Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Law in 2010

I think they should make it perfectly acceptable to wear THIS
for the months of December and January.
Seriously. I just put on my jeans for the first time in a week and I was SOOOO tempted to run up to the attic, grab my maternity jeans and have a lovely day. If everyone was doing it, I would...

Happy Sad, Overwhelmed Bored

Yesterday I was sitting in front of my computer with the very daunting task of updating my facebook status. That little box bekoning "How are you feeling???" I seriously could not decide. On one hand, I was overcoming with the usual happy feelings of how blessed I feel in my life. Barcaly is always a joy to be around all day. I have a cozy and warm and half way clean house:-) A sweet husband who loves me. I was just feeling super blessed and happy yesterday. I also felt sort of moody and sad. The skies were grey, I had a lot that I didn't accomplish that I wanted to. I have several friendships lately that I just can't seem to keep up with, and Noah has had a horrible week of work and is SPENT by the night time...when I need some interaction. So I was both. Happy and Sad.

I was thinking about it today. I feel like in a Stay at Home Mom's life. Every day is a combination of bored and overwhelmed. Maybe I'm just speaking for myself, or maybe some others share this feeling with me. At any given moment during the day. I am both overwhelmed with all the mundane tasks that are never accomplished or checked off. (Washing dishes is my nemisis!) and bored and restless. Even though I have so much going on I don't know how I can get it all done (and to be honest it can never all get done), sometimes I just want to get out and do something crazy. Like go on a picnic or drive to the coast. Something to break up the never ending tasks.

I've been meeting a sweet friend and her baby at a local mexican restaurant nearly every week lately and it is so nice for both of us to take time out of our overwhelmed and boring days to have some personal connections and just have some fun (sans dishes). The more I do it...the more I want to do it all the time!

Just some wandering thoughts in the middle of this day. Better go get those dishes done before I have to dirty them again!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Greek Veggie Dip-A cousin to Hummus

My mom fed me A LOT of hummus growing up. So much, in fact, that I haven't really wanted to touch the stuff for years. It makes me sad because it's so good for you and filling and easy to make...but I just can't do it.

This is a cousin to hummus but different enough that I can eat it.

Blend 1 cup chickpeas drained
1 cup of artichoke hearts drained
1/2 cup light mayo-OR 1/2 cup yogurt
3 TBS grated Parmesan
2 TBS lemon juice
2 clove garlic crushed
Pinch of salt
Pinch of chili powder
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of Onion powder
I also added dill for my own person taste.

The only only thing I don't love about this is the knowledge that there is mayo in it. Not a huge fan. Although I can't taste it and if I had been given this would have never have guessed it was in there.
I think next time I will use yogurt instead.

Aloha Chicken Kebabs

From Deceptively Delicious:

Noah loves chicken fingers. LOVES them. I personally can't stand them unless they are from Chick-fil-a. I bought this cook book when I saw this recipe for Aloha Chicken Kebabs.

I don't keep wooden skewers around so I just made these into chicken fingers by loosing the step of threading them onto the skewer.

Make Pineapple puree (blend up pineapple)
Make Sweet potato puree. Bake sweet potatoes that have been gashed for an hour at 400 degrees. Then blend.

You need three bowls.

In bowl number 1 mix 1 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs
with 1/4 ground flax seed.

In bowl number 2 mix flour, salt and pepper. (it's just for coating so it doesn't matter really)

In bowl number 3 mix:
1/2 cup of sweet potato puree
1/4 cup of pineapple puree
1 TBS of soy sauce
1 egg white
1/4 cup of shredded non sweet coconut

Take 1 pound of chicken tenders.
Coat in flour mixture, coat in sweet potato mixture, coat in bread crumb mixture and then "fry" on a grill with a little bit of butter and olive oil.

They are so good! When I did the purees I saved a lot in zip locks for later.

Can't Beet That!-Pancakes

From Deceptively Delicious:

I've never before cooked a beet...nor have I ever eaten one. I had some leftover ricotta cheese from Christmas so I thought I'd try this recipe called Pink Pancakes:

Make beet puree. Just wash beets, cut stems off, and wrap in tin foil. Then bake at 400 for 1 hour. Peel and blend in food processor.
I froze a couple little baggies of them so I didn't have to cook them again for a while.
(and for some reason my beets were not red, they were orange...So I guess my pancakes were "orange pancakes)

Blend 1 cup of beet puree.
1 cupe of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of grated apple (apples are so easy to grate!)
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of pancake mix. ( I LOVE Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Pancake mix)

Then make pancakes:-)

Seriously delicious. Like the best pancake I've ever tasted. Barclay loved them too. He hate a whole one. AND, I made 4 batches to freeze for easy gourmet breakfast.

Lessons from the Kitchen

If there is anything I've learned from being a mother, it is how to be efficient. I'm not saying I have mastered it (or will ever master it!), but I find that every moment I have free is filled with doing something efficient.

I've learned a few lessons the past couple months that I thought I'd share.

1.For the past 3 months, every single Monday I take 10 minutes and clean out my fridge, freezer, and pantry. It literally only takes ten minutes. That way I get rid of any bad leftovers or produce, which means I don't ever have to do the dreaded 2 hour long, gagging clean up of the fridge every 4 months or so. It also really reminds me what I still need to use, what I need to by, that sort of stuff. I've noticed that the food I've wasted (which used to be a huge problem for me) has significantly gone down.
I also try as much as I can to loosely menu plan and grocery shop on Mondays. With what we have left to use fresh on my mind, it makes it so much easier. I usually do the all this as Barclay is eating breakfast in his highchair each morning.

2.I have cleaned out an entire lower pantry for Barclay. He kept getting into my pots and pans so I just cleaned one out and filled it with toys. Now when I'm cooking, he goes and gets in his little hide away and plays.

3.I've also started making a big pot of soup on Monday or Tuesday. This is so that I can have an easy lunch throughout the week. My husband has lunch meetings and is never home so I was sort of skipping lunch...which made for a very testy wife at the end of the day. I personally don't like leftovers too much, but I love soup so it's worked well for me.

4.I've started cooking 2 meals at a time. That way it's only one kitchen clean versus two.

5.I just bought for $4 at Ross, the cook book Deceptively Delicious. I've seen it for years and just figured it was probably a cute cover but probably no good (why else is it at Ross?) I finally bought one that was slightly damaged because my curiosity had been peaked for so long.
I LOVE it. It may be my favorite cook book ever. It's by Jerry Seinfeld's wife and it is basically about how to sneak in pureed veggies into every meal. It's for children, but I see it as the perfect solution to a picky husband...
I've made 4 of the recipes in the past 24 hours and I LOVE 3 of them...hate 1.
Seriously they are so good!
I'm going to post the three recipes that I did like. And seriously ya'll. I would not post them if I didn't think they were worth it.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Part 4-Motherhood and Bipolar disorder

Part 1

Part 4
About six months after the new "normal" we were enjoying our marriage and I finally felt like I could handle possibly being a mother. Since I can remember, I've had an overwhelming urge to be a mother. Our first two years of marriage, I was even hoping for an "oops" baby. But deep down I was scared to have a baby and ruin them with my rages. With six months of wonderful times under my belt I was beyond ready to start a family. Noah agreed and we decided to get our ducks in a row. We called to change our insurance, only to find out that we were 4 days late and would have to wait till next year to add maternity coverage! We decided that we weren't going to let that stop us and we would just pay out of pocket. I then went to my psychiatrist to talk about changing my medication. I told her excitedly that we were ready to start a family and I needed to switch to something safe. My dreams were bashed in a matter of minutes as she explained to me that there was no safe medicine to have a baby on. That it was extremely dangerous to get off of medicine and that she thought maybe after a few years, we could reconsider. I was so shocked! I had told her early on in our first meeting we wanted a family in the near future and she never said anything about not being able to. A couple years down the road did not sound good to me. I was impatient and frustrated. I tried to tell her we didn't want to wait a few years and she responded with,
"People like you probably shouldn't have babies."
It was like she had reached into my chest and pulled out my heart. It was so cut and dry. So cold. So heartless. I was distraught. Needless to say, that day I walked out of her office was the last day I saw her.
I started researching on my own and talking to other psychiatrists. No one was willing to help me (at least no one in the time frame of the next year). I even went to a natural doctor who tried to hypnotize me. She said maybe after a year of her "procedures" I might could be ready.
I hated that. Everyone deciding when or not I could get pregnant. My body was ready, my heart was ready, our home was ready....But this horrible secret was stopping me. What was the point in living, if I couldn't do what I felt made for?

I prayed a lot and decided off birth control and used other methods. Secretly hoping for an "oops". I then made the decision after a lot of prayer, that I was going to get off my medicine and see what happened. It might have been a stupid decision, but I made it and I never experienced lows like I had before. Right when I felt we had our ducks in a row, (off meds, off birth control for a couple months, decided to pay out of pocket, etc. ) We were set to officially start trying in a couple days... We were on the way to a hotel for a conference. I had packed a bottle of wine (hopefully my last for a while), lingerie, a baby journal, I was so ready and beyond excited. I'd been working up to this point for months! Noah informed me on the drive to Atlanta, he just didn't think it was the right time. This sent me into a fit of rage. I didn't try to hurt myself this time. Instead I drank the entire bottle of wine by myself and demanded that Noah take me to dinner. I vaguely remember sitting at a nice restaurant crying into my pasta as everyone around me looked at our sad table. Noah sat there cold as ice as he watched me eat.
I vigorously wrote in my journal that week. I really felt like I was dying inside. I just knew the time was right. I wanted to be a mother and everyone around me was telling me no. The more they told me no, the more I felt out of control, the more out of control I felt, the more I felt like everyone was right and I would be a terrible mother.
2 months after this episode, we decided to chance it. We stopped all forms of contraceptives and waited to see what would happen.
On our 3rd anniversary, I woke up at 6 am to take a test. I just had a feeling (much like my 20 other feelings of the past months). I was shocked beyond belief when I looked and it read "pregnant". I could not believe it!
It began my journey of motherhood. I was scared to see what the pregnancy hormone would do for me. I braced myself for the horrible possibility of feeling depressed and suicidal while carrying another life. I was worried I had made a poor decision and that I potentially was going to ruin this baby.
Pregnancy made me feel wonderful...emotionally. I did throw up hundreds of times a day through almost the whole pregnancy. But who cares! I was mentally there, alert, and I was handling situations well. I felt normal, I felt just like I was on the Lamictal. I was so thankful to God for giving me the gift of a son, and so thankful that it wasn't an emotionally hard road to travel. Barclay was born in February and I was ready to be hit with a severe case of baby blues. I was scared that as soon as I wasn't pregnant, I would suddenly become my old self. Months passed, and although tired, worn out and slightly emotional (who isn't?) I felt great. I guess the breast feeding kept that hormone going. So no problems at all.
Even though it wasn't in my exact timing, the Lord gave me the desires of my heart. The pregnancy and these last 11 months have no doubt been the best of my life.
To be continued...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Part 3-Diagnosis

Part 3
It was soon after I graduated from college, we had our second anniversary and moved for the 6th time since our marriage. It was the peak of the worst. I knew something had to change and since I didn't know what else to do, I went to our sweet, Christian marriage counselor (who we had starting going to a few months before). Previously, in all our meetings we had focused on past family experiences, and little normal marital tiffs. This time I went to her by myself and just started with.
"Something is the matter with me and I have no idea what it is. I cannot control myself and I am hurting my husband and I don't know how to stop. I need help."

It was shocking. I had never admitted the evil that had been going on in myself and in our marriage .

I told her exactly how I was acting and feeling. No warming up to it, sugar coating it. Raw. Ugly. Awful...laid out for her in a matter of minutes.
After I spoke, I expected her to say something like, "Well you need to pray more, or No Helen Joy, you are a happy person. I know it's just a sin problem."

Instead, she took out a text book and read to me the symptoms of bi polar disorder. I got chills as she repeated back to me the exact things I had just told her.
A weight started lifting off my shoulders as I realized that maybe there was something that could help me get control.
Within the week, I was referred to a psychologist who diagnosed me right away with bipolar disorder.
I had to take a quiz. If you had 7 of the 13 symptoms, you were bipolar. I had 12 of the 13...the only thing I didn't have was inability to sleep. Just reading through the quiz I was shocked at the random things it asked that were so prevalent in my whole life. Things I never though were connected.
The psychiatrist talked to me about our plan as far as medication. I told her I wanted to be on the least amount of medicine and also that I wanted to be able to start a family in the near future. She looked at me over her glasses when I said that. And then jotted stuff down.
I immediately started taking Lamictal. I was worried about so much:
Would I completely loose myself?
Would the fun, energetic, artistic me be gone forever?
Would I be a robot?
Would I react bad to the medicine and go even more crazy?
Almost everything I read about bipolar disorder had so much drama about medicine and how it changed people...
It was scary. But not nearly as scary as just letting things go on as they were.
I started on the lowest lowest dose of lamictal. The trial start packet. I went up a little every week for three weeks and then I was on the lowest dose you could continually take.
My life changed.
Within the 1st week, I felt like a new person. Little things that had previously sent me into a raging, self mutilating rage went by almost unnoticed. And the kicker...I didn't even feel like I had to try to control myself. It came as second nature.
I felt present. My heart didn't beat fast, the adrenaline didn't send me up over my body. I was able to calmly think and react. It was a miracle!
To go from thinking I might kill myself, to having a nice normal a weeks time is mind blowing.
Our "problems" were shown at how minimal they really were.
I was so thrilled that I wanted to share the good news with anyone who would listen.
Unfortunately, people didn't take it well.
Almost everyone I told, who knew me just could not believe what was coming out of my mouth. Even my closest friend in all the world had no clue about the struggle I had with myself. Response after response was,
"I don't believe you. You're so joyful. I just can't believe you were like that."
I felt so sad that no one truly knew me. And because no one but Noah knew me, I felt like most people didn't think it was that big of a deal. They trivialized it and made me question myself a lot.
Then there were people close to me who basically chastised me for believing that I needed medication. They said it was an excuse for my behavior. They said that that sort of stuff was just bull.
I remember telling one friend about it and before I could even get through a sentence, he said, "That stuff is such lies. There's nothing wrong with you." Just like that. He had decided he knew me well enough to decide that it was all a lie. This made me question my decisions to accept my diagnosis so easily and to start on medication. Despite the good results I was having.

I started talking myself out of it. I was on the lowest dosage. What if it had quickly corrected the imbalance in my head and I would be OK from now on? What if everything was in my head? What if I wasn't that bad to begin with? It's so easy to forget how bad things were. It was as if it was another life time ago.
But everything I read warned about how Bi polar patients always try to convince themselves to get off medicine and then...things get worse and worse.
So I stayed on it, enjoyed life, enjoyed my marriage, and started the healing process of forgiving myself.
For the first time, I was looking forward to life and not viewing every day as a struggle to get through.
What a blessing it was!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The second year- Part 2

Part TWO:
Our second year of marriage was hell. Complete and udder hell. Whoever said the first year is the hardest, didn't know us.
I think back on it and all I remember was a blur. I don't remember specifics. I cannot put into words the darkness that year was to me.
I remember it getting bad the second summer we were married. I was working two jobs and I just felt on edge all the time. Just to tell you how bad it was at the BEGINNING of the year...
I remember once, Noah was 2 hours late to get home. We were supposed to leave for the beach and he just didn't call me to let me know he was going to be late. By the time he got home, I was livid. Granted, he was wrong by not being thoughtful, but I took it to a whole new level. The more I fussed at him the more indifferent he got. It fueled my fire. At one point, I chugged a mini bottle of tequila we had lying around, grabbed a knife and proceeded to threaten to kill myself in front of him. This all escalated in a matter of minutes. Noah was so shocked and scared he just didn't react, which made me want to do more. I then ran outside our apartment, took all my clothes off and ran towards the highway that ran near us completely naked. It was raining, I was crying...I wanted Noah to follow save me. Instead, I peak through the window to see what he was doing and saw he had started a movie and was sitting on the couch. I then sat my naked body down in the road and cried as rain fell down around me, holding a knife. I remember that vividly. The pain I was feeling, the SHAME I was feeling. The frustration that my husband didn't care.
(I must say that Noah was scared to death in all of this. It started with yelling and by the end of everything always ended with attempts on my life. Noah was so scared that if he gave in and reacted to me, I would take that as, It I should keep doing it. ) I don't think that was necessarily the way to help me, but it was what he did to wasn't that he was cold hearted.

This time in my life was exhausting. Almost every single night small things would escalate and I attempted suicide too many times to count. I also started cutting and drinking. I never really wanted to die...I just wanted someone to know how badly I was hurting and the desperation that I felt. I did not feel there was a way out of the madness.

I would drink a half bottle of vodka in 5 minutes and would sit on my floor sobbing and unable to move. I was numb. It just made Noah more and more angry and hurt. And his coping was to move further away from me...which drove me to do more things to get his was a wheel of death that just kept turning.

I remember one day waking up from a break down and reading curse words written in pen all over parts of my body. Horrible words written so hard that I had drawn blood. But when I woke up, I felt normal and happy...when I went to take a shower, I was shocked at the words and it all started coming back to me. The 3 hour fight, that ended this.

At my Sororitie's senior dance, Noah wouldn't dance with me, I proceeded to take a bottle of Tylenol and run into the hills of the golf course at the country club. I laid there on the dewy grass waiting to slip away...or waiting for Noah to finally get the hint and come RESCUE me. Neither happened. Instead I felt stupid and as I made my way back to the party, I realized how bad off I was.

Or there was the time we went to a concert, with a lot of friends from college. I was singing along to our favorite song and Noah asked me to stop...he had come to hear them sing it. This crushed me and I moved back a couple rows. He didn't once turn to look for me or ask me to come back. So I sat the whole concert in the back, crying and getting more and more mad. By the end of it, I ran past all my friends, to my car where I started ripping into my arms with my keys making them bleed.

Once I drove the car to down town and purposely ran red light after red light just begging to be hit.

These situations happened at least twice a week. Why didn't Noah commit me? Because I was too smart for that. As soon as he would start dialing 911 I would wise up and sweet talk my way out of it.

Through all of this I was continually praying, continually journaling, TRYING TRYING TRYING to be better. To stop the madness.

I remember one night in particular trying to talk to Noah and explain how I was feeling. I told him I felt like two different people. The person that hurt him, and then me. I told him I had no idea how to stop it and that I was TRYING so hard and I could not stop my hurtfulness. It was like as soon as an argument took place, I was lifted into the air hundreds of feet above myself and I watched this demon like person say things and do things...I felt I had no power over myself.

Throughout all of this, we were going regularly to marriage counseling but never addressing our problems...mostly problems dealing with our parent's divorce and things of that nature.
I felt like my dreams of a marriage that was going to work were shattered.
If I wasn't screaming and cutting myself I was trying to make it up to Noah and he would have none of it. He was distancing himself by the minute and I don't blame him.
By the end of that year, I would look at him and I saw a wounded animal looking back at me. I would raise my hand to grab something off the top shelf and he would flinch for the hit.
I had ruined my marriage. I hated myself. And not a single person other than us knew what was going on. It was lonely and brutal. Every single day was a battle.

to be continued...

My Journey with Bi Polar Disorder-Part 1

I'm linking up to Kelly's Show us your Ministry.
Although I would not say that my blog is completely dedicated to dealing with my bi polar disorder, I would say that it is real and honest. When I was diagnosed several years ago, I experienced what I thought would be the loss of my biggest dream....motherhood. I wrote about my journey in 4 parts starting with this post, which I wrote several months ago.

I hope you will take the time to read through it and that it encourages you!

Part 1
I've gone back and forth about whether or not I should ever mention or talk about this on this blog. I'm not scared of what people will think, and I share with anyone who will listen to me if I've ever talked to you in person.
I don't care if people skip over it because it isn't a Christmas cookie recipe or lovely photos of my child.
I do slightly care about "opinions" some might have and try to share...although I'd never let that be my reason not to share.
I just never felt like doing it.
Until today. For some reason, all day, words were running through my mind. I couldn't get them out and I couldn't shut them up.
No one wants to read about this at Christmas, I thought. But here I am at 10 pm writing. I really feel, for some reason that God wants me to write this. So here goes.

Ever since I can remember I've been a passionate girl. Always the first to suggest an impromptu skinny dipping expedition...always making art and writing poetry, always the emotion one. I love these things about myself. These are reasons my friends and family love me.
I remember, in high school, sneaking out of my room at night ( not to meet a boy) but to run barefoot in the field across the road and sing song at the top of my lungs to God.
I've always felt very alive, always been very joyful and happy.

With these good qualities, come some very hard and hurtful things about me. I get upset very easily, I don't like criticism, one small thing can send me into the "depths of despair" (as Anne of Green Gables would say).

I've always been called a drama queen, an attention seeker, an all or nothing girl.
My mother used to whisper in my ear several times every day, "Self control".
I never had any no matter how hard I tried.

Up until college, these things gave me minimal trouble and for the most part I was loving life despite many hard circumstances.

I don't know when the downward spiral started. I sometimes think it was when I started on birth control a few months before my wedding, other times I think it was the marriage itself. The fact that I was suddenly with someone 24/7 and could not hide any of me.

Either way, just a few months into our marriage, I started having a few break downs here and there. It would start with a small comment and in no time I was hysterical crying on the floor. Several hours later, the fight would be over and I would feel normal. I would want to hold hands and talk to Noah. I would want to go on as if nothing had happened. I remember the first time I had one of these break downs. We were getting ready to fly to Boston for a friend's wedding. I was packing and I honestly do not remember what started it. I do remember the look on Noah's face as I barraged him with insults and accusations. I remember it as if I was flying above our bodies and watching from afar. I remember the hurt on his face and the confusion when I "came back down".

Our first year of marriage was probably your typical first year, in many ways. Lots of adjusting and learning, not necessarily anything out of the ordinary. I thought these fights we were having were the normal..."Marriage takes work."

Despite the "break downs", Noah and I had a year full of absolute blissful moments. There were times I was so happy I felt like I would burst. These moments were much more often then not.

to be continued...

Christmas Cheer

We got about a foot of snow over the weekend. Barclay's first snow. He wasn't too impressed. I took a few cute pictures of him in his red rocker.

What a sweet little boy.
Despite the snow, this precious baby, the Josh Groban Christmas CD I have on replay, the cookies I bake, the tree and the smells.
This year I'm having a hard time feeling in the Christmas Spirit. I don't know what it is! I think it's just a hard transition year, from being with our families to having our own family of three. I want it to be all it was when I grew up, and it just isn't. (Not that Barclay has a clue what is going on). I think I just had such high expectations about how our first Christmas with a baby was going to be. Hoping to find some Christmas spirit in the next few days.
Stuffing Barclay's first stocking with straws is truly going to be magical:-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Marital Fights

I hate marital fights. They're the worst.
#1.You know exactly how to hurt each other, exactly how to push buttons...and in situations like fights...most of the time you choose to do it.
#2.You love the other person more than anyone on earth, so it hurts worse.
#3.You can't vent to anyone because you have to protect your marriage and your loved one.
Marital fights are lonely and brutal.
I hate them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Catching up on sleep

The past week, Barclay has slept all night long...or at least I have. I think God shut my keen sense of hearing off last week and I haven't heard him since.
Praise the Lord.
This past week, I've been even more tired then before (waking up 3 times a night). I think I just am realizing what I've been missing.
And Barclay has taken a 3 1/2 hour nap today and is working on 1 1/2 hours as I type this.
Sleep is so nice...I had forgotten!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little theory of mine...

I usually never have sweets in the house...unless I know someone is going to visit. It's just something I do because I have no self control.
Holiday season=sweets in the house.
I have this theory...
eat it as fast as you can.
I know I will end up eating it all eventually.
Why not eat it all at one time so that I can "get it over with"?
Does this theory make sense to anyone else?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blessings of 2009

I feel like in my last post, I really put an emphasis on the negative things about 2009 and I do not want to do that. Because despite it's trials and frustrations, 2009 has been the best year of my life.

Blessings from 2009-
-I was able to carry a health baby boy full term (and beyond!:-)
-I learned so much about what EXPECTING a baby really means in those last few weeks.
-January was filled with some of the most precious moments with my husband as just the two of us. Slow dancing, preparing for the baby, timing braxton hix contractions, watching lots of movies, and lots of "last dates".
-I had the best birth experience I could have ever imagined. Even though it didn't go like I had planned, I remember it with the fondest of memories and having Noah there by my side, just the two of us, bonded us together in a new and wonderful way.
-Meeting my son, Barclay, for the first time. There are no words.
-Watching Noah fall in love.
-Watching the joy Barclay brought to our family and friends.
-Being cared for and helped by so many precious family and friends.
-I for the first time in my life, felt a new type of exhaustion and low...which ended up driving me to the only person with whos help I could do it...Jesus.
-I was able to breastfeed easily and I had 10 good months of wonderful blissful moments...thousands of precious minutes I will treasure always.
-Because of so many things going on, Noah and I had to be very direct and intentional about continuing to be loving to one another, and be respectful of each other. We leave behind us a year where we worked hard and enjoyed the benefit of a sweet marriage.
-I learned how to multitask like I've never done before.
-I learned how much I can really accomplish during a 1 hour nap time.
-I have set into order a loose cleaning schedule, which I am able to keep up...resulting in a neater home!
-Being a mother has prevented me from being OCD about certain things. I now feel like my life is a lot more balanced. I can't do everything. I feel like this year I got a good grasp of making prioreties and not beating myself up about not getting everything done. (this is HUGE!)
-Through many many trials, I feel like the Lord has stripped me down of any judgement that I had previously had for mothers who I thought were doing things the wrong way. I learned that nothing is "the right way" and to always always have grace and understanding. And not only just with mothers, but with people too.
-I have cooked more and loved every minute of it
-We have started going to a church plant of the large church we've been attending for years. It is closer to our house, smaller, and for the first time in our marriage, we are getting involved and are loving it!
-God Blessed my business so much and I have decided for the time being to focus on Portraits and not do weddings. I feel so good about this and I've been so blessed to work with wonderful people who inspire me. I'm also blessed because I have a job that I look forward to, and it allows me to stay at home with Barclay.
-I have discovered absolute pure joy that comes from being Barclay's mother. This has given me a glimpse into another side of God that I did not understand as well before.
-I started blogging and have been able to write and connect with so many people on such a deep level. I absolutely love it.
-God provided for Noah (a realtor). He blessed him with an unbelievable work ethic and such a compassionate heart. Noah worked so hard and God blessed him with such wonderful business even in this hard economic time.
-This was the first year in my ENTIRE life that I didn't have to worry about money. Not only did God provide for our needs, we were able to save some money, and we were able to help so many people God laid on our hearts.
-We were blessed to travel to Italy, Chicago, and Boston. We made wonderful memories that we will treasure forever.
-I've been able to see God answer specific prayers in the lives of my sisters. One in particular....Julianna has found a WONDERFUL man of God...and I'm just waiting for that phone call:-)
-We have deepened so many of our friendships. Even though many of our friends have sort of drifted away, I feel like the friends we do have relationships with are not just surface, but good, deep, caring friendships.
--Mostly I am thankful for the beautiful way God has refined me this year. Through every experience of 2009, I feel like more and more of Him has been revealed to me. And the bigger picture of Salvation has become clearer.

The Lord had such mercy on me this year. I messed up a lot, but He blessed me and my family over and above what I could have imagined.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

O Christmas Card...

Today I addressed 100 Christmas cards, and I still have 125 more to go. So for hours today, I was thinking about each person as I addressed their cards and I was wondering why I was sending them...

There's something about Christmas cards that leaves me wanting more. Here I am summing up my entire year (the year of the roller coaster emotions) with one picture. Where everyone is smiling and looking perfectly perfect. Though there were plenty of blissful moments this past year, there were also times I thought I would die from exhaustion, or I thought I was a terrible mother, or my house was so dirty that there were only trails through the dirty laundry to the living spaces of our house. There were moments I questioned my marriage, and moments I felt I had lost friendships, moments I swore, moments I hurt, moments that I felt the world was crashing down on me...
But I chose to sum up my year with a perfectly blissful
I don't think I've ever received a christmas card that was honest to the year. I never receive cards where the couple is spaced out awkwardly on a couch acting like they were strangers. I don't receive card with tear stained faces or angry expressions. I almost didn't send out a Christmas card this year, because I hate being fake. I don't want someone to think I have it all together. But when it comes down to it, years and years down the road...I think my memories will be more like our Christmas card...sweet and blissful.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Exhaustion finally took over...

...last night I physically could not get out of bed, and due to that, Barclay cried himself to sleep several times. Thankfully it was more moaning than screeching. And right now he is working on hour three of his nap.
I put him down at 7 and didn't pick him up till six thirty.
He didn't seem to hate me this morning and I was able to not be too much of a grouch today due to the lack of sleep I've been functioning on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Tree Tragedy

"A DIY guide to almost cutting down the Christmas tree...the hard way"
I love Christmas and I and love decorating for it. I couldn't wait to get the tree up this year with Barclay to enjoy it too. Of course everything has prevented that. Guests, baby showers, extreme exhaustion, that kind of stuff.
Last night I was determined to get our tree in. We have had it for over a week just sitting in our driveway!
I got the hand saw that we borrowed from Noah's dad and set out it the rain to cut the bottom off. It was hard! I was out there for 10 minutes and barely made any progress (other than the progress on shaping my arm muscles!). So I dragged it in the garage to try. 10 minutes later I felt I had done most of the work. Then I had a bright idea. I would take a screw driver and hammer it into the trunk to help split it. Brilliant! Just like old timey people would have done! Well it didn't work and I now had a tree trunk with a screw driver driven all the way through . I tried another screw driver because I was sure that would do the trick and finish it off.
1 hour later...5 screw drivers later....
I am stuck with a strange star on the bottom of our tree. Made with screw drivers that cannot come out! I then started gently chiseling an inch here, an inch there...
30 minutes later ( and two hours from the start of this thing), I had to stop.
My back hurt so bad I couldn't sit down, I was wet through and through, everything was sticking to me with the sap...and still today my Christmas tree is not decorated in our living room...but laying on the floor of our garage murdered with 5 screw drivers.
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree....
It was not a good day for holiday instead of beer...I drowned my sorrow in 2 glasses of egg nog.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Little Treasures:-)

It's been along time since I've posted any of my yardsale/thrift store finds. That definitely doesn't mean that I haven't gone!
I decided to post a few of the things I've found in the past couple months in no particular order.
I've been doing A LOT of GIVING to goodwill lately. Like bags and bags of stuff every week. I'm on a super simplistic kick. So every purchase I now make from a yard sale or thrift store is either needed, useful, organizational, or an upgrade to something, or...once in a while a treasure I want to invest in.

I've been trying to trade some of Barclay's plastic toys for wooden ones.

Wooden stacking rings.
25 cents

Wooden car
25 cents

Old version of Huckleberry Finn (Barclay's room is based off of classic little boy stories)
25 cents

Metal wall hanging.
$4. I didn't like the color so...

I spray painted it white and it now hangs in the nursery. I am in LOVE with it in there!

Baby Einstein Jumparoo, barely used.
Although Barclay is almost too old for it, I was thrilled to find it for baby number 2 whenever that happens...
We borrowed a friend's excersaucer for Barclay and he loved it so I wanted to keep my eye peeled for one of our own for the next baby.

3 hand carved Wisemen about 1 1/2 feet tall. They look like they are from Europe.
This is usually a lot more than I ever spend, but I loved them and I'm trying to slowly throughout the years, purchase Christmas decor that is meaningful and that will be treasured by our children and their children. These are my big Christmas purchase for the year and I love them!

Gorgeous basket

Iron Train bookends for Barclay's classic little boy themed room.

I got twelve of these wicker balls for $2. I LOVE them and have place them all around my house. I got the beautiful cream wire baskets for $2 each.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Catch Up

I've been majoring MIA lately.
What have I been up to?
Let's see...
Housing my Dad for 3 days...feeding, cooking, entertaining.
Cooking Thanksgiving for 10 people.
Having a friend from College over
Having 4 friends from College spend the night
Throwing a baby shower for my friend Mel (who is having twin girls!)
Having 2 friends from College spend the night.

A lot of fun. A lot of grocery shopping. A lot of FUN. A lot of dishes.

With all this fun I've been having, the past week has been brutal in Barclay's schedule and sleep. For instance, today he woke up at 6:30 and didn't nap or sleep till 6:30 tonight. It has been rough, but he is asleep now and I'm finally getting to update this thing!