Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Rest of the List

Last week I did some sharing of the areas that I am growing and learning in right now. I have a couple more to explain, but if you missed the earlier parts and want to catch up, you can start with last week on Monday and work your way forward.

The words that come out of my mouth is another area on my list of things that I need to draw my attention to. I am not talking about foul language or being mean, rather focusing on speaking words that bring life. Words have a heavy effect and if I do not choose to use them wisely then perhaps I might cause pain that was unintended.

But lets focus on the positive. It's amazing how much an encouraging word can do for a person. I know that when I get words of encouragement I can be lifted for days, sometimes longer. I know the things that I see about myself that I am proud of, but when someone else sees something in me it makes a much larger impact. Other people don't know my heart and the work I am focusing on. God uses words to lift others up.

Or bring them down. I would hope that I am trying to use words that bring life and not destruction.

This can lead a little bit into the next area, which is my love for others. There have been times in my life when I do have large amounts of focus on others and love for them. If I look at myself right now though, I would say that I have some grounds for improvement. It's not that I don't care at all, it's just that I have been very caught up in my own things and my own family. I haven't been paying attention to the people around me. I think that one pretty much explains itself.

My last thing is my reverence for and toward God. I think that this has always been a bit hard for me. I have a hard time grasping the magnitude of God, who He is, and what He has done for me. It's just very difficult for me to "get". This isn't to say that I take Him lightly or anything like that, but I just don't have that deep reverence that I think I should have. This one is an area that is going to take much prayer. I don't think that there is an easy way to plan out how to really revere God. It is something that He will have to bring into my heart and grow me in.

So, there is the depth that is going on in my life and the things that God is growing me in. As these areas are developed I might share how they are changing. For now it's back to your regularly scheduled extract.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What's Smiles Eating?

I make most of the baby food that Smiles eats around here. We do buy jar food for him when we are going out somewhere and we keep rice cereal around, but that's about it. It's much healthier and cheaper to do this (it's like buying in bulk) so I thought that I would share with you the simplicity of my methods.

We will go with his current favorite for now.

Take one avocado and cut it in half. Remove the pit from the center.

Cut strips from one end to the other length wise. (YES. I admit that I bought my knives on TV. But I will have you know that they are the best knives I have ever used and my mom has some pretty nice ones. That Ronco guy is not kidding when he says all that good stuff and they were VERY cheap. You can make fun of me all you want.)

Now repeat in the opposite direction. This will form small squares.

Remove the meat from the skin of the avocado.

Use a fork to smash the pieces of avocado.

Smash them a little more, until you form a consistency that you think your baby can handle. Smiles likes some chunk in his food these days.

He thinks chewing is cool.

Feed to baby.

Mmmm. Yummy! He likes to be messy, he is a boy you know.

Just be careful not to put the bowl too close to the baby if you don't want a mess.

Some kids like to assert their independence really early.

Avocados make Smiles smile.

...but then again, what doesn't?

Next week if I'm feeling really nice, I will teach you how to make bananas for baby. Aren't you excited!?! No? Oh. You picked up on a hint of sarcasm in that post...?

Okay, well in all honesty it is easy to make your own food for baby and you don't need a food processor. We mush up bananas, avocados, pears, and mangoes just like that. Smiles isn't a big fan of the mango. It's too much for his palate. Other foods take a smidge more work, but it's really not that hard to do that either. Carrots are easy, you just boil them for a long time. Sweet potatoes we just cook for us and then mash some up for him. Brown rice (which is just like giving him rice cereal except better) is just cooked longer and I give it a little extra water when mushing. Usually Smiles has a similar food to what we are having. I just alter it a little so that he isn't getting the salty and spicy.

I had to get some pictures of the kid up for Gramps. He was getting a little edgy.

You know how those old farts get.

Ooops...I meant to say that Gramps is smitten and needs to have some cuteness in his week. He doesn't get the joy of wee ones in his daily life unless I share them here. See Gramps, we are still having fun even if Mom is a bit on the contemplative side. That's really always going on, I just don't always blog about it. I will get back to the deep stuff tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Meet the Family: Chalupa

So, it was a little hard for me to figure out if I wanted to do a meet the family on my Dad, or my Chalupa first. I decided to go with Chalupa first because he goes with Burger (who you met last week) and that way you can pair them together easily.

Chalupa is my extra Dad, my Mom's husband. They met when I was in Junior High school. After a year or two of dating (forgive me Mom if I am off, but I was a kid and honestly didn't pay that much attention to how long you dated and whatnot) our two families became one and we lived under one roof. I CAN tell you that they were planning the wedding when Handsome and I first started dating. Handsome always recalls the stack of wedding books that were in front of my Mom the day he came to pick me up for our first date. That was in April of 2000, so that was nearly 9 years ago.

I always got along with Chalupa pretty well. Blending families can be difficult, but I always felt that he was a rational man and if I had qualms about something I could go to him in sincerity and tell him why I disagreed. He would actually listen to me and sometimes took what I said and worked with it. That means a lot to a young person. To feel that they are heard and that their opinion matters.

He got the name Chalupa from me many years ago. Honestly I think that I started calling him that because it sounded like calling him "Pa" without actually having the awkwardness of calling him Dad. I've gotten over that now and when I am not referring to him as Papa, which is what my Curly calls him, I just call him Dad. In the last few years he really has filled the roll of a Dad for me often. I know that he loves me just the way I am, even when he doesn't agree with perhaps some of the things that are cooky about me. I never have to question whether or not he would be there for me, he treats me as though I had always been one of his children.

Now, about Chalupa...

He is one of the best Grandpa's that I have ever seen, I'm not just saying that to be nice either. My kids adore him! Curly has lit up when he enters the room since she was very small and I think that he was the first grandparent that she bonded with a lot. All she used to talk about was Papa Papa Papa. He was her main man...other than Dad of course. Smiles has followed in adoration of Papa and gives him some mighty big grins. (Of course, Smiles isn't near as stingy with those as Curly was.)

Here is Papa with Smiles when he was a month or two old. They were just hanging out together on the back porch with both their vices. Papa likes his beer and Smiles likes to "get his binky on".

That's always been one of my favorite pictures. I don't know why, but it is.

He is so great with Curly. He will go out with her and jump on the trampoline or swing with her. She loves that he isn't afraid to do the things she likes to do. He is selfless in their play and makes it all about her. We all know that is the way to a girl's heart. Make her feel like she is the center of your world. He has got it down when it comes to her.

Chalupa LOVES to go fishing. Last year when we went to Idaho to visit Gramps and GG, Papa went fishing quite a few times. The time of year was prime fishing time and he and Gramps both enjoy going out on the river to fish. Every time Curly would ask where Papa was, we told her he was fishing. After we came home and had been back for quite some time, she would still tell us that Papa was fishing if he wasn't home. In her world he doesn't work or do anything but fish. I'm sure he wishes he lived in that world...though he might like to throw in some golfing once in awhile.

When she was still in the early twos, Papa told her that she could go fishing when she was three. She remembered that FOREVER and she just got her pole this week. When the weather is nice she will get to go fishing with Papa.

The above picture is taken in the backyard at their house. Chalupa keeps a pretty awesome lawn most of the time and this was especially prime lawn time. My brother was getting married! Our wedding was in their backyard too and it was beautiful. It was a great wedding spot.

Now, Mom would say it wasn't fair if I didn't give you a quirk for him too. One silly thing about Chalupa is that he gets silly under certain circumstances. When he takes a certain prescribed sleep aid which shall remain nameless...he may have some very silly episodes. The family plays along and actually encourages craziness for their enjoyment. I can't say that I would not be participating if I were there. Some of the stories are pure hilarity. That's all I can say. Mom is free to share a story in the comments if she so desires. I cannot tell a story that I did not witness.

There are so many things that I could say about Chalupa, but I will end with one last thing he loves. He is a Harley man. Curly used to dig the motorcycle, but she is now afraid of it. So...you get an older picture.

He may be a man's man through every inch of his blood, but Chalupa has a soft heart and we sure do love him.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Those Pesky Emotions

We talked about my conviction with entertainment the last two days, now what about the others?


What do I mean there? God was talking to me about how I allow my emotions to rule my day and my attitude. I was thinking on the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Does my life show that the Spirit of God reigns in me? I have to be honest and say not much these days.

Do I think that I should work at improving these? No I do not.

"What?!?" you may be asking.

Well, let me explain that. You see, as I understand it, the fruit of the Spirit is a way of knowing if the Spirit of God is in control of you...if you are giving up and surrendering control of your life. These things are not things to strive for, rather they are signs that a life is surrendered. I do not think that any person is all of these things all of the time, but some people who live a surrendered life do exude many of these qualities on a regular basis due to the Spirit of God, not their own strength.

Thus, instead of striving for these things in vain, my job is to surrender more of me to the Holy Spirit...to God's will, not my own.

I know that's hard sometimes. That's why this tree is near barren right now. It goes so against all that I hear in many areas of my life, including other Christians. We need to make some time for ourselves. That's the message I hear all the time. But, can I tell you that I feel the closest to God and the most spiritually well when I die more to myself.

It's wonderful how that happens. I was having some trouble a few months back with being patient with my children. My heart was broken for my friend and I wanted so much to DO something where nothing could be done. My mind was not on my family as it should have been and I was distracted. I was overwhelmed with my two children.

At this moment, when I was struggling with "just two", God showed both Handsome and I more of His plan for us. Both at different times (and by golly, he was the one to bring it up!) that we should have a larger family. Let me just say, I was very sure that Smiles was the end of our childbearing experiences. I was just waiting to hit that one year mark with him so that we could send my fella in for a little snipy do. This "call" was certainly NOT what we were wanting to hear. (Perhaps it would be better to say that wasn't what I was wanting to hear.)

Now faced with a future of many children (don't ask me how many because that isn't something God has revealed, we just know that we are to be open and that He will be the one to tell us "when") I was dropping my jaw. What in the world are you asking of me? I am a failure as a mother most days (that wasn't true by the way, that was just how I was feeling). It was time to take a look at why I was having trouble controlling my feelings.

Do you know what I found when I looked at what was making me angry? What was making me frustrated and overwhelmed? What was causing me to be lazy?

It was when things weren't going my way. When my children weren't doing things the way I wanted them to. When my husband wasn't being what I thought he should be. When I wasn't performing the way I thought that I should. All selfish things. All about me.

So, I thought about it one afternoon as I fed Smiles and rocked him before nap. If this is going to be a time that I look back on and think to myself, "That was easy. What was my problem." Then perhaps I should make some changes so that I can enjoy this time with my kids. I should be enjoying life at every moment. I decided to die to self. It was actually quite easy. Once I made that choice in my head and said, "Lord, change my heart and give me the strength to die to myself, my desires, and my expectations." it just shifted things. I had a couple of weeks where things were just different in my mind. I had a different outlook.

Now, don't think I never get frustrated with my children anymore, because I do. The difference is that most days things are good. The days where I am at my wits end are very few and I don't reach that overwhelmed state very often at all.

The next step is to die to myself in more areas. What I want is the ruler far too often.

Wow, I guess this is going to be a week of pondering. I will stop here for today so that you can soak in that much if you like. Is this week too deep for you? I can hold off my scheduled posts for awhile if you just want some light stuff for a bit...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Conviction Continued...

So, I talked about entertainment somewhat. I told you about massive amounts of conviction about my blogging time, both writing and reading. It's definitely an obsession, as any blogger would tell you. So, what changes need to be made to make this time beneficial?

Okay, so I know that blogging isn't bad. It is perfectly permissible. But is it beneficial? You see, I know that many things are okay, but I want God's best for me, not just what is okay. I want all that fills my life to be a benefit to my eternity, not just something that is fun for today.

Am I telling you that I am going to quit blogging? No. I think that the Lord has blessed me through this avenue and actually I also think that He brought me to it (through a series of events that led to this blog) for my own benefit and growth. It's been something that is taking me toward a goal that He placed before me. The real issue is that I need to figure out how to balance it. How do I spend my time wisely?

Yesterday, well Monday (I've been scheduling here) I wrote that post from yesterday (I read those convicting posts that evening) and that morning had already been feeling the effects of this conviction. I decided not to turn the computer on until later in the day. This was so that my time was focused on the things that I needed to be doing. I had a very productive morning. Usually the first thing I do in the morning after feeding Smiles and getting diapers changed is to look at the e-mail and pull up the blogs. We don't want to get behind. This day was different.

I can say that something is my top priority all I want, but my actions will show the truth. If my family comes first, then they should be fully taken care of FIRST. So, for now one of the changes I am going to make is to leave the computer off until nap time. If it makes things better, I may just make it until bedtime because I know myself. I am weak. I have to protect me from myself.

So- no blogs, no Facebook, no IM (sorry Vicky, I know you will understand though), no e-mail until the other things are done. This will probably mean bedtime because I will most likely not get to spend time with God until naptime. That's just how my life goes, I'm not an early riser. I can blog after that.

This is hard for more than one reason. You see, I hate talking on the phone. I mean DESPISE it. There are three people that I will talk to on the phone for long periods of time and those three people are it. Anyone else I do not enjoy a phone conversation with.

Handsome is my first one. I could drink that man in all day long and still be thirsty for more. We are that icky kind of pair that want to spend all their time together. That's just what we like.

"Burger", that's my Mommy who you met last Friday, she is another. Who doesn't like to talk to their mother on the phone? I talk to her nearly everyday. She would like to slip off before I let her I think, but she is stuck with me. Your daughter is your daughter for all your life, your son is your son 'til he takes a wife. It's true.

Brie is the third. I don't know why, perhaps it's because I don't get to see her as much or something, but she is the other whose phone time I do not rush off from. She is just special I guess.

I'm a freak, I know! It's so weird. I am game for conversations in person and I love face to face time. I like e-mail and do it all the time. There is just something about that dad-gum phone. Vicky and I spend hours talking in person or on IM, but I hardly ever call her. Seriously, we IM about everything. We even IM to tell eachother when we are leaving to meet somewhere (or usually she is coming here because she is cool like that).

Back to the point. Sorry, you know me well enough now to realize that I like to get off topic easily. So, my life is going to see some trial of new ways, but what will it look like from this end? I would venture to say that I will probably skip out on weekend posts. It's easy to write a few when they come to my mind, so I just plan on writing them and then scheduling. If something isn't up for the day, that's okay.

Tomorrow I will continue on the rest of the topics that I discussed.

Happy Birthday Curly!

I decided for Curly's birthday that I would do a compilation of pictures over the last year. I was going to just do one from each month...but I am a photo freak. So, I hope you are in the mood to look =). It will lighten the mood of this deep week here at Pure Mommy Extract.

I do hope you enjoy.

Curly's Birthday last year, March 2008

April 2008

May 2008 Visiting with Gramps and GG in Idaho

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

Curly became a big sister at the end of July

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

Happy Birthday my special little three year old. I love you to pieces!