Fall Home Cure Time! {Day 1: Clean One Room}

Just happened to notice on my Facebook page that Home Cure is back! They're doing the 20/20 Cure again (20 minutes for 20 days), and while I skipped out on it last fall, it sounds like the perfect solution for this fall!

I'm technically a little behind (today, the 28th, is actually Day 5), but instead of rushing through things and getting burned out early or skipping something important, I'll just complete each day as it happens. And today happens to be Day 1 in the Cress household :)

Jesus is for Mothers

Shortly after becoming a mother, a friend gave me this comic strip...

{Source: Baby Blues}

Funny, right? I thought so. Then Brylee got older and we had another baby and it's almost sad how true this became. Because even when dad buttons the shirt, mom is still playing a balancing act. Holding it all together. Being everything for everyone.

Am I right moms?

The Prodigal's Brother and Me

{Sunset in Mongolia}
[The older son] was angry and would not go in [to the party]. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.' | Luke 15: 28-30

Have you ever been in the shoes of the prodigal's older brother?

I have. Mainly when I'm impressed with someone's conversion story and I'm envious of the beautiful (and obvious) way the Savior transformed their life into something new. It's nothing less than extraordinary! Leaving me feeling extra ordinary.

On Becoming Baby Wise, Ezzo & Bucknam {a book review}

I'm not usually one of those parents. You know, the parents that read everything and first consult "the experts" before trying anything on their child. I'm a "wing it" and "parent instinct knows best" kind of parent. I'm a "don't over think it" and "just sit back and enjoy while they're still young" kind of parent. A "they came to live with us so they better be flexible" and "I'll Google it if I have a question" kind of parent.

But, alas, my laid back and passive parenting "style" has basically failed. Sure, my kids are happy and pretty well adjusted. (The youngest has exceptions.) But I'm exhausted. Passivity and downright laziness has lead me to respond to my baby's every cry with nursing. Demand-feeding "they" call it. He wakes up all hours of the night and that's been ongoing more or less for the last nearly 10 months. Have I mentioned I'm exhausted? I'm fatigued. I'm impatient especially with our 3-year-old. Sweet little Brylee. She doesn't deserve me to be so short with her. My husband deserves more {positive} attention from me. Our messy home deserves more from me. And Ian deserves more quality attention from me and more from his sleeping routine.

So, my sister let me borrow her book. And our lives will never be the same :)

Brown Bag Date Night and the At-Home Date

We usually try to keep a weekly date night and alternate planning responsibility. We're both rarely brave enough to "cash in" on the free babysitting offers, so we firmly established ourselves in the at-home dating routine. It often (always?) includes something from Redbox, preceded by "family date night" meaning supper and fun with the fam.

Yesterday's date night was mine to plan, but this brown bag date night was not the first in our date night creativity.

New Shoes vs. New Life {turn up the volume and dance along!}

I was listening to one of my Pandora stations the other day, heard this song and thought

{Hello, new favorite song!}

Maybe it has something to do with its dance-inducing tune. (Brylee and I love dancing around to music!)

Or, perhaps when we danced to it Friday it had something to do with my literal new shoes. (You know, the boots I decided to keep.)

I was also feeling a little down (note melancholy start to my birthday post) on Friday. After dancing to this song with Brylee and Ian, I said a little prayer of thanksgiving for the dose of optimism.
You have turned my mourning into dancing. {Psalm 30:11}

I really do love this song because of what it does for me spiritually, beyond just turning a bad mood into a dance-worthy one.

Quarter-Life Crisis {Happy Birthday to Me}

Wow, that probably sounds way more melancholy than I intended. Or maybe it's just honest.

Because I'm not alone, am I?
quarter life crisis : Usually occurs sometime in your twenties, a few years out of school when you still feel as though you're waiting for your life to begin. {Urban Dictionary}
Okay, so maybe most other people going through a "quarter-life crisis" are feeling insecure about their careers or wondering if or when they'll get married and start a family and getting anxious for their adult lives to "start." I can't really relate to that. So what would you call it when you're in your twenties, a few years out of school and feel as though you should be waiting for your life to begin?

Edible Cookie Dough {What an indulgence!}

I love cookie dough. Sadly, (don't get too grossed out) I don't even care if it has... gasp... raw eggs in it. But, alas, I do know it's not safe so I'm trying to change my ways.

This recipe is the first step.

To Keep or Not to Keep {Boots}

So cute!

I can't decide if I should keep them.

And I have until tomorrow to decide otherwise the receipt expires and I'll have no other option than to keep them.

For some reason, whenever I put them on, all that goes through my head is "They're country and you look country in them." {A line from a favorite movie as a teenager.}

If I'm having doubts, I should just return them, right?

Crying It Out {Spoiler Alert: It's working!}

Meet Ian. He's now 9-months-old and a big baby. Not just that he was 11 pounds at birth and has been huggably big ever since, but he's my little momma's boy. He cries when his feelings get hurt and he follows me around the house whimpering like a little puppy just to get held.

He's also picky about how he's put to sleep. Standing. Rocking. Holding him until he falls alseep. It's been an exhausting process, but it works. Or rather, it worked.

More recently he's added hitting, biting and yelling to the routine, making "fighting sleep" a more literal term.

Homestyle Mac 'n Cheese {Yum!}

This week I've tried a couple new recipes from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. Homemade mac 'n cheese is a great fall comfort food (even though the cool weather hasn't really hit yet), but it gets even better when it's made just a little bit healthy.

Gobbledy Gook, Cupboards, and Sabbath Preparation

Last week was the first time I have {ever} prepared Sabbath lunch before sunset on Friday. 

While I usually clean something Friday, cooking is the last thing on my mind when it comes to Sabbath preparation. Eating is essential (unless I went on a weekly fast, but I don't think that'd fly with the kids), so cooking seemed like an ox-in-the-ditch sort of excuse for it to be done on Sabbath. Jesus and His disciples were challenged for their Sabbath food prep {Matthew 12:1-3} which seems to add to the justification.

But what about the whole manna-in-the-wildness scenario {Exodus 16:22-30}? There was a definite reason God instructed the Israelites to gather more manna in preparation for the Sabbath {Exodus 16:4-5} and a recent read (Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner) inspired me to take Sabbath preparation a little more seriously and experience that reason firsthand.

So, I prepared Sabbath lunch before sunset last Friday. Doing extra cleaning, preparing an extra meal, and picking up my traveling husband from the airport is no small feat to fit into an already full day of taking care of two kids. (Definite props to all those moms who do that and more with 3 or more kids!!)

So what are the kids doing while I'm whipping up a casserole, apple cake (which didn't turn out), and twice-baked potatoes?

Pinterest {More than Just Pinning}

{leaving her mark pinned to Spiritual Goal Board}

A few weeks into it, I love Pinterest! The "Pin It" button makes it so easy to save yummy recipes, crafty projects, or even a wish list. It's hard to explain exactly what makes it so addicting. Inspiration and potential are just a couple words that come to mind.

But is all of this pinning just a fancy new time waster?

Not for me. Here are just a few things I've done since and thanks to Pinterest.