Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Routine

I REALLY need to get back into a better prayer routine, and just a routine in general, because I have really been noticing lately that while I am doing marvelously with my intellectual understanding of faith (as much as we can as creations even begin to fathom God - everyday I realize more and more how truly mysterious and miraculous God is, and that when I try to put Him into a box that our minds can fully comprehend, that I am diminishing so much of Who God is, but I digress...), I am absolutely neglecting the more spiritual and important aspects of my faith in prayer and presence of God (and in my household routines).

I want to at least at this point, get back into a regular morning and evening prayer time. I was able to do it this morning, but with much difficulty. I know that at first it will be difficult, not only because it is a habit that I must get back into and is hard for my undisciplined self to stick with, but because I know there are forces at work that would try to prevent me.

And yet I know that my whole life, I will struggle and I will never be where I truly ought to be, and that feeling of where I am and how far I truly am from where I should be, is going to always be the case, although hopefully it will become smaller as I grow in age, in faith, and in my journey to become like Christ. Father said on Sunday, that if we find ourselves in a place where we do not feel we need to grow, to change, to become more like God, where we are complacent and think we have done enough and have become enough, then we are in danger, and we are no longer reaching towards God.

At least I know for now, I do not feel that way, and I can't imagine ever feeling that way. I know I have so much to do, and there is so much I beg God to change in my heart. Oh I need it broken and softened and molded so differently. I plead with God to soften it towards the people of this world. As I have grown into the person I am now, the times without God have allowed my heart to become shriveled and tough and turned away from so many things that should stir it. I know we all have those wounds and etchings upon ourselves and our hearts that leave us not only scarred, but leave small pieces of our hearts that we will not share with others or with God. I am afraid to give Him those pieces of myself that I hold so closely. They still hurt, and it may hurt more still for Him to fix it and heal me. At what point will enough become enough and I fully offer those secret pains up to God in prayer and abandon and let myself be changed?

And on a completely different note. School has been delayed this morning because the kids are busy coloring pictures together. I think that's an ok reason to push our routine back, just a little. The stack of fireworks and squiggles growing next to the computer makes me smile. =o)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Raising Kids

I make mistakes. A lot. I mess up on a lot of stuff. I repeat the same mistakes over and over and over. And so do my kids. And they will continue to do so. No amount of wonderful and amazing parenting on my part will stop them (ha). So, I'm trying to be more realistic. I'm trying to realize mistakes are going to be made, and most likely those same mistakes will be repeated over and over and over. Whatever issues and sins my kids struggle with, they will most likely continue to struggle with. And I can't fix it. I can only love them, do my best to guide them, and pray because really, its not up to me at all. Cause really, I haven't done such a great job at fixing myself yet.

But its hard. Because I want to blame myself. It seems logical. And because of course, we want better for our kids. And maybe, because for me anyway, having well behaved kids may be a bit of a pride issue for me. So yes, I want my kids to be wonderful people because I love them and want the best for them and hope for them to serve God and become more like Him, but also...because I don't want to be the parent of "those" kids.

Going to work on myself some more now. Geez.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

October Baby - and Greek

I feel like this should be 2 separate posts, BUT, at the same time, I feel silly posting one thing immediately following another, within seconds of each other.

First thing, and most importantly, I heard about this movie today which is coming out to some theaters on March 23 - called October Baby. The issue of abortion and the right to life of innocent babies, is something so dear to my heart. I think for a lot of moms it is, because we know how precious and perfect each little life that God blesses us with is. We see their differences, their faith, their personalities, we hope for their future and their lives and their faith. We are their caretakers, and we know how precious each one is. We feel them and know them before they are born. We know and feel it deep in our souls that from the very moment this child was conceived, that it was a child. A life. A child of God.

And so, I would ask you, that if this movie is in a theater near you, that you make a way to see it. Lets support this film and its message!


And now, onto my second "post" - I have been starving. I don't feel sick anymore, but most foods sound GROSS. I just don't want to eat them. Except for one thing - Greek food. Oh my. I love Greek food normally, but this baby must be my little soul baby, because goodness my NEED for Greek food has quadrupled. And since buying Greek food is expensive - I have been forced to attempt to make some. My past attempts have been utter failures - BUT I have since found some promises Youtube videos that I think will be quite beneficial, haha. So we have some Dolmades cooking and a lemon-dill sauce to pour over them right now, and I am hoping hoping hoping (!!!!) for a delicious dinner this evening. It smells good, so surely it won't taste too terrible eh?!

*UPDATE* - The food came out absolutely delicious, and I was very happy with it! So I thought I would post the recipes/instructions (they are very detailed, forgive me) in case anyone else would like to give them a whirl, especially since I had already typed the recipe out to send to a friend who loves healthy homemade and unusual foods. So it was not trouble really to come paste it here as well! They really are tasty. =o)

Dolmades:
Ingredients -
  • grape leaves (you can get them in jars, usually near the olives or in the "world foods" sections of some grocery stores) - the California variety are usually the best to use that we can get here)
  • about 2 lbs of ground meat - it is best to use a mixture of a lean beef and lamb (but you can just use beef), or you can also use turkey for a healthier version. (There are even vegetarian recipes out there...but I don't care for that, haha)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of uncooked rice (if you use white, Jasmine is best, but I typically just use a regular brown rice)
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
  • 1/4-1/2 yellow onion minced (depending on how much you like onion)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • chicken broth (enough to cover)
Step 1: Rinse the grape leaves using steaming hot water. Then them soak and swish them around with a spoon, being careful not to rip the leaves. I usually soak them for 5-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pat dry and stack on a plate ready to use for wrapping.
Step 2: Mix the meat, rice, dill, parsley, salt, pepper, 1/2 large fresh squeezed lemon, onion, and garlic together in a large bowl. Mix very thoroughly by hand
Step 3: Take one grape leaf and lay it out, again carefully because you don't want any rips or tears in the leaves that you use to wrap. Remove the stem before stuffing - I usually just snip the stem off with a pair of kitchen scissors that I only use for food. Take a little ball of the mixture, about the size of a small meatball, and place it in the center of the leaf. I have included a link below which is the best way I have found for wrapping. If you think you need a larger ball of the meat mixture - trust me you don't! If you stuff them too full they will rip when cooking (the rice will swell as it cooks). As you finish wrapping, set them aside in a dish with the folded side down to keep them from unwrapping.

How to wrap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYbDIgW96-c&feature=related
Step 4: When you have them all ready (It should make around 2 dozen depending on the size of your grape leaves), use any ripped or leftover grape leaves to line the bottom of a large stove pot. If you don't have enough, you can use lettuce, cabbage leaves, etc. Place the uncooked dolmades into the pot, very close together. If you need to it is ok to layer them. Pour hot chicken broth over the dolmades, just enough to cover the tops. Squeeze the other half of the lemon into the pot. Use a small plate to lay on top of the dolmades to help hold them down as they cook. Cook on a medium heat uncovered until it reaches a slow boil. Then turn down to simmer and cover and cook for 1.5 hours.




Lemon-Dill Sauce:
Ingredients -
  • Chicken broth (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large lemon (or 1 small lemon)
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • sprinkle of salt (optional)
  • flour
Step 1: Heat chicken broth
Step 2: Use flour to thicken
Step 3: Add dill, parsley, and lemon, and salt if you think it is needed
Step 4: Continue to heat until it is the thickness you like. Serve over Dolmades.



I serve the dolmades on a plate, and then pour a spoonful or 2 of the sauce over them. I also like to make lemon potatoes (easy to google) to serve with them sometimes.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kids are Funny

(Abby enters room)
Abby - "Mommy, can I have this cereal?"
Me - "Yup that's fine"
Will - "Don't talk to my Mommy!"
Abby - "She's my Mommy too!"
Will - "No she's MY MOMMY!"
Me - "Will, you have to share Mommy. I'm your Mommy, but I'm Abby's Mommy too"
Will - "Abby's crazy."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So out with it

Alright, so. I'm not sure if I'm ready to really openly discuss this. But hey, here I go anyway. I figure that even though I want to keep certain things "quiet" and to myself, that this blog and so many of you have over the past few months (and some of you years!) been there with my family and me through our growth, changes, trials, joys, everything, that I have to kind of be somewhat open even if I feel like I don't totally want to.

And honestly, I'm not sure WHY I don't want to share this. It feels intensely personal all of a sudden. I've shared my faith and my journey so openly before, I don't know why this is hard for me. For some reason it just feels so much bigger right now.

So, for now we are "suspending" our path into the Roman Catholic church. We're not saying no - we're just saying hold on a minute.

You see, recently, when we moved, we were ready to start RCIA classes. Together as a family, join the church, we were looking forward to it and felt it was really as close as we had ever found to the early church and believed their claims to apostolic succession (still do in fact, that isn't the issue), so it felt like the right step. But as we hunted for a parish to be a part of and to start RCIA in, we came across multiple issues, stumbling blocks if you will, in trying to begin the classes. Adam pointed out - could this be "the devil" - I know, saying that sounds so weird sometimes, but I mean really we thought about it, could he be trying to place things in the way of our conversion to the church? But it didn't feel like that. And we prayed about. And things for some reason just felt like, we have to pause here. Something isn't right. We considered if we were just not ready, and so we needed to be more confident and ready in this decision, even thought the decision to enter RCIA is not binding that you will join the church, its just classes. About this same time, we stumbled across a "debate" if you will, between an Orthodox Christian priest and a Roman Catholic priest, basically regarding the East-West schism. And we thought, whoa wait, there are other churches claiming this same apostolic succession?

So, we are looking into it. Whether or not anything comes of that, I don't know. But we are learning about that faith too, just as we are continuing to learn about the Catholic faith. And we are researching history and liturgy and the Bible and so much. We are visiting services and asking questions, and its just this big learning process. What I really am so pleased with right now though, is that the Orthodox church has been so much more personable to us, and has offered us learning experiences and a welcome that we never received in the Catholic faith locally - not online though, the Catholic community online that I have experienced has for the most part been extremely loving and welcoming (except for one website that shall remain unnamed but which I refuse to go back to!)

So anyway. That's where we're at. Still learning. Still growing. Still changing. Still seeking. But God has his hand in all of it.

Sigh, Oh God. How long have I been having it be more about me than you? Turn me about, I am pleading.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Honey Tree

 Today is a good, good day. I heard this song on another blog, and I can't believe I hadn't heard it and fallen in love with it previously.



Heard the buzzing of the honey bees
Making honey just for me
and life's alright
I think I landed feeling fine
Just another perfect day
I think I'll walk this way where the trees do sing
I'm feeling part of everything
And all my troubles seem to fade away
They disappear with everything that you say
And now my weary head don't feel the same
The skies look brighter I can feel, feel the change
Feel the change
All the money in the world could never buy this
So lets go to where monkeys dance
And music floats throughout the land
And all my troubles seem to fade away
They disappear with everything you say
And now my weary head don't feel the same
The skies look brighter I can feel, feel the change
I can feel, feel the change



Today is glorious. And, I DO feel part of everything. I love that feeling.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stirring

We're unpacked, we're getting settled, things are getting done. Paint is slowly going up one room at a time, and someday things will be as we want (maybe. or not.) It's really beginning to feel like home already, and its such a relief. Big smiles all around.

But in other ways, we are unsettled. The home is great. The yard wonderful. But it is weird not being surrounded everywhere else by the sights and things and places we are used to. It's different.

And we have some other things, un-house related, but definitely family and home related, that are stirring up and being moved in odd and intriguing ways. It is all so personal and close to heart right now, that I don't want to really openly discuss at this point (no worries though, all is happy and well in the Taylor house, with every big and little person). But my soul is being moved about and twisted and molded in ways unexpected, and I think its a good thing. Its just in that uncomfortable stage right now.

In other news, I ordered Will's birthday cake for next month from RJ Goodies. I am SO thrilled to be back on this side of town, just so I can have a delicious cake for all birthdays. YUM.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We are here!

So, I wanted to wait and blog when I had some pictures. But since my camera is.... somewhere. And I know it is out of batteries and that I don't have any replacement ones at this time... well. This is what you get! So sorry.

The move went well. There are always things I wish would have gone differently - I guess that is the control freak part of me. It is best that I just go handle the kids and the dogs while other people do the moving - and not just because I'm pregnant. We probably wouldn't have any friends left after our moves if I was around during the actual moving of things.

So, I'm not going to list all things that were broken, bent, crushed, damaged, because of how things got moved. Nope, not gonna do it. I'm just going to move on and be happy its all over with. See, I'm growing as a person! ;o)

But it is SO nice to be in a house, with a yard, with space.

Here is a quick list of things we have realized since we moved into the house:

1. Our kids are not nearly as loud as we thought they were.
2. It is eerily quiet not being able to hear all the neighbors and their goings on.
3. Our kids are going to be very very tan this summer with all the backyard playing I see in their future, just based on the amount of time they have spent outdoors the past few days!
4. Daily baths for the kids are no longer to be hoped for, they are absolutely REQUIRED.
5. We are going to lose weight just from walking around the house and getting from one side to the other.
6. Our apartment was way tinier than we realized when we lived there. And we still aren't sure how we fit all of our stuff in it, now that we see it in the house...
7. I can put dirty clothes in the washer at night, have the washer set on a 9 hour delay, and have clothes ready to be thrown in the dryer when I wake up. I woke up this morning and felt like I had been super productive. Adam woke up and just thought I was insane and had been doing laundry in the middle of the night, haha.

But I am pretty much settled in here. Adam seems to be too, although today was his first day back at work so we will see how the commute treats him. Apparently this morning was great! Lets hope the afternoon goes just as smoothly. I only have 1 box left in the living room to unpack, and then I need to finish getting the laundry and clothes all situated in their respective closets. Other than that, and just little things laying about that need to be put away, I'm done and unpacked. Of course, then I get to start painting and fixing things.... but I'm not focusing on that just yet, haha. Abby is settling well, although she is already worried about making friends and missing her old ones. We have joined one homeschool group, but I may be looking for another. It just so happens that all their events fall at times where we won't have the vehicle and/or have other plans already on those days. Abby does keep saying it is weird being here without her Meme though. This was her grandma's house up until last week, so its a bit strange for her to be here and have us be "alone" in the house. Will is doing great during the day, and ok at night. He gets a little scared in his room by himself, so for now I am laying down with him to help him go to sleep, and he comes into our room if he wakes up in the night. I'm ok with that for now, but after a couple weeks we are going to start transitioning him out of all that - definitely want him to have a good sleep pattern established well before baby comes in July. Even though I'm sure at that point his schedule will get messed up a bit and he will need some extra care, I think having it laid out well beforehand will make it easier for him to transition with the baby. That is my plan and hope anyway!

Ok, gonna go try to finish up this unpacking today. Then I can start thinking about Abby's room and painting tomorrow.... oh boy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moved!

Exhausted, but moved. Yay!

And I am even halfway unpacked already.

=o)

Now, off to bed. We are so very tired.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I dread moves

We are moving in 2 days. And today Adam broke his finger.
Our moves always, always, ALWAYS go wrong somehow, someway. I have decided this is counting as our bad thing for this move. NOTHING else will go wrong!

I forbid it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Let's just scream

Today I am frustrated. So absolutely frustrated! I'm trying not to be. I'm trying to let it go and figure out an alternate plan of action. But, yah. It's not working out so well I suppose.

AAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Ok, well that feels a little better. Do you all just need to go be by yourself and scream sometimes? I will pretend you said yes so I don't feel crazy. Moving on.

2 things are frustrating me - church, and UPS. Kmart used to be on my list, but now UPS has surpassed them in terms of frustratingness. So Kmart is not on my list of targets currently - however, I still would recommend you absolutely NOT EVER shop there. For real. Maybe someday I will get over my trauma I experienced there and can share the story with you. But it won't be today.

But the main thing today, right now, in this moment, is the RCIA process. Oh my goodness. Really? I feel bad complaining. I feel like, it could have been a good thing, it SHOULD be a good thing. But, I feel like its all such an unorganized thoughtless mess (at least with the parishes nearby our new home). Sigh. There is a parish nearby that we absoltely will not go to - my parents used to go there and my poor mother was so mistreated and abused during her times of service there, I mean really, and a deacon screamed at me there once, that I just refuse to step into that parish. So, we have 3 others in the nearby vicinity. There are some others up a little further north of us, but the drive between us and there is just a bit farther I think than we would like. I mean, I want something nearby, ya know? Close to home, part of the neighborhood. So my hopes were on the closest parish to us. Their RCIA program is year round and can be started any time, which is GREAT for us! We were so excited. Except they don't have childcare. So we are moving to a new place, where we don't know anyone at all, have no one to watch our kids, and we want to join the church, but we basically can't because we have no childcare. Oh sure we could bring the kids - but really? Can you imagine dealing with 2 almost 3 year old William in a class setting with other people? Ha! It would be a disaster. Not only would I never hear a word being said, but it would be so distracting for all the other people there. No way is it going to happen. So, our other option is another parish, further away, and filled with...very rich people. I'm sure they are all very nice. But, I feel uncomfortable around them. I'm sure its a problem with me and not them. But, I feel that way. And again, its a further drive than I was hoping for. But what can you do? They have a year round program, and they have childcare. And I think its free. I hope its free. If its not, well, then its not very helpful either. Sigh. So right now, I'm just at a loss. None of my options are sounding good. I just feel sad. I feel like things are just not working out, and I'm emotional and frustrated. So, I've passed it on to Adam. I obviously am in no position or emotional state of well being to handle this right now. So I've laid it in his hands. Usually he gives tasks like this to me to figure  out, cause he really doesn't care, but I think he realized I'm just...pregnant and crying all the time. This pregnancy is wreaking emotional havoc. I can't wait for my appointment next week, because I really need to discuss this with my doctor and get it under control (I tend to get depression during and following pregnancy, so I know its begun and I need to handle it).

So. Yah. I'm in a mood. And not happy. But Adam is always there to help me when I can't handle it. He's so good. =o)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Buffalos are apparently awesome

Ok, that was fast, haha-

but I just had to post this, because I am probably way behind and maybe you have all seen this already, but goodness for whatever reason I about died laughing. It cracked me up. You have to see it!


Buffaloooooo-oooooooh

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'll be back

I'm moving in 10 (ok, based on it being after midnight, I guess now 9) days.

I'm excited.

But I'm freaking out.

This is a huge deal for my little family. We are going to be in a house. We can paint it. We can do what we want to it. We can LIVE in it. It is HOME.

And I'm not ready.

And I'm worried, because, well its what I do. What if something goes wrong? What if we end up not being able to afford it for some reason? What if what if what if??? These can't be thoughts from my wonderful God who I know is in control and taking care of me and my family for the best, always, whether I think so or not.

So, I may be missing for a while. I have to finish packing and cleaning, and I need to kind of refocus myself and just get settled a bit I think. This is a good and happy time, but change is hard for me, even if its good change. =o)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's a............

Ok, so that title is kind of mean. Cause I don't really know.

But the internet thinks IT knows.

Anyone heard of the Chinese Birth Chart / Gender Predictor? I of course think its silly really, but thought it would be fun to go check it and see not only what it says this little baby is going to be - but also what it had to say about Abby and Will.

If you do go try it, you are supposed to calculate everything by your lunar age and the lunar month, not by our typical age and month system. So keep that in mind if you go play the game too. =o)

And the results are...

That Abby was going to be a boy. Eek sorry gender predictor, missed that one.
That Will was going to be a girl. Yikes. 2 wrong. Thats no good.

And, this baby, based on the Chinese chart, says the baby will be a boy. So, are we all thinking girl now? Haha!

I honestly, have no real preference. I just want a healthy baby that will stop making me sick! (ha). But when I think about it, I know a boy would be more convenient just as far as the kids ages and playing together and getting their rooms set up, but at the same time, I do miss those little frilly baby girly things. Abby is definitely moving out of that age. Either way, I'm good. I just don't know how much longer I can stand not knowing. I am not one who waits for it to be a surprise! Its a surprise no matter when I find out, hehe. But with Abby, I couldn't tell. I had no real idea if it was a boy or girl. I just kept trying to logically deduce the answer. With Will, I KNEW it was a boy. No doubt in my mind. This time, I don't know. I find myself going through a lot of the same things I did the first time around, trying to use logic and weird signs to determine what the baby was. So not effective. Should find out in about 5-9 weeks I guess. I never know when the doctor is gonna send me in for the ultrasound. Somewhere between 16 and 20 weeks I am assuming. Excited!

Oh, but if you ask Will if the baby is a boy or a girl, he will tell you that its a purple baby. Because his favorite color is purple. So he is REALLY hoping not for a brother, or for a sister, but for something purple. 2 year olds - they just don't get it.

And Happy New Year, btw. ;o)