For she who weeps...

We walk around like strangers
Barely speaking
Barely acknowledging the other's presence
Words spoken become discourse and we're both tired of that
I'm told we should pray
But I can never seem to get the words to come out anymore
I find myself adrift in a time and space further than ever I've been
This isn't what life is supposed to be
How do you wake up with such a yearning in your heart to love and be loved
To be happy and bring happiness 
Only to have it denied over and over again
Words get thrown around now that should never be uttered
The gift of language is both a blessing and a curse
My tongue has cut deep but so has the other
There's not even an attempt anymore
We simply walk away
Grin in public
Cry alone
The new routine
Always hoping for peace
For friendship
For love
Forever
But
We walk around like strangers.


Author's note:  I wrote this for a dear friend who is as much me as I am her.  We've shared so many counseling moments.  This poured from my soul.  For her. 
-WinterMommy

Welcome, Angela

Yay!!!

We eagerly interrupt this blog to welcome our new niece Angela! Angela was born on January 30, 2015 at 11:49 p.m.  She was 8lbs, 10.5 ounces, 21 and 1/4 inches long.  Angela's daddy and mommy are FatherWinter's brother and sister in law.  Since Mommy has shared her photo to our friends and family via social media, the reprieve has been given for us to do the same.

We are so excited to welcome her into the family!

-WinterMommy

What's your motivation?

This morning, I went to church with the family.

The sermon came out of 1 Chronicles where King David has conferred with all of the scholars and leaders and advisers and decides to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to the people of God.  With the buy in of all the advisers, King David plans a HUGE celebration and the ark is carried on a cart drawn by oxen toward the city while everyone dances and sings around it.  When one of the oxen stumbles, a man by the name of Uzza reaches out and touches the ark to steady it, which is outside the command of God who has given specific instructions on the care and transport of the ark.  God, in His wrath, strikes Uzza dead.  King David is afraid and instead of bringing the ark to the people as originally planned, the ark is dropped at the home of Obed-Edom, a Gittite.  Now, I know there are TONS of different theological opinions of why David was afraid and why Uzza was slain, but our pastor gave this interpretation, which spoke to me.

Our Pastor suggested that perhaps David's motivation was not pure.  Of course there was a part of him that wanted to bring the ark of the covenant back to God's people, but there was also a greater part that wanted to show off to everyone.  David was dressed in royal robes and splendor.  He's organized a huge party.  He made a spectacle.  It was enough that perhaps God searched David's heart and so it lacking in certain areas and things.  Our pastor continued to discuss that in all that we do our motivation must be pure.  Are we doing it for God's glory or for our own.  Now, here's where all of this spoke to me this morning.  

FatherWinter and I recently had a disagreement about Honeybee's first birthday party.  I wanted to host a special themed first birthday party.  I'd scoured Pinterest.  I had the theme.  I even locked on the aid of a great friend of mine for assistance.  I was so excited for the plans that would be coming together soon.  FatherWinter disagreed and pretty much shot down a lot of my enthusiasm by reminding me that this was a party for a one year old who wouldn't remember it.  It didn't make sense to go all out, he said.  And I disagreed with fervor.  In fact, the whole discussion put me in a funk.  After this morning's sermon, I realized that there were some underlying reasons for my planning this party and it had nothing to do with Honeybee.

I grew up not having big birthday parties.  My birthday was in the summer and I lived in the country, on a farm, with no car.  My birthdays consisted of an uncle and aunt coming to the house with their two children (my little cousins) and our having cake and icecream.  There was no real pomp and circumstance.  No games, though I always looked forward to the day with enthusiasm.  We sat down at a dining room table, they sang, and then the adults visited with my great-grandmother.  While I was always grateful for the day, I remember feeling left out and sad when I heard of my peers having parties at skating rinks and pizza parlors and other places that I was never invited.  They'd laugh and talk about how much fun was had by all in attendance and I'd be reminded that, once again, I wasn't "cool" enough or liked enough to be included.  I'd always promised myself that my children would never have to experience that.  So, from ages 1-5, Superbug had amazing birthdays complete with themes and grandeur.  He loved it and each year I wanted to outdo myself the previous year.  After marrying FatherWinter, he suggested and I reluctantly agreed, to have milestone birthday parties and smaller family birthdays the other occurrences.  Now, here we were approaching the plans for Honeybee's birthday and FatherWinter was shutting me down.

He's right though.  While this wasn't a motivation conversation, my motives were selfish.  I wanted to have this big event and do it bigger and better than what I had growing up.  I wanted also for someone to see if and perhaps ask if I could something similar for them and thus grow the business.

The point of the birthday party was supposed to be celebrating Honeybee's first birthday.  I was making it into a  redo of my life when I was younger.  That wasn't fair.

So, while I haven't lost my idea of themes and Pinterest ideas, I have scaled down.  Honeybee won't remember this day, but I'll have fun showing pictures.  We'll have pizza and wings and maybe a few surprises here and there.  But ultimately, it's just going to be a day to thank God for her first year of life.  If nothing else happens that day but just that, then it will have still been a success.

I think in life we have to ask ourselves what our motivation is.  In every action, every conversation, every motive.  What is the reason we feel the way, act the way, think the way we do?  What is our motivation?  If it is anything but pure, anything that could possible  be outside the will of God in feeling and intent, then we must adjust our thoughts and ourselves.

Not a sermon, not preaching.  Just my musing for the day.

Have a good evening.

-WinterMommy

I’m not “fine”. I guess it's time to admit it.

Yeah, I'm not exactly feeling "fine" today..
A few close friends and some not-so-close curious people have been asking what is going on with our Honeybee and her TPR situation as they know there has been recent activity on that front.  Several have hinted that they went to the blog awaiting a post and began to worry when they saw no information.  So, I started getting phone calls or desk visit pop-ups.  The close family members are always upfront and there is no small talk (love them for that lol).  They simply ask “so, what happened with Honeybee”.  The others who don’t necessarily want to come out and ask what’s going on always start with the customary question of “So, how are you doing”.  And, lately no matter how torn up I feel, no matter how frustrated, angry, confused, or scared, I say “I’m fine” and I try to change the subject.  It’s been tearing me up inside. 

Yesterday, I read a post by a fellow blogger whose subject was exactly the same thing.  How she and her husband are enduring some trials, how she as a mother and a wife is trying to be all things to everyone and how she recognized that when she was telling people that she was “fine”, that she was lying, and how she was reminded that lying is a sin.  Whoa.  Lying?

I’ve read that post over and over and over again.  I know what she is feeling.  I understand what she is going through, though I have to say that she is handling things much better than I.  Her relationship with Christ is truly inspiring.  I hadn’t thought about my telling people that I was “fine” was a lie.  I just don’t want to bother people or burden them.  I’m emotional by nature and I certainly don’t want to disintegrate into a “woe is me” child of God.  I mean, how is that supposed to help and encourage anyone.  [AND] Aren't I supposed to walk through my trials and tribulations with my head held high knowing that God is sustaining me.  Aren’t I supposed to be an ambassador for Christ?  Who knows who is watching me and gaining encouragement and strength from my journey?  So, if I break down and tell someone other than Jesus what I’m really feeling, doesn’t that take away from my faith some kind of way? Sighhhhhhh.  The truth is, this is hard.

I’m worried.  I’m scared.  I am frustrated.  I keep trying to tell myself that everything is going to be okay, that Honeybee will be with us forever and we will continue to be an awesome and amazing family.  But what is God decides that’s not His will?  How am I supposed to open my arms and release my heart?  This sucks L.

Point blank is soon our Honeybee will celebrate a year of life.  It’s been an amazing year.  She’s experiencing and doing so much.  She’s happy and healthy.  She’s waving bye-bye and blowing kisses.  Her features are changing.  But her love is so pure and so perfect.  The way she lights up when we walk into the room to get her ready for the day.  The way she excitedly tries to launch herself out of our arms when she sees her grandmother.  I don’t want to think about her not having us and our not having her. 

So, what’s happening with Honeybee?  We’re waiting… again.  We’re continuing to love Honeybee, continuing to nurture her, continuing to provide for her for as long as we can, with the hope, desire, and prayer that it will be forever.  We’re planning family trips and activities and adventures and are going about life as normal, for as long as normal will allow us.

I’m currently planning a birthday party.  I am also looking forward to zoo trips and outdoor adventures as soon as this weather starts heating up.  I’m trying to go through life with a smile so that the “fine” I tell everyone I am truly exists.

Your prayers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ are always appreciated.


-WinterMommy

Evening Thoughts

I have been sitting in front of this computer for no less than 20 minutes trying to put my thoughts onto the computer screen.  There is so much I want to say and so much caution that I feel before sharing any of it.

Earlier today, I sat down with my daughter in my arms and held her as she smiled and gave me kisses.  I was about to put her down for a nap when we passed by FatherWinter on the stairwell.  She reached for him, practically leaped from my arms, and went to her father excitedly.  I watched the moment with a  smile on my face and chose to delay her nap for a few minutes.  I knew she and FatherWinter needed this time and I'd already basked in mine.

Though FatherWinter has not shared his thoughts with me, I know that the thought has crossed his mind and heart quite a few times this weekend that this could be the last weekend we get to hold our Honeybee.  It's a heart-wrenching and frustrating place to be to be certain.  Loving your child with so much of you and knowing that the possibility of having to love her from afar may be made is gut-turning.  There is no other way to describe it.  

And this thought stays with you, pushed back in the deep and dark recesses of  your mind, hiding.  You have faith.  You know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  BUT, you also recognize that it is the will of God that must be fulfilled and just because you desire something doesn't necessarily mean it lines up with what God wills and desires for your life.  That being said, I speak those things that are not as if they were. 

I sincerely believe that Honeybee's best interest lies with out family.  The ones she calls Daddy and Mama (she finally says it to me :) .  This afternoon, Honeybee awoke with a fever.  I suspect it's a combination of the new tooth she is trying to cut and a cold she is fighting.  When I touched her, I knew right away that she needed care, concern, and medication.  I immediately took care of her, lowering her temperature, cuddling, loving.  This is my daughter.  This is what I do.  She is currently resting well within her nursery.  

I don't know what is going to happen, but I do know I love my Honeybee and I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to be her mother.  I am so looking forward to being her mother for a long, long, long, long time. 

I’m scared…and I don’t want to be

Our Honeybee brings sunshine on cloudy days
In a few days, there is to be a TPR appeal hearing for our Honeybee.  I don’t think I have ever been so worried about the possible outcomes in all my life.  Here is this beautiful, amazing, wonderful baby girl filled with love and personality who started calling me “Mama” this week.  We’ve raised her since she was about two weeks old.  She is our child, our heart, our love.  We provide everything she needs through that which God has blessed us.   She has shelter and safety, food and nourishment, comfort, and love.  She is our daughter and nothing and no one can change that.  BUT, she is also not yet legally ours.  This decision could determine the course of Honeybee’s life like no other event she will ever experience.  And, while I know that fear is but false evidence appearing real and that God has not given me a spirit of fear…it exists and I am calling on Jesus to slay that spirit for me.

Last night, I was holding Honeybee as it was time to put her to bed.  She and I locked eyes as I carried her up the stairs and it was just she and I in that time and space.  There were no worries, no threats of interruption.  It was just us.  I laid her down and returned downstairs to a dear friend who came over to visit for a bible study.  All was at peace and well with the world.

In the almost year that Honeybee has been with us, she has experienced so much love, so many experiences.  She’s gone on vacations and has been surrounded by tons of family both here and states away.  I’m looking forward to warm weather for zoo trips and mall walks.  I plan to show her the same things I showed with Superbug.  We used to stay in the wind as the old folks say.  I want her to know this world can be amazing.

But how will that be possible if she is not here.  I am reminded to make my request known to God.  So, I shall.  But my heart will be bound until I get a call that lets me know that our Honeybee shall be in our forever family always.

Your prayers are always appreciated.

Thank you and we love you.


WinterMommy

Because Daddy Has My Back...

My family is a family in every sense of the word.  We have good days and not so good days.  Days where we laugh so hard our tummies hurt and days where I cry so much my eyes swell.  It's the nature of life.  You experience the trials and tribulations of life so that you can appreciate and praise God for the great and wonderful things in life.  It's simple.  So many people take health and strength for granted until they can't get out of the bed one morning or are given a terminal diagnosis.  That is life.  So, I shouldn't have been so surprised when my dear Superbug decided to go outside his norm and act out.

Superbug rarely has bad days.  I can tell him to do something and he does it with a smile.  Even when he doesn't quite understand, he will ask about a decision in a respectful manner and then continue to get it done.  Usually.  This past weekend, I took Honeybee and Superbug for a visit to my hometown to spend time with my family and one of Superbug's siblings who will is relocating.  Superbug was very excited to go and couldn't wait to get there.

We packed everything up and started on our way.  However, during the trip we had to make a stop at the rest stop. Business done and ready to return to the road, I noticed that Superbug neglected to close his coat. It  was very, very cold and windy outside.  I asked Superbug to zip his coat to keep back the wind.  That request turned into a two minute discussion, with him speaking in a tone I do not allow, about how the jacket was already closed with velcro (despite clearly not being so) and he didn't want to zip it.  I finally dropped down and zipped his coat myself much to his 8 year old embarrassment and made him don his hood to walk out the door.  In the car we had a discussion about how the tone in which he spoke was inappropriate and not allowed and how a repeat would be cause for discipline. We continued conversing for a bit and I asked him a question.  "If your father had asked you to zip your coat, would you have zipped it on the first time?"  He answered in the affirmative.  That hurt.  I was angry.  I was disappointed.  I explained that it should not matter who gives him a direction--FatherWinter or I.  He needs to follow it because we are asking him to do something for his good. He said he understood and we continued on.  But I remembered the conversation.

Fast forward to his grandmother's home where he played with his sister for an hour outside...with no coat. Yep, he doffed the coat, went out the back door when I didn't see him, and when it was time to go, there he was without a coat in 30 degree weather and wind.  Sigh.  We went on to my aunt and uncle's home where he played with cousin, enjoyed a yummy home cooked meal, and got to be an eight year-old hanging out with his nine-year-old cousin.

Sunday morning, Superbug decided he wasn't too fond of my home church.  It is quite a bit smaller and less lively than the church he has attended where we live.  However, the word of God is the same universally and I was looking forward to receiving it.  Superbug decided to be..not so engaged.

Without going into specifics, the service ended and I was ready for us to return to our home.  I couldn't believe it.  I asked Superbug if something was wrong, if there was a reason he felt the need to act so unusual. He assured me nothing was.  I was left scratching my head and feeling particularly discouraged.

Once we got home, I sat down with Superbug and explained what was inappropriate, told him I would be discussing his actions with FatherWinter, and that he was subsequently on punishment for the remainder of this week.  We have Mommy-Son night's every month.  Because he was disrespecting the Mommy-Son relationship and couldn't seem to show respect, we were canceling Mommy Son night for this month.  It was supposed to be Friday and I was looking forward to taking him out for a night of bowling and talks over burgers and shakes.  Now, we won't have that as we don't reward bad behavior.

This morning, FatherWinter sat down with Honeybee, Superbug, and I for breakfast since it became a snow day for us.  After confirming that morning chores had been completed, FatherWinter asked Superbug how was his weekend.

Superbug was honest in his answer and shared that he could have been more respectful to me on the trip.  FatherWinter listened and then explained to Superbug in a kind, calm, and gentle voice that the bond a mother and child have is special.  He explained how moms sacrifice so much from the moment they find out they are pregnant.  He explained how they sacrifice sleep, have pain, gain weight, etc. just to make sure the child is born safely and healthy.  After birth, Moms continue to sacrifice to make sure the child has food, shelter, love.  He did a very great job explaining the bond.
He then told Superbug that it was very wrong of him to speak to me the way he had and to disrespect me the way he'd chosen to do.  He followed up bu asking if Superbug had apologized for his actions which Superbug had not.

FatherWinter was genuinely disappointed and upset at this and reminded Superbug, without raising his voice,that it was horrible to treat his mother that way when it is I who goes so often above and beyond to make sure he is taken care of.  He then told Superbug to clear his dirty dishes from the table and go to his room and think about what had occurred and he would be up later to continue the conversation.

After Superbug had left the table, I waited a bit and then thanked FatherWinter for chastising Superbug in such a way as it showed how important it was that he not be disrespectful to his mother. I recognize that I have been used to doing things solely on my own as a single mother and sometimes I forget that I don't have to do it all alone anymore.  It was truly a blessing to have someone else make it clear that such behavior was not acceptable.

Later, after having lengthy conversations with FatherWinter, Superbug came into the nursery where I was, apologized with downcast eyes, received a hug, and tons of love.  He has still lost out on Mommy Son night for the month, which had a two-fold purpose.  He is still without TV, games, and fun for the rest of the next two weeks, but I think he gets it and he has learned a lesson.

Disrespect and deliberate disobedience is never okay; and that his parents have each other's back.

-WinterMommy




Can I be Honest? I was "de-friended" on Facebook and I think it's awesome!

Photo credit:  theluckydipper.com
I recently went to Facebook to answer the comment of a friend who'd written on my page.  While navigating the maze that is comments and likes, I saw a "people you might know" picture that had "add a friend" beside it.  The name belonged to a former high school and college friend whom I've been social media connected to for the past three years.  She'd deleted me.  The thing was I didn't even know.

I looked at her name, clicked on the public version of her page, and realized that I hadn't commented on her page in a very long time.  She recently lost a family member and, while I wished her condolences, I didn't give her massive encouragement that I'm sure she needed.  I realized that, as much as I genuinely care about her and her family, our paths no longer intercept one another.

I've not seen her in years.  I couldn't tell you what she does for a living, where exactly she lives, how her children are doing.  I can't do any of that.  Nor can she recite the same information concerning me.  So, why were we social media friends?  And I realized that she'd done an awesome thing.

I am a firm believer in support systems and keeping yourself surrounded by positive and loving people.  I haven't been surrounding her.  I haven't been giving her what a true friendship requires.  In fact, despite my saying the general coverage prayer for all of my friends and loved ones near and far, I'd not really gone to God on her behalf until she lost her loved ones.  In essence, I was wasting space in her world.  She took the initiative and removed the dead weight.  As she should.

I was taught very early in life that not everyone who starts a journey by your side will reach the destination with you.  Some are going to get tired and stop journeying with you.  Others are going to find little crossroads and forks and go their own way.  Others are just going to stop journeying period and you may find yourself by yourself.  Or, as Mama taught, you may find other travelers who are traversing the same course that you are and will join you in their stead.  It's okay that those who start may not finish with you.  That is life.  You pray for each other.  You love each other, even from afar, but your journey is your own.

So, I think it is wonderful that I was de-friended.  It made me look at my friend list and realize I need to do the same.  There is no hate or malice, but I have some space in my life that needs to be opened as well.  What better way than pressing "Delete"?

-WinterMommy

The perception of slights...

I was blessed to take the kids to my hometown this weekend.  I was so excited!  I hadn't been home in several months and everyone was itching to see Honeybee and Superbug.  So, I packed up the car, kissed FatherWinter, and down the road we went.  We had a wonderful visit that  can be read about on the main blog until church on today.

My church is small in size and membership, primarily because we grew up in a small town and because it's a family church.  About 90% of the membership is my family.  Any way, prior to church everyone was smiling and happy surprised to see us there (we'd kept our arrival a surprise for the elders).  In the midst of the smiles came a cousin whom I hadn't seen in several years.  There has been no reason, no malice or anything.  I rarely see her and even when I lived in the same town as her, we didn't speak that often.  She is older than I by about 20 years and was usually in the workforce or on a trip.  But I was always glad to see her.

Well, in the midst of all the hugs and smiles and re-introducing our Honeybee to the family, she comes up and says, "well, where did she come from" referring to my daughter.  I didn't like the tone, and subconsciously I felt my hackles raise.  [But] Nevertheless, I turned and politely wished her hello and an embrace as I hadn't seen her in several years and was genuinely pleased to see her.  In response, I received "I didn't know you were in town and I didn't know you had a baby".  Now, everyone in the family including those on her side were aware that FatherWinter and I were in the process of adopting.  She'd even liked a social media status about my daughter and again several months later later when we started fundraisers to offset some expenses.  I informed her that we'd been blessed with Honeybee since she was 1.5 weeks old and she was about 10 months old now.  To which she replied, "well, no one told me.  I guess I'm not on FB enough", abruptly turned and walked away.

I was...annoyed.  I was really annoyed.  Honeybee has never been a secret.  We celebrate her often, but you know what; we live, work, and play in a different state.  It isn't our responsibility to contact you to make sure you got the news you feel you should have received.  We love each other and we are truly family, but I don't tell my family everything.  And, I'm a firm believer that communication goes both ways.  If you were really that concerned with what was going on with my little core family, I'm sure a telephone would have assuaged any of your fears.

Fortunately for me, the pallor of that moment was short lived as the service started and I completely forgot about the conversation until service was over.  I was reminded that this cousin is dealing with some personal things and sometimes feels that family slights her.  I can understand.  We haven't nor do we plan to ever slight anyone, but I do feel that the expectation of information when no requirement exists is presumptuous.

Do better.  I'm just saying. Am I wrong for that thought?  I mean it does seem a bit ironic that my post sounds off on the perception that we have to share information when this blog does exist for that purpose.  However, in the same breath, I am cautious about how much I share--not because we are keeping secrets, but because of the delicacy of certain intricacies within our Honeybee's story.  It is not yet a completed chapter, nor am I in a hurry for a conclusion solely for the purpose of someone else's interest.

I suppose there will always be someone who isn't pleased by something that I've said done or thought whether I actually did so or not.  Knowing that keeps me grounded. Recognizing that I can be grounded and devoted to what's in the best interest of my family will always be my claim to fame.

Have a great day everyone.

-WinterMommy

Crockpot Season!!!

Oh the weather outside is frightful!  But we're nice and toasty inside, thank God.  I was driving home today and was so grateful to have a car that drives (even though she is on her last legs) and a home that is warm.  My prayer is everyone is able to find somewhere warm and safe to lay their head tonight.

The weather this week has been ridiculous.  It was close to 70 degrees on Monday and by Tuesday night, we were barely making 30.  Today was no higher than 27!  That means it is the perfect time for crockpot dinners.  I'm definitely a fan of the fix and forget it philosophy.  So this week has been all crock pot cooking for us.

Monday, was Shrimp Fried Rice.  Yes, in the crock pot.  Tough we cheated and cooked the rice on the stove.  Basically, all you are doing is heating everything up in the slow cooker.  I had a bag of mixed veggies and did the shrimp the last twenty minutes.  I found the recipe on Stephanie O' Dea's Year of Slow Cooking Blog.  It's a favorite go to when I can't think of anything yummy to make with the crock pot.  She gives her honest take on recipes and they are pretty easy to follow.  Some of them have been great.  Others not so much.  But the site is great and consistent.  I like that.

Sweet Corn Chili, recipe courtesy of Mix and Match Mama
(link found in blog post)
Tuesday was Sweet Corn Chili.  Can I tell you I have never had a sweet corn chili before?  So, I was a bit reluctant to try it.  I stumbled across the site when I reading adoption blogs.

One of the blogs I follow linked to another blog called Mix and Match Mama.  Can I tell you I am now a HUGE fan of hers?!  I made the sweet corn chili, came home to an amazing aroma in my household, made some cornbread to accompany (only took about 30 minutes and that was perfect to have timing while the family was transitioning from work/school clothes and finishing chores).  I plated the bowls, gave FatherWinter and Superbug their respective bowls, turned around and my Superbug had crushed his bowl.  He'd completely cleaned the bowl in less than 3 minutes and the cornbread and was now asking for more!  #SCORE!!!


I'm all about a healthy little boy eating protein and veggies.  So, yeah, I've visited this site more than once.

French Onion soup.  I'm no food photog, but this was #yummy!
Last night, I was feeling a bit adventurous and made French Onion soup.  This one was a combination of recipes from Six Sisters Stuff and the Year of Slow Cooking Blog, and one more that escapes memory at the moment.  Between their suggestions and my alterations for my family, I came out with a very yummy soup that made the family quite happy, even FatherWinter who claims he doesn't like French Onion Soup.  (He ate it with no complaints last night).

Before I left for work this morning, I went back to Mix and Match Mama (tyeah, the site is in heavy rotation) and tried the sausage and potato chowder.  I'm going to be doing a couple of modifications for our family's tastes.  Nothing major, just one that I picked up from my sister in law at a family gathering we had at her home a few months ago.  I'm adding shrimp for some of us.  It was soooo good.  It gave just the right texture and oomph!  So, I'm definitely all in for this soup.

Tomorrow is supposed to be Friday pizza and crazy bread night.  But it is still supposed to be very, very cold.  I wonder if I can get away with doing the pepperoni pizza soup to keep the theme going.
I'll come back and let you guys know.  In the mean time, welcome to #crockpot season!

I wouldn't have it any other way!

-WinterMommy


Honeybee's 1st Church League Game

Today was a new experience for our Honeybee.  She was able to attend our church league's basketball game for the first time.  Our church's team was the first on the roster today at 9AM.  Considering that FatherWinter and I stayed up late the evening before watching movies, that early morning rise was quite difficult.  It was made more so because Honeybee woke up very early after having some difficulty with her nose being stuffy (yay flu shot...sigh).  So, I cuddled with her for a while before coming back upstairs and lying down in exhaustion.  That decision put us a bit behind schedule so that FatherWinter, instead of being on the court at 0900, was actually walking into the court at 0904.  It wasn't too bad as there were plenty of players on the team and all he had to do was change into play clothes and jump in.

The guys made a valiant effort, but they are older than they have been in previous years.  After a slow start, they picked up momentum, acquired a sizable lead, and then lost it in the second quarter.  It should be noted that our church's team has been the team to beat for years.  I can only recall less than three times where we haven't made it to the playoffs or taken the championship.  So, the guys weren't too thrilled about the loss today.  It was a loss by about ten points, so it showed that the guys need to pull everything together sooner than later.

Honeybee and Superbug still had an enjoyable time watching all the action.  I have a feeling Honeybee is going to be my sports lover.  She is the one who will watch Sportscenter with FatherWinter and then crawl away when it goes off.  She is also the one who will sit and watch the football games with Dad.  She reminds me of my cousin.  She was like another son to my uncle.  While his son (her brother) wasn't too interested in hunting and fishing initially, she always was.  I feel like Honeybee will be the same and I'm looking forward to taking her down South to interact with the family there.  There, she will learn fishing and some standard home improvement things.  She will be able to handle herself.

Overall, today was a good day and the fact that Honeybee was able to experience another first with us was wonderful.  I look forward to her experiencing many more in the future.

-WinterMommy

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!  We woke up this morning with a great grin on our faces.  We are alive!  We are together!  We are blessed!  After ushering in the new year at church, we were extremely excited to spend some time together as a family.  As is our tradition, FatherWinter, Superbug, and I made our way to Watch Night services at the church.  Accompanying us for her first Watch Night Service was Honeybee.  Admittedly, we were very late this year.  We wanted Honeybee well rested, so we didn't get to the church until 11:30ish.  However, that was just enough time to get a great Word, hold hands as a family, and wish each other a Happy New Year.

For those who have followed the blog for a while, I grew up in the South. A few of my favorite Southern African-American traditions have always been linked to New Years.  None more so than the collard greens and black-eyed peas.  As my great-great grandmother told me growing up, the tradition of collard greens and black-eyed peas was a bit of folklore and a whole bunch of fun.  The collard greens were to symbolize dollar bills.  The black-eyed peas were to symbolize pennies.  The amount you ate determined the stability of your wallet!  We, of course, know this folklore to be false, but I enjoy the tradition and merit of it so much that I have faithfully been preparing these two items for my family and myself for as long as I have had a household for which to do so.

There are tons of ways to make Black Eyed Peas, but I have to say one of my favorites has always been the recipe below.  I can't take the credit for this one.  It's from a site I love to frequent called Divas Can Cook.  This young lady brings me back to my great-grandmother's cooking all the time.  I LOVE HER!  Now, since I can't post my great-grandmother's recipe because I know she'd have a fit (rest her soul); I think she'd approve of the one that's listed.

I promise there are collard greens on this place.
They're hiding under the pot pie!
I like to add some sliced ham, some hot cornbread with butter, and finish up with a nice deep dish apple pie with ice-cream to round out the dish.  Now, this year...we took the tradition and added some spice o' life to it.  I neglected to cook the black eyed peas!  Only because there was still so much food left from previous meals.  We ended up with a plate of collard greens, macaroni and cheese,  cornbread, cocktail franks, baked beans, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, and turkey pot pie.  Yeah, we're stuffed lol.

Oh!  There's one more New Year's tradition that is followed in our home.  The first man to cross the threshold of your home on the New Year's Day (and does not live in the home) must put money on the kitchen or dining room table.  It doesn't have to be a lot.  It can be a penny.  It can be a dime.  But it's occurrence was supposed to mean prosperity and good tidings the entire year and my uncle did it every year for my great-grandmother's household.  It was something she insisted on!  I do too lol.

 I am not beneath dialing my father up on the phone and telling him to come by lol.  My husband hates it and thinks it is absolute mess.  He is 100% right.  It is mess, but I love the memories it brings back to me of a simpler time and a peaceful childhood.  I look forward to Honeybee and SuperBug seeing the same occur.

Have a great New Year, everyone!  May God bless you with peace, health, prosperity, true friendship, and love all year long.

-WinterMommy

Southern Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients
4-5 green onions, chopped (or 1 medium white onion, chopped)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 (16 oz) bag of dry black eyed peas
Smoked Turkey (as much as you desire. I used half of a fully cooked, smoked turkey leg. Just chopped the meat up into bits. You can leave it whole if you do not like meat in your black eyed peas but like the flavor)
6-8 cups of chicken broth (or enough to cover the beans)
Red pepper flakes,
black pepper (optional)

Instructions
Sort & wash the black eyed peas. Set aside.
Chop onions & garlic.
In a large pot, add in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until tender.
Add in the chopped meat, black eye peas, & chicken broth
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until black eyed peas are tender.
Remove from heat and let sit covered for about 10-15 minutes.
Season with red pepper & black pepper if desired.

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This recipe came from Divas Can Cook which is
Old School Cooking For The Modern Woman.
Make sure you go check out the website for more great recipes.
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