Reading: I'm nearing the end of "Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe," and am convinced I would be well served to read other books written by the co-authors of this one--the newly released book, "Longing for Paris" by Sarah Mae along with Sally Clarkson's "Own Your Life."
My biggest take away from "Desperate" has been to see the details of my life as unique and moreso, the "formula" needed to thrive as a wife and mother as unique as well. I have a tendency to look at the lives of others who I esteem or judge as thriving in their roles of wife and mother and try to imitate aspects of what I see them doing, thinking that doing so will make me thrive. Only, it doesn't work, and then I become frustrated, defeated, confused and can even despair.
What this book is helping me to see and embrace, with the help of the Holy Spirit, is that who I am, who my husband is, who each of my children are all add up to a unique situation here with a unique mixture of temperaments and needs, preferences, desires, goals and ways of achieving those goals.
It requires me to slow down long enough to observe MY family, to listen and pray, to try things that may seem counter intuitive, to release my expectations on how to parent and what the outcomes may be of such parenting, and to adjust routines, priorities, and expectations in order to achieve the right mix of activity, rest, productivity and consumption our family needs to thrive to the best of its ability.
Specifically, I am seeing increasingly how little I can actually give of my time, attention and resources to things and people outside my little family. When I say "little," I have to clarify that my idea of "little" is probably someone else's "a lot." By nature, I am an ambitious person who all too often wants to be the answer to all the problems, meet all the needs of all the people everywhere, world round. I want to participate in all the ministries and start some new ones. I want to read all the books, watch all the documentaries, sign all the petitions, march in all the crusades...You get the idea. I kind of can't do that and serve my family well.
I know. I shouldn't have to read a book and be 11 years into this mothering thing before I figured that out.
Nevertheless, there has been some grieving involved in this for me, but as I am cutting things out and saying no to opportunities, I am experiencing greater peace in my own heart, mind and soul which translates to a more peaceful home in general. This is good.
Eating: The kids were at something called "Action Camp" which is similar to VBS, only it's in the evening, and they are served dinner. Win for me on dinner prep. this week!
I made a 7 layer salad at the start of the week and ate that pretty much all week long. Lawrence and I were able to catch dinner out, sans kids, Monday evening with a gift card to Friday's. Yay for gift cards. But, I gotta say; I'm sick of Friday's.
We typically have family pizza/movie night on Friday night each week. This week, it happened on Saturday, however, as Action Camp had their own family night to end the week.
I have made a pizza twice now that LA and I have so enjoyed, he told me I should name it after he found out I made it up. So, here it is if you care to try it yourself.
Pizza Crust (I love the Earth's Pride brand I can buy at BJ's)
Jalapeno and Cilantro Monterey Jack Cheese (not something that is easy to find, but well worth it if you can find it!)
Cream Cheese or Greek Yogurt (your pick; both work well)
mozzarella cheese, shredded
I like to pre-bake the crust at 475 for a few minutes to allow it to get a bit crusty, not crisp, just crusty.
I mix the jalapeno/cilantro cheese with cream cheese or greek yogurt, equal parts, to make like a cheese 'paste.' This will be the "sauce" for your pizza.
You can pan fry or oven bake your bacon, whichever method you prefer. I used both regular bacon and turkey bacon for this, and both tasted great. So, do what is right for you.
I sauteed the red onion, peppers, zukes and shrooms, adding them to the saute pan in that order. The onions need a little more time to saute to the point of caramelizing. I also prefer my zukes and shrooms to not get too mushy. So, I throw them in later in the sauteing process.
To assemble pizza, spread the cheese 'paste' onto the crust. Pile on the sauteed veggies. Break up bacon pieces on top of veggies. Finally, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top to bind all that veggie/bacon goodness together. Yum!
It felt like a slower paced week for us.
The kids attended Action Camp in the evenings, though Tucker had to miss two days for running random, low grade fevers for a day and a half. They were so out of the blue with no other symptoms, but I have my own theory about this.
We were two days without the Pilot again this week which meant hitching a ride to musical practice on Monday and otherwise being home bound for Monday and Tuesday.
Plans I had for the boys to participate in a Minecraft Mania event at one of our local libraries on Tuesday were cancelled, and a swimming get together scheduled for Wednesday was also cancelled for a variety of reasons.
Tucker's fever prevented us from getting together with friends who wanted to drop in on Thursday and also a scheduled creek play day at our house with friends on Friday.
A lot of cancelled plans for the boys' "Week of Birthday," which is typically hugely disappointing for all of us, but I wonder if my kids, along with me, have been needing some down time, some space, quiet, rest, even boredom to get a grip on our relating with each other and seeing how much having no plans can afford us within our home and with each other.
The boys and I pulled out a game they received for Christmas and finally learned how to play, Settlers of Catan. We set the board up on Monday and played a little each day.
I played cards with Bella several times.
I was on top of my laundry, even managing to fold it and put it away all week long! I spoke with my sister, sister-in-law and mom on the phone, something I just do not make time to do typically. I read. We swam. I napped.
I even managed to log close to 14 miles this week in my running shoes. My goal has been 13.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the semi-secluded life this week, aspects of it anyway. With the increased focus and peace, however, came some unsettling temptations for me personally.
Having to cancel plans or just not have many in place this week, I realized that I often initiate with others for the fear that I will be forgotten otherwise.
Hard to admit that, but it's true.
God has definitely been putting His finger on that in my life lately--this fear of being forgotten or left out. I know I am not alone. FOMO is a "thing" I didn't create but apparently "suffer" from.
Thursday night, I attended a parenting course, called "Trust Based Parenting," LA and I are going through with some friends of ours. The sessions we watched and discussed this week were immediately applied and benefited from in our home and parenting.
Though not always easy to implement, they are simple changes really. Get down on eye level with your child. Give eye contact and request eye contact from your child. Use a soft tone of voice and gentle touches. It may not sound all that profound, but the affects have been profound!
Too often, I am barking orders from another room in the house. I am breaking up fights happening in the basement while I continue to cook in the kitchen. I am "listening" to my son tell me all about his Lego creation while I scroll my Instagram feed. This can work for some kids and even my kids some of the time. But, what I am communicating to my children through my body language is that they are not enough of a priority in that moment to go to them, to give them eye contact and my full attention and patience.
Today, I tried another way, this method of parenting, with one of my children who absolutely lost control of herself in the car ride home from church. She (I guess you can tell who I'm talking about, huh, using "she"?) screamed at the top of her lungs over and over and banged on the window because she missed seeing a roadside attraction we occasionally drive by on our way to and from church.
Totally inappropriate behavior for a 8.5 year old. Absolutely disproportionate response for the circumstance.
Typically, I may have yelled, or tried to yell over top of my daughter to tell her to NOT SCREAM at something like that. Or, I would let her know that she would be receiving some form of discipline at home for the way she just over reacted.
Today, I remained quiet and calm. I asked LA to pull the car over. When he did, I calmly unbuckled my seat belt, turned around in my seat to look directly at my daughter. She covered her mouth as though I was about to flick her for screaming, another thing I have sadly done in the past. In a calm tone of voice, I simply told her that I understood it was disappointing to not have seen "the lady" but that her screaming was not appropriate, and she was not demonstrating the self control she should for that circumstance.
She acknowledged and affirmed what I said.
I asked her to apologize to everyone in the car for screaming and ask for forgiveness for not having self control.
She did. And, that was that. Done.
No screaming match, no escalating behaviors from any of us. No further correction or punishment needed.
If I allow pride to reign in my heart, I can be embarrassed to admit that I am applying these kinds of good parenting procedures as a result of watching this course's videos when in reality so much of what I am doing is just obeying what God has told us to do all along...Love is PATIENT, KIND, GENTLE, NOT RUDE OR SELFISH. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Yeah, apparently that makes for good parenting, too.
Friday night, we all enjoyed the end of Action Camp Family Night at Christ Fellowship Church. Free Chic Fil-A dinner, Kona Ices, inflatable bouncy and water Slides, face painting and tug of war.
Saturday is typically a work day for us here at Montford. We mowed, weeded, had some intensive bathroom cleaning training and prepared our home to host LA's family today for our monthly Sunday Family lunch. We ended our work day with a dip at our friends' pool who so generously allow us use of their glorious pool and property. It is a little taste of Heaven at MistyGlen Farm, and we are always so blessed to spend some time there. Lucky for us, they are just five minutes' drive from our house.
Today, we celebrated the boys' 11th birthday with LA's family. I can really, hardly believe they are 11. I am loving, though, watching them grow independent, more responsible and articulate. We enjoyed one of their favorites, macaroni and cheese, along with meatball sandwiches, sauteed green beans, and black bean taco dip. For dessert, Judah had a chocolate ice cream cake, and Tucker savored one of his favorites, lemon meringue pie.
We will be working on Bella taking her new medication. It's a capsule, and she wasn't having it. We tried tonight very unsuccessfully. We are taking a step back and practicing with smaller pieces of candy. Hopefully, she'll be taking her new medicine like a champ this time next week.
Also on the health front, Judah will have a follow up with his eye surgeon.
I am looking forward to running a 5K at a local vineyard next Sunday night, Boordy Vineyard. Running and wine--two of my favorites together. Awesome!