Currently…

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I haven’t done one of these posts in a loooong time, and thought I’d update you on what’s going on currently around here…

Appreciating… My Bible Study girlfriends.  We all knew each other before our bible study started at the beginning of the summer, and were friends through preschool, but we have really gotten to know each other so much more, and on such a deeper level during this six week study.  We share our strengths and definitely our weaknesses, and we leave judgement at the door.  We have a standing weekly date, and most days we do work on the bible study, but a few of the days we have just needed to talk.  And to listen.  And to be whatever everyone needed each other to be.  I have shared more with these five women in the past five (six?) weeks than I have with most people in five years, and truly feel like I can be myself and be accepted because we are all just trying to do our best as moms, and as wives, and as women, and we just need each others support, because, dammit, life is just hard sometimes.  And we need each other.  God put these women in my life at just the right time, because I needed them.  I am so thankful for them and our time together every week, and the way we just pile around the coffee table, let our kids all run off in the playrooms and backyards, and sit and talk and share and grow together.

Reading… The Best Yes, with my girlfriends mentioned above!  The whole premise of the book is that we as women are so pressured to be so busy and to take on so much, that are schedules are overwhelmed and we are stressed out, and are not finding or discovering the true meaning and true path for our lives that God intends for us.  We miss his signs and can’t hear his voice because of all of the other things we are concentrating on and listening to.  We need to focus on the “Best Yeses” in our lives so that we can discover exactly what God wants us to do.  And WOW, how this has changed the way I look at my life and what I have done, and what I need to do.  A small example: A few weeks ago, I was feeling very disconnected from Brantley.  She wasn’t listening to me, I would get very frustrated, and she would too, and we couldn’t seem to agree on anything.  I was praying and praying to God, for Him to please help me get back on track with her.  I was praying for patience and for understanding, and a way for us to reconnect.  In the next few days, days when I was so busy with obligations and chores and this and that, Brantley would ask me, Mom, can I help cook dinner?  Mom, will you listen to me read this book?  Mom? Mom? MOM?  I was so “busy” with my other tasks that I would shut her down and tell her “in a minute” or “maybe later” or whatever.  Only when I started reading The Best Yes, did I understand that God was answering my prayers, and he was giving me the signs and the reconnection that I was praying for, but I was so caught up in what I thought was important, that I couldn’t hear him.  I didn’t see the signs.  I wasn’t paying attention to My Best Yes, my duties as a mother, because I was bogged down with other yeses that were just not as important.  That is only one example, and there are so many more “Aha!” moments all throughout the book.  So if you are overwhelmed, confused, lost on your path to what your true passion and true life that God intends for you, this book is a MUST READ.

Listening… To Brantley reading.  By the end of Kindergarten in May, Brantley was reading really, really well.  I was so proud of the progress that she had made through the year, and how much she enjoyed it!  And I wanted to make sure that she didn’t lose any of her vocabulary, or her tricks for sounding out words, or her enthusiasm!  So, we’ve been reading all summer long, and it’s magical.  Reading is really something we totally take for granted as adults; it’s just so natural by now.  But watching a child sound out words, and watching their little brains figure out the letters and symbols on paper is nothing short of amazing.  It has brought tears to my eyes on numerous occasions, as I listen to her, and witness her learning in action.  I can’t wait to watch and listen to her continue to improve, and hopefully further expand her love of reading.

Tasting… Lots of homemade treats!  A few items on our Summer Bucket List were to make some yummy thing in the kitchen all together.  So me and the kids have made homemade lemonade (a HUUUUGE hit, super easy and REALLY good) and homemade ice cream (we made Honey-Strawberry Ice Cream with berries we picked locally at the beginning of the summer…another homerun).  We had a Make-Your-Own- Pizza night, which was fun too.  The kids had their own little mini pizza crust, and I put the sauce on, and they topped it with as much cheese, pepperoni, and veggies as they wanted!  They loved it, and each of them ate their entire little pizza!  I made homemade fried okra for the first time a few nights ago (I used to just buy the frozen fried okra and would fry it on the stove), and it was amazing.  We are big fans of our local vegetable stand, and the fresh okra made the classic southern side dish some of the best I’ve ever had.  A few more things on the docket: Fried Green Tomatoes (maybe TONIGHT!), homemade granola bars (I have heard they are really easy to make and are so much cheaper and SO much better for you than store bought ones), and maybe even some homemade cheese!  The kids love working with me in the kitchen, and it allows me to work on my patience!  Haha!

Learning… Speaking of patience, haha, I am still trying to learn to be more patient.  I am not naturally a patient person.  But being a mom of three kids, with only 3.5 years between them all, patience is not only a virtue, it is a necessity.  I even use the little trick the girls learned in VBS- the 10 fingers trick.  Whenever I get frustrated or notice myself start to get hot (a tell-tale sign I am getting upset), or quick with my words, I hold out both hands and count out on each of my ten fingers, I-can-do-all-things-through-Christ-who-strengthens-me.  By the time I get through my ten fingers, I am supposed to be a bit more calm and can handle the situation a bit better.  Sometimes I have to do my ten fingers three or four times (haha), but the little trick seems to be working.  And Brantley does it too!  Seems impatience is hereditary. 🙂

Embracing… ALL THE GRAY HAIRS.  I noticed my first ones at 23, and as you can imagine, in the past ten years, they have multiplied tenfold.  I have thought over and over about coloring my hair, but I haven’t colored it since college, mainly because I like my natural hair color, dammit, and I don’t really want highlights.  Also, though, my hair grows super fast, and since I only go to get haircuts about three times a year, I would never ever be able to keep up with the regrowth!  so, for now, at least, I am embracing the gray.  And when the girls ask why I have white in my hair, I call it my glitter hair, which they love. 🙂  Brantley told me the other day that she wanted glitter hair!  All in good time, my dear. 🙂

Anticipating… Back to school routines!  Brantley starts first grade on August 3rd, so we are really on the homestretch, which is so hard to believe!  We have had such a nice summer with (slightly) lax bedtimes, and definitely lots of lazy mornings with my (relatively) late-sleeping crew.  But with school comes earlier bedtimes (hooray!) and earlier wake-up calls (boo!!!), but also a better routine than our relaxed summer schedule.  I feel like the kids thrive on a good routine, and I am much more productive.  We all like the structure, and I do think we area all ready for that.

Working… Less.  I took fewer orders this summer so that I could spend more time with the kids and with Scott, without sewing so much at night and spending so much time devoted to the business.  And honestly, it really has been nice.  I have never taken a break from orders since I started Goat & Lulu as it is now before Ben was born.  I was taking orders and back upstairs sewing the night after I got home from the hospital after Bennett was born!  And sewing nearly every single night for almost three years.  So yeah, it was time for a break!

Making… Lots of clothes for myself!  Since I have not been taking as many orders this summer, I have had more time on my hands to sew some thing for myself!  I have a little section of my closet where I hang all of my handmade garments, and the section is growing by the day!  Simple shorts, tunics, and dresses are the most fun, and I have been sewing through my collection of fabrics that I have been hoarding forever.  Since it’s been difficult to go out shopping for myself during the summer with all three kids in tow (NOT my idea of a good time), it’s fun to “go shopping” in my fabric closet and whip up a dress in an evening!

Watching… Naked and Afraid!!!  Does anyone else watch this show??!  Pretty much, a man and a woman are dropped in some remote wilderness location, totally naked, with one “Survival tool” a piece, while they are totally naked, and they have to survive for 21 days on their own.  Oh and they are TOTALLY NAKED.  We watched a few episodes the other night, and now we’re hooked.  It’s not even the fact that you are with a member of the opposite sex and you are both naked that would bother me so much, but the fact that you are outside, and they are not in comfortable circumstances…so who knows what is biting you where?!  I mean, YUCK!!  They have to find their own water and food, build their own shelter, and ll totally and completely exposed.  Both Scott and I decided we wouldn’t make it a week (though he said he thinks he’d make it longer than me, but I disagree; he cannot go a day without a shower, much less three weeks), but it is certainly amusing to watch.

Accepting… that our playroom is just never going to be regularly clean.  I can pick it up, vacuum, Windex the glass and wipe down all the furniture, get it looking spic and span, and 5 minutes later, all the toys have been dumped out, there’s marker all over the walls, granola bars smashed into the rugs, and every single princess dress and fireman costume strewn across the chairs.  I guess it’s not a bad thing.  It is a playroom, and my three little tornadoes certainly play with all their toys and everything in the playroom.  They are just not so great about picking up after themselves, and I don’t follow right behind them and pick it up for them, or even insist that they do.  Besides, I leave projects laid out all over my sewing room for days before I get back to them, finish them, and get them cleaned up and put away!  So, I guess they are learning by example, which I can’t really fault them for!  So, for the most part, it’s just the way things are right now.  Yes, I do clean it up every few days (when I finally can’t take it, or trip over Barbies trying to get to the back door to let the dogs out), but for the most part, I just accept that it’s just how it’s going to be for a while.  And like I said before, at least I know the kids are getting lots of good playtime in.  And maybe they are just in the middle of “play projects” that they just haven’t quite gotten put away yet. 🙂

Organizing… certainly not the playroom, ha!  I have been going through all the kids fall and winter things, dividing up what will go in their closets in the upcoming months, and what’s going to get SOLD!  I did pretty well in the spring, at the kids’ preschool consignment sale, selling lots of their old baby clothes, and I hope that I can sell some of their cold weather things too!  The process, though is pretty long and lengthy, going through all the bins in the basement, pulling everything out, organizing it, entering it and labeling it, but last season I made enough to cover my own purchases, and then some!  I’m hoping for the same results for the fall as well!

Planning… Back to school lunches and snacks.  I made Brantley’s lunch everyday last year, and plan on doing the same thing this year.  I have been making a pretty extensive list of different lunchbox additions so that I can keep her lunches fun and interesting (no cutout animals or picturesque sandwich scenes, just the basics here), and will be sharing my list in the next week or so!  Brantley told me last year that she didn’t like having the same thing everyday (she IS my daughter, and I DID get pretty lame by the end of the year), so I’m hoping that I can make all five lunches on either Sunday or Monday, have them ready in the fridge and pop them in her lunchbox each morning, so I’m not wracking my brain every morning before I have coffee and my mind actually starts working.  Here’s hoping my plan actually lasts more than two weeks into the school year!

Loving… All of these end-of-summer sales!  Especially for the kids, Children’s Place, Old Navy, Belk, and bunches of other retailers have had amazing sales on kids clothes and accessories this month.  And since Brantley, Gracie, and Ben seemed to have all grown a size (or two, in Ben’s case!) over the summer, a little discount on their back to school shopping is much appreciated!

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Buying… Lots of fresh summer vegetables.  Like I said above, we just love our local vegetable stand.  We like supporting the local farmers and eating locally grown produce anyway, because it just tastes so much better.  Over the weekend, we bought some steaks from the store, and a load of tomatoes, cucumbers and pole beans, and I made a tomato salad with cucumbers and onions (always a winner), and we braised the pole beans in chicken broth with bacon and onions, and WOW were they better than anything out of a can, EVER.  In fact, they reminded me so much of the green beans that my grandmother used to make from the beans in their garden.  She would can them every summer, and we would take jars and jars home everytime we would visit, and those were the only green beans I ever ate until she died when I was in high school.  I distinctly remember the first time I ever had canned green beans and thinking how horrible they were!  It’s worth the time and the effort put into using fresh vegetables for meals, and I am so thankful we have such a bountiful selection at our fingertips.

Finishing… Our Summer Bucket List!  We actually only have about 7 things left, and though we’ve done better this year than we have in the past, I think we’re going to fall a bit short.  A few of the trips I had planned fell through due to those nasty viruses that beat up on the kids, and some of the things just didn’t get done, but I think we had a summer full of lots of fun!!  Beach (twice!), lots of swimming, dance camp, movie nights, farmer’s market, yummy treats, library books, and so many other fun things.  We certainly made the most of our time together.

Daring… To back up the girls bedtime.  7:00 has been Brantley and Grayson’s bedtime for, well, ever.  But Brantley is certainly coming to be quite the little night owl (again, she is her mother’s daughter), and she and Grayson just play around in their room for hours (and sit on the stairs begging to come down) once we put them to bed.  So…I mentioned to Scott that (as much as it pains me), we probably ought to push their bedtime back a bit.  Notice, I am only the saying ‘the girls.’  Ben’s bedtime it staying right where it is, at 7:00 or 7:30.  Lord knows that little boy needs his rest after his full-throttle days, and he has always been easy to put down.  But the girls are a little older now, and I’m thinking an 8:30 bedtime won’t be too bad, and will give them a little time with us to wind down.  Plus plenty of good reading time for my little bookworm. 🙂

Whew!  So now, I think you’re pretty up to date with what’s currently going on in my world!

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