Friday, April 25, 2014

Blessed in Brokenness

My favorite things to do during a typical day: sleep in as late as I can (which ends up being around 8 or so), spending time with Ellie, eating (whether it's healthy or not), having the option to be outside, night owl goodness, and.....

The things I wish I got the ability to have happen in a week but rarely does: time with my little family each day, time with other Mom's during the day, the option of getting out of the house during my daughter's nap time, and having solid friends/people to hang out with and live life alongside.


Is it bad to want the ability to have those things happen?

Is it selfish to want more in life than the typical get up, meals, playtime, and daily household "duties"?

Is it wrong to want to be fed wisdom from others, having people around me, and of course I would give back to them with all the energy I've got.

But as I sit here during my daughter's nap time coping a terrible headache I cringe.  The weather is nice and all I want to do is be outside with her enjoying it together.  But I can hardly move without pain.  As I continue to think about it though, I wonder if I got myself moving would that help at all?  Would it help wake up my body and FORCE myself to feel better about my day?  Would it get my focus off the pain and refocus my heart and head on the blessings this day has to offer?  I'm not "sick" in the way that I'm incapable of dealing with it.  It could be worse.  I could have the flu, a fever, or sinus infection.  But I don't.

The more I consider my heart the more I want to change it.

My loving Father wants me to embrace Him.  He's missing me.  I hate to admit it, but He hasn't had much time with me lately.  I don't know why.  I think I've been pushing Him away.  Not intentionally.  I think I've been putting all my hope in Him, but not my time.  It's easy to do in a life I'm living.  Right now it's all I can do to spend quality time with my husband!  My focus has been keeping my family together and getting things back to "normal" as much as possible.

I know my God is faithful, I've seen Him work in the past.  I know He takes me as I am.  And that's what Easter is all about.  It was refreshing to have that reminder last week.  Jesus was risen to save even the biggest liar.  He came not just for the lost but for the broken as well.  God did break me this last year.  Because before I lost control of everything, I had my faith in God "figured out" (as you could call it).  Then my world was flipped and I had to rely on His faithfulness and reassurance.  I was looking at the Cross and thinking "Why, why me?"  Why was God willing to allow that to happen?  Just to save me (and you of course).  What did I ever do?  What have I ever done?

Nothing.

I would do anything to have my babies.  I would never be able to have someone do what they did to Jesus to any of my babies.  Why God?  Why me?  Why did you allow that to save me?  


I was broken.  I felt humbled and confused.  And that's why I long to embrace today.  I want to come to Him on my knees in thankfulness.  And hear him say, "My dear daughter, I have missed you, but I was always here."  And that's what breaks me.  He's there every day, every hour, every second just waiting.  But no matter what He embraces me whenever I come to Him.  No judgement.  No obligations.  He accepts my brokenness and uses it.  I'm broken and blessed.

Because how will I be able to bless others in my day-to-day when I'm empty of God's love?  I need to fill my cup so it can be poured out to others.  How can I put my energy into others if I'm not filled myself?

Psalm 34 is encouraging...


I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.
21 Evil will slay the wicked;
    the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Who Am I?

Someone help me figure it out.  I'm tired of calling myself "average."  I'm neither Type A or Type B.  I'm in between.  I'm not a Tom Boy or Girly Girl.  I'm in between.   Let me explain....I could get all dressed up if you want me to but I'm also capable of throwing on jeans, t-shirt and playing a good game of ultimate football.  (I'm not afraid to catch it or tackle you!)

So then what am I when it comes to introvert or extrovert?  I'm in between.
Grrr.

Introvert stuff includes but not limited to: enjoying nights when everyone is in bed and I get refueled by staying up late doing my own thing (I'm not this way when hubby is around but many months it's been time away from him).  I get overwhelmed in large group settings or keeping a conversation going with people I don't know well.  I'm always concerned if people care about what I have to say or not.  The insecurity is overwhelming.

Extroverted tendencies include but not limited to: I go crazy if I'm not around people/adults for a certain amount of time.  Once I'm with people I know I go all crazy on them...and do a happy dance!! (Sometimes I keep that dance to myself.)  Once I'm around people I also think that I just love it so much and need to do it more often.  I enjoy close friendships and spending time with people.

family game night = good laughs

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TV Language

To escape reality I watch TV.  [Moment of judgement]

I use it when it's not my daughter's fault Mommy isn't lively (like running on 5 hours of sleep).  Or when she is sick.  Or when I desperately need her to be focused on something while I sneak out of the room to do something. [Another moment open for judgement.]

Recently Ellie has gotten more aware of the TV and I have to watch what she is hearing and seeing.  However she loves music so there's some fun shows that I let her watch.  It's always so cute to watch her dance and "sing" along with them. :) [No judgement needed here.]

Ellie's favorite shows as of now include:

1. Sesame Street ....she loves Elmo.  She spots Elmo everywhere.  At the grocery store, on a shirt, a book, etc.  The other day I was at Once Upon a Child and saw a shirt for $2.50 that has Elmo all over it.  She's currently wearing it today.  She points at it saying "Elmo, Elmo, Elmo" since it has numerous Elmo's on it. :)  It kept her entertained while I continued to shop that day.  She lights up at night when I put her night-time diaper on since it's her "Elmo diaper."



2. The Voice  ....she loves music, singing, dancing, must I say more?  It's fun because it's not a kiddy show so I don't go crazy while watching it.

great season on right now!


3. Disney Junior Channel ....yeah, Saturday morning she loves it how my parent's have Direct TV.  There's a lot of cute shows on there that she likes.  And if my hubby is around it's fun to tell him, "For breakfast just give her some applesauce or yogurt and the Disney shows."  (He let's me stay in bed sometimes.  Worth it!)  ...When your hubby is willing to get up on a Saturday morning you don't complain what you let him do, instead you EMBRACE IT. :)

Doc McStuffins


4. Dancing with Stars .....more dancing and lots of music.  Luckily she can't tell how little they wear. :p



5. Clifford .....she continues to point at the screen saying, "Abby" (my parent's dog's name).  Very funny!  I continue to tell her it's Clifford or "doggy" but she still persists in saying Abby.



When those shows are not being watched and Ellie is napping I like to catch up on some shows like (not in any particular order):

1. Criminal Minds .....can't get enough of those good actors!!  Yes, some episodes are pretty creepy, but I like how they focus on the MINDS of the criminals.  Some of the newer ones are getting a little too much when they focus more time on the criminals and less on the people trying to figure them out.  I don't like watching the bad guys torturing people in gross ways.

<3

2. The Blacklist ...hubby and I love this show!  So many twists!!  It's normally on Monday nights!



3. The Big Bang Theory .....feels weird to type out full name.  I usually just call it Big Bang.  Lots of sexual added stuff but lots of funny science/awkwardness jokes too .  Love it!  Hubby and I love to watch it when we need a half hour show to just chill and relax.

Get your nerd on!


4. Ellen DeGeneres ....(should of put this on the list of shows Ellie likes)  There's so much music in it!  Yesterday's episode was hilarious!!  Funny stuff!

from an older episode


5. Dr Phil ...Jon and I have recently kept up on it.  Other people's crazy life makes ours seem much more normal.



6. Parenthood ...lots of drama but I end up tearing up EVERY episode.  Can't miss it!



7. Gilmore Girls ...no more new episodes (boo!) but they still play reruns IN ORDER and I got my mom interested in it recently.  Now my mom and I have a show to watch together.  It's fun to finally see her interested (after years of trying) and watching her see why I love the show so much.  When each episode ends I love how she says, "just one more!"



8. Hollywood Game Night ....for late night laughs and fun!  I love watching celebrities struggle on simple games....makes them seem more human! :)  It's also fun to see them out of their element!  There are games on that show that I would be terrible or good at!  What a fun variety!



What are your favorites?  I've probably forgot some of my favs!  Help me recall some good ones! :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bathroom Remodeling & stufffff

Back in June 2013 when we bought the house we knew we were going to fix up the bathroom.  It didn't come with a shower, just a tub.  However we had to take down some tile to make that happen.  There wasn't the proper drywall surrounding the tub to prevent water damage.  Plus there was a window RIGHT in the middle of the exterior wall so we couldn't just easily put a shower in.  As time went on and washing paint brushes in that bathroom (who cares if we get paint in there?) Jon started to notice a leak.  So we stopped using that sink and figured there was more remodeling to do.  At that point we said....all or nothing.

Issues in the bathroom/stuff that wasn't a big deal but wanted to change to make it our own:
1. No shower
2. Leaking sink faucet onto pipes.
3. Copper pipes (updated plumbing needed!)
4. Electrical updates desperately needed
5. Poor lighting (two can lights halfway down the wall only over sink is not well thought out)
6. Exterior Window
7. Vanity was as old as the house (1960), not a big deal but it made the entryway feel smaller.

poor lighting
no shower, window in the way

*You can see how the lighting was in this odd placement in that wood beam.  It made it seem gloomy and dark in the bathroom.  The vanity went to the door way, which gave extra storage space but we're making up for it by putting a cabinet over the toilet.  It will be better for storage out of kid's reach and not in the doorway.

Our plans:
1. Take out all drywall and tile flooring and get rid of the pink/burgundy everything.  (Remember all or nothing.)  
2. Update plumbing.
3. Update electrical, add a few changes to the plug ins and light switch options.  As long as Jon was down to the studs he added some electrical changes to the master bedroom (shares a wall with the vanity side).

all our plug-ins look like the one on the right, slowly switching over to what's on the left
(thanks to Google images for this picture)

4. Take out window and put in a new one that is not in the way of the shower.  (Jon really likes natural light.) :)
5. Put in better lighting.  Jon put in three can lights (one of them in shower area that has a fan combined) and a set over the vanity mirror.
6. Enjoy a new vanity (and spent more on a quartz counter top).
7. New sink (who would want a new bathroom and keep that pink sink?) and faucet.
8. New mirror (don't really like medicine cabinet mirrors).
9. Put in new tile flooring (and later decided on heated flooring).
10. Curtain rod & curtain, towels, hooks, rug, etc.

It was a slow start (we started painting other parts of the house), Jon got side tracked on his excitement on stuff he wanted to do, and the big bathroom project got stopped.  Then he suddenly got the urge to get it going.  During this time Ellie and I were at my parent's house staying out of the mess.  I was dealing with two miscarriages (keeping Jon away from the house to help me with morning sickness and labors).

Ellie ~May 2013 (7 months)

Labor Day 2013 (Ellie 11 months)
It was amazing how just paint made the rooms look so much better.  (Probably also helped a couple of the rooms had some wallpaper to take off.)

Check here for details of how it got going.  And then here for more.  If you are having so much fun looking back, here's another one.

Those links will give you more info on our journey as we did each step on the house (and life that slowed us down).  And there's more that slowed us down, but nothing we could do about it.

Back to the bathroom though.  Seriously, I know, "Mary get on with it!"


If you follow me on Facebook you have probably seen the pictures from my album called Maxwell Main Bath.  But I will also post some here to keep all our house stuff together on the blog as well. :)

Jon started demo like a pro.
June/July 2013

He even removed the tub all by himself.  I remember one day going to the house and just pondering what the next few months were going to be like.  I had no idea.  This stuff always takes longer than you could ever imagine.  And if you guess longer, add more months to that.

September 2013

In September we could still go to the bathroom upstairs.  You had to wear shoes, but it was still workable.  We no longer had a vanity.  The bathroom was only useful for the toilet at that point.  I told Jon to keep it there as long as possible (but to not let it slow him down though either). :)  I don't like unfinished basements in case you were wondering....and our only other bathroom option was downstairs.


Step back view of the bathroom in September.  Jon took the beam out that held the only two lights for the room, so he just stuck them in the wall until he got the plumbing and electrical worked on.  That big space under the lights is where the medicine cabinet mirror was at.

Now I don't have many more pictures until January since I didn't go to the house very often during this demo.  Have you ever had a one-year old at a house with nothing for her to play with but try to keep her away from drywall gunk?  The house was always dirty from the demo and we couldn't keep up with it.  Our little sweet girl wanted to crawl everywhere and her pants were always filthy after being at the house.  Plus she doesn't like seeing Daddy and not have his attention.  (Can you say Daddy's girl?) So Ellie and I kept our distance so Daddy could work.

2.5.14

So that is the next best picture I have.  More drywall is out, updated plumbing going on, and Jon figuring out where new window will go.  He had yet to get rid of the window (in the way of the shower), but had to wait for the weather to cooperate. :)

2.9.14
Then one night Jon got the urge to get that window out so tub could go in!! :)  He got some help from his cousin Kristi (thank you!).  Once the plumbing was done he was able to put the tub in.....

Feb 2014



This picture was sent later (once the faucet/hook ups) were done.  But I put it here to show off our nice, new tub!  (White not pink!) :)

Then I missed a few pictures of the drywall getting done, but we had some help with that.  We moved into our house on March 10th.  That week I got busy unpacking boxes and making the house a home the best I could.

Go here to see what it was like the day we moved in.

When Jon returned home from work we had a home cooked meal, played with Ellie, and I had Jon do something I needed done so I could get more boxes unpacked the following day.  Then he returned to the bathroom or to our clogging basement bathroom. :p

The rest of March and into April was finishing up vanity wall drywall, putting in new window, bathroom tile floor, and putting in new vanity.

4.5.14

There's a hole in my house!!
Here's some fun pictures from the window and Jon closing it up with new framing and siding.

4.6.14 -planning on doing some painting this spring/summer

4.6.14-view from the inside
Left to do:
-Finish the wall with the window to prep for painting.
-Mud & Sand all walls in prep for painting (some already done).
-Finish floor tile (area where toilet is going is left) & then vac & grout
-Have counter top people come measure for vanity top.
-Paint (which doesn't take long once you get going & we already have all supplies needed)
-Put cabinet in over the toilet
-Put in toilet (YEAH!  Time to not potty with centipedes!)
-Hang up curtain rod and curtain.  (It's time to shower in a drain that doesn't have gunk from outside or one that doesn't clog from toilet clogging.)
-Install vanity counter top, sink and new faucet.  Hallelujah!
-Then the fun stuff: towel hooks, decorative stuff, clock, vanity mirror, and last finishing touches.  Pumped is an understatement.

The day I can organize our bathroom will be the day our linen closest will get more organized and no longer have so much bathroom stuff in it.  It will also mean stuff in the guest room will be taken out (make up, razors, etc) since we'll get ready in the bathroom.  Which then allows me to get the guest room more organized for guests to stay.  It will also allow our tooth brushes OUT of the kitchen!!  I feel like every other place in our house will feel more settled.  Like I said, pumped for it to be DONE is SUCH an understatement.  Because it also means more time with my husband and for our family to be together.

Which reminds me, I've never explained the washing machine story.

My mom gave me money towards whatever I wanted towards the house.  I picked washing machine (something practical).  The other one was kind of old and last used by a man who shortly went to a nursing home.  I don't know, just something about having your very own new washing machine appeals to me.  I'm not a laundry mat kinda girl.

So she got me this washing machine that was missing a part but it was supposed to come in (this was summer 2013).  It never came but we weren't moving into our house yet so we held off on contacting anyone.  Plus we were so focused on other things anyways.

Months go by and the part still doesn't show up.  My mom knows how to call people and get things figured out.  The guy lets her know it should come in by March 25th (15 days after move-in day).  So I plan on coming to my parent's house when Jon gets busy on remodeling to shower and do laundry at my parent's house.  It worked okay.  Until the washing machine part never came.  My mom called and now they tell her it won't come until middle of May.

Ugh.

Not something we wanted to hear.  They wouldn't help us out or anything for THEIR mess up!  So it will be almost a year without this part.  Good thing we have my blessed parents to help us with the laundry needs or else we would be running out of clothes (or just really desperate).  I'm already in survival mode and so I need some stability somewhere in my life.  Back to my parent's basement Ellie and I came.  No washing machine, no "decent" bathroom, and hubby working his butt off (sorry mom for using the word butt).  It's hard for Ellie to be at the house when Daddy is around and he's not interacting with her.  So being here and not there is helpful for all of us.  (Besides the fact we're not all together.)

Right now I see Jon one night a week.  I know some people have it worse than me, but I can't help not having a hard time about it.  It's been my life for the past too many months to count and I've had enough.  No more hiding my frustrations about it.

Well I guess this post didn't just end up being an update on the house but my thoughts as well.  Sorry about that.

Hope you're having a great week and enjoying this weather!  I think after a good nap for Ellie we'll get out!  (She's had a rough morning so far.)


She didn't want to cuddle, but says "no" to a nap too.  Goldfish and ice for lunch....

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Time for a recipe!  Yeah, it's been quite awhile.  There is this yummy creamy soup that I just HAVE TO share.  My mom makes it from time to time and she got it from allrecipes.com.

It's not hard to make (that's the only recipes I try).

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup (8 servings)



What you need:
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 package of quick cooking long grain & wild rice (with seasoning packet)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream

Directions:
1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken.  Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet.  Cover and remove from heat.



2. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly.  Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux.  Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.

3. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice.  Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. [Keep stirring to keep from burning.]

Yummm!!

I split it up into lunch-sized portions and labeled them.  When it was cooled I put a couple in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.  It worked well for Jon to have them for lunches at work, while I had the option of lunches at home. :)  Those types of meals worked well when we were living under two roofs while he was working on our house.

**It does mention this on allrecipes site, that when you reheat it you can add milk or water for thinning.  I'm not a huge soup person, I like thicker stuff.  So when I reheat, I leave it as is and it tastes pretty much like a casserole.  So good! :)

Let me know if you try it and what you think!