Thursday, February 27, 2014

How did I get here?

I was able to get away with some friends this past weekend to hear one of my favorite blogger/authors speak. I don't have (or make) time to read or follow very many people, so the fact that I enjoy her enough to actually read her stuff says something. Jen Hatmaker was in Little Rock, and we got to hear her wise words and have some much needed mama time away! She is real, she is honest, she is bold, she is controversial, and she hit me with things that weren't even bouncing around in my (way, way too full) head of ideas. Instead of coming home refreshed and relaxed, like I expected, I came home broken. Broken in a new way over issues THAT MATTER in this world, broken over things we choose not to think about, broken over wanting to do and be more. I came home with lots of notes, and I ended up having to hold on to them and soak them in for a few days before I could even talk to Micah about things I was feeling without crying.
I'm glad I waited to talk to him about it because as I prayed about the things I was feeling, God revealed so much to me. I had things that I needed to be honest about, things that were on my heart that needed to be shared, and it's always interesting to learn new things about yourself. I'm going to share a few things with you. Not because you care, but because this is my blog and my journal and my documentation of life. So, as I've said before, you can just follow along if you'd like. :)
God has been working in my life over the past several years in many ways. One of the constants is bringing me back to scripture that talks about taking action. Then, bringing me to people who preach and talk about what it means to actually be doers of the word instead of only readers of the word. We have so many plain truths in scripture for how we should live...are we choosing to ignore that? You've seen our family walk shakily in obedience of God's word with our adoptions, mission trips, and other things. I try to take God's word for what it is, and try not to get stuck in the rut of "serving safe people and blessing blessed people," like we tend to do when we only serve in areas we like or feel comfortable. However, I am always feeling the need to do be MORE for shine His light a little MORE.
I've been convicted over the past few days that I need to be content instead of always striving for more. Yes, God wants us to take action and move mountains in His name. Yes, God commands us to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and love our neighbors. But right now, in my life, God is calling me to care for my three littles who need me desperately. I'm not able to do all the volunteer work I want to do right now because, let's be honest, it would be more work for whatever organization to clean up after my tornadoes than I would be help. At some point, my kids will be able to serve along side me, and that will be fabulous. Until then, they need to be trained up and loved with grace and mercy...and that means some things just have to give.
As we drove home from the event, the precious friends I went with helped this soak in just a little more for me. They each have kiddos that are older than mine, and some of them very close together. They are able to do things and serve in ways now that just wouldn't have happened for them a few years ago either. We will be there, I see the light.
When I was finally able to decompress with Micah the other night, I melted just a tiny bit at the table at a local restaurant. I love my sweet husband who tries to act like nobody is staring at me as I blubber and talk to him about deep things in a public setting. For the love, doesn't he know I can't talk about anything at home with the three little leaches hanging all over me? It felt really good to cry a little bit and be honest about how I was feeling.
How was I feeling?
Unappreciated (by children who don't speak in full sentences)
Unimportant (because I'm not currently "changing the world")
Confused on how I got here
How God wants me to feel:
I'm focusing on these things, and not going to let myself feel like I'm not doing enough. I've been so overwhelmed with Bretton's needs, and toddler needs, and home needs, and husband needs, and church needs, and I've had zero time to settle and rest in God. I've made zero time for him to work in me completely because I've been hurrying off to the next way I could serve Him. That's not what my God is about.
So, I'm continuing on and trying to find the balance between making sacrifices in my life and resting in Him at the same time. This is not me giving in to the excuse of being busy and not serving.  I'm just going to have to give up certain things I'm not feeling led to do, say no to new things, and listen more carefully to find the specific callings for our family at this time.
This world is SO broken. There are so many needs, so many causes that break my heart, so many mountains to move. I feel a overwhelming responsibility to take action, but I know I have to rest in God's timing. One of my favorite quotes from this weekend was, "We will not sit on our pile of privileges and pretend they are ours to enjoy." We are so God's design, not our doing.
A few questions I'm pondering (and maybe you want to as well):
-Who am I serving and why?
-Am I painfully hungry for God's word? Do I crave it like honey on my tongue?
-What in my life am I unwilling to leave or give up?
-What does it look like to love this world?
-Are we only listening to leadership that supports our lifestyle or endorses our choices?
Sorry I'm not sorry for getting so deep. :) I needed to get it out. I may be sharing ways with you that we are choosing as a family to support causes we are passionate about without just being "busy." Or...this may be it. Comment or email me if you have questions or suggestions...I am SO open to both!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Make THIS Monday!

I'm back! You're going to think I'm crazy with this recipe, but just try it!
These are "Cookie Dough Bites." They are grain free, dairy free, egg free, sweetened with honey, and made with CHICKPEAS. The do bake, but they are still really gooey and do not hold up like a normal cookie...that's why they are still called cookie dough! They are super healthy for you, but they still feel indulgent and kick any sweet craving you're having with the little bit of chocolate that's in them. Landry and Collier could have eaten the whole pan. When Micah tried them, he obviously knew they weren't normal cookies, but he was shocked when I told him that chickpeas were the main ingredient. They are surprisingly yummy!

Cookie Dough Bites
1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well rinsed and patted dry with paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter or almond butter (unsweetened)
1/4 cup honey (some reviews said agave worked too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt (unless your PB is salted)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients except for chocolate in a food processor together. This mixture is THICK and sticky. I used my Vitamix, and I still had to take the lid off and stir a few times to get it to mix smoothly. Next time, I am definitely going to try the food processor like the recipe suggested. Pour in the chocolate chips and stir or pulse to mix through.
With wet hands, form 1 1/2 inch round balls and place on silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. (If you want them to look more like regular cookies, you could press them down at this point.)
Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Dough will still be gooey and look raw after cooking, but you will be able to handle without having to wet your hands at this point. Ha!
I know these sound totally off the wall, but honestly, they're worth a try. They were fun for the kids to help me make, and I didn't feel guilty letting them eat them! Here are a few things to keep in mind and changes that I made...
-The "cookies" are not very good leftover. They are meant to be eaten warm. If you don't eat all of them, store them in an airtight container and microwave for a few seconds before you eat them.
-Like I said, I had trouble getting my mixture to mix smoothly. Don't stress about that. I seriously had a few completely whole chickpeas in a few of my final cookies, and the kids didn't even notice. Especially since I used crunchy peanut butter...
-Speaking of peanut butter...use this if you can find it!
It is the best, and is made with coconut oil! It is already sweetened lightly with agave, so I cut down the honey in the recipe when I made it.
I'm anxious to know what you think if you try it!
Happy Monday...I'm hoping for some time tomorrow to do a few updates on the kids. Life has just been crazy! :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February Family Trip!

I'm a little out of my routine for blogging this week and totally skipped my regular Monday post. BUT, I have a good reason. I have crazy, stress-ball of a life caught up with me, and now I'm hurting like crazy! I'm all drugged up, so hopefully it will be kicked soon. I've had so many fun things planned this week that I've just tied to power through and still do them. I had a date night with Micah, and I'm planning on leaving town for the weekend with a friend tomorrow. I told her it was either hurt riding in the car laughing with her or stay home and be harassed by the kids. :)  I'm picking laughing until I hurt even worse.
One of our family resolutions for 2014 was to spend family time together once a month by taking a trip, making a memory, or doing something else intentional. The funny part is, for January, we had planned to go to a local hotel and spend the night to let the kids swim. When the house flooded, we got to do that a week early! :)
For February, we went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas. It was SO much fun. We took our sweet babysitter, April, with us so that we could have one-on-one time with each child. It was so perfect, and such a great memory maker for our little family. The best Valentine's Day I've had in a long time!

The hotel had story time each night, so we got dressed in our jammies and went downstairs for the fun!

Landry got to sleep on a bunk bed with "wuvs" or "woofs" (aka: wolfs) painted on the walls all around it. She loved being in the "cave" and thought it was so cool!

 We got to eat some really yummy food while we were there, and you know Collier is always up for that!

The hotel has a 34,000 square foot INDOOR water park that only hotel guests can use. The kids loved, loved, loved getting to swim while it was so cold outside. Landry loved the ocean (wave pool), and Collier loved the action of going down the slides over and over and over again. Bretton wasn't much for the water...he preferred to be snuggled and nap. :)

Collier loved having a phone in the room, and he pretended to call Mimi and Gigi the whole time we were there. "Hi! Collier here. How are you mimi?" "Gigi, can you hear me? This is me, Collier!"
It was really a great weekend for our family. This is by far one of the bigger outings we have planned for the year, but I'm SO glad we did it. The kids had a blast, and I loved watching them experience new things!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I was just thinking this morning about everything that has transpired over the past year for our family. As we prepare to reach the date of Parke's passing in a few weeks, I am so overwhelmed and in awe that God gave us Bretton. For goodness sake, he is so stinkin loved. He is by far the most popular person in our house (Daddy comes in a very, very close second).
The kids want to hold him constantly.

Landry refers to him as "her baby," and she seriously takes such good care of him. She directs people on how to hold him, what he needs, and loves to help feed and change his diapers. 

 And I harass him and take way too many pictures. :) He's just so sweet, I can't help myself.
Today I am thankful and humbled that I got chosen to be Bretton's mama.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Make THIS Monday!

I told you it was coming! :) One of our favorites...
Apple Cheddar Mini-Meatloaves
These are so good! The apple and onion keep the turkey from drying out, and they are even good leftover!
Apple Cheddar Turkey Mini-Meatloaves
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 medium onion, shredded
1 medium granny smith apple,  peeled and shredded (toss the core)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus a little extra for topping)
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Fill greased muffin cups with mixture (this made 12 for us). Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Top with additional cheese and bake another 5-7 minutes.

Snow Day Shenanigans and Cute Kids

This bitter cold weather and snow has been keeping us at home even more than usual these days. Landry missed gymnastics because of the snow, I missed getting out of the house for groceries and a little alone time, and Collier just missed going. We are really homebodies, and I am totally fine with that 99.9% of the time. However, when I realized we had been in the house for 6 days straight, and our only proof of life beyond ourselves was Facebook and Micah going to and coming from work, I started twitching a bit. :) I'm so glad to see a warmer forecast coming this weekend. These kids are beyond ready to get to play outside regularly!
Most snow days for us feel pretty much like a regular day. Our kids aren't in school, so we kind of have the same routine day in and day out. I do feel like I can cheat a little bit though when schools are canceled. I know that makes NO sense, but I feel like it's almost a free day for us too. We drink hot chocolate, we watch more tv than we should, we pull out craft projects to work on, and the laundry and cleaning waits. I have been enjoying that part of it! :)
Here is lots of randomness from our last week...

It's a crazy amount of trouble for me to dress the kids up to go outside for 2 minutes...and then for them to drag the mess back in with them. So, this time, we brought the snow inside!

Manicures and pedicures for the princess...

Several painting opportunities for our budding artist...

Sister got her hair curled for the first time.
"My hair is WARM mama!" :)
It only held for about 30 minutes.

Makeup lessons.
Just to be clear, she was teaching me. :)
PURE love. :)

I'm ready for Spring. Not that we won't still stay at home in our jammies some most days, but at least we will have the option of walking to the mailbox. :)
Have no fear...Make THIS Monday is coming up later today.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Helmet

Bretton got his helmet last Friday, and we are slowly getting used to it. He has done pretty well so far, but today we are up to wearing it 8 hours during the day and overnight for the first time. Naps are not going well, so I'm not very excited about tonight. Hopefully he will sleep the 12 hours like he normally does!
Bretton is just the happiest, sweetest, most content little thing. The helmet hasn't seemed to change that one bit. We are still getting lots of smiles, and he doesn't even seem to notice it unless he is trying to sleep.

We have had a few moments like this, but I can't tell if it's just when he's sleepy or if the helmet is really making his neck tired.

I've had several people ask, so I thought I would just share here...
For now, we are not planning on decorating or doing stickers all over. I think the helmet draws enough attention on its own, and I like it plain. :)
Then, you can focus on things like B's beautiful eyes instead of dino stickers all over. Ha!

In the past week, Bretton has become mobile! He isn't crawling, but he is rolling both ways and scooting all over the place. He gets himself in all sorts of trouble. :)
He started out under the toy on his back...
Then, he got stuck under the ottoman and was laughing SO hard. He is too funny!
Thank you guys SO much for all the sweet comments about B. A helmet is really no big deal, but it was hard on me to have to go forward with it. I know that seems so stinkin' silly, but it was just kind of another thing on our list, and not really what I had pictured for me sweet boy. We expect that he will wear it for 4-6 months if everything goes as planned. He will wear it 23 hours a day and get one hour off for bathing him and washing the helmet.
Landry and Collier have been cracking me up. We didn't warn them that Bretton was getting a new accessory, and they have been so funny. Landry called it a "homiet" and Collier has taken it off of him twice. We had to have a serious talk with Collier about not touching, but he wants one too!