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P&S

There’s life in a broken heart and love in the deepest pain.
There’s beauty in praying your mess away, in scrubbing until your heart bleeds wide open...
and sometimes, there's nothing left to do but pray and scrub.

30.12.09

Please tell me it's not the blue moon...

If it is the blue moon, I will seriously cry.
Because tonight was one of those moments where a momma beams with pride at her child.

Austin is my picky eater. Any meat that he eats, he only eats because we told him it was chicken. He loves fruit and cheese and bread, too... especially tortillas!
I could go into detail about his pickiness... but I won't. Not tonight anyway.
Cause one picky eater really is just like the next. Just know that I've tried every trick in the book, online, and thrown at me to get this one to eat a vegetable or two. And none of them have worked for more than a single bite or two when he catches on, spits his food out, and refuses to eat unless it's bread or cheese or fruit or chicken...
And it's frustrating and annoying to a momma who wants to cook really good meals but can't or won't cause one of her children won't eat it.

I made chicken quesadillas tonight.
And oh, my word. Austin ate them like crazy.
My husband and I could not believe it!
We stood there mouths open, huge grins plastered across our faces, afraid to utter a single word!
I got so excited I pulled out some strawberry milk and a muffin with birthday candles on it! [Birthday candles are awesome in our house! It's a big treat to get to blow out candles!]
Because let me tell you, this sweet Bubba deserved a treat!

I know, I know...
I just told you he loves chicken and tortillas and cheese.
You're wondering why, then, was it such a big deal that he ate chicken quesadillas, aren't you?


Well...
Because I forgot to mention that I chopped up FRESH SPINACH as I was making them and snuck it inside!!

Austin.
Hater of all things green.
Ok, so green is his favorite color. He just hates all things you eat that are green... except granny smith apples, and kiwi.
Hater of all vegetables....especially the green ones.

Austin. ate. SPINACH.

Anybody wanna come over for breakfast?
I'll give you 1 guess as to what we're having...

29.12.09

Car Seats, APOs, and Shipping Costs.

We started car seat shopping a few months ago for Cade. Our options are limited to the few car seats the PX carries.
I wanted the same car seat we bought for Austin last year for a number of reasons... It fits nicely in our car. We're used to adjusting it. And once they're a little older there won't be a need to fight over the "cooler" car seat.
After several trips to the PX, we had to choose to either pay nearly $80 more than we wanted to for a different, much larger car seat, or order online.
We decided to order online, and in the meantime, we're borrowing a car seat from a friend.
With Christmas approaching, I waited until the first paycheck of the year to order.
Finding online stores that ship to APO addresses is no easy task. Target will only ship small items to us. Overstock.com says they ship to APOs but I went to order a car seat, a tshirt, and a few other small items and I got error messages on every item saying that they would not ship them to an APO. Go figure.

Frustrated, I headed to the website I hate the most... Babies R Us. I'm not sure why I hate it... but I do. I get lost and there's too much to look at. I found the car seat I wanted and clicked over to checkout, determined not to browse around.
I almost had a cow when I looked at the final total of my purchase. I even went back to make sure I hadn't added anything else to my order. Then I noticed the shipping charges.
The cost to ship the car seat was $48.
That's a lot to me. I know a car seat is a big item. And I guess in the grand scheme of things, it's not really a huge amount of money and it's probably perfectly reasonable.
But I refuse to pay someone $48 to ship a car seat to me. I would have paid $20, but not $48.

I hopped over to Amazon. Found the car seat I wanted right away, and wouldn't you know- it "usually ships in 3 to 5 weeks." Completely absurd to order that one, when we really need one now, and it takes at least 2 to 3 weeks for it to actually arrive to us over here. And I've looked up 3 other car seats from Amazon and they can't ship them to an APO....

The PX catches a lot of grief for being crowded, for not having enough variety, and for rarely having popular items in stock.
The good news is that any money that goes into the PX comes back into our military community through the MWR.

I will gladly pay more and settle on a different car seat from our PX, than pay someone $48 dollars to ship one, or to wait an extra month or so.

Let's just hope the PX has car seats in stock....

25.12.09

Doesn't get much better than this...

GOOD.


BETTER.


BEST.


Whether you are cherishing, missing, or praying for loved ones this Christmas, we hope it's one filled with joy and love.
We're soaking up every ounce of togetherness as we can.
May there be peace on earth.
May God bless you and yours.

Merry Christmas!







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22.12.09

All I needed was a little calm and quiet...

My husband had checked the mail before he came home from work but I was itching to get out of the house and away from whiny children.
I escaped to the mail room to check the mail, even though I was positive our box was empty.
I just wanted to be able to stop by the coffee shop for a White Chocolate Mocha and sit in a cozy corner for a minutes and enjoy the warmth and quiet.

Of course, there were five slips for packages in our mail box. So I waited in line twice. The first box was huge, and there was no way I would be able to carry anything but that. The second time around, I grabbed the other 4. They were smaller, but I was praying the whole time that I didn't drop them.

With all the packages in the car, I really deserved coffee now. So I trudged through the slush one more time. I was excited for the line to be short.
Then all these high school kids started piling in line behind me. They were giggly, and LOUD, and all "Oh my gosh!" and honestly, just plain wild.
I winced every time one of the girl's screeched. And the guys bullied up on each other. I bounced out of the way when they threatened to topple over on me.

I step up to the counter only to be disappointed when I was told that there would be no White Chocolate Mocha today. I settled for my next favorite: a Vanilla Latte.
And then I waited. There was confusion with the orders ahead of me and then I spied my coffee with its "VL" on the sleeve on the counter next to all the confusion... And it was covered with caramel. How do you confuse a Caramel Machiatto with a Vanilla Latte?
I don't know. Maybe it was all the crazy screeching and shuffling that was too distracting.

I didn't have the heart to make them re-make my coffee. And I honestly didn't care to stand in the middle of High School Musical 4 any longer...
So I took my Caramel Machiatto and smiled at the cozy chair in the corner as I walked past...
I climbed in my cold car and drove home listening to the same Christmas CD we've listened to for weeks.

As I walked through the door with one small box and coffee in hand, I smiled at the whiny voices coming from the living room. I asked my sweet hubby to grab the rest of the boxes.
I sat down on my couch and as I sipped my coffee, two little boys stopped whining and crying. They put their toys down and toddled to me with smiles on their faces...

It's all the calm and quiet I need.

A holly, jolly Christmas...


Cherishing those near us. Missing those back home. Praying for those deployed. And sending our love to all.

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.
The Millers

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21.12.09

REAL family photos

A friend and I got together a few weeks ago to set up mini photo studio in her house. Our goal was to get the perfect Christmas card photo of our kids without having to brave the rainy weather or a professional studio. The plan was that I'd help her situate her children and help snap pictures while my children played, and she'd do the same for me. It was a brilliant idea...and would have worked perfectly, except for the fact that Austin likes to give lots and lots of love to his baby brother Cade...

Watch out, Austin. Cade is bigger than you. One day, he'll learn to fight... I mean, give love...back. Until then, Cade will just give us all headaches.

Here's proof that Cade isn't always Mr. Happy.


Click over to The Happy Housewife to see more REAL family photos.

20.12.09

For those far away from home this Christmas...


Merry Christmas, Troops.
Thank you for your service.
You are all in our daily prayers.
May God bless you this holiday season, and always.


"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."
Luke 2:14

19.12.09

selfish, safe, sound, and snuggled up

We're literally half a world away from family, as we have been since 2007. And to top it off, we've asked family not to visit our home in Germany this Christmas.
This selfish decision is so very hard to swallow.
We miss our families. And it hurts to think about the time they will have together during the holidays. Tears well up in my eyes when I think about the food we'll miss out on, the games we won't play, the talks we won't be a part of, and the hugs we won't give.

In this wonderful season of giving, we decided to be selfish.

David was deployed to Iraq last Christmas. And will, most likely, be deployed to Afghanistan for the next.
Our Christmas celebration will be small and simple. Our days won't really be all that much different than a day in October or a day in March might be. But it will be ours... completely ours.
And we'll love on our boys. And talk to family in Dixie on the phone or through Skype.
We'll play in the snow if it lasts that long and we'll cook dinner together...as a family of four.
I'll come up with some elaborate new traditions that will leave us with laughs because they'll be utter failures. We'll continue traditions we've known since childhood.
Santa will have burnt chocolate chip cookies to eat, because this Momma can't seem to remember to set the timer.
We'll sip on hot chocolate and turn the tree lights on every morning because Austin thinks they need to be on.
We'll look back and realize that there weren't enough pictures taken. And there won't be tons of gifts given.
We'll read the story of Jesus' birth from Luke and make a Happy Birthday Jesus! cake.

But in our selfish-ness, I pray that our boys feel the love their parents have for them.
I hope to make up for lost time. I want to make memories big enough to last us through the next year of holidays that we'll most likely spend apart.
I hope to really listen to the gratefulness in Austin's voice when he opens a present and declares, "Oh! I love it, Mommy! I bery love it!" I want to appreciate the innocent little one that Cade still is when he choses to play with boxes and paper over the clothes neatly folded inside, or the loud toy that was set off to the side.
I pray that David bonds with his boys over snowballs and sleds.
I want to make mistletoe out of paper and hand out kisses as often as I change diapers.

I want to hold onto to our children a little tighter and a little longer. I want to hug my husband for every tear I cried and every second we were apart last Christmas.

I hope to bottle up this time we have together as a family of four...when we're safe and sound and snuggled up inside our sweet, sweet home...

18.12.09

Late Sleeper.

I'm not a morning person. Never have been.
I like my sleep.
I also have 2 small children. In the past 3 years, sleep has been hard to come by.

This morning as David got up to get ready for PT, he heard Austin playing in the living room.
David gets up for PT at 0530.
When Austin heard his Daddy up, he hid underneath the play slide we have in the living room.
Austin was sent back to bed. And as soon as David shut the front door, I heard Austin's bedroom door open.

I got up and tucked him back in bed. I do not wish to start my day with little ones running around at 0530.
I opened Austin's bedroom window, and piled blankets on top of him.

Maybe that was cruel, but I don't like to get out of bed if it's freezing in my room. I figured Austin wouldn't like it either.

David returned home from PT and told me it was chilly 19 degrees outside.
I got scared that Austin really was freezing so I went to check on him.

And wouldn't you know... the sweet little kid was snuggled underneath his covers sound asleep. I checked his sock-less feet and they were toasty warm.

To top it off, he slept until 0900 and was a happy camper today when he skipped his nap.
That made his Momma a happy camper too!

16.12.09

O, Christmas Tree!

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One night last week, we bundled up and headed to the middle of our little German village. Just a few doors down from our favorite steak restaurant is a flower shop. They sell Christmas trees.
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I mentioned to Austin that we would put a star on top of whatever tree we chose. He immediately looked up and started telling me about all the stars in the sky.
"Right there, Mommy. Right there, star."
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In just a few minutes, we found one we liked. David joked that we needed one for every corner of the living room...
Ha. No thanks. I'm the one who will be sweeping up the needles every day.
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We threw 550 cord back and forth over the car securing our tree to the top of the car. The whole time Austin is telling us he wants food.
"Chicken fry," to be exact. We promised him we'd stop by McDonald's for dinner and get him chicken nuggets.
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Once home, we pulled the boxes of Christmas decorations down and started cutting yarn to tie them to the tree.

I don't know about you, but I always read the last page of a book first. I want to know the ending so bad that I can't resist looking ahead.
The big red star at the top of our tree was the very first decoration to go on our tree.


O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How lovely are your branches.
In summer sun and winter snow,
A dress of green you always show.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are your branches.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
With happiness we greet you
When decked with candles once a year,
You fill our hearts with yuletide cheer.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
With happiness we greet you!

14.12.09

Tiny

A friend of my momma's had her third son nine years ago today.
I was fourteen and a half years old.
He was a tiny little baby, just minutes old.
And he stole my heart.

I shoulda known then that I'd only have boys when it was my time to have children.

I saw Tiny come into this world.
Not really.
I was huddled in a corner of the room with Tiny's two brothers.
But I did see him just seconds after he entered this world.

We were instant friends.
I was in awe of this little life.
When we'd visit, most of the time he'd be sleeping.
And oh, it'd kill me so to let a sleeping baby lie.
But I did, only because I'd snuggle in the bed next to him and breath that sweet baby smell.
I loved our naps together.

He'd spend the night and hog the bed. And he'd steal my favorite stuffed animal, Hilton; yes, I'll admit I slept with Hilton until I was married...
I'd kiss his booboos and he'd kiss mine. Even when I stubbed my toe when we were camping.

Then when he was preschool age, I moved over two hours away.
He rode with my mom one time to visit me at college.
And he got car sick.
Tiny told me that he did not like college.

Apparently, I didn't like college either.
I moved home again. And the little preschooler that I'd known was now this rough and tough little boy. He played football. He was learning to ride a skateboard.

I started my own family and Tiny was so very jealous that there were other guys in my life. He was so mad at me. But there was and still is enough room for everybody!

I moved away again...this time to Germany. And the Tiny I remember is no longer tiny. He's not even really a little boy anymore.
He's smart. And athletic. He's got a smile that will light up a room. He gets his feelings hurt easily...but so do I. He's a tender heart, with the best bear hugs.

He's nine years old today.
And I'm too far away to eat cake with him. To play webkins with him.
To watch him try to beat up his older brothers.
My arms won't reach far enough around the world to hug him.


Tiny and I. June of 2009. First night home for our month's leave to the states after David's deployment.

Tiny, I miss you. I wish you the best birthday ever. But how is that even possible when I'm not there? Just be sure to have fun and hug everybody for me. Make them hug you back, ok? To the moon and back... And across the world and back... I love you!

11.12.09

Friday Favorites




My Friday Favorites this week are kind of scattered! Enjoy your weekend. Be sure to spread some Holiday Cheer!!

Wooden Presents, Bucket of Snowballs, Doorbell Wreath: U Create

Favorite Ornament Tutorials: U Create

Homemade Wipes Solution Recipes: Raising Arrows

Lightest, Fluffiest, Angel Wing Biscuites: Life In Grace

How Do I Teach Obedience? Child Training Links: Like A Warm Cup of Coffee

The Journey and Amazima are two websites I've spent a lot of time at this week. When I found Katie's blog (The Journey), I spent two nights reading her stories. Amazima Ministries International is an awesome organization that she started. I am in awe of this 21 year old woman. She is an amazing woman, a self-less mother, a beautiful Christian. There are no words to describe the strength she has. Go look. Go read. And be warned, you will cry, you will rejoice, and you will get lost in her stories for hours! Send them love. Send them prayers. Send them hope.



Friday Favorites is co-hosted at Daily Dwelling (link up here this week), and Hoosier Homemade.

10.12.09

Waiting for Snow


We've been waiting on snow for over a month now.
This will be my third winter in Germany, but the first that snow didn't fall before the end of October.
I'm sad. I want the ground to be covered in white. I want it to be so cold that my cheeks hurt as I buckle the boys into their car seats. I want Cade and Austin to fall into the icy snow and squeal with delight when their Daddy hits them with a snowball.

It's December. And I'm pretty sure it's a warm 7 degrees Celcius outside.

As we continue to wait for snow, Alabama has already had a dusting. As have numerous other states in the U. S.

I'm bitterly jealous.
(Just don't remind of that jealousy when I complain about the blizzard that will most likely show up out of no where later...)

My favorite part of snow is making snow ice cream.
My husband thinks I'm crazy.
But it's a deliciously simple treat.

As I wait for the main ingredient for this wonderful chilly snack...
Go grab yourself a bowl full of snow, a little bit of vanilla, and some sweetened condensed milk...

If you're one who needs a recipe, here's one from Paula Deen!

While you're enjoying your homemade snow ice cream, we'll be sitting here with the radiators turned down, leaving the random window open to let some fresh air in. The scarves and mittens and hats are feeling pretty lonely as they are stashed in a closet waiting for the ground to be blanketed in white. We'll be thankful for the rain, even though it makes the playgrounds too wet to play on. We're bored and ready for all things winter...and poor Germany is stuck in fall. I don't even know that Germany knows what to do with fall...

Let it snow!!

6.12.09

Oven Cleaning...

I cleaned my oven tonight.
I've never cleaned an oven before tonight.
We've lived here for 2 years. I don't know how often you're supposed to clean your oven. But I highly recommend cleaning it more often than every two years.

I called my momma before I did it.
The directions say not to spray the stuff on the heating elements. Ummm... Ok.
Momma just said to be careful when spraying it and to wear gloves.
My Aunt recommended that I tie a bandana around my face.
I was careful when I sprayed.
But I didn't wear gloves.
Or a mask.

I used too many paper towels to count.
I used a bowl of warm water to help rinse my rag. I dripped crummy, yucky water everywhere.
I eventually wrapped a plastic bag around my hand because it was starting to sting.
I have a headache now because I didn't tie a bandana around my face, like I was told.
I got tired of throwing paper towels in the trash and grabbed an old kitchen towel... It's pretty much black now and is sitting in the trash.
I let my wet, clean hair touch the side of the oven as I was leaning inside it to scrub the back.

If there ever is a next time,
I will wear gloves. I will also wear a mask.
I will use old tshirts to wipe out the inside.
I will have a spray bottle, instead of a bowl of water.
I will take the door off of the oven so I can reach the back without nearly climbing in.
And I will not shower before I clean my oven....
Because heavens knows, I'll need to shower after!

4.12.09

Friday Favorites



Friday Favorites is co-hosted by Monica at Daily Dwelling and Liz at Hoosier Homemade. This week the link up is at Hoosier Homemade! Be sure to check out everybody's favorites and link your own post up too!

Happy Friday!

Maple-doodles, at Cookies and Cups :Like a snickerdoodle; but not, and made with real maple syrup.Oh, my. These are amazing! Very easy to make, yet so full of flavor! We even forgot to eat them with the glaze and they were still so good.

Felt Mr. Potato Head, at Make It and Love It :Clever, clever! I've been inspired to try and give our boys a fabric Christmas this year. I do not know what we'd do with more toys in the house. I'm excited to spend more time than money on presents for them! This is one of the projects on my list of 8. I have exactly a month until Christmas. We'll see how this goes....

Security Envelope Flowers, at You Can Make It :Love this idea. The flowers are really very pretty. Seems as though this would take patience though. Not sure I have that much...


Decorating Your House; An Optical Illusion?, at Heart of the Matter :Loved this post about hiding clutter, making your home functional, and having a place for everything! Sounds so much like what our house needs!

Advent Calendars, at Make and Takes :Several cute and easy Advent Calendars to make!

I Never Planned This, by Sarah Markley :Beautiful post. Reminds us to give God control of our lives. His plans are GREAT.

3.12.09

Not Ready.

As a military wife, indepedence is a daily lesson.
We're constantly being pulled back and forth by whatever schedule the Army decides is best for our husbands, their soldiers.
David has been home for a little over six months now. Our daily routines aren't perfect but they work.
We're loving the time together as a family.

One of the simplest pleasures in my day is hearing the front door open around 1700 every day. At that moment, two bright eyed boys and one exhausted Momma turn their heads to the hallway and wait for Daddy to appear in the doorway.

I was forced to become very dependant on myself during those long 14 months when he was away.
Now that he's been home for more than six months, I am ever so dependant on him.

This week our president announced that 30,000 more troops will be sent to Afghanistan. More than likely, this means that the soldiers from this Army post in Germany will deploy soon. (No, I don't have a time frame for soon. Just know that I consider both next month, and 12 months from now, as being way too soon.)

I noticed today as I was making lunch that the trash is overflowing. I simply pulled it out, tied it up, and placed it out of the way; the whole time making a mental note to ask David to take it to the dumpster.
I also started a list of things I forgot to pick up at the store this week. I was going to ask my husband to stop at the commissary on his way home from work today.
I've sorted laundry in the hallway so that when he gets home for lunch, I can run laundry downstairs without having to leave the boys by themselves.
The boys are whining for juice today. Not because there isn't any in the house, but because I cannot get the bottle open.

I am not ready to be dependant on myself again.
I like this life.
I like having him home.
I like seeing him wrestle with our boys.
I like hearing him laugh.
I like knowing that he can take the trash out.
I like knowing that I can slip away when he gets home from work, if even for just a few minutes to run to the mail room.
I like being kept awake at night by the sound of his snore.

I'm praying that I have more time to be his dependant. I'm praying that this next deployment doesn't come too soon for us. And in the same breath, if it doesn't come too soon for us, it's coming too soon for someone else. Where's the fairness in that?

The truth is there is no fairness in deployments. If it's not my husband, it will be someone else's.
I'm not ready for what the future may hold for our soldiers.
But ready or not, it's coming... and before it gets here, I need to learn to open the juice bottles again.

1.12.09

The quietest part of of my day

...is when the vacuum is running.

The boys scramble for the safety of the couch as soon as we finish picking up toys, and shoes, and books. They do not like the vacuum cleaner. They're rather scared of it.

I used to cringe at the sound. When my momma would vacuum, I'd shut my bedroom door and hide, or I'd walk outside. The sound made me nervous.

Then I became a Mom. And the hum of a vacuum cleaner kept a sleeping baby sleeping. The rhythm of the strokes kept my mind still. I could control the motion, the direction of it. I could escape the day, if only for a few minutes.

It's the one moment of the day where the boys sit still and I can hear myself think. It's the one moment of the day where I don't have to multi-task. It's the one moment of the day where I can breathe because the floor is clean, and the toys are put away, and I'm in control of something.

How do you find quiet in your day?