reflections · summer · thankful Thursday

A Slower Time

There’s nothing like a few days camping in the woods with the rain to remind me to slow.

Slow down.  Set a different pace.  Our only clock was on the dashboard in the van, because when cell phones can only be recharged by a running vehicle and electricity is for those folks “not real camping” as my children say, a specific time ceases to matter.

We measured bedtime by exhaustion and dinner by hunger.  I fed Gus when he seemed hungry and my full chest agreed.  It rained for hours or maybe less, but its hard to count when raindrops on the tent fly pulse out a rhythm ideal for sleeping.

It was chaotic,
but slow.

It was work,
but there was also play.

We camped at Davidson River Campground in Brevard, NC.  It’s a place that ushers you into Mt. Pisgah National Forest and invites one to stay for days exploring land that once all belonged to George Vanderbilt and his Biltmore dynasty.

Could you imagine owning a waterfall?

Last year we swam at Looking Glass Falls and plunged into the frigid waters of Sliding Rock, but this year the rain kept us exploring in Asheville all day and drove us to a hearty breakfast at a local Cracker Barrel.  When it wasn’t raining we stayed in camp, swimming in the icy waters of the river and watching the girls jump off the rocks countless times.  We talked to strangers like they were old friends and we all delighted in our little explorers who paddled upriver to see what they could see.  They sailed back down on inner tubes and rafts, shrieking summer as the sun struggled to peek through the clouds.

We had to pack up way too soon and back home in the reality of missed calls and emails, answering machines and deadlines, I longed for the woods.

For the pace of slow.

Linking up with my friend Julia who gave me the perfect excuse to cheat my “no dairy for baby” policy and eat amazing pimento cheese.  Also linking with Kate Says Stuff.

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amelia · motherhood · savor · thankful Thursday

The End of the Beginning

My baby crawled into bed with me today.  The baby whose world is about to be completely different.  The baby who is about to learn how to truly share mommy and share toys and share space and share love.

She woke up from her nap and couldn’t find me.  I heard her pitter-patter feet on the hardwoods and then a moment later she was using her daddy’s side of the quilt to haul herself up beside me, whimpering a bit because she wasn’t quite awake and mommy hadn’t immediately been there.

Almost every afternoon I lift her from her crib turned toddler bed and buckle her into her carseat to fetch her sissies from school.  Almost every afternoon I’m right where she expects me to be.  And today when she finally discovered I was resting, she crawled up beside me, tucked her head under my chin and went back to sleep, all heavy limbs and soft breathing and swirly hair tickling my nose.

I love her so much.

I love her sisters, too, but she was different.  We expected her and anticipated her and savored her, sure she was the very last.

I cried the first time she walked and again when she finally nursed for the last time.  For the past few days (and probably for the few remaining) every time I rock her, I wonder if it’s the last time it’s just the two of us on these sleepy afternoons.

Today I held her close and marveled at how perfectly and wonderfully made she is and thanked God that He has taught me to appreciate these moments.

So I will be ready for the ones to come.

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Thankful and Counting

About this time last year, I finally cracked open 1000 Gifts and began a gratitude journal.  I haven’t been as faithful as I would aspire to be at writing down all those small moments of grace, but I know they are there.  And here lately when I wake up in the middle of the night because my legs are crampy or my side is asleep or this baby inside me is awake and letting me know it, my mind starts to wander.

Not in a good way.  Not in a let-me-reflect on my blessings kind of way.  More in a let-me-suddenly-worry-about-all-the-things-I-didn’t-already-worry-about-today kind of way.

So there are times when I rearrange the pillows or get up to take care of business or relocate to the couch so at least one person in my bed can get some sleep (I’m very considerate like that) and I have to force myself to calm down.  To be restful and thankful.  I make myself think of the good before the worry and sometimes in those quiet moments all those scriptures I used to know by heart come back to quiet my soul.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6

So I’m still counting the never ending bounty of good.

grocery shopping by myself

Easter egg hunts

chocolate ice cream sticky on Annabelle’s face

Amelia’s kisses

how tall Madelynne is now

serving church fellowship suppers

sandwiches for dinner

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cooking · thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday

I have decided I might have an obsession with food.  I’m not sure if this is a pregnancy thing.  I’d love to say it is, but truth be told, I was taking pics of food and reading cooking blogs and pinning Pinterest food groups before I knew Gus was on his way.  So I can only blame so much on him.  Some foodie items I’m especially thankful for this week are….

This Awesome and Incredible Pot Roast Recipe
I made this on Tuesday and we enjoyed it that night for dinner, on Wednesday as sandwiches, and tonight it’s making it’s final reappearance in a big pot of vegetable-beef stew.  Which is perfect since the temperature went below 50 today and I think I’m going to freeze.

Here’s ours complete with honey-butter steamed carrots, steamed green beans, Italian brown rice, and yeast rolls.

Sonic Sweet Tea with the Little Crunchy Ice

I’ve been trying to cut back on my consumption of the house wine of the South.  But after the incident on Tuesday, I just had to cave.  And I’m raising my girls right.  Annabelle was not happy that I ordered her a blue slush instead of a sweet tea.
Chocolate Chip Cookies 
I really want to make this cookie cake recipe, but Joshua only wants his normal cookies.  And he doesn’t like peanut butter unless it’s in a Reece’s cup, so that means that I would be eating the majority of this myself because I can’t feed all that sugar to my kids.  Alas, I think I’ll have to wait for an event to make this and make do with the Nestle Tollhouse recipe for cookies until then.  Which you know, I could just slather peanut butter on….
Can you tell I’ve decided to calm down about my pregnancy weight gain and eat in moderation?  
The result of which is I’ve hardly gained any this month.
But don’t worry, Baby Gus is doing just fine.  
Link up over here with Julia and be thankful for anything random today.

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joshua · thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday

Do you know how thankful I am for Julia?
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She gets to be at the top of this list because sometimes I need  a kick in rear to remember to be thankful for all I have been given.  And, Julia, next time you’re home I’ll have you over for from-scratch chicken pot pie.
The rest of the list…
Yesterday Joshua emptied the dishwasher before he left for work.  Then he did it again this morning.  Do you know how much more motivated I am to load the dishwasher before three in the afternoon if it’s been unloaded for me already?  Pretty motivated since it’s 8:56 and that chore is already out of the way.
This week I’m incredibly grateful for the new opportunity we’ve been given with Joshua’s job change.  He’ll be working much closer to home with more flexible hours which means we’ll get much more time as a family.  And that’s worth more than any salary.

Head on over to Black Tag Diaries and link up your Thankful Thursday post.