Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Must Read for Moms

Below is a blogpost from Short Stop Blog. So good & so encouraging - needed to hear this today. Well, probably everyday! Enjoy!


"How do you do it? 

I've never counted, but I imagine the number of times I've been asked that question by Moms with one or two children is somewhere in the hundreds. I have five children, and judging by the look on the tired and weary faces that pose the question, that number seems simply impossible. 

How do you do it? 

Those are five loaded words. I suppose because the "it" behind that question is different for everyone. 

How do you care for five little people? 
How do you operate on little sleep? 
How do you keep them safe? 
How do you find time to do the laundry? 
How do you afford them? 
How do you keep from losing your ever-loving mind? 

Mommas of one and two children - I understand every one of these questions. And, I understand just where you're coming from. 

There are some things I want you to know about me. About children. About this journey through motherhood that we're both on. 

If no one has ever told you... 

1. You are maxed out - emotionally and physically - at the number of children you currently have. When I had my two-month old baby Jack, I sat on the edge of my bed and cried like a toddler who dropped her brand new ice cream cone because I thought my life was over. O-VER! This baby child, my supposed dream come true, wanted to wake up in the middle of the night and feed off of me, and all I wanted was to sleep. Baby "Not What I'd Read" would sleep, sleep, sleep all morning while I did dishes and caught up on laundry, but NOOOOOOO way I was gettin' a nap in the afternoon when all of that was finished. 

The first time I went to Target with him, I took so much gear with me (I took my Boppy, people), that after I loaded up the cart with him and my gear, I couldn't buy anything because nothing fit. 

I was completely overwhelmed. And, then he grew into a mobile baby and I thought it would be a good idea to get pregnant again so that while he was ripping everything out of the cabinets, bleeding from the mouth from playing bumper cars with the coffee table, eating the sofa, crawling the stairs to plummet to his demise, and licking the electrical outlets, I could also be barfing. 

And, he still didn't sleep. 

And, then his brother arrived. Eighteen months after he was born. And, I had no idea how people could possibly care for two children. Who are these LUNATICS who have a ton of children? How on earth am I supposed to nurse a newborn, and keep my maniac toddler from imminent death?

I was maxed out. It was one of the hardest times of my life - caring for one and then eighteen months later, two of them. 

Moms of one and two children - You are doing HARD work. It is overwhelming and completely exhausting and figuring it all out is some of the most physically, mentally, emotionally demanding, and heart-wrenching work you will ever do. I know you are maxed out - in every way. And, I tell you this, not as someone who is patting you on the back and looking at you with condescending pity, but as someone who KNOWS how hard you are working and how taxing this season is on you. But, there is hope. It does get easier. Not because a light bulb goes off one day and you figure it all out. 

But, because...

2. You will find your wayYour way. Not your Mom's way. Not Granny's way. Not pushy Aunt Bertie's way. 

Your way

What worked for your mom, Granny, and Aunt Bertie may simply not work for you. I LOVE hearing the wisdom and experiences from the older women in my life, but I HAVE to sift through their advice and experiences and choices to find what really helps me and what doesn't. Not only are children all different, but mothers are different. We tick and tock to different beats - some of us slower and some on hyperspeed, some on schedules and some just wingin' it. (I'm the latter, Lord help me.) As you get to know your children and build your home life, you will find what works for you. You will. And, letting go of the expectations of others is a BIG part of that. Pull what works for you. Respectfully let go of the rest. 

This applies to friendships as well. Do you know who my best friends are? The ones that I lean on and trust and cry to and share with? They are my friends who insist, along with me, that there is no one way to do something. I have a very difficult time developing and maintaining friendships with people who have found THE ONE AND ONLY WAY to do something.

"OMG, you gave him PEANUT BUTTER at TEN MONTHS?" 
"You don't have a laundry day???" 
"Three year-olds should never still be in diapers."

No. We cannot be friends. Not close friends. Not cry on your shoulder friends.

As you find your way, quick-steppin' to a groove with those babies dancin' along with you, I've got some really, really, really good news... 

3. It gets easier. If you let God get bigger

I now have five children. And, I'm maxed out. Totally maxed out. Just like I was when I had one. And two and three and four. 

But, mothering is easier for me now than it used to be. For one reason: 

I need God more

I need Him in the morning. At noon. And at night. I need Him to wipe my tears when my baby won't let me sleep at night. I need Him to calm my heart when I'm changing bed sheets at 2am. I need Him to keep my children safe because I only have two hands and one set of eyes and crossing a parking lot means holding on tight but it also means letting go of "I can do this, I can do this" and trading it for "God, You are with me and You love them, too."

I need Him to help me trade my doing for His doing

I need His patience. 
I need His joy.
I need His love.

You know, I needed God when I had one and two children. But, I had all of this stuff - books and gear and Grannies and know-it-all voices and I had me

So I flailed about amidst all of that and tried to raise my children in the Land of I Can Do This. 

But, God has whittled away all of that other stuff. He's taught me that He loves my children more than I do, and He loves to hear my voice calling out to Him and letting Him fill me with strength and wisdom and love and joy for my children. I don't have it. But, He does. 

So, Mommas of one or two littles afoot - when you ask me, "How do you do it?" - I know what you're asking. And, I know what you're feeling and what's behind your eyes and I walked in your shoes and you are doing the HARD, HARD stuff of motherhood. 

It is not easier because you "only" have one child. Or two children. 

But, as you find your way, and the more you let God be your strength and realize that you cannot in the many ways you think youcan, it gets easier. 

And, it gets so, so good"

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blueberries for Sal

I have been posting blueberry dessert recipes because me & my little sal picked over 3 lbs of blueberries in Michigan and we needed to use them!
It was the BEST time. And L was an amazing little picker! I had so many moments of thinking back to the book - whether it was her overalls, her little blond pony, her little pail, her saying "kerplink kerplank kerplunk" when she would drop them in....
It was just so fun - here are some photos of my sal & the book sal :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

These are AMAZING. And I didn't eve do them right!
I used a pre-made pie crust and didn't let it cool for 3 hours before refridgerating and I forgot to put on the blueberries until 10 mins before I took it out and it was STILL amazing.
if you like cheesecake even a little bit you should definitely try this!!

Picture of Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars Recipe

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

For the base:
Butter, for greasing
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
About 1/2 cup sugar, eyeball it
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

For the base:
Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool.

For the filling:
Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries. They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed -- as the cake bakes they will sink a little more and break down.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/lemon-blueberry-cheesecake-bars-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cheap-O Popsicles

We love Popsicles. Favorites of all time: Open Nature Vanilla Greek Yogurt popsicles at Safeway stores. And Fruitare bars - these are newer. The strawberry & milk ones are TO-DIE-FOR and the mango ones are great and I got joe the banana & milk ones and he loved them. Seems like there's lots of coupons around for these too, since they are new.

Another plug for our Dominick's (Safeway) is I always seem to be able to get meat, milk, cheese, sour cream, eggs, OJ, yogurt 50% off if it's close to it's sell by date and that's always worth it to me if I know we will be able to use it up soon.
So I got this "go-go" for like $1.50? And had some left that I needed to use and made these popsicles and Lucy has been eating them (my girl who eats almost nothing...!!) Yay!!!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Michigan Summer Part 2

The carousel - we try to go everytime we visit St. Joe.
It's a blast and in June we got to spend a whole day with my college roommate an bestie and we rode the carousel and got ice cream at Kilwin's!
What a special day!!! We love you EJB! <3

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Michigan Summer

Here are some photos from our Michigan trips.
Such a blessing to have my parents there and to be able to stay there whenever Joe is gone for work.
Plus the kiddos LOVE spending time with Gamma and Gampa any chance we get <3

Friday, August 2, 2013


Got an arboretum year pass as a Christmas gift from my parents and it has been awesome!
We love going there and their kid's area is amazing. Also enjoyed my first bike ride there with the family on my birthday weekend. Joe has biked there with Lucy several times so it was fun to do it all together this time.
Lucy loves the tree fort - "the ropes" as she calls it and playing in the fountains and slides and pretty much everything. Highly recommend asking for a pass as a personal or family gift for Christmas!

Pics from our July 13th trip

Pics from a June trip