A.musing.mama! 2.5

A flailing squid,
A battering ram,
A sumo-wrestler,
A tap-dancing elephant...

...are all accurate depictions of what sleeping next to a toddler feels like.

A. musing. mama,
Mel ;o)
You can catch the previous comics HERE.


Note to self:

Dear self,
remember these moments.
stereo playing loudly.
kids dancing proudly.

you had front row seats,
an audience of one.


a priceless performance,
a secret serenade,
while the world kept spinning away. 

you're their biggest fan.
Mel ;o)


...nesting mode.

Here we are, one month left before lil' baby sister is due for arrival!

I'm still having delightful fits of 'nesting' around here too.
My craft corner in our bedroom is finally completely de-cluttered and reorganised.  (I even whipped off a quick sewing project there today for the first time in... ages).  I was starting to forget there was even a floor there under all the mounds of fabric!

Our bedroom and the kids room have been sorted through as well - not to mention the growing 'chaos closet' of kid's clothes that needed packing/purging.


 Is there anything that gets you cleaning all those forgotten corners of your home as thoroughly as bringing a new baby to the nest?!

Maybe special company (like, the queen or something).
Or, when you're moving out I guess.

Needless to say, the *minimalist* husband has been happy to see me shoving so many boxes of stuff out the door finally.  So, you could say we're all happily awaiting our newest arrival at this point!

Nesting mama,
Mel ;o)



A.musing.mama! 2.4

A direct quote from our daughter.
Maybe we should name the baby Pinocchio.

In other news, the kids still speak to the baby through my belly button - as though it was the microphone, so that's pretty cute.

When we ask our lil' guy "where's the baby?" - he runs over and lifts up my shirt, maybe not so cute if we are out in public...!

Have a fun filled weekend friends,
Mel ;o)

You can catch the previous comics 'from real parenting' HERE.


Confessions (of a mama) part.16.

(8 mos. pregnant.. and our almost two year old dude)
I don't know about you, but I like a good book to treat me like a good friend - by giving me the one, two punch of 'love' and 'truth'.  The kind of truth that smacks you up the head and says "you need to hear this"... the kind of love that says "because I love you too much to leave you where you are".

Well, a good friend got me this good book: "Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood", and I ate it up pretty fast.  The author was putting a finger right on that pressure point in my own life... and speaking truth, and love, to it.

Because, as you may recall from that last 'mama confession' about the self-pity vortex, I am really seeking to weed out this rotting reaction to any trials in parenting.
This book has helped remind me to take the times of chaos, and those moments of indulgent pity parties and self-loathing... and use them as a spring board to recognise: 'yes, I am weak' but 'God's grace is strong'.

"Motherhood has taught me how very weak I really am, and that is a hard, hard truth to accept.  But by living in my weakness, I see more powerful God really is.  I come to understand that his power is shown to be perfect through my weakness and failures".Kimm.p.56.

Another weakness I think many of us women face is that 'no-win' game of comparison.  Is it easy to think of five other moms you compare your parenting to?  Or, do you seek to define yourself by the version of mom you want to be - the all-natural, granola mama; the sporty mom; the artsy mom; the homeschooling mama... etc?  We can beat ourselves up trying to 'keep up'.
We can be super defensive of any one who may question how we parent.  We can stay up at night wondering 'am I going to screw up my kids?'... imagine living in the freedom of not having to perform, or maintain such fragile identities:

"God's grace is a one-way love - love and acceptance that flows down on us so we may in turn show it to others.  A love we have done nothing to earn, grace as a gift.  When we truly believe that this permanent, unchanging approval God has bestowed upon us because Christ is enough, then we can receive compliments or complaints, approval or rejection, with a minimum of temptation to respond pridefully or defensively.  Why?  Because ultimately it's not about us." Kimm.

So whether I put the kids to bed in a flustered and frustrated rage.. and then lament my pathetic parenting, or tuck them in tenderly.. and congratulate myself on being 'wonder-mom' - both are 'me' centered perspectives.  It all boils down to a personal performance identity.  I feel validated for a good day or vexed by an exhausting one.  As the author is this books states, though, I need to trade in my 'performance obsession' for a 'Christ obsession'.

And you know what?  I already see a difference - a subtle shift in my heart - during those moments where grace instead of selfishness takes the spotlight.  Prime example: each morning when the kids wake (much) earlier than I would appreciate.. my heart can start grumbling before my feet hit the ground.  I can soon be nursing a full out pity party and contempt for my 'rough start to the day'... and blame those early risers for it - instead of recognising it's my own heart festering.  But, lately when I feel that temptation to start brewing a bad attitude - I remind myself of God's grace, always present, always free, always enduring for me.
I feel lighter.
I feel freer.

His love has opened the cage, why bother putting myself back in it?

I can't explain the difference grace makes if you don't know Jesus personally.. but I can pray you find that freedom in His love that erases all our sin and self-preoccupation.

Thanks for hearing this mama's heart,
feel free to share any great reads you've been into lately too!

Mel ;o)


7th heaven shortbread... as sweet as it sounds:

 Let's start the week off with a sweet note, shall we?
Yeah.. I know, I post a baking/food recipe about once a year (and for some reason it tends to be shortbreads)... but this is my mmmmmmmmarvelously delicious delight of late, so I'm sharing it.

I sure hope you're all done with the New Years diets, this treat is not for the calorie counting kind.  I wouldn't recommend it if your diabetic either... it's basically a mash up of all things sweet and sugary!

You may recall I like my recipes stupid easy and simple to execute, so you'll see why this recipe is a winner with me:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cold butter.

Stir flour with icing sugar, grate the cold butter in, blend together (I use my hands) and press in to a 9x9" baking dish.

This is your shortbread base.  Bake at 350. for 20mins... or until golden.  Let cool.

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup toffee bits/chips
1/2 cup white chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Layer each of these over the shortbread base.  Then pour an even coat of Sweetened Condensed Milk(300ml) over the top.

Bake at 350. for another 20-30 mins.. until golden again!

Best if shared with friends.. over a tall glass of cold milk.
I tend to cut mine up in to bite size cubes and stick them in the freezer for a daily pop of sweetness!

Have a delicious day friends,

Mel ;o)


A.musing.mama! 2.3

This is the gauntlet phase of many a meal time around this nest.
I'm sure you've all had your experiences with the 'picky-eater-syndrome' too... yes?

It's enough to make you want to order a lifetime supply of mac + cheese just to avoid the daily crisis of getting each food group in their bellies.

Oh, but snacks... we are champion snackers around here!

I shouldn't whine about their pickiness really, since they do love snacking of fresh fruits and raw vegetables (while I hide in the kitchen to eat all my sugary treats).
But if any meal has the tiniest trace of mushrooms or onions in them (currently) then this girl will fly in to a fast fit to avoid one mouthful.

What meals do your kids cringe at?
Delight in?

Happy weekend'ing friends!

mama Mel ;o)

Catch up on previous comics here.


warming winter GIVEAWAY!

Hey there friends and new visitors!

Today, two other blogger buddies and myself are combining our creative efforts to treat one of you winners to some winter warmth!

A pair of my wrist warmer's here are up for grabs:

You'll also score a sweet toque from Nicole over at Gypsy in Jasper, and a yummy tea sampler set from Stacy at Linen + Leaves!

To enter.. just hop over to Nicole's hosted giveaway and play along!

Warm hugs and fuzzy thoughts your way,
Mel ;o)


34 weeks... and counting.

Yes, friends we've entered our 34th week of baby brewing over here.

Needless to say I'm facing that bi-polar energy wave of relentlessly cleaning and sorting through our nest... and then just wanting to go 'belly up' and sleep until it's all over.

The common question at this stage is 'soooo, are you ready?'.  

Maybe they just mean... do you have all the stuff you need?
I figure that this is a short list... basically we just need diapers, clothes and boobs.

(Actually I'm very grateful to friends and family for returning/ or passing along the baby items we had previously started purging from our home.... ha, ooops!).

 Anyway, what I take from the common question of 'are you ready?' is something deeper.
Which makes me awkwardly answer..."um, yes...??" with a scrunched up nose and sideways smile (for how does one actually say 'no, not really, thanks').

Because if I'm being real (which is a big goal of mine)... I'm a mixed bag.
I'm all kinds of eagerness to see those tiny fingers and toes glowing fresh from the womb.
I'm totally overwhelmed with the 'first-day-of-school' nerves about facing another life to be responsible for.
I think we can handle this.
I fear we can't handle this at all.
This is going to be crazy.
This is an incredible miracle.

And so my elastic heart stretches and snaps and springs back again.

You'd think I'd have this all 'figured out' by now, what with two kids and all... but now I'm starting to notice a common theme: the next step into the unknown is always a mix of fright and delight.
The main fright being that we're three times as unlikely to get any sleep anymore... the main delight being how teeny tiny this lil' gal is going to be compared to our ever-growing big kids!

I've been sorting through baby clothes and inwardly squealing at how cute and tiny they are.
Oh, I've also just started watching that series "Call the Midwife" and am crying at every birth scene... so I think that's preparing me for labour... or, something.

Lastly, I know I'm not alone in these feelings - thanks to you friends on my Facebook who respond to my manic mama outbursts of feeling completely overwhelmed/insane in the daily chaos moments...  and come to think of it - there's at least 10 other friends I know having babies in the next couple of months.  An invasion of BABIES!!

So, maybe I just need to start practising those labour breathing techniques at this point...
....annnnnd, breathe. 

We'll keep you updated!

Mel ;o)


A.musing.mama! 2.2

I naively thought that the *melodramatic, prone-to-hyperbole/exaggeration* stage would hit us when the kids became teenagers...

Our sweetness and spice (read Jekyll and Hyde) four year old is becoming quite the master of this stage, and it's usually in response to some oppressive request we may make of her, for example:

* we say "Pick up your toys please" - she says "It's impossible there's TOO many!!"

* we say "Time to get dressed" - she says "This is the WORST day ever!!"... (at 7am).

* we say "Eat your dinner" - she says "I can't, it's too TERRIBLE!!" (or 'spicy' or there's some minutia of a fleck in a spot of the food).

* we say "I can't hear you when you whine like that" - she says "You don't even LOVE me ever!!".
Let's just say this gal is a prime candidate for drama camp.
What are some classic phrases your kids have blasted you with?

Happy weekend'ing friends!
Mel ;o)

(You can catch up on previous "a.musing.mama" comics HERE).



confessions (of a Mel). part 17. a word.

You've likely seen a lot of different bloggers talking about their 'one word' to guide them in to the new year.  A defining word.
A challenging word.
Something to spark the changes they desire for a fresh start.

I've been thinking about such a word for over the past year... not that I need a gimmicky slogan to slap on my forehead.  But, I do benefit from a reminder tucked into my heart.

It's a big fat scary word for me.
It's multifaceted in it's ramifications for my life.

Maybe if I just spit it out... it will help this word stick to my heart like a needed bur this year?

Ok, my word would be: surrender.

If I was to unpack what this word means to me on various levels it would be an essay, but in short I'm confessing that there's a lot I should be 'letting go' of...

On the surface it's trivial things, like learning to surrender those pressures of being a 'supermom' or 'stepford wife'.  To not pretend I have it all together, or purge the house just because company is coming over.  To surrender the masquerade.  To be a hot mess if it's real.  God's grace shines out better through the various cracks of our imperfection.

On a deeper level it's the weightier issues of surrender.
Like most people - I have some control issues - this (albeit illusion of) control provides a stable framework for my life.  The check lists. The goals accomplished.. the sense of order and comfort they bring.
 It's only when I see these pillars of security come crashing down by, oh let's see: a child that refuses to nap the day I want to wash the floors - or, an appliance that breaks down the moment we have a spare dollar in the bank - and I feel my blood boil in frustration... then I see that I have control issues.
Most of life is out of our control, it's best I trust the hands of the One Who holds it all together than my own feeble ones.

The last two levels of surrender are the deepest part of me.
Heart depths.
Soul depths.

Each year of marriage is a journey into deeper waters of selflessness.  I want to keep learning to fully surrender to my man.  He deserves it.  He's earned it.  He's proved himself safe.
But deep down... there's still that fear to trust - and be hurt...
That natural compulsion to self-protect.
To keep one final vulnerable layer of our heart hidden.
But I want to surrender, knowing hurts and healing will come along the way... but that loving fully will serve to strengthen this marriage infinitely more than half-hearted devotion.

My final prayer for this year is to surrender fully to my great God.
To love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength.
 To let go of any thing that hinders my delight and pursuit of knowing Jesus more richly.
 This is one of those beautiful paradoxes... that in letting go of every.thing to hold more tightly to Him, I in fact gain every.thing that is everlasting.

life, and life more abundantly.

So, I'm raising my little white flag over here... and with shaking hands I'm learning to wave it wild and free.

What word would you pick for this year, or this week, or this moment?

Mel ;o)


rainbows in winter.

Today is a snowy, icy, blustery, wintery Monday.
The sky and the ground are white washed.
So we are splashing the palette of the rainbow inside today!

Have a colour-full Monday friends!
Mel ;o)