Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I feel like Alexander...

... you know, the one from the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Today was rough, to say the least. All of us are sporting actual battle wounds. Emory has a large, and I mean B-I-G, lump on her noggin due to disobedience. Ethan wacked himself in the face with a toy on the excersaucer and has his first bruise, and I burned my ring finger while ironing. Even the comforter on Emory's bed joined in the fun. Yep! The hand-made by my Grandmother whom Emory is named after, quilt I've been saving for about 10 years for my very own little girl, now has a L-A-R-G-E pen stripe down the side. Good times.

Ethan slept rarely and was unhappy when awake unless it was the 30 minutes immediately after being fed. We did the feed the ducks and Emory got to practice riding her bike at the park. And while we were there I let her hold Ethan all by herself and slide with him, while I waited at the bottem. I can be cool sometimes.

But, my emotional volcano errupted at about 4:30 today and it was not cool. I berrated my daughter, and used a tone that I reserve for the worst of offenses. You know, the ones that involve me assuming she's out to get me. I made her cry and when she started crying I twisted the knife a little bit deeper. I took sick, sick pleasure in making her feel bad for making my day harder. And then my out of body experience ended and I was left to pick up the pieces. I repented to her, asked her forgiveness, and put her in front of a video in order to walk away and calm myself fully. I think we got restored. I was reminded of the gift of true forgiveness, which children seem to offer so readily towards the worst of offenses (you would never forgive me if I repeatedly treated you the way I treat her). At family worship Eric asked her what she wanted to thank God for.

That's right. That little tyke climbed up in my lap, stroked my cheek, and said, "My mommy and my family."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

remember that quest?

The one to find a really good boxed mac 'n cheese that I could whip up quickly at lunch time? I never found one. But then, it occurred to me, why can't I just make my recipe, making it only to the cheese sauce stage, and then freeze it myself? Well, I did it and it works! Awesome! Now, all I have to do is pull it out and defrost it in the microwave for about 10 minutes, boil noodles while it's doing it's thing, toss it all together on the stove and.... VOILA! Emory can have her hot lunch! My recipe makes enough sauce for about 2 cups of uncooked noodles. Folks, that is a lot of mac 'n cheese to have on hand. When there are only 3 people in the house eating solid foods, that is a mountain of mac, let me tell you. So, I freeze the sauce in 1 cup portions. That marries up quite nicely with 1/2 c. noodles and gives us that just right amount for a couple of lunches.

Now, if I could just rave about that cutie at the top of the page for a bit. Ain't he darlin'? And there is a sweet personality to match that toothless grin. We took that picture, incidentally, because I really wanted evidence of that grin before there were any teeth in there. Seriously, I could just eat that little guy up. And, as if being cute weren't enough, he really really likes me, too! He can be just a fussin' in his daddy's lap, but if he's handed over to me he'll look at his dad and grin. Rascal. I know I shouldn't encourage it, but.... it just makes me feel so good inside. Once all he needed was to be able to see me. Cool.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

things I've washed...

To date, I have washed the following items. Folks, I don't discover this stuff until I am FOLDING the clothes. EEEWWW.

- pantiliner

- keyless entry remote

- chapstick

- diaper

- Sam's card

- and who knows how many receipts?!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

food I make...

So, I'm a geek. I love, love, love to be in the kitchen. I love, love, love to eat too. If we had the money, we'd totally be foodies. But, alas, I have neither the money nor the metabolism to support such a habit.

But, to satisfy this love, I like to make as many things as I can from scratch. I've recently taken up making our bread. I got the recipe from Femina. Check it out and search for "Childhood Bread". Frequently, at dinner I will slice a couple of pieces and serve it with butter and honey. This is a huge hit with Emory! We also use it for sandwiches now. It is a super easy recipe that would only be easier if a.) I had a Kitchen Aid mixer and 2.) had more than one loaf pan. I currently only have one loaf pan with a recipe that makes 4 large loaves, this makes the process a little longer than it has to be.

I make our baby food when there is a little one in the house. I get to prepare foods like mango, papaya, advocado, squash, and other such foods that no one in the house will eat besides the baby. It makes me happy to have them around, the fun foods, that is. And, I get to experiment with combinations this way. I am so totally addicted, that I even make our rice cereal. This saves us quite a bundle, I might add.

But, my new favorite obsession is homemade yogurt. I found a stupid-easy recipe HERE. If you scroll down a bit you can find ways to thicken it up and make a vanilla batch. I personally use the unflavored gelatin to thicken it, and I chose to make every batch vanilla and then add fruit to a single serving via my mini-chopper. This makes for delectable flavors like strawberry-vanilla. YUM!

Today for snack, Emory had a smoothie that was just the perfect size for a tyke. I took 3/4 cup frozen fruit (anything works! you can even cut up banana and freeze it yourself for this purpose... makes for great baby teethers too) and blend with 1/2 cup milk. I did actually use skim since it was all we had in the house. Emory sucked it down and asked for more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

boy baby vs. girl baby

Now that I have "one of each", I'm enjoying the discovery of how God has made males and females different. Here are a few observations so far.....

Emory would discover her toys, stare at them for long periods of time, turn them over in her hands. Ethans grabs whatever is nearby and shakes it in an "I have defeated you" sort of way.

Emory cooed. Ethan emits shrill battle cries.

Emory didn't like to be cuddled, but wanted to be held for the sake of being able to see what was going on. Ethan loves to have his head stroked and will nuzzle to get as physically close as possible.

Emory was afraid of loud noises. Nothing gets a bigger belly laugh out of Ethan than his sister yelling in his face.

Emory didn't have a "early" bedtime until she was 6 months old. Last night I couldn't keep Ethan awake past 7:00.

And, I am sure there are many, many others yet to be discovered!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's about time!

Ok, so getting to the dentist was on my to-do list to be done before Ethan arrived. I am just a little late in getting it done, since the baby was 5 months old yesterday. However, it is now checked off my list. She did great, only waivering in her cooperation when they took her for an x-ray. That was only because they mentioned it would make a beep, and she's terrified of unknown noises. Once they showed her that it was a small beep, she immediately cooperated. She's been so into her dental health since our trip a week ago, probably because they told her that every princess must have a pretty smile.

Friday, January 15, 2010

If you give a mama a laundry basket....

... she's going to want to fill it with dirty clothes. One of the dirty clothes will have a spaghetti stain on it and will remind her that there is a sink full of dirty dishes from supper last night. So she'll go to wash them. On her way to the kitchen she'll spot a kid jumping on the bed. She'll tell them to stop and the kid will cry at the injustice of it all and wake up the napping baby. So, she'll get the baby up and change his diaper, which will be poopy.

Changing the poopy diaper will distract her from the big kid, who will commence jumping on the bed. They will fall off and start to cry. When the big kid wails, so does the baby so the Mama will rack her brain as to how to appease the big kid and will offer them to watch Sesame Street. When the big kid hears the offer, they will squeal with glee and head for daddy's recliner. Sesame Street won't be on yet, but a commercial for Jell-O will, and it will remind the big kid that they are hungry.

The Mama will offer several snack options, and the big kid will eventually choose one. When the Mama brings the big kid her snack, she will see Elmo and remember the batteries that she never changed in the excersaucer. So she will start to hunt down batteries. Having been put down, the baby will decide he is hungry and begin to wail. The big kid will complain that she can't hear the T.V. over the baby, and you will pick the baby up. The spit up stain on your shirt will remind the baby that it is almost time to eat, so he'll continue to whine. So, the Mama will sit down and feed him.

After the baby is full, the Mama will put him in the excersaucer, which still needs batteries. The Mama will rifle frantically through the junk drawer in the kitchen and eventually remember that we now keep batteries in the new laundry room. Being in the laundry room will remind the Mama of clean clothes, of which there are none in the house. So, she'll start to gather dirty clothes. And chances are, if she has some dirty clothes, she's going to need a laundry basket to go with it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm a triple big sister...

... 'cuz I've got 2 younger brothers and 1 younger sister. Sarah, Dan, Josh, and Grace... that's us. The Steffler kids. It's like we're famous or something because when I run into someone that knows a member of my family, they always ask, "Are you a Steffler?" Like we're the Kennedy's or something. We look alike, except Josh. He and Dan were only 1 grade apart in school and I think it was sometime in high school before folks realized they were brothers. Everyone thought they were cousins. Josh looks nothing like the rest of us... lucky guy.

In 2002, Dan died from an accidental overdose. I swear to you the first thought that ran through my mind when I found out was, "And then there were 3." I have no idea why. I think there is a certain amount of pride that comes from being in a large family. It's like Survivor. You've learned how to make yourself heard, how to make sure you get one of the Little Debbies that Mom almost never buys, how to get the right to the front seat occasionally.

I still miss him. I miss him more now that we have kids, because I see him in my children. Emory smiles like him occasionally. She's a little lawyer like he was. Ethan is built like Dan, a little Sherman tank. I wonder what he would have thought of my babies? What would he have thought of Eric?

Don't get me wrong, life was not a bed of roses with Dan. Let's call a spade a spade. He was a drug addict and one of the most unbelievably selfish people I know. But, he was so dang funny. I hate that I will never hear him tell the Earth dog story again, never hear him say "Hands off" again, never watch him needle Dad and giggle at the reaction Dad is so good at giving.

He was maddening at times, but could be oh-so-much-fun too. I'm thankful that I can still see him, if only in glimpses through my kids.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

made in heaven...

... our marriage, that is. Not, really, but we are a pretty terrific match for each other. You don't get more opposite, and we seem to compliment each other well. Now, is our marriage perfect? Not yet! But I'm pretty happy, or at the very least, content to be married to Eric. He's a really great guy. I mean, really really great guy.

I think I am always still in a state of shock that I am married to someone who loves me. You see, when there is someone close to you that doesn't love you, you start to believe that you are unloveable. That's what happened the first time I tried my hand at wedded bliss. When I first met Eric I was content just to be friends with the guy. He didn't have to like me, like me - although I really wanted him to - he was just a lot of fun to be around... and he was so nice to me. Aaahhh......

When we did start dating he turned out to be an incredibly attentive boyfriend. So much so, that I had no idea what to do with the attention. It overwhelmed me, scared me, and even felt kind of icky at times. It was foreign to me, this being treated as though I mattered.

And, he's still that way. The other day I had to ask him to please stop being so considerate and just do whatever it was that he wanted regarding an issue at home. Now, now, lest you all holler at me that I'm crazy to want him to be less considerate and that there are worse things to have in a marriage, remember that I want what's best for him too. I want him to feel like a man, make decisions, be confident about them, and grunt in the process!

He does have sin and he does wrong me at times, but I see fruit in him from May 2005 until now. It's so lovely being married to a man who is being visibly sanctified. And who still watches me undress (oh grow up! I've got 2 kids so you know it's happened!) and makes sure I know I am desired.... even though my post-partum body looks nothing like the one he married. And, he likes being with me. Misses me when I am not around, yet gives me the freedom to have a little "me" time after the kids are down.

He's a great daddy, a wonderful husband and I still have no idea how I got this lucky. An older lady in our church poked me a couple of weeks ago and whispered, "You're life is a dream come true. You do know that, right?" I looked down at the sweet, sweet baby I was holding, glanced at Eric who was wrestling Emory and acknowledged that I did. Dream come true doesn't mean that my days are easy. Not at all, but I've been delivered from a trial, a suffering, a hard providence that I never expected to be delivered from. I got my get-out-of-jail-free-card, for the second time around. How can anyone not say, "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad!" (Psalm 126:3)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

it occurs to me...

that I do live a somewhat chaotic existence. But, within this chaos is so much joy also. Here are some tidbits:

- A hubby who takes it upon himself to begin the kitchen clean-up while I indulge my maternal instinct to sing my kiddos to sleep.

- A daughter who is struggling to learn the spirit of thankfulness, but who is showing fruit in this process. The other day she was sent to her bed to think on her rudeness to her momma and come up with something to thank me for. When I went to get her she told me, "Thank you momma for washing blankey and making her smell nice."

- A little buddy who cracks us up with his delights of the fruits of the earth. This kid loves to eat and it is a joy to feed him. Needless to say, if you know my daughter at all then you know that having a child who loves to eat is a special delight for me.

Emory is really growing up. The transistion in my relationship with her when Ethan was born was H-A-R-D! However, by God's grace I do believe we are over the proverbial hump and are beginning to figure out these new waters together. She's my little buddy again, and God has been opening my eyes a little more as to what makes her tick.

She loves it when I treat her as a big kid. When she feels like she and I are taking care of Ethan together. She especially loves to climb into his crib with him when he wakes up from a nap and read him books while I finish whatever it is that I was in the middle of. She tells me (rather cheerfully and importantly!), "You stay here, Mom. I'll get him for you." They laugh so hard at each other and sometimes I just stand outside of his door and listen to them. He loves her and she is learning to love him.

She thinks it's funny when I call him a "smelly dude" and loves to hand me wipes as I change his diaper. She's in charge of washing his "piggy toes" when he gets a bath, and she is completely disgusted that he will pee in his bath water. She loves to feed him when he gets solids, but never actually manages to get any of it into his mouth. He never gets frustrated with her, but is delighted by her special attention to him. She really wants to hold him and walk around with him, but he's so darn heavy I think she would drop him out of sheer exhaustion. So far I've only been brave enough to let her carry him from his doorway to his crib.

I'm learning to delight in this chaos because where I am weak, HE is strong. It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the diseased. This parenthood thing is showing me new levels of my need for Jesus. Like when both kids wake up grumpy and needy within minutes of each other. I need wisdom, I need patience, I need physical endurance, I need grace, I need kindness... I need HIM!

Friday, January 8, 2010

the rules of sleep...

... in our household are constantly changing. I think the kids get together to conspire who will be the one to throw mom for a loop this week. Rarely do both kids take a good nap on the same day. Rarely do both kids sleep through the night, on the same night. Rarely do they both go down easily. Someone must always give mom something to work on.

That's okay. It all adds a little spice to my life. I wonder who'll get up tonight?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Idols, busy-ness, and redemption...

Ok, so I'm a busy gal. I don't really know how it happened, but it did. I tell myself it's because we had another baby 4 months and 4 weeks ago, but who am I kidding? I was busy way before then. It was my New Year's Resolution to not be so darn busy in 2010. You know, weed out the unneccesary.

I thought the unnecessary was lunch dates with other ladies, personal shopping trips, and playing around on Facebook. Oh no! God showed me mightily over the course of the last 24 hours that the unnecesary is occasionally in the form of the housework. And I ain't talking some random project like paint the cabinets, organize the tool shed, or wash the dog's water bowl. No, I mean the normal stuff... dinner, laundry, making beds.

Yesterday Emory went back to preschool and I sighed with relief that life was getting back to normal. Our routine was back in place. I came home after the carpool run, tucked baby boy in for a nap and mopped the kitchen. Check. Made lunch for some friends who were coming over with their little ones to play. Check. Made the beds. Check. Picked up random toys in corners of various rooms. Check. Order has been restored to the Skocelai household. Then the phone rang and all H-E-L-L breaks loose.

A dear friend had a death in her family this past weekend and it was our church secretary had called to see if I would assist her in arranging meals. As I frantically tried to figure out why I was getting this phone call, I accepted the challenge. After all, a couple of quick phone calls and I'd be done, right? I got the food delegated, including dropping off a random bottle of Karo syrup to one of the ladies making a dessert. She had a plethura of pecans, I had some Karo Syrup, her house is on my way home from picking up Emory. Voila! "Lord, thank you that You ordained everything to fall into place so that I was not undone by this unexpected need today." I prayed on the way home. Mistake number two.

The kids are down for a nap, hubby is home on a half day and I've cheerfully put him to work, and I get busy in the kitchen. To cut down a rather lengthy story, the crsut wouldn't work, sending me to Publix at 5:00 right as everyone else was hitting Publix on their way home from work. I get busy in the kitchen (it is now after 5:00 and I'm hell bent on making this pie that will need time to set after it has been prepared.). Emory and Ethan wake up right as I'm at the critical stage of stirring and simmering the chocolate. I cannot stop what I am doing or the pie filling will be ruined and I'll have to start all over. So, I snap at my daughter to suck it up, life's hard and mommy's busy, and whine to my husband, "Can't you please do something with the kids?!"

Pie is done at 6:00 and I finally get started on dinner, which, by the way, includes an entree I have never made before. I had picked up a rotissiere chicken at Publix for later in the week. When the Spirit nudges that maybe I should consider that for dinner along side a can of green beans and instant rice, I snap back, "Go away! I can figure this out myself." We sit down to eat and I realize with a shock how horrible my attitude has become in the name of serving the Body of Christ! So, I asked my family's forgiveness and we enjoy a fun meal, bathtime, and bedtime routine.

I collapse on the couch, ever thankful that today is over and looking forward to a tomorrow of blissful boredom. Then, dearest cautiously asserts, "We're out of dog food." I wanted to bury my head and cry. Why? Because this means a Sam's trip with 2 kids and I promised Emory I would take her to story time and when in the heck will Ethan get his morning nap if I have to be out all morning? Eric can't promise he'll be able to get it because Wednesday is a surgery day and he frequently doesn't get lunch on those days. So, it's up to me. Woohoo! No problem, I work out the day in head, one that includes story time and baby's morning nap, but it's going to be a tight one!

I get home from the gym this morning to find out that the baby has uncharacteristically slept until 8:00. Of course he did. Now, he won't want to nap at 9:00 so how do we make story time? I figure it out again and realize we can make it to the 9:30 instead of our usual 10:30, but we'll have to come home and put him down before heading back out to Sam's. But what about lunch? I don't want to eat out, I want the picturesque meal at home with my kids!

I jump in shower, bustin' a move to get to story time in T-minus 45 minutes, and I realize I have a golden opportunity to cheerfully accept what God has ordained for me instead of chaffing against how things didn't go as I had planned. So, as I sudsed up, I gave the day to Him, and then yanked it back when I realized that meant going European for day number who-can-keep-track. Than, I sighed and gave Him the day again. Jumped out of the shower, threw on clothes, and start getting kids ready to go. Baby boy has had a blow out. The kind where I have to change my clothes too. "Really, Lord?" I struggled, but we're out the door and on our way with 3 minutes spare.

At some point I just decide that Emory is going to get a piece of pizza at Sam's for lunch and we need grapes, so I'll get those first and she can munch on those too while I shop. She doesn't care that we are not home for lunch, she does care if her mommy is snippy with her. Ethan doesn't really care that he's not been allowed to play with any of his toys today, he does care if his mommy is so busy with her list that she forgets to look at him occasionally and smile. Eric doesn't really care what we had for dinner, he does care if I am impatient with him.

It's all about letting go of what I want and cheerfully putting aside my list if God has better for me, not exacting a price from my family for getting in my way of getting stuff done. When will I learn that no one around here really cares what we do with our day as long as it is done cheerfully?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Still trying...

Here is my list of resolutions from 2008. I would say that they are still my resolutions. There was no written record from 2009. However, since I was pregnant I'm going to guess that at the top of my list was puke less!

With the obvious addition of the words "and son" to number 1, I'm still trying to keep these resolutions!

As I move into 2008, my resolutions for the new year are as follows:

1.) Delight in my daughter and husband more.
2.) Have a messier house.
3.) Pet the dogs more often.
4.) Not eat after 8:00pm.
5.) Discipline more consistently, even if it is incovenient.
6.) Be more available to others.
7.)Beg God that my desire for all the above be for His glory and not mine!

What are your resolutions? I'd love to hear them!