Monday, February 24, 2014

Bone-Rotting Envy

Confession: I have a hard time paying attention at church because I'm so busy looking at everyone around me - namely the beautiful, well dressed, well-coiffed women who make me feel horribly inadequate.

It was especially bad yesterday. I actually blow-dried my hair, attempted to style it, and put on some make up. I wore a new shirt and my favorite jeans and headed to church feeling semi-confident only to have my confidence popped like a balloon when I first walked in the door. How does everyone have money for cute new clothes? How does everyone know what's stylish and how to attain it? I must have been out sick the day the instructions for hair and make-up were handed out in high school. The biggest question, though is, Why does it bother me so much?? Why am I so insecure and threatened by beautiful women? I can't worship at church because I'm so mad that they're wearing accessories and those cute tall boots everyone but me seems to have. I know, I know, God looks at the inward appearance. But I'm not searching for God's approval - I want the approval and admiration of others. There. I admitted it.

I go to a bi-weekly Bible study with the girls in my small group. This Tuesday, we read Proverbs 31 and discussed verse 30: "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." I've always said that I lack in charm and beauty, so I should at least be striving to fear the Lord. But while I was standing in church begging God to take away my anger and frustration and envy, I had this thought: I'll probably never be the most beautiful. People probably won't whisper to each other, "Wow - look at her gorgeous outfit/hair/tall fashionable boots." But what if they start whispering to each other, "There goes Sadie - she's one of the kindest, most godly people I know." That's certainly higher praise than "she really knows how to arrange her hair on her head!" I also had this thought: If I continue on the path of discontent that I'm on now soon people will be as unimpressed by my inner beauty as my outer. I don't want to become so upset about my outward appearance that I become bitter and thus mar my inner appearance as well. 

I've learned that one way for me to avoid anger and jealousy is to avoid situations that cause them. This isn't always possible of course (as evidenced by my fit in church yesterday). But I'll be honest that I unfollow people's style pinterest boards. I don't pick up fashion magazines. I avoid the mall. Maybe it's just putting a band-aid on the root issue, but until I learn how to better cope with the root issue, it's what I have to do.

Also, a couple disclaimers: To those of you beautiful women who go to my church - this is not your problem. Continue to dress beautifully. Continue to coif your hair skillfully. This is solely my issue that I need to deal with. And writing it all out is one way I can do that. Please don't think this whole entry is my way of fishing for compliments. It's simply how I process things. And it's documentation to go back and look at someday. To be able to come back to this entry years from now and be reminded of where I've been and how God has changed me. It's also meant to serve as encouragement to others who may feel the same way I do. I know I can't be alone.

This is one more verse that has been helpful as I deal with my drama: "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." (Proverbs 14:30) I'm praying for that heart at peace.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. This week my sister and her husband went to Jamaica for their 20th anniversary. Justin, the girls and I moved into their house to take care of their boys (who are teenagers and don't need me for anything other than rides occasionally-haha). I also spent the week watching Niki's day care kids. For Niki, all the running around is second nature. For me, it required 3 pages of notes. Haha. The week wasn't without its challenges. We had a little bit of puking, a little bit of lice, and a whole lot of fighting between a 2 year old and two 3 year olds. But for the most part it went really well. The kids were well behaved and helpful and hilarious. And Lucy was in her glories having so many friends to play with every day!

2. Niki's house is a tri-level so there are lots of stairs. None of her day care kids are young enough to warrant baby gates, so I spent a lot of the week trying to keep Lena away from the stairs. Especially after she fell down 10 of them Monday night. Haha. It was actually kind of funny. Justin and I were talking and not really paying attention when all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of pink. I was standing too far away and couldn't get to her fast enough, so I just watched her tumble down the rest of them and hit the floor. Poor kid. They're carpeted stairs and she was fine. :-)

3. We bought a car this week! When all my car drama went down last week, a friend of mine told me they had a car we could buy. They actually weren't planning on selling it til this summer, but she was compelled by my sudden need and offered it to me. It's a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire to replace the 2003 Pontiac Bonneville that died. So they're pretty similar cars and the Sunfire was really well taken care of. The only weird thing is that it's from Canada so the speedometer is in kilometers. Haha. That's going to take some getting used to! I'm pretty sure they offered it to us for way less than it's worth. We're very very grateful. And my van has been chugging along, so hopefully it'll last a little longer.

4. I made a bare bones budget this week: gas, groceries, student loans, tithe, car insurance, cell phones. There's $89 left every month. But that doesn't include any eating out or necessary extras like oil changes, birthday presents, car repairs, etc. It is so depressing. The student loans are 38% of our budget! Word to the wise: don't go to college unless you intend to get a very usable degree. And don't take out $40,000 in student loans!!!! 

5. We had such strange weather this week. 6 inches of snow Monday night. 50 degrees and rain on Thursday. Thursday night temps got in the 20s, so all the rain from earlier froze. None of the schools closed, though, so I drove everyone to and from school. On the way home from picking up the boys, I was creeping along a safe distance behind another car. He started to stop, so I tapped my brakes. Nothing. I pumped my brakes. Nothing. He was still stopping and I was getting dangerously close to him. I ended up swerving into the snowbank to avoid hitting him. The car behind me swerved around me and I was able to reverse back onto the road without incident. The boys thought it was awesome. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. Spring, come quickly!!!

6. Lena has started saying "thank you." It is so adorable. It actually just sounds like "ay ooh" but she very clearly means "thank you." She also said "eww" a couple times this week while I was changing her dirty diaper. Haha. She must hear that fairly often. ;-)

7. I've been enjoying Niki's cable and watching a lot of HGTV this week. I love the home improvement shows, but the home buying shows drive me crazy. How can these 25 year olds have a down payment of $60,000 and a budget of $400,000?? What kind of jobs do they have?! It's probably a good thing we don't have cable at home. I really struggle with jealousy and discontent. Watching that kind of thing all the time would definitely not help.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. I made some good meals this week. On Monday, I made crockpot chicken and dumplings - my most viewed blog entry of all time. (It made it on Pinterest even though it's not my recipe. I feel bad for stealing the blog-views from whoever originally wrote it!)

On Tuesday night, I decided to try something I'd seen on Pinterest: quesadillas in the waffle maker. I used another trick from Pinterest that I've seen a few times, but always doubted it actually worked: shredding chicken with a Kitchenaid mixer. It was amazing!! It worked so well! I boiled two frozen chicken breasts until they were cooked, let them cool for 5 minutes in the fridge, then tossed them in the mixer and turned it on low. I threw in half a jar of corn and black bean salsa and a large handful of cheese to complete the quesadilla filling. I sprayed the waffle maker, put down one tortilla, slopped on the chicken mixture, topped it with another tortilla, and let it cook. They were delicious! I don't really think there's any benefit to using the waffle maker over the George Foreman grill, though. Some of the sauce oozed out and made a big ole mess that was impossible to clean out of all the nooks and crannies. 

And on Thursday I made meatball subs - including making the meatballs from scratch. I even snuck some spinach in them. Lucy wouldn't touch them, of course, but Lena gobbled them up!

2. Lena had her one year check up this week. She weighed in at 18 lbs, 6 oz. (27 %) and measured 27" (3%). The doctor couldn't believe she was that short, so re-measured her, but got the same results. According to their records, she's actually shrunk since her last appointment. Lol. Apparently they mis-measured her last time and she hasn't grown much if at all since then. The doctor kept saying, "I'm just flabbergasted. She's obviously healthy and growing. I can't believe she shrank." Haha. Way to flabbergast the doctor, Lena! She's just going to be a little munchkin like I was. She's also a late teether like I was. Her second tooth finally popped through on Thursday - a month after the first one! 

3. I took Lucy to the video store for the first time in her life on Thursday. We just got a membership at a place in Sparta that offers free kids' videos, so I told her she could pick a couple out. She was amazed and thought it was the best thing ever. I love how simple things can be so thrilling!

4. Lucy and I did some fun Valentine's Day activities this week. We did a Valentine's Day letter match on Tuesday.

Then on Friday, we made some Valentine's Day cards and these cute butterfly treats:

Lucy insisted on hand delivering the treats to a few of our friends. When we had all our car trouble and suggested delivering them on Saturday instead, Lucy got so upset, saying, "But today is love day!" I love that she calls it that. :-)

5. Speaking of things Lucy says . . . It finally happened. Lucy pointed to her doll's nipples and said "What are these called?" I've managed to change in front of her hundreds of times and nurse Lena for an entire year without calling them anything. I told her they were called nipples. She giggled and chanted "nipples, nipples, nipples" over and over. Lol. I shouldn't have laughed so much because now she knows it's funny.

6. I bragged to someone recently that since having kids I haven't been having nearly as many headaches as I used to. I should've kept my mouth shut. I'm going on day 3 of the same headache, and I'm ready to rip my head off. It's actually much better today, but I'm terrified that it's going to escalate back to near-migraine territory any minute now. I think it's probably hormone related, but this one could also have something to do with stress . . .

7. We got our tax return on Tuesday and I promptly paid off all our credit cards. Woohoo!!! We were on cloud 9 for two whole days, until . . . I got a phone call at 5:15 Thursday morning from Justin saying, "Just thought I'd let you know my car is dead on Pine Island. Steve picked me up for work and I'm calling the tow truck." Long story short, his transmission went out and will cost $2300 to repair. The funny thing is that my van's transmission has been acting up for months. And then it's his car that dies unexpectedly! We actually had $2500 left over after paying the credit cards, and we were so excited to have money in our savings for the first time in years! I guess God wants to keep us dependent on him. 

Yesterday, Justin took my van to go get his car keys from the repair shop. When he came home, he said "I can't believe I even made it home. Your transmission is slipping so bad." He told me not to drive it and I immediately panicked that we were going to need to buy 2 cars in the same week! He eventually found some kind of magical transmission repair fluid that got my van running again, but it's only a matter of time before it dies for good. 

Fortunately, we have had so many people offering their vehicles to drive until we can buy a new one, and even offering their own vehicles to sell at a discounted rate. Who says social media isn't a good thing? We're probably going to buy a car this weekend, and will take our time to find a new van for me that we can afford without going into debt. Ugh. Cars. 

8. Bonus point to show off my cute girls on Love Day:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Letter Match

We're still working on identifying lower case letters and remembering which upper case letter they correspond to, so we did this fun little activity this week. It's similar to the Letter Scavenger Hunt we did a couple weeks ago, but with less motion and more stickers. :-)

My original plan was to recreate this activity from Pinterest. But yesterday we made bookmarks with my scrapbooking stickers and Lucy was so enthralled by the letter stickers that I decided to go this route instead.

I started by cutting out a bunch of hearts and taping them to a big piece of kraft paper. Then I put either upper or lower case letters on each heart. I went in order alphabetically because both Lucy and I are too OCD to handle anything else. Then I gave Lucy a sheet of stickers and told her to complete the heart with the missing upper or lower case letter.

It was actually pretty challenging for her to figure out whether each heart needed the upper or lower case letter. And she's still getting hung up on lower case t, h, and n. But she loved figuring it all out.

It ended up looking so pretty, we hung it up on the wall to enjoy. :-)
Lucy insisted that I title it "Mom and Lucy's Valentine Alphabet." Haha.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. We finally celebrated Lena's birthday last weekend. We had delayed for sickness and the weather, originally, so the party wasn't until 10 days after her birthday. She's one. She doesn't know any better. :-) We had a blast, though. I found some cute plates on Oriental Trading, so went with a sock monkey "theme."

Lena looooved the cake:

2. Lena really took off walking this week. Until about Wednesday, she was still just taking a few steps here and there. But at storytime on Wednesday, I was shocked when she was standing by me one minute and took off walking to the other side of the room the next! Since then, she's been a walking machine. She looks way too small to be walking so well! Video evidence: (I was watching a few other kids this day. They're not all mine. ;-) )

3. Lucy and I did a couple fun crafts this week. On Monday, we learned about the 10 Commandments and did this craft:

4. And on Wednesday, we did an Olympic craft. Lucy loves playing with beads, and I love that it usually keeps her busy on her own. This time, she wanted me to help her sort them, but then she threaded them mostly by herself. 

5. I got 10 inches of hair chopped off this week. It's kind of my habit. I grow my hair out until I get sick of it, chop it all off and donate it, then grow it back out. Repeat.

6. The weather here is still treacherous, but I got out a lot this week. On Thursday I got together with some girlfriends at El Burrito for Mexican food, newborn baby snuggles, and childbirth talk. Haha. Seriously. It's what we always come back to: comparing birth stories. Kristy brought her 3 week old baby Toby and I held him for a long time. I was surprised it didn't ignite more baby fever in me! I think since Lena's finally sleeping through the night and becoming more independent, I'm enjoying my renewed freedom! The idea of having another newborn right now is not at all appealing. Don't get me wrong. Lord willing, there will be more babies in our future. But I'm in no hurry!!

7. I'm pretty sure Lucy spends 75% of her waking hours singing. It's usually made up songs with made up words (gibberish), or "do do do" to the tune of songs she already knows. Allllll day long. At varying volumes (although her default is LOUD). In the car, at the grocery store, while dancing in front of her mirror. She has a particular appreciation for Christmas music. It is not uncommon to hear Jingle Bells or Deck the Halls a few times a day. Although this week, I heard her singing "Lord, I need you, O I need you, every hour I need you!" *love*

Monday, February 3, 2014

The 10 Commandments

Today we read the story of Moses getting the law in Lucy's children's Bible, highlighting the 10 Commandments. We talked about how God gives us rules to keep us safe and to help us love others. And then we did a little craft.

I cut out two "stone tablets" from cardstock and we painted them gray. 

Then I printed off and cut out the ten commandments. (Some of the wording was inspired by this. The rest was inspired by my brain.)

Lucy and I briefly discussed the meaning of the commandments as best as I figured a 3 year old could understand. Haha. I scattered them around the table and had Lucy arrange them from numbers 1 through 10. Then we glued them on the tablets.
Lucy did all the gluing. I don't know why she did them so carefully on the first one and so wonky on the second. Haha.
*Funny sidenote you've already seen if you're my friend on facebook: A few hours after doing this craft Lucy said, "Mommy, are the iPads dry?" I was so confused until she clarified, "You know, the iPads with God's rules on them." Hahaha. Tablet confusion.*

After finishing Moses' stone tablets, we decided to make our own set of rules. My friend Kelly did this with her daughter, and I loved the idea of having concrete rules and subsequent consequences for breaking the rules. Here's what we ended up with:
I realize it looks like she gets the consequence for doing the rule. "Be nice and get a time out." Haha. She can't read. She doesn't know. 

After I did my rules, Lucy wanted to make some of her own. She insisted on writing the first one all by herself. I wrote it down for her to copy. (She made it up, too. I really don't forbid fear.)
She copied the way I wrote "Rules" with dots between each letter on my poster (she combined the L and E), wrote the first rule all by herself, then she made up the second rule, but wanted me to write it. 

Our verse for the week is "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1) 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. I finally put Lena in the crib in Lucy's room this week. We waited until she was consistently sleeping through the night so there'd be less of a chance of the girls waking each other up. The transition went so much better than I expected! I realized that Lena has always been a fantastic transition-er. She went seamlessly from the Rock n' Play to the Pack n' Play to the crib. She even weaned from breastfeeding without incident. It just goes to show that she has Justin's laid back personality. "Oh, I sleep here now? Ok!" I don't deal with change as gracefully. Haha. 

2. We spent a lot of time cooped up in the house again this week. At this point, I feel like the local TV stations should alert us when there's NOT a winter storm as opposed to the other way around. We'll just assume we're under a winter storm warning unless they tell us otherwise. Blurg. Also, getting reeeeeeal sick of these temperatures in the single digits and windchills below zero:

3. Lucy and I did a fun little activity when we were going crazy one day this week: Alphabet Hide and Seek. We also read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and made an egg carton caterpillar, then painted a butterfly. She loves structured activities. I've got to be deliberate about doing them more often.

4. We got our taxes done on Thursday. Thanks to having a baby last year and not claiming self-employment income for the first time in our marriage, we are bringing home more than we ever have before. Justin and I were both speechless when we saw the number. It's enough to pay off all our credit card debt and have some left over to stick in the savings!! Thank you, Lord!!!

5. This weekend was our much-anticipated get away! I've been looking forward to it for weeks, but of course the day before we left, I started to get really anxious about leaving the girls. It's not that I worry they won't be well cared for. I don't even really worry that they'll miss me. Mostly, I just miss them. And I'm worried that we're going to crash and die and leave them orphans. Logically, I know that even if that did happen, they have scads of family who would swoop in to raise them and care for them as well as I ever would. But I want to be their mom. I want them to grow up with me. How selfish is that? 

6. Anyway, the first stop of our adventure was Ikea. I've been on a major organization kick and wanted some cheap boxes and bins. I know I didn't have to go all the way to Ikea for that, but I love browsing. We were there for 2 hours and spent more money than we should have, but not nearly as much as we could have. Haha. We also tried the infamous Swedish meatballs for the first time. Yummy, but not as impressive as I expected. 
That little truffle thing was ahhhhmazing!
We stayed at a really nice hotel and enjoyed the cable TV and peace and quiet. I also enjoyed this enormous cookie:
I went down to the front desk in my pajamas at 11 pm to buy this. The guy even warmed it up for me. That's service. :-)
We stayed up til 1:30 am just because we could. Haha. Back in the day, I used to bemoan having to check out by 11:00 am because it cut into my sleeping in time. This morning, we were both wide awake by 9:30 and I felt more well rested than I have in years. Haha. Perspective.

The main reason we chose Auburn Hills for our little getaway was so that Justin could go to Bass Pro Shops. He had an envelope full of gift cards burning a hole in his pocket, so we trekked through the snow this morning and into the world that is Bass Pro . . . for 2 solid hours. I browsed the entire store, sat by a waterfall watching some fish, then finally found a 
camouflage recliner and some cookbooks by "The Pioneer Woman."  Good times were had by all.

The drive home was definitely not a good time. I already struggle with leaving my girls. Bad weather and a long drive did not help my stupid anxiety. I had a pit in my stomach the entire 4 hour drive home. So thankful for Justin's calm and steady demeanor. And his stellar driving skills!

7. My Dr Pepper fast finally ended this weekend. I went a solid 28 days without it. Worst 28 days of my life. ;-) I did not lose a single pound. I did not feel any more energized (despite drinking 50 oz. of water a day). In fact, I'm pretty sure I was more tired than usual. My teeth aren't whiter. And the craving never went away. I'm pretty sure this day was the best day of my life, second only to the birth of my children:

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