Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Goodbyes Aren't Forever

We were supposed to go sailing on the Charleston Harbor last week with our friends from our Community Group.  We've been meeting weekly with some combination of these friends since the Fall of 2007.  They are our family.  They've cried with us, rejoiced with us and laughed with us.  They've prayed for us through job uncertainty, pregnancy and life changes.  They've been Godly examples of wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and friends.  They are blessings in our lives.

Instead of sailing we got massive amount of rain.  So we did what any rained-out group of sailors would do.  We got take-out, ice cream and played Taboo.

It was the perfect night.

We laughed at funny jokes.  We teased each other at our failed attempts to describe the world.  We ate brownies and ice cream.  We made lasting memories.  And at the end of the night after everyone left, I cried.  I'm crying a lot these days and I can't really say I'm sorry about it because it is the only thing that makes me feel better.  I feel like I'm crying out all of the sadness about leaving, the scaredness of moving and the uncertainty of the future.  It just feels good in a horribly awful sort of way.

I am so thankful goodbye isn't forever.  I am so thankful for a loving savior who gives me hope for tomorrow.  For a Heavenly Father who promises we will be together with Him someday in paradise. 

I will most likely see my friends again on this earth.  But we don't know the plans the Lord has for us and so I can't count on it.  But I rejoice knowing that I leave these special friends in the hands of the one who gives us HOPE! 

Linking up with Shell

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Project 365 Week 24

I love little feet!

Rainbows are beautiful in unexpected places

Stafford modeling his new winter coat....and his diaper....winning combination

Happy Father's Day Daddy!!

Whoa what a mess!

My latest DIY project

Flowers from my sweet boys

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Painted Window

About 500 years ago my parents asked me if I would paint this old window of theirs.  We have a quaint little cottage in the mountains of central Pennsylvania and my parents have spent the last 10 years or so fixing it up. It needed new windows so my Dad kept this one when he took the old ones out.  It has literally been sitting in our house for probably 3 years and I kept saying I was going to do it and never did.  Well this week I finally made time during Stafford's nap.  I like how it turned out.  I did it without a picture which I find challenging but I wanted it to look a little bit whimsical and not entirely "real".  

So here is the window before....

And After....

I hope they like it!!!  I'm sending it to KY with some friends who are at the beach for the week so they have no idea I actually painted it!  Hopefully it will be a good surprise.  I'm hoping to start  painting again once we move.  I was really happy with the paintings I did for Stafford's room and would love to start doing them as a business!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Skinny Summer Smoothie

We are ice cream lovers in our house.  Ice cream...milkshake...rootbeer float....any version will do!  In order to stay on the weight loss bandwagon and to incorporate more fruit into my diet I've come up with these "shakes" as an alternative.  Smoothie would be a better word I suppose.  I still have my ice cream treat now and then but I can have one of these each day for breakfast.  They are filling and great for you!

I meant to take a picture when my glass was full but it was just so yummy I forgot!

Breakfast (or really any meal) Smoothies

1 small/medium banana
5-8 strawberries (depending on size)
3/4 cup prepared Crystal Light (we use Sunrise Tangerine Strawberry aka "The Good Stuff")
8 ice cubes

Put every thing in the blender and pulse!  You can make it as thick or thin as you'd like by adding more or less Crystal Light.  Traditionally I make these with orange juice but I was trying to make a 0 points breakfast and this works!  You can really use any type of berries you'd like in this and can switch up the kind of drink mix as well.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hit the Road

The boys in the house are ready to hit the road.  I'm dragging my feet.  I've posted a lot recently about home.  What it means...where it is....how I hate to leave the comfort of it.  I've done it before and I know I'll do it again.  But this time the thought of leaving feels like it's burning a hole in my stomach.  My eyes keep welling up with tears at unexpected times.  My breath catches as I drive past a familiar place or watch the sun set and see the beautiful colors splashed across the sky like a painting.  I know there will be sunsets in Washington.  And I won't have to watch them at the Marshall's/TJ Maxx parking lot to get a good view.  I'll actually be able to watch the sun set over the ocean.  So thats a plus right?

The achy feeling mostly comes from saying goodbye.  I've said a lot of goodbyes in my lifetime and thankfully a good number of them haven't been permanent.  I'm incredibly blessed to still have 3 of my grandparents.  I say goodbye to my dear husband on a regular basis but so far the Lord has brought him safely home to me each time.  I've slowly said goodbye to countless (not really countless b/c I can count them all up since I miss each one dearly!) friends as our time on station here in Charleston keeps extending.  And each goodbye seems to take just a tiny piece of my heart.

I can't really put into words how blessed  I've been by the friends I've made here in Charleston.  I am crying just thinking about how special each and every friend is in their own way.  Some are still here and some have already said their goodbyes as well.  But each has touched me and changed me in ways I didn't think possible.  These friends have laughed with me, cried with me, prayed for me, challenged me and most of all just loved me.  They have defined friendship and been such true friends that their acts and memories are etched on my heart forever.

And right now....I just don't know how I'm ever going to say goodbye.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Old Favorite...A New Twist

'The overabundance of zucchini has me baking away in this heat!  It's been in the 90s the last few days here in Charleston and we haven't really had rain for weeks.  Another thing I'm looking forward to with moving is being able to hang out in the yard!

Here is last night's "crop" of goodies.  It may look ordinary but I swear this is the BEST tasting banana bread you can lay your hands on.  My sweet husband goes through a loaf in about 2 days.  You can find my recipe for Banana Bread and Banana-Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Bread here!  The original is my great-grandmothers and the chocolate chip recipe is my version.  Seriously...try this bread....you will not be disappointed!!


Here is my kitchen helper up to no good!!

PhotobucketNothing But Country

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Randomness

1.  In Honor of Fathers

Fathers have such an incredible job.  I am so thankful for my wonderful father and watching my husband as a father.  Our pastor talked yesterday about how overwhelming that must be to have such a perfect example.  Although overwhelming it is also comforting!  One of my favorite things Peter did in preparation for fatherhood was reading this book


My favorite thing about this book is how it helps guys understand what they might be dealing with, what the expectant Mama might be dealing with and how the baby is developing.  We all know how different girls and guys are at processing things and I think it is especially helpful for men to know how being pregnant is changing their wives.  Totally recommend this one!!

2. The Perfect House

Does anyone live in their perfect house?  If so I am guessing it isn't a rental.  I know I shouldn't be so picky and I have sometimes complained about the weird things in our house (no coat closet....3 floors) but some things have spoiled me!  I want to back up to woods again, I want 2 living spaces, I want a coat closet....I have to have a fence!!  We're going to be living on the streets in Washington if I can't learn to compromise!!

3. Fashion City

I don't claim to be the most fashionable but I do love clothes and shoes and purses and jewelry.  This fabulous layered look has been in for a few seasons now and here in Charleston it is almost impossible to wear layers.  I am trying to look at the bright side of western Washington's weather.  Jeans everyday.  Scarves without sweater.  Cute jackets.  I can't wait!!

4. In A Fog

On Saturday night this eerie white fog spread throughout the lowcountry.  Only it wasn't fog, it was smoke.  Smoke from the wildfires in northern Florida and Georgia.  Isn't that weird?  I looked it up on the internet because I thought half of Charleston must have been on fire!  It is stuff like that that makes me wonder how anyone can doubt in God's power.  Natural disasters are not to be messed with.  Awesome show of His mighty power and no way for us to control it. 

5. Total Cuteness

Have to leave you with this cheese....I can't get enough of this Little Guy.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Winter Wardrobe...

Those words don't seem to go together in my mind!  Winter wardrobe?  Huh?

For the past 7 years my winter jacket has been more a fashion accessory instead of a fashion necessity.  I've given away or sold most of my sweaters and long pants.  And let's face it after 7 years most of them are not fashionable anyway!

In addition to purchasing colder climate clothes for myself I also have the Little Guy to outfit.  I have to admit, that has been FUN with a capitol F!! 

One of my favorite fashion accesories/necessities is a winter jacket.  Stafford has....um....a few.  One of them however is WAY more special than the others. 

Unlike both of her daughters my Mother is not a shopper.  It just isn't her thing.  When I was pregnant I had a shower back home in Kentucky.  My parents had talked to me about purchasing the bedding for Stafford's crib and I was really happy about that.  It was a bit pricey so I was thankful for the gift.  Towards the end of the present opening I started another present that was from my Mom.  I was surprised since I had opened the bedding already.  Inside was the most adorable mini version of an Air Force flight jacket. 

My Mom then  proceeded to tell me that she purchased the jacket right after Peter and I were married.  Long before we were pregnant and definitely before we new Baby E was a HE.  It meant SO much to me that my non-shopping Mom had picked this special gift up and saved it for me.

It's going to be pushing it to wear it too far into the fall because of the size so Stafford did a little photo shoot today to show off his awesome jacket!

On Being Behind....

I always seem to be behind.  I'm not sure how I missed the "on time" gene since both of my parents have double doses of it but it seems to skip a generation.  Poor Peter!  He is stuck with a perpetually late wife.  I was listening to the local country music station the other day and the song "Waiting on a Woman" came on.  The words are both catchy and true....that most guys spend their time waiting on a woman. 

It seems no matter what I try I still can't catch up or be on time!  If I set my alarm then I push snooze an extra time.  If  I'm up early anyway I somehow manage to fill my morning and when it is time to walk out the door I still need to pack the diaper bag and put on my makeup.  I've been working on this for the past few years and I will say that way more often than not we are in our church pew before worship begins.  However my parents would tell you that rarely do they receive a birthday card until after the event.  It's an extended party right?!?

All this free time I have since I don't work (kidding!!) seems to fill up quickly!  I had a lot of goals at the beginning of this year and I'm not sure that I will  fulfill all of them the way I imagined.  I was hoping to be a famous photographer by December but clearly that isn't going to happen! Again, kidding.  I was however hoping to improve my skills and I still have time for  that.  If I could ever find time....where does it all go??

In the meantime here are this week's project 365 pictures...

Mmmm Chips & Salsa

We are loving this seasonal corn!

Such a good kitchen helper

Just polished off a Nutrigrain bar

Our "crop box" for the week

I'm driving this car!

Stafford's "Happy Birthday" banner

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Italian Tomato Salad

I am a major cheeseaholic.  Love it!!  Cheese is ok in moderation which is why I love this fresh summer salad.  It's a different spin on a caprese, my favorite!  I like to serve this one as pictured above or chopped.  It is wonderful chopped as a brushetta or overtop salad greens.

I got this particular recipe from a Southern Living cookbook but have seen it in Taste of Home as well.

Italian Tomato Salad

3 large tomatoes, chopped or sliced
1 small purple onion, chopped or sliced
1 T minced fresh basil
1 T minced fresh oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 T olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

For starters I never have fresh oregano at my house so I just double the basil and add a bit of dried oregano for taste.  I also  prefer feta cheese for this recipe as well.

Combine tomato and onion in a bowl.  Dress with remaining ingredients (except the cheese).  Sprinkle the top with cheese.  Chill for 8 hours.

Easy!  And yummy of course!!  Those are the only recipes I do!!!

Too Soon for an Update?

I really don't intend for my blog to focus on heavy things all the time.  I really appreciated the sweet response to my post about my struggle with food and weight loss.  I received texts, phone calls, facebook messages and it really encouraged me to keep going in my journey.  I am excited that for the first time in over 15 years of this yo-yo mentality I finally feel like I have the tools I need to make a change.

I am only into the second chapter of the Made to Crave book but I just had to share part of it with you.  Have you ever met someone that you think....surely we were just sisters separated at birth?  I have a friend like that.  We send texts about the same thing on the same day even if we haven't talked in a month.  We both buy the same thing for our boys without knowing it.  We both struggle with weight.  Well, clearly we were triplets separated at birth because this Lisa lady writes like she is stealing all of my lifestory and putting on paper.

The first chapter of her book focuses on the fact that as humans we were made to crave.  We crave all sorts of things.  Money, power, food, sex, recognition....this list goes on and on and it varies from person to person.  As one of my friends pointed out, I have the sometimes fortunate and sometimes unfortunate of craving something that other people can see.  In some ways I am glad to struggle with such a tangible thing because people can really call me out on it.  Although sometimes I wish I struggled with something I could keep a secret because then everyone wouldn't know! 

Lisa uses the example of Jesus being tempted in the desert to illustrate the ways Satan uses cravings to drive a wedge between us. 
1. Cravings of the sinful man (ie misplaced physical desires)
2. Lust of Man's Eyes (wanting stuff!!)
3.Boasting of What We've Done (filling our need for significance outside of God's will)

Think about the 3 temptations....physical cravings for food....the promise of an entire kingdom...and proving significance by bossing around the angels.  Jesus was no stranger to temptation.  But he CRAVED that relationship with his Father more than food, power or significance.

Ok fast forward to chapter 2. This is where I SWEAR this lady has been sitting in my bathroom watching me every morning for the last 15 years.  She talks about the morning "weigh-in" routine.  How she takes off every shred of clothing....even her ponytail holder.  She gets on the scale and in her mind is saying, "This will be the day.  This will be the day."  I can't tell you how many times I've done that!  It's like I think if I had a salad for dinner the night before all the sudden magically I'll be at my goal weight the next morning and my life will change for the better!

After weighing in, and of course being disappointed with the results she heads downstairs for breakfast.  Her resolve cracks when she sees the cinnamon rolls her daughter has lovingly baked.  It would be mean to refuse one right?  So she has one....then two....then three.  And since she's already screwed up for the day she might as well start eating healthy TOMORROW so she proceeds to eat whatever she wants for the rest of the day!  UGH!!!  Been there and done that....day after day after day!

Later she talks about not wanting to tell anyone about her struggle.  Why?  They might want to keep her ACCOUNTABLE!!!!  And who wants your girlfriends telling you "are you sure you want that large Chic-Fil-A milkshake?" when you are out for a playdate lunch?  Anyway even if they don't call you out you can always justify it by tell them you are starting your diet tomorrow!

I don't need to diet because I'm fat.  I do have some extra weight that I need to get rid of for health reasons but I'm not obese.  I know that. And anyone looking at me knows that.  But I have to learn to CRAVE the right things!  And because food is my temptation that means while I work on my heart I must also work on my stomach!  Our spiritual health may not be as obvious as our physical health but it is WAY more important.

I encourage you to sit down and really evaluate what you CRAVE.  Are you putting your desire for that thing....money, recognition, skinny jeans....before your desire for Christ?  I am praying for you too as you start your journey!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Recent Favorite

This shot makes me fantastically happy.  I didn't technically "snap" it but I did set the camera and my husband took it for me.  It is a picture of my sister, her daughter Nola, Little Guy and me!  I didn't grow up with cousins on either side so having cousins come to visit was super fun for Stafford!!  We're going to miss being so close to family when we move!!!

Busy Mom's Tips Tuesday Blog HopPhotobucket

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Issue

I don't spend a lot of time talking about "issues" on my blog.  Mostly because they are personal and I don't know if I really want to share them with the whole world.  But let's face it, the whole world doesn't read my blog.  So I think it is safe to tell you a little bit more about one of my big life struggles.  To some of you it won't be a surprise but if you don't know me it might.


The yo-yo part of my weight almost always revolves around live events.  When I was in the 9th grade I had my first "real" boyfriend.  I won't divulge his name because it is quite uncommon and let's face it, he didn't sign up to be on my blog.  He was and is a great guy and was the perfect high school boyfriend.  We had a very innocent relationship complete with lots of phone time and very few dates.  We mainly saw each other at church but clearly he was the man I'd been waiting for all 15 years of my life.  When we broke up after 9 months I was devastated.  I knew I'd never love again.  I don't remember if I was actually depressed but I was pretty sad.  After all, he WAS my soulmate! (Isn't it funny how time gives you a little perspective?  I'm sure when I was 15 I never thought I could joke about something this serious!)

I lost some weight when we broke up and stayed fairly thin throughout high school.  I put on a little bit more weight and when I went to college I was a healthy 130 pounds.  Well, someone forgot to tell me that the freshman 15 wasn't a joke.  I gained the freshman 15 and then some!  I blame it all on my calorie consuming, football playing boyfriend that I ended up dating for 4 years.  After freshman year I came home and I was literally embarrassed to leave the house.  I weighed a good 30 or 40 (ok maybe even close to 50) pounds more than I weighed at my lightest.  I felt awful about myself. 

My Mom and I joined weight watchers together and I lost 35 pounds that summer.  I felt great going into my sophomore year and was really proud of my progress.  Let me interject that exercise has NEVER been a big part of my life.  I am not athletic, I don't like to sweat and that isn't a great combination to promote physical fitness.  Thus the pounds slowly crept back on and by the end of my senior year I was back at my heaviest again.

Then came The Break Up.  You thought the movie was bad?  HA!  Without going into too many details I had a rough time moving on from my college love.  At one time I really did think we would get married and giving up that dream was difficult.  I was very depressed and really don't remember a whole lot about how I coped with things.  I lost 40 pounds in two months and felt horrible but I looked great!!

Fast forward to Charleston.  The happier I became here the more weight I gained back.  Then I got ENGAGED!!  I quickly joined Weight Watchers again and got down to what I thought was a healthy weight.  Then I started cooking every night for the REAL love of my life.  I love to cook....he loves to eat.  We're a match made in heaven!!  Before long I gained all the weight I lost plus some and then happily got pregnant.

I'm not going to tell you where I tipped the scales but thankfully I had a little bundle of joy to distract me from how ridiculous of a problem my weight really was.  At this point I've lost all my pregnancy weight but I am DETERMINED to get a handle on both healthy eating and exercise this time.  I'm making some major lifestyle changes.

Things I've Learned About Myself During This Journey:

-I love food.  I'm always going to love food.  I just have to eat LESS of what I love.
-I need structure....but not too much.
-I have to be HONEST with myself about what I am eating
-I like exercising if I am going to the gym
-I want to be healthy so I can keep up with my children
-I want to honor God with my body (stuffing it with junk doesn't exactly cut it)
-I need accountability--majorly!!
-I am not ever going to be super super skinny...and that is ok!

I've also come to realize that I've been trying so hard to lose weight all this time by myself and I don't have to.  We talked in our Bible Study a week ago about giving even the insignificant things over to God.  God doesn't want me to count calories and do pushups by myself.  He wants to be right there beside me.  At the same time though He wants me to want HIM way more than I want food or a new (smaller) pair of jeans.

I'm pairing my journey to health with a book called "Made to Crave" by Lisa Teykeurst.  The tagline reads,

"Satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food."

That may sound silly to some people.  But it resonates with me.  If I could put my weight loss struggle into a tagline that would be it!  I'm praying that God will teach me to really be satisfied with him.  I can still love food....but I need to love God more!!  I've only read the first chapter so far but I love it!  Lisa offers a free devotional here for 21 days.  You can sign up for it and it is sent to your email.  If you struggle with this issue too I would encourage you to check out both the devotional and the book!

I can't take a picture of my heart so here is my "before" picture.  Hopefully in a few months I'll be able to share an awesome after picture and a world picture of my changed heart!!

(I can't find a picture of just me anywhere so this will have to do for now!!  I'll get Peter to take a "before" shot this week!)
Or you can count the picture below which is at my absolute heaviest!!  It's kind of cheating though!!

Linking here today!

Miscellany Monday

1. Pitter Patter

I'm loving the "pitter patter" of the tiny hands and knees crawling blazing a trail through our house.  This kid is on the move constantly!  I can hardly  keep up.  Each day it seems we are into something new....toilet paper...the toilet...the fridge....attempting the stairs....climbing out of the bathtub!  I love every single bit!!

2. Goodbyes

I've already starting slowly saying goodbye to a friend here and a friend there.  I. HATE. IT. (I even hate it enough to use those weird periods at the end of each of the words even though it makes no sense grammatically what-so-ever.  That is how much I hate it!!)

3. Cult Mentality

I've been working with a trainer for the last month and today I informed him I was going to join Weight Watchers to help combat this extra weight even further.  As if him beating me up twice a week isn't good enough.  Its 98 degrees today and where did he choose to hold our workout?  Outside.  In the parking lot.

4. Yes please!

In addition to my belly my feet grew while I was pregnant.  Now that is something growing bigger that I can get happy
about.  None of my old shoes fit therefore I have done quite a bit of shoe shopping lately.  I must say its been glorious!

SO Skyla Sandals

5.  Toddler
Gasp!  We aren't quite to that stage yet but I don't like the idea of referring to my BABY as a toddler!!  The time is just passing by too quickly.  Regardless I know it is coming eventually.  Any suggestions for good toddler toys? 

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!

Linking up withMiscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stafford's 10 Month Update

Dear Stafford,

It has been a big month for you!!  You are so full of smiles and energy that you light up our lives and wear us out at the same time!!

You are an expert crawler now.  I love being downstairs while you are upstairs tearing through the house.  It is amazing how fast you are and how loud.  You pull up on everything and like to push things.  Your favorite thing to play with right now is Bear's cage.  You love to open and close any kind of door and you especially like the refrigerator.  Whenever you hear me open it you charge for it and then pull up and stand inside looking at everything on the shelves.  You usually grab a dressing or lemon juice from the bottom shelf.  You still play with your toys but not as much.  You'd rather look our the window and wait for Daddy to come home!

You are still wearing your 6-9 month clothes and size 3 diapers.  You are starting to get a little chunky in your legs!  I think I'll be moving you up to your 12 month clothes soon.

You are still a great eater!  You still nurse in the mornings and then usually have oatmeal, a banana and something else like cheerios, blueberries or applesauce.  For lunch you usually have cheese, meat, fruit, cheerios and whatever else Mama thinks you might enjoy.  Sometimes you nurse and 12 and 4 and sometimes you only nurse one or the other.  I think you'll probably start skipping one pretty consistently but I'm not sure which one yet.  For dinner you eat 2 or 3 veggies and then get a yogurt.  You love your veggies!!  I've enjoyed making most of your food and it makes me happy when you enjoy eating it.

We got you a new cup and you love drinking out of the straw.  You also like trying to drink out of our cups or water bottles.  It is amazing how you understand.  It is hard to hide certain things from you.  You especially don't like to be left out if we are eating!!

You still love your baths although you stand up for the majority of the time.  You are napping in the mornings around 10 o'clock.  You nap anywhere from 60-90 minutes although occasionally you'll nap even longer.  Afternoon naps are generally around 1:30 or 2 and you nap again for 60-90 minutes.  You still go to bed around 8 and are getting up around 7:15.  Mama wishes you would sleep in just a little more!

You had your first haircut this month and you look so cute!  You are always so happy; grinning at us and hoping we are watching as you try new things.  At least once a day Mama or Daddy says "I love our baby!!"  We are so very thankful for you and the joy you bring to our lives.  We love you so much baby Stafford!!!

Daddy & Mama

Stafford at 10 months

Stafford at 9 months

Friday, June 10, 2011

Project 365 Featuring....Stafford!

Surprise surprise!  Pictures of Stafford!  I can't help it.  It seems like the Little Guy gets cuter and cuter everyday!  We took him today to get his first haircut.  It was hilarious.  He was so intrigued by the bright shining stuff hanging from the ceiling that he wouldn't look down.  Peter had to hold him so he wouldn't climb out of the seat.  It might not look like he got much cut off but I was standing there ready to grab the scissors just in case!  I love his hair!!

Here are a few pictures featuring the Little Guy from the last couple of weeks....he had a lot of "firsts" in the past couple of weeks.  He went to his first birthday party....had his first "playdate" where he and his buddy Ethan could actually play....his first haircut....and started drinking from a cup!

Mommy I see you...do you see me?

Posing for his 10 month update picture

Hanging out with his buddy Ethan (this was pre-haircut)

Enjoying his first cupcake

Being silly with Daddy

He wants to drink out of the cup all the time now!

Pre haircut

Post haircut

Playing with his fridge phonics!


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