Sunday, November 23, 2014

MORE MORE MORE

The last week with the twinsies has been a rough one.  I mentioned the bad night from last week, and I'm sorry to say that things have not improved much.  We have been sleeping moderately better, but there is sporadic crying throughout the night.  I think the hardest thing has actually been meal times, because neither twin is excited about eating.  They both would rather scream and/or shriek.  John has actually left the last three meals we've had out with William, because he's been that inconsolable.  I realized that William's tongue was burned, which is part of what has been causing his discomfort.  Bless his heart.  Seriously - it looks painful, and everything that he's telling me indicates he believes it might be the worst thing that has ever happened to him.

Violet has become fairly intense.  I remember this happening to Lily specifically at this age as well.  When we went for Lily's 18 month check up, she threw a massive fit in the doctor's office.  The doctor actually said, "This seems like pretty extreme behavior for a child this age," which was both terrifying and reassuring.  And we are living it all over again with V.  The girl knows what she wants, and she's not afraid to ask for it repeatedly.  Loudly and insistently.  With some high-pitched screaming for good measure.

Her rather constant refrain is "MO MO MO" - she wants MORE of whatever it is that you've got.  Are you drinking something?  Violet would like "MO MO MO."  Are you eating a meal?  "MO MO MO."  Have you ever thought about snacking?  "MO MO MO."  She does often add her "please" - the sign for please where she rubs her chest.  She is very confused and upset when this does not elicit the immediate response of you giving her what she wants.

What I've clearly picked up on is that fact that she rarely wants whatever is on her tray.  Her tray that is usually chock full of things she used to like to eat.  It is no longer good enough.  Even if what you are eating is exactly what she has in front of her - she wants yours.  Not hers.

As I was lamenting this in my mind this evening, it hit me.

I'm Violet.  I'm always wanting more more more.  I want whatever it is I don't have.  I can't seem to see what's in front of me.

Now - this isn't always the case.  Often, the Lord allows me to be filled with gratitude and contentment.  I really do understand exactly how much I have, and my cup is overflowing.  As I take stock of both good and hard in my life, I can see that God has been more than gracious to me.

But on the hard days and in the hard moments, it's so easy to loose track of that.  To find myself focusing on those things that I don't seem to be able to have.  More downtime.  More quiet.  More order.  More affirmation.  I think I "need" these things in order to be able to respond well to my family.  God has gently reminded me that I really only need more of him.  More of his strength.  More of his power.

I guess I need to learn this over and over and over again.  Quieting the sound of "more more more" that comes from my heart is certainly not something I can do on my own.  I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit, and I pray that he continues to give me eyes to see and ears to hear things that I need.

Friday, November 21, 2014

FREEZER FOOD RECIPES & THE BEST LASAGNA

I mentioned in my Thanksgiving food post that I might follow up with links to a few freezer meals recipes.  Here is that promised post.  I have been in some sort of food co-op for the past five years, and I love the variety and ease it adds into meal prep.  In my current group, there are 6-7 women, and we each make one dish 6-7 times.  Then, we trade them all and end up with 6-7 different main dishes ready to go.  We trade every other month, so it's not a ton, but every little bit helps!

We traded this week, and due to the holidays, not as many people participated, so those of us that did made two meals each.  I made Creamy Tortellini Soup, and I really love this recipe.  Also note, that if you choose to double it, it will just barely fit into your crock pot - but I made it work!

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I also made and froze Fabulous Chicken - a recipe that I got from my sis and blogged several years ago.  It freezes perfectly!  I just realized that none of the pictures work from that post, so I am just going to rewrite it here for ya.

4 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup melted butter
1 lg package of shredded Swiss Cheese
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1/4 C White Grape Juice
1 package Good Seasons Herb and Garlic

Place chicken breast into baking dish.  Top with swiss cheese.  Mix the soup and juice together and pour over chicken/cheese.  Melt the butter and mix in the Good Seasons, and then pour that over as well.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Easy Peasy!

For this recipe, I froze it right before the baking time, so it will need to be defrosted before I bake it.  

Another recipe I made for next week and froze is Garlic White Lasagna.  This has become a new favorite of everyone I know that has ever tried it.  A friend made it for us the weekend of the IF conference, and I begged for the recipe and have been making it ever since then.  It's my favorite lasagna ever - hands down.  I am not a huge fan of marinara sauce, and this has none. 

My friend got the recipe from her mother-in-law, and after a little digging, I found the original recipe came from a 1998 Southern Living.  The only change from that recipe is that I was instructed to use slices of mozzarella cheese instead of shredded.  I think this makes a difference in the creaminess factor and overall deliciousness.

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I froze it right at the point that it would be time to bake it, so I will just defrost and stick it into the oven.  I got hungry just thinking about eating it on Wednesday night.  Yum.

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With it, I plan to serve this Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes recipe.  I've never made it, but a friend recommended it.  By the looks of it, I don't think we can go wrong.  Fact: I had never deigned to eat brussels sprouts until a couple of weeks ago.  I was shocked to discover how tasty they are!

If you are looking for some yummy stuff to freeze, then I hope this helped!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

HIGHS & LOWS: HAVE LIZARDS GOTTEN INTO OUR HOUSE?

Here's what's up.

High: A warm front came through this week.  And by warm front, I mean like 50 degrees.  I wish the cold didn't bother me anyway.

High:  John got some time away by himself and came back rejuvenated in spirit, which is such a blessing.

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High:  Yesterday while John was gone, I managed to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with friends.  #winning

High:  Our church hosted its Global Village - a night that showcases many of the ministries that we are partnered with throughout the world.  I took the kids and had many friends there to help me.  Seriously, what would I do without them?  The event was well done, and in the vein of helping our kids understand the wider world we live in, it was great to show them some of the stuff there.

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The conversation in our car on the way home was both encouraging and hilarious.  One of the activities that the girls did was get a high five from someone that had glitter on their hands.  This person explained that the glitter represented germs that were on people's unwashed hands, and that some people don't have access to clean water to be able to wash their hands.  Then, they played with play dough to represent making food, and we watched the glitter germs spread into the food ready to be ingested and make people sick.

Later in the car, Lily started asking why people don't have clean water and why we can't just get it for them.  It was both good and hard to see her start to glimpse the mess of a world that we live in, but I did see that she understood a bit.  She started talking about giving them money and looking for other ways to help.  Bella piped in with, "and then they eat play dough and get sick!"  I tried not to let Bella hear me laughing.  So close, yet so far.

Low:  Last night was a major low.  The timing of John's meetings and activities were such that he arrived home really late (1 am).  That in and of itself was not the problem.  William's almost incessant crying was the problem.  I think he's getting some molars, and he's being a big baby about it.  We rocked him, cuddled him, gave him ibuprofen, and even tried bringing him to bed with us - which shows how desperate we were, because we almost never do that, and he still cried.  He didn't have a fever or any other noticeable symptom, other than crying.  t eventually turned off the monitor, because I am an awesome parent.  We all survived to see this morning, so I'm not saying that was a totally bad plan.

Low:  Last night was made worse by hearing frog noises in our house.  When everything is quiet at night (except for the crying child), its hard to tell where the noise is coming from.  Earlier in the evening, I was convinced that a lizard had gotten into our house through a crack between our front doors.  There is a lizard party on our front porch every afternoon on warm days, and I was just certain one had gotten in and that they must somehow make frog noises that I had never known about.

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I was searching under all the furniture with my phone light to see if I could locate stray lizards.  I eventually realized that the noise was coming from a toy that was going off in the cabinet.

Fast forward to later in the bad night.  John and I, who had not slept much, hear the loud frog noise from our bedroom, and for whatever reason, I completely forgot that I knew it was a toy.  I started asking about lizards again, because I was deliriously tired.  I stopped just short of googling "what sounds do lizards make?" around 4 a.m.  At one point, we were both up, walking around, hunting for the frog noise.  It was then that we realized (my SECOND moment of realization), that the noise was coming from a toy in the toy cabinet.

I feel like I've lost my ever-loving-mind, so that's a low.  I don't think any lizards are actually in our house - so I guess that's a bright side.

High:  At one point last night, Bella came in asking to cuddle and then had to be walked back to her bed crying.  That was another low point, and John actually said, "I don't think this night could get much worse."  My response - "don't say that - because the night is not over."  And to be fair, no one vomited and no one was actually sick that we know of, so it could have been a lot worse.

High:  Today was Lily's Thanksgiving Feast at school, and I got to go eat lunch with her.  I do love seeing her in the middle of the day, and she was pleased to have me there.  I love Thanksgiving, and eating elementary school cafeteria food was sentimentally nostalgic for me.

Low:  Eating a feast with a plastic spork.  This was harder than you might think.  There was no plastic knife to go along with my spork, so making my way through the turkey was difficult.  I eventually gave up and just bit through the large pieces, because I like to keep it classy.

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Low:  Lily made it very clear that she didn't want to purchase a tray of food, but I thought it would be a good experience for her to try the Thanksgiving feast.  #rookiekindergartenmommistake
This morning, as she was getting ready for school, she said, "I hate you when you make me buy a lunch tray."  At that point, I was pretty committed to the plan and explained that there were better ways to tell Mommy that she'd like a packed lunch in the future.  She repaid my stick-to-it-tive-ness by eating two things at lunch.  Her roll and my roll.  Packed lunches it is.  I saw my neighbor with a pizza for her kids, and I realized - neighbor knows what's up.  I'll bring CFA to next years' Thanksgiving feast, because Save A Turkey, Eat More Chicken.

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So, that's been the last couple of days.  Never a dull moment around here.  I'm hoping for an early bedtime for everyone tonight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A FEW FIRSTS

We're in that time of life when there are still lots of "firsts".  Here's a few of them from the last couple of days/weeks.

Lily's First Field Trip.  This was actually back before Halloween, but I never blogged about it.  I actually got a sitter and got to go to the pumpkin patch with her class!  It was a beautiful day, and I really enjoyed getting to see Lily interact with her peers - a great insight into her little world.

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First Time that Bella Performed in the Bloom Brunch without Lily.  Bella seemed really concerned about finding me in the audience, which was sweet.  However, her concern caused her to totally miss getting little sticks to bang, so she did a good job of banging her knuckles together.  John was able to come, and Bella lit up when she saw him.

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First Time I've Seen William Push Violet on a Car.  Well, really, I just wanted an excuse to include this amazingly cute video that they sent me from Mother's Day Out this morning.  If you just need a smile, take a watch.  These twins of mine are pretty darn cute, and videos like this warm my heart.  I shared it on Instagram, and this is the longer version.



Lily's First "Fun Run."  This was just today, and because it fell right at the twins' nap time, I drove past on our way home to see if I could catch a glimpse of her.  I felt a bit like a creeper looking through the fence with my giant camera, but it was worth it to see her running her heart out.  I don't know for sure how many laps she did yet, but I'm betting it was all 35.  Bella enjoyed the music, and the twins enjoyed sleeping in the car.

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Speaking of the Bloom Brunch - it was an encouraging morning spent with lovely women that I am privileged to share life with.  Plus, they are beautiful.  Double bonus.  Not a "first," but definitely worth sharing the picture.  Anotehr interesting fact is that this group has grown to include four women (including myself) who have sets of twins.  What are the chances?  Another mother is an identical twin and another has twin siblings.  We are a little twin centric, and I'm loving it.

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In other news, both babies can open doors, and William can also unscrew sippy cups, which means Occupational Therapy must be doing him a lot of good.  Though that particular skill is not doing me any favors.  Basically, I have two little mess makers wandering around the house at all times looking for something to mess with.  Here's the first time I found William behind the curtains.  He was tickled to death until he thought he couldn't get out, at which point, he just walked straight until the curtain came over his head and he fell on the ground.  It was quite entertaining to watch, and he took it like a champ.

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First Time I Had the Deli Man Remark on My Nails and Ask Me about Eye-Brow Threading.  So, I was getting baba ghanoush yesterday, and the man behind the counter started asking me detailed questions about my nails.  Then, he proceeded to say, "You're a woman.  Can you tell me what eye-brow threading is?"  Sadly, I did not have a good answer to that question, because I have no experience with it.  It was a funny interaction.

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Hope your week is going well!