Friday, September 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Fall, Facebook and Pope Francis

Hello?...yes, is fall available? I really thought fall weather was supposed to be here for the season, I must have misunderstood because it's been in the high 70s-low 80s all week! We sure have been enjoying this weather, getting outside to a park or for a walk every day.  Although I do love the cooler weather fall typically brings, it has been a treat to get a little extended summer!

On Tuesday Silas dressed up in his little overalls and we headed to a friends house with some other babies and their mamas to take some fall photos! Here are a few of my favorites that I took, but there were so many cute ones that others took, as seen on facebook.


You can imagine how difficult it is to get 7 babies in one photo looking in the same general direction. I'm sure it would have been funny to get a picture facing the other direction, as all of us mom's are clapping and yelling and frequently jumping in to position babies.
Our oven has been broken for a little over two weeks now, which means we've had to be pretty creative when it came to dinner.  Crock pot, stove top, grill. Tonight we decided to be uncreative and go out to eat! This is pretty rare for us so it was really nice to not have to cook or have any dishes in the sink. We went to a local place for Mexican food. Yummm.

I've said it before, but I am way too addicted to checking facebook and have been reflecting a lot on how much time I waste. It really starts out innocently, I just check it from my phone as I nurse Silas.  I know, though, that there are about 1,001 other things I could be doing with that time! It's not enhancing my life like reading a book or saying a rosary or calling a friend would.
This morning another blogger (Hi Rosie!) mentioned that she was getting a smartphone for the first time and mentioned that she was going to avoid installing facebook because she'd spend too much time on her phone otherwise. This comment hit me--well, duh! SO I took the plunge and deleted it off of my phone. I can still access it if I absolutely need to from Safari (but in what circumstances does a person absolutely need to connect to FB via their cellular device?) I can feel the fresh liberation already.

The latest interview with Pope Francis has made waves and been taken completely out of context and been the talk of the town for the last week. I read a few articles describing it and quoting it, and I decided I wanted to read it for myself.  So I am, and actually have been reading it aloud to Brandon the last few nights before bed.  We're about 3/4 of the way through and I'm super encouraged by his words and reflections. It's so interesting to me that the media is reporting on what Pope Francis has to say so frequently lately, and also that they so easily take his words out of context. I still have a little bit of reading and a lot of reflection to do before I can make any sort of comment on it.

Want to read it for yourself? Check it out here. Want to see what others have to say about it? (Note: Not all of these interpret the interview in context. It seems like a pretty important thing to do, doesn't it?) Check out what CNN says, what Fox News says, what Kendra says (with links to quite a few other articles on the topic), and what Calah says.

I do have to say that it's amazing how the Holy Spirit works, though. How incredible that Pope Francis can make such an impact on people in the short time since he's become Pope. So excited to see how he will be used to evangelize and change the world.

Lately I've been getting this excited feeling because it's almost October which means it's getting closer to Christmas. I seriously love Advent and Christmas and the Christmas season.

I'm missing my family lately.  It's been about a month and a half since we've been home, which is not super long...but it seems like a lot has happened both at home and developmentally with Silas. Fortunately I've been chatting a lot with my mom lately and I even got to talk to my youngest sister for about a half hour this week!! She's in her first semester of college, so she's pretty busy--so great to chat with her for a little bit, but I cannot believe she is old enough to go to college.
Time really doesn't seem to make sense lately. The days are long but the nights should be longer; he's growing up fast and I can't believe we've had him five months, but I can't imagine what life was like before him.

Have a great weekend and check out other quick takes over at Jen's!


Monday, September 16, 2013

What pumpkin spice lattes taught me about life.

It's obvious that fall is on it's way. We're experiencing cooler days and there's a crispness to the air that whispers rumors of the impending arrival of another season, forcing out it's apparently stale predecessor. Facebook and Pinterest have been flooded with hopes of wearing hoodies, pumpkin-flavored absolutely everything, apple picking, and savory crock-pot meals.

I have to admit, I'm a fall fanatic. I love me some cuddling under a blanket while fresh air whips around the house. I'm all about warm drinks and candles with dancing flames and cozy smells. And if I'm really honest, I'd have to tell you that long sleeves and scarves and hoodies are just a few of my favorite things (all of which must have been runners-up to Maria's list in The Sound of Music!).

But let's rewind to...oh...the beginning of April this year. It had been a loong winter by many standards: many days with low temps, lots of snow, and few signs of spring by the time it typically found itself rolling into town. It seriously snowed on April 19th. Everyone was just set on when will it finally be spring already? pleading with winter to politely make it's way out of our lives for a good 9 months or maybe even forever, because we've really just had enough.

And then do you remember May and June? So much rain! Wasn't it time for spring to be over and summer to be here? Longing for hothothot temperatures so that the pools could be put to good use--so that it would finally feel like summer already.

But here we are, longing for fall in a bad way.

We get pretty caught up in what the weather's doing--and why shouldn't we? Should I wear 5 layers today because when I head out it's going to be 30 degrees cooler than when I head back home? Do I need to grab an umbrella? Should I hide in the house all day for fear of melting? There's a reason we watch the news to catch a glimpse at what the weatherman predicts (the only job where it doesn't matter if you're right!). Conversations about the weather are unavoidable and you'll even share your opinion about today's forecast with the cashier at the coffee shop.

When it comes to seasons, you really have to live in and deal with whatever the weather has in store at that time. You cannot wish away a three-foot snow drift off of your driveway, you have to either shovel it yourself or find a husband that will in order to get on with your day. It's not necessary to make sure you have enough layers with you in the middle of the summer, nor would you be looking for your other flip-flop in the winter. As summer comes to a close, we predict based on past experiences what it might be like to experience fall again (and many of our predictions include pumpkin spice lattes) and know that, whether it's our favorite season or not, we must be ready to live in and deal with it.

And isn't this how the seasons of life work, too?

Here I am in a new season, one entitled "Mommyhood." And it's all pretty different than that of "College Student" or "Newlywed" or "Student Activities Asst. Director." It's taking some getting used to, but I'm realizing that I just have to live in it and deal with it. Not in a sarcastic, bitter "deal with it!" way...a day-by-day, learning the ropes and the pace and experiencing it's joy kind of "deal with it." I had nine months of knowing I would birth this precious child, pregnancy being really it's own kind of season.  I prepared for this season by listening to what others had to say about it, by reading books and being prayerful and intentional about what we wanted our lives with children to look like.

And while it mostly resembles the pumpkin flavors of fall and the blooming flowers of spring, it also looks like a driveway that needs to be shoveled sometimes. I find myself loving kissing his scrumptious cheeks, watching his curiosity at what's going on around him, his cute little chuckles as he grabs his feet on the changing table; all the while aching just a little bit for previous seasons when I could make spontaneous plans and take a shower without being interrupted. I'm also caught longing for the seasons to come, when I can leave him at home to run to the store, watch him find his passions, when he will be able to tell me exactly how he feels and what he wants in life (although maybe I won't be so grateful for that during the teenage years...).

There are times when I'd watch people who were clearly in a different season than me and find myself wondering what it would be like to go back, or spring forward, to that time. Would it be easier, more carefree? Do they appreciate how "easy" they've got it? Would I remember how it felt to be right where I am now? Are they looking at me, wishing they had little ones again?

I've realized that in order to get through this season of life--filled with long days with someone who can't carry much of a conversation, seeing 3am more often than I'd prefer, being so busy but feeling like I got nothing done at the end of the day, changing many diapers and having a little one practically glued to my side--in order to really thrive right now, I need to just live in it. I need to appreciate cuddle time with the little man, my ability to give him exactly what he needs during mid-night wake-up calls. I need to remember that he won't be small forever, snuggle him close and tickle his little toesies often. I need to know that I'm fully equipped to be his momma, even when I'm going through learning curves myself and feel like a mega-failure.

I know I'll look back fondly on these days, the joy they brought and the journey they led to. I need to live in and deal with the challenging--mentally, physically, and emotionally--because this is just a season of life.

And how quickly the seasons change.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Five Favorites (vol. 6)

Back for more five favorites because it's just such a good excuse for a random blog post. Guest hosted by the lovely and hilarious Grace over at Camp Patton.  If I choose this week's theme to be "no theme," have I actually chosen a theme?

These pretzels.
Um, excuse me Snyder's of Hanover but pretzels aren't supposed to be this delicious or addicting.  I meant to bake bread yesterday to bring as my snack to pass for Park Mama's, but Silas was preeettyy clingy, and so that just didn't happen. What did happen was me stopping at the nearest drugstore and picking up some of these puppies, and I believe I may have passed on my addiction to a few others (so sorry I'm not sorry!) Fortunately Unfortunately there was a bit leftover that I brought home with me and now I'm just like "eat all the pretzels!"

In less overly-processed food news, I was totally "pinspired" today. Recently I've realized that I need to back off from Facebook, ie: going on like 30 times a day for no good reason and against my better intentions. So I've been checking out pinterest when feeling the need to do something with my brain while nursing. I pinned a link to crockpot meals and decided the lasagna one sounded uh-may-zing, and so it is currently cooking on my counter! Usually I'd give myself pretty low marks when it comes to thinking of what to make for dinner prior to 5pm, so I'm just a little bit impressed with myself.

I'm currently in a Facebook Women's Bible Study. (I'm aware this doesn't help the whole "don't go on FB as much, but at least it's using it in a much more intentional way!) We're studying the last chapters of Luke currently and I have to say that I'm really enjoying this structured and accountability-driven way of diving into Scripture. It has led me to really think about my vocation, loving others, humility, and my prayer life. It's really interesting to be able to share our reflections with one another and be inspired by these women without ever setting foot in the same room with them. Technology has it's downfalls, but it's inspiring to see it's fruits as well!

This post by Ashley at Narrative Heiress really struck a chord with me.  She talks about being at home with babies and the aspects of life that come with it...I find hope in reading other mom blogs because it reminds me that there are others out there doing what I'm doing. They're doing the silence and sometimes-isolating and the hard and the exhaustion...and they're doing the fulfilling and wonderful.

My little man and I get to spend a lot of time together. There really is nothing like being a parent. and we were told this over and over when we were pregnant. "You'll never feel so much love as you do looking at your child, and we can't explain it...but you'll know when you feel it." It's like trying to describe what it's like to see a shooting star, but you really can't imagine it until you watch one cross the sky.
Silas wasn't quite sure what to think of his first swing ride.

Happy hump day! (in the Geico camel's voice, of course!)


Friday, September 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Quick-takin' it with Jen and friends.

1. I'm not quite sure why, but this week has gone by at a rapid pace. Believe me, I'm not complaining! Maybe it's because of the long Labor Day weekend? Or maybe it's because we've been busy every night this week. Definitely been fun!

2. Tuesday was our 2nd wedding anniversary.  I made a roast in the crock pot and bought a slice of carrot cake from the store. (Brandon actually asked if I made it...then I pointed out that it was a center piece and I have no idea how I would have drawn such a perfect, cute little carrot on top)  We ate on the china we received from our wedding, exchanged small gifts (both had incorporated the traditional gift of cotton!), and then headed to a meeting for the young adult committee at church.

3. Do you have china? Do you ever use it? While registering for wedding gifts, I fell in love with our china pattern.  Being oh-so-practical, we had already decided we wouldn't register for something we wouldn't use. So, we received it from a very generous aunt and uncle of mine and now it's our intention of actually using our china for all birthdays, anniversarys, and holidays :) We do have to hand wash it, but it's so worth it--and also proudly displayed in our kitchen!

4. We had talked about taking a little weekend getaway somewhere for our anniversary, but it just seemed like a lot of work trying to figure out where we would go and if Silas would come with us or stay with someone...and then Brandon suggested we take a hot air balloon ride and I was like "um, heck-to-the-yes!" Definitely something I never imagined I'd be able to do and definitely an absolutely incredible experience!

5. Last week Ana included a little story of getting stung by a bee in her quick takes. It was in her hair. For days after, every time I felt the smallest tug of hair (and this seems to happen a lot when you have a four-month old) I was sure there must also be a bee in my hair. Talk about paranoid. 

But-I kid you not-I took out my hair from the nest on top of my head it lives in while I sleep each night, and what falls out but a dead bee!?  Oh my heavens it was so not funny. Until I realized it was dead. without wings. and then it was a little funny. As far as I know, I did not got stung. I'm really hoping it just happened to get in there while we were 4300 feet up or something? Maybe that's where bees go to die.

6. I've mentioned before how my house gets cleaned when I know people are coming over. We had friends over for dinner last night and the beginning of a young adult retreat is at our house tonight. So you know what I've been up to :)

7. This is my 50th post! Woohoo! It reminds me how much of a wee little one I still am when it comes to blogging. Kendra posted the following quote on her blog today and it explains a little bit why I even write on this here blog, so I thought I'd share:

Happy Friday, friends!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The one whom my soul loves

Today marks two years since we took one another as husband and wife, in sickness and health, good times and bad. And what a wonderful two years it has been!

I am blessed by Brandon's presence in my life. He encourages me to be a better person than I was yesterday, guides me to grow deeper in my faith, is understanding, hard-working, and makes me laugh daily. Although we've had our share of hard times, I'm convinced that we can experience marital bliss forever (as long as we're willing to work at it!)

The groom can't see the bride before the wedding--but it sure was amazing to hold his hand! I felt totally at peace as soon as we were able to touch.
In honor of our second anniversary, I give you two "secrets" to a happy marriage:

1) Pray together.  Being vulnerable with one another in prayer and bringing our joys and concerns to the Lord, together, has brought so many blessings to our lives!  Sometimes praying it out resolves things 100x more quickly than talking them out. It's amazing to see the relationship we each have with God and how we have grown in our faith and spirituality both individually and as a couple since we got married.

2) Drink together.  We love coffee and wine and beer.  And the absolute best conversations happen over one of these drinks. Just taking a moment to sit across a table and not be doing anything except enjoying one another's company has proven to be so special to our relationship and so beneficial to our communication.

Today we celebrate all that we've experienced together and we look forward to many more joyful years in the future.


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