In the past, Pax and I have really had a hard time getting much done on our weekends. We look forward to them and during the week have no problem discussing all the things we want to do around the house and yard, but when we roll out of bed on Saturday morning we kind of play the “well, what do you feel like doing today” game.
Well, we nailed it today. Gardening really is good for the soul. And so is meeting goals. We set out to put up another section of our fence, pull as many dandelions as possible and plant some new stuff in “the bean”. (i.e., The bean-shaped flower bed we dug out of our front lawn a couple years ago.)
One section of fence, approximately 3,576 dandelions, and a run to the nursery later and I’m feeling really freaking good. My body is sore. I am going to sleep really well tonight and I think I checked every last thing off of my list today. As Vi would say, “Bing bang boom!”
It is a lot of work, but man, having a yard to take care of can heal so much. Now, I just can’t wait to get started on my vegetables. And someday, a greenhouse. 🙂
I am ailed by Obsessalitis. Never heard of it? It’s hereditary. I bet you know somebody who has it. The person afflicted with Obsessalitis is an idea-haver; a creative mind. A fresh concept is conceived in their busy mind, perhaps inspired by something they see on the tube, hear about on the train, or surf upon it on the Internets, something so Pinteresting that they obsess over it for days, weeks, even months. The idea becomes a way of life.
If I do this “thing”, make that “thing”, something with the “thing”, it will change my life. People will love me. People will want to buy the “thing”. They’ll throw money at the “thing”. I will bathe in the coolness of my “thing”. It is the only thing I will ever need.
You can imagine that constant access to social media and the Internet in general only makes the condition worsen.
“Mom, come play with me.”
“Hang on. I just thought about urban farming for the tenth time today and now I MUST look at something on my phone really quick.”
It’s not really quick. It spirals out of control quicker than you can say “Hilarious Goat Birthing Stories”.
And then the “thing” fizzles out and the afflicted moves on to some other “thing”.
So, now I’m trying to only do the “thing” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And weekends.
You know. All things in moderation or something.
Or maybe this is just a symptom of my Obsessalitis and the “thing” is being a better mom/wife.
(And homesteading, blogging, sewing, sculpting, goats, lagenlook, mori girl fashion, household management binders, and another helping of goats.)
Today is the dedication for the brand new Provo City Center Temple. Our church building is being used so members can watch the broadcast throughout the day and so our meetings were cancelled. I have had the past few hours to myself while everyone else napped. The house is so quiet. I feel like it’s been ages since it’s been this quiet. So, I took my time curling my hair and doing my makeup. And breathing and pondering.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the choice I made to stay home from a mission to get married. I had had a blessing from my dad as I tried to navigate my feelings. I remember standing in the laundry room with my parents trying to work up the courage to tell them that I had decided not to go to Brazil to serve a mission.
The judgement of others, particularly people who I love and admire, has been something I have feared my whole life. It has prompted me to feel distrust toward loved ones in the past and shut people out. As scared as I was, I knew I had to tell my parents that I couldn’t possibly leave on a mission. I had prayed about it and found that receiving a mission call was just part of opening my heart to the path the Lord had prepared for me. So, I tried my best to explain to my mom and dad what I was feeling in my heart.
My parents are wonderful and have always been very supportive. I’ve always imagined that my mom and dad could have felt some sort of parenting whiplash while I stumbled through that part of my life. But they never let on.
Toward the end of our discussion, my dad shared a thought with me. He told me that he knew I would never regret serving a mission, but that I could regret choosing not to.
I have been asked more than once if I regret not going. And I reflect on my dad’s council often.
The truth is, going to Brazil, teaching the Gospel, learning Portuguese… these are all things I would have loved to have done. But, in the past five and a half years I’ve figured a few things out.
Motherhood is a ministry. I am a missionary. The thought of ignoring what I felt in my gut when I prayed to God telling him I was going to serve a mission instead of getting married still makes me feel sick. I’m not saying that what my dad told me was wrong. Because he’s was absolutely right. I’ve just come to learn that my mission is to align my will with the Lord’s and to magnify my calling as a steward over the sweet spirits He sends to me.
I have been teaching the Gospel for the past four years and plan to continue doing so forever.
There is nothing stopping me from learning Portuguese.
And I’ll just go to Brazil later.
My birthday was on Monday. I can honestly say, this is a point in my life I never really imagined. If you had asked my 18 year-old self what I thought I’d be doing at 27, I probably wouldn’t have known how to answer. And that makes it feel like kind of a weird age. I’ve been married for five and a half years and I’ve got three kids. My family is incredible. And it is the single most important thing to me right now.
Anyway, the night before, my parents’ had everyone over for a birthday dinner and made me a cake. Mom made delicious lasagna and Megan made the cake (which dad frosted with his own recipe).
On my actual birthday things were fairly quiet. The kids were especially pleasant, which was very nice. Pax came home a little early and skipped class that night so we could take the kittens bowling and grab a bite.
It was a super good way to spend my birthday with my “special friends” and I even got some cool new stuff. Including a really rad new sewing machine which I am really chomping at the bit to break in.
(Don’t ask my what the mushroom picture is all about. Aside from the fact that I find fungi strangely beautiful and I like using other people’s nice photography on my blog, I can’t give you a good excuse.)
I feel like I am finally clawing my way out of my dark, cold den into the blistering sunlight of real life. Hiding out in our house is starting to drive me insane. So far, I’ve gotten by just leaving once a week to run to the store or visit family for a birthday, but it’s not enough anymore. And it’s not just me.
Parley is getting cabin fever, too. The past three days he has asked me if he can go play outside and each time it’s been a glacial 20 or so degrees outside. Each time I’ve seen that warmer days are coming later in the week, but so far, the prophecies of my weather app have yet to come to pass. My son has way too much practice coping with disappointment.
I know I should just take the time to bundle the chickens up and send them out, but last time I did that, everyone came back crying with wet, frozen fingers. And sickness.
We’ve been slowly working ourselves back into some sort of routine. We even managed to do some school this week and this evening the kids crafted some Valentine’s for their dad. I downloaded some snazzy clipart, brought out what I’ll call the “craft crate” and before long we had a mess of homemade stickers, lidless markers, cardstock with tiny cuts along one edge (courtesy of Vi’s smashing scissor skills), and a gluestick that was not supposed to be discovered. There were also googly eyes which everyone INSISTED had to be on their card for dad.
It cheered me up. They make me really happy. But their hard. Correction, being two must be hard, because Vi is really the one that is hard right now. Which is why I have been referring to her as my “troll year-old”. And sadly, she has stopped calling her brother “Parlow” and has transitioned to “Parley”. I should think this is awesome, but I confess, I always get a little sad when my kids figure this stuff out. Thankfully, there always seems to be something else.
Because Vi now answers nearly every question by saying “sure” in her scratchy toddler voice. And it usually doesn’t quite fit the situation which makes me smile. And she is fascinated by colors and has been trying to learn their names. You can imagine this makes me especially proud and excited.
Just like today when she spent some time alone with me at the table drawing our family. I have enjoyed spending time doing things with her so Parley can have some time to himself. Which I am just learning he really needs. He’s an incredible brother and does an amazing job of including her, but today he just needed to play Skylanders alone.
So, I got to play Hungry Hungry Hippos with Vi and I think it was the most fun I’ve had doing it.
One last note for my posterity, I found the most awesome soft pretzel recipe and have made them already like a bajillion times in the three weeks I’ve had my paws on it. So, that’s a thing, now. And here it is in case anyone needs to find it in the distant future. (Because I am totally imagining my daughters someday being like, “Do you have mom’s pretzel recipe?”, “No, but isn’t that dusty old blog still up?”)
3 cups all-purpose flour + up to 3/4 cup more if needed
2 cups water
4 tbs baking soda
1 tbs coarse salt, for sprinkling on top
Just Out of the Oven
6 tbs salted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 475 degrees and line a large baking sheet or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine yeast with warm water and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Once mixture becomes "frothy" your yeast is ready. Stir in salt and melted butter. Add flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms and is no longer sticky. You may need more or less depending on temperature differences. If you press your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it's ready to knead. Knead dough for 5 more minutes until smooth and pliable. Form dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl to rest for 15 minutes. During this time, prepare baking soda bath.
In a medium sized pot, boil 2 cups of water with 4 tbs of baking soda. Once the baking soda is mostly dissolved, take mixture off heat and allow it to come down to a lukewarm temperature. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish once cooled down.
At this time, 15 minutes of dough resting time should be up. Take dough out of the bowl and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Cut dough into 8 sections (like a pizza). Roll each triangle into a long rope, about 19-20 inches long. Shape dough into pretzel shape and place in baking soda bath for 2 minutes. If the whole pretzel isn't covered by the water, spoon it on top of the areas is doesn't reach. Once the 2 minutes is up, carefully pick pretzel up either by your hand or with the help of a fork and place on prepared baking sheet. You may have to re-shape slightly. Sprinkle the pretzel with coarse salt while still wet (optional). Repeat these steps until all 8 pretzels are prepared and on the baking sheet(s).
Bake pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately from the oven, brush (heavily) with melted butter.
These homemade soft pretzels are best served hot and fresh out of the oven but will keep for about 2 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Pop them in the microwave and they're good as new!
Make pretzel bites by cutting dough ropes into 1-2 inch pieces. Bake for 4-6 minutes.
Don't feel bad if they don't look all fancy-like. They're tasty knots of doughy goodness.