Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We Put The E.R. in AnnivERsary

My husband and I celebrated our thirteenth anniversary this past weekend.

Budget was tight, so we planned a romantic weekend at our house, with the kids nearby at a close friend's.

All went well dropping the kids off.

We raced home like two teenagers whose parents were out of town, anticipating time alone. We picked out a movie on Amazon and cuddled on the couch. Around nine o'clock, we received a text saying that Opie and Peanut both had gone to bed without a hitch.

*Deep breath* 

Finally. 

After three years of no time alone, we had done it.

We stayed up until midnight, just because we could. Before I laid down, I put my phone on vibrate. I didn't want to risk being interrupted by a text or some silly Facebook notification. Besides, what were the odds that something would happen on this one night? And my friend had my husband's number in case of an emergency.

We fell asleep with dreams of sleeping past five-thirty a.m. for the first time in two years....


1:00 AM

*RING! RING!*

You have got to be kidding me. 

I could hear him wheezing and coughing through my husband's phone. 

I knew those sounds: Croup

We raced to grab Peanut and headed straight to the ER. 

I assure you, these photos are not edited, cold sore and all... Yikes. Happy Anniversary.

We got back home around three-thirty a.m. 

Now, one might think I would be bitter about the weekend being shot. 

By the grace of God, I was not. 

Though my anniversary was a bust, I was still able to realize how blessed I was.

Peanut's emergency was not life-threatening.

And at the end of the day, I was thankful that when the spit hit the fan, I had a partner to help me with it all.



My two kids are blessed.

I am blessed.

My husband is a rock.

And at the end of our crazy hospital anniversary date, I had Him to go home with.

And my heart was reminded of why I married this Man in the first place.

I love you, Honey. 

Happy Anniv-ER-sary! 




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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Best Three Bucks I Ever Spent


Sassy Dish Gloves



These have brought me much happiness.

Seriously, much-o happiness-o

They started as a need. We don't have a dishwasher in our little rental. 

(*Gasp!* I know, right? It's a hard knock life.

And when it's winter and you are constantly doing dishes, unattractive things start happening to your hands. They get as dry as sandpaper, your fingers split open, and you walk around with bandaids on your fingertips. It ain't pretty. 

You should seeeeeee the amount of dishes at times. And the three men in my life, god love 'em, do not re-use cups throughout the day, no matter how often I gripe at them remind them to.

So, I figured if I was constantly going to be doing dishes, I might as well make it a fashionable event! 

In my psyche, I thought that might make it a little less dread-able. (Is that even a word?

For some weird reason, it worked. Strapping on those pink rubber gloves is a nice distraction. And I don't have water dripping down my arms. 

Hey, it's the little things, people. The little things. 

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PS. Check out TJ Maxx and Marshalls for some adorable styles for around $3! And as my husband tells me, in his most sarcastic voice, "Well, then you can't afford NOT to get them, right?!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Things You Need to Know...Well, Not Really.

I got tagged. 

By a fellow blogger. 

And I love me a good game of tag! 

The challenge was to share some about myself. And if there's sadly one thing I do well, it's talk about myself. (I'm working on that...) Thank you, Angie, from Hays House...Misadventures in Parenting. Go check her page out. She's so funny!




1. Where were you born? Anniston, Alabama. Ranked #1 Most Polluted city in America thank-you-very-much. Pride wells up inside of me.

2. Were you named after someone? A soap opera star. Not sure if that was prophetic or not. *AhemNo comments from the peanut gallery.

3. If you have children, how many do you have? I have two boys. An eight year old and a two year old. I refer to them as 'Opie' and 'Peanut' on the blog. They are growing up waaaaay too fast. I literally pray for time to stand still on a regular basis.  

4. How many pets do I have? None. We've tried. Love dogs. Don't love the extra responsibility they bring, plus the dog hair. I crush Opie's dreams of pet ownership on a regular basis. And I'm okay with that. 

5. What was your worst injury? Probably the time I sliced my finger open and got, get ready for this...forty-two stitches. It was summer in Alabama. It involved a four-wheeler, a go-cart with no motor and a rusty barrel. But, then again, who from the South doesn't have a story involving those things?

6. Do I have a special talent? If you are referring to bending my leg behind my ear, or something like that, no. I do sing, though. I took voice lessons as a child. My instructor kept training me in opera and all I wanted was to be Debbie Gibson. So, I quit. Then Mariah Carey busted onto the scene (fully trained in opera) and I was all like, "Dang it!"

7. What's your favorite thing to bake? 
Baked Goods = Deliciousness. My Will Power? Defective. Therefore, I don't bake on a regular basis. But, when I do, it's something my kids can help with, like cookies or something. We only bake on the weekends and toss out what remains on Sunday night. 

8. What's your favorite fastfood? If Mickey-D's fries and Burger King's Whopper ever get together, miracles might just happen. 

9. Would I bungee jump? Heck to the yeah. 

10. What is the first thing you notice about people? If they are open or closed. Warm or guarded. I can tell right away. Wait! Maybe that's my special talent!

11. When was the last time I cried? Watching the ID channel. And yes, that is the channel about murders and what-not. My mid-afternoon-what-can-I-watch-while-I'm-folding-laundry obsession.

12. Any current worries? I get concerned, but God has given me victory over worry. After being anxiety-ridden for years, I finally learned the coping skills to stop the madness. Anxiety is worry that has manifested itself physically. I always claimed to have faith that God was in control, but the moment life threw a curveball, I was all "Whuh?!?!" It's a tough journey, though. (One I still am working on!)  

13. Name three drinks you drink regularly. Water. Chamomile Tea. Grape juice.

14. What is your favorite book? Besides my Bible? I don't know. I'm not an avid reader. It's on my list of things to become before I turn 100. ;)

15. Would you like to be a pirate? Only if the booty is home decor and fine jewelry! 

16. What are your favorite smells? Coconut smelly-thingy's for my car. Christmas candles, any scent. And my Cool Water perfume...that I never wear.

17. Why do you blog? Because the need to share is engrained in me to the core. And it's humbling to think that God can use my little thoughts to help someone's walk. I like making people laugh, too. 

18. What song do you want played at your funeral? Whoah. Debbie Downer question alert. I guess "Another One Bites the Dust?" Just joshin'. Something to point people to my Creator. 

19. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? I am a thinker and my internal dialogue can get negative. I occasionally compare myself to others by how I perceive their strengths against my weaknesses. I also see people's abilities and begin to doubt my own. But, I'm learning to celebrate how I'm wired and appreciate my strengths. 

20. What is your favorite hobby? Creativity. Any way, shape or form. When Peanut's toddler years are over, I look forward to decorating again and even exploring passions I've never gotten to start. Photography, knitting, quilting, sewing, modeling clay...okay, maybe not the modeling clay.

21. What do you look for in a friend? Someone who doesn't talk badly about others. If they'll talk about others, they'll throw me under the bus, too.  Every. Single. Time. Also, I look for someone who understands that I don't have time to talk everyday, but when we do, it's as if time never passed. Thankfully, I have quite a few of these women. 

22. Name something you have done you never thought you would do.  Um, that's easy....moved to New Jersey! Traveled solo in and out of New York City multiple times. Shoveled snow. Basically, adjusted to life in the North. I love the adventure it's been. There's SO much to do up here! The history, the people, the gorgeous land.... (I do miss the South, though!)

23. What are your favorite things to do? Watch Project Runway. Date night with the hubs. Explore with my kids. Travel. Browse TJ Maxx and Marshalls and see things I never realized I needed! 

24. Any pet peeves? Not much gets my goat, but when people smack their food, you should know that I am dying inside. Also, check-out lines. I always pick the slowest line with an extreme couponer, a new employee who needs an override for five different reasons, or someone who disputes a price. Come to think of it, this also might be a special talent. 

25. What's the last thing that made you laugh? My husband. I can't even remember what he said. When my pet-peeves (the ones that have to do with him) have me all grumpy, he knows how to make me chill and see the humor in my persnickety ways. PS. He is single-handedly the most influential human-being in my life. And he's purty darn funny to boot. 


So, there it is folks. I'm sure you can sleep better now that you know all of this pertinent information. Thanks again, Angie!

Here are the other blogs I am tagging. They are all some precious folks. That is one good thing about blogging...meeting amazing people along the way! Go check them out!

Miss Indeedy
My Life, As Mommy and Wife
Project Maddox
Cute and Peculiar
The Birth of a Mother 
City Girl Gone Country
Beautiful Day
The Little Beansprout



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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Confessions of a Mommy

Opie, age 8 & Peanut, age 2


I think I am a good Mom.

But, there's always this nagging thought in the back of my mind, "Am I a good enough Mom?" 

I could list you ten things right off the top of my head that make me question my abilities. And, after a heart to heart with my tearful, overwhelmed third-grader last night, my suspicions were confirmed.

I am not the mom that I want to be.


Opie was overwhelmed with school and my high expectations on him. He also admitted that he was angry and hurt because many times I don't follow through on my word.

My heart broke. In all of my striving to be so good, I had still failed. 

I apologized, thanked him for sharing his feelings and we hugged it out. I assured him that I would try to be better at sticking to my word and being consistent. I told him that God was showing me ways I needed to change. It was a much-needed conversation. 

After he went to bed, I shared with my husband how disappointed I was with myself.

"Brianne," he said, "he knows you are sorry and that you love him. You are more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and that's okay. There are moms who are better organized, but there's even a down-side to that. There are pros and cons to both. Kids can thrive in both circumstances. But, everyone makes mistakes."

"But, I don't want to make mistakes!" I told him.

"Good luck with that," he said. "Every kid will look back and see the mistakes their parents made. But, love covers a multitude of sins."

I thought about what he said. I have all day. This expectation of making no mistakes is totally unrealistic. It's actually prideful. I mean, I don't really expect to be "perfect", but I'd like to be pretty darn close.  

But, is perfection what good parenting is about? 

More craft time? 

Fancier dinners? 

Better organization?

I'm beginning to think not.

Maybe...

...it's about accepting our imperfections, yet in that acceptance, asking God to change us into a better version of ourselves. 

...by living this out in front of my kids, they will better understand the grace of God and not live under the pressure of perfection.

...even my mistakes are a chance for me to point my boys to the only One who will never let them down.


Now, I will continue to strive to be a better Mommy. After all, my word is important and I want my boys to be able to count on me. However, I am only human. 

My ultimate goal should not be perfection as a Mom. There's no good in that. 

It should be my goal to be a mother who constantly points them to the God who takes imperfections and turns them around into His glory!

Lord, make me that mother! And let my strivings for perfection and other's approval not interfere with my ability to mother these two precious souls you have given me. Let me love them as you would. Whatever that looks like...







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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Skylines and Snow

Saturday night the hubs and I had a date.

We drove through the snow to eat Ethiopian food at a restaurant close to New York. As we topped a hill, I looked out and saw the New York City skyline.

I got giddy, as I do each and every time I see that magnificent sight.



Since moving to New Jersey, there have been highs and lows. I've sat at home with sick kids while my husband was away traveling with his job. I've felt the pain of missing family as I watch my nieces and nephews grow up on a computer screen. I've even had days where I think of all I gave up to come here. I miss my roomy, comfy home, my old furniture, and yes, even my waffle-maker. Those things sound so materialistic, but it's reality.

Yet, as I saw that night-time skyline through the falling snow, I was deeply moved.

Why?

Because as a young girl, I dreamed of New York City. I dreamed of snow. But, more than anything, I dreamed of seeing more. Doing more.


When I saw that skyline, I was reminded of God's loves for me 

Me.

A small-town girl from Alabama. A freckle-faced dreamer who, from the time she could think, wanted her life to be an adventure.

It hasn't been easy. I've overcome a lot to get to this point. But, I'm blessed to know that the Creator of the universe cared so much, that He wanted to express His love for me in such a way that I would get it. Who'd have thought that a snowy skyline would be it?

Thank you God, for remembering my dreams. And for bringing me through the hard times, so that these powerful moments remind me of your radical love for me.

He loves each of us that much.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Quinoa Yums

When my husband and I first got married, I thought variety in the kitchen meant cooking different flavors of Hamburger Helper each night. (I'm not kidding.) I've come a long way since those days, but recently I've tried to up it a couple more notches in the healthy cooking department. I'm no expert and am constantly bombing new recipes, but I've found a few keepers! 

My husband and I were first introduced to Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) about six years ago. We read about it in health magazines as the "perfect protein." It is extremely healthy and making it is as easy as pie. (Although pie isn't really that easy to make. But, then again, idioms aren't my strong suit. Just see my last post.)


Aaaany-who, here is a little information from Wikipedia on the unique seed:

"Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous.
Vegetables and seasonings can also be added to make a wide range of dishes. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for water during cooking, adding flavor. 
Quinoa can serve as a high-protein breakfast food when mixed with, for example, honey, almonds, or berries; it is also sold as a dry product, much like corn flakes. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-free and gluten-free baking.
Quinoa may be germinated in its raw form to boost its nutritional value. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content. In fact, quinoa has a notably short germination period: Only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make it sprout and release gases, as opposed to, e.g., 12 hours with wheat.This process, besides its nutritional enhancements, softens the seeds, making them suitable to be added to salads and other cold foods."

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Here are a couple of my recent Quinoa recipe faves. They are easy and quick. Just click on the recipe title to get the full recipes. Enjoy!



I really liked this one from Eatingwell.com. It was gooey and delish! I substituted spinach for chard and it turned out fine. If you have never heard of gnocchi, it is an Italian potato/flour dumpling. I bought a whole-wheat version made with sweet potatoes and loved the taste. This was by far the entire family's favorite quinoa recipe I've made. 



Skinny Quinoa Skillet Supper

This was also a yummo dish from skinnyms.com. If you like artichokes, you will love this. I did, however, choose to leave the sun-dried tomatoes out of the recipe, since they are such a strong flavor. I think I'll throw them in the next time I make it, though, just to see if I dig it! 

Both of these were tasty, quick, simple, and easy to clean up. (which is the best in my book!) 

Bon Appetit!

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