"Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Joy


I have noticed--why do the simplest things make my baby laugh and smile? Why are children so carefree and laughing, while adults usually serious? Wouldn't we all be so much happier if we took the time to delight in the joys that God has given us?
I hope I never "stifle" my child's joy.
I hope I encourage him to laugh, to jump, to run, to dance, to delight in this world that God made for him to enjoy.
He is more precious than the angels. We are more precious than angels.
God rejoices over us with singing.
He commands us to shout for joy to Him.
Here is something written on Joy from a medical standpoint by Kairos Midwifery.

"Today I am writing a lesson on joy for the postpartum depression group and I am totally intrigued

Did you know that on average a child laughs up to 400 times each day while most adults laugh less than 15 times per day. And often as adults we are telling our children to be quiet and get control of themselves when they are laughing hysterically at less than opportune times! We are taught to stifle our joy. 

Laughter gives a constant massage to the digestive tract and brain and improves blood supply to all the internal organs. It stimulates blood circulation which helps to transport nutrients throughout the body and helps to remove toxins. It can help boost the immune system, reduce pain, improve mood, increase creativity, help with chronic breathing problems and lower blood pressure. It even helps increase the production of serotonin and endorphins which help us to feel better.

So here is the key - 
You don't have to be happy to laugh; laughing can make you happy
Laughing is contagious and your joy will spread to others improving their health
Even a "fake" laugh is beneficial 
Take time from you busy life to appreciate positive experiences
Choose to replace distressing thoughts with joyful memories
When you are feeling anxious or depressed or if you are ill, it is even more important to savor positive memories
Laughter will give you a sense of perspective on your problems

So no matter where you are at today, or in whatever situation you find yourself in; choose to seek joy even if it is one tiny fleeting seed from the past, fake a laugh, and choose to take time to feel joy."

Natural Progression (watch Jonathan escape his swing)

He's crawling! He started crawling on Friday. The real deal! 
I don't have any pictures of it, but here are some other things he is interested in:








And that is how he feels about his swing.




He fell asleep on the floor listening to Patch the Pirate while I was making supper.

Then, today, he was supposed to be taking a nap, but wasn't (I could definitely hear him.)I came into the room to find this:





Yes, he has started pulling himself up now, as well! I ended up lowering the crib mattress down to the lowest level today. I wouldn't want him to climb out of his crib like he climbs out of his swing!

Fall bucket list?

Do you make bucket lists? I didn't realize that I did, but I do. One thing that was on my "bucket list," aka "things I want to do," for the fall was to go get lost in a corn maze.

This last Saturday was the perfect day to do it. The night before, Jonathan had gotten up for two hours in the middle of the night (I think because he was teething) and then got up early and stayed up. I got a total of 5 hours of sleep, but once I saw what a beautiful day it was outside, I was up for good, too. (One other reason I only got 5 hours of sleep was because we stayed up late eating popcorn and playing a version of the newlywed game)

It was the weekend of the tri-state band festival, which meant a parade of marching bands going down the street two blocks from where we live. Of course we went. I told Tes, who was sleeping, that he could come or stay as he so wished, and he decided to come see! It was nice of him, because of course I enjoyed the parade just that much more when he was holding Jonathan, who is heavy and makes me tired, and being able to discuss which marching bands were the best.

We liked the Blue dragons and some crazy Tea, South Dakota band. The biggest impact though was when a band came by and Tes said to me, "Look, she's missing a leg," and I realized that one of the girls in dresses waving flags, had an artificial leg.

I find that so inspiring. If I were to lose my leg, I think I would just lie down in depression. But this high school girl didn't let it keep her from living her life. She was twirling her flag and running with the rest of the girls. Way to go!!!








After the parade, when we were walking home, I decided that today was the day for a corn maze. It was just soooo beautiful out. Blue skies and golden leaves and I just couldn't stay inside!

We didn't actually get too lost in the corn maze. They gave us a map so that we could go to different checkpoints and fill in answers on a questionnaire, and then there was a hidden checkpoint to find that was rewarded with a free treat.

After finding all ten checkpoints, we were wandering around trying to find the hidden checkpoint. I don't think we would have found it, except we heard people yelling "We found it! Woo! We're so lucky!"

Guess it was our lucky day, too. We went in the general direction and found it as well. Free ice cream sandwiches!


Grocery shopping was also on our list of things to do (no, not our "bucket list." "Bucket lists" are supposed to be enjoyable activities that you don't do all the time. Grocery shopping is not a special activity.)

Walmart was only a couple of miles away so that was pretty nice. Then Tes offered to take me out for dinner so I said "of course!" and we decided to go to this Mongolian restaurant that we had driven by.

The place was soooo different. It was a little creepy, but we had fun. I didn't have my camera, so I got this image off the web. You can see the creepiness in the the T-shirts. But the food was pretty good. Grab a bowl, put your choice of meat, some noodles, your choice of vegetables and like 20 different sauces to choose from, then go up to the grill and they grill it for you and hand it to you on a plate. Or I guess they were really stir-frying it. Anyway, we liked it. But I definitely felt out of my comfort zone at first!




So, any bucket list ideas?? Since we don't celebrate Halloween, I like to come up with other fun things to do. 
Going to an apple orchard is definitely on mine, and I've got the perfect orchard in mind--my parent's!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

redecorating

Don't miss my last post!! Since I pretty much just posted.

I am excited about my latest project, which is redecorating Jonathan's room! Right now it is looking pretty dull.

I'm doing a jungle/safari theme. It is the most convenient, since he already has a jungle themed diaper bag and crib bumper. 

Has anyone else noticed how expensive some of the baby decor wall artwork can be? I decided to make some of my own to save some $$.

The latest trends in artwork include simple shapes and unrealistic coloring. What a piece of cake! I just googled "elephant art for baby room" under images and got the idea for my first project. 

Here is the result!

I promise it will look great when I put it in a fun colored frame and hang it in his room with other jungle themed artwork I plan to make.

One note: I have decided I don't like to use oil pastels on textured paper. Do you see how the elephants look kind of streaky, as if I used crayons?? That's due to the texture of my cardstock. It made it difficult for me to blend the oil pastels. Next time I will definitely use the smooth side!
But honestly, it still looks better in real life, so I am planning on using it.

And lastly, a pic of my cute pie! I just love him to pieces. :)

Some of the MOST . . . (story of my life, er, bread)

DISAPPOINTING THINGS! 

Talk about it. No, moan about it. Is life over?? Woe is me. Lament the curse of perfectionism. To be or not to be, that is the question, since the bread I baked this morning so did not turn out.

I mean, this bread took HOURS to make.

Not hours of effort, but it is supposed to sit quietly for 14 hours. So I literally waited hours. I was so excited to see how this bread was going to be.  And then, for the fruits of my labor:

I rolled the bread over on a floured surface, formed it into a loaf, placed it on a lightly oiled baking sheet, put it in the oven at 425 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course!), and then--set the alarm on my cell phone and crashed in bed for a mid morning nap. 

My cell phone rang. Half asleep, and thinking it was my alarm, I pressed ignore. Only to realize I'd just rejected my husband's call! "Call him back . . . wow, that bread smells really nice, I will make him a sandwich before he goes back to school . . "

Minutes later, just as my husband walked in the door, I leaned over the oven, and caught a whiff of something. Not the sweet smell of fresh bread, but something overdone--something, perhaps, burnt?

The oven door flew open. The dark brown bread was revealed. Oven mitts were on my hands, and the bread, or, what was left of the bread, was extracted.

My husband was handy. I mournfully showed him my bread, and loudly lamented its fate, hoping for some sympathy. Perhaps even a fellow mourner. I mean, it was HIS sandwich that was lost.

Hubby didn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation. He was laughing, I was grieving. So, he got the sandwich anyways.

The conversation:
Tes: "I think I'll have some coffee . . "
Julia: "Do you want me to make you some? No, wait, you make it. I'm going to get you a sandwich to chew on."

During lunch, I believe he mentioned something about feeding his sandwich to the dinosaurs. 

This evening, He wasn't too excited when I told him what we were having for supper.He was having leftover sandwich, not having had time to chew it before his next class earlier on.

I know, I know! What a horrible wife. I ate another sandwich, too, though. And I gave him some leftover lo mein, and made him a smoothie . . . 

The smoothie bought forgiveness. I do know his weaknesses. :)

I didn't take any pictures of the bread. But this whole topic reminded me of Labor day. 

I made pancakes for breakfast: 

Which Tes thought was so funny, and had to take pictures of it.


I had the afternoon all planned out. We would go have a picnic by the lake and go swimming, since it was pretty much the end of summer.

We didn't get to the lake until the evening. I had forgotten/failed/gotten too lazy to make a picnic, so we had a bottle of lukewarm juice we bought from Walmart.

I persuaded Tes to change into his swimming clothes, as well as change Jonathan in to some swimming trunks, while I blew up one of those floatie things.

We approached the water. It was looking dark and murky. Tes pointed out the green plant substance floating on the surface. I told him we needed to go swimming. He told me I could go and he would watch.

I placed the floatie in the water. It was cold. All of a sudden, I didn't want to go swimming very badly. I begin to test the strength of the floatie. Could it really hold me up??

Just at that moment, Tes gave me a push, and I fell on my (laurels) in the shallow, cold, murky, dark, green water.

I gave up the swimming and spent the rest of the evening with a damp and cold backside.



When we got home, I noticed that the rice I had left out on the counter (for more than a couple of days, to my shame) had grown white fuzzy mold, about an inch tall, all over it. I decided to throw it away and not try to feed it to anyone, not even Jonathan. 
Peering into the trash, I saw how well the white moldy rice blended with the white kleenex that was already there.

You guessed it. The baby and I both had horrible colds. It truly added to the delightful sentiment of our holiday.

I hope you've enjoyed reminiscing this moment with me.

:)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tes and I being goofy host/hostess

I got so far behind on posting! But here are the pictures from last weekend. 



We had some very special guests




Tes' idea of romance has changed since we got married ;)


Auntie! She is the one who made Jonathan his cozy gray sweater. 


It's gotten so cold out that he needs it now!


Right before I yelled. I had no idea he had come up behind me.



We had a good and goofy time! 

Melkam Addis Amet!

Melkam Addis Amet! Happy Ethiopian New Year! Actually, it was yesterday. It is now 2007 in Ethiopia. September 2nd!

Wonder why? Because Ethiopia is one of two African countries (the other one Liberia) that were never colonized by a European country, and, therefore, it has its own calendar, not the calendar used in Europe and the US. Apparently, the difference in years is due to different calculations on what year Christ was born. 

What I love about this? Teasing my husband that he is ten years older than me! He was born in 1982 there and I was born 1992 here. So even though he is only 4 years older than me, he is 10 years older . . . Anyway. :)

Warning: the rest of the post is likely to be cluttered with Jonathan pictures. He just had his 5 month "birthday." He is about to crawl, too! Getting up on his hands and knees and rocking, so close!





He learned how to suck on his thumb this month. I didn't stop him because I find it helpful at this point. It helps him sleep longer at night without having to get up and it helps him be quieter on long car rides. Or short car rides. :)





Daddies are wonderful. Mommy is nice to cuddle with and read stories and sing songs, but she (I) am just not the same as Daddy! As you can probably see from the pictures.



Daddy put him in a box!



May this next year be filled with blessings and wisdom from God!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Wedding pics and another culture tip

Wow. I had made it a goal to write one post a week, but last week . . . nothing. My apologies. And until my husband gets back and tells me where he put the camera cord, my post will have to wait.

But here are wedding pictures to tide you over. And we can talk Ethiopian culture again. :)


The first thing I said to Tes after we walked out of the ceremony was, "Oh my goodness, I can't believe I just married you!"



We couldn't hardly eat. Even though the enjera was catered by a friend of Tes' who owns an Ethiopian restaurant in St. Paul, and was delicious. And my mom and grandma as well as some friends helped make burritos, which is one of my favorite foods . . . 
But honestly, after we both got some of the spicy, red, berbere-spiced wat on our clothes, we just picked at our food. Plus, people kept clinking on their little plastic cups, seeming to expect us to stand up and kiss each other.



There. In case you missed the kisses during the reception, here's one for you. Gross!!!! ;)

Now, time for an Ethiopian culture tip! Ethiopians, in general, do not eat dessert. 
Go over to their house for dinner, don't expect cake afterward, and when you have them over to your house, they may not "save room" for dessert. There really aren't even recipes for "Ethiopian Desserts." That isn't to say they won't eat sweet things from time to time, especially if they live in America. I've found that many of them like to drink their sweets. Soda, sweet coffee, smoothies. Perhaps that stems from a sweet wine they do have traditionally with special meals.

And a couple of phrases in Amharic! (what I randomly happened to learn this week)
Melkom Fasika = Happy Easter (as in Resurrection Sunday, folks)
Melkom Gena = Merry Christmas
Makina = car

Since Blogger is giving me issues here, I must hope that this post posts, and that I didn't write this for nothing!