Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Keep Calm and Keep it Simple

Newest addition (Alexander)
Life has changed so much in the last six months. I now have a 6-month old boy, Alexander, who is such a calm cutie. My daughter is a vibrant ray of sunshine and also a miss-independent who apparently has difficulty accepting any sort of help from people. I started working again part-time. We sold our condo and moved into my parents home (more on that in another post).  One of the most difficult parts of these changes is the adjustments to our rhythms. What Brian and I had created to be a well-routined, at times even easy environment with a little toddler turned into "ALL HANDS ON DECK!" chaos for the first two months.  I felt like Juliana; I had to accept that I needed help. So I did. I also needed to accept where I was in this stage of life and allow myself to learn how to be a parent of two. Did you know that we aren't born with that knowledge? In my experience, most of it flourishes from instinct, advice, lots of prayer, and good 'ole fashioned trial and error.
While it would be absolutely laughable to expect our life to be consistent, we still require some consistencies.  For me, those are friends, family, and date nights. We have date night every week that consists of us going out and staying in every other week. We're surrounded by my family because, well, I live with them. So there's no shortage of hugs, kisses, and love from my parents toward the grandchildren. Last but certainly not least, I need time with friends. It's absolutely essential. I have the ultimate blessing to be surrounded by friends and mentors who challenge, accept, and love me. It allows me to be a better wife, parent, daughter, and friend to have people who tell it to me straight whether I want to hear it or not. 
My sister is one of those people. It's wonderful because she's my family AND friend. If only I could tell 4th grade self that we'd love each other a mere ten years later. Get this–she lives just fifteen minutes from me and is the mother of my gorgeous nephew. Yes, our sons are basically twins from different mothers. It's fantastic. We see each other regularly and our sons play, er lay next to each other.  My time with her is always relaxed and rejuvenating. She invited us over for lunch yesterday and made a delicious salad. It was quite simple really (recipe below), but beauty, freshness, and nutrition burst out of it.  It's a bit like life. When we make it too complicated, we lose sight of the beauty and richness of it. What's more, we take simplicity for granted. I'm going to try to stop doing that, one simple joy at a time. 

A little hike before a day trip to Young's Dairy during
Brian's staycation last week
Brian and I decided that we want to embrace simplicity in our lives. We're still working on what that looks like, but the small changes tend to make the biggest impacts. 


Spinach Salmon Salad


What you'll need
4–6oz salmon fillets
Blackening seasoning
8 oz fresh spinach
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, trimmed, and sliced
1/2 English cucumber
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, cut into 1/2" cubes
Lemon halved 
Extra virgin olive oil
Cracked black pepper
Cracked sea salt

What you'll do
Preheat oven to 400degF. Coat the salmon with blackening seasoning and bake for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut all vegetables and place in a large bowl or in individual bowls. Top with the cooked salmon fillets (skin removed). Drizzle olive oil and squeeze lemon across the salad. Finish with cracked pepper and sea salt. Enjoy!





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