Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coffee Cata-List

A list spurred by thankfulness.
  1. Mary Beth. For spontaneously buying me a bag of Thomas Hammer coffee beans. Local. Freshly roasted. Deelish. You inspired this blog (hence the awesome title to this post).
  2. Northwest weather. I was made for it.
  3. Sons that love waking up and are all smiles in the morning. We need that in our family.
  4. Friendships that, in their own way, withstand time and distance. Particularly thinking of my high school clan: Stephanie, Lindsay and Norman. Miss you girls.
  5. The nearness of fall.
  6.   .....Always satisfying.
  7. The huge, awkward grocery cart with the plastic car attached to the front. Oliver's joy makes it worth it. And it's nice passing another parent who sacrificed their dignity for the same cause, I don't feel so ridiculous.
  8. Skype. Making it so you don't seem so far way.
  9. BBQ sandwich and blackberries to get me through the afternoon. I love the kitchen staff where I work. They're alway surprising us with food when we most need it. One thing this place is good at is hospitality.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Plum Worn Out

Too sleepy to finish his plum.

11 months...whaaat?

This is crazy. Benjamin is almost 1 year old! Life has moved so fast this last year I'm almost falling out of my chair. He's a strong walker and climber. Our predictions from the womb are holding true. We figured this boy would be a go-getter with lots of energy. He doesn't have much desire for learning words and reading books. There are too many other things to do! Like learn to climb up on couches and beds, bang on Dad's djembe, find a way to sneak into the bathroom and splash in the toilet (not a joke). I'm not saying he doesn't care about communicating. He LOVES to tell you what he thinks. You WILL hear his side of the story. You might not understand, but you'll know he cares. He is the loudest when he knows you aren't listening. He is probably going to be one of those tantrum-throwing 2-year-olds. So, I need to start working on showing him that I am listening and I do understand how it feels. It's tragic when you want to play with sharp, pointy pencils and no one will let you. Poor guy.

I'm wondering if Benjamin will be a good artist though. I handed him a crayon when Oliver and I were drawing pictures and instead of holding it in a fist like most babies do, he turns the crayon around and holds it like a paintbrush and start scribbling away. Made Shane and I exclaim proudly.

This last month Benjamin has started taking a liking to brushing his teeth. That took us by surprise. He sees  us doing it and wants to join in the fun. He's pretty good at it, but needs more than 2 teeth if he wants to spend 5 whole minutes scrubbing.

It sure is fun to see how children can look and act so differently. Makes me want another one just to see what else our genes can come up with! Haha. ...I'm not in any hurry though. I'm enjoying not having any baby fat. This isn't likely to last forever.

Cleaning House

Do you ever notice a change of seasons in your life and you don't know how it started or why it's happening so suddenly? That's what this last week has seemed like to me. Someone must be praying for us. No, we haven't bought a house, I haven't changed jobs, and there have been no family emergencies. Shane and I are seeing chaos in our house slowly being turned to order. It's exactly something I asked God for not more than three weeks ago. Everything was (and still is, actually) really messy both physically and internally for our family. Shane and I both realized we needed to make some big changes about ourselves and trusted that those changes would carry over into our household. It's hard to change old habits. It's hard to face junk in yourself and admit that you're hurting more than yourself, but your spouse and children with those habits.

Shane lead the way and started training for a triathlon. He's been swimming across lakes and running miles on a foot that was broken in four places a year and a half ago. It hurts, but not enough to make him stop. I'm amazed at his sudden motivation and diligence. I need to get in shape too but am at a serious loss at how to start and when on Earth I'll possibly find time. So I signed up to get an online personal health coach through one of my work benefits (I am blessed to have such a great job!). Baby steps, right? She has some good suggestions and I'm excited to try them.

We've been slowly removing processed sugars from our diet. We're not Nazis about it yet, but it's making a difference. Now I just need to be better about avoiding them at work (people just love to donate pastries and chocolate to this place). I did stop buying coffee creamers and now just use palm sugar and cream. And fruit replaced sugar on our cereal. Baby steps.

Last Saturday morning Shane spotted a HUGE wolf spider in our living room. It ran away at lightning speed and as Shane was searching in corners he noticed another spider. And another. And another. In a state of school-girl frenzy we tore our living room apart and ended up killing about 12 spiders, big and small in our living room. Talk about a motivator for cleaning every corner of the house! We ended up clearing the entire living room of furniture, books and decorations, swept and mopped the floors, dusted and separated out every item we really didn't need to give to thrift stores. The biggest accomplishment of all was finally removing our television. Bad habit: GONE. Thank you, vampire spider, for being the catalyst to life change. Our entryway is still crowded with some random misplaced items, so the chaos isn't gone. But we are suddenly motivated to tackle every room in the house the same way. This Saturday: kitchen and bedrooms. This is what I prayed for! Order in our house!

There have been other beautiful examples of answers to this prayer. Shane is designing his own method of teaching Oliver to draw letters in Adobe Illustrator, and it's really clicking for Oliver (with a little help from Goldfish snacks). Shane and I have taken some big steps in our relationship as well. We've also added some weekly one-on-one time to our calendar.

Something is happening. It's difficult right now because we're impatient to be out of our mess and living in a clean home and healthy lifestyle. But some things don't happen fast, especially if you're going to be thorough and do the job well.