Thursday, June 28, 2012

giving up on the good (for something better)

This notion of doing it all has obvious been on my mind a lot lately.

Then I read this post this morning and I realized that I've got some good to give up on.

Before Jack was born, I was notorious for buzzing through my household to-do list like a maniac. Andrew called it my Tazmanian Devil Days. It was usually a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon when I would take on this don't-talk-to-me-I'm-busy attitude and just plow through whatever was between me and total relaxation. Then I'd celebrate with a glass of tea and a smile, knowing that the rest of the day was mine to do with as I pleased.

My intentions were good - I just wanted to be able to give Andrew and our time together my undivided attention. But what is it they say about the road to hell?

These days, the list seems longer than ever. We're still trying to get settled in this house of ours, so there's more than just the dishes and the laundry. And I try to buzz through my list, but something different happens. I go, go, go and when I get to the end, there's nothing left. No chores, maybe. But also no daylight and no energy. And do you know why that happens?

It took me eight months, but I'm finally realizing that I can't do things as efficiently with him around. Who knew?

But this scenario kept playing out where I'd push to get things done - because I like for my house to look nice and I like to have a good dinner on the table and I like to have the laundry put away - but I was giving my family my leftovers. Jack was getting a busy mama during the day and Andrew was getting an run-down wife at night. And friends? Nobody wins at that game.

It was the day that I had to set a timer for 30 minutes during naptime, just to give myself time to relax with a magazine, that I realized how messed up things had gotten. Who times their relaxation?! I do, apparently.

So I started praying hard about it. Not that I'd figure out how to manage my time better or that Jack would take longer naps so I could get more done, but for a heart change. I knew that I couldn't walk away from my to-do list without some serious anxiety over what wasn't crossed off unless I got down deep to the root of it.

And Jesus said, let's see if you're still a perfectionist when I'm done with you, sweet girl. 

It's working.

It took me three days to load and unload the dishwasher this week.
I haven't swept in a week, even though the dog hair is gathered in clumps around the baseboards. Shiver.
The curtains in the sunroom won't be hung by the time my mom gets here this weekend.

Baby steps, people.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make my list more manageable so I don't feel so overwhelmed by it all, but what I'm really aiming for is the ability to put down the broom and sit in the floor to play with my son instead. Or put off the dishes until morning so I can watch a movie with my husband. Or here's a thought: put aside the laundry so I can put my feet up. And not just do those things, but feel good about it. 

I'm getting there and it does feel good. Really good.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go do the dishes. I've given up on that good long enough and we're starting to run out of glasses.

Monday, June 25, 2012

on how i (don't) do it

It's no secret that this military lifestyle of ours is no picnic. There are things about it that we really love, but the day-to-day is hard. Andrew spends most of his time at sea and when he's in port, the hours are long. And as is the case with any high-stress job, he often walks through the door exhausted and mentally drained, just when I'm ready for a conversation that doesn't involve things like "Do you want some more Cheerios?"

And then there are the bigger things.

Like how he only got one day at home with us when Jack was born.
And how he had 24-hour duty on my birthday.
And the missed anniversaries.
And milestones.
And move-in days.

And people tell me that they don't know how I do it and I think, I don't know how I do it either.

For my birthday, Andrew found out just two days before that he had to work. My plans of a sweet little celebration with my boys quickly disappeared. When I was telling Andrew's mom about that, her response was, "Don't you ever cry just one tear?"

Do I ever.

And then I realized that while it's good for a girl's pride to hear that people think she holds it all together, I'm not doing much for the One who really is holding it all together. Holding me all together.

So here's the truth.

It takes daily (sometimes, hourly) effort and prayer to try and maintain a positive attitude. And no matter how many times I tell myself not to count on anything or get my hopes set on anything, I do. And then plans or expectations change and I feel completely deflated. Every time.

Yes, there are days when I handle things well and it all feels like regular life and I just go on living it. And some days it's a fake-it-until-you-make-it kind of thing where I just act like things are okay until I actually start to believe it. But there are days when I cry some tears.

Like that time I tried to make pancakes for myself and they weren't as good as Andrew's. I had a good cry over that. He's the pancake chef around here, you know.

But all this I, I, I stuff is kind of ridiculous because I'm not doing anything but letting Jesus be all up in my face showing me that his strength is perfected in my weakness.

So I don't do it. And if you know a military wife, chances are she doesn't do it either. She's probably just doing what needs to be done and putting one foot in front of the other and praying that God will keep her from falling on her face, at least until the kids are in bed.

One thing I know for sure is that I'm not doing anything.

This girl's got Grace written all over her life and I'm thankful for it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

eight months with jack

Baby Jack,

That right there is the face of a little boy who didn't feel good, but couldn't shake his sweet spirit if he tried. 

I think I love that the most about you.

You amaze me. Every day, you make me feel like it's the best day ever. You're always cuter, sweeter, funnier and smarter than the day before. Watching you figure this world out is just the sweetest gift and you've turned your parents into those parents who just gush and gush about how great you are. We get so much joy out of watching you do your thing and the best (the best!) is when you realize you're being watched and flash that toothy grin of yours. Wrapped around you finger, we are.

Also, you have handle dimples. You're too much.

These days, you love music, standing, splashing, putting things in your mouth, people who talk to you, Cheerios, Daddy's badge, waking up and being thrown into the air.

And Rudy, of course. You two are just the best of buddies.

You do not love having your diaper/clothes changed, watermelon, being put down for a nap, not being able to put something in your mouth, being on your stomach in the middle of the night (so hey, you should roll back over!) or teething. In fact, we all hate teething.

I'm noticing that the more you learn and grow, the more independent you're becoming. You used to be perfectly content to sit in my lap, but now there are things to do! Buckets to empty! Things to chew on! Puppies to play with!

Go do those things, little boy. You go have all the adventure your little eight-month-old self can handle.

We love you.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Technically, my birthday started at midnight last night. Andrew and I were still awake, refusing to acknowledge the end of a lovely weekend, when the clock struck twelve and he wished me a happy birthday with such enthusiasm that I couldn't help but grin like a kindergartner.

Then my other boy took it upon himself to sleep in this morning, which was kind of the best gift ever.

My day was filled with sweet messages and cards, Starbucks and a lunch date, flowers, phone calls and lots of being thankful for this past year. Now I've got my feet up and there's a cupcake waiting for me in the kitchen. I'd call today a success.


I knew that this past year was going to be a big one. And it absolutely was.

I started to learn about giving myself grace.
I got a little scared about becoming a mom.
I realized how much there is to be thankful for.
We grew into life as a family of three.
I realized that life with a baby is different. Again.
I celebrated my first Mother's Day.
We learned to be apart. And to be together again.

It was a big year. A big, hard, scary, good year. And at the end of 25, I just feel thankful and happy.

26? Let's do this.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

his first father's day

I watched Andrew open his card "from Jack" this morning and couldn't help but get all kinds of emotional as he looked at Jack more than the card itself. At the sleepy-eyed boy in my arms who made him a dad eight months and one day ago. I didn't know who I wanted to thank more - my husband for giving me my son, or my son for bringing out these qualities in my husband.

Every day (really) I am amazed at how good Andrew is at all of this. My knees get a little weak when I see him stop what he's doing just to sit in the floor with our son. Or when I hear him whispering to him in the rocking chair down the hall when painful gums are keeping him from sleeping. Or when he loses his train of thought because Jack smiles at him and he can't say anything except how cute he is.

Sometimes all I can do breathe out a desperate thank you to the One who gave us this man. Because there are so many things in this ridiculous life of ours that are uncertain, but this I know for sure: my son and I will never put our head on our pillow at night without knowing that we are loved.

Friday, June 15, 2012

a recipe: coconut curry chicken

I don't typically post recipes on here because a) I don't feel like anything I make is necessarily noteworthy and b) I never take pictures of my food. And what's a blog post about food without a picture?

Well, there's still no picture of the food, but this dish is just too good not to share. I concocted it a few months ago and it's turned into a favorite. I bring you:

(Also, I'm warning you now that I'm not good with measuring out my ingredients when I make up a recipe. And if you're like my mom, that will drive you crazy. I'm sorry.)


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup(ish) of mayo
  • 1/4 cup(ish) of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon(ish) of curry powder or to taste. We love curry around here - the Trader Joe's blend is especially flavorful.
  • 1 cup(ish) of coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup(ish) of bread crumbs
Mix the mayo, sour cream and curry. Mix the coconut and bread crumbs. Coat the chicken in the mayo mixture, then bread with the coconut mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Now you can see why I kind of eye-ball this recipe. I just make enough so that I can generously bread my chicken. Easy peasy.

Something about coating the chicken with the mayo mixture makes it really moist, but the curry seeps in and makes it even more delicious. And the coconut and the bread crumbs give it a crunch. Goodness, y'all.

I like to serve it with a mango chutney. Trader Joe's has a mango-ginger chutney that has a little bite to it and that just seals the deal.

Now go forth and make something yummy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

rub-a-dub-dub, baby in a tub

Our bathroom renovation has sent Andrew and me downstairs to shower and our boy to the kitchen sink for his baths. After tonight, I might never bathe him anywhere else.

The bubbles, the kitchen window, the dish brushes that he kept trying to illegally grab. It's all! so! fun!

Honestly, sometimes I can't look directly at him. The cuteness and the sweetness is just too much and I think I might just die dead right there on the spot.

You too?

Monday, June 11, 2012

a visit from family + a little DIY + a promotion

How's that for summing up a lot in one post?

Last weekend, Andrew's parents flew in to spend a long weekend with us. It was such a treat to have that time with them - especially since they haven't seen Andrew since January, what with his aquatic adventures and all.

There was a lot of story-telling over meals and bird-watching and Groton-touring and baby-snuggling and daydreaming about house projects. Speaking of house projects, Andrew and his dad got us started on our bathroom reno by tackling the vanity. I know I keep teasing you with that, but I promise the big reveal is coming soon. Let me just get some paint on the walls, mmmk?

The other big news of last week is that Andrew got promoted! I was able to go down to the boat for the pinning while Jack stayed with Nonni and Grandpa. I was thankful to be a part of that - I'm proud of that boy for everything he's been through over the last two years. I'm proud of myself, too, for that matter. Where's my pin?

And Jack says, "Promoted? Yesssssss!"

I'm embarrassed to say that we took no other pictures. Probably because we were just too busy having fun. 

We were sad to see them go, that's for sure. They're some of the sweetest, most generous people I know and I'm thankful to call them family. And I'm not just saying that because of all the manual labor they provide when they visit.

Although that doesn't hurt either ;)

Thursday, June 7, 2012


We had visitors over the weekend and then I moved straight into yard sale prep and that's my excuse for why it's been a week since my last post. And I'm buying some more time by showing you a bunch of pictures.

Here's what's been going on in our neck of the woods:

We're enjoying each other.

We're learning to put up with not-so-gentle baby hands.

We're wondering if there's anything cooler than a ceiling fan. No pun intended.

We're picking flowers from our garden.

We're looking preppy.

We're enjoying the summer views.


We're getting in lots of pre-bedtime snuggles.

We're decorating the sunroom.

We're picking out paint colors for the bathroom. 

We're remodeling the bathroom.

We're wearing submarines on our clothes in honor of Andrew's promotion.

We're getting in some early birthday celebrations with Andrew's parents.

We're rolling over during the night and naps. But not rolling back. So we're also verrrry tired.

We're bird-watching! And bird-feeding!

We're planning makeovers for thrift store finds.

We're having a garage sale in 36 hours.

I'll be back soon to talk about our lovely weekend visitors, our current bathroom remodel and a few other little DIY projects we have in the works. 

Happy Weekend!

Friday, June 1, 2012

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