Just Because We Do It…

Life gets crazy sometimes. Some things we can control; other things we cannot. Like, I couldn’t control my little guy waking up early last Saturday morning. He came in my room, full of morning exuberance as I groggily rolled over to check the time on my phone. The glaring white numbers read 5:47.

5:47 a.m.


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On a Saturday.

WHY?

Well, with a packed schedule for the day, I knew that going back to sleep wasn’t an option. (Now, I’m a believer in early morning productivity…just not that early…on a Saturday.) We cuddled in the warmth of the covers and discussed dreams and the lack of school for the day. Eventually, I rolled out of bed to get dressed.

And, I happened to wear heels–these great heels from my friend–with my brown pants and pink tshirt/sweater combo. I was happy with the outfit as a whole and was prepared for a busy day.

(Did I mention I was wearing these great heels?)

So, we were off to two appointments that went well, then to an activity involving doughnuts at church (how could you go wrong with doughnuts?), and out to visit some neighbors. Of course, we also had to drop kiddos off at parties, hit the library and a couple of other errands, and pick up some milk. (Yes, we were on our last gallon…how did that happen?)

As my handsome husband pulled into a parking space at the local grocery store, my feet were throbbing. Screaming. Aching.

UGH.

I asked him if I could just sit in the car. He asked me why I would choose the shoes I wore that day. I told him the reasons (they go with my outfit, I was trying to look professional, I didn’t think I’d be on my feet so much, etc.). I got out of the car and started walking in to the store. He said, “I think you just don’t like going to the grocery store.”

I thought about his statement. (Can I call it an accusation?) I didn’t want to go to the store in that moment. He was accurate about that. But, on “normal” days–whatever those are–do I really hate going to the grocery store?

I followed that train of thought through shopping. Do I hate to shop? No. What about cooking? Do I hate to cook? No. I actually enjoy cooking. Do I hate walking around the store and greeting fellow shoppers? Nope. I like to chat through the store. Hmmmmmm…. What is it, then?

Actually, I hate planning meals. If someone would provide a menu that worked for my schedule each week, then I would happily follow it, buy ingredients, and cook. I do my best with planning, but I don’t enjoy it. I don’t even like it. In fact, I kind of hate it. But I do it anyway.

As part of our conversation, I had this thought: just because we do it doesn’t mean we like it.

Do you like having little people wake up at 5:47 (A.M.!) on a Saturday? Do you like having to form cognitive thoughts that early? Most days I don’t. But I do it. I do it because that’s what I signed up to do when I decided to have children–whether I knew it then or not.

Why?

The bottom line for me is love. I do what I do because I love my family and I want them to feel loved.

Red Love Heart Full HD Wallpaper Wallpaper
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Last night, we had a beautiful meal together. My oldest and I spent the morning in the kitchen preparing a crock pot with roast, potatoes, and carrots (which I picked up, incidentally, at the grocery store on Saturday). We also made a baked dish of macaroni and cheese along with rice. After church, we made gravy from the drippings in the crock pot and also threw together some delicious rolls. We had family dinner together which filled our tummies and our spirits. My kiddos even went back for seconds (which is rare), and the evening which followed went smoothly because our hearts were happy.


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As I put myself out there by planning and preparing a meal that I didn’t really want to plan (I would’ve been okay with having something like frozen pizza), I was blessed with a wonderful evening…and part of me began to like the planning aspect of cooking. (Shhhh…don’t tell anyone!)

What do you do that you don’t like to do? What would have to change for you to like it more?

Mama’s in the Kitchen…

I’m not making shortening bread…but I have been up to my ears in pots and pans and bowls and beaters over the past several days. That’s what fall does to me. I just don’t know any other way to function…so into the kitchen I go…and what comes out becomes a blessing and a curse. (Thankfully, I also exercised and ran yesterday….) 🙂

Well, over the weekend, some loving friends secretly “Boo”ed us…as in they dropped treats at our door with a cute message and instructions to “Boo” more people within a certain amount of time…which brought me back into the kitchen (after cooking and baking most of the weekend) to make something sweet to share. I had been eyeing this recipe from Lil Luna since it was posted recently…and I found my moment to make it! Hooray!!!

Let me tell you…it was divine.

I have shied away from pumpkin bread recipes in the past due to my unhappy experiences of the bread being either too dry or not fully cooked. Either way I tried to slice it, it turned out all wrong. Fast forward several years (maybe more than a decade), and–with this recipe–I have found phenomenal success. So much, in fact, that I’m glad I sent most of it out to neighbors and friends before I really tasted it (I was too full after our yummy dinner of chili and grilled cheese last night…I told you…cooking mania over here)…because after I tried it again today, I’m thinking I might have saved a little more for ourselves. (Just kidding. At least, I hope I’m kidding.)

To top off the experience, my house smelled FAB-U-LOUS yesterday. Like fall. And today, it tasted like fall, too. 🙂

Here are my notes:  I doubled the recipe, which made three large loaf pans and three smaller loaf pans.  The batter looks really wet…especially as you add the water to it.  FEAR NOT!!! It will be the most delicious thing you have tasted lately.  I promise.  Also, the batter rises–A LOT…so fill the pans about half-way, sprinkle the streusel generously (I doubled that, too…of course!), and bake on a cookie sheet in your oven.  And–one more thing–I couldn’t find cloves, so I substituted pumpkin pie spice for half of the nutmeg/ginger/cinnamon/cloves in the bread and half of the cinnamon in the streusel.  I was a little concerned the extra spices would put it over the top, but it was amazing.

Hugs and love to all of you! & happy baking!!!!

🙂

Livin’ the Dream

Several weeks ago, I had occasion to speak to a gentleman with whom I was not well acquainted.  He kindly inquired about the activities of my days, and I responded with the usual, “Well, I am home with our preschooler…we bake cookies and build trains and read stories….”  My voice tapered off as I wondered in a way what my days contained, searching for some type of meaning in the repetition.  My mind raced to pull out from somewhere, “Well, I write, when I have time,” or “I’m thinking about going back to school,” but nothing rendered satisfactory.

In the instant of my deflating thoughts, he looked into my eyes and said, “Well, you’re living the dream, aren’t you?”

I stared incredulously back toward him, startled, and thought, Whose dream am I living?

I thought back to college and dreams of being a writer or a professor of English lit or comp or even creative writing…I thought of high school, when I wanted to move far, far away (Paris, maybe? or at least Provo) and study interior design or something artistic…I thought back to junior high, when I had dreams of being a dermatologist…I thought back to grade school, and I couldn’t even remember what I wanted to be then.  But the dream that was consistent throughout those other dreams which have come and gone over the years was the dream of being married and having children.

Throughout the next several days, kneeling over train tracks and stirring flour, eggs and vanilla into sugar and butter, his words continued to echo in my ears.  As I’ve meandered through memories of holding hair back for my daughter who was throwing up, or my husband pulling back my own hair through morning sickness, I’ve wandered through laughter and leaf fights, through rolling down hills and rolling through years; I’ve walked paths of sorrow and paths of joy…days when I couldn’t walk another step and someone lifted my burden.  I know life hasn’t been picture-perfect (no one’s is), but it has been mine.  And as I strolled on through more memories than I can share, I felt his words, “You’re living the dream.”

My husband reached over for my hand this morning, and my little one climbed onto my lap for a cuddle.  “You’re beautiful,” his tiny voice and big eyes said to me as he rested against my thin frame.  In that moment, I knew the answer to my question.

Whose dream am I living…?

Mine.

(Image Copyright Sarah Knight Photography)

I Work Out…& Wear Hats?

Or, more appropriately, “The Many Hats I Wear While I Try to Work Out….” 🙂

I only say that because exercise has become a challenge lately, due mostly to my other responsibilities.  In fact, Monday night, we postponed dinner so I could put in twenty minutes with Jillian Michaels (“30 Day Shred”)…but then dinner and reading and family time ran late…and so did bedtime.  😦  Then, yesterday, I tried to have my ducks in a row (as in dinner was in the crock pot before lunchtime)–& then just roll through the evening–you know–dinner, homework, debate–but I just had to go run (right after dinner is great timing, isn’t it?).  I didn’t get out for too long, but at least it was something.  Still, I digress….

And, I don’t actually wear hats.  I do like them, and I have had occasion to try them (especially in high school and college, when I was a bit more daring with my style).  Somehow, though, I still feel like I am one of those people who can’t “pull off” certain looks (hats being among them).  I can wear them, and I think I look fine when I look in the mirror…but I feel kinda silly (okay, more like ridiculous) wearing them–like it’s a show and not really me.  Come to think of it, the times I wore hats in college were on days when I was too busy to shampoo my hair and the grease factor was so out of control that I felt I had to cover my hair and so would grab a baseball cap or whatever (before I discovered the joys of baby powder to help decrease that oh-so-greasy shine). 🙂

Anyway, I was thinking of all the figurative hats I wear…& the longer I live, the more hats I think I acquire.  Here are a few (I’m talking a little artistic license with these titles):  Woman, Daughter, Mother, Sister, Friend, Wife, Homemaker, Writer, Lover, Singer, Pianist, Artist, Painter, Dancer, Chef, Baker, House Manager, Vacuumer, Cleaner, Cook, Laundress, Nurse, Janitor, Replace-the-toilet-paper-on-the-toilet-paper-holder Girl, (what have I forgotten? Oh, yes…) Shower Scrubber, Floor Scrubber, Personal Trainer, Sweeper, Mopper, Dishwasher Filler (and Emptier), Buying Consultant, Fashion Consultant, Stocker, Inventory Specialist, Blogger, Runner, Exercising Woman, Facebooker, Tweeter (new to that one), Journaler, Reader, Poet, Homework Helper, Tutor, Librarian, Personal Assistant, Appointment Coordinator…just to name a few.

Do you share any of those hats with me?

(By the way, making that list helped me feel a bit more useful…and more productive than normal.)  🙂  Will you make your list?  I bet you have some fun hats you wear!!!! (BTW, I own none of these pictures.)

Happy Hat Wearing! (and don’t forget to work out today!!!!)