Sunday, January 24, 2016

How Project Madalyn Picks Out Her Own Clothes Was Born

A few days ago I tapped out
in which I talked about my 
white flag.

It's when I decided to surrender to the battle that was getting 
The Fancy Farm Girl
dressed for the day.

If you know me even a little you probably know I am
Type A
I'm totally flexible as long as things are done the way I think they should be.
I am a leader some say bossy even intimidating.
I also am passionate about a lot of things.
My daughter looking just right used to be one of them. 
I knew before she was born what kind of clothes she would wear and how she would be
oh so cute everyday in cute little pigtails and matching clothes
complete with shoes and ruffle socks.
I even claimed
"My daughter will NEVER wear clothes that don't match!"
I like things kind of perfect.

Then she turned three and I realized..
She is totally flexible as long as things are done the way she thinks they should be.
she is bossy and
definitely a leader.
 She has eyes that will melt your heart, she has beautiful hair, she loves babies, she loves playing school, 
She is just like me except she likes things perfectly imperfect.

Getting her ready in the morning was a battle most days. 
I would bribe her with jelly beans to get pig tails in her hair.
 I would pick out her clothes she would have a fit because she didn't like what I picked out. 
I would say "you are wearing what I want you to wear"
She would melt down, I would sweat. 
It wouldn't be very much fun.

In 2010
our friends had their lives turned upside down with the death of their 4 year old daughter.
There I was sitting at the memorial celebrating the life of Ashlynn Anderson  
as Pastor Andy read a letter her mom wrote. 
D'ette wrote about Ashlynn and how she would pick out her own clothes everyday sometimes even princess dress and would always be so proud of herself. 
It was as if time stood still and the words replayed over and over in my head as tears streamed down my face.
Proud of herself? 
What a concept in parenting. 
It was on that day that I decided I had to let go of making Madalyn look how I thought she needed to look, let her be proud of herself and to be herself.
She may be like me, but she isn't me.

At first this was super hard! 
She would get dressed and I would cringe.
 I decided as long as she had clean clothes on I would let it ride. 
Then the idea of Project Madalyn Picks Out Her Own Clothes began.
When she had a crazy outfit on I would take her picture and believe me some outfits were rough.
She would get looks, she would gets comments always good and she was always proud of herself.
 I would get eye rolls from disapproving mothers, I would get comments both good and bad and
 I was proud of myself.

Mornings would go smooth.
No more tears, yelling, frustrations or bribes!
She would look in the mirror after getting dressed and say

"I look good!"

I would actually look forward to seeing what she put together
I no longer worried about what other moms would think and when she would get looks and I would get a disapproving eye roll I never felt 
like I needed to explain and say
   "she picks out her own clothes" 
I just smiled at her, grabbed her hand and moved on. 

If you are fighting battles with you kids like these I would encourage you to step back and look at it from a different view. 
Will it matter tomorrow if she wears a

 pink fleece hat  and pink gloves with a black and white checked party dress today? 

Or a swimsuit top over her shirt with jeans?
 This was a favorite she also paired with cowboy boots.

 Or her recital dress and a crown with her jeans to church?

Or this? Oh my what is this???

Or these shorts that she paired with a lot of different leggings
That shirt became one of her favorites.

Or that she is wearing a skirt as a shirt!

Or when she wears bracelets on her bicep and those boots are covered in silver glitter.

 Sometimes she would even put things together I wish I had thought of!
 I mean this girl has some style!

It doesn't matter one single bit and if it wasn't for the pictures I took I wouldn't even remember most of her outfits.
The lessons we teach our kids can be profound in letting them learn to make choices, feeling proud of themselves
 and letting them know we love them regardless of what they wear.

I would never had expected this lesson from a  4 year old princess who loved purple and dancing on her toes and today is "eating cookies for breakfast with Jesus"
As Madalyn would say.

Blessed Is Me...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Promise You

Life is fleeting
It changes faster than we expect and our kids go from tender little soft skinned bundles of chubby deliciousness
to sassy mouthed know-it-all 
People with thoughts and opinions.
I wish I could go back and have a redo on some of the squishy moments I wished away.

Thankfully our life has little lives in it again.
Little lives that we get to love and snuggle and rock to sleep.
We get to dance with them when they cry.
We get to kiss them all over their faces; for now.

It made me realize things that I didn't enjoy as a mom.
I couldn't wait for them to end.
The sleepless nights
The diapers
The lack of being able to hold a bottle or feed themselves.
I missed so so much.

So, new moms I have some promises for you.

I promise you that the opinion of the internet means nothing.
I know it is overwhelming
I know it makes you feel inadequate sometimes it does me too.
There is much to pour through.
Filter most of it out.
Nobody knows your baby like you do.

I promise you 
that the nights you spend rocking a crying baby wont last forever and when those nights are gone you'll wonder how you ever did it.
I had a baby who cried a lot and he didn't sleep through the night until he was well over one.
I wished he would have and now I wish I could have one more night rocking him while he drank his bottle. 
I wish I hadn't wished it away.

I promise you 
that whether you breast or bottle feed they will be ok.
You'll be ok too.

I promise you
 that they'll want to secretly hold your hand while they fall asleep even when they are 11.

I promise you
 that all mothers feel like they are failing.
You aren't.

I promise 
when they tell you that "you're lousy parents" 
That they really mean they love you.

I promise you
 that the mess in the house doesn't matter.
The sugar and flour spread from the kitchen counter to the floor with eggs whites on the wall will create smiles and memories.
The dishes piled high aren't going anywhere.
The baskets of laundry can wait.
Sit. Read. Play. Rock.

I promise you 
that you can dress you babies in the cutest matchy matchy dresses with tights and ruffle butts and patent leather shoes in hopes that they will forever want to be fancy and frilly and then 
they will want to pick out their own clothes.
You may battle, but eventually you'll raise your white flag and she'll be wearing a swimsuit top over her shirt with jeans and cowgirl boots.
And, it'll be ok even though fellow mothers will look down their nose at you.
Smile and wave and grab your little girls hand.

I promise you
there is no such thing as too many people that love and cherish your kids.

I promise you
they will wreck you physically, mentally and emotionally
and you'll be better for it.
It's a love you have never felt
selfless love
 an ache deep in your belly when you miss them 
and you wont even care that your boobs hang low.
Ok you might, but it'll be worth it.

I promise you 
before you know it
your baby will be wearing size 7 mens shoes and wearing deodorant or heading into the double digits with the hair you've always dreamed of.
They'll still want you to tuck them in tight and kiss them goodnight, but never kiss them in front of their friends.

I promise you
You're doing better than you think.
Enjoy every single moment.
They wont be little very long.

Blessed Is Me...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

From My Grandmas Kitchen

If you've spent any time with me you probably know how much I cherished my
To me she was a gem above all gems.
A tough as nails shell with a heart of gold
an embrace that you would melt into.
 We may be a little bit alike.

This past weekend I was sorting through her recipe box and came across her 
famous recipe for
sourdough pancakes.

Memories flooded back
to the days I would go and
spend the night with her in Knappa at the old Johnson farmhouse.
After dinner she would fill up a giant bath of bubbles
and set out a long nightgown for me to slip on afterwards.
At bedtime I would get nestled under the heavy quilt that covered the old cast iron bed frame in the bedroom next to the parlor.
She would snuggle me in tight and kiss me goodnight.

When morning came she would already be in the kitchen getting breakfast going.
I never remember eating a bowl of cold cereal at her house.
The smell of bacon would fill the old house.
Grandpa Cliff would usually already be outside feeding the cows, but he would be back in time for breakfast.
She would pull up a stool and let me beat the egg whites as she prepared the pancake batter.
She would always let me help.
This is something I am terrible at as I like cooking alone.
 I really need to work on letting the kiddos come alongside me!

After sorting through her recipes last Friday I made plans that
today, Sunday, I would try my hand at her sourdough pancakes.

I found a recipe for sourdough starter on a homesteader page I follow on Facebook.
1 cup flour
1 cup water heated to 90 degrees
1/8 teaspoon yeast
mix with wooden or plastic utensil.
I used a mason jar and a wooden spoon handle and tucked it in the fridge.

Today when I pulled out the recipe to get started I realized I was supposed to start it last night.
Well, because I am impatient I tried it anyways and it worked 
Next time I will do it the correct way.

Mix the night before
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
7 tbsp of starter -use plastic not metal measuring-
Let stand overnight- I assume on the counter

Next morning return 7 tbsp back to starter mix, cover and put back in the fridge.

Separate 4 eggs and beat whites until stiff peaks
 Stiff peaks means when you take the beater out the peak doesn't bend at the top

Combine in the bowl of flour, milk, starter
4 yolks
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp sugar
wisk together then
fold in egg whites leaving chunks.

When you pour the batter on the hot griddle those chunks rise to the top

and when you flip them over the puff to about 1" thick!

Grandma Ethel used to serve with a bowl of white sugar for sprinkling so that is what I topped them with.

I taste tested them before I set them out for breakfast and when they crossed my lips
it got me in the feels
The lump in my throat kind of
They tasted just how I remembered...
It's probably been since I was 12 that I had these delicious cakes of goodness!
 27 years later.

The kids gobbled them up and Jer even ate more than he usually does and he isn't a big pancake fan.
The Farm Manager even made a comment tonight about how good they were.

I decided on January 1st after sorting through her recipe box  that I am going to write a book.
My first will be a compilation of my grandma's recipes with stories of us.
This means I am going to get to spend some time in the kitchen recreating all those wonderful and sometimes odd recipes that she loved enough to scroll onto a notecard.
I will also be learning how to let little hands help in the kitchen so that they have memories that creep in unexpectedly and hopefully flood their hearts like mine has been today.
I have the stool ready.

Blessed Is Me...