Titus 2:3-5

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pondering the little things

I like to sometimes sit quietly with a cup of coffee and my journal and stop to ponder the wonderful little things that make my life so sweet. These days those times don't seem to happen as often as I would like. Usually my time is spend with my sweet boys, or during nap time eating, showering and doing chores.

Just yesterday I heard some sad news about a family I love. They are going through a difficult crisis right now and my heart breaks for them. At the same time I felt the need to stop and ponder once more on the blessings I have been given. I know it is only by the grace of the Lord that I have the life I have. I have had my own dark times, and probably will again. Even now I have days that are tough, with a toddler and an infant both crying for me at the same time, while I go without sleep, food and even a shower to meet their needs.

Then this morning I watched Aiden as he stopped playing just to give his baby brother a hug. There is so much love shown in that tiny little gesture. It is so beautiful to see the smile spread across both their faces when the first see each other after naps. Aiden is becoming a lot more expressive of his emotions right now. Every day sees new depth come out. He has recently learned how to express excitement. How adorable to watch him raise his shoulders, clench his fists and tense his face when he gets excited. I love to hear him say Amen when we pray together. He even will ask to pray and for his daily bible time.

Seth is also finding his voice. He will squeal with excitement when he sees me. He giggles when his brother plays with him and when we all sing silly songs together. He will also sometime just squeal and yell just to hear his own voice. Listening to my baby boy is truly one of the sweetest sounds on earth.

A little thing that has really been blessing me recently is thanks to my wonderful, thoughtful husband. Rob has been getting up extra early to go to work so that he can get things done before the rest of his team arrives in the morning. With Seth still feeding through the night it has become rare for me to manage to get up with Rob. Yet most mornings when I do get up to start the day I am blessed with hot coffee ready and waiting for me. Rob will pour some of the coffee he has made into a thermos so that I can have my first cup of the day without having to actually brew the coffee. Its a little thing, but it blesses my heart knowing that he has been thinking of me when he is getting up so early to go out to work.

Now that I've squandered some of that precious nap time writing this I need to go and finish some chores and dinner preparation before either of the boys wake back up.

May your days be filled with the abundance of the little blessings too.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting Organized

After getting unpacked from our move I have started trying to get more organized. With two under two on different nap schedules I often have days where the boys tag team their naps. This leaves me with very little time when they are not needing my attention to do chores. So I have challenged myself to get smarter about chores. I really want to protect the evening and weekend hours when Rob is home to keep them chore free (or at least to only have minimal chores.)

So far I have made progress in the following areas:

Laundry

Instead of my old routine of laundry once a week I now try to do one load every day, with two loads on the three days a week I do diapers/nappies. It seems easier now to deal with a small amount of laundry as part of the daily routine now that I don't have the luxury of time to devote a whole day to the task.

Cleaning

I've made myself a monthly spreadsheet of every single cleaning task. I print it out once a month and put it on the fridge. When something gets cleaned I tick the box for that day & week. It has made it easier to keep a track of what has been done and what still needs to be done. It also gives me accountability as Rob can see at a glance how much has been done on any given day. I also set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes a couple of times a day when just Aiden is awake. I clean for those 10 minutes then do something with him as a reward for being patient for that time. This is how I get everyday things like emptying the dishwasher and sweeping the kitchen floor done. It also reminds me to give Aiden some undivided attention too.

Meals

We still use our 8 week menu plan. However we have realized that there are occasionally days where dinner isn't going to be ready on time. So now I also have extra sides (like mac'n'cheese) prepared and in the freezer for those "meltdown" days. On those days where getting into the kitchen, or putting the baby down, has been impossible I'll take out a side dish and call Rob to pick up some cooked chicken on his way home from work. That way we still get a healthy meal on time, and we don't spend as much money as we would if we just got regular take out food.

We have also made a commitment to not buy bread products this year. Just before Christmas I invested in the book "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a day" and it has spurred me back to making bread. I hope to write a review of this book as soon as time allows, so I won't elaborate here. I'll just say since using this technique I've had no excuse not to have fresh bread whenever we need it.

Another new dimension to our food routines is having "easy to eat right now" food available for during the day. I am trying to keep to a minimum how much time I spend in the kitchen when Rob isn't home. At the same time now that Aiden can tell me when he is hungry he is asking to eat about once an hour (he is a grazer like his Daddy.) When Aiden asks for food he doesn't want to wait 5 or 10 minutes while I make something. So I am trying to keep a good stock of food already prepared ahead of time. These days our fridge is generally full with tubs of such foods. We like things like potato salad, tuna salad, cheese sticks, sliced roast beef (roasted and sliced at home,) boiled eggs, fruit and our one indulgence is animal crackers (which we call cookies here.)

Well that is about all I've got time to share for today, as Aiden is calling for his Mama.

What things have you found that help you stay more organized?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

End of the silence

I can hardly believe how long I've been away from blogging. These last several months have been busy.

It took me a good two months to recover physically from birthing Seth. This recovery came just in time for us to move. We had decided earlier in the year that once our lease was up at the apartment we would move closer to where Rob works. The actual move came at the end of October. Rob went from commuting 45 minutes each way to less than 10 minutes. This would free up an extra hour a day for him to spend with the children. I certainly don't recommend trying to pack up a home while still recovering from childbirth, but it did give us time to settle in before my parents arrived for a visit in November.

Less than two weeks after our move we welcomed my parents, over from Scotland to meet their youngest grandchild. It was a delightful time watching my parents enjoy and get to know both of my boys. Aiden had been less than a week old when they last held him in their arms. Aiden has a whole new understanding of who his Gran and Papa are. He has been talking to them by video chat on Skype for over a year, but now he got to see them in the flesh. He is much more responsive to them now during our weekly Skype chat. As always the visit was over too quickly and my parents returned to Scotland on Thanksgiving Day.

All too soon it was on to preparations for Christmas. Rob and I were blessed to have the opportunity to complete our Christmas shopping while my parents were visiting. A couple of times we were able to go out by ourselves after the boys had both gone to bed. It was not only a very rare treat for us as a couple, but it also allowed us to complete gift shopping much more expediently than would otherwise have happened. I usually make a large selection of cookies/biscuits for the festive season. This year the selection was somewhat slimmed down mostly due to trying to juggle the needs of both boys with finding time to get into the kitchen.

Christmas Day was our normal low key celebration. We had a Skype video chat with my family in the morning. We also choose to only unwrap a few gifts in the morning. We didn't want Aiden to get overwhelmed by all the new things, so we staggered them through the day. Rob and I had our annual indulgence of Malawian coffee, and got to enjoy a cup together when we managed to have both boys napping at the same time. Later in the day Papaw & Gigi arrived for a few days. We unwrapped more gifts after nap time then feasted with a four course dinner that included our now traditional roast lamb. Again it was a delight to watch the boys interact with their grandparents.

Now that it is January time is again flying by quicker than I would like. We have finally unpacked, but some of it still needs to be reorganized. Seth is slowly getting himself into a sleep/awake pattern. More predictability will certainly make planning our days easier. Aiden is beginning to show some signs that potty training is drawing closer. Rob has been trying to work less overtime, but so far has been working longer hours rather than shorter. Hopefully February will see our life settle down a little, and my blogging becoming more frequent again.

I hope to share more details of some of our busy months with you in the coming days. Meanwhile here are a few pictures of the boys to enjoy.


Aiden just after we moved in October

Seth, dressed for his baby dedication in November


Aiden sharing a hug and sleepy bear with "Bubba" Seth


Seth's first Christmas


Story time with Daddy


Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Baby Mordecai

Our blessed first baby, Mordecai, gone to heaven on July 23, 2009 at 13 weeks gestation.

You will never be forgotten by us.