Advent, Simple Eating, Family Updates {Journal} 2

Outside my Window: The early morning sun is stretching its soft glow across the cool blue sky, peeking through the bare tree branches and over my neighbors’ roof tops. The black birds flitter around, quickly gathering a second breakfast or more insulation for their winter homes in the trees.

Wearing: Skinny jeans wrap around my non-skinny legs, mis-matched ankle socks warm my cold feet, a simple gray long-sleeved knit for the top and a cozy knit brown speckled sweater for extra warmth. I’ll probably toss a scarf on later for a touch of color and a vain attempt at the “stylish mom” look.

Around the House: With the changing of the seasons so too goes our home decorating from the crisp and rustic autumn to the peaceful simplicity of Advent. The house also received a much-needed dusting and vacuuming so we spent the better part of our Saturday and Sunday doing all that. Everyone helped and it’s so nice to have a clean house…for a few days anyway.

We set our simple Advent wreath out on the table (or up high when we aren’t using it to protect it from curious little boys), hung the old-fashioned fabric Advent Calendar on the door hook, set up a few Nativity scenes around the house, and placed our special Advent/Christmas book basket on a table.

I always forget how beautiful this season is. We’ll add the tree and other Christmas decorations slowly through Advent so that by the time Christmas comes the house, like our hearts hopefully, will be transformed into a joyful rejoicing and celebration of our Lord and Savior’s birth.

In the Kitchen: Keeping it simple, although I’m very pleased with this very satisfying Panera Turkey Chili I made for a post-Thanksgiving family get together. I’m usually soup-challenged so when my husband had seconds and wanted more the next day I was on a cook’s cloud nine.

My mom knows how to make things taste good and look pretty.

I also made a couple savory salads for our Thanksgiving meal with family.

Balsamic Tomato Mozzarella Salad (recipe forthcoming..maybe.)

Sweet Broccoli Salad. Click image for recipe.

Here’s the simple meal plan for the week (subject to change depending on my mood and unpredictable circumstances of the day):

  • S – Spaghetti with meat sauce, buttered green beans and gooey chocolatey brownies with associate pastor
  • M – Sandwiches (I fancied them up by adding sautéed cherry tomatoes and onions over fried deli ham held together with a warm Kaiser roll)
  • T – Soup (a recipe I have yet to invent. I have ground beef, tomato puree and paste, broth, and beans and veggies. I should be able to make that into something yummy…I hope.)
  • W – Tacos
  • Th – Something with eggs
  • F – Something out of the freezer
  • S – Out or Frozen

Looking at that list makes it sound like I know what I’m doing for once!


Toddler Can he get any cuter? Seriously, God really wanted to thank us for our openness to life with this one. He’s like, you’ve had a few rough goes, take an easier one for a little. I wouldn’t appreciate his mellow-er personality had it not been for the stronger personalities that have paved the way before him. That said, I see a twinkle of mischief in his eyes and no these “easy” days may not last forever as he grows. He’s quite the little monkey so I hope he has a whole legion of guardian angels protecting him. I’m simultaneously impressed and terrified by his stealthy climbing talents.

He loves his older siblings, loves to be where they are and copies everything they say and do like a parrot. I love listening to all his chattering when he plays, he’s such a busy-body, I love watching him use his imagination and only wish I could see what’s going on in that cute little head of his. Last night, while hanging out alone with mama and daddy before a late bed time, he built an intricate and tall block tower that made both my husband and me pause the video we were watching to watch our son’s amazingness instead. He grinned with prideful accomplishment until he finally knocked it down and then giggled about how hilarious falling cardboard bricks are.

Five-year-old – He’s currently sitting at the table next to me putting together puzzles while singing “Poopey Diaper” at the top of his lungs. It’s honestly driving me – and the toddler – batty but at least he’s letting me sit and type this. He’s really enjoying preschool and is soaking in buckets of learning into his very inquisitive mind. He loves going and seeing all his friends at school but also still really treasures his time with “mama”.

We’re doing a little bit of our own “preschool at home” with the Racecar Alphabet like I did with his older brother and following along with the letters/shapes of the week he does at school. We also really enjoy the weekly Library story-time and getting together with friends when we can. It’s hard to believe he’ll go off to Kindergarten next year but it helps me remember to really treasure this time we have together…even when he drives me crazy and I wish I could find his mute button.

8 year-old – Is currently super excited about the new room we are preparing for him. We moved my  husband’s “office” from the upstairs “bonus” room above the garage down to the basement in the “sewing/lego/craft/just-dump-that-in-there-and-close-the-door-quick room. He currently shares his room with the five-year-old but I’d like to move the toddler out of our room soon. The problem is that 8 year-old’s alarm clock is very loud and I have enough stress to deal with on early school mornings so would like to avoid the addition of another grumpy child who isn’t ready to be awake to deal with. I’m not sure how well it will all go but it’s fun changing things up a bit.

He’s also loving basketball! We weren’t sure how it would go since he’s the only one on the team who’s new to organized sports but he’s done so well! We really lucked out with the team he was placed on too, they’ve won every game and are fun to watch. Every week, gets better and learns something new and even scored 8 points in the last game!

10-year-old – Only two more weeks and I won’t be able to call her that anymore. It’s surreal knowing that I’ll have an eleven-year-old daughter. I knew the day would come but it’s still hard to wrap my mind around. I’m slowly letting go and embracing the fact that she is indeed getting older and it’s going to be ok. I really couldn’t be prouder of her, she’s incredibly mature and honest for her age, much more so than I was at that age! We enjoy our after-bedtime conversations with her about Faith, God, death, life, and…yes all sorts of other “mature” subject matter and “talks” that is part of this age.

She’s doing really well with her flute and practices loyally every day.She’s also teaching herself a lot of piano songs and is quickly becoming a chain-reader. We actually had to have a little talk about knowing how to differentiate between a healthy amount of reading and an addictive amount. She’s part of her school’s Battle of the Books team and most of the titles are in the “Teen Fiction” section. I shared on Facebook that letting her go into that Teen Section is as scary as it will be sending her off to college…you never know what sort of titles (and pictures) you’ll find lurking in that Teen Fiction section. I wish I could keep her in the Children’s Section forever but I guess I need to let her go and trust her…and God to guide her and protect her.

Thinking/praying about: Advent, Faith, thoughts from RCIA classes and our conversation with Fr at dinner Sunday, Where/how God wants me to serve Him and other questions and deepish thoughts that both bless and curse me throughout the days. I feel like I’m going through a transition in my Faith…a deepening. I’m not sure what it is or how to explain it but I think it is a good thing. I’m hoping to start writing more about it soon.

Wow, I can’t believe I just sat and typed this whole thing out in one sitting. There are a bunch of puzzle pieces to put back together, a kitchen to clean up, and a diaper to change and millions of other things I should have done but at least I won’t have all these thoughts rumbling around my head anymore.

En-JOY your day!

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