Friday, January 31, 2014

about that other post

Maybe you know the one I mean, or maybe you'll take a moment to read it now. I don't mean to beat a dead horse, and I hope it doesn't start to feel like that around here, but honestly, I feel like this is such an important story to share. Back when I first found out about my husband's affair, after I was rocked by the shock (that sometimes I feel hasn't entirely dissolved), after God put the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation on my heart, and while Karl and I were still in separate houses, I felt so alone. I was afraid that anyone I told would immediately take sides, which I knew wouldn't be healthy if we were going to end up staying married. I found out Karl had support. He had some great people to pray with him, identify with him--some people we have known for a long time told him about their experiences with infidelity, but never did I get to hear from the spouse hurt by it (I know now that in every case, BOTH spouses are hurt by it, but I wasn't willing to admit it then). 

I turned to google, desperate in my search to read a story written by the betrayed spouse, a story of forgiveness. Again and again all I could seem to find were resources for the person caught in the affair, and a whole lot of unhelpful advice. Save for one story, which by the way, I found weeks before I knew about my husband's affair, but during the weeks that followed I read it again and again. I was so thirsty to hear a story written by someone who was hurt, but was able to find forgiveness. I needed to know it was possible. Probably not a surprise, but a marriage on the rocks is incredibly messy business, and trying to make sense of anything during that time was extremely difficult. Between wondering who would get the kids, how would I support myself, what if I stay angry forever, what if they're in love, what if? What if? What if? There's so much room for anger in those questions and not much room for hope. Add to that the exhaustion of keeping a "game face" on--for the kids, for the parents, friends, family... It's tough.

 It was rock bottom for me. I said in that last post that I fell on my face in prayer, and it's true. I had no energy to do anything else, and in that time alone with God, I found hope. In that story I read on the internet, I found hope. When I finally had the courage to reach out to a friend, I was overwhelmed with hope. Not necessarily the hope I wanted--I didn't find the promise of my saved marriage online, or in a single prayer, or through email conversations with a friend, but I did find hope in knowing I wasn't alone. And that's a damn fine first step. And that is one reason why I need to share this story. 

Just in case someone out there somewhere needs to know they're not alone...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

my favorite food (for now)

Ladies and gentlemen, I have to confess. I cannot get enough of these.
Call them salad rolls, spring rolls, fresh rolls, whatever. But they are gooooood.
And a much needed change from the fried food and potato chip addiction I have had as of late.

Here's what I put in mine this time. You always need the rice papers and some sort of noodles, but the rest can change every time. Sometimes I use rice sticks noodles and sometimes I use bean threads. No one in my house seems to have a preference. This time I put in mung bean sprouts, bell pepper, carrot, cucumber and plenty of fresh cilantro.

Just slice your veggies into thin matchsticks, prepare the noodles according to package directions, and you're good to go.

This is what the rice paper looks like right out of the package. My small town has a local grocery store with a great selection of Asian foods--shout out to Shop'N'Kart, if you're local!-- but I have also seen them at Fred Meyer and sometimes Safeway.

You can see that it is pretty thin and brittle.

Just soak them in a pie plate with about a half inch of hot water for a few seconds and they soften right up.

I have found that the time it takes me to roll up my first roll is the perfect amount of time to have the next rice paper soaking.

They're hard to hold flat with one hand while taking a picture with the other hand. It will stick to itself, so try not to let that happen. I think I was able to save this one before it got too crumpled up.

Just flatten it out the best you can on a plate.

Then top with whatever you're putting on yours. If you look really closely you can see that some green onion snuck in after I had taken the photos of the ingredients up above. Good stuff. I always pile the noddles on first, then the sprouts, followed by whatever else you have. Don't forget the cilantro!

Now you fold over the two ends that are perpendicular to the fillings, and stick it down to the flaps that are still open. That will help you get a nice, tight roll.

Then just roll it up burrito style.

And of course dip it in plenty of peanut sauce. That's the best part. There are tons of recipes out there on the interwebs for this stuff, but I'm much too lazy for that these days. This one is my current favorite. A little spicy, and I'm pretty sure it'd be awesome with an ice cold beer... I'll keep you posted on that in about 3-4 months.  ;)

eight years

On this day eight years ago, this guy and I stood up before our friends and family and said things like, "for better or for worse..." and, "til death do us part..." It's almost humorous the difference I feel about those words this year versus the day we first said them aloud. I never imagined, as a 19 year old bride, how much those vows could stretch me. Or how they would be tested. Or how thankful I would still be that we made them. I love you, Karl, and I am so blessed to have you by my side.

Monday, January 27, 2014

discovery trail

Before we dropped the kiddos off at grandma's for a weekend alone, we went for a short morning hike. It was a beautiful morning for it! We hit up Discovery Trail, which I didn't even know existed, and it was lovely. If any of you locals are interested, there is also at least one geocache along the way, which is a good motivator for my kiddos to keep walking. 

This trail is pretty short and sweet and has gravel for most of the way which was perfect for Milo to be out of the backpack and on his feet, and also nice for this mama, who's pace is a bit slower these days. 

We also had the opportunity to go over some basic safety tips since there was a sign posted about a recent cougar sighting. And, could it be? A cougar track? We're not completely sure, but if you look closely you'll notice that the bottom of the paw print does have three lobes, and what almost appears to be claw marks at the top is actually shadows cast by little pieces of gravel.

They found it! We actually remembered to have the kiddos all bring a piece of "treasure" with them in case we found the geocache, and they were so excited to get to trade some things.

And I had to throw this last one in. Our little family is growing too big for iphone self-portatraits these days, so Karl had to be a little clever about getting us all in there. :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

dressing the belly

So, after that last heavy post, I'm just going to jump ahead and say this weekend Karl and I are celebrating our 8th anniversary *dreamy sigh*, and I'm not sure if I've really said anything about it in this space, but we are expecting our 4th baby. I've totally lost track of how far along I am at this point. All I know is that I'm due in May and already as big as a house. You can call me Gianormica from here on out. Pleased to meet you. 

Anywhooooo, I knew I'd need something to cover my belly for our date so that diners aren't offended by my inappropriately and hugely exposed baby space. Enter: husband's old button down and a pair of jeans that I busted the zipper on way back when I tried to shove myself back into them too soon after birthing 9lb, 6oz baby Milo two years ago.
Before: husbands old shirt and stretchy busted zipper jeans.
After: button back, pin-tucked blouse with maternity rocker jeans.
I totally didn't take any pictures of the process of making this top. I was highly inspired by some of the tutorials over at DIY Maternity, but then just went and did my own thing. I can kind of describe it though, if anyone's interested. If you're not, then just skip to the bottom to see me rocking ridiculous heels, considering my lack of balance--but hey, at least I wasn't trying to chase kids in them!

For the top: I cut the sleeves off, removed the pocket, and unpicked the yoke seem. I did some very sloppy pintucks in the front (the back of the shirt is now the front) so that I wouldn't lose too much fabric when I resized the sleeve holes, and then reattached the yoke. I cut the collar off the shirt and then resized the neck opening to fit before folding it over twice and topstitching. I traced the sleeves of a button up shirt I have that fits nicely and resized the old sleeves accordingly, cutting them to elbow length. I cut the side seams of the shirt and hemmed the new front to match the back (this allowed me to drop the neckline down a little and reset the top shoulder seams to the front, then I sewed the side seams back up, closing in the arm holes a little to match my new sleeves. Lastly, I put the sleeves back on and BAM! Now I have a shirt that covers my bump.

The pants were way easy. I cut an old tee that fit snugly over my belly straight across just under the armpits, then folded the band of fabric in half and sewed it around the top of the jeans under the waist band. IMPORTANT: be sure the zipper is up before sewing, and make sure the pockets are tucked down. Or just always wear with a very long shirt. Ahem.

Now I'm wishing I had taken a better photo to show the pin-tucking at the yoke and the button down back. Whoops.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

the post that almost didn't get published.

This blog has stayed pretty light hearted for most if it's existence, and I realize I've been pretty sporadic about posting this past year. I feel like I have been tiptoeing around this issue that has consumed most of my past year, and now I  have this urge to come clean and reflect on this last season we've been in as a family, and where I'm at now, as an individual.

no acting here---we really are that dorky.
It feels weird/cheesy to say (type) this, but there was a time recently-ish when I heard the voice of God for the first time in years. Maybe even for the first time ever. It was during the time my husband got a second job and we moved in with my dad while we house hunted. The exact moment was when I picked up my husband's phone right as it was receiving an intimate text from another woman (whoa!! right?!)--turns out it was THE other woman. The woman I later found out he had spent the night with after work the night before Mother's Day, the woman he slept with before coming home to his birthday breakfast the kids and I made for him, the woman he gave pieces of his life to that I was sure belonged only to me. I was blindsided, but I wasn't confused. I knew exactly what it meant. I knew that in that moment my world was turned upside down and a heavy weight, the heaviest I've ever felt was thrown upon my chest.  Let me say right here that I thought our marriage was pretty tight. We had just celebrated 7 years, had three beautiful children, and were in the process of buying our dream house/fixer-upper.

We were busy, and Karl was working hard, but I never in my wildest dreams thought this would happen to me, to us. My life as I knew it was crumbling, but also in that moment, in that same exact moment I heard you will be ok. It wasn't 'your marriage will be ok' or 'this is all just a misunderstanding that will blow over'. No. It was a distinct voice of reassurance, of peace, and of comfort--that my wellbeing depended on no one else if I trust God.

I didn't know how I was going to be ok. I was staring down the barrel of being an unemployed and homeless single mother to three. I was pretty sure I couldn't stay married to Karl. I felt like the man I had spent my last 7 years dedicating my life to and bearing his children had just tossed his family to the curb like a charred cigarette butt. I felt like I was the plot of some cruel and twisted joke. I felt like my parents' history was repeating itself--on me. It wasn't until a few days later that I was able to digest that feeling I had, that voice I heard. It was a few days later that I knew it had to be divine intervention in that moment that I didn't physically harm anyone, God knows I wanted to slap the hell out of my husband, but instead I fell flat on my face in prayer... for the first time in a long, long time.

Eventually, during a brief separation, I was able to see that I could indeed be a single mother, and I would get by, and after a while I would probably even find joy again. I somehow felt empowered, that if it came to it, I could do it and do it well. It took some time, but during that separation, I also realized that that wasn't God's plan for me. This was my chance to grow--to learn about forgiveness. We had a lot of work to do if we wanted to stay together, our marriage most certainly wasn't going to mend itself. We had a foundation to rebuild, trust to restore, and we each had to get our hearts right with God. I had to realize that I could lay in bed at night crying and feeling sorry for myself (and I did for awhile) or I could pray to God to fill my heart with the capacity for forgiveness. I could let God use this as an opportunity to grow me---to make me a better me, more capable of love, more capable of trust, and to help me know true forgiveness. I could have stayed angry (and I did for awhile). I could have continued to see my husband as a liar, a man who betrayed me and his children, or I could choose to see a man who, during our separation was humbled enough to realize how bad he effed up. I prayed for the latter. I prayed that God would give me the eyes to see a man who realized his faults and humbled himself before the Lord and his family, asking for forgiveness.

I could have put all my hope in my husband and set "rules" for him to get me back, or I could put my hope in God, praying that he would restore our marriage and strengthen our faith. It hasn't been an easy road, not one that I'd want to walk again, nor a road I would choose for anybody else. But oh how thankful I am for the spiritual and emotional growth it has inspired, and for the healing journey it has us on right now.

Monday, January 20, 2014

oh ps- i failed.

is it too late to still be talking about christmas? because if i have to turn back time for a minute, i will. i totally failed on my christmas knitting goal, you guys. 3 knits for 3 kids totally didn't happen. i posted Mad's cape, which was totally done in time for her to wear to the nutcracker before christmas--yay! and i had already finished Milo's sweater, which was a seriously fun knit and i hope to do another one sometime soonish, but i completely failed at finishing a barley for Max. Woops! i finished it a couple weeks later for our first hike of the year, instead. and i'm pretty sure we lost it on the trail before any photos were taken. nice, right? next time i'll remember not to have him wear a fern-green hat when we go hiking through the forrest. here's some better photos of the two knits that didn't get lost though.

 i know i already posted about Mad's cape and the pattern details, but the yarn! it's called imagination, by knit picks and i had ordered it sometime early last year. if i'd have known they were discontinuing it, i would have ordered two skeins in every color. i LOVE it. i also used it many moons ago for Milo's newborn kick sack in a weird colorway, but i just love the fabric that it knits into. 

and this precious sweater is the Oh, handsome Winter-sweater by Anna and Heidi Pickles. love! it was such a fast and easy knit, and the results are just perfect. i used some amazing yarn that my mom had given me from her stash over a year ago, probably closer to two, and it was just perfect for this project. i'm pretty sure i have enough left over to knit up a matching one for baby no. 4!

this was the best i could do as far as a photo of him in it. strapped down and sleeping is the only way he'll hold still these days. two year old life is a busy life, you know. 

UPDATE: i'm excited to say Max's hat isn't lost after all, and here's the proof!
this pattern was fun. i just knit it in some wool of the andes (jalepeno) i had leftover from his striped vest, but i do wish i'd have had some more interesting yarn to knit it in. i love some of the examples on the pattern page that were knit in madelinetosh or malabrigo.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

pardon me

...while I get all Jesus-y for a minute. This might seem to come out of the blue, but it has to do with where my heart is at today, which I'm sharing in order to attempt to live more transparently. Today at church we started a series called "Tough Questions," where we talk about some of the questions many people have, in my experience, as non-believers or new believers. Questions such as, "Do all paths lead to God?" and "Is believing Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven, inclusive or exclusive?" I have to admit, I have been a part of many discussions revolving around John 14:6, and many people who don't identify as Christians will say that is quite EXclusive. At some level, its hard to disagree with that. It sounds awfully exclusive to me.

During the sermon all I could think was I don't have time for this (because obviously, I'm a jerk). I don't have time to sit here and hear the way the scripture speaks to one person. I don't have time to question/discuss/argue the details of our faith. I mean, is this what God wants from us? I thought he wanted us to move forward and put our faith into action. How can we do that if we are always concerned with the details?

It's interesting to me how uncomfortable I was sitting there. God has been putting action on my heart a lot lately. And it kind of felt like this series might have me spinning my wheels. But at the last minute I had this thought--God gave us the greatest gift. He sent Jesus to give us the ultimate example of how our time on earth should be spent. Through Jesus he then, without question, proceeded to free us from the eternal consequences of sin. And if we see that, if we acknowledge that gift and accept it, we will hopefully want to live our lives like Jesus did. And what Jesus lived was a life of love and inclusion

So there's my answer. It's my prayer that I will live my life in a way that displays inclusion and emits love. I want people to see that there is redemption and love for everyone, God already gave it to us, now its our job to show that to each other--to everyone.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

hiking all year

I made it a point to make no New Year's resolutions as we celebrated the new year with sparkling cider and a kick-ass game of Headbands. But I did, pretty much on accident, make a goal. I decided that as a family, we are going to hike every weekend of the year. I found out that I have NO excuse, considering there is a sweet nature trail just a mere couple of blocks from my front door. We hit it up with our neighbors after church the first weekend of the new year, and I immediately started dreaming up the weekend hikes that will take place the rest of the month/season/year/until I forget and realize I'm too cold/hungry/tired/pregnant to keep it up. Are you as curious as I am to see how many hikes we'll find in the area before I give up? Ha!

Hike #1- Seminary Hill Natural Area
 On our first hike we ended up falling off the trail and exploring the wilderness. We had an awesome time and found out that even our two year old likes to hike. He has decided quite recently that he'd rather be alongside us, rather than on my back--which is fine, since I happen to already be carrying around some extra weight in the front right now. ;)

Hike #2 - Nisqually Wildlife Refuge
For our second hike we ventured out to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge and honestly, I have no idea how, as a born and raised Washingtonian I've never been here. It was great, the kids loved it, and since we had a meeting beforehand and got lost on the way (really?!) we were left wishing we'd have had more daylight hours to spend on the boardwalk, using the telescopes to see different species of birds. We will most definitely be going back soon!

Friday, January 10, 2014

reflections on the year i thought i lost everything.

how's that for a cryptic title?
to say that 2013 was a year of growth for me feels like a bit of an understatement.

there was so much beauty,

a gianormous "rough patch,"

and some pretty huge moments of growth.

i have never felt more fulfilled,

but before that came suffering. 
i have never felt so alone.

i have been stretched emotionally 
and spiritually in ways i couldn't have imagined.

i have been shaped and molded by circumstance.

i have been blessed beyond measure.

i have learned lessons i didn't know i needed to learn.

and though parts of me were so glad to kiss 2013 goodbye,
i know that none of what's to come would happen without first
living every experience the year handed me.

here's to an awesome 2014.