Manic Monday · reflections

When Sunday’s Rest is Over & Monday’s Reality is Settling In

They’re squabbling over episodes of Harry and the Dinosaurs and I’ve begged for just a few minutes. I didn’t get up early enough to write and despite drinking Sleepytime herbal tea before bed I spent a restless night alternately hacking and worrying.

Welcome to Monday.

The past several days have been like a month of Sundays. We’ve rested and recuperated and tried to stumble our way back to reality. I’ve sat and held Amelia while she slept and Gilmore Girls played in the background. Saturday morning we moved slow and curled around steaming cups of coffee and read magazines that have been piling up for a month.

I gave myself permission to escape via the Internet or Netflix or the glossy pages of Food & Wine. Thanks to friends who’ve been the hands and feet of Jesus in the form of folded laundry and hot food, there’s been few dishes and even fewer piles of dirty underwear.

You know a friend is true when they fold your underwear.

For days we’ve lived in this alternate reality where the world gets to revolve around test results and doctor schedules and the hours of the Children’s Hospital coffee shop. I didn’t try to write and I didn’t try to work because I’ve never been able to divide my life up into little segments and square each away to deal with another. I’ve always been a big tangled mess where every little thing bleeds into everything else.

Which is why when I rest, I stop. I halt whatever project I’m on and just retreat away into something mindless. Then Monday’s reality hits hard.

And thank God.

Because there is relief in the structure, the schedule, the normal. Even when it’s a new normal of monitoring progress and scheduling physical therapy and trying not to google every blessed worry. Because even though we are built to rest, we are also built to work and create and exercise.

We are built for the Mondays as well as the Sundays.

May your week be glorious, friends. May it be productive and encouraging and the very best kind of ordinary. Then, when it’s Sunday again, may you find the softest pillow and the quietest hour.

And something good on Netflix.

gus · Manic Monday · sisters

Why My Sisters Are Incredible {& Manic Monday Link}

There’s nearly a foot of snow on the ground, both grandmothers have moved into her house, and on Friday after nearly 12 hours of regular contractions, the midwife sent her home with no encouragement that baby would be arriving this weekend.
But they like to surprise us, don’t they?  In the midst of what has been an overwhelming, jam-packed, too-many-commitments-to-process kind of week, and only four days after we celebrated my own second child, my sister gave us this beautiful baby boy.  
He decided early Saturday morning that he was ready and she moved fairly quickly through labor, quickly enough that since she was birthing in a hospital that doesn’t give epidurals and was a bit afraid of the alternative, she made my mama so very proud by giving birth naturally.  Then, as if that wasn’t enough to be impressive, the stats came in: 9 lbs 13 oz, 24 and 3/4 inches.
Now that’s heroic.  So far he’s been referred to as hoss, whopper, and fatback.  Bless his heart.
He’s beautiful, huh?  If you want to donate funds so I can travel 1200 miles to squeeze his cheeks, let me know 🙂  and that’s a Get Dolled Up Boutique gown he’s sporting.  Personally, I think it’s cuter than the camo, but that’s just me.  I might be biased because it’s also been worn by this sweet bug.
Gus and Great-Granddaddy Deforrest, May 1, 2012
I know some other folks who wish they were able to journey north to hold great-grandbaby #9.  The past ten days or so, we have all been praying diligently for my grandfather’s recovery from what he calls “old age.”  He’s been in and out of two hospitals and says he’s not telling anyone anymore when he feels badly because we just take him to the hospital.
Ever since this began, my sisters and I who are local have been taking shifts to keep him company.  But none of the rest of us have pulled the load my sister Katy has.
Celebrated her birthday in Dec 2011, clearly I need to take some new pictures….

She’s pretty bossy and she makes the rest of us jump, but she gets the job done.  For the past two weeks, she’s put her own life on hold to be there for my grandparents so my father could continue to work and be home with our youngest sister, since Mama is helping with the new baby.  She stayed overnight at the hospital  and helped granddaddy terrorize the nurses; she’s cooked and cleaned and driven my grandmother to the grocery store because she’s out of cookies.  Last night I took my family over to visit the grands, and I’m sure today she’s reaping the benefits of that: Amelia had an accident in the bathroom and when I offered to mop, my grandmother said I was alright, Katy could do it.  Nice.

But seriously?  Between my own four kids and nearly four dollar a gallon gas, I can’t be there the way I would like.  I’m so grateful that my sister chose a new home that’s close enough for her to be available when needed, especially since, right now, that’s all the time.
On a Manic Monday note, I think I’ve figured out the cause of some of my stress.
We’re now post-consignment sale and this clutter has GOT TO GO. Hopefully it can be today’s naptime project.  For me, when my mind and heart and house are all cluttered up with ideas and projects and worries, life becomes manic.  
I hate that because it means I yell more and grumble lots and don’t appreciate the sweet moments.  Like what we were doing while my nephew was making his appearance….

40 degrees and steady rain call for indoor egg hunts and puppet shows with friends.  Come on spring, I’ve got three linen dresses and a jon-jon for Sunday and they won’t look good with overcoats!
How’s your Monday?

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http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post · Manic Monday

No More Manic Mondays {link up}

I originally started this post to be a real, true link-up.  But I confess: I’m struggling a bit.
with what I want this blog to be
with what I believe is really important
with what I really want to write about and be known for
with eliminating from this post all of the struggles of the past week because I’m becoming too concerned with creating something else

I’m struggling with the technicalities of blogging, how in the world do I create a button?  should I just pay someone to do all this for me?

But mostly, the past two hours (give or take the ups and downs to get milk and applesauce and change a diaper) I’ve spent working have not been fun.  They’ve been stressful.  They’ve been frustrating.  They’ve been work.  I didn’t create this space to be work.  I created it to be freeing, to be my voice, to be real.  Today it’s not being real.  So forget the link up.  If you want to tell me about your Monday, leave a comment and a link back to your site.  If you don’t blog, leave a comment anyway.  I know I don’t always respond back, but I read all my comments (here and on facebook) and treasure them all.

Here’s a bit of my Monday for you.  I’m off now to actually do the things that can make it less manic.

It’s raining. Again.  But I guess rainy Monday is better than rainy Saturday, right?  Plus keeping us inside should be helpful in my quest to cross “tag consignment clothes” off the never-ending to-do list.

Around here, Mondays have always been a bit manic.  Productive usually because I’m fresh from weekend extra rest and daddy help, but manic nonetheless.  But today I thought, what if I made an effort to change that thinking?  What if instead of rushing through the manic, I reveled in it?  At that point wouldn’t it cease to feel like a burden and instead become a blessing?  Maybe….

So welcome to my first-ever linky party: No More Manic Mondays!  Let’s build a community together and let Mondays become days we anticipate rather than days we agonize through. Write up a little post about your Monday plan to keep life simpler and link up below.  And, listen, I know sometimes we’re still going to have that day, so let’s write about that, too, and then you can take a deep breath and let it go.

where I spent a little time before I got this party started
working always on patience…

I discovered this morning that I am definitely a creature of habit.  Tucked in her carseat for the brief ride over to our early morning workout, Amelia lined out our day, “First we got to jazzercise, then we go to grocery store, then we go to bank.”  Well, if last week had been payday, she’d have been 100% correct, but as it is, today was just a bare bones grocery run and no sucker from the bank.

I think routines are good and the teacher in me knows how much kids thrive in routine, but the scattery-disorganized-overwhelmed mama in me struggles with forcing routine upon myself.  Because what inevitably happens is life and then I get all flustered and can’t figure out how to get everything done that I had planned.  But routines that grow naturally out of everyday habits suit me well, like Monday morning workouts followed by Ingles donuts and Starbucks.

The best thing I’ve done so far to keep Monday (and all the other days) from being less manic is menu plan.  This week is incredibly simple and tonight is leftovers from Sunday dinner.

This is Tuna Bake with Cheddar Cheese Biscuits from Jane over at Thy Hand Hath Provided.  Joshua gave me her cookbook for Valentine’s Day and we’re trying new things.  Verdict?  A great success with all the kids and even the daddy, who doesn’t love tuna.  I used 4 cans instead of the 2 called for and made my biscuits from scratch.  I also used homemade cream soup substitute and frozen peas and homemade baking mix…..otherwise it was exactly the same as hers 🙂

So tell me, what would make your Monday less manic? And if it’s already there, tell us all about that, too!

Next week I’ll work on a button…one thing at a time, folks.



cooking · http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post · Manic Monday

A Monday Menu {& a Sunday Dinner}

 Just so you know, this isn’t what we’re having for dinner tonight.  It sure was good when we had it last week, though.  Also, you should probably know I made it up.  Usually that turns out pretty well for me.  Joshua says I only ever use recipes for inspiration, which is true.  This one definitely was inspired by the recipe for Creamed Spinach in this.  I love this dish because it’s full of vegetables that kids normally won’t eat alone, but once you wrap something in a tortilla and put cheese on it, mine are begging for more.  Well, Annabelle does pick out the tomatoes.

Creamy Spinach and Beef Enchiladas
10-12 tortillas
2 lbs ground beef
1 tbsp taco seasoning (I use this homemade recipe)
1 c fresh spinach
1 tbsp butter
1 can evaporated milk
1 tbsp flour
1 can diced tomatoes w/pepper and onion
1 c shredded monterey jack cheese

In a large pan, brown the ground beef.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning while browning.  Drain and set aside.  In the same pan, saute spinach.  Set aside with beef.  Melt butter in the pan and whisk in flour until smooth.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until smooth on medium heat.  When mixture thickens, add back in the beef and spinach.  Stir well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper (or more taco seasoning) to taste.

In a casserole dish, pour out half the tomatoes and spread across the bottom of the dish.  Spoon beef mixture into tortillas, roll, and place seam side down in dish.  My dish will hold 6-8 rolled tortillas.  Extras I roll and place in a gallon freezer bag for later.  (I just thawed and cooked some last week and they froze really well.)  Top tortillas with remaining tomatoes and then sprinkle cheese on top.  Cover with foil and bake on 350 for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes more until bubbly.

Now how about this for dessert?  That’s my mama’s lemon pound cake.  She made it for our the first Payne-ful Sunday dinner of the year yesterday.  My siblings and I are trying to hang out more and have less drama. So instead we played a board game.

It went pretty well.

Gus is bonding with his Uncle Corey, who my girls still call Uncle Bubby.  Corey’s going to teach him how to survive in a house full of girls.  He should know how, after all.

Poor Gus.  They just try to keep him contained all the time.  Doesn’t work.

Yeah, that’s my onion bin.

It’s 6:37.  I’ve been working on this all day in brief moments that I can snatch between fussy baby, laundry, vacuuming, making butternut bisque over orzo with sausage (that’ll be next week’s Monday Menu post, I told you I’m always behind).  I think I’m done.

Enjoy!

31 Days to Embracing Motherhood · Manic Monday · marriage · motherhood

Dear Husband Who Said My Day Didn’t Sound Too Bad

Dear Husband Who Said My Day Didn’t Sound Too Bad,

I know you didn’t mean to scoff last night in the kitchen when I was sitting on the couch nursing our sick baby for the umpteenth time that day and telling you how busy my day was going to be tomorrow.  You didn’t really mean it when you said that it didn’t sound too bad.  I know you spend all day with people’s financial lives in your hands and help contemplate futures and make decisions that impact far beyond our little family circle, but still, surely you didn’t mean to imply that my day would be any less hectic.  
But just in case you did, I wanted you to know that so far it’s only 11:15 and we’ve done nothing that was on our original schedule.
Sure I got the big girls to school in the pouring rain despite a screaming baby, but Gus’s cough meant we skipped my morning workout though an hour later I still bundled him and sissy monster Millie into the car to go work a childcare shift that was cancelled by the time I got there.  In the meantime I had a tantrum with the kids’ healthcare provider which successfully got me a chat with a supervisor and the assurance that the girls would be getting coverage this month in time for me to take Madelynne for her 8 year check up.  Oh, and I called the pediatrician’s office and will be skipping Amelia’s nap to take Gus to make sure his cough isn’t RSV.  Amelia, by the way, is already on meltdown #3 and could really use that nap, but we’re leaving in a minute to help out with the birthday party that got moved from the park to a home since it’s still raining.  The bathrooms have been cleaned (yes, both of them!) and the ground beef is thawing for dinner.  There’s laundry in the wash (ours not theirs for once) and Gus has been fed again and is napping finally.  I paid for the aforementioned insurance and made a grocery list.  I took a shower, too, a major accomplishment when I’m home alone with a toddler who thinks her brother is a toy.
By the time you get back home, dinner will be started, spelling words will be reviewed, and somebody else will probably have cried.  I still have a Bible study to finish, a birthday to celebrate, a doctor to visit, and at some point, I thought I’d eat lunch.  
If the baby doesn’t wake up first.
How’s your day been?

From blog buttons
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A Manic (birthday) Monday

I haven’t had a manic Monday in ages.  
Especially since I quit working (for pay).
Mondays are usually mine and Amelia’s time to rest up from a busy weekend.
Not today.
Today Annabelle is six.
When you are six, you request doughnuts for your birthday breakfast and mommy makes cheese grits too because she knows you love them and it makes her feel less guilty about feeding you powdered sugar for breakfast.
When you are six, you are allowed to invite your ENTIRE kindergarten class to the park for birthday cake and celebrations.  
Except it rained and we had to move part of the party back to your house and your mommy tried really hard not to freak out about it since the house was NOT party ready.
But it was a bigger mess when the party was over so all’s well that end’s well.

But then the rain went away and the sun came back out and we jumped into cars and drove three miles to brave muddy conditions at the park.

When you are six, you pose a lot for pictures.
Actually, your two year old sister poses a lot too.
Maybe it’s because you’re girls.
And when she remembers it, your mom is obsessed with the camera.

When you are six, you are smart enough to stay off this when Daddy is pushing.

When you are six, mommy might forget the birthday candles, so you find your own.  
Tealights make perfect candles and are oh-so-special.
Happy Birthday, Baby Belle!
Thanks for filling my Monday with McDonald’s and cupcakes and laughter.
Christmas · cooking · Manic Monday

Managing the Mania

When I was working full-time at parenting one hundred middle schoolers in addition to my own three, I used to write these Manic Monday posts.

I thought those days were behind me when I became a stay-at-home mom.  Wrong, again.  Yesterday was straight from the manic files and I couldn’t even post about it because I collapsed, literally, into my bed at nine o’clock.  Of course, that meant I was wide awake by five to bring you this blogging goodness.

So what kept us so busy yesterday?

Well, it takes a lot of cookies to get a face like that.  Batches of peanut butter with kisses, which I’ve always called silver bells.  Yum….this recipe is from my Land of Cotton cookbook I posted about last week.

And Daddy’s favorite chocolate chip.  No fancy recipe here, ya’ll.  Just read the bag of Nestle (or Laura Lynn) morsels and don’t skimp.

Best if eaten warm from the oven and assisted by little elves.

I made two chicken pies for dinner, one for us and one to give.  I mailed Christmas cards.  I braved Ingles with all three.  Why is it the big ones are more work than the little ones?  We went to Jazzercise and Madelynne worked out with me.  Oh, and because it’s the first day of a vacation we went to the pediatrician because the beginning of a break is Annabelle’s favorite time to develop strep throat.

I know, she looks really sick doesn’t she?  We’re so used to this that I felt like super smart mama and caught it early.  A weak positive on the test and ten days of antibiotics.  And no, she didn’t contaminate my cookies.

How was your six days until Christmas Monday?