Love Story

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Second Grader!!

How is it already school time again? Where in the world did summer go? I suppose it could be that having twins has made the time fly by even more than normal. Either way, I cannot believe it is that time of year already.

This year I am going to have two kiddos in school but the Kindergartner doesn't start until next week so Nathan gets his own post. Fitting since the first day of school was also his birthday. He has never had a birthday that fell during the school year before so that made the day even more exciting in his eyes. Are we ready for the obligatory first day of school picture? It must be done! I made his sign using a free printable from Oh So Printable.
The last few years we have done a fun balloon surprise to start off the kids birthday (you can see the door waterfall from last year HERE) so we knew we wanted to come up with something again this year. My husband had a super fun idea to recreate our family using balloons. We had so much fun after the kids were in bed making a balloon head for each member of the family and staging them around the table. Here is what Nathan saw when he got home in the morning - the kids thought it was hilarious!
It's hard to see from far away but each balloon held a resemblance to someone in our house. My favorite was my husband's. Doesn't it look just like him?

We aren't doing parties for the bigger boys any more (don't worry they are still getting spoiled rotten with dinner at a restaurant of their choice along with other special one-on-one events) so I don't have any over the top themed stuff to share with you but I did make a card for my Angry Bird obsessed 7 year old. I thought it turned out pretty good for being free-hand! I really should see if they have an Angry Bird cartridge for the Cricut though.
I think I will say this for every birthday, but I can't believe we have a 7 year old. Time just seems to be flying by. Especially as I look at these tiny babies next to their big second grade brother....such a reminder of just how fast it goes.

Happy 7th Birthday Nathan and welcome to 2nd grade!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Not Your Mama's Chicken Salad

To be fair I suppose I have no idea what kind of chicken salad your mama makes. As a matter of fact, I couldn't even tell you what kind of chicken salad my own mama makes! But I am going to go ahead and assume (and yes, I do know what they say about people who assume thank you very much) that since I threw this together out of the randomness of what had in my kitchen and have never actually had this particular mix of salad, your mama probably wasn't serving this to you on a regular basis.

Enough mama talk, let's get around to making this salad shall we? I am going to give you the gist of what I did since I was just winging this and not measuring as I went. If you are someone who needs exact step by step instructions, this probably isn't the post for you. But don't be afraid to go crazy and give this a try nonetheless. I am sharing a lunch that turned out good for me simply as an inspiration, I promise you can make it work too!

You are going to need:
- Shredded chicken (I always buy chicken on sale and throw it in the crockpot at the beginning of the week so that I can have shredded chicken on hand - so many uses! For this salad I probably used about 2 cups)
- Mayonnaise and sour cream - probably 2 parts mayo to 1 part sour cream, make it as creamy or as dry as you like it
- 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
- 2 Tbsp each of pepitas and sunflower seeds
- Sea salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder and roasted red pepper flakes - season to your hearts desire
- A vehicle for your salad - I made tortillas (this recipe from The Happy Housewife is the one I used), you could use pitas, bagels, bread, get the idea.

Throw the above mentioned ingredients into a bowl and stir.
Lay out your vehicle of choice.
Spread some chicken salad on along with anything else you want with it (we put some shredded cheese on top, lettuce would have been good too if I would have had some on hand).
That's good stuff!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Motherhood is a curse

Yup, you read that right. I said motherhood is a curse. Shocked? Did you expect that sentence to end on a more positive note - like say, with a word like blessing? If you know me, you know that I believe that. That motherhood is a blessing. It is an amazing gift and one I am fortunate to have experienced 5 times over. And having experienced it I can also confidently say that my first statement is also accurate. Motherhood IS a curse. It also causes you to curse..but I digress.

I can give you some pretty solid reasons why I think this to be true but let's just go straight to the source. Genesis 3:16 says, "To the woman he said,"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.Your desire will be for your husband,and he will rule over you." God told us that our curse for disobeying Him by eating from the tree of knowledge would be pain during childbirth. And what is a result of childbirth? Children. And motherhood. While all great sources of joy they can also be great sources of pain. And the kicker is that God designed it that way. At first it's enough to make you shake your fist toward the heavens but when you stop and spend some time looking into it more, it makes sense and I am quickly reminded why God is God and I am not.

Let's look at a man's part of this curse - he is cursed with laboring the land. What was once supposed to be a haven, a place for man to rest and be fulfilled became a constant source of turmoil and back breaking work after Adam disobeyed God. They must work to eat, work to live, work to provide for their families. Men are to faithfully and obediently serve God through their work. In that same way, we as mothers are afflicted by bearing children. The misery of pregnancy, the threat of miscarriage, the agony of birth and all of the tribulations of child rearing. It's enough to make you wonder why we bother! We bother because it is one way to faithfully and obediently serve God.

I don't know about the rest of you but I know I have learned so much since having my children. It revealed things to me I couldn't have seen without first becoming a mother. It has given me so much insight on my own parents. My relationship with my kids has also given me a glimpse of who God is and how He feels about us. It made me look harder at myself and taught me so much about what I want in this life and what is truly important. It also points a big fat blinking light-up sign at all my insecurities and weaknesses. I have never felt so incompetent in my life! But through that weakness and insecurity I have been forced to lean not on my own understanding but to instead trust God in everything. To let Him come through for my children where I cannot. It's not easy (hence the pain part of it all!) to realize I am not ultimately in control, and that I don't have all the answers, that they aren't even mine to try to control in the first place.

It is hard work. I would say harder than laboring the land, but these kinds of discussions can start World War 3 (at least in our house) so I will keep from comparing the two. It requires dying to self in so many ways. Truly a curse! But within that curse is the opportunity for so much blessing. When we choose to live out motherhood in a way that glorifies God we not only receive His blessings in our own lives, but we have the opportunity to spill that over into our kids' lives as well. What an awesome responsibility! One that can easily become a chore if I don't remind myself of what it's really all about. Lately I have needed that reminder which is why I think God planted the seed for this post. Maybe someone reading this needed that reminder too. I think that one of the devil's greatest tools is isolation. He makes us feel as if we are the only one struggling in this particular way and this can leave you feeling lonely, ashamed, and unworthy. What a lie! If this is speaking to you, know that you aren't alone and that it isn't all for waste. There is a purpose in what you do and it is not supposed to be easy on our own. I encourage you to form relationships with other moms where you can be encouraged and supported on your journey. I also encourage you to give the burden over to God and let him carry it for you. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:29-30, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Motherhood is a curse but it is also a huge blessing and my prayer is that you can see the blessing in it today.
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