Saturday, March 29, 2008

Time of Refreshing

As a child, I couldn't stand playing by myself. My mom would ask, "You should have imaginary friends to play with." Truth be told, my imaginary friends didn't like me. Or I didn't like them. Whatever the case, our friendships didn't work out, so I'd beg my sister and brothers to play with me. Mostly just my sister. It drove her crazy. I just could NOT play alone.

Fast forward many years to married life and a child. Now I don't get enough alone alone time. Meaning, time to myself for myself.... and I miss it sometimes. Tonight, after the kiddo went to sleep, I decided to go for a bike ride. It was such a peaceful ride... the sun was setting... it was quiet... there were deer watching me watching them... and a ride to the beach was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I stopped for a moment to take in the quiet, and the beauty. Boy, there is a lot of beauty in this world, despite the ugliness all around us. There is still purity in this world - from the perfect sunset to the sound of a bird's song. The artistry of our Creator astounds me every time.

Moments like that reminds me of the vastness of this world, and how small I am in all of it. Despite my small role in this life, God everything about me.... down to the number of hairs on my head. God, the creator of the Heavens and Earth, listens and answers every prayer that I pray. Every laugh that I laugh. Every tear that is shed. What an awesome God we serve.

It was a lovely and refreshing time, and I'm glad to be home. There's a lot of beauty here too. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter - He's Risen!!

Our beautiful little girl. :)

Coloring Eggs
The finished product

Friday, March 21, 2008

Green Smoothie

Sooo... as gross as this might look, it's actually pretty tasty! I've been experimenting with green smoothies for sometime now - trying to find one that actually tasted decent - one that both the babe and I both love (L seems to be able to drink the not so good ones). Well, today I think I have found it! The babe drank two cups of it, and I downed mine pretty quickly.

This is what I did (so I can remember):

A handful of spinach
Half Mango

Blend and taste it's goodness!! This one gets two thumbs up! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This morning, in the bible study that I attend, the leaders of the group washed our feet, as Jesus washed the disciples' feet. They took us to a different room, with only the worship leader playing "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus". The leaders knelt in front of each of us, looking us in the eye, reminding us of how much Jesus loved us to die so that we may experience freedom and life eternally.

We were all in tears, as we felt the Spirit move. It was a beautiful time of prayer and reflection - of the suffering that Christ endured so that we might spend eternity with Him. The overwhelming love He has for us, and how on the third day, He defeated death and lives forevermore. Praise God for freedom, grace, and eternal salvation.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Someday" by Alison Mcghee

If I had a list or a "Book of the Week" (maybe this will be my start), this is would definitely be the one that I would choose. "Someday" was our birthday gift to my little niece, M, who recently turned one. Now that I have a kiddo, I love looking in the children's book section on Sigh. So many books. So little time. :)

This is a "circle of life" book that focuses on a mother's relationship with her daughter. I bought it before fully reading it... and then couldn't finish it, because I was nearly in tears. This sweet book is simple in its writings - only a sentence on each page, and a small photo, but its simplicity is what won me over. Some lines from the book are "One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one", "Someday you will swing high - so high, higher than you ever dared to swing", and "Someday I will stand on this porch and watch your arms waving to me until I can no longer see you."

Just a sweet book about the mother/daughter relationship, and the memories and dreams that develop.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Being Green AND Frugal

Going Green is quite the movement nowadays. I think much of it is genuine, and with anything that's popular, there is a following of doing it because it's "cool" or "in" right now. Growing up in a family that wasn't even the lightest shade of green, it's strange that I possess some "inner hippy-ness", and have always thought "tree huggers" were cool (okay, SUPER cool). So what is my reasoning? It's both genuine and cool to me. Granted, I have a very strange ideas of what it means to be cool... because another group of people that are cool are... that's right... frugal people. It's really wonderful.

So how do we reconcile being green and being frugal? Organic food costs more. Hybrid vehicles cost more. Green cleaners are starting to come down in price, but are still more expensive than regular cleaners.

Well in any ways, being green and being frugal go hand in hand. Here are some ways we have found and incorporated:

1. Our most recent change was the switch over to cloth bags. vs. plastic or paper. How is this frugal? Our grocery store gives us $.05 for each bag that we use, each time we use it. Not significant, but when you're frugal...

2. Recycle!!! It has cut down on our garbage so much - who wants to pay a lot for trash?! When were going through one large trash bag a day before we started recycling... now we are down to one incredibly small bag. Huge difference.

3. Switch over to baking soda and vinegar for cleaning supplies. It DOES disinfect and it DOES clean. Use a splash of essential oils or lemon juice to mask the vinegar scent. I use both this and conventional cleaners, since I'm trying to use everything in my cupboards.

4. We wash (almost) everything in cold water. It saves on energy and on money. At the moment, we don't have to pay for utilities, but the habit has stuck.

5. Use cloth diapers. We use hot water for these. :) We cd part time. Though it can be a high cost up front, it really pays off quickly, in my opinion, especially when used for multiple children.

6. Walk vs. drive whenever you can. Living in town has made this easier for us to do. Saves on gas, which is ridiculously expensive, and doesn't pollute the air.

7. Plan your outings when you need to drive. I generally drive to the health food store once a week, which is 20 min. away. I try to get as much done on that trip as possible.

8. Use smaller vehicles. Our trusty ol' saturn gets us where we need to do with much less gas than other larger vehicles.

9. Switch to cloth napkins (buy cheaply from second hand shops). This has helped us cut down on our consumption of paper towels.

10. Switch to cloth when cleaning.

11. Buy in bulk whenever possible. This is generally cheaper and cuts down on packaging.

12. A friend recently turned us on to oatmeal baths vs. body wash products. The babe was battling a nasty diaper rash (thank you, kiwis) and that oatmeal was gentle on her body. Plus, it made her skin soft. Oatmeal is cheap in bulk!!

13. Line dry. Our last house had a clothesline, and this one doesn't, but hopefully we can put one up in the summer?

14. Have your own vegetable garden. We are hoping to do this this year. :)

15. Make do with what you have or buy second hand.

There are others, but these are many ways that we "go green" and stay true to our frugal mindset.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On The Day: Happy Birthday!!!

It's hard to believe that our little girl has hit her first year milestone on this earth, and we've made it through the first year of parenthood. I was getting a little choked up going through all of her pictures and how much she's changed in one short year. It's been fun to reminisce over each stage of her development - so much has happened!

When we first held her, I think we were all excited and uncertain of the task that was ahead of us. I didn't think I could love her more than those first few moments, but one thing in certain: our love for this girl is deeper now than a year ago... and I'm looking forward to many more years of this happening!

We were certainly blessed that God chose us to parent this little one. She's determined, curious, smart, beautiful, funny, unique, and everything we could have ever wanted.

We love you, Beautiful Girl!! Happy Birthday!!!!!!

On the Day: Pictures

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On the Week Cont: My Girl

This little girl has lived up to her name, and has delighted us since the day we laid eyes on her. She has brought so much joy that we can't remember what life was like before her. Her laugh inevitably makes us laugh... what an amazing person to be around!!

She loves to growl, make other strange sounds, play peekaboo, "read" her books, observe other kiddos, dance, play her recorder (new skill!), play with the kitties, play outside, and help me with household activities like pushing the buttons on the dishwasher and pulling the clothes out of the drawers, as I put them in. :)

I mean, look at this kid - isn't she just lovely?!! I proudly say, "That's my girl!" :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

On the Week Cont: Gifts

This is part of the kiddo's birthday present. I was on a hunt for some cheap napkins at a local vintage store, when I came across this adorable child-size rocking chair. I had to get it... and of course, I couldn't wait to give it to her. It now sits in our living room, near her "reading" area. :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

On the Week Cont.: What She Eats

I get asked a lot what my child eats, and now that she eating all table foods, pretty much the answer is: Whatever we eat. Well as this week is ending, and I'm making a meal plan for next week, I am floored at how our produce bill has gone up. :) Let me tell you what our kid has consumed this week:

2 1/2 pints of blueberries (she LOVES blueberries)
A package of oranges (with a little help from me)
Handful of pears
Half of a watermelon
A few bananas (though she appears sick of them, which is sad, b/c they're cheap!)
Half dozen kiwi
A couple of apples (also something she's sick of)
All of her yo-baby yogurt, plus half of a large container (for smoothies)
Some deli turkey meat
Eggs (finally)
Turkey bacon (a new fave)
Her wheat squares (she loves these things...)
Grilled cheese
Half of a package of frozen broccoli/corn
Some stir fry
Oatmeal (a LOT of oatmeal)
Some pasta

Plus, whatever we had for dinner... this basically just covers breakfast/lunch/snacks! Seriously, our kid likes her food (of course, Mom and Dad do too)! So different from a year ago, that is certain! :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

On the Week of Becoming One

It has been a busy week or so for us. The kiddo's sleep schedule appears to be changing, so it's been a tough week for all three of us. It's been difficult for me to figure out how to get dinner moving with her hanging on my leg... or trying to get all three of us to eat at the same time, as L's been working late.

Plus we've been working on some house projects that we've been trying to get done for weeks it seems like. We're refinishing our end tables, and hopefully getting them to match our coffee table (which is serving as our entertainment center at the moment). That will be our main focus this weekend. Sanding is a very therapeutic process, I'm finding, but never ending as well. I can't wait for them to get done.

And E went through a stage where she didn't want anyone else but me ( was rough). We even debated going to church because we didn't think she'd stay in nursery. We did end up going, and true to the social nature that she is, she loved nursery. My thought process has been "If she's fine in public, we'll stay in public all week long!" Hence, we've been to three playgroups, and one play date so far this week and one more tomorrow. :)

So we've seen lotsa people, which has been nice for both of us. Not so great for the chores around the house, though. So, while she is sleeping, I've been cleaning the bathroom and trying to get the floor clean. This is a process. It seems like my house is never fully clean. I'm so thankful for a smaller space, though... less rooms to clean!

Anyway, it's difficult to believe that my little girl will soon be turning one. A year ago at this time, I was full of anticipation, wondering when she would come, if "she" would turn out to be a "he", and if it would be difficult labor, would we be good parents, would she be healthy, what would she look like...

She turned out to more than I could have ever imagined. Absolutely beautiful. Incredibly social. Inevitably curious (thanks to Dad). Hilariously funny. Certainly unique (have you heard the sounds she makes?). Just right. I love spending my days with her, watching her learn and grow, take everything in.

God has blessed us immensely with such a lovely gift. I pray that even in the frustrating moments, I would remember how blessed we are and how special she is. I pray daily for wisdom in parenting, and that I would savor the moments I have with her. She is amazing.