Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Few More Hours

All I'm saying is that tomorrow should be a Super day. How can you not love a quarterback named Wilson? And how can you not love a Super Bowl party where salmon is on the menu?

I've even got my new shirt ready to go!

Being Present

This is a tough lesson for me. There are so many other things to do, that I'm not good about laying it all down and just enjoying the moment. I'm trying to make a more conscious effort of that. I'm rearranging some of my routines, and I'm letting a lot of things go for the moment.

And in choosing to be present rather than giving into the tyranny of the not-so-urgent, my eyes are opening to some pretty positive changes.

The biggest one I've noticed is with Annie. We've really come a long way together. Now that she has a big bed, we can snuggle together at bedtime. In those quiet moments, when I'm not letting myself be in a hurry to accomplish the next task, I'm finding myself singing more. Telling more stories. Praying out loud. Connecting to my daughter's heart. I'd like to say she's more cooperative and making better choices - but the opposite is probably true. And what I'm finding as my eyes are open is that she's testing my limits more than ever - because she's trusting me more and waiting to see what I will do. She's finding a mom who is calmer (most of the time) and more consistent. She's running to me for comfort and wanting to spend more time with me. We're playing trains together while the kitchen floor remains unmopped. We're building towers while the laundry sits in the basket. Her vocabulary is exploding and the ideas tumbling out of her head are delighting us all. In a nutshell - she's making some pretty incredible progress, and so am I.

I'm not getting as stressed about unforeseen circumstances. I'm somehow finding time to accomplish more than I did before. My outlook has become one of looking for God and finding gratitude and grace rather than indulging in my selfishness and pity-parties.

I know - this is all stuff I already knew. I'm not posting anything earth-shattering or life-changing. But it's definitely a change in my heart, and I'm finding my outlook filled with more hope than it has in awhile.

Sick Days

The crud hit our house last weekend. It was a weekend of disappointments. Dan was so excited to go to his first drum corps rehearsal of the year. Instead, he was sidetracked with a computer issue at work for almost 12 hours. This turned into some great conversations about giving thanks in all circumstances. And it really helped my perspective.

Meanwhile, I was running the girls to the doctor, only to find out that my girl with all the symptoms of the flu didn't have the flu. (Good news there! The bad news was nobody seemed to know what it was.)

As a result, the three girls spent most of the weekend in bed, watching movies. I think I've hit my Frozen overload for the month!

However, that seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. Nothing like 4 feverish days when your little one can do nothing but just let you love her and take care of her. The difficult behaviors vanished, and all that was left was snuggling, connecting and loving each other.

The housework could wait. The laundry was left undone. The dishes started to pile up. But the girls - we stayed in our jammies and just chilled (if you can call 103* plus "chilling.")

The good news - we're doing better now. But is it wrong of me to look back fondly over our sick days?


I've seen a lot of hullabaloo lately about math. Specifically, the new methods that are being used to teach math. Now, I've seen firsthand kids who have struggled for years with traditional methods watch the proverbial light bulb come on, and they understand math in a whole new way. I've also felt validated to see the way I've mentally solved problems for years being presented as a viable method for finding solutions.

I've also been sworn at for finding merit in these methods. I've been told this is nothing more than another way for the government to brainwash children, and why can't we just stick with traditional methods. After all, they were good enough for my parents and grandparents. (Really? Brainwashing? I thought it was subtraction.)

But this post isn't particularly about math. It's more an abstract thought about how I'm viewing my faith right now. You see - when I teach, I follow the standards. I know what the end result needs to be, and I keep that in mind as I plan. It's a sort of "teach with the end in mind" approach. The district/state/government gets to set the standard. Whatever I do to reach that standard is really up to me. And in reality, I'm going to find as many ways to cover that standard as possible so as many students as possible can attain it. The standard in and of itself isn't good or evil. It just is what it is. (I'm not going to get into the political ramifications of Common Core, etc. here.) So if the standard is teaching kids to subtract multi-digit numbers, does it really matter if they regroup, add up, think in terms of money and making change, or use another method? The key is to find the method that works best for that student to attain the standard. here's where my rambling thoughts on faith come in. You see, God sets the standard. I don't get to argue or question it. I keep that end in mind as I try to go about my life. I may get some wrong answers along the way. I may be trying to fit into your mold of reaching that standard rather than using the method that works best for me. Isn't it beautiful that God allows us the grace to find different convictions to reach the same standard? The standard of holiness.

I'm in NO way saying there is more than one way to God. He makes that pretty clear in John 14:6. Jesus is the only way.

What I'm finding is that we can still reach God's standard whether we worship with organs and hymns or with driving rock bands. We can still reach God's standard whether we read from the NIV or the NASV. We can still reach God's standard whether we wear jeans or a suit to church. The important thing is to keep our eyes on the standard set by God and allow others grace to reach that standard in a way that might not be traditional, or the way "that was good enough for my parents, so it's good enough for me."

Lace Scarf

I also completed my first attempt at lace this month. It was also my first time working with alpaca.

I bought the yarn as a souvenir last summer at a yarn shop in downtown Gresham. Coincidentally, this same yarn shop used to be a bridal boutique where I spent some quality time with my mom trying on gowns and sketching ideas so she could custom create my beautiful wedding gown.


First Sweater

It took 366 days from start to finish. (Okay...I had set it down for 8 months and "forgot" about it.) But I finished my first sweater, made from Hobby Lobby's "I Love This Cotton" yarn.


Girls' Night Out

Dayna and I recently enjoyed a 24-hour getaway. A friend found us a great deal on a hotel in downtown Omaha, where we were treated to a fabulous view of the lights in the Gene Leahy Mall. We indulged in a sushi dinner at Blue. We went swimming in a warm pool on a cold winter's night. We chowed on scones from Panera for breakfast. We stayed up past midnight watching HGTV (a huge indulgence when we don't have cable at home.) We went and saw the new version of Annie the next day, followed by some browsing through an art gallery.

The highlight of the getaway was simply reconnecting with my girl and escaping the distractions that can creep up over the holidays. I think she must have genuinely told me over 50 times, "Thank you so much, Mom! I really enjoyed our time together."

As a side note, I'll simply say that I highly recommend this book, and the companion series for kids. It was recommended by my doctor, and I really appreciate the gracious and faith-based way this sensitive subject was handled.

Coffee Cake

Posting this here just in case I lose the recipe card.

My dear friend Mary Ann made a coffee cake last year that melted in my mouth. It's a recipe from one of my pastor's wives. Oh. My. Deliciousness.

Debbie Kerr's Coffee Cake

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 stick butter
1 c. milk
3 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder

Mix ingredients together. Put 1/2 batter in a well-greased 9x13 pan. Mix 1 1/2 c. brown sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Put half of this crumbly mixture over the batter. Pour on remaining batter and then add remaining crumbly mixture on top. Pour 1/2 cup butter over top. Bake at 375* for 30 minutes.

(I added some frozen blueberries to this today. It was good, but I'll probably leave them out in the future.)


I've always loved January. Maybe because I love that every year in January, there's a day just for me :) I'm a little self-centered that way. But I love how my husband makes me the world's best German Chocolate cake. I love how my girls think of special crafts to give me. And I love a night where I get to pick a restaurant and not feel guilty about not cooking.

ten years off, but I won't tell

My gift to myself this year from the Cracker Barrel store

Getting Organized

Oh, how I hate cleaning. I love an organized home, but I just don't have the stamina to keep up with it. I've tried Fly Lady in the past, and just can't keep up with her.

This year, I'm trying something new. And you know what? I'm one month in and still disciplined.

I'm following the daily 15 minute projects here. My goal is to complete 20 a month - allowing me some grace if I miss a day.

So far, I'm 31 for 31. I've even freed up 2 drawers in my kitchen.

My proudest moment was turning my home "command center" from this:

 to this:

Here's hoping February will continue looking up.