Monday, March 31, 2014

Currently A Pot of Boiling Water


Feeling like: A pot of boiling water. Like I'm being boiled from the outside in, and all of my flaws and struggles and insecurities are bubbling up to the surface. I'm recognizing so many things in myself that need work, and my mind races day and night with thoughts of things I want to fix and change and grow about myself. This seems to happen to me every few months. Out of nowhere I begin to see areas where I'm failing, or just not being the best that I can be. I get overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless list of my failures and anxiety takes me over for a day or two, and then I begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that these flaws and failings are being shown to me to help me grow. I want so badly to be better, always better. A better wife, a better mom, friend, person. 

I realized over the weekend, through conversation with a dear friend who always speaks truth to me, that the recent life changes I've been through are finally catching up with me. I went from being busy all the time with work and life outside of work to living a simple, slow and quiet life at home with Emmett. When I worked full time, I didn't have time to think about what I was doing wrong. I was just too busy. Now, I have endless time to think, to reflect, and to learn about myself. What a gift! But it's weighing on me also. 

I'm finding new ways to spend my time. I'm enjoying taking care of my family and our home. I'm trying to live simply, which means simplifying my own wants and needs. I'm clearing out the cobwebs in my mind and my heart and making room for a much simpler way of thinking and being. I want to garden, to cultivate and grow things that will benefit my family. I want to work, but to keep my work from affecting Emmett's life too much. I want to give all of myself to my family, and to our home, and to let go of my own selfish ways. That's what I want most. To let go, and just be, for my family.

Listening to: Music! As much of it as I can. I love music, but I haven't been listening to it very often these days. I used to listen to the radio or Spotify all day long at work, but at home I forget to turn it on. I decided to change that over the weekend, so music has been playing all the time. I used to say I didn't understand how people lose their grasp on good music when they become parents, but now I totally get it. So I'm working on not letting myself lose my good taste in music! 



I came into the garage the other day and found Emmett playing with his old toys. Ha!
The light in Emmett's playroom is so good. So, so good.

"Ride truck, mama!"

Thankful for: Our back yard. I spent Friday morning cutting back the rose bushes in our yard to make room for a garden, so I brought Emmett's teepee outside to keep him entertained while I work. Now I never want to take it back inside. We spent a lot of time outside this weekend, enjoying the beautiful weather and the ever-present shade in the backyard that will be a huge relief to us this summer. I am so thankful for this house, this backyard, this place to call our own. We love it so much.




Those little buns. He's such a little dream boat. After his bath Saturday night Emmett jumped up and ran outside before I could get him dressed. He loves to water the "plants" which are really just empty pots waiting to be planted, and seeing him naked with that watering can just reinforced all the things that are swimming through my head these days. He is worth all the work, all the changes, all the growing that I'm trying to do. God is planting seeds in my heart and my mind and it's up to me to water them and help them to grow into something good and beautiful. This little kid, with those squishy little perfect buns, is worth it.

I hope all of you had a great weekend! As always, I'm linking up with the lovely ladies at A Mama Collective to bring you this week's Currently. I hope you'll join us!





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Friday, March 28, 2014

Blessings


My friend and her husband are trying to have a baby. She had a miscarriage a few months back and yearns to be pregnant again. I know the feeling.

When she otld me today that the period she thought she missed finally reared it's ugly head this morning, I knew how much she was hurting. I know that agony. That wishing and hoping, that longing deep in your heart, that waiting all month with bated breath, only to be let down. I know what it is to feel frustrated, discouraged, sad at your core. To feel deflated and ready to give up each month, all the while knowing that you never will.

I wanted to hug my friend, and to encourage her. I told her not to be discouraged. That I know in my heart that her time will come. That she will be a mother soon. That God has a beautiful plan for her. I wanted to give her the same advice my dad always gives me: We have to step out in faith, act in faith, do our part and know, feel and know with all our hearts that God will bless us and give us the desires of our hearts. The desires that He has laid on our hearts and wants to fulfill. He wants to bless us and love us, we just have to let Him. And to have faith.

I know the truth of that in my heart. I know that it's true for her. So why is it so hard to believe for myself? Each month when the tests come back negative and I'm fighting back tears, why don't I reach for that knowing, that safe place of faith and hope for the good things and blessings that are sure to come? Why do I linger in sadness and disappointment, rather than leaning on those same encouraging words that I give my friend?

There's a lesson in there for me. I believe that everything, every single tiny little thing, happens for a reason. I know that my friend leans on me because God is urging her to, because she blesses me so much just by talking to me about what she's going through. He's using her to teach me, to help me to grow in my own faith.

My dad told me this week that God's blessings are like low-hanging fruit. They are there within reach, ripe for the picking. We just have to step out in faith, to ask God to bless us. We just have to reach up and grab them. So why do I settle for scraps?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Simple & Delicious Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes



I love a good chocolate cake. Chocolate has become my favorite indulgence, so chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is my very best dessert friend. I found these cupcakes years ago in a cookbook (500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly), and they soon became my favorite. They are gooey in the middle, cakey around the outside, and always come out perfectly. I love them with chocolate icing (I've got a big crush on Duncan Hines milk chocolate icing), but for a fun variation I love to top them with mint chocolate chip icing.

A good friend had minor surgery yesterday, so I wanted to make something special to help with her recovery. Although I hadn't made these cupcakes in a few years, I knew they were the perfect treat!


These are the easiest cupcakes I've ever made, by far! There are just a few ingredients, most of which you probably have in your pantry already, and they take no time at all to make! The chocolate chips make the batter gooey and chocolatey, and baking them low and slow ensures that they come out soft and melty every time.


Cupcake Ingredients:


1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 sticks unsalted sweet cream butter
5 eggs
2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups self-rising flour

Directions:


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper baking cups.
Melt chocolate chips and butter together in a double boiler. If, like me, you don't own a double boiler, use a medium glass or metal bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water. Stir often until fully melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugar. Fold the flour into the egg mixture until well blended, then slowly mix in the melted chocolate and butter.

Spoon the batter into the baking cups, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and cool cupcakes before frosting.

Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting Ingredients:


2/3 stick unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp peppermint extract
green food coloring
semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:


Beat butter and confectioners' sugar together in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Stir in the mint extract and just enough food coloring to turn the frosting a mint green. If the frosting is too thick, add more butter or a few drops of milk until frosting is the desired thickness.

Frost cupcakes and decorate with chocolate chips. Enjoy!



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

12/52


A portrait of my Emmett boy, once a week, every week in 2014."
Emmett loves cars. And trucks, planes, helicopters, motorcycles, and trains. He talks about them all day long. "I see airplane!" he says as he wakes up in the morning. "I hear helihopter!" as I get him dressed. Then it's straight to the playroom to push trucks and trains around the couch making "broom broom" and "choo choo!" noises all day. He's all boy, this one.

So this week, I want to remember him dressed like a little boy, looking like a little boy, pushing his choo choo train around the playroom like a little boy. I love that little boy, so much.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Currently. Home Again

Thinking rambling thoughts about: This last week, while in Georgia, I put away my computer and only picked it up when I had to for work. It was a glorious break from the internet, and one that I needed I think, but we arrived home last night so I don't have the vacation excuse anymore. I'm back y'all.


Georgia was a roller coaster. It usually is, but this trip was different. In the past when I've taken Emmett to visit my family for a week, it has always been an incredibly welcome vacation from my stressful job, and a week that I get to spend with Emmett, all day every day. But this time, I work from home, and I spend most of my time with Emmett already. I struggled this time because it felt like doing what I always do, except in a different place where I don't have cleaning or cooking to do, or errands to run, so I felt sort of lost and unproductive. The first few days I relaxed, sat by the fire and read books, and enjoyed watching Emmett being spoiled by my family. But then in the middle of the week I began to feel restless, and so did Emmett.



He's in this phase where he needs me, crying "Mamamamamama" and clutching my legs while I get dressed or do laundry or get his lunch ready. He's started throwing tantrums when he doesn't get his way, and he's especially hard on me. He never fussed when he was with my parents or my brothers, but the moment he saw my face he'd start crying and yelling "mamama"until I picked him up, and even then he wouldn't calm down. He was getting so much attention from my family that he and I didn't get to spend a lot of time together, and I think he missed me (just like I missed him.) But the crying and tantrums began a few weeks ago. Y'all, it's wearing me out.

I try to be patient with him, but after hours of that fussing and pulling at me and needing my constant attention I wear down and my reactions become less than gracious and kind. Way less. That's when I begin to see how very selfish I am, deep down. I just want quiet, calm, peace. I just want to be able to put some make up on or brush my teeth without someone screaming at me and yanking on my legs. But then I look at his sweet little face, crying for his mama, just wanting me to hold him and love him and I feel so horribly awful for being frustrated with him.

So I'm working on that. On letting go of my own wants and needs and just being his mama. Just giving him as much love and attention as I possibly can so that he doesn't feel that desperation I hear in his voice when he cries for me. He's just a little guy, and I'm lucky to be needed.


Also working on: Discipline. We got to visit with Emmett's Godmother and her sweet little boy a few times this week. Her son is just a couple of months older than Emmett, so it's always fun to see what he's doing and saying because I know Emmett is right behind him. He hit Emmett once, and I was so surprised to see how is mama reacted. She picked him right up and brought him to a quiet spot in the room and told him that hitting is not nice, and promptly put him in time out. And he stayed! He stayed still, right where she put him, until she went back to him less than a minute later. She told him she loves him but he is not allowed to hit his friends, and then told him to ask Emmett to forgive him. And he did! He walked over and said he was sorry and gave Emmett a hug, and I was in AWE.

I had no idea that was possible. Up until recently, I haven't had to think much about discipline because Emmett is sweet and gentle and still such a baby, there was no need. But lately he is throwing tantrums and he runs away from me when we're out for walks or in crowded places. He doesn't listen when I tell him to stay with mama or don't go that way or let's walk this way please. I had no idea it was possible to discipline a child at his age, or how to do it! I've seen friends struggle with this too. My eyes are opened now though, and I can't wait to start working on the time out thing.


Emmett's Godmother told me the key is consistency, and ALWAYS following through when you give them consequences. If I tell him he needs to do as he's told and he ignores me, I have to put him in time out, every single time. I know it's going to break my heart, but I want Emmett to be disciplined. I want him to listen to me and to Ray, and to do as he's told, especially when we're in public or in dangerous situations. I know that I'll have to discipline him when he's older, so I'm really happy to have some ideas of how to start now so that when it really becomes an issue, I'll have the habits already formed in both of us.

Do y'all have any tips for beginning discipline with a young child?


Praying for: All of my friends who are expecting. And all of my friends who are hoping and praying for a pregnancy. Jesus, protect all the mamas and all of their babies. Give them health, peace, and long lives together. And bless all the mamas who are longing for children. Give them peace, joy, and hope. Pour out your blessings on them and grant them the desires of their hearts.

I have quite a few friends who are pregnant, some of them struggling. And a few who are desperately trying to get pregnant. I know the joy and the agony of both, and I pray for all of them constantly.





I hope all of you had a great weekend, and a gentle Monday easing you back into the work week. As always, I'm linking up with the lovely ladies at A Mama Collective to bring you this week's Currently. I hope you'll join us!





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Thursday, March 20, 2014

11/52

"A portrait of my Emmett, once a week, every week, in 2014."
 We've been in Georgia with my family all week, so I'm a little late with this post. Little Emmett is having a blast, soaking up all of the attention and affection his aunts and uncles are pouring on him. It's been such a nice break from our normal life, for both of us. But he hasn't been sleeping well. He's too excited, and the time difference is killer, so the first few days were sort of sleepless and messy.

I've been relying on his bath each night as a chance to calm things down, Skype with his daddy, spend a little time, just he and I, getting ready for bed. And that has helped. The last two nights after his bath, he's clean and snuggly and sleepy, and he's slept like a champ. So this week, I want to remember him in his bath, silly and soft with his hair all in messy waves. The cutest boy there ever was.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Currently. In Georgia!


Reeling from: The weekend. Friday Emmett and I caught a flight from Phoenix to Atlanta. The flight was about as easy as it could have been. After a whole lot of worrying and confusion about our seats (I was worried we'd end up in a middle seat, which is my nightmare), we were blessed with a whole. entire. row. to ourselves! Even the flight attendant was amazed. She came over to me twice just to whisper in my ear how lucky I was and how she almost never sees that happen anymore. It wasn't lost on me. I know what it's like to fly with a baby, stuck between two people who are less-than pleased that they're sitting next to a wiggling baby. I know it was just another one of God's little ways of showing me he's in control.


Whoops, totally forgot it was Friday and grabbed a burger before our flight. :/

This lasted about 5 minutes.

Then it was lots of this, and no naps.
This made up for that though.
Ree-united and it feels so good!

From Atlanta, my parents picked us up and we drove to Columbus, Georgia to spend the weekend with my sister Shea, where she plays soccer at Columbus State University. Today is her birthday (Happy Birthday, Shea!!!), so I'm so glad we got to spend some time with her. We went to her soccer game on Saturday, had a few really good, southern meals together (endless biscuits and gravy?? Music to my ears!), and woke up to pouring rain on Sunday. Glorious.




Watching the air-show going on during Shea's game.
What's that? Rainboots and umbrellas!? Yes please!

Sunday afternoon we drove from Columbus to my hometown of Augusta, about four hours away. Emmett hates being stuck in the car for half an hour, so four hours was really, really rough. We left right at his nap time, so he cried for about half an hour before falling asleep to the sounds of his white noise and Finding Nemo on the iPad. An hour later, he was up again, and he was PISSED. Screamed bloody murder until we finally pulled over for some oatmeal (his favorite) and coffee at a Dunkin' Doughnuts. My dad must have worked some prayer magic because after that, it was mostly smooth sailing for the last two hours. And then, we were home.




Listening to:
 My parents and brother playing with Emmett in the kitchen. When he's here, he gets cars and toys and endless attention. You want Nemo you say? Nemo it is! Whatever his little heart desires is his. My family loves that boy and they don't get to see him enough, so they spoil him rotten when we're here. I love it. :)

Enjoying: The rain. Real weather! It's not just hot and sunny! Georgia weather is about as unpredictable as weather gets. Rain then sun then cold then hot. Give me cold and rain and a fire in the wood-burning stove please. I'll be under a blanket with a good book while everyone plays with Emmett. 

Looking forward to: The St. Patrick's Day Parade this afternoon, weather permitting. Augusta has a large Irish population, so St. Patty's Day has always been a big deal around here. I'm really excited to be in town for it this year, since I always miss it. My best friend's birthday is today, and I remember the year my sister was born like it was yesterday. The morning of the parade I was so excited to go to the parade, I was doing cartwheels in the hallway. Mid-cartwheel I kicked the door jam so hard I broke my big toe, then waddled around the parade all afternoon anyway. That was before cell phones, so when my mom went into labor my grandmother had to drive around for an hour to find us and bring us all to the hospital. I left with my toe in a cast and a new baby sister. That was an awesome year. 

I'm also looking forward to a relaxing week at home with my family. And all the familiar faces I'll get to see over the week. Moving and work and everything at home has been stressful, so this trip is a much-needed vacation from reality.

I hope you had a lovely weekend! I'm joining up with the lovely ladies from A Mama Collective to bring you this week's Currently. I hope you'll join us!




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