When there are NO Words

I feel the need to write today.

There are too many thoughts in my head and they need to get out.

I find that writing is cathartic, when it’s unplanned, when it’s most needed.

And today…well today is certainly one of those days.

I’ve been avoiding news sources like the black plague. So much pain, so much hurt, so much injustice these days that this poor Mama’s heart just breaks and re-breaks every time I scan the latest news header. Tornados, rock slides, car accidents…all of it unbearable to me and I feel a wash of pain and grief come over me in solidarity for the people and families who have been affected irrevocably.

In an instant.

A.mere.instant.

And so I hug my children a little bit tighter, selfishly and thankfully, tearfully acknowledging that I have no control over anything other than how I live now.

As a talker, I know that words are the first thing that I want to offer to people, hurting or not. However, all too often I hear things like “Be strong” tossed around to the hurting or “God’s plan…” or “Don’t forget about how blessed you still are…” immediately during these trying times, as if a verbal-one-for-all-bandaid could do any good…if there was even such a thing. (And you know me, I love a good cliché.)

To those people I would say, SHUT UP.

I have no time for you, the hurting have no time for you, and there simply is NO TIME for you.

There is a time and place for everything. God is everywhere always, I truly believe that, and I truly believe that God gave us a wide range of emotions to express our lives to one another, our souls. When grief, when sadness, when despair are so very, very fresh (and even lingering) these are not the words that those of us on our grieving journeys need to hear.

What we need are our communities to come alongside us and to hold us up in love. To comfort…to hold… to deliver the standard Midwestern hotdish or pan of bars. More often than not, the last thing that we need are words. Because really, how can you explain away lives taken too soon? Evils and accidents, natural disasters with consequences that rend God’s heart? What words can you give that would comfort a parent left to live their days without the joys and pains of their child?

If anything, perhaps, we should hug our children and our spouses, our family and friends a bit tighter, and revel in the blessings that permeate our lives; and in doing so as a community, honor those who grieve by extending our ears to listen and shoulders to help bear the burden.

Picture dump in 5…

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Monday Meal Plan (on Tuesday)

I’m not sure how I fell behind since I only seem to blog on my “gimmicky” days lately. I feel stuck in a rut when it comes to blogging lately and everything other than pictures or food seems to be mundane. I’m hoping that our Belize post later this week for Eat the World helps to lessen that fog but I’m not honestly all that confident. So…we’ll see.

Dylan’s home this week so I get to play with a few more “daring” recipes than if it was just me and the girls (since they generally won’t be convinced to eat it by just myself). Ada’s been chomping at the bit to “eat a country” since we re-booted last week with ETW, so that makes me happy. I’m hoping it’ll pull her out of this everything-is-icky phase we seemed to have begun.

Has anyone else had that issue when their kid(s) started daycare/school? Ada used to eat anything and everything we put in front of her, albeit not peas, but pretty much everything and now that she’s eating lunch at school turns her nose up at things she used to love. I know this is a developmental stage too but it’s driving me near bonkers. Especially when I’m really trying to plan out meals and provide a variety of foods for them to taste. She already has to eat what’s on her plate, we offer a small amount of anything new or things we know she doesn’t necessarily like just so she can keep trying it. Do you have any other tips or tricks to help with this? 

OH, and on an AWESOME note, one of my BFFs (seriously, I still use that term) is coming to visit me in early August!! She is flying into Fargo with her husband and going to spend FIVE days with us. I am over the moon!! Hopefully the weather will be beautiful and we’ll spend time at the lake and just putzing around town together. This summer is gearing up to be epic!!

Bert and the girls on the beach a year and a half ago...too long ago.

Bert and the girls on the beach a year and a half ago…too long ago.

Me and Bert. She loves me for me, can't you tell?

Me and Bert. She loves me for me, can’t you tell?

Bert & The Hubs with her Goddaughter.

Bert & The Hubs with her Goddaughter.

Monday Meal Plan : 1.14-1.20

1.14 Monday

Dinner: Leftovers

1.15 Tuesday

Breakfast: Homemade granola bars

Dinner: Salmon w/crispy edamame and lemon souffle pudding cake (Ada’s been dying for a dessert lately)

1.16 Wednesday  

Breakfast: Granola w/yogurt & honey

Dinner: Fully loaded baked potato soup w/crisped sausage

*Extra*

I made a sourdough starter last weekend and I’m hoping to try baking with it this night. We’ll see how it goes. It is still nameless which I hope to correct shortly as I want to hand it down to my girls someday (yeah, I’m cheesy like that). 

1.17 Thursday 

Breakfast: Cereal w/fruit & milk
Dinner: Eat the World: BENIN

*Extra*

Apple cinnamon scones from King Arthur’s recipe files. These can be made ahead and popped into the oven for a fresh brekkie…I’m in. 

1.18 Friday 

Breakfast: Apple cinnamon scones

Tea Time: Ada will be at Terry’s…

Dinner: Dachtler Pizza Night!

*Extra*

Peanut butter cup popcorn. The girls missed their Daddy mucho this past week while he was working, so I think, barring anything pressing that may come up, we’ll have a movie night. Shut ourselves in with some Red Box/Netflix, good pizza and popcorn, and just veg out together. My favorite kind of family time. 😉 

1.119 Saturday

Breakfast: Pumpkin cranberry waffles w/Cool Whip. Cool Whip? Yes. Cool Whip. 

Lunch: Beer cheese macaroni. I’ve been wanting to try this for quite some time…here’s to hoping it’s delicious!

Tea Time: Assam w/milk & sugar and fruit snacks

Dinner: Spiced black bean, avocado & goat cheese tacos

1.20 Sunday 

Breakfast: Granola & almond milk/leftover scones

Lunch, Tea & Dinner: @ Terry & Sheila’s for Sunday, although if we come home for dinner I’ll make caramelized mushrooms & dumplings. I saw this recipe and my mouth instantly started watering. 

Nellie So turns 2!

We celebrated Nellie’s 2nd birthday a bit early since Dylan has to work on the actual day. Boo to unconventional work hours. Boo.

We planned a Sesame Street Party for the birthday girl since she loves her some Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Grover. I was nervous about making her cake this year but I think it all ended up going really well. My parents even came up Friday night to spend some extra time with us prior to partying. 😉

And of course a little singing:

And a little bit of after-party goodness. I made a balloon garland to hang in our archway and the girls went to town on it after Dylan unhooked it.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and for those of you who weren’t, we know the holidays get busy and travel isn’t always the best, just know you are loved and were missed! 🙂

I’m thankful for…

Day 20: I’m thankful for my nieces. I’m so excited to see them for Thanksgiving! (Now if my kids would only get over this flu bug so we can all have fun together…)

Cousins circa Summer 2012, an oldie but a goody. 

I’m thankful for…

Day 4: I am thankful for in-laws. I know that might not be a typical or first-thought for thanksgiving but truly, I am. I have been blessed with a second set of parents that are warm, loving, and compassionate. People who have welcomed me into their family and their lives and love not only me but my daughters (if not more so) as well. I’m lucky to have a father-in-law who will rescue me at church after my car battery dies and my husband is working. I’m lucky to have a mother-in-law who will go errands shopping with me and make it entertaining the entire time. I’m lucky to have brothers- and sisters-in-law who are consistently helpful, encouraging, challenging, and good-humored. I consider myself a well blessed person all-around when it comes to family and I’m sure that will never change.

Nelson’s pumpkin patch

We took the girls out to Nelson’s Pumpkin Patch near Emerado, ND. It’s a cute little spot that’s worth the annual 30 minute drive. We went a bit late this year so there weren’t many pumpkins to choose from, in fact, the ones left were the most dejected rejects I’ve seen. Poor pumpkins. Had my mom been there, she would’ve bought every single one of those uglier than ugly gourds. Or more than likely she would’ve picked the ugliest and bought it out of pity, like every one of our past Christmas trees…

I still can’t figure out how to narrate pictures as opposed to “commenting” on them. Eventually I’ll get this figured out…

We went with my boss and her family, she’s got two littles the same age as our girls, so it’s nice to do things with them. 🙂 Unfortunately we decided to go right around naptime…I’m not sure why that happened…so needless to say, the kids were a bit like fish outta water. At least they took turns with their behaviors, I guess we do have to give them “thanks” for that.

Ada and Nellie loved the pumpkin skee-ball table and the “petting zoo.” Nellie kept crowing at the chickens which was pretty funny. We also attacked the short corn maze but the kids weren’t all that thrilled.

Annual pumpkin patch adventure…thank goodness it’s annual…

It’s The Little Things

Nothing makes my heart swell with love more than these two munchkins lovin’ on each other.

A Purrfect Party!

 A little someone turned 4 in February and we celebrated with a Purrfect Party!
 An old co-worker of mine made this awesome cake for Ada’s party. She does this in her free time. Seriously Brittany, you’re amazing. 
 We also had chocolate cupcakes (mostly because I couldn’t put candles into the Hello Kitty cake…it didn’t deserve that kind of treatment).
 We also played Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty and everyone got in on the action, even Great-Grandma Hilda.
 
 Ada of course got more than her fair share of birthday gifts. 
 And even Nellie got one.

 
Grandma and Grandpa gave Ada a huge plastic spider because Ada is always teasing Grandma Jill on the phone that she is going to bring one to their lake house (Grandma Jill hates spiders). 
 Ada thought it was hysterical…although she wasn’t so willing to get near it for a while. 
 We finally cut the poor girl up.
 Tasty funfetti inside with chocolate frosting…I’m not crazy about fondant but Ada loved it.
 Hiding out and doing naughty things with the Grandmas.
 NO POP.
 Thank you everyone who stopped by and joined us to celebrate Ada’s 4th birthday! We truly are lucky to have such wonderful friends and family.
 And last but not least, a little cupcake bandit.