Sunday, April 28, 2013


There is a story in the Bible about a group of people, the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt. God miraculously freed them and brought them out of Egypt. He was bringing them to the Promised Land. Land that God said was good and that He had promised these people from generations before. It was flowing with milk and honey. A beautiful place. But before they could get there they had to wonder through the desert. God took care of His people. He fed them manna from the sky. (No one really knows what manna was). He gave them water to drink. He led them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. The whole time they were in the desert they never needed new shoes or clothes. Nothing wore out. They were taken care of. However, as the story goes, the Israelites were not happy. The grumbled about the manna. The complained about not getting new shoes. They were so tired of the ones they had. The grumbled about having to walk through the desert. 'Couldn't God just beam us there?' Whatever there was to complain about, they did. They forgot the big thing: God just freed them from slavery! He was taking them on a journey to a good place. He was taking care of them in the meantime. However, they never really seemed to remember and God get fed up. He made them stay in the desert an extra 40 years, until the first generation of complainers had all died off.

This story was brought to my attention (again) by a facebook friend who commented, 'Last year there was a drought and everyone was complaining. This year it is raining and raining to make up for the drought that everyone complained about last year and now everyone is complaining about the rain. The ONE thing that kept the Israelites out of the promised land was complaining!!'

Whether you believe this story is true or not does not remove it's impact. Complaining, grumbling, discontent are the things that will keep you where you are. Gratitude is what is going to bring you into the 'promised land'. It seems that when you recognize what you DO have instead of the three bedrooms you do not have (guilty!) that your heart is much more free to enjoy your life. There are good things all around we just need to be looking for them.

So. In an effort to remember the good things in my life to be truly grateful for them, Sunday's are going to be the day in which I recount to you the things I am grateful for this week.

This week I am grateful for our backyard. Very grateful. It really is perfect. It is big, it has a huge tree, we have a covered patio, it is secluded (but not isolated), we have great neighbors who share our backyard. Now that spring has finally come to Wyoming we have been spending a lot of time out there.
Its the type of place that we can spend the whole morning, have a picnic for lunch, let at least one of the kids nap outside and then play some more in the afternoon. We have a family of about 6 deer that visits us several times a day. There are rocks laying around to entertain the geologist and youngest member of the family. All of this, and no one will ever see us. And we dont have to see anyone else (except our neighbors of course but they work during the day). But we can come around front and remember that the world really does exist and take a short walk down to the library, or down the block to our friends, or to the neighborhood park.

And its big enough that when people come to visit they can just camp out in our backyard! Much more economical than staying in a hotel, and much better for everyone's emotional stability (vs. being crammed into our 800 sq. ft!)

I'm grateful for having such a great space!

What are you grateful for this week?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The new routine

Saturday morning has become my favorite grocery shopping time. 'WHAT? WHY?!?' I can hear you all asking yourself this as your faces are contorted as to portray confusion and helplessness and all your thoughts rush to 'Maybe Ami really need help. She is really losing it out there!'

Have no fear. I have not lost my mind. Yet. Or because of being 'out here'.

For whatever reason, Saturday around 930 AM is the QUIETEST time in our grocery store. And ours is known by the locals as always having forever long lines and crowded aisles. So much so, that I knew a few people who prefer to go down the street to the more-expensive-but-without-as-much-selection locally owned grocery store. They are known for their service. (I prefer the low prices, selection, and atmosphere of the chain. I know I know, I'm a terrible person. I'm not supporting my local economy...!!)

I found this out by accident a few weeks ago. When we first moved here I was going on Wednesday afternoons. But quickly found the afternoon shopping experience was not for me. ('Quick find everything you need because we need to get home like 15 minutes ago to start dinner. What were we having anyway. Homemade pizza?!! I didn't make the dough. No time now to make that AND let rise. What can we find in the freezer section. Frozen pizza. yes, here we go. And what's this, ice cream? And maybe two cartons because you never know, maybe we'll have people over. And those new crackers look so good! We should try them. And blueberries are on sale! 3 cents off!! I'll buy ten...' ) Can you see what the problem is? I can't shop when I'm hungry.  So we moved it to Tuesday morning. Well, Tuesday must be the day of or the day before restocking because I was always frustrated. 'You mean, you don't ANY apples? In the WHOLE store? None. Just no, not in the back or anything. No, APPLES?!?' So Tuesday obviously wasn't working.
Well, then my sweet helpful husband (he really is) decided to take on a few shopping trips by himself. I'm not sure when he went, or how he felt his experience was. I'm sure he does not care.
So back to me.
It seems that what has really become the signal for going to the store every week is one event. If this one event is not caught soon enough, it could be catastrophic! That being, running out of milk. My children LOVE milk. LOVE. This fall we were going through TWO gallons a week. And by that I mean, we were running out before we went to store again. We eventually decided that this needed to be curbed a bit and have rationed milk so we only use one gallon a week. And it barely last us that.
So that is how I know we need to go to the store lately. When we have about a days worth of milk left.

A few weeks ago however, we couldn't make it to the store, I'm not sure why, on the day before we would run out. This happened to be a Friday. SO. WE RAN OUT!!! And for breakfast the kids had to have water! How horrible!
I suffered through breakfast.

B: 'Momma, I have milk please'
'I want milk!!!'
'Where my milk momma?!!'
'Milk please momma'

J: 'Moooommmm   iiiieeeee wawee. wawee. wawee peese peese peese wawee wawee waee.......' (Wawee = water. Or, all liquids)

We ran to the store. It was Saturday morning at 930. I was braced for the store to be packed full of weekend shoppers. Those who work during the week and have no other chance to get out get it done. Unlike some of us who should give them the courtesy of not showing up during 'their' time. And I was ready to bribe bribe bribe my way through that lonnnngggggg check out line.

And to my wonderful surprise: the parking lot was basically empty! I got a prime spot. Got the coveted  shopping carts with the little cars attached for the kids. I went up and down every aisle and did not have to say excuse me once! I was able to read labels and ingredients and prices and think about what I wanted without feeling 'pressured' into buying something. You know, when there are like five people trying to get by you in the aisle, but they can't because your cart is blocking the way, and there are one of those special displays in the way on the other side, and you can't remember if you need quick oats, rolled oats, or steel cut oats to make those granola bars. And does it make a difference? Aren't oats just oats anyway? But you can't think about any of this and end up grabbing potato flakes instead. You realize this later. Then you think, what are potato flakes doing next to oatmeal in the first place? Stupid store.

I was able to get in line behind one other person. FABULOUS. No bribing necessary. Just let the little ones 'help' put our items on the conveyor belt and we are good to go.

So now we shop on Saturday mornings. And it's finally spring here. So things are looking up. :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today is Thursday...

...Thursday means swim lessons. Brooklyn LOVES swim lessons. It is a great motivator in the morning. We are not morning people. None of us.

This is how the day started. 6 AM. 1.5 hrs before normal wake up time. But there is no normal when a 20 month old is teething. I let them play in their room while attempted to go back to sleep. This did not work. I got up and brought B to our bed. Brad was working. She had that WHOLE side of the bed. She thought her feet needed to be in my ribs. 6:45 AM. I decide to put a show on for her. That actually worked for 20 minutes! Then J started crying 'MOMMMM  IIEEEEEE MMMMMOOOOOOOO IIIIEEEEEE' ugh. Time to start the day.

We managed to do pretty good at eating breakfast, and getting dressed because the promise of swim lessons is so alluring. And because it was going to be a beautiful spring day...YES! Beautiful! Here, in Wyoming! In April! Spring, we think, has finally come...we walked up to the neighbor's house. She watches J so I don't have to deal with him running all over the pool during lessons. B and I walked home. The sun was shining! We got in the van and it said it was 42 degrees. At 9:20 in the morning!!! This is what experiencing a miracle feels like.

Brooklyn, I think, enjoys going to swim lessons with just me. It's a little special time that we have, even though I just sit in the stands with her the whole time. And she loves to see her friends. The 5 min. car ride to the pool goes like this: 'Who be there momma? Asa be there. Olivia be there. Who else be there momma?' And on we go until we have named all her friends as well as all her teachers.

After dropping her off pool side (as soon as she spots Asa 'Hi Asa! I'm coming Asa. I love your swimsuit Asa!') I hurry to have some uninterrupted adult conversation with my co-swim lessons parents. A former competitive Texan swimmer and a stay at home dad from Seattle are my company.
After 30 minutes are up we reluctantly sigh 'it's probably time to go get our kids'.

Brooklyn smiles and waves when she sees me. Her teacher says 'She did something cute today.'
Me: What did she do?
Teacher Chad: She licked Olivia's (other teacher) arm. (he says this while smiling)
I look horrified and look over at Olivia. She looks horrified. I say 'I am SO sorry Olivia!!'
Chad says 'I thought it was pretty adorable. And then after she licked her, she said 'Now you lick me!'
To which Olivia once again looks horrified.

When I ask Brooklyn about this later she just laughs. And I say 'We don't lick people. Only cats and dogs do that. You are not a cat.' 'Yes I am momma!! I a cat. I lick you!' And she proceeds to lick my face. ugh!

Also today. Brooklyn threw a huge fit. HUGE.  We ended the round of time outs with a little chat. Her attitude has been pretty ugly lately. I was talking to her about this and I said 'You are not in charge. You cannot talk to momma like that' She said 'Yes! I in charge!!'
Me: No, you are not. Who is the momma?
B: (says nothing)
Me: Is bubba the momma (no) are you the momma (no) am I the momma (yes)

I started laughing. What else are you going to do?!?
We are in for it.

Today we also go to go out with our friend Jill who was taking care of some horses (Jackson says 'neigh! neigh! neigh!). We fed them 'carrot candy' (because carrots are like candy to horses) and hay. We pet them and the dogs. And saw a cat and ran around a big pasture in the sun facing the mountains. What a life! But seriously. I think this house is our dream house. It's a small-ish cabin, about a mile outside of town (not far) with lots of land, but you can see all your neighbors, and there are lots of them (not too isolated). Front porch facing the mountains. Too bad it would cost us, I don't know, a bigillion dollars to buy it. The price of living in a beautiful place I guess.

We ended the day with our favorite black bean burgers (dad, don't knock it till you tried it!! And we had regular hamburgers earlier this week) and broccoli with root beer flavored hard candy from Cracker Barrell (thank you Salt Lake City!) DELICIOUS!