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Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Days

I decided that I would go with a blog title that was in complete contrast to the way I was feeling today. At the end of the day, what can you do?

Maybe you remember a little story that occurred about a month ago involving me stalling in the middle of a Starbucks drive-thru? After said incident we bought a new battery, and the car was running great. We chalked it up to a faulty battery and went along with a spring in our step.

All was well until last night. As we left dinner that familiar stalling began. If only we could have made it home, but no that would be too easy. This time we stalled at a light on the corner of 360 and Green Oaks, not exactly an ideal spot. I feel my little tribute is on a roll. First it decides to come between morning commuters and their coffee. Now it is trying to come in front of commuters and their path home. He is not good at making friends on the road.

We were in luck to find another kind stranger who pushed us across the overpass to the safety of a parking lot.

I could already feel my nice little emergency fund draining. We knew there was no other choice but to get it to the shop. Of course it was the alternator. This car part was the winner of the free parking money located in my savings account. $720 later we are on the road again. I can't say I'm thrilled, but once again what can you do?

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm Addicted

Yes I'll go ahead and admit it I am becoming addicted to bread making. Why this is happening after seven years of homemaking it beyond me.

Perhaps I can trace it back to a fear of this little ingredient right here.

I have tried to make bread maybe twice in my life. My mom made it look so easy. Anytime a special occasion arose or we had company she would spend the day in the kitchen making yummy pies and bread. My grandmother was the same and I'm sure her mother taught her as well. I can just remember how intoxicating the smell of fresh baking bread was. I remember seeing my mom knead dough and thinking it must be as fun as playing with my play dough.

The sweet memories of fresh bread were quickly dashed early on in my marriage.My first few feeble attempts at making bread were unsuccessful. I believed that I must not know how to activate yeast correctly or something because it never seemed to rise correctly. Recently, after my homemade pizza dough turned out well, I decided to try my hand once again. After a little research I realized how bread making seems much more instinct driven as opposed to recipe driven. Of course some laws of baking still apply, but I have realized no two times will be exactly the same hence many recipes calling for a varying amount of flour or instructions to add flour until dough feels like elastic. It was time to really tap into those deep seeded homemaking instincts and feel my way through this.

For some reason last Thursday felt like the evening to give it a go. I can't explain why. It had been a very trying week at work. Maybe I just need to do something that made me feel closer to home. I hesitantly began gathering the ingredients to make one of my favorite breads, challah. I realized quickly this was going to be no quick, microwave culture experience. Perhaps our fast food culture has really taken us away from the roots of good food and perhaps the most important ingredient involved...time. Undaunted I pressed ahead. As the ingredients began to fall into place I became more enthused. It finally came to the kneading portion. I cannot explain how invigorating this was to me. I know many woman now use bread machines ,and I truly do not begrudge them. Honestly I cannot see why anyone would want to. I mean bread making is really a literal hands on experience to me. It's almost like a bond that woman have shared through time. If I am going to use a bread machine I would rather just go pick up a loaf of bread.

Sorry for the sidetrack, back to the bread. I was so excited after the first hour of rising to see my bread doing what it should be doing. That may sound silly, but it was a big deal to me. It finally came time to braid the challah. I was practically giddy to see how beautiful it turned out. I stayed up late just to make sure it rose once more and then it was time to cook. As I lay in bed waiting for the oven timer to go off that sweet smell came wafting through the house. A flood of childhood memories came back to me. What a wonderful moment.

As I pulled my bread out of the oven I could not contain the excitement. I had done it! There before me sat a loaf of bread that I had made by myself with my own two hands. It was perfect to me. I quickly snapped a few pictures which I promptly forgot to upload for this blog. I am now addicted to bread making. I have already surveyed my pantry to take stock of the necessary ingredients I must have on hand for future bread endeavors. I hope it is something I can pass along to Kaylie. Am I sounding a bit domesticated? Crystal of ten years ago would be quite perplexed at my current state of euphoria over breadmaking. A lot can change in ten years, and you know what? I don't mind a bit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Tiles of My Mosaic

Wow, life! I often feel the sense that these little everyday moments are small and insignificant. Of course I step back to behold that each little piece has fit into this incredible mosaic that is always growing with time. It's not that the picture's pieces have changed, but the perspective is always expanding.

Without further ado, let's jump right into the current work of art.

My kids just keep growing. I couldn't be a prouder mom. Can I tell you that after a long day of work in a fairly unkind world, there is nothing more heart warming than to come home to two children who smile uncontrollably at their first sight of me?
Here's a fairly current picture of the boy. Micah was starting to get a fairly shaggy hairdo. While it was adorable, his vision started to suffer.

Here is a beforeand here he enjoys perhaps a little cooler, less cumbersome style

I have never met a little boy more lovable and sweet. He is constantly giving us hugs and kisses at random moments in the day. What a gift he is to our family.

Here just might be the most beautiful girl in the entire world.

She is always astounding me with her knowledge and intelligent questions. She is never without something to say. Kaylie has a sensitive spirit, but a strong will. It is quite the combination, and I couldn't imagine her any other way.
She also loves to help out around the kitchen. Her specialty? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of course.What would life be without family? I can't even imagine.

We have steadily continued our daily routine. I have stayed busy as work has picked up for the first time in a long time. I do not know about the economy elsewhere, but Texas is picking up a little steam. The increased pace has only fanned the flames of my desire to be home with my kids. I am believing that this season will pass soon because as you can see who wouldn't want to be home with these to awesome kids?
Chris has also stayed persevering in his day job. With tax season soon behind things will start to pick up for him as well. We work hard knowing that with each debt that is gone we are steps closer to fulfilling the dreams God has put in our heart. Of course the daily act is more difficult, but it is a lot better when we have each other to come home to. That is as long as one of us does not become too grouchy. Of course that would never be me!

This summer will also mark our fourth year in this home. It is not exactly where I expected we would be four years later, but I count our blessings that we have escaped the mass foreclosure wave that swept the country in the last two years. It is my hope that we will be able to sell in the next year or so. This house does not leave much room for a family to grow.

That's right I said it. Not that I am making anything official, but I have actually had the thoughts cross my mind that maybe another little one might not be that bad sometime in the future. Ever since I had Micah the thought of more kids has not been at the forefront of my mind. Honestly I am quite happy with my boy and girl. It also can be a bit overwhelming as you go through those early stages and sleepless nights. I have found God has strange way of working in my heart. In the last month I actually believed I was pregnant. I've never been one to be abnormal so four pregnancy tests later I was still sure something was not right. At first I was upset. I thought of all the reasons why pregnancy was just not the right things at this moment. Fears of work, money, space, and time crept into my mind. Then my heart began to change. I know that no life is a mistake. It is God that gives life. Part of me began to finally realize that no matter what we believe we are never the one's with the ultimate say. God's plans are perfect. I am not saying that people should not be prepared when having children or be rash in decision making, but in the end God is in control. I was actually a little sad when it was finally confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was not pregnant. I am not rushing into anything because of this experience, but my heart is open. Children are a blessing from God. Yes even when they are screaming or wake you up at 2 a.m.

This blog has probably summed up enough for now. I have some challah bread waiting to go into the oven. Our family is not Jewish, but I believe strongly in God's command for rest once a week so I leave you with this. May you have a Shabbat Shalom tomorrow. May the peace of God be with you.