Friday, April 18, 2014

I'm Still Here!

I feel like I should write a quick post to let you all know that I have not abandoned my little blog. I've been taking some down time to really focus on taking care of my family and myself. I promise I'll fill you all in soon, but for the next couple of weeks things will probably remain a little sparse around here.

I think I'll take this opportunity to open my little blog up to guest posts. So, if you like to write, and have something to say about motherhood, womanhood, faith, homemaking (I think you get the idea), and would like to contribute a piece to The Smudge Curve, shoot me an email (thesmudgecurve@gmail.com), and we can figure something out!

With that said, I'll be back on probably the first or second week of May. I already have some posts written for then, and I look forward to sharing them with you!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Peanut Butter Smoothy


I've recently begun working with a naturopath to try and resolve some health issues. Part of our plan has been an overhaul of my diet. Just like when I went gluten-free, I am in the process of relearning how to cook. Anyone have any grain-free recipes they'd like to send my way?

The toughest part has been dealing with my massive sweet tooth. Although sweets aren't a no-no forever (although GMO sugar probably will be), I'm supposed to avoid them for now. And man oh man, was that first week coming off of sugar tough! I had terrible migraines, was incredibly tired, and just felt icky. I've been on my new diet for over a month now, and I've seen incredible progress in my health. But I still want some ice cream! 

The neat thing about avoiding sugar is that foods that didn't taste very sweet before, taste really sweet now. I've also found that eating protein when I crave sugar helps to reduce the cravings. Here has been my solution:

(As a side note, as I understand it, bananas have a pretty high sugar content, so even for me this is an occasional "sweet" fix.)

Peanut Butter Smoothy
Ingredients:
All of this is to taste, so I'll leave out measurements.
  • Peanut butter
  • Plain yogurt
  • Banana 
  • Vanilla extract

Directions:
Combine all ingredients into a blender, and.... blend (stating the obvious, I know). 

This drink has enough protein in it to keep me full for several hours. It makes for a tasty snack or part of a meal (I like having it with breakfast).

Monday, March 31, 2014

How Many Kids Do You Want?


I was in a pretty tough place in my mind when I wrote this post back in January. I've sat on it for a while for a few reasons, but one of them was because I wasn't sure if these feelings were appropriate to share. I post this today in the hopes of being able to identify with and encourage other women who may be in similar situations.  

Five years ago when I was a newlywed, I had grand plans for how our family was going to grow. My husband and I would start trying to have babies when I was 24, we'd have three or four kids, and I'd be done having children by the time I was 30. Ambitious, I know.

Before we started trying to get pregnant, I went in for a routine doctor visit and discussed conception and pregnancy with my doctor. Since my cycles were far from regular my doctor suspected PCOS. We did some testing, but everything came back "normal." I was told to lose some weight, and if I wasn't pregnant in six months I could come back and discuss my options.

God granted me the first part of my ambitious dream. After three months of "trying," I was pregnant with our son. I was 25 when he was born.

When our son turned one we started trying for baby number two. That was over a year ago. What I was expecting to happen the first time around is happening now. And since my son is about the age where people tend to start having additional kiddos, I'm being asked "How many kids do you want?" (or it's close relative "When do you want more kids?"), much more frequently now. 

I've figured out some pretty snarky replies ("We're having fun practicing!"), but I usually respond with some variation of "How ever many God wants us to have," or "Whenever God wants to give us more." It's an easy way to shrug those questions off. But, if I think about it too hard, those questions can find their way under my skin.

I feel like there are hidden assumptions with the question "how many kids do you want?" Assumptions like I don't want more kids or that I'm trying to space them out perfectly. Sometimes those questions leave me wanting to defend myself in some way, or explain that it hasn't been for a lack of trying that we aren't expecting number two yet. I've heard the "quiver full" arguments, and while I really do believe children are a blessing, I'm usually left wondering if people forget that it's only God who can ultimately open the womb.

When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb... (Genesis 29:31).

Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb... (Isaiah 44:2).

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:3-4). 

I can't give you a list of suggestions on how to deal with these types of situations because I'm still figuring it out myself. I've had just a taste of infertility, but I still know that those questions are uncomfortable and can be hurtful.  Even though it sounds cliche, it's nonetheless true -- you are not alone and God truly is in control.

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure...' (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it? (Lamentations 3:37)

There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the LORD'S counsel -- that will stand (Proverbs 19:21).

And so I cling to His sovereignty, because regardless of what I may do to try and increase my fertility, in the end it's up to Him if I have more children or not. And either way, even if I don't like it, He knows what He's doing in my life better than I do. 

... And that's something I have to remind myself whenever I'm asked how many children I want.  

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Child Lives Here

Before my son was born I remember living in our third-story apartment and getting frustrated with the neighbors below us. They had two young children, one who's mission seemed to be to bang on their backdoor at all hours of the day (and sometimes night). I remember thinking that I will never let my children behave that way. I also had very high standards for housekeeping back then. Every Saturday I would scrub the apartment from "head to toe." Needless to say, after the baby came both of those things didn't hold up.

Since moving into our house I've been guilty of occasionally letting my son bang on the backdoor, and I certainly don't spend one whole day each week deep cleaning. I've come up with a more efficient chore system so I can spend more time teaching my son to be... gentle with the house. ;-)

As I was cleaning up after dinner tonight I noticed (not for the first time, I assure you) the dents in our dining table where our son usually sits (most were put there when my son was just beginning to eat solid foods and he wasn't very coordinated with his utensils). Those dents reminded me of how my motherhood and homemaking expectations have changed since actually becoming a mother.

Now, that's not to say that our house is a mess (because I'm still a neat-freak at heart), or that we just allow our son to beat up on furniture, but expectations are definitely different now that we have a child in our family. And we wouldn't want it any other way. :-)

So, welcome to our home -- where real life happens (complete with unwashed dishes to scuffs on the furniture). Let me show you around a bit:


How did your expectations change after actually having children?

As of 3/26/14, this post is shared at Babies and Beyond at The Purposeful Mom and Modest Monday at The Modest Mom

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Haircut Vacations

When I was pregnant with my son, my husband and I spent a lot of time with another couple who have four children. During one of our get-togethers, the other wife and I ran to Target to get a few things.

I think I was more intrigued by watching my friend than the actual shopping. She looked like she was in a daze -- not sure what to do with herself now that she didn't have her kids with her. She even said "none of these people know that I have four children!" The only thing I could think to compare it to at the time was like the beginning of summer vacation... where you don't actually have homework, but you feel like you need to be working on it.

Surely she was crazy. I mean, come on, it was Target.

But then... a few days ago I was able to scoot out of the house while my husband was home and get my hair cut. As I sat in the waiting area flipping through the hairstyle books, I realized that I finally understood how my friend felt at Target. While I love my son to pieces and am incredibly thankful to be able to stay home with him (I wouldn't have it any other way!), it almost felt foreign to sit quietly and look through a book. I'm sure the lady who cut my hair thought I was strange, because aside from responding to a few comments about being a redhead (it was St. Patrick's Day after all), I hardly talked. Not because I wanted to be rude, but because it was a treat to just sit there with only the quiet music playing in the background.

And then of course I hurried home because whenever I go somewhere by myself I miss my family terribly. My husband and son both heartily approved of my new haircut, and I felt a little more refreshed to tackle the rest of the day.


As of 3/26/14, this post is linked to Babies and Beyond at The Purposeful Mom and Modest Monday at The Modest Mom

Friday, March 14, 2014

More Indoor Activities

As I keep coming up with ways to keep my toddler occupied while the weather is less than conducive to playing outside, I thought I'd share them with you. Call this a kind of "ongoing series," if you will.

Water Colors
I think this one requires a little more dexterity than my two-year-old currently has, but it was still fun to try. With some help we ended up with a hanging-on-the-wall worthy piece of artwork. :-)


Finger Paint
I don't know why I waited so long to try this one, because it was a huge hit. We order diapers online and they come in a large box -- perfect for containing messy crafts. So I put my son in his painting attire, put a piece of paper in the box and a few drops of paint, and let him get creative. After the paper was finished he continued having fun by painting the inside of the box.


Look at Photo Albums
I was doing some reorganizing that involved relocating some family photo albums, so I slowed down with my project to look through them with my son. I was actually very surprised at how long this kept his attention! He especially enjoyed looking at our wedding pictures and pointing out Daddy and my brother.

Flashlights
Sometimes when we have a few extra minutes to burn at night after all the toys are put away (but before bedtime), we'll bust out our flashlights and have some fun in the dark. We particularly enjoy shining the spotlight on different objects around the house and making shadows with our hands. Of course, never shine the flashlight into someone's face (or look directly into the light), and make sure your play area is safe for walking around when it's hard to see.

Coloring
Coloring doesn't seem to be my son's favorite activity right now, but that doesn't stop me from trying! I like to tape pieces of scrap paper or pages from a coloring book to the floor to give him a large canvas.


"Can You Touch...?"
We came up with this game one night while I was getting my son ready for bed. I would say something like, "Can you touch... the floor?" and my son would touch the floor. I would continue asking the question but naming a different object in the room each time (one that was safe for him to touch, of course). He loved it, and it helps reinforce his expanding vocabulary.

If you have any indoor activities to add to this list, please share!

As of 3/26/14, this post is linked to Babies and Beyond at The Purposeful Mom and Modest Monday at The Modest Mom

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Piggy Bank Tradition

My mother-in-law is really enjoying her role as grandmother, and I'm so thankful for her love for my son. She lives out of state, but we got a chance to see her last month. It was so fun to catch up, and my son actually remembered who she was this time!


Over the holidays last year she mailed a piggy bank to my son. The year before that she sent him one shaped as Noah's Ark. When she was in town in February, she brought with her a container full of coins to fill one of the piggy banks with (she and my son had fun sitting on the floor putting the coins into the pig-dressed-as-a-turtle bank). While they were doing that, my mother-in-law casually mentioned that she needs "some sort of a tradition" with my son. I joked about how he'll have a long row of piggy banks in his room, but my mother-in-law was serious. As I gave it more thought though, I realized that that could end up being a very special tradition between the two of them. And so, my mother-in-law is planning on sending my son a piggy bank every year (and then when she's in town she'll bring him coins to put in them). I think that's incredibly sweet.


So, the plan on our end is to put a shelf up in our son's room to showcase his piggy banks from grandma. 

Any special traditions in your family?

As of 3/31/14, this post is linked to Babies and Beyond at The Purposeful Mom