Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For the Love of Normal

Since about January, life has been a bit upside down for the Ceases. We have been traveling and driving and treating infertility and trying to sell our house and packing and moving and unpacking and church camping and church planting and...things have just been crazy. It has been a hard season, for sure. Lots of eating out. Lots of late nights. Lots of temper tantrums. Lots of forgiveness...both giving and getting. There has been no routine, no structure for too long and it has taken a toll on my family.

Thankfully, last week we turned a corner (at least Braelyn and I did; Casey still has a couple more rounds of crazy to go). We entered into some white space on our calendar...several weeks with no major events and so, without hesitancy, I declared a state of normalcy in the Cease household.

And so it has been...

I have been writing out a schedule for each day. We prepare for the day with showers and breakfast and prayers. We take care of some morning chores. We play. We eat lunch. We play. Rest. Afternoon chores. Prepare for dinner. Eat dinner. Clean up. Enjoy some family time. Prepare for bed...

Generally, each day looks the same. The chores may vary and there's a welcomed play date here and there, but for the most part our week has found a rhythm and I can already see its fruitful effects. I go to bed knowing what to expect from the day ahead. I know what to expect of myself. I'm more productive. There's less room for nonsense and more room for playing and eating at home and baking for fun and all those wonderful things that feel normal. As for Braelyn...she is more herself. There was some anxiousness there, but I can see it lifting. Slowly, but surely.

4 things I know...
I want to serve the Lord well,
I want to serve my family well,
I am girl who needs structure and routine,
And so by structure and routine I will serve the Lord and my family.
(Well...and prayer, of course. Lots and lots of prayer.)

Here's to normal!
CookingLights version of Chicken Pot Pie. I Heart it!

Baking for fun...obviously. ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Apartment (and City) Dwelling: Part 2

The Living Room:

Okay, so...the arrangement on the wall leaves a little to be desired, I realize. The 'C' is crooked, but since I am planning on painting it anyway, I just left it there. I really like the frames, but want to grow the picture arrangement. I can't decide if I want to keep the frames uniform or use all different ones. Thoughts?

Here, (in the picture below) I am standing in front of our sliding-glass patio door with the HIDEOUS, giant vertical blinds...whatever those are called. No one liked those 30 years ago, no one likes them now! Why do they still use those?! Anyways, one of my first projects will be to make a curtain to hide those babies.
Behind the chair I'd like to get a floor lamp, and on the other side a small side table just big enough to set your glass on. I'm thinking I will do some garage sale hunting for items like that. This blog has been inspiring me lately.

On City Dwelling:

One of the very first things I noticed about The Woodlands culture, was that all the soccer moms wear their workout clothes all over town. Literally, the first time I went to the library, every single mom in that story time was wearing spandex. With make-up. And hair done. Now, I have been known to where a comfy yoga pant around town, myself, but that's not because I've actually been doing yoga, it's just because I find them comfortable and I'm probably behind on laundry. But here, these women are wearing their workout clothes because they have actually worked out. It immediately made feel pressure to hit the gym. Haven't really gone yet, but it's definitely on my mind. I'm sure I will give into the peer-pressure any day now. ;)

Also, I am finding one of my fears in returning to suburbia, is indeed, proving to be a challenge. In Brenham, I stopped going out and eating out as much because there just wasn't anywhere to go. I learned to go to the park rather than the mall. I learned to have friends over for dinner rather than meet at a restaurant. (Although, we were no strangers to El Charro T.) But, here I do feel this pull to go out and consume. Target is 3 minutes away. It's amazing how little convincing I need to get in my car and go get something I "need," (plus an impulse buy or two). Yes...spending is easier here. I don't like it. I mean...I do, but that's the problem, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Apartment (and City) Dwelling: Part 1

Let's start a series shall we? A series about our new life in the apartment and in the city. I'll take you through each room of our apartment and throw in some of my thoughts and feelings on living in the city as a bonus. Lucky you!
Welcome to #7202!

Tonight: The Kitchen and Dining Room

This is the kitchen. I lost a lot of cabinet space moving from a house to an apartment, so it took a little creativity, a healthy dose of organization, and a lot of determination to get my kitchen functional and feeling like MY kitchen.
Notice the magnet strip for cutlery and I don't know if you can tell, but I have about a thousand spoons and spatulas crammed into that utensil canister...the determination kicking in.

The view if I'm standing at the kitchen window.
Had to invest in the little wicker shelves for tupperware, Braelyn's cups, and paper plates and such. It is pretty amazing what I can fit in there.

Looking in from the dining room.
I have to say, it is very nice having an open kitchen. In our house, every room was it's own room. Here, Casey and B can sit at the bar and chat with me while I'm working in the kitchen and I love that!
Also, at the bar, there are usually his and hers Macs. Casey's mac is in Sugar Land with him at the moment. :) This is where we do most of our computer time. It's where B and I eat breakfast, it's where I do my quiet time, and where I am blogging at this very second. It's one of my favorite spots in the apartment.
You like my stools? So do I! And so does Gwyneth Paltrow! I know this because she has the same ones!!! I came across her blog and saw them here. When I saw that she got them at, I checked 'em out online and snagged me up a pair. I love them! It was my way of making nice with my very modern apartment. ;)

The dining room with our borrowed dinette set. (Thanks Erica!)

Facing towards the living room.
So that's the kitchen and dining room. I have big plans for some very simple and inexpensive, but much-needed curtains. Hopefully, I can remember how to sew! It's been so long!

Okay, now for a thought on city dwelling. Well, friends I have to say, that I am not missing lil' ol' Brenham when it come to grocery shopping. Across from the apartment, we do have a very fancy Wal-mart, if you can call a Wal-mart fancy, but that is not where I do my grocery shopping, friends. No, I drive a few miles down the road to a great and glorious H-E-B. So many delicious cheeses and a fabulous collection of organic produce and organic everything for that matter! They are not play'in. Here, everything IS better!

I think the first day I went grocery shopping here, I was feeling a little sad, feeling like I wanted to be back in Brenham, but as all moms know, the fridge doesn't fill itself just cause you're feelin' sorry for yourself, so with my kid and my shopping list, I picked out the kind of cart I wanted and proceeded with the task at hand. Now, I can't say for sure, but as I walked into that store with tears of sadness for my beloved country home streamin' down my face, I suspect that one tiny tear of joy slipped out of my eye when I looked around that place. Of course I'm just speculating, because all tears look alike, but I know that one of those tears felt happy. I just know it!

Alright, that's all the thoughts (and drama) I have time for. (You do know that I added a little extra drama to my story for entertainment's sake, right? Just a touch, though. Most of it it is completely accurate. :)
More rooms and thoughts to come.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free Time at Church Camp

At Starbucks, this afternoon...
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it? ;)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I wish I had a collection of beautiful beach pictures to show you...the three of us running along the beach hand-in-hand, Braelyn building sand castles, our feet in the crystal clear blue water..but there are no such pictures. Because we never actually went to the the beach. Because there was a thunderstorm. every. single. day. :|

Seriously, there was not a single ray of sunshine the entire time we were in Florida. There were like 2 times when the rain stopped, at which point we threw Braelyn in the pool. (Not literally...she would hate that.) I'm sure we got in a good ten minutes each time, before it started raining again. There were some crazies who swam, rain, thunder, gray skies and all...but in my opinion, swimming is just not enjoyable unless you can feel the sunshine kissing your skin. Or burning your my case.

So what did we do, you ask. I don't really know. We took unnecessary trips to Starbucks. We loitered around Target and Barnes & Nobles. Braelyn watched an awful Surfer Barbie movie too many times. I finished Twilight.

The camp kids seemed to fare pretty well, considering the uncooperative weather. Casey did a great job speaking and as always, it was a pleasure working with Steven Miller and his band. They're a fun group.

I woke up Friday morning relieved that we were heading home. Casey finished up a morning worship session while B and I packed up. Casey returned with the unfortunate news that the whole band and many of the campers were very sick, probably from some of the hotel food they ate the night before. Well... I was thankin' Jesus for Casey's picky eating habits, cause he took one look at what was being served and said, "I'm not eating that. We'll grab something after the worship time." Phew. Dodged that bullet!

Or so I thought.

After a few flight delays, and more rain here in H-town we finally made it back to The Woodlands. Knowing there wasn't much in the fridge at home, we stopped at Buca de Peppo to share some spaghetti. We ate. We got home. Put B to bed. Put in an Alias (we are rewatching) before heading to bed ourselves.

Sure enough, while Ms. Bristow was kickin' some you-know-what, I noticed that my stomach was feeling a little funny. I didn't worry too much though, it's not that uncommon for my tummy to feel funny. So we watched one more episode to wait for the funniness to subside.

It did not subside. I got it. Whatever the campers and band members got...and it took me down, my friends. Down to the ground! I was up the whole night getting sick. It was so awful! SO SO AWFUL! I could cry right now just thinking about it. And even though I was done being sick at about 7:30 on Saturday morning, I was basically useless the whole rest of the day. In bed. Watching old movies. Reading New Moon. Drinking my Gatorade. Useless.

THANKFULLY, Casey and Braelyn seem to have escaped the terror of the food poisoning . I have decided that the culprit was the salad they served for dinner at the hotel. We didn't eat there Thursday night, but we did on Wednesday, and that was the only thing that I ate and they didn't. And...while we are appreciating the silver lining, I will also say that I was praising the God of the universe that I was able to be sick in the comfort of my own home. I think the campers and band members were not so lucky. I can't imagine being THAT sick while traveling...on a bus...with other people. Oh my word, I'm having a panic attack at the thought of it.

So yeah... that was our trip. I feel great now, though. Fit as a fiddle.


Alright, off to church.
Happy 4th of July!!!