Advent Self-Care

This afternoon, my kids are snuggled up in their beds, with their daddy home to keep them safe, while I am in a random chair at the closest local coffee shop we’ve found, sipping water. (I finished my chai latte 15 minutes ago.) The playlist here is a combination of Christmas music and the Eagles. I’m working on a homemade gift for my sister. I finished a podcast episode a few minutes ago. I can hear tidbits of conversation from the other coffee drinkers and the baristas. The windows are oriented just right, here, for plenty of non-direct sunlight…

Bowmp Bowmp

Kids have entertaining misunderstandings of song titles and lyrics. Recently, mine have both been asking for “Bowmp Bowmp” on repeat. What they mean is “Second Hand News” by Fleetwood Mac. Go listen to the song if you don’t know it—they have a legitimate basis for their nickname on this one.

The song is one of my own favorites—so catchy, so fun to harmonize!—so I don’t mind pressing the back button as the music starts fading and Luke shouts out from his car seat, “Again! Bowmp bowmp! Loud!”

Actually, they’re not all that picky.

Things I do to encourage my kids to try new foods, without power struggles.

My kids don’t love leftovers. That’s fine, for now. I encourage leftovers with things I know they remember they like, and I figure we’ll work on it. So they eat a lot of grilled turkey-and-cheese sandwiches while I eat leftovers for lunch.

In spite of the monotony of their lunches, I would not categorize my kids as “picky” in the typical toddler/preschooler sense of “all she will eat is yellow foods!” (Chicken nuggets, applesauce, macaroni and cheese, toast, etc.)

It’s just that I prefer to choose my battles, and leftover brussels sprouts is a battle I’m unlikely ever to win.

However…

Bedtime Theology

Little minds ask surprisingly big questions. Miryam often springs them on me at bedtime, during our snuggle time at the very end of her routine. I’m sure it’s partially a stalling technique, but also partially because when we say bedtime prayers, she gets to thinking about this kind of thing.

Ever since my great grandpa died earlier this year, Miryam has been curious and pretty casual about death. She asks me a lot of questions about Heaven, when we’re going, who and what will be there, etc.

Recently, she asked…

Pumpkin Roasting 2018

How seven pumpkins became 3.75 gallons of home-roasted pumpkin purée. (And how you can roast your own pumpkins, too!)

Last year, we made an irrevocable (but honestly, unsurprising) discovery: Homemade pumpkin purée really does taste better in pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread than what’s in the can from the store! I make a lot of pumpkin bread. Justin always makes his grandmother’s pumpkin chiffon pie for the holidays. Hence, we will likely be roasting our own pumpkins every fall for the rest of our lives….

Potty Training, Day One

While we were on our family visiting road trip, Luke took an earnest interest in the little potty at my in-laws’ house. As in, he would thrash during diaper changes and say “potty,” and he actually peed in it twice! I’ve had multiple resources emphasize not to ignore the “window of readiness” for potty training—defined as either generally “between 20-30 months” or “when he shows interest in it and awareness of potty actions.” We’re definitely within both of those windows right now.

So, I decided early last week: We’re taking the diaper off first thing next Monday morning…

How to Save Time at the Grocery Store

My five minute trick for preventing forgetting and backtracking at the grocery store, and for keeping cold items as cold as possible.

Almost nothing is more frustrating to me than realizing I have to walk back across the store for one more thing in the grocery aisles, once I’m in the produce department. Especially when I have kids with me, because I know my minutes of pleasantness and cooperation are limited. Over the past five years of being the primary shopper in our household, I’ve developed a grocery list method that mitigates the chances of forgetting something and having to backtrack, that really works. Here it is:…

Halloween Veggies

(Halloween update AND a quick recipe!)

Last night for Halloween, my kids’ enthusiasm got me into the spirit, so I put on a cat ears headband while taking them trick or treating. I’m pretty sure the last time I dressed up for Halloween was senior year of college, when my roommate was Rapunzel and I was her hair. Halloween’s just not my holiday.

The kids were, in Miryam’s words, “a monster Batman girl” and “the leftover cow” (leftover because we recycled her costume from 2 years ago for Luke).

Also uncharacteristically, I let them stay up late…

Putting Down Roots

One night last week, I was able to pawn off some of those brownies I made last Monday, in all their calorific glory, on the women in a group I’m in at my church.

Thank goodness for community!

In addition to the brownies, I was able to share some news with these women, and they immediately prayed for me, gave me hugs, and somehow made me feel like I have family right here in Arlington, where I’m physically hundreds of miles from my actual family.

It feels like a fluke to have found community this fast. We’ve been here less than…