For anyone shopping in the Rapid City Petco today who may have seen someone who looked like the world’s worst mother with three small children- 1 little girl in pink and two littler boys in striped sweaters- I would just like to clear something up.
I’m sure you couldn’t help but notice when the older boy, aged three and a half, ran excitedly up to the aquariums shouting, “Bitch! Bitch! Bitch! Mommy! Mommy! Bitch!!!!!!” And I’m sure that your horror at this massive breech of social decorum turned to all out disbelief when the mother in question, rather than looking properly abashed and chastising her child, began to laugh, hysterically, while the child continued to spout profanities.
Said three year old has a severe speech delay. And said mother has a mildly irreverent sense of humor and, when it’s all said and done, would rather laugh than cry.
Bitch in Gabriel-ese is actually fish.
We have three aquariums at home.
I hear that word ALL. DAY. LONG.
At least he’s not mispronouncing the word truck.
It has been a busy summer so far- two vacations to see both sets of grandparents and now back home and trying to settle back in to a routine (or non-routine, as it were ha!). I have a few stories to tell, but need to find the quiet and calm long enough to sit down and write for a while. Just wanted to leave an update for now.
Maggie likes to have me do her dolly’s hair, and is forever requesting more and more complex styles, far above the usual pony tails and simple braids. I don’t mind this because I actually find doing doll hair really relaxing, which might be kind of weird, but what can you do? I also like to keep her dolls’ hair styled because dolls with crazy, free flowing locks usually turn into dolls with nasty, matted, broken, snarl bombs that take forever to de-tangle and de-crud. I fix Maggie’s bum length blonde hair for the exact same reason.
Doll hair is different from people hair in that is typically doesn’t come straight out of the scalp, but is often sewn in in layers, and that can make it challenging to translate your usual hair-dos, because when you pull hair from one area, it exposes the “scalp”. It can look particularly weird on dolls with yarn locks, like this pretty Bamboletta. I’ve sat down and figured out a few ways to make some fun styles work, and I figured, what the heck- my blog readers are used to me being totally random-so I’ll just do a post or three on some of these styles I’ve worked up while doing my mothering duty.
I’m going to start with this fishtail braid, because it is quite simple, but looks neat enough to make people wonder how you did it. I do Maggie’s hair like this from time to time. The main trick is to take just a very small amount of hair from the back each time. I would love to see how this looks on a doll with rainbow tresses!
Start by getting a firm grip on your doll. My chubby thighs work great for this. Then part your doll’s hair down the center using your fingers, and work with just one section at a time. You can see how the yarn is stitched in there in layers that you don’t really want to have showing. There is a layer dead center of the forehead, at the “ear” and one right in the middle. On a people-style fishtail braid, you would grab a huge section of hair, divide it all into two and go to town, on this, you need to be a little more strategic, and start off with a bit of a french braid style fishtail. Take a small amount of hair on each side, and divide the center into two equal parts, as shown above.
At this point, you want to grab a very small amount of hair from one side (2-3 strands of yarn) and cross it over to the other hand.
Then do it again but from the other side. Don’t worry if this looks odd now, it takes a few repetitions to make this start looking like a braid.
Keep taking just a little hair from one side and crossing it over into your other hand, left hair to right hand, right hair to left hand. Your hands will slowly have more hair in them with each repetition.
It won’t take too long before you see the fishtail pattern, and all the seams are hidden under the pretty braid. You can decide now if you want to fishtail all the way to the ends, or if you just want to stylishly pull the front back. I like to just do the front.
Once you get a good start, you will realize that you are holding two very large hunks of hair, and that there isn’t much to cover the seams in the back, on top of which, your braids are getting a little chunky and slightly out of control. Just reach underneath (while keeping the strands separated) and gently pull the bottom half of the hair away from the braid, as shown. This will make her hair much fuller looking, and cover seam lines.
Doesn’t she look pretty? Nice and full in the back, but spunky and ready for action in the front!
Up next- french braided messy buns- or as we like to call it, “Flower Girl Hair”.
I stink at resting. I have the type of brain that doesn’t like to slow down or zone out, and the type of body that will refuse to sleep at night if it sleeps during the day. Add that to two sick kids home for much of the past few days, and a type A personality that can’t stand watching things pile up and I’m going crazy.
Also, I am in pain, because I am doing too much, even though too much happens to be the bare minimum for parenting a three year old. Yes, I have had help. I just haven’t had a full me replacement, or gained the ability to clone myself (if I had one super-power, that would be it), so I’m still doing too much. I’m trying not to. I really am. This picture is from the hour and a half I spent laying down yesterday thinking of all the stuff I could be doing if resting weren’t what I was supposed to be doing.
I am so grateful for the people who have come and taken my kids and picked up some slack around the house; without them I wouldn’t just be annoyed and tired and hurting- I would be sobbing, annoyed out of my mind and totally exhausted and hurting even more. There’s always a worse scenario, right?
I’m also bad at resting because busy is my best coping skill. Tired? Frustrated? Grieving? Depressed? Dust off your boots and get to work! Serve someone else! Go clean something! Make something, help something, DO ANYTHING!
Most of the time, frenetically charging from one thing to another and filling my life so full of tasks and to do lists that I don’t have time to feel any sort of hurt or pain or deep seated frustration works for me. The counsel to “forget yourself and get to work” is sound advice. Many times a case of boredom or simple melancholia can be cured by looking around and seeing what needs doing and doing it. Work is a blessing- serving others serves our own well being. The Savior didn’t just promote loving and serving your fellow man to help others- it was advice given to heal us and make us more complete in the process. Selfish people are not happy people.
That being acknowledged, there needs to be some Mary/Martha balance as well. There was nothing wrong with Martha serving and preparing her home for the guests that came to hear the Master teach. She was accomplishing wonderful things- the little things that make a house a home and make us walk in and feel welcomed and at rest. Someone has to work hard to provide that rest, and Martha’s efforts were a gift to all around her. I love Martha very much.
But Mary’s ability to embrace stillness and partake of the quiet reflection and counsel offered to her, even if it meant the dinner got cold, and the floors were dirty and her sister was peeved with her is also a talent. We need to learn to rest and renew, and we need quiet time alone so we can hear what our bodies and our hearts and the Spirit is trying to tell us. We need that time alone with our thoughts, even when being alone with our thoughts seems like entering dangerous territory. We cannot be healed, changed, or made better without it. Sometimes feeling like you’re falling apart is a good thing, because it means you can give God a chance to put you back together even better than you were before.
Ultimately, (and yes, I am writing this to the convincing of myself, in case you are wondering) it boils down to charity. This quote comes to mind,
“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.” -Marvin Ashton
It is much easier for me to extend charity to someone else than it is for me to give it to myself, even though I am in dire need of it. I need to be just as patient with myself as I know a good friend would be with me, accepting my weaknesses and shortcomings, patiently refusing to become offended by my own limitations and generously offering time, experience and rest until I can do better.
Charity being a refusal to take advantage of someone else’s weakness rings especially true, because I have felt spiritually and emotionally picked on over the past few months of ups and downs. A wise friend of mine pointed out that Satan loves to hit us when we are down. When we are weakened in any way, he stands a slightly better chance of messing with us, so of course things were going to seem just a bit more difficult and negative, and of course my ability to cope wasn’t going to be as shatterproof as it might typically be. Because he is not a gentleman, and is the fundamental opposite to charity-which, according to the New Testament is the pure love of Christ- he certainly isn’t going to fight fair.
It really is good warfare. A person can be pretty effectively beat if you simply get her to bow to the weapon of discouragement.
I’m so grateful the Savior is always there, extending His loving assistance, charitable to the end, even when we don’t really deserve it. I’m so grateful His is the power to win, and that we can enter into His rest in this life and in the next.
I hated last year’s cub scout pinewood derby. It was our first year and we had no idea what we were doing. And Jonas’ car lost every, single race it was in.
This year, we were ready. Jonas and I built this car- and it was a winner! To top off the cool design, we knew about things like weights and graphite- helpful tools.
Jonas was ready to race!
So were a lot o other people! This was two wards worth of cub scouts racing for the prize!
Everyone was interested, but the little car loving boys like Gabe were the most eager spectators. Notice how Gabe happens to be dressed exactly a like another little towhead? I had a seriously hard time keeping track of my kid that night- I kept going after the wrong boy!
Jonas placed in fourth place and won a cute trophy that President Schmidtlein made for the boys. He felt like a million bucks, going home triumphant- and he is already excited for next year’s derby!
Did you know that when you have a hysterectomy, even one where you leave the ovaries so you don’t get thrown into instant menopause, you still turn into a big hormonal wreck?
And it sucks.
I have been so off the past few weeks. I can’t sleep. I have hot flashes and cold sweats. I have at least ten new pimples. I laid in bed and sobbed for an hour straight at midnight the other night, because I’m just that tired, and that over this whole one-problem-after-another-life I’ve been leading. Add that to feeling totally alone and a little sucker punched by the Universe, and some of this hysterical, snot producing, ugly cry makes sense. Then I wake up in the morning, shaking my head in exasperation, wondering where that strong, sensible, faithful, hopeful person I used to know went, wondering who this new person with her eyes swollen half shut is, and when she’ll leave.
I have seriously considered doing things that are crazy. Maybe I’ll leave my religion. Maybe I’ll get a divorce. Maybe I just don’t care about my family. Maybe I’ll run away. Maybe I’ll go get totally drunk and just see what happens. Maybe I’ll take all those pills at once. Maybe I’ll just give up. We’re talking dark, wild impulses and suggestions that are so fundamentally opposite of who I am and have always been that it is at once terrifying, and yet, thankfully, insane enough for me to spot the hormones at play. What an odd thing to be grateful for. At least I’m ridiculous enough to realize it, eh?
I spent days wrapped up in my brain, fixated on what ifs and changes, afraid by how empowered these hormones made me feel to do all the wrong things- make all the wrong choices.
So I temporarily rescinded my life-altering decision making privileges.
And I shut my mouth to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.
Apparently, your ovaries can go into shock and just forget to work for awhile or go to work overtime. Add that on top of a pregnancy and a miscarriage all in the space of a few months and well. . .I definitely need to be cut some slack.
The past few weeks have been really hard. But people don’t mention the emotional side of this recovery. They say you might mourn your womb, your childbearing ability, or somehow feel less feminine. They forget to mention the fact that you may, and likely will, feel like you are losing your mind for awhile.
Well, it is true. And it is normal. And they say it passes.
I am feeling a lot more myself now, but the first two weeks were like a trip through the looking glass, into the bell jar all via an upside down roller coaster.
I’m mostly ok now. Happy again with a lot less dramatic swings. But I wanted to put this out there in case someone else felt the same way and needed to know she was ok, and normal, and that it does pass.
(If you are new here, and want the whole story click here: my hysterectomy story).
I don’t usually like cell phone photos, but I got a new window’s phone and it has some decent capabilities, and a fun photo app, so with my attempts to take more photos, it has been utilized a lot more. This is what it looks like at our house with the kids out of town. The pic of my mom is from when she was here before, but aside from that, it is just me and Chris, and we are enjoying that.
I think we should talk someone into taking our kids for a week or two every year- this has been a good little marriage retreat at home. It is nice to have the time and energy to actually see someone. Usually, I feel like we are just dancing around each other, each juggling our seventeen plates, trying to keep the kids happy and moving forward.
I feel like there is hope for retirement, and we might be ok with all the kids gone. Ha!
Watson is my only buddy these days. The kids have gone off to grandma’s house for a two week fun fest (well, for the kids, I’m sure it will be a cardio endurance marathon for the grandparents). Chris’s squadron is having yet another inspection and he got switched to nights for the week, so it’s just been me and my big puppy.
Watson has only learned a few good discipline things, and so this is a bit challenging since I can’t use anything but gentle persuasion on him, being so physically incapacitated. The good news is that he is minding his manners pretty well for a puppy and slowly getting better at a few of his obedience tasks, and gaining baby steps toward emotional control. His sit and stay are very good, and his fetching skills are improving. I had him fetching really well awhile ago, but then he figured out how much fun it was to have the kids chase him to get the toy back, and that totally derailed his progress. I refuse to chase him at all, and he does love having his toy thrown so we are making good progress there this week. We are also trying to improve his desire to come when called. He did great with that at the beginning, but has hit that 6 month boundary pushing stage. I think I just need a pocket full of treats and we will be good.
I actually ran out of training treats, so I may venture out tomorrow if I feel up to it (I’m really drained today) and go to Runnings. They have the best training treats! And I love Farm and Fleet stores, always have.
Watson has been a lucky boy with the kids gone. Since I have very little else to focus on, he has been out more, and almost every time I leave the house, I come back with a new treat. Today he got the big blue toy in his mouth. He loves it!
Watson smelled horrible, and has for a few days now, so this morning I just put him in the shower with me and gave him a scrub down. It was only minimally challenging for me. Trying to wash him bending over the tub while convincing him to stay in the tub would way been way to much physical strain for me, but he is very well behaved in a shower and now he smells like strawberries and happiness, so he is getting cuddled more.
I wish I was stronger so we could leash train, but it is just gong to have to wait a few weeks. We are still enjoying the gorgeous 70 degree weather- I put a chair in the backyard and I just sit there and throw stuff for him to fetch. It is so beautiful outside!
Watson is also great company because every time he hears a strange noise the hair on his back goes up and he gets loud and very defensive. He’s a little scary, but at least I know he’s ready to take anyone out who tries to get me. My childhood springer spaniel, Lizzie, was the same way. Best of fun and friendship, but if anyone threatened me- they got an attack dog in their face. We found this out one day when my younger brother and I were play fighting. He lunged at me and suddenly Lizzie jumped up and bit him in the butt! Not hard, mind you, but hard enough to serve as a very clear warning. It was so out of character that my parents told Bernie to go for me again, and Lizzie had to be restrained from taking him down. It was clear that I was her person. Mom never worried about me going for a walk after that, “Just take Lizzie!”
Lizzie is the reason why we got Watson. He has some big paws to fill. I think he can do it. He’s already got the sad eyes down.
I’m sitting here typing on a phone, wearing an inflatable, lavender hospital gown with hot air being pumped in. I look like a purple sumo wrestler. I also have an IV, and they gave me a few drugs that have left me slightly groggy. The dr is late because he is deli wrong – ha ha- auto correct – delivering a leap day baby. I feel good about the surgery and I really do think this is the right path for me. I have been promised good drugs and I’m supposed to be home tomorrow night provided all goes well. They have briefed me on everything and the only thing left to talk to the dr about is if he’ll put my uterus in a jar for me to look at after. That’s all for now.
Today we are going to look at a few great Augason Farms products, as well as some recipes that will go beautifully with your food storage! Beans are the food I’m featuring today, and although there are a million excellent recipes calling for beans, I’m going to show off two of my favorites. Legumes are a food storage staple. They are loaded with nutrients and can be prepared as a meat substitute for many meals.
When I hear the word beans, the first place my brain goes is to my chili recipes. Chili is perfect for a cozy mid-winter night and great in the summertime slathered over a hot dog or drowning a fry bread taco in flavor. Chilies almost always make for great freezer meals as well, and are easy to make ahead of time and store for situations when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook, such as preparation for a surgery or new baby or a particularly busy season at work.
So let me share one of my favorites!
Chicken Taco Chili
1 cup chopped onion- fresh or Augason Farms dehydrated onions
34 oz of black beans- two cans or appx 2-3 cups of dried
16-oz kidney beans- one can or appx 1-1 1/2 cups dried
1 16 oz can tomato sauce- or Augason Farms Tomato Powder
10 oz corn (frozen, canned or freeze dried)
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies (used a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes)
1 taco seasoning packet
1 tbsp cumin
2-4 tbsp chili powder depending on how hot you like your chili- I usually go about 3
24 0z. (3) boneless skinless chicken breasts, left over chicken or canned chicken if you are going pantry only.
chopped chili peppers (this is optional)
chopped fresh cilantro (also optional)
This is a very simple recipe- dump it all into a crock pot and let it simmer until it is hot and blended together.
I like to serve it over Augason Farms Corn Bread. YUM!
Now, we need some chocolate to go with that super yummy chili. Did you know that if you eat something too spicy and need to fix that burning sensation chocolate is a guaranteed fix? It is the best natural remedy out there!
Augason Farms has a great brownie mix (and it is on sale right now as part of the Valentine’s Day sale). I know you may be asking why I keep “junk food” in my food storage. Isn’t food storage just beans and rice and essentials so we don’t starve to death? Well, yes. That is obviously the first priority. However, comfort foods can make a huge difference in morale, and a chewy brownie can be a very soothing treat in a time when food is scarce or resources are tight.
Plus, you can make brownies healthier by adding black beans. Yes, you read that right. They will be lower calorie, lower sodium, higher protien and fiber- and they’ll be CHOCOLATE!
1 15 ounce can (or 1.5 cup of dry) black beans
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (if you feel so inclined)
Rinse the beans. Put the beans back in the can and add enough water to cover beans. Puree the beans and water until they are a well blended paste. Add brownie mix to black bean puree and mix. Cook in greased 9 X 9 baking pan. Bake brownies according to package directions. You will probably need to bake them a little longer- just test them with a toothpick to make sure they are cooked through. Makes about 20 super yummy brownies.
Now, I want to show you a really great new product Augason Farms has come out with. They have these new emergency pails that contain enough food for one person for 11 days as well as a self filtering water container. These are perfect for emergency situations, 72 hour kits (we have 2 as part of our family’s 72 hour kit), camping or quick and easy on the go food situations! They also just came out with a larger version (I so want this! And it is on sale right now!) that has enough food for 30 days. Get one for each family member and you have an instant one month supply for your whole family, complete with cooking instructions and suggestions. And, yes, it has a 25 year shelf life, so once you have your buckets, you are good to go for a quarter of a century.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, and in connection with Augason Farms, I am giving away one of the 4 gallon buckets, as pictured in the the photo above. This is a $75 value and I can’t wait to send it off to one lucky, lucky reader!
You have three chances to win.
1) Leave me a comment right here. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.
2) Go LIKE Augason Farms on Facebook! They like you, so go like them back!
3) Tweet, Facebook or Blog about this give-a-way and link back to this post.
Drop me a comment for each entry, and I will randomly draw a winner on V-day!