Sugar Edition

It’s no secret I’m a lover of food…particularly the sweet variety.  It’s in my blood.  I was born into it.  I own it and claim it.  You know it, I know it, everybody knows it.  I am a firm believer in baked goods…and pretty much any other sugary treats.  I just can’t help it.  I even take my Dessert Pinterest board very seriously.  I’ve actually tried most of the recipes.  If it sucks, it gets the boot.  If it’s good, I keep it.  No room for crappy baked goods people.  Just.No.Room.

I’m back on my “no sweets during the week” kick.  I’m a big time emotional eater and have to keep my sugar in check because I will straight up run to it instead of Jesus.  All week I’ve been thinking about baking.  I love to bake.  And I always share.  I know better than to keep too many sweet items in our house.  So I bake and share.  Every week.  I love having a little list of new things I can’t wait to try.  Here’s where my head is today:

Mini Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Honey Bun Coffee Cake 

No-Fail Blondies

Twix Thumbprint Cookies

My Favorite Brownies

Half-Way To Heaven Peanut Butter Cookies

Iced Sugar Cookies (melted icing)

And I’m always a sucker for a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

(None of these are my pictures.  All straight from the source the recipe is linked to, so photo props to the owners.)

 I made Josh Kelley choose what I should tackle first and he went with the My Favorite Brownies recipe.  I kind of can’t wait.

So do you have any dessert recipes I absolutely MUST try????  I would love, love, love to hear them if you do.  Please share.  From one sugar lover to the next.

Happy Friday.  Happy Weekend.  Enjoy it.

8 Things {AKA Randomness}

I really like these number posts because it makes me feel like I’m writing a little something different than yesterday when we all really know I’m rambling total randomness yet again.  Sigh.

1.  So a few weeks ago I started a full on man hunt to put together a team of at least 8 to go to Swaziland this July.  Now I’m taking to the inter webs for any of you locals who would like to join me.  We will be working with Children’s HopeChest and AIM and will be visiting kiddos at the Ngungwane carepoint and pretty much having a grand time with these crazy sweet kids.  If you would like more information shoot me an email at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com.  Come on…you know you want to go!!!

2.  What the what?  I finished another order.  Shocker I know.  Sweet little primary love name pillow.  I’m still taking orders and working as quickly as possible so use the “Contact Laura” button at the top or shoot me an email if you would like to place an order.

3.  The other day I found this hole in my running shoes, so now I’m on the lookout for some new ones.  I’m really sad about Brooks discontinuing the original Pure Flows…like the original originals…numero unos.  They have been my favorite favorites.  Like I even bought multiple pairs and tucked them away and I ran the tread off each pair.  These are my last ones.  Oh the despair.  Anyone have any good recommendations?

Sidenote:  Yes those are in fact two Strawberry Shortcake bandaged fingers.  I cut both tips this morning while slicing an apple.  I feel like I handle pain pretty well…minus dental pain because, well, I just flat out hate the dentist now, but when I slice a finger with a knife or on a can I almost hyperventilate.  It’s just something about the slicingnessness. <— real word.  Josh Kelley always comes to the rescue and saves my life.

4.  Does anyone else want to loom while their kids are at school???  Asking for a friend.

5.  I’m in the middle of John right now, but this week I keep coming back to here.

The beginning of the parable of the persistent widow in Luke begins with one amazing sentence: “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”  Crazy good stuff.

6.  Find these on sale and buy 1000 of them.  Just do it.

7.  Sometimes when we pull in the driveway I just sit in the car a little longer.  I give one of the big kids the keys, everyone piles out and I just remain until someone comes tapping on my window asking for a snack or when Harper comes out and says, “Mom, are you okay?”

8.  And I’m working on saying “yes” more to our kids in our current chaos.  So many parts of me want to say “no” to added things in which will make me put a little more effort into life when I’m already tired.  Harper has asked all week to go by the library on the way home and honestly, I just didn’t want to do it, but I knew she needed a “yes”.  I sat with the littlest in my arms and just watched.  It was quiet and Amon wasn’t even bullying any kids into giving him a turn on the computer…it was all his.  The big kids read and all found books they were excited about.  It was just what we all needed.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday…Almost Friday

Lately I feel like I have zero complete thoughts to write about.  My mind feels all over the place and sporadic.  Complete thoughts are fleeting.  Over and over again all I can do is type my randomness.  It’s all I have…like my little lunch of bread and fish.  Ha.

Humor is keeping us all afloat these days.  Jesus and laughter are our medicines.  We all need some joy.  Josh Kelley and I sometimes look at each other in the midst of the mad chaos and all we can do is smile large, wide smiles or laugh.  These wild little humans, their antics and just life.

And then sometimes your husband starts laughing at his phone and you insist on knowing what has ignited such laughter…you want some too…you need it.  And then he shows you this picture and you both die from laughter.  Flat out die.  And it’s ridiculously stupid.  I’m embarrassed to say my first out-loud-thought was, “That cannot be real.”  No, no he’s not really holding a baby polar bear in the outfield during a game.

I feel as if I have 10,000 orders started and 0 completed.  I feel crazy behind.  The new little lady in our house made me remember how INTO EVERYTHING these 1/2 baby 1/2 toddler people are.  She is all over the place and into everything.  I attempted to finish up an order with her sitting in my office with me.  Oh the anguish.  Disaster after disaster after giant mess. Nothing was out of her tornadic reach.  Alas the feeling of accomplishment when I finished this order of key fobs, well, you would have thought I’d won a gold medal in the olympics.  Pride people, so much pride.

Everyone is super into checkers right now.  When I play, I hold nothing back.  Sometimes the big kids rise to the occasion and give me a run for my money even resulting in a Mom defeat.  Other times they buckle under the reign of terror I ensue on the checker board and in a last stitch effort they design a hand force field and insist their sad, lonely checker piece cannot be jumped…due to said “force field.”  Oh Solomon.

Sometimes Josh Kelley and I just want to eat alone.  The other night I put all 5 children to bed and he headed out to pick up Buffalo Wild Wings.  Just go ahead and give me all the chicken wings of the world.  I will eat them.  Only issue that arose was my dang root canaled tooth which has no crown on it right now.

Sidenote:  I totally forgot to tell you guys about the world’s worse day at the dentist office EVER…to date.  I’ll re-cap fast.  3:45 appointment time and I arrived home after 8:30 that night.  I kind of wanted a cat to claw my face off.  I had a super emotional day with lots of foster parenting firsts which resulted in me and the nurse becoming pretty tight.  I did not breach confidentiality, but there were tears.  A box of Kleenex was brought in.  And we embraced.  It was pretty amazing and yet still I wanted an additional cat to claw my face off.  The sheer stress and anxiety of the whole shebang plus a new broken crown should have killed me.  But I digress.

So it took me approximately 1.5 extra hours to eat those delightful little 10 chicken wings along with some carrots and celery sticks.

While checking out in Kroger the other day with all the kids Hudson began this conversation.

Hudson: Do you think there’s something wrong with me?

Me: No.  Why would I think there is something wrong with you?

Hudson:  Because I think about legos all the time.  I can’t quick thinking about them.  It’s all I think about.  Is there something wrong with me?

Me: (trying to pay, wrangle the other 4 kids, give Hudson my attention and not die from laughter) There is not one thing wrong with you.  I think that’s amazing.  I love this about you.  What are you going to build when you get home?

Hudson: Well, I’ve been thinking about this new jail cell…

And Amon is becoming quite the creature of habit.  Every morning he requests oatmeal, Elmo and painting.  Painting is new to his routine, but he loves it.  And I just let him wildly go to town.  Water..check.  Paper…check.  Paintbrush…check.  Giant toddler paints which inevitably every time he mixes together to create a new palette of brown, brown, brown and brown…check.

Hope your week is going great.  Thank you for reading this typed out mess here on my tiny piece of the inter webs.  Big, big thank yous.  I crazy appreciate you guys.

Happy Wednesday!

Not Mine

Life and emotions just seem to be a big ebb and flow right now.  We are absolutely exhausted in one manner, but our hearts feel at ease where God has us.  We think we can’t make it to the next day, but God is sufficient.  I told a friend this morning I just don’t feel like myself right now and God later reminded me I’m not my own, I’m His.  He will change me and mold me and make me into exactly what He wants…my life isn’t mine…maybe it’s good I don’t feel like my old self.

Our family has been pushed and changed again and God has proven Himself faithful as always.  We may be a little down trodden and tired, but our hearts delight in Him…He is our joy and peace.  It’s the strangest mix of feelings to feel completely emotionally and physically spent, but for our hearts and spirits to be joyous and privileged and honored and humbled to be His.

Life is not the easiest right now, but we’re committed.  We’re all in.  Foster care pushes your flexibility to the max…your love to the max…and your patience.  For a scheduled, I-want-to-be-in-control-all-the-time person like myself, it’s hard.  God has had many meetings with my heart already.

“This isn’t your day Laura.  This isn’t your home.  This isn’t your bank account.  This isn’t your family.  This isn’t even your life.  It is all Mine and all for My glory.”

I get a call and asked to be at a visitation in 20 minutes.  Another call for a court date in 1 hour.  Nap times have been changed.  Lunch packed for on the go.  Rushing here and there.  Getting everyone dressed and myself somewhat presentable in a flash.  Sitting quietly in a court room or a little room trying to keep Amon from banging on the double sided mirror.  Paperwork and phone calls and note taking.  Jotting down dates and phone numbers and people’s names.  Plus your everyday everydayness.  It’s a lot sometimes.

Then I look at this lovely little child and think how much I love her to pieces already.  We pray for her heart and for her family.  I think about what if I had made mistakes big enough to lose our children and they were plucked from everything they knew and placed somewhere else temporarily…how would I long for them to be treated and cared for?  How my heart would want to break into two.  And God raises our game.  He puts her family on our hearts all day long.  I ask Him to be everything I need and He is.  I ask Him to be my strength and He does just that.  He gives us laughter and joy and more and more love.  He provides hope in every shape, form and fashion.  He reminds me to love on people because by doing so, I’m loving Him.  You love until it’s painful and then you keep at it.  There is beauty there to be seen and gathered up and spread about.  There is Jesus at every turn.

We might not be doing this in the most perfect way.  It might not look pretty.  We might be just making it by right now.  It will appear were off our rockers a bit from the outside looking in.  Showers are long over do.  Dark circles have taken up permanent residency under my eyes.  Emotions are high, but it’s all okay.  Jesus is here.  And He always make a way even when He’s given 6 so very imperfect people.  The impossible is His possible.  He is love and goodness and hope.  He is our strength and our song.  He will gather up all the glory for Himself and He will be made known.  We are His.

8 Things

1.  Yesterday as I walked into Target I realized two things: 1) This was the third time in 3 days I had been to Target and 2) I was wearing the exact same outfit for all 3 trips. I then gave #2 a little more thought…the clothes I put on Monday morning I also slept in Monday night, wore all day Tuesday, slept in Tuesday night and wore Wednesday morning to Target…yet again.  Send reinforcements please…and cookies.

2.  I am happy to report I finally showered and put on some different clothes yesterday afternoon.  You can all sleep easier tonight.

3.  There is always time for kindness…especially in the form of THESE whoopie pies and I am an emotional eater so I enjoyed 1 or 2 as well.  Baked goods can change the world…and your waste line :)

4.  I ran yesterday.  It was like glory.  Any runners out there ever do HIIT  (high intensity interval training) workouts on the treadmill?  I decided starting in January I was going to start doing them to mix my running up.  I found one HERE which I loved and it lets you get in some fast running…so good.  Then yesterday I tried THIS ONE.  Oh wow.  Hardly any fast running, but I was drenched in sweat.  I like to think I’m in decent shape, but it kicked my butt.  If you have any good ones you like I would love to hear about them.  I have a few more I really want to try.

5.  Dressing a little girl is too fun.  Geez its been a long time since we’ve had a tiny lady in the house.

6.  Today I am getting a flippin’ root canal.  Can you tell I’m super excited?  I have never been a stressed dental person, but I am absolutely that person now.  You would think I am dying.  When I go in I just want to ask them to put me to sleep…give me the good stuff…I don’t want to remember a thing.

7.  He always meets me right where I am.

8.  And wow with the baby foods.  Amon is gaga over these puff things.  I only let him have a few and remind him they’re for the little miss.  Josh Kelley said, “I’m with him.  The blueberry ones smell like heaven.”  And what about those crazy little packets of food…you just twist the top off, hand it over and the kiddo does all the work.  Josh and I were so baffled.  Hahaha, it doesn’t take much.

Hope everyone’s week is going fantastic.  It’s almost Friday!

Happy Thursday!

Signs Of The Times

We’re all exhausted around the Kelley house.  A weekend long sleepover and a new little one in the mix means we all went extra hard and are now trying to catch up on sleep.  I had all these new and great fitness goals for 2015.  And it was going pretty good until Friday :)  I’m choosing to show myself grace now because A) I am wiped out and B) It feels like at this point if everyone makes it through the day alive, we’re all high-fiving each other.  Breakfast and diaper changing and lunches and laundry and emails and blog posts and work and homework and dinner and more laundry and figuring out a new kiddo and scheduling and gathering baby items and cleaning and paperwork and carseat shenanigans and a broken van door and getting everyone in and out of said van with broken door and well, sometimes it feels overwhelming.  I know you all can totally relate.  This is life.

I am about to have a root canal too because a dentist dude jacked my crown up.  I might have sobbed…like embarrassingly sobbed on the phone with the dentist’s office receptionist.  I also missed a doctor’s appointment for Harper.  I feel as if I am batting 0.  On the way out of Bible study the other night Josh Kelley grabbed a honey bun and I grabbed a cream cheese danish…you know the ones…giant, gas station ones.  We both devoured them on the way home at like 9 o’clock at night and all I could think was this is so us right now.  My pants may get tight over the next few weeks, but I’m coming to terms with it.

Did I mention I also hosted my niece Campbell’s 12th birthday this weekend?!?!  First, there is just no way she can be 12!!!  Second, I told you this weekend was crazy town.  Josh’s dad had to come to our house to help transport 7 children to their house while I partied because our van doesn’t seat that many children.  I cleaned and plugged in glue guns just in time for 6 middle school girls to enter our house for a little crafting session.  It was actually the perfect break I needed.  So much fun and they did awesome.

 

I also finished up a set of key fobs just in time for Whatever Craft Weekend.  Such a pleasure to send them off for such a special weekend.  I hope all the ladies enjoy!

Oh and Friday afternoon Amon got a haircut.  He clearly did not need one and I put myself and sweet Brooke his hairdresser through an agonizing 15-20 minutes of screaming for no reason at all.  He was so pumped about this hair cut saying things like “I hug Book.”  “She not hurt me.”  “I high-five her.”  And then she invited him into her room and dude when nuts, screamed “nooooo” and took off running down the hall.  He then proceeded to scream and cry and say “ow” 5 gajillion times until the hair cut was over and then he decided hair cuts were cool once finished.  It was so relaxing.

And thank you, thank you for all the sweet and kind comments and emails about our new journey as a foster family.  I always feel blessed when you choose to share your stories with me.  You were all too kind and such an encouragement.  Thank you, truly.  May God receive all the glory for His goodness and works.  He is so good.

Happy Tuesday!

From 6 to 7

And so it began.  Our little family has gone from 6 to 7 for the time being and we’re all in love.  Everyone has done great so far.  We even had 1 of my nieces and 2 of my nephews for the weekend bringing the kid total to 8 in our small house.  Welcome to crazy town people…Crazy.Town.  Truthfully, it was hard.  All you large families out there…kudos…I tip my hat.  Josh Kelley and I are tired.  By the grace of God Amon and the new little one are napping simultaneously right now.

I’ve cried a lot the past few days.  I’ve always said this about things like teaching and becoming a parent and adoption and other big life happenings…even though I’ve taken the classes and I feel like I’m prepared, nothing ever really prepares me until I’m right in the middle of it.  I thought I knew how I would feel when this all went down and then it actually happened and I was not prepared.  I have sobbed over this child and her family.  Our sins are the same in the eyes of Christ.  My junk is no better than theirs and God is madly in love with each of us, desiring only His best for all of our lives.

While we drove to church last night the kids asked a lot of questions and I did my best to answer them truthfully and to where they could understand.  They are already all in.  Harper is deeply in love.  We keep reminding them over and over again…we want her to be able to go home…back with her family…that is the goal.  We all need compassion and empathy so we are tying to place ourselves in other shoes.  Right now our role is to love love love this child and her family.  There is no room for judgment…there’s a giant plank in my own eye for goodness sakes.  Our role is to love and support and show everyone involved Jesus.  And to pray.  Hudson wanted to know, “What can we do?”  I told him to pray and I know he will and his prayers will delight God’s heart.  I keep reminding them that God’s plans are far better than we could ever imagine, we all make mistakes and sin and God loves every single one of us…no one more than the other.

I didn’t know how this would all go.  I didn’t know how we would feel.  Some people have told us “Congrats” and I take that as “Congrats on this honor and privilege you’ve been given” because that’s just what it is.  An honor and privilege to step in for a little bit and love.  Anything good or special about our family is because of Jesus.  He deserves all the praise and glory because without Him we are nothing.  He is mighty and loving and sovereign and He is everything that is good.  To say yes to Him is a gift.

So I may be a little absent here and there.  We’re all leaning into Jesus a little more because sometimes things seem so big and  we feel so small.  I was reminded last night at church we can do hard things because of Christ, nothing is impossible for Him and there is such power in His name.

Day Brightener

After yesterday’s post I wish I could say everything was awesome the rest of the day and everyone got along and there were sunshines and rainbows and lollipops, but alas, that wouldn’t be truthful.  The day got better, but not great.  And that’s okay.  I worked on my bad attitude and rocked on with cheesecake making.

Wednesday night Josh’s mom brought us this cute little hat and jacket Josh and one of his brothers wore when they were little.  I wasn’t home when she dropped it off, but Josh said Amon was the cutest thing he had ever seen in it.  And with that statement I could not wait to try it on him.

After he woke up from his nap yesterday afternoon, while we were all recovering from our pissyness, I decided we could all use a cute laugh.  I am not above bribery, so I offered up an M&M and Amon was game.

I die.  I wish you could have seen the circus behind me. All of us ooohing and ahhing and laughing and so many, “He’s so cuuuute.”  We were ridiculous.  And M&Ms are magic.

Today has already been 10xs better than yesterday.  I am hopeful and it’s a new day…and a Friday at that.

Enjoy your weekend.