and our voids if we're really honest with ourselves. For example, I had to put my computer away today. I took it off of the kitchen counter, put it in my computer bag, zipped the bag and told myself that I was not allowed to check email, read a blog, or check Facebook until the girls were down for their naps.

I did this at 10 a.m., the girls usually go down around 2:30. I did this because it can sometimes become a void filler. A time filler. A distraction from the chaos of taking care of the girls and there are days when I do it compulsively. 

While there is nothing wrong with any of the above activities in and of themselves, when they start to take up too much of your time, or when you start to make excuses for not having time to pray or read your Bible during the course of a day, but you know you've likely clocked 2+ hours on the computer, well, then you've got a problem. 

This verse was referenced in the chapter we worked on for my bible study this week. It really got me thinking, "Am I seeking God first?" Somedays I am. I get up early, pray, journal, read a chapter or two from my Bible and really do feel like I'm starting on the right foot.

Some days it's not so easy. Babies were up the night before. I'm tired. I sneak a workout in in the morning and I justify it all by promising myself that I will make the time later in the day... sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.  

But, on those days, especially when I get a good stretch of days going, where I spend time reading God's word, praying and listening to what He might be trying to say in my noisy life, when I "seek Him first", my life really does feel more balanced. I am more peaceful, I'm more patient, I'm more loving. Go figure. Funny how that works, isn't it?

During a women's retreat I attended in the Fall I attended a workshop on discipline and its role in our lives. The speaker said that we have human bodies and they want to do human things; sleep more, eat more, watch more t.v., we are a pleasure seeking people and often easily give in to our vices. However, as Christ followers it is our job to pursue a more balanced living and this often involves going against what our bodies want us to do. 

She offered the example of trying to implement morning prayer time. The alarm goes off and our inclination is to stay in bed. Especially if you, like me, live in Buffalo where it is 15 degrees outside and you are next to your hubby in your pillowtop king-sized bed under a down comforter! 

But she prodded, you need to ask yourself "Is staying in bed an extra 15 minutes worth giving up the blessing that God might have for you in prayer and reading His word this morning?" 

Oh dear. 

A good question, huh?! 

So, I'll end with that. Especially 'cause it's late and I'm not going to want to get up in the morning! But, my encouragement is this: We are human. We are not perfect. We will fail. But, we need to be trying. We need to give it a go...God wants to help. He doesn't want us to do it on our own, but He can't help if we don't make the space, carve out the time, and put your computer away if you need to!


By the way this is the book we're reading for bible study. A decent study, with some good questions. 

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Doesn't this picture say it all? 
What really cracks me up is that it looks like Ava has her sister in a headlock, even though the intention was a "hug"...which speaks VOLUMES for their day to day behavior as well.

And, this is how I found the bathroom this morning. While I was in the process of putting away the cleaning supplies I had just used to clean pee off the bathroom floor, my littlest one took it upon herself to unroll the rest of the paper towels for me. You know, just in case I needed them. 

And, the culprit on the spot....

I'll leave you with that on this (almost) wordless Wednesday!