Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Watching him grow

I was just watching a video of Jonathan from a year ago (when he was a new 2 year old) Melt my heart he was the cutest thing in the world. And somehow he's still the cutest thing in the world. It's crazy how when you are in the day to day you stop seeing them grow, but when you look back you see huge changes.

I wish there was a way to see the growth in the day to day, every stage is so much fun and being Jonathan's mom is one of my greatest joys.

I have also realized things I was diligent to focus on with him a year ago I haven't been quite so diligent in these past months since we've moved. Lame. So I am redoubling my efforts and going to get back on track. He loves to draw and read and learn. It's hard to keep up with him sometimes, and to always keep his little mind stimulated, but I LOVE to watch him learn. He is so imaginative.

I wonder How God thinks about watching us grow. I have thought a lot about him being our Heavenly Father lately and His great tender loving care for us. I find myself going to Him, casting my cares on Him and knowing He is tenderly caring for me, as a Father. I'm in awe that He wants to give me good gifts. The God of the Universe wants to give me good gifts. Wow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

7 months

This past Monday marked 7 months since we moved to Kingsburg. I was reflecting a bit (maybe something you would normally do at 6 months or a year, but for me it was 7 months) and there are some things I never want to forget.

Cooking with Gail on Tuesday and Thursday mornings got me through those first couple of months. Gail has the Lord on her lips. She was constantly encouraging me with what He was teaching her and she is an incredibly THANKFUL person. You couldn't help but be with her and walk away thankful. She also loved on Jonathan and encouraging me in parenting. She was my first friend in Kingsburg. I love her.

The house we are renting was a complete answer to prayer, and a very stark reminder to cast your cares on the Lord and not be anxious. We had been looking for a place for what seemed like forever. We had been in transition for a month, Kyle working up in the central valley and us still back in Santa Clarita. We missed being together as a family, and we just didn't seem to be able to find a good place. Kyle looked at me as we drove back from Kingsburg to Santa Clarita and said "Babe, you really need to give this over to the Lord. Confess it to Him. He is faithful, He has always been faithful. We are going to find a place to live. Be patient". I did give it over to the Lord, and exactly 5 minutes later we got a call that there was a house available to rent from a family in our church. Wow.

The Jacksons let us stay in their guest house for a month... yes, a month. That'a long time to let people be in your way! What generosity and hospitality.

The people who did know about our miscarriage loved us so well, and still pray for us. We were strangers, but they still served and cared.

And just this past week we were invited to spend Easter with a family from church that we are getting to know and really like. That might sound kinda small. It's not! When you are the new family and don't know anyone and someone opens their doors for a holiday. You just feel so very loved.

The fog was hard, but the spring is worth it.

I enjoy having some change in the seasons again.

Gail shared with me something the Lord is teaching her anew. "Rejoice Always". I want to remember that.

The Fernandez's. Friendship is just one of the sweetest dearest blessings the Lord can give. And he gave us that in them.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Drizzly Friday

Another Friday, another dump post.

It's a rainy day. It's been on and off all day, right now it's just barely drizzling and so Kyle is doing a little bit of yard prep work. (we are planning grass seed tomorrow) Jonathan is playing with Ginny and having a mostly good time.

My thoughts on having a puppy so far: I am glad we decided to get one. It isn't as hard as I told myself it would be, at least in terms of taking care of her. The puppy teething stage is no fun. Her favorite toy to nibble on is Jonathan. I go from hearing the sweetest giggles to "MAMA! HELP!" and Ginny has started biting his pant legs. I am praying that the teething passes quickly, very quickly, because I do think having a little playmate is wonderful for Jonathan!

We have a couple fun trips coming up. 2 short weekend ones and one longer one visiting family. I'm getting excited as they get a bit closer.

I've been reading so much more lately than I have in the past 6 months to a year and it's been simply wonderful.

I found out that the elder's were praying for us this past week. That we would be able to have another baby and that we'd continue to heal from the miscarriage. It meant so much to me.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

and the ugly

I said I wanted to do this blog to remember it all, the good the bad and the ugly. Monday we had some real ugly. 

Only one of our cars is really road worthy at the moment and so Jonathan and I have been mostly homebound. (Which isn't really a problem.. see previous post) But I thought it would be fun to take him to the zoo for the afternoon since Fresno has a great zoo (more about that in another post, it really is a great zoo. Anyway...) 

I planned out this trip very poorly from the get go. ( Elizabeth Bennet would say "very ill indeed". Sorry for all the parentheses and side comments, but it's where my head is at today) I decided that since J is now 3 he probably wouldn't need the stroller and could just walk all day. Feel free to laugh at me at this point. I also forgot his comfort items tiger and blankie. I also thought he'd be fine to skip a nap, since all children are fresh and don't need naps after the ever so difficult church days (read with extreme sarcasm) 

Well we were dropped off at the zoo and it began beautifully. the first hour and a half were perfection. People were telling me I must be an amazing mom because my toddler was So polite and So well behaved. Jonathan was thrilled with everything he saw and was precious to watch. Then one minute past and hour and a half struck. I suddenly had a stomach ache and NEEDED the bathroom stat. I told Jonathan that he needed to come with mommy very very quickly and he looked at me and said "NO!" 

He then proceeded to lay on the ground and scream, "I don't want to leave the fish tank! I don't want to go to the bathroom with you!" My desperation only grew. He was not getting up and my need for the bathroom was getting more dire. 

There was nothing for it, it was either run for the bathroom and leave my 3 year old alone at the zoo, or drag him across the floor all the way into the bathroom stall with me. 

I dragged him. 

I was stared at by children who thought either "That boy is in So much trouble" as was audibly heard by a couple of young children, or they thought "I am never having kids." Which felt like it was audibly heard by some teenagers.

Then there were the mothers. 

The sweet sypathetic mothers.

One looked at me and said "You got this."

One looked at me as we were trying to get through the doorway of the bathroom. "It's ok sweetie, I have boys, I understand. You're not alone." 

Oh sweet motherhood. It makes you the best of friends with complete strangers because we can understand each others pain. 

We then sat in the shade and watched the lions for the rest of the 2 and a half hours waiting to be picked up.

I hope I come back and read this the next time I am either having a bad day, or if heaven forbid I ever find myself judging another mom. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

At Home

The Lord has always laid it on my heart to be a worker at home, and yet lately I have felt that conviction even stronger. Not exactly just to be a worker at home, but to do it excellently. I have been home with Jonathan since he was born, and have loved it! I love making a home and cooking meals for my family and raising my son. However, I noticed in myself that I was simply going through the motions too much and not being intentional with my time and my activities throughout the day.

Then, and this may seem un-related but it isn't, we have had about 5 different families tell Kyle and I seemingly out of the blue that they believe one of our spiritual gifts is hospitality. I think I have asked people what they think my spiritual gifts are before, usually after hearing a sermon on them or something of the sort, but I can't remember a time that people have come to Kyle and I as a couple and pointed this out. I have been praying about it and it seems the Lord is again telling me, "be a worker at home"

It really is related, I'm convicted to be a worker at home to serve and love my family, and to serve and love the church.

I also know that this may not be my spiritual gifting but we are all called to be hospitible. It's a command. SO, wether I'm actually gifted in it or not, I must do it. If I must do it, I better do it well.

I have been praying, begging the Lord to give me self-discipline, and the drive to be diligent in my work, but not just for the work's sake, but so that I can bless my family and the church and be a light for Christ. I am praying the Lord blesses my efforts, because right now I mostly just see how much I need to grow in these ways!

Meal Planning

Meal Planning was quite overwhelming to me, and try as I might to follow all of the super "easy" to follow plans, or 'fool proof' plans, it just wasn't working for me. I didn't like eating a casserole for dinner every night. I needed a better way to get well balanced meals into my family, and I just don't have enough freezer space for 30 frozen dinners. So, I came up with my own method. I hope it's helpful, if not, I hope you find a method that works for you.

Before you read this you have to forget all that you know about meal planning and freezing meals. I don't do it the "normal" way. Come to this open minded. This is meal planning and prepping, not everything is frozen, though I do use the freezer.

1. Look at your mothly calendar. I need to know what days I'll be out of town so I don't plan a meal that day, and  what days I'm having people over so I make a little extra. This way I know exactly how many meals to plan and how much.

2. I have a couple days of the week that are themed. This really simplifies things for me, and the boys like the tradition of it. We always do tacos on Monday. Come to our house on a Monday and we will be eating chicken tacos. We will be doing this for the rest of our lives, they are delicious! Come have them any Monday. (except this one monday in april, I switched it and we are having them on Wednesday when we have some friends for dinner.) Every Sunday night we do Breakfast for dinner. Yum! I also schedul one day a week as a "left-overs" day. I hate wasting food and money. So, because 3 days of the week I always know what I'm doing, I only need to come up with 4 new meals. 

3. Fill in 3 of the remaining days with things you know your family likes, and then make that 4th day a "new" meal. Finish out the rest of the month like this.

4. Now look through your pantry, see what you already have that you can use for your meals then make your grocery list.

5. Make note of what things you'll need to get mid-month. Like fresh fruit, bread, milk,eggs... 

Now I will give you my April meal plan so you can see what I mean, and then I'll tell you how I prepped it. (Sorry this is long, but I really hope it's helpful)

Ok, so now that I know WHAT I'm eating every day, I can prep for it. I chop all the veggies that I will have in every meal, Yep. Chop all the veggies. Put them in ziplock freezer bags and stick them in the freezer until you are ready to use them. I leave in my refrigerator all the veggies I will use for this week. They are chopped and ready to cook.

I also cook all of the ground beef that I will use for the month. I do this in a couple of different skillets so I can season them according to the meal. Then I let the cooked meat cool and put them in freezer bags. Again, leaving in the fridge what I will use for this week.

I will make the baked french toast, the chicken pot pie, and the enchiladas and freeze them. These are the only meals that will be fully made and frozen.

I will also make a bunch of frozen breakfast burritos and leave them in the freezer so that Kyle can grab them in the morning and have breakfast on those days he gets up before I do.

So there is still some cooking that happens every day. I find that if you cook and freeze chicken ahead of time it just gets dry in the thawing/ warming up process. You do still need to cook your veggie's, but they are prepped. And that's really the difference to me, being able to just grab what I need and get to cooking. Also, knowing what we are going to eat every day really helps me not throw together something lame last minute, or something super un-healthy.

Happy Meal Planning!