Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Favorite Summer/Fall Salad

Above is one of my very favorite summer/fall salads. Hearty greens, fresh peaches, rich avocado, and creamy havarti cheese...the savory and sweet mix is SO GOOD, SO SIMPLE, healthy and delish.  :)  I like mine drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar, and Adam loves his with poppyseed dressing. 

What's in your favorite salad??

And I'm sharing this over at the ever-lovely blog Whipperberry.
Go see what else people are making/creating!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ava's Blessing Day

Adam, what a sweet father he is, blessed our beautiful Ava Lu yesterday in our home, surrounded by family, some of our dearest friends, and our incredible bishop from church. It was such a lovely day...an answer to prayer. My parents and two of my sisters were able to come (from Washington, Idaho, and Arizona) and we loved having them here! My Mom was such a help and support to me, we had just one day after the reunion at Bear Lake to get ready for the intimate gathering at our home to celebrate our baby girl, and she did so much! She is such a wonderful mother and grandmother! And Adam's parents and siblings were all so generous to bring something to contribute to the luncheon...we're so fortunate to have such awesome family. 

During Ava's blessing, I had such an overwhelming feeling of my Heavenly Father's love for Ava. And I think she felt it too, she was so calm. And then she was full of smiles after. I loved visiting with everyone during the little luncheon, knowing that they are such vital people in our daughter's life. She is one blessed little girl...and we are so blessed to have her!

The crocheted dress, shoes, and bonnet she wore were from her Grandma Kjar...such a precious gift! She gave it to us, sweetly wrapped in pink tissue paper, at the hospital the day after Ava was born. And I've been so excited to see her in it! I'll treasure it forever, and I know Ava will too.

Oh and I got the sweet idea for the framed print from here...and I created it here. :) Adam and I thought the verse in John was perfect.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bear Lake - Circa 2010

Later today we're heading to Bear Lake for the bi-annual Robert & Gladys Stum Family Reunion (with my Dad's side). The pictures above are from 2010 (the last group shot is just of our immediate family, which is about one quarter of the whole Stum bunch!)...and looking at them gets me so excited to be back up there with family!  I really think our once-bald little Brooks is going to have a blast, and his little sister Aves will be his smiling shadow. :) And getting my man to myself for multiple days in a row, with our toes on a sandy beach, I think I'll be in heaven.

//      //      //

And on a sidenote...thank you so much to those that shared such thoughtful comments on my last post. This really is such a time of growth for me, and I'm so grateful to know I'm not alone and there are other mothers out there just doing their best. *Cheers* to motherhood, and cheers to a new day every day. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Confessions of a Stay-at-home Mom - Vol. 2

I wrote the following [bolded] text on June 13th, 2012...

Yesterday morning, before Brooks woke up, Adam and I were in our bed oohing and awing over our sweet, smiling Ava. Adam looked at the clock on his dresser and knew he needed to get up and get ready.  I hopped up first to go brush my teeth while he held Ava for another minute...then he brought her into the bathroom and proceeded to hand her to me.  And what did I do?

I said, "Just a minute."

I just wanted a few more minutes of me-time...but I also knew Adam had spent extra time with us in bed and needed to get to work, so I couldn't argue. And as I reluctantly took her into my tired arms I said, "Well you just imagine having another human pretty much connected to your body 23 hours of the day." Yep, those words came out of my mouth. I love my daughter to the moon, so why would I say such a thing?? Well, she's the type of babe that not only likes to be held, but needs to be held, almost all the time.  Adam and I joke about Ava being our little Jekyll and Hyde...one minute you'll see her smiling in her Bumbo seat and it takes all your self-control not to just eat her and her chubby thighs for breakfast; then the next minute she'll pop out her bottom lip and proceed to cry (which sometimes ends in screams with decibels that are probably not good for the human ear) and can only be consoled by being held, nursed, and/or walked around until she falls asleep. And when we try to lay her down once she's asleep, even in a deep sleep, she wakes up. So she either sleeps in my Baby Bjorn during the day, so I can get things done around the house, or is in my arms...night time too.  I'll be the first to admit that I once said, "We'll never co-sleep." Welp, that went out the window. I have found I absolutely love having her tiny body, and sweet baby-smell, next to me all night...it's just that this Mama is beginning to not sleep very well.

Okay, back to my little story about this morning...Adam was getting ready, I took Ava over to the rocking chair to nurse her, and proceeded to get on my phone. I read a blog post that made me smile, yet also stung my mama-heart that had just been so selfish. In the post, this quote was shared:

"When you are exasperated by interruptions, try to remember that their very frequency may indicate the value of your life. Only people who are full of help and strength are burdened by other persons' needs. The interruptions which we chafe at are the credentials of our indispensability. The greatest condemnation that anybody could incur -and it is a danger to guard against - is to be so independent, so unhelpful, that nobody ever interrupts us, and we are left comfortably alone."
-Anonymous, from The Anglican Digest

What a beautiful perspective. A reminder I definitely needed today. I've been experiencing these interruptions for over 3 years now. Pregnancy counts in my book, even though I loved just about every minute of my pregnancies, for real. Okay, I'm a walking contradiction.  I pray to God that I'll cherish every bit, the good and the bad, of my children's time being babies...even when they're both needing me at the same time and I'm at the end of my rope and it takes all of my self control not to lock myself in the bathroom for just 5 minutes of me-time.
{ I took this photo on June 13th also }

 I almost forgot about this post I had started just over a month ago.
And as I write this second part, both of my babes are asleep, Brooks in his crib and Ava in her bassinet(!).  That time of Ava being connected to my hip was really just a couple of months...but it sure seemed longer at the time. You definitely learn about yourself when you become a parent, because I have learned I need my space, and that me-time is pretty vital for my sanity. But knowing that  I was giving of myself while wearing her so that she felt secure and loved according to her needs, made it all worth it.

This whole mom-gig is hard. Really hard. I felt like I got the baby-thing down with Brooks...so I was all ready for baby #2! But Ava has turned out to be a totally different species (I'm not just talking the plumbing;) so I've had to start from scratch. And this toddler-business...I'm pretty sure that little side-kick-Brooks of mine has made me laugh on a daily-basis more than anyone. :) Yet, I've also cried countless tears because of him...not that he's made me cry, but because I have felt so overwhelmed with the task of raising a thoughtful, level-headed (oh the meltdowns!), productive, adventurous (I think Brooks has been experiencing some anxiety lately), sharing, obedient (sometimes I think he understands "yes" to be "no", and "no" to be "yes"), and loving boy. Communicating with him is difficult, I know he's way behind in the standard of what a boy his age should be able to say, and that just exaserbates everything.  Thank goodness for a sweet husband who listens to me and literally wipes my tears when I need to just let it all out.

But like that quote said, remembering that when I feel exasperated by interruptions, I need to try to remember that their very frequency may indicate the value of my life.  And in that case, my life is of GREAT value. ;) And before I know it, the tugging at my shirt, the grocery store meltdowns, the middle-of-the-night feedings, and the endless loads of laundry full of tiny clothes will be memories. So for now, I'm going to do my best to be the mother of these children God wants me to be. Not a perfect mother, but a mother who's trying her best.

And I think I'll share a bowl of ice-cream with Brooks when he wakes up from his nap. Because, why not? :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lake + Cabin Work Retreat

The past couple days were spent at a business retreat with Adam's company. He works with great people...including some family. :)  The first part was spent soaking up gorgeous weather at the lake, then we all enjoyed a cozy night at Papa & Mama Kjar's cabin (Ava's first time!). Such a fun little getaway!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a load of sandy and marshmallow-y clothes to wash... ;)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunday's Apple Crisp

Last Sunday, while Brooks napped and Ava's sweet toesies were close by, I used my friend's easy and oh-so-tasty recipe to make apple crisp, sans crust. You can't go wrong with perfectly tart, granny smith apples and a sweet mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, and [my favorite] nutmeg. Brooks woke up just in time so we could all enjoy it together, hot out of the oven atop creamy, vanilla bean ice-cream. Mmmmmm...it was a hit.

PS - I scored that white & gold-rimmed, stone pie dish a while back for just $2 at one of my favorite thrift stores...it's been too long since I've been on a good thrifting-spree, I think I'll change that this weekend. :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Laundry Day Flashback

Brooks was 2-ish months when I took that first photo, and Ava is almost 4 months...oh how I love my little laundry-helpers. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Painting our "bobby" houses

Yesterday the children and I went outside to soak up the last bit of the day's sun and to do a little something from our Summer Bucket List that we meant to do last week...we painted bird houses, or as Brooks would say, "bobby" houses. :) For quite some time now Brooks has absolutely loved looking outside our kitchen windows, searching for birds. And when he spots one, flying or hopping around in our backyard, pulling worms from the dirt and quickly gobbling them up, he'll excitedly say "Mama! Oh! Ooh! Bobby, bobby!" So I thought that he'd really enjoy painting a house for them.  In between his various methods of adding fantastic splashes of color to his little house (he even figured out this sweet dripping method, what a creative little guy), Brooks would take breaks and go over to Ava in the shade and give her kisses or join her on the soft towel for some cloud watching. Goodness I love watching those two together. Adam and I got in on the fun too, earlier today we painted our own little love-birds house. I painted the white sides, and he did the blue roof. I adore it. Now we just need to put birdseed in them and figure out how to hang them up in the trees...hmmmm.

And in honor of our bird houses, and because we just purchased our plane tickets to Portland in August (YESSS!) I thought I'd share this a hilarious (if you appreciate quarky humor like Adam and me) clip from Portlandia that involves bobbies, umm, I mean birds. haHA

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