One thousand gifts…six months later

Well, here it is.  Exactly six months after my first gifts post, I made it to one thousand.  And it’s definitely not the end.  I’ve loved the process of recording all the little gifts that I find in the everyday of life and it’s something that I most certainly want to continue.  My goal is to fill my current gift journal by the end of the year, which I think should put the numbers at about two thousand, but we’ll see.  And then to start a new gift journal at the beginning of every year, but we’ll see how that goes too!  Along with helping to give me an attitude of thanksgiving and to notice God’s gifts throughout the day, an unexpected blessing has been that it’s a way for me to record and remember all the cute things my littles are doing and saying.  One of my friends keeps a journal for each of her kids, but I don’t think that I would keep up with that, and I’m not a huge fan of baby books so this has worked great for me.  As a mommy with not a lot of extra writing time on her hands, being able to quickly jot down a cute saying of Cedar’s or what Genoa just did before I forget it has been wonderful.  Though it’s hard and “in the trenches”, this is such a gift-full season of my life and I don’t want to forget them in the busyness of it all.  Thus, my gift journal.

(If you still haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, I highly recommend it.  A couple months ago, I reviewed it for YLCF and you find some more of my thoughts on it there.)

951. Finding out that Aaron can’t work this week (and that that’s okay).

952. Getting my copy of Loving the Little Years (which I highly recommend to any mommy of littles!).

953. How encouraging and convicting it is/was despite the writing style.

954. Clean windows.

955. A husband who is a great window washer.

956. Anticipating our long weekend at the beach.

957. My “love is a verb” scrap-of-fabric-turned-bookmark that I randomly got in my texture order package.

958. My new skirt (bought with birthday money).

959. How great the texture customer service was about sending me a replacement skirt when the first one arrived damaged.

960. How leftovers sometimes really hit the spot.

961. Ordering new cookbooks (and finally using up the last of my birthday money that my husband made me spend on myself!  Am I the only person who finds it hard to spend money on herself?).

962. A nap with my baby.

963. Watching Aaron interact with Genoa.

964. How Genoa already has her daddy wrapped around her little finger.

965. A husband who makes muffins.

966. Finishing baby gift thank-yous.

967. Packing little clothes.

968. A gracious husband when I have a bad attitude.

969. Learning not to beat myself up for my bad attitudes, but to just repent and then move on.

970. Having a baby to nurse, even when she’s fussy.

971. A homemade chicken sandwich for breakfast.

972. Reading crayon colours.

973. Cedar’s “Uh-oh!”.

974. My pre-babies swimsuit top fitting after a couple years of it not.

975. Cedar identifying Aaron’s English driving cap in his James Heriot kid’s book.

976. Needtobreathe’s “Something Beautiful”.

977. A relaxed morning getting ready to leave for our weekend at the beach.

978. Talking with Aaron while driving.

979. Having just enough gas to get to our lunch destination so we didn’t have to make an extra stop and wake up the kids.

980. Panera’s Frontega Chicken Sandwich.

981. Derek Webb’s “The Church”.

982. Cedar “dancing” with his little bear in his carseat and feeding it juice and bread.

983. Hanging out at Barnes & Noble, killing time waiting for our condo (shared with Aaron’s family) to be ready.

984. Ocean breezes.

985. A lunch-time picnic in the park.

986. A covered bridge.

987. Hiking/walking through the redwood forest.

988. Seeing Aaron’s old home.

989. A summertime wedding.

990. Parenting lessons (recalled from Loving the Little Years) at the most random times.

991. Sitting in the condo living room with the whole family, talking and laughing late into the night.

992. An organic fruit stand with reasonably-priced strawberries and amazing lettuce.

993. Watching Cedar enjoy the ocean so much.

994. Digging in the sand.

995. Watching Aaron and Cedar play in the surf while I wore Genoa.

996. A supper of rice pilaf, watermelon and make-your-own-kebabs.

997. Grilled shrimp.

998. A night-time beach walk.

999. The waves shining through the dark and the sand sparkling underfoot.

1000. Driving home with my little family.


The gift of sight

911. Finding and liking Josh Garrels’ music…much to Aaron’s delight.

912. Confirmation that my eyes are healing well (even though the healing process took longer than I thought).

913. Finding 100% cotton baby and toddler footie pajamas at Costco.

914. A Chipotle burrito (with guac!) after several  months of none.

915. Watching “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” online.

916. An amazing Asian Chicken Salad that kind of came together out of nowhere.

917. Both my kids napping at the same time.

918. My sister-in-law picking up stuff at the store for me so I didn’t have to.

919. Cedar’s excitement over using sidewalk chalk.

920. Chalk-drawing with Cedar on the porch (because the sidewalk was too hot).

921. Having some new friends over for burgers.

922. My husband’s grilled corn.

923. How all the watermelons we’ve gotten from Trader Joe’s have been consistently yummy.

924. Talking about parenting with our new friends.

925. How well making four 9x13s (and an 8×8) of chicken tetrazinni went (“baby meals” for two large families we know that recently had new little ones).

926. My little “helper”.

927. Delivering the meals and getting to chat with the other mamas.

928. Killing so many flies!

929. Having supper (the 8×8) already made.

930. Lavender, brown and white little girl clothes.

931. Quiet.

932. Being almost done with Genoa’s baby gift thank-yous.

933. The cards that my ten-year-old sister-in-law recycled/made that I bought from her.

934. The feeling of efficiency.

935. A Mexican salmon salad and colby sandwich.

936. My last corneal abrasion eye appointment.

937. Finding yummy and healthy burger buns at Costco.

938. Chipotle twice in one week.

939. A beautiful sunset on our drive home.

940. Genoa calming herself down in the car while Mommy was driving.

941. Our clothesline/garden/compost area.

942. The smell of cooking quinoa.

943. Our new stacking bowls from World Market.

944. Sunday afternoon family naps.

945. How easy English muffins are to make.

946. Figuring out how to have larger families over for dinner in our tiny house…and how well it worked.

947. Showing hospitality.

948. How cute Genoa looks in her navy flowered dress and white puffed sleeve onesie.

949. Budget talks with my husband.

950. Getting to wear contacts again (and see! [after nine days of having to wear not-up-to-prescription glasses]).


Fresh and flavourful

Same story with this one as with most of the recipes I post here…this is something I threw together and now want to make sure (this time at my husband’s request) that I have “what I did” jotted down somewhere.  After watching some of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, last night I was really craving something fresh and flavourful…and that had carmelized onions in it!  I had some grilled chicken in the fridge (lately whenever we grill burgers or pizzas or fish, we throw six or so seasoned chicken breasts on the grill to cook as the grill cools down…it’s so great to have that in fridge for lunches or dinners and not have to heat up our little house in the summer) and a new bottle of toasted sesame seed oil was calling my name, so this is what I came up with.  YUM!

Asian Chicken Salad

Roughly slice a purple onion and a yellow onion and place in a skillet with about half a stick of butter.  Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are very browned (about 20 minutes?).  Salt generously, remove from pan and set aside.  While onions are cooking, fill a large salad bowl with lettuce (we used about half baby Romaine and half chopped Romaine hearts).  Open a can of pineapple and drain, reserving the juice.  Dice however much you want of the pineapple (I used about a third of the can since I was putting the rest into a pina colada and peach salad, but I think next time I’ll put more in) into smallish bits and put on top of the lettuce.  Pour a good amount of Trader Joe’s Sesame Sticks over the lettuce and pineapple.  Toss the lettuce mixture with some of the reserved pineapple juice and some toasted sesame seed oil and set aside.  After removing the carmelized onions from the pan, throw in some toasted sesame oil, some more of the reserved pineapple juice and some soy sauce.  Cook a bunch of diced grilled chicken breast in this mixture, adding lots of garlic powder, some powdered ginger and sesame seeds.  After several minutes (you just want all the flavours to meld and the chicken to warm), add some soy sauce to the rest of the reserved pineapple juice and stir in a spoonful of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.  Dump this mixture over the cooking chicken and stir well to make sure it doesn’t glop up.  Once the sauce is just thickened and coating the chicken nicely, remove from heat.  Let cool a couple minutes.  To serve, cover a large plate with the lettuce mixture and then top with the carmelized onions and chicken.  Enjoy!

Emerging Mummy

I usually am not a huge fan of blog posts that are just a list of links to other people’s posts…but sometimes there are exceptional cases.

Thanks to a friend‘s link on Facebook, about a month ago I discovered the Emerging Mummy blog and have been reading ever since.  There are a few blogs that I come away from reading and just feel refreshed and encouraged and this is definitely one of them.  Sarah (the Emerging Mummy) has three littles, one of whom was born just a couple weeks before Genoa, and her posts on motherhood so often say what I’m discovering in this amazingly raw journey of being a mama.  I’ve been sharing quite a few of her posts on Facebook, but I wanted to compile some of my favourites here.  So if you’re a mama, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend reading some of these posts and being encouraged.  Enjoy!

In which I choose to feast; this is Kingdom Come – This spoke so clearly of one of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning in the past months…taking my focus off all the things that I think “need” to be done and just enjoying my babies.

In which I promise not to call myself fat – Now that I have a daughter, this one really hit home.  Along with not defining myself by certain aspects of my appearance, I need to remember that how I view myself will largely colour how my daughter views herself…and she’s beautiful.

In which this is the road to the front porch – A cute post about marriage.

In which we’re eating and praying and loving right here – Finding joy in the life that you’re living.

In which we have the night – The joys of having your baby sleep with you.

In which Osama bin Laden is dead – An excellent perspective on how Christians need to respond to this issue.

In which I learn there’s joy in enough – Joy in contentment.

In which I don’t care in the tinies know about the Romans Road – A pretty self-explanatory title…


The Hope of the World – This isn’t from the Emerging Mummy blog, but is a post for A Deeper Story that Sarah wrote and I thought was excellent.

Of picnics and eye doctors

861.  A family picnic just before the fireworks.

862. Our new Trader Joe’s cooler bag.

863. Getting to see and talk to lots of people.

864. How well Cedar and Genoa both did with staying out way past their bedtimes and all the noise from people and fireworks.

865. Walking the trail from the firework-watching rock in the dark with my love and our babies.

866. Headlamps.

867. Cedar almost falling asleep in the backpack.

868. The quiet of our house after everyone else was asleep and I was making Aaron’s lunch, doing dishes, etc.

869. How nursing (usually) calms everyone…especially an overtired toddler.

870. A homemade chocolate milkshake with my lunch…cold, protein and chocolate.

871. Little puffed sleeves.

872. Walking Genoa to sleep with Cedar on my back in the Ergo.

873. Andrew Peterson still on shuffle.

874. Learning not to focus on the “what-ifs”, but to trust our Father.

875. Cedar’s “Bye-bye, Daddy” in the morning.

876. My love choosing to spend the coming weekend with us instead of going backpacking with friends.

877. No-Bake Chocolate Cake…with extra salt.

878. Israeli Wonder Salad.

879. Burt’s Bees Sugar Beet & Grapefruit Shampoo.

880. The fragrance of my babies’ heads.

881. Cedar’s excitement over his new cup.

882. A new anklet made by my sister-in-law.

883. Aaron picking me a bouquet of roadside sweet peas.

884. The best whipped cream I’ve ever made (to go with the No-Bake Chocolate Cake).

885. Two boxes of organic semi-freestone yellow peaches.

886. Cedar’s “Good job, Daddy!” sign.

887. Grilled sourdough pizzas.

888. The combination of mushrooms and onions.

889. Learning to “love mercy” (Micah 6:8).

890. Visiting with another sister-in-law and her boyfriend.

891. Eye doctors. (Note to all disposable contact lens wearers: do NOT try to stretch how long you’re to wear a set of contacts for [i.e. a two-week pair to six weeks…or even two months!]. Doing so could cause corneal abrasion, possibly even a corneal ulcer. Guess how I know?!)

892. Breastmilk in my eye.

893. Learning to be thankful for my glasses even when I hate them.

894. A whole weekend together as just our little family.

895. An Armenian feast made by my brother-in-law.

896. Samaritan’s Ministries checks starting to come in for Genoa’s birth.

897. Encouraging words from someone we don’t even know.

898. Inside jokes with my husband.

899. How much Genoa loves her daddy walking her.

900. My amazing husband offering to me process peaches.

901. Reading on the couch with my love and our baby.

902. Sunday morning breakfast of sourdough pancakes topped with butter, maple syrup, vanilla whipped cream and fresh peaches.

903. A good fiction book to read…The Wednesday Letters.

904. Cedar coming to “tell” me stuff all the time.

905. Little pink bloomers.

906. My smart my little boy is…recognizing “dirty” his Pooh “D” book and saying it.

907. Cedar’s little golden curls at the back of his head.

908. Finding some books I’ve been looking for at the library book sale.

909. Trader Joe’s Organic Banana Chips.

910. The start of a busy week.


Gifts in a little boy and his daddy

816. Getting the house back in order after having weekend company.

817. A rainy, foggy day.

818. Reminiscing with my love about our UK trip.

819. Stock-up shopping trips.

820. A Smoked Sea Salt Grinder (from Trader Joe’s…where else?!).

821. Getting to spend an unexpected day with Aaron.

822. Parenting.

823. Cedar saying “Hi Daddy” so clearly…over and over again.

824. Getting wear Genoa while shopping.

825. Cedar’s obsession with his water bottle.

826. Getting to sleep in until 8:30!

827. Cedar spending part of the morning “helping” Grandpa Donald.

828. Genoa in the laundry basket with the clean diapers.

829. Quinoa.

830. Cedar getting so excited when Aaron comes home.

831. A happy little boy.

832. That baby spit-up washes out of clothes so well.

833. The milky smell of baby breath.

834. Peaceful evenings.

835. Ergo snuggles with Cedar.

836. New pens.

837. A gracious husband when I have a bad attitude

838. Sitting on our lawn with my love and our babies in the cool of the evening.

839. Eclair pie.

840. How Cedar is so into his daddy…showing me Daddy’s chair, Daddy’s socks, etc.

841. New words every day.

842. How easily our inflatable bed sets up for guests.

843. Our grill…and my hot and amazing grilling husband.

844. An overnight visit from Max and Jenny and their little ones, some good friends visiting California from Oklahoma.

845. Good conversations…on religion and philosophy and babies and cloth diapers.

846. Store-bought tomatoes that actually taste pretty good (only a couple more weeks until we have our own from the garden!).

847. Homemade fish tacos.

848. Taking a walk with Max and Jenny where each of us was either wearing or pushing a little one.

849. Friends whose kids wake up as early as ours do.

850. Croissant French toast.

851. Cedar wanting to hold my hand in the when he saw Aaron doing so…

852. …and then kissing my hand after Aaron demonstrated.

853. Sunshine-coloured ruffled rompers.

854. Air-conditioning.

855. Lavash chips.

856. Onions on freshly-grilled burgers.

857. Aaron and Max taking the little boys for a swim.

858. How much Cedar loved Graham (Max and Jenny’s two-year-old).

859. Sunday afternoon naps.

86o. Freshly-picked cherries…gleaming like rubies.