Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Homemade Tortillas

I was catching up on all the blogs I follow the other day and stumbled across this recipe.  When I was in high school I was a hostess at a mexican restaurant in Springfield, MO.

"How much authentic mexican food is there in Springfield, MO", you ask.

Not much.

But we DID have a really cool tortilla maker in the lobby of the restaurant and would make tortillas for the restaurant and for the waiting patrons, topping them with salsa, whipped cream, honey or butter and cinnamon and sugar.

So this reminded me of that.

Turns out making tortillas is SUPER easy.  So Sunday morning we whipped up about 12 of these and went to town making homemade breakfast burritos (fried egg, onion, tomato, cilantro, cheese....mmmmm)

Let me just say we may never buy store bought tortillas again.

There is no contest.

Feelin' Crafty

Last week I was in an organizing frenzy.  This week, you might not know it because I have junk piled up all over my house, but it really is in an effort to purge and declutter. 

You may see it as messy, I see it as progress!

Anyway, my jewelry was in dire need of reorganizing and purging.  I spent about 3 hours cleaning off the top of my dresser (it has so much bare space now!), purging my jewelry I never wear and cleaning the silver I have.  I was all ready to shove all of my dangly earrings back into my small jewelry caddy when I remembered a really pretty storage solution I'd seen at a friends house.  A little googling, 45 minutes with the staple gun and I arrived at this!

Isn't it pretty?  I was so proud of myself!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Life has been hectic (as I've said before here, here, here and here).  Obviously with two little ones at home, a household to take care of and 30 hours of work a week, things get crazy. 

I've been underwater recently - as I'm sure you've seen in my blog.  And I've found myself to be irritable, longing for something different and just generally unhappy. 


I'm sure many of you are wondering how that could possibly happen.  How could a girl with two healthy kids, a PART-TIME job and a generally great life be unhappy?  The 2005 me would have DIED to have been in these shoes right now.  But alas... Here I am.  And I find myself wanting something different.  Something freer.  Because this stage of life can feel like monotony.  The kind of monotony that has you waking up at 40 and wondering what happened to your 30's.

It feels like I come home from work to someone whining and pulling on my legs and then I make dinner, clean up, feel guilty about using TV as a babysitter, put the kids to bed and rejoice that I have a few hours to spend the way I want to spend them.  Then I waste the time I have to myself, stay up too late and get up at the absolute last minute the next morning dog tired and wonder when I'll ever get the motivation to wake up early and exercise.  Sometimes I do, but its rare.

Do I sound like I'm complaining? 

Well it sure isn't great.

Is this honest? 


Does this make me a bad person. 

I dunno. 

I have friends that are endless fountains of patience and so attentive with their children.  I read blogs written by women with large families that home school and have spotless houses because they follow a detailed household playbook.  I read other blogs written by women that save thousands of dollars on groceries because they feed their families using coupons.  I'm finding that I do a lot of things, wear a lot of hats, but that I am mediocre at them all.  Scraping by for appearances sake, but not happy with where I'm at.

I admitted this to an older friend in my Bible study earlier this week and she had a lot of wisdom to share.  She encouraged me that thinking of myself first sometimes was not all that bad. 

Okay, I've heard this one.  But what does that really mean?

Well for the night owl in me, it means that I need some "me time" at the beginning of my day and it's going to involve getting up early - before the kids get up.  I needed the "one up" on them, not to be simply reacting to them as soon as my feet hit the ground.  I needed to be planned, put together, in control. 

This also involves my time with the Lord.   I've always gotten to reading the Bible "when I had time" (which didn't happen very often at all).  I'd shove it til the kids took naps or right before bed because that was the only time I had to myself.  But inevitably laundry, hanging out with Kevin or just general "downtime" would take precedence and I'd find myself in a state of the "ought to's" that quickly turned to guilt. 

Not the sort of Christian life I wanted to live or model for my kids.  Where's the joy in that?

Then my friend made a statement that really hit me.  She said she didn't NEED God to move her right before she went to bed because it wouldn't impact her as much come morning time.  She NEEDED Him first thing in the morning so that she'd be impacted when she interacted with her husband, her kids and people at her job.

I'd never thought about it this way.  I had always heard morning devotions were better, but I didn't really realize why.  It may seem like a "duh" thing to the rest of you, but for me, it was revolutionary.  A completely new way of thinking.

Since we've met I've had a new energy that's not forced, canned or guilt-based.  Amazingly, I've actually gotten up at 5:45 and run, had devotions and planned my day prior to the kids getting up - all with the desire to do so.  It's incredible to see what change has been affected in only 4 days time.  I've been more patient with my kids, intentional in the time I spend with them, on projects around the house and with friends.  And generally, I've been a lot happier and a lot less stressed out.  I think I finally feel like I'm headed in a direction I want to go and I'm excited to see what God's going to do with that.

I also started reading Andy Stanley's Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.  The idea is that you ARE headed in a direction.  The question is: is it where you want to go? It has me looking at my life from an aerial view as opposed to seeing it as a collection of individual, unrelated decisions.  I've yet to figure out exactly where God wants to take me, but I think I might be one step closer to finding out!

Disclaimer: Yeah I know there were no pictures of my kids in this post or funny anecdotes.  To be honest, I haven't taken any pictures.  Poor parenting, I know.  =)  I'll fix that this weekend.  Just wanted to share what's been on my heart of late.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May, So Far

I thought I wouldn't say it, but I flew with the kids again, and it wasn't that bad!  I think I had convinced enough people to pray for us this time under the pretenses we may actually get booted off the plane midway to Kansas City.  Based on the flight I had with them in August, this could have been a very real possibility.

This time, though, was MUCH better - largely due to the love for television that we've worked on instilling in our 1.5 year old.  (The former me just died I think)  I have a huge love/hate relationship with the TV.  I really hate the fact that my kids are in front of it at all.  But I've come to learn that my sanity is on the line and if it keeps me from blowing a gasket or allows me to get dinner made without stabbing myself in the eyeballs then it's probably worth it.  How DID those pioneer women do it?

Liam (quite on his own) has developed a love for all things Dora.  I've never been a fan of the triangle headed kid, who, my friend Beth pointed out, does not have a shirt that covers her stomach.  But, I've welcomed her warmly into my home because for some reason or other Liam adores the ground she walks on, along with Map, Backpack, Boots and the rest of the gang.  I know the songs, I've read the predictable books and have purchased the gear that goes along with being a Dora fan just for Liam because I figure it makes him so darned happy.  It IS cute. I also was figuring it would help make the plane ride a more pleasant experience.  And I was right!

Getting out to KC was perfect.  I had an extra seat next to me so we could all have our own (Liam was a lap child).  Coming back, however, we sat in the very last row next to the bathrooms and I was sandwiched between Natalie's carseat and a broad shouldered guy with Liam on my lap.  I swear the last row has even LESS leg room than the rest of the seats on the plane.  Lets just say I was thankful for deodorant and the lollipops I'd brought to bribe my children that day.

We stayed a week in Kansas City this time and it was lovely.  I got LOTS of time to myself, to shop, to hang out with my sister, to see my grandparents and long lost relatives and to just relax.  I was so bummed to come home to a house where no one does my laundry (my mom rocks at laundry) and I had to go back to work.  =(  I guess it wasnt only the grandkids who got spoiled at Nana and Papas house!

My freshman roommate, Beth, came for a playdate with her daughter Mylie.  Natalie had fun bossing her around.  Heck, she has fun when she can boss anyone around!

Poppo, Cousin Steven and Uncle Mike
SO thankful that they made the trip to come see us!

My cousin Steven is graduating from medical school this coming weekend and starting his residency in OB/GYN.  We got a chance to go out and I got to pick his brain about all of his crazy stories thus far involving women, babies, etc.  He's got a real passion for medicine and a heart for womens health.  I'm excited for him and what he's accomplished so far.  I know he'll make a terrific doctor.

My Great Aunt Hazel.  She looks exactly the same as I always remembered her growing up (maybe just a bit shorter).  Such a bright spirit and positive person.  I love her!

Left: Liam wearing Nana's "dress up" beads, 2011.
Right: Natalie wearing Nana's "dress up" beads, 2008. 

Aunt Lib reading to Natalie.  I love the expression on Natalie's face.  This book was particularly long and had lots of nonsensical words.  I think its ironic that even at 3 1/2 she's like "seriously???".

A sweet picture of Mommo reading to Natalie.

Liam giving hugs to Poppo.  I love that they get a chance to see each other, even if it is much too infrequent.

Dinner with the family

When we got back into town we found a tricycle that fits Liam perfectly.  Craigslist, of course!

We did lots of shopping in Kansas City.  It was nice to buy clothing in stores other than Target and Costco (the main stores I frequent at home with the kids).  This little number is from the Osh Kosh outlet.  I do think the bunny slippers were a nice addition.

Liam started talking up a storm after we got back from Kansas City: "egg", "Natalie", "Banana", "balloon", "heart", "shoes", "up we go"...  And the list goes on.  Next it will be "pink purse".

In other news, we also got rid of the pacifier, Liam had his first dentist appointment and Natalie told me that we were going to be "friends forever".  Gosh, I hope so.

Oh Right... The Blog.

When things get crazy around here, the blog is (unfortunately) one of the first things to slip.  And apparently it's been mighty crazy around this joint for the last month and a half.  Here's a quick catchup for April....

  • 4/17  Liam started saying "No".  It was cute for a week.  Now he's screaming it.  That became not so cute real fast.
  • 4/22 Natalie brought me flowers (i.e. dandelions) from a walk with Grandma.  She ran into my office and gave them to me and said "These are for you, Mom.  I love you mom."  Okay... you live for these moments as a parent.
We finally decided to dedicate Liam at a mass dedication service at our church. Funny, we had Natalie dedicated at 3 months. For Liam we waited until 20 months. Oh well, we actually had brain cells back then. Life with one three month old? A piece of cake! We could actually go out to eat when she was that age. We'd just put the whole carseat under the table at the restaurant and let her sleep away. These days? They pay us NOT to come to restaurants.

It was a nice dedication service, albeit a little long. Granted, we DID arrive much too early and the kids were fit to be tied even before the service started. The professional pictures taken there were hilarious. I did NOT order one. Let's just say that I was reminded why I get my kid's pictures done only once a year and with a great amount of planning, toys, bribery and assistance.

A sweet moment with Grandma.

Thank you, God, for pacifiers!

Easter came and went and we spent it with our good friends the Lewis' and their family.  What a nice time!  You'll identify our kids by the rather disheveled hair and Larry the Cable Guy man tank.  Boy we sure know how to dress our kids up for a nice time!

Sequoia, Helga (er... Natalie), Cheyenne and Bubba (er... Liam)

Liam's first egg hunt (where he actually participated). I didnt have a basket for him so guess who got to use the pink bag? He's so metro!

Liam hadn't had candy before this day. I had to do some clever slight of hand to make a good portion of his jellybeans disappear because he was shoving them hand over fist into his mouth. Something tells me he's got his Nana's sweet tooth.

Note the lack of candy here in his Easter basket. I know... we're such Easter Scrooge's. But, I mean, who needs candy when you can have a Dora & Diego toothbrush??? =P

Natalie got a "reading is fun" Easter basket.  Did I mention we're a little dorky around here?

The result of allowing your already hyper 3.5 year old to eat Easter candy. 
All right, all right... It IS a cute smile. =)