Thursday, August 15, 2019

Kitchen with Kiddos

This post won’t explain my hiatus from blogging, maybe someday there will be one but mostly it can be summed up in; I miss “home” and I left my heart there, and writing comes from my heart.

But today the girls and I had fun and I documented it with pictures so decided I should put it on my blog at least for memories sake.

Last week we got a couple of kid friendly cookbooks at the new library and we’ve been dreaming through them deciding what to make first. We all agreed and settled on “hedgehog cookies” or “hegdog cookies” in Éowyn’s language.

Ours didn’t turn out quite as cute and lifelike as the originals but, we had fun making them and they tasted yummy.
~Haley










Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 - Ending

As our year ends I figured I should summarize it for my blog. I haven’t kept up. At. All. lately on recent events like trips and projects because I haven’t felt like it. 


January 
Being super uncomfortable pregnant. 
Jerusha went on her first daddy-daughter date in true princess style to ihop and Disney on ice. We took a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo with sibling/cousins, the Keeney family. It was snowy and cold but very empty and enjoyable. 

February 
Trip to the Terre Haute Children’s Museum. Pregnancy ended with my easiest labor and delivery yet as Emmitt Wesley entered the world. 

March
Jerusha turned 3. 
Took our first family vacation of the year, it started out with horrendous traffic, the middle was wonderful and ended on a sick kids note. 

April
My parents moved 2 miles west to a bigger house, a change that wasn’t too hard because well, two miles, and my brother bought ‘the farm’. 
We paid off our little home. 
Celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary with a stay at Turkey Run Inn, we decided it’s a little slow for us and in the future our getaways will be to more hopping destinations. 

May
Éowyn turned 2. 
Market season began and turned out to be our best season yet(ever). 

June
Wesley’s Birthday 

July
Canoe trip on the 4th followed up with an Indianapolis Indians game for Wesley, Emmitt and myself. 
Fourth of July cookout at my parents and fireworks in Bainbridge the following weekend. 
My birthday. 

August 
Second family vacation, this time with Wesley’s side to Holden Beach. We split rent with a couple of Wesley’s brothers to have a separate house this year, best decision ever. It was such a relaxing week. 
Adopted a bunny, our first pet, who has proven to be a nearly non existent addition. Hollis self cage trained so roams the house and aside from cleaning, feeding, and the occasional chewed up cord, you wouldn’t know she lived here. 

September
The only thing I can remember is spending a few days in Lafayette where Wesley was working from.

October 
Wesley and I took a trip by train to Chicago where we spent one night, visited lots of restaurants, and put in several miles of walking. 

November 
My newest baby brother, Zachariah, arrived. All things Thanksgiving. Most of my siblings were in town the Friday of Thanksgiving week and we all had wonderful times together. 
Wesley was offered a new position with Casey’s, District Manager of northern Indiana and Ohio.

December 
The beginning of lots of ‘lasts’. 
Hosted Christmas again for the Smith side. 
In the process of buying our second house. 


So basically all was good, baby, vacations, and then... with Wesley’s new job we are required to relocate to the area about 2 hours north. I’m less than enthused. Yes, it’ll be nice and better for the kids to have their daddy home every night, but I despise change, discomfort, and deviation from my lifelong dreams. 
2019 is going to start hard. 
I’m going to miss my mom more than I ever thought would be possible. It has shattered my heart to watch my kids interact with their aunts, uncles, grandma and papa the last month knowing soon it will change. Soon they won’t see them on a daily/weekly basis, they’ll grow apart, the memories will fade, life will change and someday they’ll be left without their (would be, should be) best friends. So far in adult life when I was having a bad day, I could pack up, leave it all behind, and return when I wanted with little to no effort, now if I can’t handle life, I’ll have to because “escaping” will take as much effort as survival. The thought is just insane, I can’t process it, so, that’s why you haven’t heard about it, until now, I’ve just chosen to ignore the impending doom. My struggle with depression/suicidal thoughts and tendencies hasn’t been hidden from my blog readers so I’ll be honest now, it scares me to think about being away from my escapes, my helps, the 24/7 network of reliable people, minutes away who can save me from myself. I’m afraid I can’t survive without it but I guess we’ve arrived at the point in life where I’ll be forced to find out. 
I’m going to miss home. 
Honestly it’s my people that make Bainbridge, IN home. If they all up and relocated, I could join them wherever they went and it would, with much less heartache, become home. My parents, all but two of my siblings, nearly all of Wesley’s family, all live within 15 minutes of us currently, it’s home, it probably always will be. People will ask where I’m from and I’ll say “Bainbridge, IN, straight west of Indy” and I know, even if I never move back it will be home, coming back for visits will be coming home, as long as this is where the majority of my people are, this will be home, and no matter how I try to quench the embers of hope, they’re going to remain, barely burning, until I’m an ancient old lady, still living in Greentown (or wherever else Casey’s relocates is over the years), dreaming about ‘moving home’. 

So we’ve found a house, our offer has been accepted, and as soon as the process of selling ours is finished, we will be moving away. 

I know I sound dramatic, maybe I am, but for me, a person who struggles with anxiety, depression and etc. this seemingly little change is unfathomably hard because living here, surrounded by family, marrying my childhood friend who also did most of his growing up here, buying our first home, having our three children here, this is concrete, this is known, this is home and this is the only way and place I’ve ever imagined or wanted my life; I was 100% living 100% of my dream, now, I won’t be. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Seamstress-ing

I really enjoy sewing but don’t get to do much of it these days. My sewing days began back in 3rd grade when I (my mom actually) signed up for sewing in 4-H. I made a skirt that year that I am still proud of although I’m not even sure it still exists. My seams were flawless and precise. I won a blue, honor, and reserve champion, boy did I love sewing! The next year I made another skirt. I did my own thing, not caring for the instructions on my pattern. I got a red. I hated sewing. My mom made me preserveer though and over my 11 years in 4-H I signed up for sewing more often than not. As I grew in the project I discovered it wasn’t that I hated sewing and was being forced to do it, rather that I loved creating and hated being told how to do it.
When I was twelve, I think, I made myself a swim set, shirt, shorts, and a short ruffled skirt. I was working with thick and shifty spandex, no pattern, and loved the end result. My peers liked it, my mom friends were proud and my now mother-in-law had me make her daughter one. Thats the project that made me realize I enjoyed sewing and hoped to someday make money off of it.
So here I am today, taking in wedding dress alterations. I’ve done lots of prom dresses, formals, and everyday clothes alterations. I enjoy it, figuring out the best way to adjust things, making some money in the process, but what I really love is creating, or even recreating, clothes. I wish I had pictures of all the projects I’ve done but I always go into it assuming it’ll be a fail and when I love the final product think ‘oh, I should’ve taken a before picture!’.
Last night I took a long sleeved shirt of mine and turned it into this cute little dress for my Éowyn to wear in our teal themed beach picture next week. I had just finished a wedding dress and had the leftover appliqué pieces that I added to her dress.
Éowyn’s dress

I created  this dress from a sheet with no pattern,
just some sketches and ideas. 

My wedding dress which was strapless but I took it in, added a top,
and created the neckline and back. 
I in no way intend to brag in this post, creating/sewing is just something I love and I’ve been having fun with it so I felt like sharing.
~Haley

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Window Screens

This is the third summer we’ve lived in our little home ( side excitement, we paid it off in April so “Eeep” its actually ours!) and in all the time up until now we’ve not been able to use the windows because they’re old fashioned, odd sized windows, and didn’t come with window screens. Custom made screens aren’t really affordable and I don’t like bugs enough to just open them so summers here are hot.. well early this spring I was thinking about what to do and struck up a plan.

After spending $8 on cheesecloth, a couple dollars on masking tape and thumb tacks and a couple hours pulverizing my finger tips pushing thumbtacks into hard hard wood I had what some might call ghetto, and they’d probably be right, but I’m calling it historic, and I’m also right, window screens!
Link to historical reference:
http://exhibits.hsl.virginia.edu/insects/cloth/





{Foodie Post No. 15} Cashew Chicken

I’ve always wanted to try Cashew Chicken but in my 4+ married years I haven’t because not once did I decide to afford cashews while grocery shopping. Have I had extra money come the end of a month? Yeah, for sure many times. But why? Because I make decisions like ‘no cashews, you could have extra money and “win” at this budgeted life’.  🙄😝 Well recently I got to visit with my more recently married friend and I was lamenting this fact, how I could, but always chose not to buy a few of these ‘extra’ items, one of which being cashews. Before she went home she gave me a can of cashews as an early birthday gift.
And from that tale is born this yummy meal.
I actually found the recipe on Pinterest and made it exactly as directed.

[Note: I’ve no idea why the pictures came out upside down. Blogger has been a pain which is why this post is already being posted a month after it’s writing.]

CASHEW CHICKEN Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces 
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder optional
2 tablespoons coconut oil, butter, or olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons honey
3 garlic cloves minced
3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions optional

Directions

Add chicken pieces and cornstarch or arrowroot powder, if using, to a medium bowl and toss gently with a fork to make sure chicken is well coated.

Melt coconut oil or butter in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together soy sauce or coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, tomato paste, honey, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Pour sauce over chicken and stir in cashews until well combined. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken has cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.Stir in black pepper and green onions.

Remove skillet from heat and serve over rice, zucchini noodles, broccoli and top with additional chopped green onions, if desired.







Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Silence.



Now that I’ve posted something happy and finally broken the silence since the birth of my baby boy I felt like I should mention a little of what life has been like. I’ve dealt with some PPD since Emmitt’s birth. It’s such a taboo subject I haven’t wanted to mention it but it’s also something I feel needs normalized. Women shouldn’t feel like they’re struggling through this alone.I don’t want to go into the dark details, but I’ll admit the struggles and if I could help another amazing mom out, I’d open up and be venerable to you, talking it out, the deep dark, scary, raw stuff, admitting it, accepting and acknowledging it’s irrationability, it helps, I promise.

The moment Emmitt was born I knew I loved him but I didn’t feel connected the way I had with both the girls, he entered life on this side of the womb and for the first time after what was my easiest labor and delivery, I just felt worn out. I talked it through with my midwife. It wasn’t PPD, I was just slower at recovering this time, he was a higher maintenance baby, but it was all okay. I loved on him, our bond grew. Now, he thrills my soul. I look at his smile and hear his gasping giggle and can’t imagine a day he can’t brighten. My heart absolutely bursts with admiration for my little dude and all his adorableness. 
BUT. 
And a big But. In the days following his birth, as we settled into a schedule, slowly, but surely I was no longer okay. It took until he was about 6 weeks before I started really struggling. Then another 6 weeks before I was forced to face it. Now, he’s three and a half months and we’re doing okay. My love for him was never my struggle. I had a hard time coping with being a mom to three, I failed a lot with patience towards the girls. I ended up seeing my doctor and after eliminating thyroid disorders he did give me a prescription for Paxil, an anti depressent but so far, after admitting I needed help, and accepting much more help from the strong women around me, I have been able to find joy and peace without taking it. Now if I have a rough moment or day I’m better at controlling myself and thinking things through. . I took some advice and let my walls down. I have conditioned myself to allow more help. I’ll go to my moms more than twice a week if I need, if I’m feeling overwhelmed and unable to handle life, I’ll call someone and chat, I’ll pack up and go to my moms. I’ve realized and accepted that this struggle is a chemical reaction, it’s not from sin in my life, it’s not because I’m a bad mom, it’s not because I’m a failure, it’s from something going wrong in my body. Hopefully though, with being open about this struggle, with knowing I have people I can reach out to in times when I’m feeling weak and overwhelmed, with offering myself more breaks from home, with lowering my standards for myself my house, and my chores; I’ll be okay and be able to continue maintaining peace.
I have a friend who dealt with this after her first baby and was able to offer some great insight, my mom who will drop everything to help me out, my sister who is only a phone call away every time I just need a break or some encouragement, and my pastors wife who prays for me constantly, texts me encouraging words and scriptures; these are my back bone women and I’m sure there are even more in my life if I but asked. So if you find yourself struggling with this, please please be willing to reach out to those around you, or me, wether I know you in real life or just here in the blogging world.
If you know me, pray for me, if you know someone who struggles with PPMD reach out to them. If I know you but don’t know your struggle, open up, let me in. Together we can get better, maybe it’ll take medicine, maybe not, but we are amazing women, we are good moms and together we can be okay.

Love,

Haley


P. S. I’m sorry this might not flow well. I wrote and re wrote, and copied and pasted from past drafts but finally settled on this, fewer raw details, but honesty, and a true desire to be helpful if anyone else is, or has struggled.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Shopping

Today, for the first time since I gave birth to Emmitt, I went grocery shopping with all three kiddos, ALONE. That’s 3 three and under and I did have available babysitters, but no, I wanted to give it a try and see what I was made of.
Stickers. That’s what I was made of.

The plan was Walmart, one stop shop. The reward for good behavior: stickers. I made a detailed list, we’re talking sectioning out items by their store location, detailed (but seriously, that’s how all lists ought to be made).

On the drive to town I told Jerusha “if you behave you will get to pick out stickers. If you won’t obey me and are bad at the store, mommys not buying you stickers.” Then I’d ask “what happens if I tell you to hold onto the cart but you run away?”
“I get a spanking?”
“No, you don’t get stickers. What happens if I tell you you have to ride in the cart and you get in just like I say?”
“I get stickers”. Okay. So she did understand.

Jerusha was somewhat of a pill but honestly behaved better than I expected. She picked out a Father’s Day card, her aunts graduation gift, and some of the grocery items which made her feel important and kept her attitude positive. She had a few rough moments but we got through them with reminders “Do you want stickers? Mommy will only get some for Éowyn and none for you” and etc.

The whole trip went pretty well. Éowyn was a peach most of the time, she happily rode in the cart. She only screamed once to get out but was bribed with holding pickles. When I did get her out as the cart was running out of room she did awesome holding onto my skirt or the cart to keep close. Her only altercation was popping a cherry from a display into her mouth as Jerusha shouted “look! Snacks! That’s nice of them!” Why do they even leave those bags open? They’re totally asking kids to graze..

Emmitt.. I chose to wake him when we arrived opting to carry him as to having to fit his seat in with the groceries as well as possibly his sisters. A decision I still stand by. He had to alternate between sitting propped up with blankets buckled in, laying sideways in the “seat”, being held, and being in the sling but he survived with few bouts of crying and never having to stop and nurse and fell asleep right as we were checking out.

All in all, we spent one and a half hours in Walmart so for $95.78 worth of product, I’m calling that a successful shopping trip with kids.

Sorry to all the people we cut off while Jerusha pushed, or the folks who got slowed up as my distracted child walked, eyes locked on a display, into their path. I’m also sorry to everyone who tried being friendly and wave or say hi to my girls. I promise I’m not trying to raise them to be rude. We’re working on it.

Thank you to that brave lady who put herself out there by offering to help me in some way. I wish we lived in a world where my first thought would’ve been “thank you!”, and truly, thank you. You looked like a perfectly nice lady and I’m impressed you were willing to be rejected, if it also meant the possibility of being helpful.

So, I know this isn’t interesting but my life is made up of mundane little things and this is as exciting as it gets.
~Haley




We survived and they got their stickers!

Cute baby bananas I let the girls pick out.