Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Major Instagram dump

On Sunday we woke up to Josiah running into our room excitedly explaining that there was an "animal outside by the door" which turned out to be a small deer. It not only looked into the windows of our house it actually tried to get into the house when we left for church!! The kids were over the moon.

Woke up to a fawn on our doorstep! It's not afraid at all. #PicTapGoMy kids named the fawn licorice - they are crazy excited!! #PicTapGoOn the continuing saga of the deer at our house: I had to leave to go to my cousin's wedding, after I left a police officer came to try to contain the deer to keep it from being a nuisance to our neighbors,  so the hubs let it into our yard while waiting
Eventually Daniel let the deer into our back yard and he let the kids pet it while they waited for a team to come transport this sweet animal to a more appropriate environment.

Meanwhile, my sister Abi & I had the best day ever driving to South Carolina for my cousin's wedding!! Three hours (one way!) gave us a fantastic time of talking without the constant interruptions we are used to.

My sister @sunnyabi and I at my cousin's wedding!!Such a beautiful location!! SO happy I got to spend so much time with @sunnyabi #PicTapGo for days#PicTapGo #sunflareBest wedding favor ever!!!Love my @sunnyabi
It was a beautiful wedding and we had a wonderful time together, just two peas in a pod.

Kids playing kick ball with a neighbor = one mama that is SO happy!!!
The weather here has been just perfect. We had a few hot days but now it's wonderful. Yesterday the kids held their first game of kickball with a neighbor. It was awesome.
uploadupload The boy wears his his shirt backwards almost very day.
Yes, Josiah wears his shirt backwards pretty much every day. this falls into not a hill to die on especially if we're just at home.

Remember that trip to Atlanta I was going to post photos of? Here they are!!

We spent a terrific day with our family in ATL yesterday.
Me & My Hubs ^ and all our kids v
All my kids (twice in one week! That hasn't happened in a long time!!) sitting at Golden Corral waiting for Aunt Elisabeth and family... prepare for another epic photo dump!!This girl and her Grammy... and cotton candy
according to my kids the best part of eating at Golden Corral (a big buffet-style place) is the cotton candy!!
Eli's opinion of cotton candy - gross!!
Eli has a slightly different opinion on the subject
Cotton Candy GirlUntitledWhat a cheese!
My turn!!
My turn
There is beauty everywhere... Even at the roller skating rink!
Beauty everywhere!! even at the roller rink
Their first try at roller skating. Katie-A was amazing at it and had a LOT of fun. Josiah completely freaked out.  (from yesterday)
Their first time skating. Josiah was terrified, Katie-A came around and by the end of the day loved it.
Eli loves his Grammy!!
Eli is a huge fan of his Grammy, He also loved sitting on the arcade games.
Eli loved "playing" in the arcadeBest CousinsUntitled
cousins :)

Take my picture Mommy!

I recently added a new app to my iPhone - and I've enjoyed using it more than vscocam or afterglow/afterlight it's called PicTapGo - look it up on the app store and load it today!! I love it and it does a fantastic job editing my mobile images. see the before & after below.
Just downloaded the #pictapgo app and it's instantly my favorite photo editing app. Here's an example of before & after.

My trying to eat healthy kick is really paying off! I'm already experiencing more mental clarity, motivation & energy Here is tonight's dinner based on this recipe I found on Pinterest. I thought it turned out well. Eli loved it.
Dinner tonight. Quinoa with mango, avocado, orange, onion & shrimp.  Hubs is still not a fan.Eli likes it though!! #PicTapGo

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One Hundred Mornings day 13: true love

I've started this fantastic little Bible Study. I have loved doing it on my own and can hardly wait to share it with my small group in a few weeks. I carve out a few minutes here, a half hour there to read and study and fill the margins with scribbles and scriptures.

Yesterday my Bible Study centered on the word hesed. In the context of my study the words appears first when Naomi is blessing her daughters in-law and she says "may the LORD show hesed to you" and the study unpacked the meaning of the word  - my summary of half a page is this: hesed - acting in love, with devotion, loyalty, graciousness, selflessness, for the other person's benefit, regardless of how the other person is reciprocating (or a lack thereof). It is how God loves us with a covenant love.

I can't help but think that this is how I try to love my family. To show hesed towards my husband means I try to be kind, affectionate and always act in his best interests whether he is being a grump or out earning the father-of-the-year award (of course my own grumpiness and self-centeredness often get in the way - but I try) and my kids - oh my little ones. Selfless love is mother-love.

I sit and sip my coffee, I scribble in the margin of my study, windows open, cool breeze blowing, mother-made quilt on my lap, favorite sweater keeping me comfy. Eli climbs up in my lap to snuggle and I am filled with the desire to show this hesed kind of love today.

But then - the  day starts. I open the fridge to pour some milk and curious fingers keep the fridge open "eat?" Eli asks and he starts to touch the items in the fridge, "stop!" I say it but don't move. He pulls down some beans and corn - my lunch spills on the kitchen floor.  I blame myself, since what kid under  two stops in the middle of exploring? Or stops the first time you say it? I blame myself because wrapping bowls with foil is not kid-proof in the least. I blame myself but I'm kinda mad at him.

I feel it in my gut - the choice to hesed - to love no matter how I'm feeling, regardless of how my love is behaving - to choose to act in a way that is best for my loved one. I wrap Eli in my arms. "Mess" he says. I kiss the top of his head "Yep, it's a mess" I echo "Eat?" he asks "No buba we can't eat beans off the floor" "clean-up" he says as I find a bowl and begin to wipe away the mess. He cries as the beans go in the trash "eat?" he asks again. "No baby, those beans are dirty" I sign dirty and he signs it back.

I don't feel hesed. I feel screaming and pouting and how could you? and why? and this is just spilled beans. Not a big deal. I have a lot to learn, but this morning I choose hesed. I choose love. And we put on our shoes and go outside and soak in some sunshine.

Monday, April 15, 2013

miscellany AND menu monday

Here's a surprise (to me anyway) Eli and Josiah are both conked out and I have a couple minutes to write a quick blog post for today! Another surprise - I actually wrote my menu and did all my grocery shopping for the week today,  complete with trying a few new things - such as this awesome new-to-me recipe:

it looks amazing, though I've never tried quinoa before. I'll be making a deconstructed version for the kids with the option of having rice if they try the quinoa and don't want to eat a whole bowl-full. I also bought asparagus for Tuesday's meal (a new food for my family) and some champagne mangoes for snack today- which I can't wait to try!

For breakfasts I'm trying to get away from the cereal every day trap, we'll mix it up with some smoothies and oatmeal, or if it's too hot in the mornings I'll just make muesli. I'm also trying to make sure that there is a wheat free option for me at every meal. I haven't been making my health much of a priority lately and I eat what the rest of the family is eating, even though I'm allergic to it. I thought it didn't really bother me, but more about that later...

Here are my menus for the week:

M: dry cereal T: green smoothies W: oatmeal T: grits/toast  F: smoothies

M: PB&J T: quesadillas (w leftovers from M dinner) W: smoothies T: egg scramble F: leftovers

M: fruit & yogurt T: homemade granola bars W: popcorn  T: apples & peanut butter F: no-bake cookies

M: Super Food Salad (recipe linked above)
T:  Fish with orzo/rice, asparagus & grape tomatoes
W: Risotto with scallops & caesar salad
T: Chef salad/ sub sandwiches
F: Sausages, potatoes & green beans

I bought frozen swaii fillets for fish night, I also really like talapia. I like to bake it in roasted red pepper dressing. Josiah is going through a phase where he is mortally afraid of eating fish. I am hoping that if I mix up his orzo with a little fish and veggies maybe he won't notice too much. I can not remember a time I ever tried sneaking food into my kid or trying to trick them into eating something that they didn't like. Usually we just keep everything matter-of-fact and ask that they at least try one bite of new foods, but world war three every fish night is getting really old. If this doesn't work next I'm buying fish sticks.

Orzo is rice-sized "grains" of mini-pasta. If you've never tried it, it's fantastic. I love it with fish, but it's also great with chicken dishes, I just boil it and add a little butter so it's not too sticky. I'll be eating leftover rice instead. Bummer.

Risotto is insanely east to make. I got my recipe from Dinner: a love story, which is a fantastic book and a fantastic-er blog ;)  I make mine with shallots, which are like little purpley brown mini-onion looking things which you can get next to or near the onions at the grocery store, or at the natural foods market (which is where I like to get mine). You can also make it with sweet onions, or I guess whatever onion you've got. I started writing it on my menu for every Sunday night -  I'd get a glass of wine, put something age-apropriate on the TV for the kids and just make my risotto and de-stress. It turned out that I was the only person who enjoyed this routine and I had to banish risotto from my menu for awhile - but I think it's maybe time for a comeback for this dish, plus it's made with rice, not pasta so it's better for me. I don't buy any kind of expensive rice for my risotto, just long grain rice. The longer the better.

So what's up with the wheat-free diet? I said I'd get back to that - so here's the explanation. The other day I was out with some other mom-friends and we were talking about mom-topics (which is one of the best things in the world! You've gotta have friends who you can talk to about bra sizes and poop) I mentioned that I still haven't had my first period since Eli was born. After my third baby it's always taken me awhile to get it, I nurse my babies for a good long time and enjoy the break from my cycle so I've never been worried about it.  One of my friends mentioned to me that it might be worth looking into if I might have a progesterone deficiency as that will cause irregular periods as well as a whole host of other symptoms - some that jumped off the page for me are depression, foggy thinking (being in a perpetual brain fog) moodiness, fatigue, weight gain in the midsection. I don't really care one way or the other about my cycle but I deeply care about those other symptoms and if a few changes in my diet & lifestyle can make those go away I'm all for giving it a try.

There are apparently a lot of different reasons why my progesterone levels might be low - one that seemed really obvious to me is eating foods that I'm allergic to. This messes with the lining of your intestines and makes it harder for your body to absorb the nutrients you're giving it. I thought that because I don't get rashes any more that my body could pretty much handle it now - apparently not.

The diet that I saw recommended on a lot of different sites about progesterone deficiency is high in lean protein & vegetable fiber. So I'm going to doing the green smoothies again - I can't wait to try out some new recipes. I may start putting some protein powder in those too, if I can find a good one.  I want to start adding flax as well at some point.

Grocery shopping today reminded me why I haven't been doing it much lately. I went to the natural foods market first which used up a lot of my kids patience and barely put a dent in my list. I also gave Josiah a piece of chocolate as we were leaving - buying some of the nice chocolate there is one of my favorite things about that store - but it totally backfired. We were fighting each other the whole way through the grocery store, including a full on-the-floor tantrum in the cereal isle, the I--might-just-run-away-from-you one in the frozen foods section and the kick-mommy's-chair-and-scream-at-the-top-of- my-lungs in the van on the way home. Thankfully by the time we arrived home he and I were both calm enough that he could apologize and we could get through lunch. That reminds me - I've been working on a post about tantrums... hmmm. Maybe I should finish that.

Grocery shopping tired him out!

Eli barely got through lunch before he fell asleep. Josiah fell asleep waiting for me to come read to him after lunch. I guess grocery shopping wore them out too.

On Netflix: just finished Call the Midwife and am currently watching A Gifted Man. If you have anything to recommend I'd love to add it to my que.

This weekend we went to Atlanta to visit The Hub's sister for her birthday. We had such a good time! I took lots of photos on my phone and will try to post them tomorrow.

Linking up with:
miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Thursday, April 11, 2013

photo bomb


I am working away at my wedding photos... I don't want to share too much before the bride comes back from her honeymoon and sees them first but I have this one that I just so love. I asked one of the bridesmaids to be my model so I could test the light and one of the groomsmen photo bombed it. I used this shot to play with the action I'm using to edit some of the photos and I'm totally in love with this edit. Also I wanted to post this since my blog has been dominated by my Instagram photos. I think once this wedding is processed I need to start taking more photos with my big girl camera more often!

a day out

From earlier... headed to Mom's Night Out with my dear friends!
My kids have been sick - it took about three weeks to make the rounds! Thankfully nobody got it twice this time and we are finally all fever-free.

I'm also editing a wedding I shot last weekend - which is tedious and time consuming. I'm pretty much at the point where I would not do this for love or money. My wrist is killing me from so much computer time and I'm starting to remember why I stopped pursing professional photography. Then I get to a good shot and I swoon, and I just can not say no to a good opportunity to do some photography. 

Today was our first day out since my kids started getting sick. My goal for our trip out was to stay calm and I feel like I did that, even when kids wandered out of my line of sight, they stayed together and they stayed in the general area near me. I have such good kids. I have to repeat it like a mantra so I don't freak out about all of the possible things they could do when we are out. Also, Eli is a dream to take out. He sits right on my hip and chatters in my ear and I kiss his sweet head and fuss at the next youngest two who are a lot more difficult to take out. 

Finally got out of the house together today!
here are all of my kids!! 

She brought her quarters...
My kids like to bring quarters to the mall. The spend them on the little rides or candy... I'm not a huge fan of the candy thing but they were really kind to each other. They gave each other extra quarters and traded candy. We're working on the concept of "fair trade" and they are finally starting to really get it and trade fairly and kindly with each other. This makes my mama heart swell.
These two are two peas in a pod. Best friends. They're trading candy. Also - Katie-Abigail's boots are totally awesome, she wears boots as often as I let her.
Josiah is getting so big... and he's so cute. Except for when he's thrown himself down in the middle of the mall. Then he is my most challenging child. But then he says "I'm really really sorry I pitched a fit" and I melt.
Josiah - swoon. Love this guy so much! Even though he sat down right in front of the mall as we were leavingand I had to just stand there, with plenty of people watching and my girls patiently waiting. I said "You don't get what you want by pitching a fit" and waited patiently beside him, trying not to make eye contact with anyone around me, trying to stay calm. Eventually he stopped, stood up and said "I'm really really sorry I pitched a fit, please forgive me." and he gave me a hug. I just melt in moments like that! He has put me in embarrassing situations pretty much from the moment he could walk (and he'd run into the mens bathroom every time we went to church!) but I dearly love this little man.
Fun at the soft play area at the mall!! I can't believe Eli is already big enough to play on these!!
We went to the Soft Play area and I could not believe how much Eli enjoyed it!!! He went down the slide over and over. Can he really be big enough for this already?! Wow. I blinked!

We stopped at one of the stalls at the mall. A guy from Israel curled Emma's hair for her (I thought they were just going to do one or two curls but he started doing her whole head of hair!!) he chatted with us and tried to sell me the curling iron set. I
While we were walking through the mall a guy at one of the stalls asked if I wanted my girls to have some princess curls. I thought he'd put one or two in - but no, he did pretty much her entire head of hair! crazy. We chatted about how he'd come to the states from Israel, how he'd lived in Savannah, which has got to be one of the most beautiful cities in the country, or at least the state. He tried to get me to buy his curling iron set, which cost about what I spend on groceries for a month. crazy. I kind of felt bad that he was wasting his time when there was no way, no matter what sales tactic he used, that I was going to buy these curling irons. However, Emma got some fantastic curls out of the experience. They looked super cute right away and downright gorgeous at the end of the day when they were a little less princess-fru-fru.
It's 84 degrees outside today!!!
Y'all it was 84 degrees at my house today!! I guess that's what you get when you live in the deep south. I feel a little bit like I'm melting today and my kids got super-crabby at the end of the day. The kids all went out on their bikes - I even tried to help Eli learn to ride his trike.  I'll be so glad when the rain comes through and everything cools off a bit.

Self portrait by a one year old
Eli has become enamored with my phone and iPad. I keep finding photos Eli has taken of himself. Usually I delete them, this one I kept. I call it "self portrait by a one year old". I've downloaded a few apps on my iPad that Eli seems to enjoy. Mostly he just opens the PBSkids app over and over, watches two minutes of Curious George and then tries to play music.

He's getting to be SO big!

Eli is getting so big! I am reminded of that almost every day. He'll be two in just a little over three months! He's less and less of a baby and more and more of a kid every day. It's crazy. This time it went by so quickly.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Misc Monday

Out-takes  edited with #afterglowapp #afterlight

We had a wonderful Easter this year. No driving, no big meal, just together time enjoying the wonderful warm weather. We had a picnic lunch at the Euchee Creek Park near our house - which was the perfect place for a picnic and a little walk.

All my kids
all my kids
LOTS of photos to post! I promise I won't post them all tonight :)
Emma wanted to ride post of the way
My new favorite photo of my husband!
I think this might be my new favorite photo of my husband
My family... at the park.One of the perks of being the baby.
one of the perks of being the baby
No filter.  From yesterday - beautiful sunshine and spring weeds. And Josiah in the background :)
no filter: spring weeds!! And Josiah in the background
Somebody is not feeling so great :(
Emma wasn't feeling too well, mid-day she spiked a low fever. Picnic at the Euchee Creek Park :)
Egg hunt
We did a little egg hunt in the back yard. I'm not big into Easter baskets or dresses or presents but my kids love a good egg hunt with small candy and pocket change. 
Time out
this diptych is called "Time Out"
   Mr. Clingy McClingerton  in the pouch this morning so hopefully I can do something other than hold him.  #babywearing #toddlerwearing
I put Eli into my baby wrap today in hopes of getting something done  
yeah, that lasted for about five minutes.

I hope to do a full update all about Eli - he's getting so big! The other day he signed school, said "Emma?" and shook his head no - meaning "Emma's not going to school today is she?" I was AMAZED he was able to put together such a complicated communication. I love that he signs, even though it's not very well - it helps me understand what he is saying. He talks a lot though I don't understand all of it. He's started putting two words together more often too.  

I made a half-hearted attempt to try to write a menu today. I ended up only buying enough groceries to get us through about two days and some yarn for my afghan. Last week I didn't write a menu and had to grocery shop nearly every day. It's very depressing. One day I walked around the grocery isles of Target trying to think about what to make for dinner. I called Daniel and he asked for Grilled Cheese - I bought a loaf of bread and a package of sliced cheese and went home. 

I have been struggling with the rhythms of house-keeping. I keep thinking that this shouldn't be so hard for me - I was raised at home. I was raised to be a homemaker. I wish it felt more natural, easier. I grind against them like rusty gears - maybe not as badly as when I was younger. It's taken me ten years not to resent every moment spent at the sink - will it take another ten to enjoy this constant motion of cleaning mess, find my groove and stick to it?

Last-day-of-March showers... washed the pollen away and made my hydrangea start to green!
The rain washed away a lot of pollen - and my hydrangea bush has started to sprout some leaf buds!

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

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