Saturday, September 16, 2017

Are You A Good Mom | How To Know

Home. The night light sent a warm glow across our sleepy room. We looked down at her tiny form, overwhelmed with gratitude for our first baby. His hand slipped around my waist as relief and thanksgiving washed over my tired, aching body. Our baby. 

I was so excited about being a mother when I first brought my little girl from the hospital. I wanted to be her everything; the comforter, the fixer-upper, the all-knowing, all-providing thing that I always thought “Mommy” was. I had held her under my heart for eight long months, brought her into this world, felt all the pain and emotion that the experience of new life brings… I was her mother.  Or at least, that’s what I thought. 

All of a sudden I realized that everyone from the grocer to the 7 year old at Piano lessons had an opinion on how my baby should be brought up.

I thought nobody trusted me. 

Further down the road, I’ve seen women with their kids all grown and gone turn solemn and slowly shake their heads, thinking of everything that they weren’t able to do for their kids when they were young. “We never really took vacations…” “I spoiled them. I know it.” “I was the worst homeschool mom ever…” “I wish I would’ve taken time to play with my kids more…” All dripping with discouraged failure - the same atmosphere that us new moms feel after somebody has raised an eyebrow over ‘the forgotten blankie.’

At some point we all ask the question: “Am I a good mom?”

Washing up a pile of dishes in the sink during nap time one afternoon, an answer came creeping warmly, kindly over my racing mind. The harder I thought and the longer I prayed, the more I realized that it was true. Undeniably, but unpopularly true. 

It was then that I finally understood that it’s not what you buy them for their birthday; or if you bottle fed or nursed them. It’s not if people agree with everything you decide; or whether you do white bread or whole grain. L O V E is what makes you a good mom. L O V E  I S. Not brand names, or perfectly packed diaper bags, or pats on the back from other moms. 

You’re not a good mom, because you’re perfect. You’re a good Mom because of that overwhelming care that aches for the pinched finger and cries out to God for wisdom at night when they’re sleeping. It’s that deep, deep love that holds the sick baby close and falls asleep nursing. That’s what makes you a good Mom. The finger pointers aren’t looking at the selfless love in your heart - but your child feels it, and God is pleased in it. 

Now don’t get me wrong! Today’s view of love is way-off compared to real Father-God love. It’s not an every-once-in-a-while emotion (when the kid isn’t embarrassing or a bother). God’s love is corrective, and careful, but also easy to be entreated. It’s an unselfish thing that doesn’t beg for “me time” or push the kids off in front of a screen to get a break. God’s love is there on the hard days; the humiliating days; the days when your last nerve is twitching, and there’s been no sleep. Even on the days they don’t deserve it - it’s still there; seeking the best for your family - not what’s best for you. 

Look hard inside yourself. What do you see there?

Whether you’re still in the trenches, or your baby is grown up with babies of her own, there will always be days when you don’t feel like enough - often because people want you to feel that way. But remember what God sees. Never forget how He loves you - or the love that makes you Mom.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Week 23 | Baby Prepping

I’m over halfway, and nearing month 6 of preggo days, so Haven and I have been making ready for The Grande Bringing Home Of Thing 2 here lately. Herein are some pics of our everydayness in case you wanted to see. ;) ((You're Welcome Mom.))

We’ve practiced some freezer meal recipes (she laid across my two feet and sang little songs to herself while I chopped vegetables and meat.)

We’ve gone through her room and organized it from top to bottom (She was in love with the big bins of clothes. Anytime she could sneak her hands into one, tiny outfits went flying.)

We even went shopping for matching outfits last week (She absolutely loved it. Running two steps ahead of me through the Outlets in Asheville. The only time she wanted me to hold her was when we passed by the water fountain - apparently those are scary. She found a mannequin in the display window at Carters, sallied right up and gave it a great big hug. She was also peaking under the dressing room door at another little kid… *embarrassing moment* All the sales clerks and random passers-by melted at her charm and perky little grins.)

Spring (okay, “Fall”) Cleaning has been pretty high on the priority list. We had a yard sale, took junk to the swap and shop, sold stuff online, washed down ceilings and walls, cleaned out vents, organized closets….

And WOW BUT THAT IS TOO MUCH FOR A GRUMPY SCIATIC!! Thing 2 has a way of kicking and squirming herself into the most uncomfortable spots under my ribs, and the pressure is intense! Coupled with the aggravation of Braxton Hicks, as well as the white-lightning bolts from waist to ankle at the end of a day (them nerves are a little particular about things) it’s not been the most pleasant of times. I’m so ready to hold my warm little downy-headed bundle EXTERNALLY. Oh please, Christmas come soon…

Me and Haven are so excited to have another hair bow to add to the Sunday Morning Scramble. The preparations continue…

Monday, September 11, 2017

Irma | And The Curtains Went Up | No Pictures

Irma. I've ceased to be amazed at the ugly names that keep being randomly picked for hurricanes...It finally occurred to me that deadly storms are too solemn for a happiful name. The naming committee nailed it this time. All I can think of is "cranky" and "prune juice." But whatever.

Thankfully, Shingle Holler hasn't really been affected by the storm at all - except for the grocery stores. I'm sure they feel like a hurricane has sucked up all their stocks. I'd hate to work at Food Lion today...but my fantastic Mother in Law went in my place and snagged the very last gallon of sweet apple cider  just-for-me, so life promises to be pretty tasty tomorrow...

For today, it's  just been a little gusty and wet  - which means My Logger caint go out and do all the things that loggers do on dry, sunny days. Which means, that I HAVE LOVED HAVING HIM HOME FOR ALMOST ALL MONDAY. I was afraid the fire pager would have him out rescuing the neighborhood - but, no. He's been able to work from home, mostly.

Nothing makes a cozy day cozier than a fire in the wood stove in the nippy, gray morning. Well, that, and fleece plaid-shirted hugs from the aforementioned logger, and the great big pot of Potato Corn Chowder simmering on the stove for his lunch. Throw in the giggles of a curly-top one-year-old, and life is a beautiful thing.

As for THE CURTAIN PART: Its taken us a little over a year, but we've done it. The living room curtains are up. I'm in luv. It's crazy how every little thing that we add brings another layer of "home" and "cozy." More on the tale of my awful curtain hanging experience and actual pictures of our happy life coming soon.

Big for now, from my quiet moment in the newly curtained living room: We're alive and kicking. And blessed. Very, very blessed.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gender Reveal | Love At It's Best

My man is amazing, and that has been said in so many ways on this blog that it's almost ridiculous. But on this day of all days, he trumped his own record and melted me all over again. 

See, I try to be a reasonable woman, but sometimes you can’t help but sniffle a little when circumstances ruin your plans. Which is to say that maybe I did accidentally let a few tears slip after he left for work, even though he made me promise I wouldn’t cry. The schedule of Prichard Logging LLC had butted in on our happy day and stole him away from me. It couldn't be helped, but as often as I repeated that fact to myself as I crawled back into bed at 6:30 in the morning, I still couldn't keep that dramatic, mournful feeling at bay. 

I was remembering how it felt to be twelve again. 

When I eased back out of bed a little later, it was a whole lot drearier of a day than I thought it would be. I made the long drive slowly,  losing my drippy attitude and gaining one of impatience and excitement. Kinda. I still really wished I didn’t have to have all the fun by myself. I knew he had wanted to be here today...there was just no way around it...

I reprimanded myself for being so dramatic.

Finally, I was walking through the double doors of the Biltmore OB. I signed in and took the back seat in the waiting room. 
And I squashed the lump in my throat back to where it came from. 
And I sighed a little, because I just knew they wouldn’t call me back for forever. 
And I swallowed the lump again. 
And tried to be interested in fairy costumes. (The magazine was full of them.)

Finally the nice, friendly ultrasound tech called my name at the door, and I gathered my receipt and medicine and pocket-book, hoping nobody else was named “Anna” today…

Nobody was. 

I pretended to be joyous and thrilled, and smiley as we two walked down the hall. There should have been three. Oh, Babe… I miss you… 

I reprimanded myself for being so dramatic. 

Then there were hard, hurried footsteps falling behind us, and somebody who was very out of breath exclaimed; “Oh, good, I was trying to catch you. Miss Pritchard? Your husband called to say that he will be here right at 2:00.”

What in the world… I knew he was crazy busy today, so I hadn’t asked him to come after I found out he couldn’t. My brain couldn’t comprehend how it was possible for him to get away. But he was coming?

And he made it. Just barely in time for the reveal, but he made it. The poor man found a partial break in that unrelenting schedule and drove clear from South Carolina to be with me for the most important part of the ultrasound, then turned around and drove all the way back, without me ever asking. 

Apparently, my husband is a mind-reader who loves me more than practicality allows.

And we’re having a sweet little girl! More ruffles and hair bows, more pink-pajama-ed snuggles in the early morning, and there will be four of us. Four just sounds more family-ish than three.

Hopefully this post doesn't just show up my complete immaturity…but it does show up his complete unselfishness — So I’m posting it anyways - along with a video of our “Silly String Reveal” a few hours later.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Slow Cooker Links | Hoorah!

I know. She's so precious. 

This mini chef of mine makes life in the kitchen so much more fun. (And interesting.)

Here's a couple links to a couple delightful freezer-to-crockpot recipes that I've fallen in love with -- We're having the lasagna tonight, actually. After a long weekend of yard sale wheeling and dealing (hurray for a nesting mommy getting rid of excess junk!!) I didn't feel like making a big meal. "Yay for crockpots." And a double "Yay for crockpots."

Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Lasagna  over at "Stockpiling Moms"

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken Recipe by "Sidetracked Sarah"

I had tried three or four other recipes that I'll need to tweak and change here and there, but those two were my favorites. I also sautéed and froze some pork chops. Here's a quick "How To."

Sprinkle and rub both sides of Pork Chops with:

Chili Powder
Garlic Powder

Fry in Butter until no longer pink in the middle. After they're cool, put them in a freezer bag and stow them away for days like mine.

Was that hard? I think not. All you have to do is warm them in the microwave, or a skillet. (Just be careful not to heat them for too-too long, or they'll be dried-out and tough.)

Well, I gotta skitter - time to finalize my super easy meal for this evening.

Wishing you Sprinkles and Cappuccinos,
Mrs. Pritchard

Ps. We find out if the baby is a "He" or "She" this Friday!! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Life Hacks | Meals with Baby

My new baby was fussy. I was completely exhausted. Company was coming. For some reason I chose to make Spaghetti and Meatballs from scratch. 
Some reason.
Some strange reason.
It ended up being two and a half-ish hours of slow going. Very, very slow going. I wanted to sit down. My back hurt. My brain hurt. But it was smelling amazing. The spicy Italian sauce mixing with the hearty meat aroma…

This meal would be perfection. Or at least, pretty good. 

By some miracle finishing touches were being achieved.  


Rain was falling all over my kitchen floor. The counters, the open shelving, in the bowls, the sink, the plates…

Slowly turning, I realized that the rain was not wet. Or rain at all. It was glass. Everywhere, and in everything. Heart beating fast, I checked the food. 

Speckled and speared with glinting shards…it was all for naught. 

I made Ethan and our company some turkey wraps and sent them to the living room while I slowly cleaned the glass out of everything. Apparently I had set my glass pan down on a burner that was still hot. 

I wanted to cry. I would’ve, if it weren’t for the guests. 

I say, “The End”, to complicated meals. At least while trying to shush a fussy Haven.

With Thing 2 on the way, I’ve been researching FREEZER MEALS. This week I started my first experiments, and I’m in love. It’s totally amazing to dump a bag of prepared ingredients in the crock pot and presto. Supper is ready in the blink of an eye. It took me a single evening to get (if I remember right) twelve meals prepared. So far, they’ve all been pretty fantastic. 

They say these type of meals are best used before six months is up, so when I hit trimester three, I will be stuffing our big freezer for all it’s worth. And I’m so excited about it. 

The garden has had a pretty hefty yield (yay for the first garden ever!!) so I’ve been canning beans, freezing corn, putting up green peppers, making pickles — basically whatever I can get my greedy fingers on. I’m dreaming of opening cans of garden-fresh vegetables to compliment my bags of frozen goodies. Fast food at it’s finest. 

The recipes? Click on the links. 

A little note: I usually reduce sugar, skip soy sauce (replace it with amino acids), and try to stay away from super carb-laden stuff. The recipes below are ones that I’ve tinkered with and adjusted to my family’s tastes, but I’m sure they’re fantastic as they are. 

Feel like giving this a try? Let me know how it turns out!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two Years Married | Happy Saturday

 Sometimes life doesn’t fit into words. Saturdays don’t. This one doesn’t. 

The contentedness of a mighty large batch of waffles fresh in the kitchen, the warm Carolina sun on my arms, the stretching blue sky overhead - Nope. The words aren’t good enough; happy enough; full enough for the love God has given me for this life.

I never felt like a Northern girl. There’s nothing wrong with icy winters and German people; oh, no. But something inside me always knew that a part of my life would be in the South. I was expecting it, but I wasn’t. When I heard his calm, irresistible accent for the first time, I had no idea that the only reason he was making conversation with the whole group was to get two words in with me. 

“How in the world do you love me?” I’ve asked so many times, squashed into his shoulder from a hug. He always reminds me that he knew the first time he saw me. Would have married me right then. 

And I still can’t figure out why. 

Two years from the day he made me his, we’re still in love. We ride in the work truck with the windows down, talking about skidders, log quotas, whether or not it will rain before Monday, mixed in with a little bit of “what Haven did today”, and an “I love you…” every once in a while. 

We’re still newly weds. He says we always will be; and that’s why were are. 

Thanks Hun. I love you more than a microwave.

<Inside Joke>