oh, blog, how i’ve missed you!

I have missed blogging so much (among other things). My life is moving is warp speed, which I’m sure is the case for most of you. Since November, I’ve been Acting Director at the fitness facility where I work. It’s been challenging, both professionally and personally. The holidays were good and I tried to separate work from home life, but I did find myself thinking about work too much while at home.

My boys are growing up so quickly and they seem to change daily. The oldest will be 3 at the end of the month and the baby will be 6 months in a couple of weeks as well. They’ll be 18 before I can blink, I’m sure. I really am trying to enjoy every minute with them. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments that are trying when your two year old screams, “No, mommy!” when you try to tell him something to do, but thankfully those moments are fewer than the good ones.

I did manage to set some 2015 goals for myself a week or so ago. If I don’t get them down on paper and in my face this month, they aren’t going to happen. This is what I have on tap for me this year:

  • Spend time studying and applying what I learn about the Fruit of The Spirit
  • Take each aerobics class offered at our wellness facility in order to better help members and guests
  • Spend more quality time with my husband, kids, and extended family
  • Compete in one sprint and one international triathlon (I missed last year since I was pregnant)
  • Get back to meal planning and cooking
  • Reduce the sugar in my toddler’s diet
  • Expand our vegetable garden and can/freeze some produce at harvest

I looked back over my 2014 goals and I’m happy to report I met most of them! These are the ones I missed…

  • Help lead one person to Christ – No one came to me and said they were saved because of anything I said or did this year, but I hope I’ve witnessed more. I feel like I have been more comfortable in that over the past year.
  • Perform at least one pull up – I give up on that one. I don’t think I’ll ever do that.
  • Potty train our son – They say that happens on the kid’s own time. I have to add that back to the 2015 list because it has to happen this year or BUST!

What’s goals have you set for yourself this year? I hope to make it back to blog before February…at least by Groundhog Day!

recipes and halloween

I got on a kick this week and cooked a bit more than I have in a while. Baby Elam is finally starting to take some longer naps, plus I had Wednesday off which allowed me to cook a bit. Here are the recipes I used:

  • Wheat Beer Bread – I’ve always wanted to make bread, but it seems so daunting. This recipe was easy-peasy and I whipped it up in just about 5 minutes last night. I liked the bread, but my husband wasn’t much into it. I also baked fish my dad had caught in the river and then I sauted up kale in oil olive and threw in a can of drained black eyed peas. Good supper.
  • Apple Muffins – I follow the blog “100 Days of Real Food” and she posted a neat muffin recipe to try. I didn’t have walnuts and I only had 1/2 the syrup it called for, so I left out the nuts and did half syrup/half honey for the sweetener. Ezra gobbled his down and Mike (hubby) even liked them.
  • Baked ¬†Eggplant – A vegan man that is a member of the gym where I work brought me an eggplant earlier this week that I needed to use, so I made this dish for my mom and me. I added Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. I liked it but mom loved it and made it again at her house. I served it over raditorre pasta with marinara sauce.
  • Monkey Bread – This one I learned in middle school home economics and it just stuck. You take a can of biscuits and cut them into quarters, then roll in melted butter. After that, dip them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and bake at 350 for a few minutes. Ezra actually helped with this one and ate the raw dough (just a little). He’s such a picky eater that I let him just about anything that won’t make him sick! ūüôā It’s not the most healthy dish, but it’s a nice little treat from time to time. I need to find some wheat biscuit dough or make some from scratch.

Speaking of picky eaters, earlier this week I downloaded some neat docs and watched a short video by Tribe Wellness about picky eaters and how to remedy the issue. I learned some good tips and I encourage you to check it out if interested.

Another cool thing on the “100 Days of Real Food”¬†blog was alternatives to Halloween candy. My son is having a pre-school party for Halloween and I think I will take some non-candy treats for that. The teacher sent home a list of what each kid needs to bring…the list included cupcakes, cookies, chips, cheese puffs, and pizza. I am responsible for the chips and I think I will bring some fruit salad to show folks you can still have fun with good foods…

Well, let’s get ready for the weekend. I hope yours is filled with fun, good food, and some physical activity!

He’s talking

Not long ago, I blogged about how God still speaks and He’s speaking to me. I get a daily devotion via email and I also pull up biblegateway.com from time to time to read scripture…everything that I’m reading tells me “Read your Bible!” So, even though I’m not reading my Bible as nearly as much as I should, God is still talking to me. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that love?

My prayer life and Bible reading time are lacking and pretty much always have been. It’s easy to make excuses that I don’t have time with two kids, working, trying to cook good meals for our family, etc. But, those aren’t good reasons. What would it hurt to get up 15 minutes early to read some scripture? I bet I would feel better losing those 15 minutes of sleep to gain so much more from spending time with my Dad.

So, that’s my goal. Spend 15 minutes each day in the Word. I wonder what great things He will tell me…

i’m back

Holding my sweet baby Elam

Holding my sweet baby Elam

I’m back…back to work and hopefully back to blogging a bit. What have I been doing? Spending a lot of time holding a baby and chasing a 2 year old. But, I returned to work last week, so now I am back to being a lifeguard, personal trainer and hopefully group exercise instructor in October.

I’ve missed blogging and have had a million ideas of what I could blog about, but never could find the time to actually sit down and write it out. But now that I’m back to work, I can get my thoughts out during my breaks and such.

Baby is doing well and is already 7 weeks old, which is hard to believe. His brother likes him and is good to  him, so that makes my life easier. Having two small kids is chaotic and I thank God that I have a good husband to help me out.

I really enjoyed my break and bonding with my boys. I miss spending time with them already. My older son started preschool two days a week last week and that went well, thankfully. Here’s a shot my sister caught of him on Labor Day weekend playing with an old Halloween decoration we had in the yard…

Ezra and the skull

Ezra and the skull

Now, it’s time to get back into shape (just did a good 20 minute workout) and get back into a groove. And, get back into meal planning/cooking. I really miss eating well, so that’s one of my biggest goals. Here goes nothing!

God still speaks

IMG_7355

I picked up this new sign for my house a Wisteria’s Gifts in Fayetteville, WV on Friday when my husband and I spent the day ziplining for our 11th wedding anniversary (we had a really great time). When I read what it said, I just about cried it touched me so much. I just had to splurge and by the thing. It fits perfectly by the sliding glass door between the kitchen and dining room.

Recently, our preacher mentioned hearing the voice of God. I have to admit that I hear God talking to me on a regular basis. Just like with anything else, to hear something, you have to be listening for it. I’m not perfect and I don’t listen nearly well enough, but last week, I felt God leading me to go see our neighbors.

They are a ¬†young couple that lost their 24 week old fetus about two weeks ago. The mom had to deliver this still born baby, which they then named and buried. I just had a burden on my heart to go introduce myself (I hadn’t yet met them) and take them dinner or something. Well, before I got to it, God sent them to me.

Yesterday, I was at my in-laws house when the couple showed up bearing a gift for our 3 week old son…a baby outfit. Now, isn’t that the sweetest, most heart-breaking thing you’ve heard lately? Here they are, bringing a baby gift when they just lost their baby (this was the second still born, by the way).

The young lady got to hold our new baby and she seemed so happy to do so. We talked about her two miscarriages and I was getting ready to tell her things are going to be ok when she said, “I know God has a plan for me.” Now, isn’t that something? I did invite them both to church since she said they don’t have a home church at this point.

The Sunday School lesson for this upcoming week is “Victorious Faith: God will strengthen and restore me.” It points out that “When you’re down and out, cliches are the last thing you need. (Hang in there, Roll with the punches, etc.) This lesson really made me thing of this young couple. One of the verses of scripture is “Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

I’m so thankful to be so blessed, but I have to take time to stop and consider those around me who aren’t. Then, reach out to them.

a new normal

Little Elam is 2 weeks old today and our family is settling into a new normal. Ezra is a great big brother. Yesterday, he shared his building blocks and asked “Can I touch his leg?” It was very sweet. Thankfully, my husband has had 2 weeks off work and still has one more before it’s back to the daily grind. I am off until the week of Labor Day, thankfully. Physically, I feel almost back to my old self again and my stomach is quickly disappearing. I took a 20 minute walk yesterday for the first time since Elam arrived and it felt good. I hope to keep walking a few times a week and incorporate some light strength training as well. Need to get some of this jiggly tightened up!

My garden is producing an abundance of tomatoes and those sunflowers are even more gorgeous. I’m so glad I decided to have a garden and that it’s turned out so well. I have a few zucchini still coming out and there are some butternut squash ripening nicely. I found a watermelon the vine that’s about 2 inches around, so we’ll see if it turns into anything. I found a recipe for crock pot spaghetti sauce I’m going to try with all these tomatoes so they don’t go to waste.

I’m so thankful for the blessings the good Lord has given me. It’s like the song my son has learned to sing…

This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it

Rejoice and be glad today!

sonflowers

Yes, I know that it’s spelled “sunflowers”, but I wanted to incorporate my sons into it as well. I have the most beautiful sunflowers starting to bloom in my garden. At the same time, I have the two most wonderful sons a mother could ask for. Little Elam is now 6 days old, which is hard to believe. He’s the best baby – nurses and sleeps like a charm. He’s starting to wake up a little more each day and it’s nice to see his little eyes taking in the world. Here are some recent shots of my first week off from work on maternity leave…