Sunday, August 29, 2010

So in Love...

I could just stare at her for hours. She is amazing, precious, adorable, wonderful; a pure delight. Her sparkling blue eyes captivate and her perfect smile full of life and wonder melt my heart into a puddle of mushy love. Her sweet baby cooing is music to me...soft and spectacular. I lay her in my lap facing upward, and cradle her in both arms...and we gaze and smile at one another; whispering soft sounds back and forth. She grips my aging hand with her delicate little fingers. I brush me cheek against her soft face...and tickle her neck with my kisses. Oh - there is nothing in the whole world like those sweet baby kisses! We snuggle and kiss and coo some more and she smiles as her eyelids grow heavy and begin to slowly fall. Soon she is still; her only movement is the rhythmic rise and fall of her tiny chest and all I hear is the comforting sound of her breathing.

And I sit here in awe.

This is the most beautiful creature I have ever seen. I am so in love.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dinner Lately...

J. and I have been educating ourselves a bit about food and nutrition.  This is a typical meal lately. 

Actually, it's really not far from our usual dinner...just a little more intentional.  Many of the veggies were grown by J. and the kids in our garden.  I, however, do not "grow" things [at least not yet]...I kill them.  Not intentionally - I have tried to keep plants alive...I just fail, miserably. 

My mother once gave me a plant she said was kill-proof.  "You cannot kill this plant", she explained emphatically.  It was not a command, it was a statement.  It was one of those rubbery plants that "supposedly" won't die even if you want it to.


Just kidding.  [No, I'm not. *see below*] She really did think I would be capable of providing the plant with adequate sunlight and water...and whatever else a plant may need that I am ignorant about...but in true Heather fashion, I managed to destroy the poor thing.

When I found out I was pregnant with our first child I went into what I'm sure was a hormone induced panic.  How could I possibly keep a little person alive?!  I wasn't even confident in my ability to care for myself, or my dog...let alone a BABY!  So, I did what any rational thinking person would do and rushed out to the store and purchased a tiny little plant for myself.  I was determined to keep it alive...I HAD to.  I'd dramatically concluded that if I couldn't keep the plant alive, my helpless offspring was doomed. 

I cried when finally one morning I acknowledge that the brown shriveled sprout was without any hope for revival. It took some time, but my dear husband eventually reassured me that my green thumb was not reliably indicative of my maternal instincts - he was confident that I would, in fact, be a much better mother than I had shown myself as a gardener. 

Short story long...J. does the gardening around here.

We've always tried to eat relatively healthy foods.  Fruits and vegetables are a part of our everyday diet...not much red meat...mostly whole grains.  But lately we've been learning quite a bit about those added ingredients I can't pronounce that are listed on almost anything in a box, bag or can.  Since we began actually reading the ingredients in the foods we eat, we've been amazed at how many of those "good" foods are really not so good after all.  

It's not rocket science, really.  We are better off if we eat the foods that God provided for us.  The food we modify, alter and "create" is not going to work as well for our bodies as the food he designed to function well with our system.  

Truth is, we are all actually enjoying the changes in our diet...for the most part.  My husband thought he would really kind of dislike it at first, but he's loved it.  The changes aren't terribly drastic.  Instead of Life or Cheerios with sugar and milk for breakfast, we've been more selective about the whole grain and sugar content of our cereal, substitute part plain almond milk for cow milk, add raisins, bananas, nuts and rolled oats on top, instead of granulated white sugar.  It's super yummy, and better for us.

Instead of snacking on chips or ice cream, we've been dipping whole wheat flat bread in hummus and cutting up fruit.  I've incorporated a couple new foods into the kids' diet.  I like to explain what is on their plate as I serve it to them. 

Tonight I introduced our meal as "rainbow food". I carefully pointed out the veggies that were from our garden. My son happily ate everything - with the exception of the tomatoes with the zucchini, which he ate, but announced that he hopes I don't cook the tomatoes anymore because cooked tomatoes are gross. My daughter ate all but a few bites...which is typical for her...but she did eat all the new foods. So, all in all, seems like everyone is pretty happy.

In all our studying, it seems like a delicate balance to implement a healthy diet. Not so much in the diet itself, but even just in the incorporation of it into our lives. As we take into consideration, affordability, availability...[edibility]...and at the same time keep a right perspective on it all.

What comes out of our mouths is more important than what goes into it. I think it is important for us to care for our bodies and use the resources that God has provided to us wisely...but I don't want to loose sight of those things that are of greater significance. What good is it if I carefully nourish my body, and fail to nourish my soul?

Anyways...before you think too highly of me...[or judge me too harshly depending on your perspective on food]...I will confess that after dinner I ate not one...but TWO slices of chocolate cake.  Yes, it was organic cake, with homemade frosting...but still, chocolaty sugary goodness for which I lack self-control. 

It was leftover from my daughter's birthday party...someone has to eat can't go to waste...I'm nursing...I need the calories, right?  Right?  [I have a longer list of "valid" arguments...I just don't want to exhaust them all at once...]

Note: [*for Meesh]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Number 9

In just a few days my husband and I will celebrate our 9th anniversary.  Nine could nine years have flown by so quickly?!

The most memorable part of my wedding to me was not the decorations, or the ceremony or a speech.  It was not who was or wasn't there...or being walked down the isle by my dad, or when my groom kissed me for the very first time ever.  What I really remember about our wedding day was the emotion I felt that day.  I have never felt so abundantly loved.  I remember walking away from that celebration feeling overwhelmed by the love so many people had showered on us.

Nine years ago I married my best friend; and together we have lived an adventure.  Together we have laughed and together we've wept.  Together we have witnessed the miracle of 3 new lives joining our own.  Together we have faced life and all of the uncertainty it hurls at us.  Together we have been blessed; together we have walked through difficult situations.  Together we have both rejoiced and agonized.  Together we have grown; older and wiser [and possibly heavier & wider too].  Together we have asked and wrestled with hard questions; many still unanswered.  Together we have learned to stand still, and to go.  Together we step out into each day unsure what lies ahead, but willing to place our feet on whatever path that God lays out before us to walk down.  I am so thankful the Lord has blessed my life with someone I love to share it with.

Although learning to share life with another person is trying for sure at times, I think that truly the most testing moments over these past years [certainly more than 9, we fell in love when I was a girlish 16 years old], have been the times we were not together, but apart.  Even as I think back, the hardships of our marriage and our relationship leading up to our marriage were most often ignited by separation; whether physical or emotional, whether intentional or circumstantial.  What God has joined together, let no man separate.  Life is so much better when there's a shoulder to cry on and an arm to pull me close, even if those tears are caused by the turmoil that can be experienced when we share life so intimately.  Mine is a beautiful life, and I am so thankful to be sharing it with my J.

Thank you, my love, for sharing these years with me; for standing beside me; for being my dearest friend. Even in those brief moments when I am uncertain whether I like you or not - I still love you. ;) Thank you for continuing to love lead share this life with me - your love has taught me and blessed me more than I likely even recognize, and certainly more than my simple words can express. Happy [almost] Anniversary, Love!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Treasures From Grandma

A few days ago, I was sitting in the living room with my children when I heard a loud "THUD" outside my front door.  I jumped up to see what it was.  As I peered out the window, I recognized the postal truck, then my eyes dropped to the was a huge package...from Grandma. 

She is so thoughtful.  She remembers every birthday, every holiday...every anniversary.  She remembers me.  And although she and I live 1, 374 miles apart [approximately]...I know her heart is with us. 

Grandma often makes us gifts. She crochets blankets, hats and scarves. She bakes us cookies. She used to cook us Hungarian meals and send them in the mail. That was not such a great gift...I love her stuffed cabbage...but not after 5 days of unrefrigerated storage and travel, and not leaking out all over everything else in the box. Thankfully, now we only get stuffed cabbage when we visit. 

This package was stuffed with lovingly crafted scarves and baby blankets. Several containers of cookies...and many other treasures; including a crystal ashtray...several lacey vintage nightgowns...a basket shaped like a duck and fancy soap from the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Opening up a gift from my Anyu is a little like yard sale-ing. There is always some surprise. You never know just what to expect. And I often wonder what the stories are behind the treasures she sends. Like the duck basket, which I've seen in her home for years - where did it come from? Or the lovely jewelry she sent...where did she wear it to, who was it from? Or the sets of utensils...who sat around her table and shared a meal with them?

I wonder these things, and wish sometimes that she were closer. I wish I knew her better. It's difficult to know someone well when your visits fall several years apart.  

Here are some of the treasures she sent in her box:

How fun is THAT?!

I love treasures from Grandma.  Next time, I will take pictures of the nighties and duck basket too...

But you know, the real treasure from Grandma is that she remembers me, she loves me...she is willing to spend $25.00 on postage just to send me a giant box of fun treasures for a special occasion. It's not so much the things she puts inside that I value...what is even more precious to me is the tender care and love I know she puts into each blanket she crochets, every cookie she cuts, every gift she selects from her closet or shelves to send me. I know she is sending me much more than things…she sends me her love…her memories…a little bit of herself. What a lovely gift.