hubby’s dream girl

hubs & i stayed up last night watching celebrity wife swap. wife swap shows always amuse us. they’re kind of like super nanny’s…you get to take a peek at the way other people live & how they treat their kids & spouses & usually, you feel better about your own chaotic life for an hour! haha

well, not last night, thanks to mrs. gold!

tracey gold. (from growing pains)

my husband’s new dream wife!

her home is immaculate…her children – polite & well-mannered…her home is immaculate. did i say that already? no, she doesn’t have any help btw, as far as a house keeper, nanny, etc. she’s a housewife & mom to four boys & her home is immaculate!

ok, so to make matters worse – she also admitted that one of her biggest pet peeves is people sleeping in! ahh! hubby is an early riser himself. the guy probably doesn’t even need an alarm clock. he probably only really uses it in hopes that i’ll hear it! you wanna know what wakes me up? my babies’ cries & my husband’s voice. period. he could whisper to me & i’d hear it, but a beep, beep, beep!…nope not a chance i’m getting outta bed for that sound…they’re nice to look at though…

so, yes, tracey gold, you are his dream girl & you have given me much to live up to this year…

i am up for the challenge! i am going to be your dream girl, mister. you can count on it.

i know, everybody’s doin’ it, but yes, we are going to be eating healthy again, starting today & i’ve got some other topics that i want to focus on as well in 2012…

i have decided to begin my own proverbs 31 study – no workbooks, no guides, just a lot of earnest prayer & studying on my own.

also, in order to bring this house up to “the gold standard,” i need to get a few other areas in proper alignment, so i will also be honing in on a reasonable & workable schedule for a mom of two babies, who also watches two more babies during the week. on any given day, we have my two year old, my 6 month old, my 10 month old niece, a friend’s 7 month old…so…we’ve got a house-full nearly every day.

that said, i aim to share my tips & tricks (both old & new) as we go, so maybe if you’re like me & often think, “where on earth will i find the time???!” we can figure it out together…

hello, 2012. here we go…

something extra…

{healthy eating in 2012 resource}

a little behind…

oh the holidays!

i love ’em, but boy am i behind!

i just spent an hour and a half uploading & editing a month’s worth of photos!

that cruelly reminded me that i have like six blog posts that i meant to write, but good intentions halted at good intentions…

so here’s a visual preview if i can get this booty in gear…

avey baby’s 2nd birthday & the diy chalkboard tea/art table

my “budget-friendly meal #2”
chicken parm casserole…yummo

a fabulous calzone…
complete with made-from-scratch, easy, delicious pizza dough

this year’s effective & fun way to display our christmas cards

a glimpse at isla’s “first christmas come early” @nana & pap-pap’s

look at these little nuggets! aren’t they so cute?!
this is cousin “e” (aka “moose”).
they’re just 7 weeks apart. can you guess who’s the elder?

some everyday randomness about my amazing girls & hunk of a hubby

oh the stories i have to tell…

yep…this is one of many adventures we’ve had in the last 30 days…
mommy no longer leaves her make-up on the kitchen counter.
boy she’s getting taller by the hour!

stay tuned…and say a prayer that i learn to think & type faster…

all that plus visiting “a ho ho” – that’s santa claus, people & he promised ava a kitchen, so it looks like daddy’s gonna be a busy elf tonight…baking & burning nearly all of my christmas cookies thus far…creating salt dough ornaments with da babies – went very well actually, but my kitchen is still covered in flour (but smells of peppermint oil, so i’ll live)…oh & apparently, a pill box. yep – i’ll probably tell you about my pill box. hubs is buying me “one of those pill box thingys that [his] mom uses.” thanks, babe.

oh…and in my defense (b/c i’ll surely be scolded for staying up late), little miss isla rae just decided to have a bottle. this 2nd child thing is quite different than the 1st go-round…she has no schedule & i think she likes it that way. i, on the other hand, am exhausted!

good night & honey, i will clean up the kitchen in five to six hours…promise. xo

life sans facebook

i stumbled upon my official favorite post of the week. {read it here} it’s gonna be hard to top this one in my book, b/c it hit so close to home…it hit my heart.

as a matter of fact, it is pretty much the sole reason for my decision two fridays ago to deactivate my own facebook account. i’ve been on that thing for years…since it was for college students only. it has dramatically changed since then. now everyone from an elementary school aged child (ridiculous btw) to your grandma has become a social-networking junkie.

i was a junkie too. in the true sense – it’s addicting. period. deny it all you want, but when it started to affect my marriage, the scales fell from my eyes & i realized i liked facebooking more than i liked a lot of things – including sitting quietly on the couch next to my own husband. ridiculous.

there are so many good reasons to be a part of it – the links, the coupons, the ideas, the inspirational few that post encouraging words, but you know what? the bad began to creep in & suffocate the good out of it.

too often, i would log off with my heart literally racing or my stomach in my throat. grown women had turned it into a bad version of high school. no one is perfect & no one has it all together, all the time, but you would think so after spending 10 minutes on there. in a flash of new top stories, i could go from having a wonderful, productive day to feeling like the biggest loser on the block.

i know i’m not alone.

too often i would find myself thinking, “why does that person talk to them, but won’t comment on my stuff??” “i thought we were friends…” “so and so talks to me in real life, but won’t in facebook land.” ridiculous. all ridiculous.

but yet i was addicted to it. the drama…the stories…the fluffy status stuff that i knew was an embellishment anyway…

the only things keeping it afloat for awhile were those encouraging few who would have such a positive impact on my day. realizing that dropping facebook wasn’t dropping them…i quit cold turkey.

so here are some red flags i’d like to share. maybe it’s time for a facebook vacation for you too…

1 – if you have similar feelings – if people are intentionally, unintentionally, passive-aggressively affecting your life…take a vacation.

2 – if you find yourself looking to your friends (real or cyber) for advice more often than your spouse & the Lord…take a vacation.

3 – if you are literally crazed to know who’s doing what & where & with whom…take a vacation.

4 – if at least three sentences of your day’s conversations begin with the words, “i saw on facebook…” – take a vacation.

5 – when you accept that some things & some people are just plain ridiculous & you need to focus your time, energy & mental health to more productive “hobbies,” well…take a vacation!

if you’re still going to facebook after this…i understand – just make it a point not to be so snarky…

snarky…my favorite word of the week, also thanks to janae.

oh yeah & let that persona you hold online be the real you. she’s the one who really matters anyway.

that brings to mind numero seis…#6 – if facebook has become your go-to for validation of who you are as a woman…a Christian…a mother…a person…let it go. today. be free to be you all on your own & be proud of that person.

sunday night dinners

so, most people eat dinner every night, right?

nope. not this household…

oddly enough, my husband is not hungry on sunday nights. weird. i know.

his family almost never eats dinner on sunday nights & so the starve-ourselves-on-sunday-for-no-apparent-reason tradition has decided to live on through him, much to my weekly passive-aggressive protesting. i cook anyway. so there!

i just don’t get it. i can see if you ate like a huge late lunch or something after church, but we don’t! in fact, our service ends by 11 am & we’re often eating lunch well before noon. yet, the tradition burns on & my belly is rumbling in time for the early-bird special…his is apparently brain-washed.

i use the children (well, ava) as an excuse to eat.

so tonight – i’m making this – pumpkin french toast bake.

i’m finding that if i make breakfast for dinner on sundays, he can’t resist. he loves breakfast for dinner. another, although more common, oddity of his.

i have some left over pumpkin puree from these divine pumpkin chai cupcakes i made the other day, so it’s gotta go to good use & this mama’s gotta eat tonight! win-win.

i plan on posting about those cupcakes this week. they were oh so good & of course i added a twist that i must share – you know me…following recipes & i don’t mesh. this bout of rebellion resulted in deliciousness…

happy sabbath, friends & hope your holiday week is off to a good start…

still standing…

that’s what i’m doing – building wings.

some days lately it feels as though i’m having to do it frantically & others, i seem to get a few moments of floating.

today’s been a mixture of each.

have you ever felt as if you were on the verge of change? well, i’m on the cusp of a new me…i think i’m pretty much there.

i have had this happen once before in my life. i’m talking over-haul kind of stuff…

the first time was my senior year in high school. that’s been a long time ago now, but i remember that year so vividly b/c my life changed…i changed.

going into that year, my life had been “perfect.” seemingly close-knit family, successful in school & sports, oodles of friends…always on top of the world…you probably couldn’t catch me crying or frowning for that matter if you tried.

as of october of that year…homecoming court, lead role in an independent film, cheerleader since the 2nd grade…by february…dropped from the film, kicked off the squad, tattooed, 42 school absences, countless tardies, detention & divorced parents. needless to say, not the same pretty picture…

valentine’s day, february 14th of that year, i was at the lowest, most desperate time of my life. the future was blurry & i was just going through the motions on so many levels. when i didn’t think things could get any worse & i could probably count true friends on 2 fingers…Jesus showed up.

3 days later on february 17th, i caught a glimpse of Heaven…and just like that i was new.

i can’t explain to you how that happens, but when the Lord said through paul, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come,” He meant it…i really was new. i tried to remember how i felt about certain people, things or topics…tried to relate as the old me, but i never could. i really had become a new creation. my thoughts, my desires, my perceptions & realities were all new.

so this is why i have hope today. this is why, i know it’s going to be ok. i know, b/c i’ve already been there & i’ve experienced the outcome when you release your fears, insecurities, doubts, life…into the hands of the One who made you, knows you & knows what’s best for your life.

my issues are far from resembling any of the issues i faced back then. i’ve been faithfully devoted to Christ everyday since & my “sin issues” aren’t so blatant anymore…i’m learning the deeper you get into your walk w/the Lord, the more like brain surgery it becomes. He’s finding the details in me…the glitches.

through my recent blunders & struggles, i have found a desperation for Jesus like i haven’t felt in a long time. He’s reminding me that i had forgotten to keep leaning on Him. my spirit is more humbled now than ever & He’s probably allowing that to happen b/c “a meek & quiet spirit” is what He loves. {1 peter 3:4}

reminiscent of my previous experience, i’ve been unraveling. unlike the last time though, it’s been a slow process & this time, it’s not the things around me that are coming undone – it’s me. i’ve asked God to help me become this noble woman described in His Word, thinking He would help me to evolve from where i already had grown to. in actuality, He’s stripping me down & showing me the existing uglies instead.

lately, my shortcomings can be found mostly in relationships, most importantly, in my marriage. i’ve asked Him earnestly for months now to help me become a true proverbs 31 woman. i didn’t know that prayer was going to lead me here, but it has & i’m thankful for that.

apparently, you can’t pray to become a proverbs 31 woman & still insist on steering your own ship. lesson learned – the hard way. i have a confession. i’ve been arrogant in my marriage…self-righteous even at times. my way’s always the best…i am above hurting someone i love…nope. i’m finding neither of those are true. i’m seeing that i really can be hurtful & i haven’t been the woman i have the potential of being…the woman He created me to be. my husband deserves that woman. my children deserve that woman. God deserves that woman.

a wife of noble character who can find?
she is worth far more than rubies.
her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
she brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

wow. full confidence. lacking nothing of value. bringing him good, not harm, all of her days…the Lord is really refining me right now. He’s got His magnifying glass on my heart & mind.

i’m learning to be thankful for my failures & i’m actually excited to see who’s coming out on the other side of them. i’m on the verge of becoming better, wiser, stronger b/c of them…

so i guess my message is simply this…

how well we rise will depend entirely on who you let build your wings.

check out brooke fraser’s song, shadowfeet in the playlist at the bottom of the page…

when the world is falling out from under me,
i’ll be found in You…
still standing…

amen.

the time is now

i’m not getting any younger.
my kids are not growing any slower.
the space between the here & hereafter isn’t getting any further away.
i’m not being morbid or melancholy.
sometimes reality smacks you in the face & you realize the time is now.

the time to love my husband & enjoy our youth together while we have it is now.

stop yelling at him for where he leaves his dirty socks.
praise him in private & in public.
tell him at least once a day that he rocks as a father/husband.
smile at him. laugh with him.
hug him ’til he has to pull away to go do something dumb in the garage.
pray with & for him. he needs it as much as you do.
love him.

the time to enjoy & give my all to my children is now.

stop rushing.
bend down, look into their eyes & tell them you love them…you adore them…they are special…they are wonderful…praise them ALWAYS.
get silly, wacky even. who cares? you’re building their memories more than your own.
how do you want them to remember you?
“mom had it all together, all the time.” OR “mom was the best. she laughed & hugged & kissed me ALL THE TIME.”
i know which one i’d choose. the dishes can wait…read them a story.

the time to grow in the Lord, live completely Kingdom-minded is now.

i have 3 titles. that’s it.
i have only 3 things to do exceedingly well in my lifetime…
be a faithful, respectful, loyal, loving wife to my husband…
be a loving, nurturing, protective mother & role model to my children…
be a genuine daughter of the Most High God.

now is the time to get to it.

marriage with a side of cinnamon banana pancakes…

first things first…the marriage stuff…so my hubby & i were having a little argument the other day – hard to imagine if you know us haha – and i was sulking privately in our bathroom, thinking thoughts like, “he should be more like…i deserve him to be like…” get the picture?  so then i had a pleasing revelation – “he really should be the kind of man that he himself would want ava to marry!”  he should be THAT kind of husband at ALL times, because we should model THAT for our daughters…RIGHT?!  right…and then, I believe the good Lord butt right into my scrutiny ๐Ÿ™‚ and kindly reminded me that i should be the kind of woman & WIFE that i would like to model for my daughters.  ouch.  yep.  seems like i have a lot of work to do on my end and it doesn’t involve pointing my finger…so that’s what i am working on from now on – making a conscious effort to be a more godly example of a christian woman for my family.  so far that has involved getting my butt out of bed this morning w/ a smile on my face, making my family pancakes on a monday morning (usually just a saturday thing), doing a load of laundry, and showering all BEFORE ava woke up.  to some of you that may sound lame, b/c you do it all the time, but not this night owl.  i’m lucky to have my teeth or hair brushed most days before 7:30.  hopefully i can keep it up and keep the complaining spirit at bay in the process.

as for the pancakes…  ๐Ÿ™‚  one of my favorite traditions growing up was my mom’s weekend pancakes.  she ALWAYS made from scratch, which is probably why i loathe bisquick, and so now i’ve adopted that tradition myself.  unless we go out for breakfast, which is rare, or i’m sick, saturday mornings at our house almost always include homemade pancakes or waffles.  ava’s on a dairy-free diet, so i adapted the recipe for her.  some of my friends had asked for the recipe before, so here it is…btw it’s a work-in-progress, b/c i insist on getting them right.  they started out way too flat, but tasty.  then they were fluffy little clouds, but the hubby stated he would prefer having pancakes he could chew on, so here is my latest update.  enjoy!

cinnamon banana pancakes (dairy-free optional)

bowl #1
mash 1 ripened banana & coat w/ 2 tbs of sugar – mix well
add 1 tbs veg oil & 1/2 tsp vanilla
measure 1 cup milk (or rice/soy milk) & add 1 egg – beat together
add egg & milk mixture to banana mixture – combine

bowl #2
start w/ 3/4 cup flour
add 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 3 tsp baking power & 1 tsp cinnamon (or to your liking)
add additional 1/8 c flour – mix (if using non-dairy…add an extra 1/4 c instead)
add to wet mixture
stir – but don’t over do it – you want lumps & air pockets

cook on low/medium heat til lightly brown on each side (i give a flip then a gentle tap immediately to spread w/out flattening)

i love how puffy they get & still offer that chewiness you’re husbands will love ๐Ÿ™‚
let me know if you make any alterations that work better!  thanks & enjoy!