Archived - My Reflection of Something
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My Sweet Boy...

Bubby's vocabulary has definitely taken off in the past couple months. He is constantly trying to figure out new words, and find ways to communicate with us. One of the things I love most about this is that I get to see his sweetness come through even more. He has always been a very happy, silly, smart and independent little boy. Sure, he likes to snuggle with me before bedtime, and has gotten better about giving kisses and hugs to his relatives, but he is just not a real clingy baby. So it warms my heart that he now says "Come on, mama" and pats the floor next to him because he wants me to be nearby (pretty much all the time actually!). Or he says "Kiss, mama" out of the blue. The past couple of days he did a couple of things that I just had to share, though.

First, we were watching Kipper (hands down his favorite show in the world) and it was an episode with a magic frog in the puddle at the end of the rainbow. Well, at one point an elephant drank the frog's puddle so he couldn't get home. He was very sad, and started to cry. Now Aiden will jokingly sign cry very dramatically because he knows it makes me and Matt laugh, but he has never seemed upset by crying. Well as he watched this poor sad frog, he turned around to me, lip quivering and face turning red, and let out a giant wail! He was so sad for that poor frog! I of course rushed in to show him everything would turn out okay, but I couldn't help but melt a bit at this little glimpse into a loving heart.

The other thing happened the next day as bubs was watching me work out. I may have lost my balance and fallen off my exercise ball (yes I know... graceful...) and Aiden asked me "Are you okay, mama?" Such a simple little thing that wouldn't ususally give someone a second thought, to me was another reminder that this little person we have been raising loves us and cares for us. He is growing into a boy who will find his own place in this world, and every day is learning about love in addition to so many other skills and ideas. I definitely want to encourage things like compassion and love, and this was just a little reminder that it is never too soon to start thinking about these things!

Maybe I Really Am Making Progress...

This pic is from his 2nd birthday :)
Grocery day. Always a day that I both love and dread. Love because shopping only once a week means a distinct lack of produce by the time Thursday rolls around. Dread because it is just me and the bubs, regardless of his mood that day, followed by hauling an endless stream of bags down our stairs. Sometimes I think back to when shopping was fun... there are definitely financial benefits to it being a huge pain now though. I shop way less.

Anyhow, this morning I buckled A into the cart, and we were off. He was in an okay mood until there was no one to give him a sticker. Then we found a new notebook for him and he was absolutely furious that I didn't have crayons. Big crocodile tears. This caught me off guard because he never cries in the store. His shopping antics are usually more giddy than grumpy. For a moment I actually considered just paying for what we had and leaving. I knew it had to get done, though, so I fished out a pen and let him go to town in the notebook, hoping no one cared that it was covered in scribbles before we paid for it.

As I shopped, he tired of the notebook and started grabbing stuff out of the car and building towers. We had to stop every few minutes for me to collect the flying items, but at least he was happy. One giant load of groceries later, we headed to the front of the store. I grabbed an empty cart on my way to the checkout, and parked it by the bagging spot. I started loading items onto the belt, catching the ones bubs tossed up there (he loves this part these days) and quickly moving them to the right spot. As I worked on this, I was oblivious to the two checkers watching me.

When I finally looked up, the girl checking me out said "You have got this down to a science!" I seriously wanted to laugh. A lot. At that moment I felt frazzled and exhausted, just praying we made it to the van without breaking the bank and hoping my sore arm muscles from lifting weights could handle today's haul. I flashed back to those crocodile tears, flying cans, and other various antics from this trip. And for a moment, I wanted to hug that sweet checker girl. Because most days I feel like a big old mess... just trying to make it through the day. It felt good to think that someone thought I was doing okay.

Of course now I am sitting at home, listening to Aiden make a mess of his lunch and making a mental list of the things I forgot on our shopping trip this morning. I am anxiously awaiting the silence of naptime, and that brief period of time when I can take a deep breath or two and be still. Being a mom is not an easy job, and aside from the occassional compliment froma stranger there is very little recognition. So I will revel in that simple remark during naptime today, and remind myself that overall my family is healthy and happy so I am obviously doing something right!

Yep, I knew this would happen...

So, the weather is changing and fall is in the air... and I miss blogging! I had a feeling this would happen! Is anyone else as influenced by weather as I am? Like, I can't bring myself to do anything too productive during the summer, but then in the past week I have been on an organizing bender and working nonstop on getting life put back in order. Of course living in Nebraska the weather changes in a moment... it has been hot again the past couple days but I am still feeling the fall fever. So anyhow, I definitely have started missing blogging. I am just not sure what to blog about these days. I feel like most of my faithful readers switched to keeping up with me on Instagram, but for those of you who are not IG addicts, here is what I have been up to real quick:

  • I am having fun providing a little more structure for bubs in the learning department. I am still a big believer in play-based learning, but I am trying to provide different things for him to explore each day. This means a lot of time on pinterest, and getting ideas from Amber (my go-to gal for toddler activities!). It is exciting how fast he learns, but it also wears me out trying to keep up sometimes!
  • On a similar note, I am currently reading Einstein Never Used Flashcards. I like this one even better than The Power of Play! Both are great, and reinforce my natural instincts to avoid any "formal" education at this age.
  • I am currently starting a heavy lifting program for my workouts. It is called The New Rules of Lifting for Women, and it is intense. I love it already, and looking ahead at what I will be doing by the end is crazy! My little sister has always been the strong one, so I told her at the end of this 6-month program we will have a little competition. Of course she is a firefighter, and really is freakishly strong, so she will probably win, but it is fun.
  • We are eating cleaner than ever. I can't remember how long it has been since I quit drinking diet soda, but it has been months and I still think that was an awesome change. We have pretty much eliminated artificial sweeteners, and I have convinced myself to like greek yogurt. That may sound funny, but seriously... that is a sign of real commitment, lol. Still working on replacing some processed foods (like rice-a-roni... we are addicted, lol) but my goal has never been perfection with this.
  • We are getting ready to start leading an in-home program for a group of High School students for church. The program is called Godparents. We will have the same group for the next 4 years (all through High School) and they will come to our house every Wed night for Bible study and fellowship. The volunteer director dropped off our manual the other day... the thing is HUGE! I love that they have so much put together for us, though! The program has been around since my Senior year in HS so it is well established but also open to us adding our own activities and studies. Just so excited about this!
  • Next month will also start 2-year-old Sunday School for bubs. We go with him and it is done family style. I can't wait! Then a little later in the month the women's Bible study will start back up on Saturday mornings, and we are doing the Beth Moore study on James. I was seriously jumping for joy when I heard that, lol. Excited!
  • Last but not least, I am leading a group for the fall session of Good Morning Girls, the online Bible study I do for my quiet time each day. I can't say enough about how much having a solid quiet time each day has changed my life. I am more centered, I have more confidence studying God's word, I feel like I have purpose and direction. Plus I just enjoy being quiet and still and spending that time with my Heavenly Father!

So anyways, obviously my blogging skills are beyond rusty, but it is good to just sit down and catch up a bit. Sometimes I don't realize how much I have going on until I sit down and write it out. It is so easy to feel like life is passing me by sometimes as a stay-at-home mom. Like I do the same thing every day... over and over and over. Cook, clean, change diapers, do laundry, listen to tantrums, repeat. When I take the time to really be present and focus on the fruits of my labor, though, I have a pretty fantastic job right now. I wouldn't trade this life for anything... no matter how tight money gets sometimes, or how exhausted I am, or how many people refer to me as "just a mom"... this is exactly where I want to be. Not only that, but this is exactly where God wants me to be, and of course He always knows best!

Summer Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf (and fair pics)

I mentioned this recipe on instagram the other day, and had a request to post it. Aiden totally gobbled this down, and he is still fairly picky so any recipe he approves of is a keeper! Now I was making this up as I went along so the spices are just what I had on hand and could be easily modified. Also, I honestly have no idea how long I cooked this, but if you have made meatloaf before I am sure you can wing it, lol. See why I am not a real food blogger? Because I am counting calories though I am 99% sure this list of ingredients is accurate, hehe.

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 tsp minced garlic
2 T worchestershire
1 T dried minced onion
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp herb garden mix
1 tsp parsley
1/4 c marinara sauce
1/4 c grated parmesan
1/4 c oats
1/4 c dry quinoa, cooked in 1/2 c water and cooled
1 egg

I made this in a big muffin tin, the one that makes 6 jumbo muffins, and each loaf was then 211 calories according to MFP, just in case you were curious. Matt ate 2 and then took one for lunch the next day, so both boys gave it the big thumbs up.

Now for some cuteness! We took Aiden to see the animals at our little county fair and he had a blast. He is absolutely in love with baby chicks, and was constantly asking to climb in the pens with the goats! I have a little video of him feeding the goats, but I am the worst about getting my videos uploaded! Maybe I will try to post it later though. Anyhow, here is Aiden's first fair and petting zoo experience: