{Mommy Journal} Today He Swings, Tomorrow He Marries

Caleb turned six months old today. That’s half a year. He’s been in our lives outside of the womb for half a year. How did this happen?

We took him to a little playground in a beautiful park. After he had crawled around on a blanket in the grass for awhile, I put him in a playground swing for the first time. It was the perfect way to celebrate six months and he loved it from the first push.

As I sat there crosslegged in the sand, giving the swing a little shove every now and then and saying “weeeee” as Caleb drifted back and forth, grinning and squealing, I had one of those “mom moments” in a way I hadn’t before.

IMG_0428-2Suddenly, as I looked at my baby’s big brown eyes and double-chin smile, I saw him posing with his books and pencil on the first day of homeschool, cheesy grin and polo shirt-perfect. I heard him telling me, “I love her, mom” with the most earnest of expressions. And I watched him marrying the girl of his dreams on the happiest day of his life. Then, just as quickly as those visions had hopped through my mind, I was back in the sand at the playground giggling with a little boy who doesn’t even know what school is or who girls are. But he will. And it will be sooner than I realize.

I can’t imagine life without Monkey. It isn’t easy being a mom. Even with a baby who is, on whole, very adaptable and incredibly sweet, life has changed dramatically and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of things. But there’s no better reason than this precious little life, entrusted into our care by God Himself. Every single sacrifice is more than worth the joy and delight and rewards that come with being Caleb’s mommy. His infant days are already flying by so quickly. Much sooner than I realize, I’ll be taking his kindergarten photo and watching him go on his first date.

But not today. Today I’m sitting in the sand. I’m saying,”weeeee!” And I’m pushing a pudgy six-month-old on his first ride on the swing.

{Homemaking Journal} New Spring Recipes

Five months into this whole mommy thing, I’m still loving the extra time I have to cook proper, delicious meals for my little family. Granted, this week included two nights back-to-back where I got precisely nothing on the table due to completely packed apartment days, but under average circumstances, I have the time and the energy to put yummy food in front of my hubby each night and I love it! Here are a few favorite new recipes from recent weeks. Please pardon the language in one of these blog URLs. It’s an unfortunate blog title but the food is scrumptious! My new favorite cooking blog for sure.

As always, I made numerous changes to these fine recipes…including altering them to be gluten free. Sorry for the poor photo of the Bang Bang Chicken! I always forget to get my Nikon out after I’m done cooking. =)

Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Squash Carbonara – I personally loved this more than the Cheesecake Factory version. To die for!

Cheesy Enchilada Rice Skillet – Nothing earth-shattering flavor-wise, but SO easy.

bangbangchickenBang Bang Chicken – I’ve made this twice already! DELICIOUS! Worth the fuss!

Cauliflower Chowder – I’m honestly not a big fan of cauliflower, but I absolutely loved this soup. And it was sooooo simple.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini – These satisfy that occasional and obsessive craving for something toasted with cheese.

{My Photography} Ordinary Joy Photography Recents

I’ve really enjoyed getting more photography practice lately. I’m finding it’s incredibly rewarding when I actually capture on camera what I envisioned in my head. (I never knew that could actually be so challenging!) I have SO much to learn and I’m still very limited in what I can get, but I’ve made progress and that’s encouraging. Here are a few favorites from my recent work. If you have an Instagram, follow me @ordinaryjoyphotography to see more! =)

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{Mommy Journal} Happy Five Months, Caleb!

This photo and “bio” were finished on Caleb’s five-month birthday two weeks ago now, but once again I’m late to the blog. As of this week, Caleb has three teeth working on coming through on the top! That will be five all together! He’s a little trooper when it comes to travel and he loves to play with things that are not toys. :)

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{Mommy/Life/Wife Journal} A Few March & April Highlights

I know I’ve been so quiet here on the blog! I hope nobody has jumped to the conclusion that motherhood has swallowed up my life or that I’m fighting with Andrew and don’t have anything happy to share or that I’ve died. ;) None of the above are true. But, life is very busy these days and I’ve purposely allowed blogging to take a back burner. Here are a few quick highlights from the past month or so…

– Caleb is growing and changing so quickly and I can’t get enough of it! He’s had his first few tastes of solids (avocado and applesauce). He’s scooting around now…on the verge of legitimate crawling! I’m thinking I’ll be able to say he’s crawling before his 5 month mark, but we’ll see. I’m trying not to be the stereotypical first-time mom who thinks her child does everything six weeks before he actually does. ;) Trust me, it’s easy to do. My child is amazing. ;)

– Andrew helped me get back on track with regular, substantial quiet times by printing a Bible reading schedule for us to follow together. We still read separately but then it’s great to have been in the same place and discuss it! It’s a Bible-in-a-year plan but it’s chronological. I have two chapters left in Genesis and I’m finished with Job. Exodus is next!

– Spring break has been such a welcome respite from Andrew’s regular class schedule. We had a wonderful visit from two of my brothers and then from two cousins over Easter. Tomorrow, Andrew’s brother rolls into town to finish off the break with us. And in between, Andrew, Caleb, and I have gotten some quality time. I’m very thankful for each one of these precious memories.

– Backing up further, my mom came and stayed with us for five days last month. I ended up sick for most of the trip, and felt terrible that we mostly stayed home all week, but it was a huge blessing to have her help out around the house while I didn’t feel well, and we still got lots of sweet conversations in. We love Caleb’s grandmas! =)

– God was so gracious in helping us to pre-rent the vacancy we had in March, which meant no tours or open houses!!! We have two apartments vacating at the beginning of May. I’d really appreciate prayer that we’d get those filled quickly, as well. Vacancies can be a ton of work and stress, something we’ve yet to try with Caleb here.

– God’s mercies are new every morning. I feel like I’m in a constant battle with fear and anxiety these days, and needing to speak God’s truth to myself 24/7 to keep my heart focused on the right place. It’s crazy how quickly worry can take over, and I’ve got so much more that I can fret over now that I’m a mom. It’s an opportunity to continue growing in trusting the Lord and truly believing that He is sovereign and good in every situation.

– I’ve got a couple of maternity and newborn photo sessions coming up that I’m very excited about, and in the meantime I keep photographing my favorite little guy! =)

I guess that’s all for now…happy April, dear readers! =)

Dear Resident: A Letter from an Apartment Manager

In honor of one full year of on-site apartment managing, here’s a humorous letter summing up some of the fun we’ve had on the job…

Dear Resident,

1. I bet you secretly know how to unplug your toilet, but here’s an instructional YouTube just in case.

2. Never, ever try to open the door to my apartment. If you’re knocking and I’m not answering, there’s a reason!

3. I know it’s difficult to understand, but you can’t let your guests park in another tenant’s parking spot. But no worries, because I love spending my evening playing detective to identify the unauthorized vehicle’s driver.

4. I’ll have to ask our supervisor about installing a bigger toilet and adding bars in the windows. Let me get back to you.

5. If you’re applying to rent here, giving me your financial life story won’t increase your chances of being accepted. I’m not even the one who makes the decision, so let’s just both save a little time, shall we?

6. Please wait to make out with your boyfriend until I am finished inspecting your apartment. Thanks SO VERY MUCH.

7. I cannot legally tell you how many children live in our complex, no matter how many different ways you ask me.

8. If you’re residing here illegally, don’t even bother trying to hide from me in the laundry room. Dude, I will find you.

9. If you bring your wife on a tour here, don’t argue about whether the apartment is too small in front of me. That’s just awkward for everyone.

10. It might seem like lying about your credit will work when we are about to run your credit, but just trust me on this one.

11. It’s cute that you assume your apartment manager has nothing better to do than break down all your cardboard boxes. Really cute.

12. Writing February 1, 2015 on a check that you turned in on February 6, 2015 is still going to incur a late fee, but I respect the creativity.

13. No, we do not rent out parking spots if you are not renting an apartment from us. We are apartment managers, not parking spot managers.

14. I don’t know how long it takes to drive from here to the random place you work that I’ve never heard of, but I will be nice and get out my phone to check while you text your friend.

15. If you drag your Christmas tree through the hallways (in February) I’ll trace the needles back to your door just so I know who I’m cleaning up after.

16. And on that note, I’m glad you never thank me when you walk by me vacuuming your dirt in the halls. It’s my job, no acknowledgement necessary. I’m just happy to be here.

17. Contrary to popular public opinion, buzzing our door multiple times while simultaneously calling our phone will not make us answer faster.

18. For the last time. Yes, a cat is a pet.

Sincerely,

Your Hard-Working Apartment Manager