The Try Is What Matters

I wrote this post about a month and a half ago, but tucked it away.  Sometimes when things are rough and there is tension, I find myself needing to give something space to breathe and not be holding it so close to my sensitive little heart.  I was doing some blogspace clean up and thought that maybe someone could use the little push to keep going today, so here it is!

Marriage is hard.  There have been plenty of people around me that have differed on this idea. Parenting is hard.  No one has disagreed with me on this one :).  Now, either people are lying, or I’m bad at marriage.  Either way, things have been a little hard around here.  Different ideas, different opinions, different needs, different wants.  When two people enter into a holy and forever union, they are still two different people.   In trying to find some middle groud within our differences, there has been arguing, there have been late nights, but I believe we are looking at the end of the tunnel.  Each day we will continue to give each other a kiss goodbye, say I love you and sleep in the same bed at night.  The differences are there, but they are not the center of our relationship; the try is the center.  The trying to see the other person’s point of view, the trying to understand, the trying to reach out in grace, patience and love. That is what matters at the end of the day.  The try is what matters.

This day was rough, there was arguing the night before.  There was an early work meeting in freezing temperatures.  There were errands to be ran, disagreements to be resolved.  There was a stalled battery,  a wreck causing lots of traffic on the freeway.  There was a child that wouldn’t nap, a house that needed to be cleaned.  This was a rough day.  And then it wasn’t.  I stopped having a rough day and had a better one.  I remembered that I argued in a cozy warm bed that holds my husband and I together, and that we are unshakeable.  The meeting was a breakfast, the temperature while freezing, was not windy.  The battery was jumped promplty, the wreck wasn’t mine.  The child will sleep early tonight, the errands will get run, the disagreement will fade away.  The house is a quick pick up.

After making this decision to have a better day, Eli and I went to an indoor play area.  Eli played with all of these other kids, greeting them with fist bumps and high fives.  He ran all over, glancing over every once and a while to make sure I was there, make sure I was watching.  At the slide, my sweet little boy, waited patiently while child after child cut in front of him.  He didn’t push, scream, shove or do anything other then wait for a chance to slide.  It was adorable and just made me think, all that matters is the try.   I have tried to show him to be patient, to be kind, and he was!

Everyday there is a mountian of tedious work and a faults to overcome, everyday we can choose to win or lose at this life we have been given.  The thing that makes the big difference for me is to remember what really counts. The try is what really counts.  I tried to get do a minute long handstand.  Tomorrow I will try again.  And the day after, and the day after.   Today I tried to have patience,  and I will have a little more tomorrow.  When I had the bakery, I felt like I was failing and my father-in-law told me that as long as I was trying, I wasn’t failing.  So often we get caught up in the end result, we want instant gratification and “the goal”  when all that really matters is that we find an opportunity to stop whatever “wrong” we are doing and try to do better.  It works!  In slow and steady ways, these things that we try to improve upon, the traits we hope our children will emulate, they start to show through.  The try is all that matters.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Full disclosure:  I made these cookies at 9 last night and as of 1:30 this afternoon, I have had 10 cookies. 10.

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I have a decently intense obsession with Smitten Kitchen.  Deb is a genius and we actually have similar flavor profiles.   She has this recipe for brownie roll out cookies and, while delicious, they are not as brownie like as I would like.  Enter her newest brownie cookies!! Decadent, intense, amazing!!  And yet! For my family, the chocolate flavor was a little too dark and the chocolate was so prominent that I ended up wanting another layer of flavor incorporated.

The peanut butter flavor isn’t overly prominent, think a dark chocolate reeses peanut butter cup that has been melted.  The texture, Deb got it right for sure, it is all chewy brownie and so so delicious.  Please join me in my newest obsession.

1 stick butter

4 oz. extra dark chocolate chips (I prefer guittard)

Slowly melt butter and chocolate chips together, until just barely melted, either in the microwave or on the stovetop.

1 cup brown sugar

Whip in the brown sugar.

2 eggs

Whip in the eggs one at a time.

1/2 tsp.  baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla.

1/2 cup peanut butter (I prefer these cookies with creamy Adam’s Salted Peanut Butter, but any brand or kind- even chunky, would work here)

MIx in the peanut butter, until just barely incorporated

1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

1 cup flour

Add in the flour and cocoa powder (either sift the cocoa powder or use yourfingers to break up any chunks.)  Mix until combined.

Place dough in fridge while you wait for the oven to heat up to 350*

Now I love a giant cookie as much as the next person, but these have the best texture and a plenty intense flavor at a smaller size, as in about 3 tbls.

Bake for about 11 minutes.

 

 

 

23 Months with Eli

Almost two years old!  In some ways Eli has always seemed this old; he never had that chunky baby body, he hasn’t needed me to carry him around everywhere for awhile and yet he still seems so little, he is a tiny guy, still doesn’t speak much.  What’s it like to have a 23 month old right now?  CRAZY!! This kid is a wild man and constantly keeps me on my toes.  Eli loves to run and run and run, all you have to say is do you want to run really fast?! And he takes off running laps around the dining room table.  He loves to dance, which is basically just him running around in circles, but still adorable.  In general, anything physical, Eli is all about- jumping, being thrown in the air, tickling, going up and down stairs (bonus points if you can find an escalator to play on).

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Some  stats about Eli

Loves:  Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, balls, physicality, swinging as high as he can (seriously, when we go to the park, we are on the swings for about 20 minutes and he throws a fit when I finally make him do something different), Mr.  Potato Head.

Weight: 26.5 lbs.

Height: 32 in.

Eating:  Eli is either a champion eater or nothing at all.  Loves spaghetti, cottage chese, green juice, blueberries, toast, soup and cookies.

Development:  Eli is still not talking much.  He has been saying “what’s that” to everything all the time for months.  He has started trying to say Buzz Light and To Infinity.  He still says dog, wow, and recently oh no.  He knows so much more than he is able to say, so we are just counting on him talking eventually.  He knows where his eyes, ears, mouth, nose, head, toes, belly button are.  Will put trash away in the trash can, he is so close to potty training, totally understands to concept, but hasn’t figured out the connection, plus he can’t say that he needs to go the bathroom yet, so… He cleans up messes when he spills water, has started picking up his toys (and then dumping them back out immediatly…)

In conclusion, this 23 month old boy has fully stolen my heart.  He is still sweet and affectionate, super snuggly, gentle, loves other kids and animals.  He waves bye bye and give knuckles and high fives to everyone he meets.  Im so smitten, its unreal.

2016

Oh hey there!!

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It has been rough getting back into some sort and form of a schedul, between Eli deciding to suddenly become very adamantly against sleep and me decidet o get a cold that lingers on and on and on, slow going.  However, Eli went to bed like a champ and I do not feel completely miserable, so I’m going to tell you all about 2016, or what I hope it to be.

Aside from the above reasons for being slow going with this post, deciding on these goals has been a real challenge.  This year has been a really discerning, big deal year for me in which I was discovering who I am as a mother, a wife, an adult in general.  Motherhood has had a way of making me feel like I am accomplishing nothing.  Everyday, I prepare 3 meals, clean up the same messes (and do it again 4 other times), do the same thing day in and day out, sometimes I am patient, sometimes I am not, but this year, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I am doing big, completely immeasurable work.  Making my goals for this year is really just about not losing the momentum on this past year.Things that worked:

Word of the year:  Growth!  Took me a long time to land on that one, but this is the year for growth for sure! Growing our family, growing our futures, growing our lives.

Sustainable/Ethical Purchasing:   Big backyard garden and very conscious clothing choices.  This year we will have a large garden, hopefully with an overflowing bounty.  As I have gotten into purchasing groceries that have a production line I am prouder to support, this is starting to overflow into other purchases, mainly clothing and Eli’s toys.

House a home:  Continuing to not have any unusable spaces in our home, finishing the decorating.  Completing our backyard transformation, nw that we have had a useable backyard space, we know what needs to change.

Adventuring:  I would like to be outside more and more and more, camping, day trips, vacations, let’s have an adventure or 12 this year!

Read/School/cook:  I find myself talking about Eli ALL THE TIME.  Listen, I love the crap out  of that kid, but I do not want to end up having everything that I talk about, everything that I know be about my kids.  So, its time to continue to expand my mind, my life, reading a book a month; would love to say a week, but let’s be realistic.  I’m also wanting to take some online classes, not in anything major, just hobby stuff :).  Would like to continue making and baking new things in the kitchen.  Keep the excitement going.

Budget:  Still a goal, probably will be every year. This is a major one this year because we have some major goals for this year- buying a minivan(!) and moving me to seasonal employment after this summer (!).

My Career:  It’s time guys, time to get published, time to grow this space, time to phase out the restaurant work.

Preschool:  Eli is rapidly approaching 2 years old and I’m starting to get questions about preschool?! I hadn’t even been thinking about it, but now I am and I need to start implementing a bit more of a little homeschool preschool deal at home.  In other words, this will be the year of educational gifts 😉

Specifically January 2016:

Garden Plan:  It is time to plan out the where, what, when and how of planting this big giant garden I have in mind.  Lots of research commmencing today!

Master Bedroom:  Seriously, I really need to finish this up.  It is seriously an afternoon and hundred dollar investment to finish this room off, but I keep dragging my feet.

Routine:  Regular chores, regular excercise, regular eating.  Time to slough off the holiday heydey.

Garage: finish the garage, back room transition.

New:  one book this month, one new meal/dessert a week.

Blog:  submitting some work for other blogs, 3 posts a week.

A couple weeks late, but lets get started 2016!!

 

Musings on Motherhood

Sometimes I organize all of Eli’s toys and play the game of how quickly can he destroy everything.  other times I close the doors and pretend I don’t know how to open them just so that things can stay pretty for awhile :).

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It’s a special kind of witchcraft that children possess to make you want to simultaneously pull your hair out and procreate.

Motherhood is not only physically demanding but quite abusive- I get head butted, slapped, clawed, kicked on the daily, purely accidentally. Save our bout with frustrated hitting.  The kid is a bruiser.

Trying to get pregnant has me feeling like Phoebe.  ALL THE TIME.  I took 4 pregnancy tests last month, well before I should have.

We have to hold Eli down while he screams to cut his nails.  Any tips out there?  Torturing your kid is rough stuff.

These long inside winter hours are slowly killing me.  But being outside with Eli takes forever.  Eli can hardly walk in any of his boots and he just slooooooowly drags his way around the neighborhood stopping to eat snow the whole way.  It’s adorable, but a quarter mile walk takes 30 minutes and gets really really cold when you’re not moving.  Come on springtime!

However at the same time, I’m really hoping for one more really good big snow fall so that we can take Eli sledding.  I’m a constant mix of contradictions.

 

 

Christmas Recap

I’m not quite finished with what we want to accomplish and take care of in 2016, mainly because I am ending the year in such a good place as a family, as a mom, as a wife and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to just keep the momentum going.

Let’s talk Christmas!   Christmas has never been my big holiday,  I adore Thanksgiving and think that Halloween is the most fun.  However, we went to spend Christmas in redding with our whole family for the first time in about seven or eight years and it was a  truly magical time.  I had high hopes for this Christmas season to be have a more Godly centered focus; explaining the nativity, Christmas eve service, books about Jesus’ birth, but this season ended up being purely about family.  A couple days after Christmas I felt a little guilty about the lack of teaching Eli and our family received during the season and it was quickly pushed away by peace and joy.  I don’t think God is disappointed by the fact that we wrapped ourselves up in family and indulged in time together this year.  I think God says yes to reducing the have tos and resting in the get tos.  God is family and light and love and for Eli to feel the full weight of “home” and family at Christmas is an amazing introduction to the gift of Jesus.

This Christmas was an especially significant one for our family, because it was our last one with Nana.  Kenny’s Grandma is a one in a million woman that I can’t wait to share some more about, but, like most things, my post on her is only halfway done.  Suffice it to say, that we are all heartbroken at her passing and terribly terribly grateful that we got to surround her with love at Christmastime this year.

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Kenny’s cousins were so sweet with Eli, answering “what’s that?” over and over and over again.  “Still oranges.”

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Not the favorite gift of the year, but pretty close 🙂

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This family picture only took about 49 tries…

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Christmas morning at Grammy and Pop pop’s,  fairly certain my mom has never been happier.

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And here we have the favorite gift of the year, Buzz Lightyear and some stolen balloons Eli claimed as his own.

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DB Christmas Party.  I could not be more thankful that Kenny works for such  great company that throws a killer party I get to dress up for.

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Christmas lights, reindeer, carolers!? Idaho Botanical Gardens has the best Christmas magic.

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We managed to escape the extended family and the baby for a night away in the mountains, a movie that was not created by Disney and Pixar magic and a dinner at one of my childhood haunts, Mike and Tony’s.  I am not above abusing grandparents and their offer of free overnight baby-sitting.

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Eli has been losing his mind, every time we try to get his hair cut, it took Yia Yia a couple days, but she was able to get it out of his eyes and only had to suck up to him a little bit.

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Dad’s birthday brunch… the day after Christmas.  Can you think of a rougher day to have a birthday as a child?  However, you would never have to go to school on your birthday!

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Travel ready toddler

We looked at lights, hung with Santa, decorated as a family, ate tons of good food and fell in love with our lives and our family this Christmas and while we didn’t get to all the Christmas activities on my to do list (due to a cloud of sickness that has hovered over our house for the past 6 weeks),  I’m counting this year as one of the best yet.

 

Happy New Year!!

Welcome to 2016, so glad to have you here along with me this year!  December got really busy and I have a lot of posts that are halfway done to finish up, but let’s just get caught up on what we accomplished in December and 2015 as a whole.

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2015 Goals:

Word of the Year: Celebrate!  Took a lot more time to live in the moment and celebrate what was going on in our world- win!

Camping: nope…

Budget:  um…. yes?  Honestly, we were pretty good about this, but not great, a solid B.

Work from Home:  nope, but! Have become a lot more disciplined in writing more often so improvement has happened 🙂

Time with Jesus:  This is a goal that I actually feel bad about admitting defeat on.  I didn’t spend any specific time in the word, we have been going to church again and once again have been more present in the moment.  Basically Jesus and I are running in the same circle, but not getting a whole lot of bonding, one-on-one time.

Decorate the house:  HUGE progress on this!! We don’t have unused space anymore!  Still very much need to finish, but our house is feeling more complete and homier.

Community:  Also, big improvement.  It’s terrifying to constantly put myself and Eli out there to meet up with people, but we have been doing it and have found a play group.  I have been more intentional with my friendships and feel as though the ones that remain, are deeper.

Time for myself:  This year was big on figuring out what works for me, for Eli, for Kenny, for our life and this area was no exception.  Having a family has put my time into perspective and I have learned what feeds me, rejuvanates me and how best to implement it.

Marriage:  !! For two people as opposite as Kenny and I, it can be challenging to get on the same page, not to mention the same team.  I feel like we are there, we find the time, we voice our needs, we found our footing.  Not to say we didn’t end up not having a date for 9 weeks in a row, but we ended it with a mountain getaway!

Yoga:  Meh, not great. I have had a lot to learn about yoga, as in, it actually requires way more strength than flexibility to do the poses that I want to do.  Mind blowing information.

Self-Conscious:  I think this has gotten better, but really this has been off my radar and I’m not too sure how to track my progress.

December 2015:

Volunteer:  next month!

Master Bedroom:  So close 🙂

Living Room:   I decorated for Christmas before the week of Christmas, so technically I did do something in the living room this month.

New Dish:  seriously, December was not a great month for accomplishing goals.

Christmas Activites:  Check Check Check!  I’ll be doing a Christmas recap soon and y’all will be so impressed!

Yoga:  Improved, but didnt get to the pose I wanted to accomplish.

Published:  Didn’t even submit anything,  I’m telling you this was a bummer month for goals but a great one for spending time with family.

I’ll be make tomorrow with a game plan for 2016!