Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When Life Gets Messy

I'm a doer.  Well, most days.  I know I've said it a million times, but I am fueled by being busy if I'm home.  But, being busy means a lot of different things.  If I should be paying bills, I might be baking instead - still busy.  If I set out to start the laundry, on the way to the laundry room I might notice that the grass outside looks a little dry and head out the door to turn the sprinkler on.  While there I'll notice a misplaced toy or two, pick it up to take inside and hear, "I need juice, Mommy!"  Getting the juice, I'll check my phone for a text and then realize I need to add a few things to the grocery list.  Blah blah blah, you get the picture.  And, once I get in go-mode, I'm not always good at being interrupted.

I don't like this about myself.  Yes, I get a lot done some days, but most days, it's silly stuff.  I even, at times, have a difficult time sitting down to read a book with the boys because in that ten minutes I think of three things (rather than one) I could accomplish if I wasn't reading.  STOP!  I keep telling my mind to stop.  To be at peace.  To take a break.  But, I often cannot.

If I'm at others' homes, I can relax.  If I'm on vacation I can relax.  If a friend or relative is visiting, I usually can relax.  Plus, having just had a new baby (well, two months ago), this sense of anxiety, of the need to do something, is heightened.  And, it remains so for awhile.  

It makes life messy in the inside from time to time.  But typically it gets to a point when it hits me hard that something isn't quite right...that my focus is unfocused and that my daily life needs a little fine-tuning.  Some days that point of realization looks like this...































Just because Carter isn't pictured doesn't mean he wasn't involved.  He created the mud!  

Anyway, it was messy.  And, in typical fashion, I had just vacuumed the carpet, and all I could think was that they were about to un-do what I'd spent a few minutes doing.  As I opened my mouth to reprimand them, I stopped.  I, too, loved to play in mud as a kid.  I still remember that.  Sure, it made a mess, but it wasn't anything a little water hose couldn't fix.  And, my mom let me do it.  Their joy in the moment was more important than my self-described productivity.  Plus, they weren't doing anything wrong...just "inconvenient."

That mess they made -- it was on the outside.  It sure beats one on your inside.  They're helping me see that every day.  As one to-do is marked off, another will take its place.  But these little ones...you know the story.  They don't keep.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Food: Creamed Corn

You know those recipes that just remind you of home?  Creamed corn is one of them for me.  It reminds me of Me-Me's (my grandmother) house.  We could almost always count on it being a side, along with mac n' cheese and a green salad.

Every August, sweet corn from the field is picked and many gather to shuck, clean, cook and freeze it. Sadly, I'm not typically there for that part (sorry ladies!) but I do get to enjoy the corn, and depending on how much I'm given, I get to make a small batch of creamed corn myself.

That's what I did this year.

I received 36 ears of corn...perfect for one batch of creamed corn.
We've found that using an angel food cake pan comes in extremely handy in order to keep the mess at bay while cutting the corn off the cob.  So, I sliced it all...

Then, I put it in a large roaster...
and add a pound of butter.

To that I add a pint of half & half.
Then I cook it at 325 degrees for an hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.

Once it's completely cooled, I bag it in gallon bags.
And, it's then frozen for Winter (or whenever else we want a little corn)!
Voila!

Creamed Corn
36 ears of corn
1 lb. butter
1 pt. half & half

Shuck, clean, and cut off kernals of corn.  Place cut corn in large roasting pan.  Add butter and half & half. Place in 325 degree oven for one hour.  Stir every 15 minutes.  Let completely cool.  Bag it and freeze it for future use. (add salt and pepper to your liking before eating)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Kimberly

Our summer friend starts college today.  We miss her.  

Back up six months.  I had asked this sweet young lady to babysit for me and my cousin's kids (a total of six at the time) for an evening.  Not only did we come home to happy children, but the house was just as we left it (or cleaner)!  When I asked her what her summer plans were, she said she was looking for a job.  Without even thinking much about it, I told her that if she didn't find something five days a week that we'd love to hire her for one day a week.  I didn't give much thought to our means to do so, nor did I think she'd take me up on the offer.

Then May came, and I got a text saying she'd love to come over on Tuesdays this summer if the offer was still available.  I was having Sophie the next week, and knowing that I'd need help in recovering and trying to be available for the boys, too, I said, "Yes!"  However, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit nervous.  I thought I'd feel guilty being in my own home doing things while someone else was watching/playing with my kids.  I thought I'd have a hard time letting go of that control or the need to be a good mom (what I found synonymous with handling my own children all hours of the day, every day of the week).  I didn't know what would happen in the moments of silence when the boys were napping - would I have things to talk to her about or would it be awkward?
That first Tuesday came, and all fears quickly subsided.  She took the boys outside for the majority of the morning while I figured out things with Sophie.  That afternoon while everyone napped, she helped me plan some summer activities for moments of downtime with the boys.  We talked about her hopes for college, her plans for the summer and the "good ol' days" when I used to be her babysitter.
What I quickly realized was that she, and her services, were a Godsend.  He knew just what I needed this summer, and He provided.  Kimberly (Kim-a-nee according to John Paul) quickly became a much-anticipated blessing every Tuesday.  The boys adored her.  In fact, last week when I asked Peter to get in the car to run errands with me, he said he'd rather stay home with Kimberly (too bad she wasn't available that day).  While they loved playing with her, I loved the company.  I knew my boys (and Sophie when she got a chance to spend time with her) were in wonderful hands.  She treated each of them as I would, and I think I even learned a thing or two from her about handling various situations.  She expected great things from them, and they lived up to it (most days).  She was everything I hoped for and more.

More than that she was a friend for me, too.  Although much younger, she is wise beyond her years.  We chatted about life, about various trials, and about hopes.  She shared things with me and I with her like we'd been friends for years.  Her Tuesdays inspired me to be a better mom, and I'll be forever grateful for her help, her love for my kids and her friendship.

Kimberly, we know you'll do great things where you are now, too!  And, we'll be sending you a few goodies from time to time to make sure you don't forget us.  Thanks for everything!