Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Moms' Night Out

James has been sick for over a week now, so I decided it would be the perfect time to rent a movie that he would have no qualms about falling asleep during - so, after seeing rave reviews online, I decided to go for Moms' Night Out.  Some things were funny, and it was nice to be able to have a movie on that I had absolutely no problem with my children wandering in and out of.  I enjoyed the speech by the character named Bones (played by Trace Adkins) that spoke about the beauty of motherhood is simply in the being.  Not the doing.  Not the end result.  Just in being a mother, a role that God has (if you have a child) uniquely fitted for you.  But, in a lot of other ways, the movie was little more than a sanitized version of Hollywood cliche: the wife and mother who's grubbed up in sweatpants and tee shirts with artfully messy hair (but still, let's not kid ourselves, is drop dead gorgeous and, once you slap some makeup and heels on her, is swoon-worthy), the picture-perfect, Pottery Barn suburban house, the clueless but tender-hearted gentle husband, the children who are cutesy naughty but not bad-bad, the crazy, fun friends that are always there for you, and so on.  I wish there were more movies out there that broke the mold.  I'd love to see a plain woman be a heroine (just as I'd love to see a non-attractive Jesus portrayal).  But even Christian filmmaking has bought into the idea that in order for a woman to be likable, she must be physically beautiful or cute.  Undoubtedly beauty, financial security, a good spouse, and a network of friends don't make one immune to self-doubt and problems. Full disclosure here: I possess my share of neuroses which make me sensitive to things that probably don't bother others - I'm plain and no amount of makeup or pretty clothes will cover up my unpleasingly plump figure, and I just plain old don't have any real-time friends to confide in and let my hair down with, and my kids aren't little anymore, so the problems I'm dealing with as a Mom make messy houses seem quaint.   But, for me, it's a little like watching a Christian version of The Real Housewives - less guilty pleasure, but leaves you hungering for something a little more authentic.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

52 Week Home Organization Challenge - Week 1

I like to think of myself as a fairly organized person, but I have my "trap" spaces, as does anyone (I hope!) who's lived in one place for a lengthy time.  And, there's something more fun anyways about being challenged to do something, so I signed up for a full year home organization challenge that popped onto my Facebook feed (it's not too late to join if you are interested).  This week's spot to tackle was kitchen counters.  I really thought this would be easy-peasy.  I don't have lots of stuff on my counter, right?  I was wrong!  The whole process took about two hours, and only a small portion of that was cleaning - most was trying to figure out how to reconfigure things and how much I could put away without impacting functionality.  I love the new look - it wasn't a huge change, but it just feels fresher and lighter, which is the direction I'm heading towards throughout my house in general..

It shocked me to remove everything from my counters to the dining room table - all in one spot it's way too much!

Ah, much better - it now highlights my favorite pieces, like my German stainless and glass breadbox and an antique crock that belonged to my mom

And now my KitchenAid is on the opposite side of my sink, which gives me more baking space to work with, which is intuitive, but I've missed all these years

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

For the Beauty of the Earth

I don't know about you, but, while I enjoy winter more than most, part of the reason I'm able to do it is because it lends me new appreciation for the splendor of spring, summer, and fall.  I enjoyed looking back on these October photos of a rare family trip to McCall.  It was so worth getting away, even for a simple overnighter (it was a part of a skating competition, lest anyone think it was too simple - the Fife family doesn't do simple LOL).  

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Halloween 2014

Halloween is one of those holidays I'm lukewarm about (sort of like Easter - not the biblical aspect of it, but the secular side).  For my family, we keep it light and positive.  We focus on the harvest and community aspects of it.  But I can say that unequivocally that I love the dressing up portion of it!  It's so fun to get to be a different "version" of yourself for one night of the year.  This was Allegra's last year trick-or-treating.  Next year she will join Hero as a candy-hander-outer (yes, that's a real word in my dictionary).  Allegra wore her Harry Potter robes from her trip to Florida in the summer with Nana, Hero, and Oriana.  Ian was Link from Zelda, Colin was a Skylander (the costume was a bit small - that's what I get for waiting until the week of Halloween to get a costume - have I mentioned that I LOATHE spending money on non-historical costumes?), Cecily was Belle (in a fabulous costume that was purchased at Disneyland for Allegra back in 2004, and will go into my bin of costumes I will save for my future grandkids), and Elle was Snow White (an old Disney Store costume from when Hero and Allegra were little).  The night was balmy and the mood was fun.  It really was what I want Halloween to be: lowkey, happy, family-oriented.

The Awkwardness of a Reboot

It's funny - it's my personal blog, so I can do whatever I want with it, yet I'm not quite sure what it will be this year.  Is it a family blog to keep people updated or preserve memories for the future?  Is it a journalling blog, where I ramble and meander from topic to topic, wherever the wind blows?  Is it a testimony blog?  A homemaking/marriage/parenting blog?  Meh, I don't know.  I'm having an identity crisis.  I think that paralyzed me last year too.  But what I DO know, is that writing is good for me.  I've always said that you can judge my mental health by the state of my house (if it's tidy and neat, that means I'm feeling strong, if it's a disaster, that means something's wrong), and that's true to an extent about writing.  If I'm writing regularly, it means that I'm making time for myself (not in that New-Agey, Oprahesque "me, me, me" way, but in a forcing myself to be contemplative and reflective).  So, I'm going to worry less about content and output, and focus more on the process.  This blog will be eclectic.  Somedays it'll be family-oriented, somedays it might be about organization or parenting.  I'm sure I'll share a recipe or two.  Hopefully I'll talk lots about where I'm at in my reading.  I want to make sure I discuss whatever spiritual insights have caught me for the week.  At the end of the day, though, what's most important is that I just sit down and DO it.  I'm not going to use the "I" word (can you guess it?), because it's all over blogs during this time of year and it's just too precious for me.  But I am going to use the word Responsible.  I'm in control of ME, within the confines of my human world.  So, if I say I'm going to write more, than, with the help of God, I'm going to do just that.  Are you getting the sense that this is about more than just this little blog?  Right you are.  I don't want to be grandiose and egocentric with all this predictable talk about resolutions and the like.  But, certainly the novelty of a new calendar leads one to be reflective and think about the big stuff in life.  Responsibility is going to be a big theme for me from here on out.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome 2015

2014 was a year of transition in our home.  It was more of the "negative" transitions, though, tearing down old methods, bad habits, preconceived notions, and prejudices.  It wasn't always pretty work, but it had to be done.  2015 is going to be our year of rebuilding - rebuilding our marriage, our family, our security, and our future, and our dreams.  The foundation is the easiest.  That is Christ, always and forever.  This wall quote features prominently in our dining room, and I strive to notice it multiple times a day.  Because my strength, and even James' strength, is not enough for the task ahead.  Only through the grace of the Almighty, given wondrously and freely, will we be able to be all that He intends for us to be as individuals, as a couple, and as parents.  Onward to 2015, and with all gratitude and appreciation to our God and King.