Simple and sweet are his requests… a full day of gardening together as a family, and a full day is what he got. We worked together all day Saturday cleaning up the backyard and working on more garden projects. Then, we had had a nice family dinner outside. It felt like it should be a burger night, so I made homemade burgers paired with oven baked zucchini fries. Both were delicious, and when I find time to recreate it, I will share a recipe soon. On Sunday, we made him his usual breakfast, but served in bed, and then we came home Sunday night to family movie night and I made him his favorite dish (this recipe).
God has grown and stretched this guy in so many areas this year. I’m so thankful that the ripple effect of God growing his love for Jesus trickles down to our marriage and how he leads this family. He certainly exemplifies loving, servant leadership. Loved him when I first met him and love him even more with each passing day. (And sometimes I get pretty annoyed with him too, but thankful we eventually kiss and make up.)
Mother’s Day was simple and sweet. Ben gave me what he called “the Mother’s Day special” and deep cleaned the whole house and backyard for me, he even dusted all my plants. It took him a few days, but it was a pretty perfect gift.He was totally speaking my love language. I might be requesting this yearly. My usual requests were to eat yummy food I didn’t cook and some time to get in bed and do nothing, but watch something and relax. Of course, I got the tradition of breakfast in bed with homemade cards from the girls. My breakfast is my protein shake and gone are the days that I request waffles because I really love my chocolate shake with chia seeds and peanut butter. The rest of the morning was spent gathered with our church family, then afterwards, together with my siblings and cousins, we threw a little celebration for our moms and grandma.
We got home in the early evening and it was just enough time to give me a few hours in bed to catch up on shows and relax. Ben picked up a spicy tuna roll for my dinner and I was one happy mama camped out in bed doing nothing in a clean house. My quiet time did get interrupted for another delivery of homemade gifts, fresh picked flowers, and a little song and dance number they put together, but I happily welcomed their little show. The whole day was so chill and totally what I was hoping for. We even managed to escape the day without any of the girls fighting, though we did have a salad spill in the car. I was hoping the peace would carry over to Monday, but alas, it was that Mother’s Day magic, and all was back to normal first thing Monday morning.
Motherhood has taught me how much more needy I am for God, grace, and forgiveness that is only found through Jesus. I’m a messy heart mom raising messy heart kids, and I’m praying that these girls see Christ through the mess of life because life does get messy. So while I treasure a clean home, my heart is far from it, and I’m learning daily to cling to Christ and surrender my messy heart to Him because only Christ can satisfy.
Of course, True’s first day as a 12 year old started off with the birthday breakfast in bed tradition. This time, she was served a 12 stack of chocolate chip pancakes with a bell pepper elephant made by Ben. We gave her some presents along with her breakfast… her mama-made birthday dress, cowboy boots, instax photo stuff, and a magical mirror. She had requested a Whatever After themed birthday, because of one of her favorite book series, so this magical mirror was the key to unlocking some birthday magic.
She read the message on the magical mirror and she was given a reply (by Ben) to give a hint to what was the next adventure. The reply was a little rhyming poem that gave her clues to where we were going and what she had to do. The first one took us Pumpkin Rock, which was a nod to the story of Cinderella (if you head here, note it is a bit steep going up and down the hill)…
Next, it led us to the Giant Apple Boulders, in which our poem to her touched upon Snow White’s story…
Then, the next magical mirror reply led us to the Frog Prince (and there was a snake rock not too far away)…
This next one was a bit tough, but it led us to an Elephant Rock (or lamb), which was touched upon in the book series for the Cinderella story. This one was hardest to find because we thought it was in the landfill, but it was outside of it. That was an adventure because we drove into a landfill looking for it. While here, she was also given a special purse to rub, a la Aladdin…
The magical mirror seemed to be done with the rock scavenger hunt and it led us to drop off the 3 younger girls with a friend, and Ben and I took True on a date. Her choice was ramen! It was nice to give her undivided attention from both of us and a date like this is something we never get to do, so it was extra special to give her this time, and very special to us too. She is super chatty when she’s alone with us!
After lunch and picking up the other girls, the mirror led us to all of our favorite ice cream place, which was part of the hunt to defeat the Snow Queen. Though once we got there, we were too busy indulging in ice cream to snap a picture. Lastly, the mirror took us back home where we ended the celebration with lasagna (her request) and a crownie cake (the book refers to brownies and crownies).
It was a full day of adventures celebrating our 12 year old! We’ve got one year until she’s a teen and I’m so thankful she still loves fairytales. She is not in a hurry to grow up and definitely cherishes being a kid. I’ll take all the years of that I can get! Time really does go by fast and I’m so thankful to God for allowing me this opportunity to disciple her heart. We’ve been at odds more lately, I think it’s that tween-hormonal thing, but she is also my sidekick. We love her so much and are praying God teaches her to rely on Him and His Word to carry through life. Happy 12, dear Truey!
We had so much fun celebrating Christ’s Resurrection this past Sunday, so much so that I slept in until 9 on Monday morning. The day started off gathering with our church family and my soul needed that refreshing. Then, we headed to Ben’s side of the family. They spoiled the girls with Easter baskets and an egg hunt. It was an extra special Easter with Ben’s fam because it will likely be our last Easter in that house as his cousins will be relocating to Texas. We’re excited for their new house and adventures in retirement, but we will miss having them here in California. Ben and I have so many memories at that house, so it will definitely be hard once they officially move out. Until then, we will savor every celebration and time we get with them here.
After stuffing ourselves silly there, we headed to my parent’s to get stuffed even more. The girls even had another egg hunt there too! Family is definitely a gift and as our girls get older, we appreciate family more and more. It takes a village to raise a family, and we are thankful for our church family and family that pour out love into the lives of our girls. We’ve especially felt it in the trials we’ve gone through this past year. Resurrection Sunday is definitely a day to celebrate grace upon grace. We are so undeserving, but yet Christ so selflessly and generously gave His life for us. It sounds so simple to say all we need to do is repent and believe, but it is simple because Christ already did the difficult work. All we need to do is see how beautifully Holy God is, see our sinful condition and what Jesus did for us. Then, repent and trust Jesus. Everything else that follows is an outpour of knowing who Jesus really is. We have hope, even when life is dark, because of Christ.
Simple and sweet describes how we celebrated yesterday’s love fest. The girls and I went to Ben’s work to leave him some banners on his desks, while he was out doing errands for lunch. Then, came home and baked strawberry cupcakes, watched a movie and the olympics. When Ben got home, he had a flower for each girl and a special love note for me with a hidden message. After, the girls did their homemade Valentine exchange (loads of notes and artwork). Also, True picked a Valentine pummelo from our garden and put a little message on it for the rest of the family. Of course, sometimes it’s nice to go out with a bang and a couple girls ended up fighting, I stepped in in a not so loving way (had to ask for forgiveness), Ben was frustrated with what they were fighting about, and so by the time Ben and I sat down to eat our dinner together (he picked up sushi), we were both exhausted and frustrated. Such is life sometimes, and I’m reminded about the hymn I’ve kept (attempted to keep) in my heart this past week, “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus… O for grace, to trust Him more.” My heart was cranky, but I need to remind myself those truths to give myself a hard reset. Even if it takes awhile for the reset to kick in. With all the sweet and frustrating, it was still a good love day.
My girls think Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day are official holidays, so it makes no sense to them why they aren’t off from school. To say they love holidays (or celebrations) is an understatment. I did tell them that if they worked hard to get Wednesday’s work done ahead of time, we’d take the day off, so they might get their wish after all. If your mini gals are just as excited about celebrating Galentine’s Day as mine, here are some simple celebration ideas for you…
– Make small bouquets and give to neighborhood friends.
– Make flower crowns.
– Watch a cute and quirky movie together. I’m thinking the 1980’s Anne of Green Gables movie.
– Can’t go wrong indulging in some cookies and chocolates while watching said movie.
– Write little notes of encouragement for other important gals in your life (or just send them a text).
– Work on a craft together… maybe heart chain garland or lollipop flowers.
– Make kettle corn.
– Bake together.
– Read a book celebrating friendship.
– Have a picnic outside (even if it’s in your backyard or front lawn).
We will definitely be doing some of the above once school is done for the day. I’m thankful for my little galentine’s and how their hearts love celebrating!
This was our first mini Thanksgiving feast with just the six of us. Hopefully, we can start a new tradition of doing a mini feast on Thanksgiving Eve because Thanksgiving Day is spent with Ben's family for lunch, and mine for dinner. While I cooked and prepped, the girls got the table ready with place cards and notes. Their thank you notes were so sweet. To decorate, they just gathered whatever fall-ish decor I had around the house and put it all over the table.
I'm not brave enough to attempt a whole turkey, so I used this turkey breast crockpot recipe, this stuffing, and we did the Brussels sprouts recipe that's in my book. Of course, we also had mashed potatoes and gravy, and pies! It was all your traditional things made as healthy as possible, so that means whole wheat stuffing, lean sausage, no butter in potatoes, and lightened up pies. There were a couple rounds of toasts, as the girls loved drinking sparkling lemonade (they rarely get juice), while Ben and I sipped on a Santa Margherita Prosecco. It was nice to be able to take some time to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving with the six of us.
Somewhere along the evening, the girls were so excited and crazy (in a good way) and they started their own mosh pit. I don't even remember where that came from, but all of a sudden, the four of them were jumping and bouncing around in a corner together laughing and yelling. Ben and I were just laughing at how silly they were, and as much as they drive me nuts, I know I have lots to be thankful for.