Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How I Choose Who My Kids Spend Time With

Like most parents, John and I are very choosy about who our children spend time with (and how).  Over the years we have learned a few things that have affected our decision making:

1) There are some people that are dangerous.  They hurt people with their bodies or their words.  They manipulate.  They break the law.  These people will not spend any time with my kids.  Period.  I don't apologize for this.

2) There are some people who aren't great at relationships.  I don't need to tell my kids this or try to shape their opinions of these people.  These people are faulty in a way that will not damage anything but their relationships with the kids, if they don't try and mend it.  Kids are intuitive and realize these faults and more often than not, love people regardless and still hope for the best.

3) Influencers.  Anyone who is not on the same page as us on a major issue and is an influencer will get limited and controlled time with my kids.  For instance, the kid down the street who has free reign online and carries a tablet with him, and is ever trying to convince my kids to do things they should not do.  This friend will not be playing with my kids when the tablet is out, or I am not present.  I prefer both.

4) Go with your gut.  I can honestly say that every time I have gone against my instincts, I have regretted it greatly.  Sometimes what happens is small and easily handled and sometimes it turns out to be tragic. Either way, I knew better and for whatever reason, did nothing about it.  This one can get sticky.  Most people trust what THEY feel and 'know' more than your instincts.  But it is never worth it to go against your instincts when it comes to your kids, even if you do end up in awkward conversations or situations.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Eggs, cooked light and fluffy.

I discovered a new trick for the lightest, fluffiest scrambled eggs you will ever try!  They have the seal of approval from one Facebook friend and my kids.  That's good enough for me to feel like sharing.

I use coconut oil instead of butter, but the key is Greek yogurt!  I use 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt per 8 eggs.  I use just enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of the pan to prevent burning the eggs.

Enjoy!  Yummy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mama is CLOSED

Have you ever uttered the words "Mama is CLOSED"?

I did today.

John has a work injury and has been leaving earlier than usual to have physical therapy.  Construction has started in 'our field' and it is no longer our field, so the kids have lost their main outdoor play space.  And a broken molar has been bugging me to no end for days.

So after a good, but long day with them doing seemingly endless housework, schoolwork and making up dances and perfecting my Jabba The Hut face that collapses them into giggles, I was done.  And when they started bickering over something silly, I was done.  I was even more done when "Mama?  Mama?  Mama?  MOOOOOM?" was being hollered at me every 30 seconds.

So I told the kids I was closed.  I think they were shocked.  I know they were shocked.  Moms don't close.  Moms are available 24/7. Moms don't pee by themselves without interruption.  Moms reheat their coffee four times each morning before getting a sip.  This is their experience.

But it was good for me and it will be good for them.  It needs to be done sometimes.  Otherwise I will find myself bent over, hauling clothes out of the dryer  thinking "I'm going on strike!" or "I am moving to a hotel alone for a week!" or the mature route:  "I'm running away from home!" and then I realize that I'll do none of these things and  that I have overextended myself.  I remember that I am not just a mama but a wife and friend and woman and PERSON and I will take care of my stuff and then decide that I am 'closed' for the next five minutes, half hour, rest of the evening, whatever it will take to get recharged.

And then I will be open and hugs and smiles will be all the readier.  I will be a better Mom because I took time to just be.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Keeping House (and how I handle my other flaws)

"The only thing domestic about me is I was born in this country."  Phyllis Diller

I feel like this applies to me sometimes.

Not me.

A while ago, Gracie came to me and said "I smell cookies.  Or puke.  Are you baking cookies?"

As it turns out, nobody had puked and I was not making cookies.  I am actually okay at baking.  I have my fair share of disasters and victories in the kitchen.  I won't win any contests, but it's decent.

No, baking is not my biggest strength, but it definitely beats out my housekeeping skills.

I was not raised learning to 'keep house'.  On the other hand, John's family is very tidy and his Mom keeps a very neat home.  He learned a lot of great habits that he brought to the marriage.  It just comes naturally to him.  My Dad did teach me "Don't touch something more than once if you don't have to.  If it is in your hand, put it where it goes."  This is one of the first things I tried to put into practice at home.  And, after 13 years with John, and 10 years as a Mom, I have learned enough housekeeping to keep a pretty comfortable home.  It is never like an episode of Hoarders or anything, but it does get extremely cluttery.

It takes a lot for me still to accomplish this, it is not effortless at all (and I don't do it alone, the house is a group effort).  This used to bother me a lot.

Then I learned not to get too wrapped up in what I cannot do, or what I am not good at.  I could find never-ending failures if I did that.  I don't do it to my kids, why do it to myself?  So I am working on setting a good example- I am thankful for my strengths and I try to improve what needs improved, but I do not beat myself up for what I can't do.

So yeah, my baking might smell really bad sometimes. And there is usually a pile of clean clothes sitting in the laundry basket for a few days before they get folded...but I can make a mean pipe cleaner craft, and I do fun voices when I read to my kids.  I make cute doll tutus.  And on Wednesdays after church, the kids and I each get a donut and talk for a while at Dunkin Donuts, because I am a good mom and being relational is one of my strong suits.  And their baking never smells like puke.

Don't beat yourself up for your flaws.  Do your best and embrace the things that you shine at!!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Texas Sunsets

I have often wondered why God called us to Texas.  But while I am wondering, I get to enjoy the beautiful sunsets here.  Most of these were taken from my front yard and all were taken with my phone.  None have filters, except for the one from the Ballpark.  For an indoors-only kind of girl, I sure do find nature to be breathtaking.  

This is at Rangers Ballpark, not my house.  :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Mayonnaise Jar

I read this on Facebook this morning and had to share.  I also posted it to the SOMH Facebook page ('like' to read little encouraging or fun posts throughout the day!).  I had no idea that today was going to be a really hard, crummy day when I read it this morning.  As the day passed and things kept feeling harder and harder, I remembered this.  I thought, "These are sand and pebble moments.  Not golf ball moments.  I have a lot of golf balls.  It will be okay."  I love how God puts things in our path to show us "I'm here and I love you.  I have good for you."  This is a prime example.  I needed this, right when I read it and not a moment earlier or later.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.” he said.

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you...” he told them.

“So... pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled and said, “I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Needs Of Others

I was told a story once about a man who had a dream about hell. Everyone was at a large banquet surrounded by delicious food. But they were starving. Their utensils were chopsticks that were 3 feet long and they could not feed themselves. In the dream he then traveled to Heaven, where a feast was set out, with the same long chopsticks but everyone was full and happy. He asked "How do you eat here?" and someone said "we feed each other." So often we look out for ourselves so much, we are blind to the needs of others. Let's make a purposed effort to be on the lookout for the needs of others this week!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"I'd like to have a word with you..."

Oh my gosh, I cannot be the only person to whom this phrase is really terrifying.  Anything could be dangling at the end of that statement.

But I was thinking recently, what if I had 'a word' with more people?  And when I say word, I mean something kind or thoughtful.  What would happen?

I am shy a lot of the time.  A more in-depth explanation would be that I am a bit insecure mixed in with that shyness.

So I started small.  "That's a beautiful scarf" or "How are you today?"  Always something sincere.  That was important to me.

Then I moved onto slightly more person-specific questions.  If I spoke with someone last week and they were not feeling well, I try to make a point to follow up the next week and see how they are feeling, or offer soup.

I like to write notes and letters- not just emails or Facebook messages but handwritten ones too (when I can find paper and an envelope and a stamp all at once, which feels like quite the accomplishment, ha!).  I realized recently that I had sent someone two notes in as many weeks, thanking them for something.  I was embarrassed at first, but then I stopped and gave myself a break.  I realized that instead of thinking it was weird, the recipient probably realized that I was still thinking of them and grateful for their friendship a week after the first note, and who doesn't like the thought of that?

I received a note in the mail today.  It happens infrequently but it is usually the same person.  It made me smile, and it couldn't have been more than 10 words.  But someone felt that about me, took the time to write it and then went to the trouble of sending it.  That matters.

I have watched friendships blossom as I took the time to have 'a word' with people.  Strangers became acquaintances, and acquaintances have become friends.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Heart So Full

You know that feeling you get when you are so full of emotion that you lose your breath for a minute? Your chest gets tight and you gasp and your heart is so full of love that you think it will burst? Me too. And I just had to send up a 'Thank You' to God for the fact that John and the kids bring this reaction up in me so often. I am so, so thankful.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

We usually do strawberry banana pancakes for Christmas morning, but this year I wanted to try something new I had seen on Pinterest.  Cinnamon roll waffles!  (And yes, these are all from Christmas morning.  I like to really jump on things when they happen.  Or not.)

It's a simple process.  Purchase the tubed cinnamon rolls at your local grocery store, and instead of cooking them in the oven, place a roll in the center of your waffle iron.  Mine makes two waffles at once, so I was able to do two cinnamon rolls at once.

I also took the frosting that came with the rolls and added powdered sugar and milk and mixed until it was the consistency I wanted.  I wanted really runny, syrupy icing.

So easy and SO yummy!  Don't ask for pictures from my attempt at bacon pancakes.  They were less photo-worthy and not so yummy.  They can't all be home runs!