Currently

How’s this for a random blog post? (Idea stolen from here).

Reading: A few things – The Gospel Centered Woman (I love this!), The Explosive Child (enough said), Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (The boys are loving this and it makes me soooo happy)

Searching for online: Christmas decorations (mostly on Pinterest). I unpacked my stuff this year and was underwhelmed. In reality, I think I’m going to have to pick up some stuff after the holidays on clearance so I don’t find myself in this spot again next year.

Eating: Poorly. I was great in September and October. I don’t know what happened. January is a good time to start this.

Watching: My favorite shows this fall has by far been The Good Wife (even over my beloved Parenthood) and Parks & Recreation. I really don’t think enough people are watching TGW. D and I love it and this season has not disappointed me a bit. And P&R just keeps getting better and better each season. I had no hope for that show when it started but I think it is amazing now. Oooo and The Sing-Off. The Sing-Off just makes me happy!

Wearing: The Sweetheart Skinny Jeans in Black. I cannot believe I like a pair of Old Navy jeans this much but they are a perfect fit.

Wishing: I didn’t have to spend so much time cleaning my kitchen. Not a real problem, I know.

Drinking: Trader Joe’s Wake Up Blend made with my Aeropress

Cooking: We’re in eat down mode. Money seems to be flying out the window. I’m not into grocery shopping right now. So, we’re eating what is currently in the pantry and fridge.

Making: Rainbow Loom bracelets. A is obsessed with this thing and, I must admit, it is strangely addictive. I’m mostly starting and finishing bracelets that he is making for friends.

Smiling: At my funny kids. Best line recently from A: “I never see my butt.” Said with genuine disappointment

Hoping: To get some time to pull together a special gift we are planning for the boys.

Enjoying: The fact that the Spartans are headed to the Rose Bowl and that, in a house of Go Blue fans, my team is victorious.

Listening: Lord, I Need You and All the Poor and Powerless on repeat.

Doing: Advent readings with the kids from The Jesus Storybook Bible. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this book.

Planning: Mostly just in my mind right now, but a going-away party for friends moving out of state :(

Obsessing: Aztec print. I can’t get enough of it. Really wishing I would have snagged this sweater before it disappeared.

Gluten-Free Cheesy Spinach Muffin

I saw these on Pinterest and they were two pretty to pass up. I decided to try them while the little one slept today and I had to use what I had on hand to make them gluten-free. Here is what I did…

cheesyspinachmuffin

 

Ingredients:

3.5 oz fresh spinach

2.5 oz feta (crumbled)

3.5 oz. sharp cheddar (shredded)

2 roma tomatoes

.75 cup Gluten-Free Bisquick

1.25 cups Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp. sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

.25 cup olive oil

1 cup 2% milk

1 tsp. Herbs de Provence

A few shakes of black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Chop up the spinach a bit. Put it in the blender along with eggs, olive oil and milk. Blend to the point where the spinach is in small bits.

3. In my mixer, I combined the GF Bisquick, GF All-Purpose Flour, seal salt, baking powder, eggs, Herbs de Provence, pepper and shredded sharp cheddar.

4. Pour in spinach/egg/milk/oil mixture and combine well. Fold in feta.

5. Spray muffin pan with olive oil spray. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, I filled each muffin pan spot.

6. Slice two roma tomatoes in 12 slices and put on dop of each muffin.

7. Bake for 25 minutes. Yields 12 muffins.

 

Thirty.

I wrote this last week and intended to post it promptly. Then I was faced with a few things that caused me to be anxious and worry and I felt hypocritical. But I’m posting it now all with the understanding that I am still being sanctified and there is much progress to be had.

Thursday was my thirtieth birthday. I’m not having any sense of crisis or feeling old. In fact, I’m feeling amazed and thankful.

Ten years ago, when I turned 20 I was in the middle of a very dark time. I was very depressed and did not have a lot of hope for my future. I was away at college and did not have any really good friendships at the time. My family was far away and I don’t think any of us really understood what I was going through. By the grace of God, the darkness eventually lifted (I don’t have an answer for why or how) but I lived most of my early twenties in fear of it returning. For me depression felt like someone sitting on your chest all the time. I didn’t function well that way and I didn’t want to have to do life like that. In the past ten years, I’ve dealt with anxiety and worry but never the darkness of depression the same way I had in 2002/2003 and, for that, I am very grateful. I also know that God has used a lot of things in the past ten years to help me deal with my tendency to be anxious.

In a lot of ways, these birthdays that end in zeros can be scary. They are markers of what is coming to an end and what may be to come. I’ve been studying Genesis since September and Abraham’s example of faith has made it much easier to approach this birthday. Hope and thankfulness are much better lenses to view life through than anxiety and worry.

I could go on and on about all the amazing things God has done in my life in the last several years. In that time, I started dating D, got married and became a mom over and over and over again. I’ve changed jobs several times and seen the Lord provide for our family in ways I could not imagine. We have had loss and blessings and overwhelming peace from the only One who can provide it. I am thankful  for what I have learned in the past ten years and for what is to come.

Parenthood (the rest of the season)

Let’s hear it for random blogging.

The Braverman’s have really been through a lot this season, amiright? 

We watched Tuesday’s nights episode a day late and I’m sad to see Mark Cyr seems to be back in the picture. I really have a hard time with this guy. Maybe it is the mustache-like thing on his face. Oh well, I have a feeling those two are destined to be together.

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I’m mostly invested in the story-line with Julia, Joel, Victor and Sydney this season. I think Crosby may have saved the day in this past episode. Each week, I find myself wanting to recommend so many books and methods and therapies to this family. I think Julia’s had unrealistic expectations for Victor. It is hurtful when our kids don’t fall in love with us immediately (in foster care/adoption) and it is hard when the feelings we expect to have ourselves don’t show up the way we thought they would. I empathize with her so much. I want to grab coffee and tell her, “It will get better. Just hang in there!” I’ve long-learned that it is wrong to expect realistic situations out of TV shows but I think they have done a pretty good job with this issue.

I don’t really know what to say about Drew & Amy except that it made me very sad. I was sad that Drew didn’t really get a choice. I was sad that Amy felt she had no other option. I was sad that their parents were so unaware of what was happening with their kids.

This season is ending up being a very short one and I think that is doing a lot of disservice to Kristina’s story-line. I don’t think they are doing justice to the reality of cancer.

Final quick thoughts…

  • Loved the hilarious dialogue about puberty with Zeke, Camille, Max and Kristina a few weeks ago
  • Loving Amber’s hair recently (and I love her and Ryan together – hope that all resolves)
  • Will we ever see Haddie again?

Parenthood (Season 4, Episodes 2, 3 & 4)

Don’t read yet if you haven’t seen Parenthood from this past Tuesday. Know what I loved about this past week’s episode? No Mark Cyr.

But, seriously though, the plot line I loved more than anything this week was Jasmine and Crosby explaining the racism and the N-word to Jabar.

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 Jabar reminds me so much of our boys. I know a day will come when we have to explain this to our kids. I related so much with Crosby as he sat there as an “outsider” in a way, not knowing what is like to have someone think less of you because of the color of your skin. I have had the same heart-breaking feeling imaging that happening to our kids some day. I thought Jasmine’s message was so honest and hopeful. Can I just play that scene someday for our kids? (Also, who knew the guy from Punk’d would turn out to be a pretty decent actor?)

I also think the writers are doing a great job with the struggle of adopting an older child. It is a two-steps forward, one-step back process and they are showing that well. Joel continues to be perfect. (But did anyone else wonder where Sydney was this past episode?)

I don’t have a lot to say about Adam and Kristina’s plot line. I don’t really understand why they have not told people yet (although, it looks like that is what next week’s episode is about).

A few random thoughts…

  • I still like Hank a lot. And I still think Sarah needs to be by herself for a while (but that doesn’t make for an interesting story, I guess).
  • What happened to Bob Little? Did he lose the election? I liked him and Amber together.

Kid Update

DIB is in first grade this year. Starting back to school was tough for him. His teacher reports that he is doing well and we know he has several friends in class. But he would gladly stay home each day and play. He loves Star Wars (although he has never seen any of the movies). And he loves television (a kid after my own heart). However, the new school year comes with a new rule – no television from Sunday evening until Friday afternoon. They boys do not get home from school until 4:00 pm and they still have a 7:30 pm bedtime (they need their 12 hours). There is just too little time in the afternoons after school to spend it watching TV. DIB plans to do running club again and might just join Cub Scouts. Why does he want to do Cub Scouts? He reports, “Because you get to shoot a bow and arrow, like in Brave.”

AIB is in kindergarten and is loving it. This kid loves assignments and projects. He is making new friends at school quickly and, I think, really likes the routine of everything. At home, he likes to have a job (like vacuuming or cleaning a window). He is also quite funny and is currently without two front teeth, making his cuteness factor skyrocket. His current goals are to work on being polite to adults (he gets a bit shy) and to work on trying new foods (he is pretty anti-vegetable).

MNB is nine months old and rocking 12-18 month size clothing. People constantly comment on her cheeks. She just started waving this week. She is not crawling but scoots around quite well in the sitting position. He brothers often say, “How did she get over there?!?” She is sweet and a pretty easy going baby. She is just started to like food (not baby food but anything she can feed herself). She is pretty social. In the past few weeks, she has started putting herself to sleep better for naps and at night. With the exception of a few nights, she has been a pretty great sleeper and for that we are very thankful.

Parenthood (Season 4, Episode 1)

I’m not going to even try to hide the fact that I love TV. Today, I went through my calendar and noted the fall start dates for each of my favorite shows (and new shows that have potential to become favorite shows).

Parenthood started last week. I love this show even when it frustrates me. That is probably why the Bravermans feel like family.

I was worried that Ray Ramono’s addition to the cast would be a bit annoying but I actually really liked him. Last season, I was 100% sold-out on Team Seth. I love a good redemption story – a recovering drug-addict and the re-kindling of what Sarah called “the love of her life.” I so wanted that to happen but for some reason Sarah still loves the mustached Mark Cyr (ick). I’d be more than happy if Ray Ramono’s character, Hank, stole Sarah’s affections. Gosh, I would even be happy if Sarah was just on her own for a bit. Am I right, ladies?

Last year’s adoption plot-line was PAINFUL to watch. I had so much frustration over how it was handled and then at the last minute Joel (who I refer to as “The Man Who Can Do No Wrong”) and Julia take in a seven-year old boy. I’m still nervous over how it will play out but I thought Julia’s realization in the season opener was pretty realistic when she said, “I feel like I’m waiting to fall in love with our son.” I hope that is what we get to see happen as the season continues.

(*sob*)

The show closed with Haddie getting on a plane to leave for college. She was full of attitude the whole episode. It was too relate-able. I remember being such a brat as I got ready to leave for college and being super embarrassed as my mom asked some other students for directions when we got to campus. I sat there watching that scene with my baby girl in my arms and decided that we would home-school our kids through college. That is possible, right?

And two quick and parting thoughts…

  • Oh, Drew. Poor Drew. Does he even see it coming?
  • Joel’s Hair. I have mixed-feelings.

Feel free to call me over-invested in the lives fictional characters. I’m okay with that and I know plenty of you who are with me on this.

Back to Blogging (Maybe)

The other day, I found myself leaving a comment on people.com. Obviously, this is not a good sign. It is not an place of reason. I had an opinion and I needed to get it out of my head. Sometimes I just need to write.

I changed the header and title of this blog (not the URL because, well, I don’t know how to do that). I stole the new title from a Rosie Thomas song that makes me cry. It is about all that can happen in just a year. For us, it was about 14 months. It has been amazing and crazy and some days it does not seem like there is much left of my brain.

But, whatever is left, may just end up here from now on. I’m realizing I need to a place to remember what life is like right now as we raise these three young children. If I don’t write it down, I’ll soon forget. So, I’m officially back to inconsistent, random blogging.

Reading Material

I really do want to write. I can’t decide if I want people to read it or not. And I also have a hard time getting a coherent thought out without being interrupted by someone who needs to be hugged, fed or clothed. So, for now, I’ll share some of what I’ve been reading…

The Trouble with Dave Ramsey from Shannan at Flower Patch Farmgirl

We resisted what we believed in the pit of our stomachs to be true. We thought we could serve them both. We thought maybe we could be that one rich couple who has a lot of money so that they can give more away. We wanted a piece of the blessing of God’s promise, but we hoped it could be without sacrifice. We didn’t want the “living like no one else” to be for nothing.

Six things adoption has taught me by Shaun Groves at Simple Mom

In 2007, I visited an Ethiopian orphanage, trying not to make eye contact with any of the little ones around me in need of a father. I’ve always found avoidance to be the surest way to never feel bad about saying “no.” My brother-in-law, who was adopting from Ethiopia, was there with me. “Maybe we’ve made it too complicated,” he said. (I knew by “we” he meant “me.”) “What if God’s will for our life is found wherever someone’s need and our ability intersect?”

From By His Wounds You Are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman’s Identity by Wendy Horger Alsup

I was taken back a bit when I first read the definition of the Greek term translated humility. It means a deep sense of your littleness, especially your moral littleness. Unlike our culture’s watered down version of this term, humility does not mean that you are simply nice, polite, or diplomatic. It means that you have a correct understanding of your salvation as Paul outlined in Ephesians 2. You understand that you were dead in your sins, you were born a child deserving of God’s judgement, and God saved you by his grace and not by your own works. You understand your moral littleness. Then you respond to others in light of this understanding. A humble person does not stand in judgment against others from a point of righteous indignation. You and I have completely missed the entire message of Ephesian 1 and 2 if we think we have any moral high ground over anyone else. This is the core of the gospel.

And, lastly, this verse has shown up to me through various people and places over and over in the last month.

I have told you these things, so that in me you you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NIV)