Thursday, August 30, 2012

Things To Remember..

I don't want to forget....

-how you voluntarily give me "muahs" all day long.

-how you used to say that the cow says "boo".

-how you love trucks all of types and point them out when we drive.

-that your favorite animals right now are a jaguar, a puma, an elephant, a tiger and a lion.

-that you recognize a macaw when you see it in real life.

-that you say "hear it" when you hear a train or an airplane.

-that you say "I hold you" when you want me to pick you up.

-that you say "alright, ok" when you've fallen down to let us know you are alright and ok.

-that you sometimes yell, "Peber"

-that you want to call family members on the phone and say "talk Ma" or "talk Mimi"

-that you tell us everything is red when we ask what color before telling the actual color.

-that you love numbers and letters and point them out wherever we go.

-that you say "Daddy plane" when an airplane flies overhead.

-that you kiss your baby brother whenever you see him.

-that you chase Bear around the house with a pillow and say "throw Bear".

-that you love all of my girlfriends and get sad when they leave after a playdate.

-that you are learning to climb

-that you often want to thank Jesus for Yancey and Tommy at night

-that you ask if KK is going to give you a bath

-that you call everything big.  BIG phone.  BIG elephant.  BIG water.

-that you want to "help" me do everything now.  You especially like the dustbuster/vacuum combo

-that for the most part you are quick to obey and sorry when you are wrong.

-that you say "again Jesus" when I sing Jesus Loves Me.

-that you yell "hi hi hi" when you are finished with your nap or want out of your crib.

-the excited look on your face when you watch your favorite show. (Mickey or Diego)

-that you want to blow on everything that is hot....including the oven and grill.

-your insatiable appetite!

-your sweet giggle when you jump on my back and say "you've got me"

-how you still take my hair out of a clip or rubber band because you want to play with it

-that you call your paci a poppy or pappy (we only use at nap and night)

-how you say "go go go, go go go" over and over when you run

-how you run into my arms for a kiss whenever I ask you.

I never want to forget you at 2!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Veggie Cup Bouquets & Cucumber Pickles

I got this idea from....surprise...Pinterest.  Sometimes I wish I could say I just made something up myself but usually my projects are stolen/borrowed.  

Anyway!  I just thought this was the cutest little thing.  I wanted to make one for everyone at the party and then quickly reminded that contrary to popular belief (who am I kidding?) I am not supermom.  These were easy but they did take a little bit of time to prepare.  Time = sanity in my life right now.  I think I chose wisely!

First I gathered my supplies.  And by gathered I mean, sent Peter out to the store for toothpicks, celery and spinach since I forgot to purchase those items.  While he was off saving the day, because clearly he IS super-husband, I cut up the carrots, peeled and sliced the cucumbers and got out my tomatoes, cream cheese & glasses.

I peeled and sliced the cucumber first.  If you try this make sure you slice your cucumber pretty thick.  Some of mine were too small and it was hard to get the toothpick in.  Don't make them too big though because then they will fall over.  You might have to experiment.  I saved my cucumber remnants for my cucumber pickle jar.  (Recipe to follow).

I sliced carrot for the center of the flowers and attached them using a small dab of cream cheese.  I cut up the celery to look like stems and then just started creating flowers with carrots, cucumber and tomato.  I only had one color of tomato but these would look even better with a variety (red, yellow & orange).  

I wish I had a better cookie cutter.  If I were going to make this one again I would use one that had more defined petals.  This was a round cookie cutter that had a scalloped edge.  It was all I had in the house small enough to cut a cucumber.  I briefly considered making the petals using a knife free-hand and then quickly reminded myself that was clearly not time efficient.  Remember, time = sanity.

This is a great project to do with bigger kids but you just have to be careful with the toothpicks.  They were pretty hard to get down into the celery and carrots.

Now...on to the recipe.

If you don't have a cucumber-pickle container you should.  I grew up eating cucumber sandwiches.  I know you are thinking right now...that doesn't sound so good.  But you are wrong.  These are the perfect summer sandwich.

Here is how you make a cucumber-pickle jar/container etc.

Peel & slice 1-2 large cucumbers.
Slice 1 medium onion.

Add to a jar or container with 1 cup water, 1 cup cider vinegar 1 T sugar and 1 tsp salt.  I usually double this.  Leave in the fridge overnight and the cucumbers and onions will soak up all the yummy vinegary taste.  You can eat them right out of the jar or on soft white bread with mayo, salt & pepper.  I usually re-use my vinegar mixture for a couple of weeks and then start over.  

I'd love to see pictures of your flower bouquets or hear the creative ways you use veggies in your house!!  We're trying to eat more!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Take Jesus

My in-laws bought the Little Guy a Little People nativity set for Christmas.  I didn't have room in my suitcase or the THREE boxes of things I shipped home when we came back in February so I was happy that we had room to take it when we came back from this vacation.  I was planning to get the set out a little closer to the holidays as a fun surprise but as I was cleaning he found it in the back of the closet.

After our lunch today we went upstairs to take a nap.  As he was running into his room he said "Take Jesus, take Jesus" so I let him take a nap with the Baby Jesus figurine.

And then I started thinking.

Maybe I should start taking Baby Jesus with me everywhere I go.  A few weeks ago there were a number of posts about the movie Magic Mike and the book 50 Shades of Grey.  Christians and non-Christians alike were telling why they would or wouldn't be seeing or reading.  They were telling other people why they should or shouldn't be seeing or reading.  And they were bashing each other for disagreeing.

I've decided I need to stop reading the comments on blog posts or articles.  That is where things really get down and dirty.  People attack one another behind a computer screen in a way that I don't think they'd be comfortable doing in public.  It drives me crazy.  They often attack with misspelled words and bad grammar and that makes me crazy too!

Anyway...back to Baby Jesus.  Maybe things would be a little more black and white (instead of grey) if we all carried him in our pocket.  It might help us decide what movie to see or what book to read.  It might help us avoid using certain language or gossiping about a friend.  It's a little less obnoxious than a trendy WWJD bracelet.  And hey, those Little People aren't exactly little.  You wouldn't be able to forget that you had Baby Jesus in your pocket!

I don't know that I'm going to start doing this.  But it is something to think about.  I really should be taking Jesus everywhere with me.  I mean, He goes regardless.  But if I am going to claim to be a follower of Christ, I should be considering him with all of my thoughts and actions.

From the mouth of my baby....."Take Jesus!"

I Corinthians 3:16--Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you

Linking with Shell today!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Miscellany Monday

1. But WHY is the Milk Gone?

You've probably seen Pirates of the Caribbean.  It's one of my favorites.  We aren't rum drinkers but sometimes I feel like I'm channeling Jack Sparrow when we run out of milk.  But WHY is rum/milk gone???  You I jump around a bonfire with too much eye make-up on.

2. I'm hosting a giveaway this week!!! I am super excited because I super LOVE this girl's heart and creations!  You aren't going to want to miss out on this and you'll have 3 opportunities to win!!  If you want to go ahead and see check out

3. The Little Guy is so nosy and while I was organizing the mess that is baby clothing this weekend he found his Little People Nativity Set.  I wasn't necessarily hiding it but I don't like to have lots of toys out at one time so it was packed away.  After lunch we came upstairs to take a nap and he said "Take Jesus, Take Jesus" the Little Guy and Baby Jesus napped together.

4. I had a blast planning the Little Guy's second birthday.  If you want to check out pictures of the barnyard themed day you can!  But honestly I've decided I like planning much more than actually hosting the party.  I'm too worried about running out of this or getting the right pictures (which we failed miserably at for this occasion) and I don't really enjoy myself.  So if you need help planning I'm your woman!

5. I had a lot of fun painting for the party.  I wish I could figure out a way to channel my painting into some sort of etsy shop but I have no idea what to do.  Any ideas/suggestions?  I painted all the props for the party and these for the boy's room.

6. I love this kid.  My big 4 month old!!

linking up with my friend Carissa today!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tuna & Artichoke Panini

If you are a new reader you might not know that I was originally inspired to love food by watching Giada on the Food Channel.  I love her.  I want to meet her and be her best friend.  Actually that would be fabulous because then she could just cook for me!  Seriously though, her food is unique, yummy and approachable for a new cook.  You do have to have an open mind though because she uses lots of ingredients that may not be familiar to a new cook, especially if you are not super in to food.  

Here is one of my favorites.  It's a panini that combines artichokes, beans and tuna fish to make a fresh, healthy meal!  

Artichoke-Tuna Panini

Garbanzo Bean Spread:

  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 cup pitted black olives, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (5 1/2-ounce) cans Italian tuna in olive oil, drained 
  • 1 (13 3/4-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • French Bread or baguettes
  • 2 cups arugula

  • I make the bean spread first.  All you do is combine all the ingredients in the food processor.  Easy!  
Next I mix up my ingredients for panini.  The recipe calls for black olives but I find they don't have enough taste to overpower the tuna.  I would suggest using kalamata olives instead.  Also, the recipe calls for olive oil plus tuna that is packed in olive oil.  I think that is WAY too much olive oil.  I left out the 2/3 cup and I still drained the oil off of the tuna.
After you mix up the ingredients simply spread the beans spread of your bread (we usually use sub rolls) and then add your tuna mixture.  I toasted my bread in a panini press before assembling the sandwich as well.  
These are filling and a great new way to serve tuna!  They are also pretty healthy if you leave off a lot of the oil.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Birthday Pictures

Blowing out the candles

This guy is always pretty happy to have a cupcake

Notice he is still holding the cupcake while trying to open gifts

His new trucks!  Found these on craigslist for a steal!

These were from his actual birthday.  I found this firetruck at a garage sale for 5 dollars.  He was thrilled!!

Melmo cupcake!  He has been talking about this cupcake for 2 weeks now.  He mentions it almost everyday.

Mama & Baby Brother


Happy Birthday to our big 2 year old!!!

4 Month Update

The Reedster 

Dear Reed,

4 whole months!!  I can't believe you are already this big!  It seems like just yesterday we were finding out about you (actually one year ago tomorrow!!) and now you are already such a big little boy!

You had your four month check-up last week.  You weighed 15 pounds 1 oz (28th %tile) and you were 26 inches long (84th %tile).  You are long and skinny just like your brother at this age.  Today I put away all of your 0-3 month clothes.  Doing that makes me hope you'll have a little brother someday!

You are such a smiley baby.  You coo and laugh and smile all the time.  You have started to notice both Bear and your brother as well.  I love to just get you talking and laughing.  I guess we will have two big talkers in our house.

You are doing pretty well with sleeping.  You generally go to bed between 9 and 10 and then sleep anywhere between 7 and 8.  You fall asleep on your own which is great.  You aren't super consistent with naps but somedays you will nap at the same time as your brother.  Mama loves those days!

You are very close to rolling over.  We think you might have done it once but neither of us saw it.  You don't mind being on your tummy but you don't like it for long.  You do like to sit up though and during dinner you sometimes sit in the bumbo and "eat" with us.  You have started to grasp a few things though you seem to like blankets better than toys.  

We traveled to Kentucky and Tennessee this month to meet all of your family.  You were wonderful on the plane and slept like a baby (haha) while we were home.  Everyone loves you just like we knew they would!  

Mama is still avoiding dairy products but you still have quite a bit of trouble with spitting up.  I'm not sure if it is just normal because Stafford never spit up ever.  So we will probably start eating some solid food soon based on the Doctor's recommendation.  He said that might help.

We love you so much.  We love your smile and your laugh!  We are so very blessed to be your parents!

Mama & Daddy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Barnyard Birthday Decorations & Food

First of all I'd like to welcome all of my new followers!  We took a vacation back home to visit family and then I was frantically planning the party below so I haven't been posting as much or had a chance to visit other blogs!  It looks like things are slowing down a bit and I can't wait to get to know you!  


We celebrated 2 fabulous years with our Little Guy last weekend.  I've been planning his party for a few months in my head but I had to really get down to business to get it finished on time!

I went with a red, green & yellow theme.  I have to force myself to tone down my ideas when doing a party.  I know that regardless of what I do the Little Guy is going to enjoy himself.  So there is no reason to go overboard!  It is tempting though to copy all of the pinterest ideas and things I find on the internet!

Here are a few things that I did.

The kids table.  Red plates, yellow napkins & cow print cups.  The green plates were for cake.  I made the little banner in the back by cutting triangles out of scrapbook paper and taping them to twine.  The tractor was something we already owned.

I painted the tractor, duck and the cow.  I intended to use the cow for a "pin the tail on the cow" game but we didn't end up playing.  Eventually I'd love to open an etsy shop to sell things like this!

Pails for favors.  Target dollar bin!

Banner, "S" and the Pin the Tail on the Cow I painted.  I made the banner and painted the S.  I figured I can change the color each year if I want to re use them!

"Haystacks" for dessert....recipe to come!

"Cowpies" aka No Bakes for dessert

Veggie "Flower" Cups  
I found this one on pinterest and couldn't resist trying.  I'll be posting about it soon!

As much as I wanted to make super complicated cupcakes it just didn't make sense.  So I piped "grass" onto half of them and then used little barn animals I found at a local toy store.

Corn on the cob, Pigs in the Blanket, Veggie Garden & Hotdog Bar

This was to prepared and clean up.  A must for a party!

I'll be sharing my recipes and some additional pictures of the Little Guy later in the week!  

Also...I'm going to be having a couple of GREAT giveaways coming up!  I can't wait!!

The Perfect Day

Early morning

Late dinner

An Elvis impersonator with a majestic view

A sweet boy who wanted to hold my hand the whole way home in the car

And who said "Love you" every time I turned to look at him

The Perfect Day

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cousin Lovin'

Did I mention we had a GREAT time visiting our family last month?  The older I get the more important family becomes.  I adore watching the Little Guy interact with his cousins.  He has a super special bond with Nola and somehow they have figured out how to be BFF from afar.  ALL of the cousins are wonderful though and it was so fun to see them interact with each other!

These two were a hot mess.  I tried for days to get a good picture with both of them smiling.

Saying goodbye at the end of our trip

They seriously love each other!!

LOVE this!  Missing the Littlest Guy here but it is still a great picture of all of the cousins on Daddy's side.  I can't believe I've been around so long.  When I first met Peter's family the cute little girl in the pink had just turned 2!!!

All the boys in their matching outfits from Mimi....totally adorable!

Newest Walker!

It's Official...

....I'm old.  Now that I've written it down it seems even worse than it did when I said it out loud.  I think I've probably been old for a while been either A. been in denial or B. didn't really know.  I'm hoping that it is more of A because I think being old and not knowing you are old is extremely awkward.

I worked at the College of Charleston for 6 years before I had the Little Guy.  It was major culture shock moving to the deep south and my wardrobe was unprepared.  I'd spent 4 years in rainy Western PA and 2 years back in Kentucky.  All of the sudden my collection of heels, sweaters and scarves had no place.

I was only 24 (yes you can now probably figure out exactly how old I am) when I started working at CofC so sometimes I felt like I was still in school myself.  I've never been much of a fashionista so I started paying attention to what people were wearing and copying it.  Don't laugh but back then it was pearls, polos and the popped collar.  Oh yeah!  And I did it too.  I don't think there are any surviving pictures.  Tragic.

Some styles took me a little longer to adopt.  When leggings came out I swore I would never give in. I mean, when I think of leggings I think of my favorite outfit in the 9th grade.  You're probably already laughing a little at me on the inside but picture this...loafers....a long pink crocheted sweater....a long gold necklace that may or may not have contained bubbles...and the kicker?....cream colored stirrup pants.  Yes you heard me correctly.  STIRRUP pants.  Half of you reading this are probably too young to remember those so I present the best Google image I could find.

The sad thing?  After Googling this it seems that stirrup pants may be coming back into style.  Oh my word.

So regardless of my initial hesitation I was soon rocking the leggings....and the rainboots....and an overabundance of Vera Bradley....large fake pearls...and even skinny jeans.

Then motherhood screeched that fashion train to a halt.

After I stopped working I was sucked into the "I don't work so I don't have to look super awesome all the time" warp.  Additionally I didn't have the gold mine of a college campus from which to draw my inspiration.  That was all ok.  I was still feeling good about my fashion choices until a couple of weeks ago when I went shopping at a little store called "Forever 21".

Sadly I will clearly not be retaining my "21" status forever.  Not that I really wanted to.  But seriously y'all!  This place was a nightmare!  First of all it is like a 2 story Walmart.  All filled with clothes.  Clothes.....that are organized, oh, not at all.  I got the wrong size in something and literally wandered the store for 5 hours looking for the rack from which it came.  I tried to find my way out of the store and ended up in the next county.  I mean seriously it is like miles and miles of clothing.  Second....the music.  IF you can even call it that.  It was SO loud.  SO so very loud.  I could barely think while I was in there getting lost.  And last...let's be honest.  I'm not 21.  And after 2 kids I do not have the body of a 21 year old.  I swear I fit into a size 73 there.  Not so good for the post-baby-body-in-a-fashion-rut confidence if you know what I mean.

So.  I'm old.  And honestly I'm ok with that.  Maybe my foray into the teen shopping scene will help me get motivated to finish my weight loss goals.  I don't know.  All I know is next time I go (which will be never by the way) I'm going to ask for a map!

My cutest fashion accessory!

linking with Things I Can't Say today

Friday, August 17, 2012

Asian Flank Steak

Sorry for the super uncreative picture.  Sometimes it's all I can do to remember to snap a picture with my trusty phone!

This marinade was super yummy!!  While we were in Kentucky Peter and I had a wonderful date night out to celebrate our 5 years of wedded bliss.  I had an awesome asian flank steak and decided I had to find something like it to make at home.  So here you go!

Asian Flank Steak
(you can also use flat iron steak)

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil 

You know I always cheat and use the pre-chopped garlic.  I also forgot buy sesame oil so I went with olive oil instead.

The rest of the recipe is pretty self explanatory!  Mix all the ingredients, put in a plastic bag and marinate your meat over night!  Turn it if you remember.  You can either grill or broil.  

A few suggestions....
--place your meat in the bag on a baking sheet.  It saves you from cleaning up in case the bag leaks
--always let your meat rest a few minutes after grilling before you slice
--slice against the grain of the meat

I hope you enjoy this!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's All About Perspective...

I've been thinking a lot lately.  I'm not sure exactly what I've been thinking about.  That sounds totally weird and cryptic but it's the truth.  Sometimes I feel like I have so much going on in my head that I can't get it sorted out.  I think about things I want to do, things I should've done, how messy my house is and how cute my kids are.  I wonder how long it's going to take me to lose the weight I want to lose.  I make shopping lists in my head and forget them.  I clean my house in my head.  True story.

But the majority of my thinking lately has been about perspective.  What you ask, does a picture of me holding yard clippers (no idea what they are really called) have to do with perspective?  Well, what you can't see in this fabulous photo is where I am standing.  

We have a great patio in our backyard and it is surrounded by trees in other people's yards.  I'm not sure that I'm really supposed to prune those trees but I did it anyway.  There is this massive vine that is snaking it's way around our trees and covering them entirely.  Since we don't get a lot of sun in the backyard (and because I'm a little obsessive compulsive) I decided this vine HAD to be removed.  I thought I'd just cut out a little of it.  But then I kept going and going.  And going.  And going.  And eventually when I couldn't reach it anymore I got on a chair.  And then a ladder.  And finally I stood on the top of the fence rail.  I have excellent balance for those of you who are concerned.

So.....I've taken out all of the vine that I can get.  And I have to admit I'm pretty proud of myself.  The tree looks great and I have a sense of accomplishment.  I was also pretty excited that I had balanced on the fence rail for a good 20 minutes or so while battling this crazy vine.  I asked Peter to take a picture.  He took two.  Neither of them show my feet.  Neither of them show the fence.

Later on I looked at the pictures and I informed him of his mistake.  The whole point of these pictures was to prove to the watching world that I was fearless in vine cutting.  I wasn't scared to balance on the fence.  Instead I look like I'm on a hike with a set of yard clippers.  And that is just weird.

Peter and I just celebrated 5 years of marriage.  I am so thankful for him and our relationship.  I'd be lying if I said the last 5 years has been easy.  We've faced chronic illness, job uncertainty, deaths of family members, lengthy separation and a cross-country move.  The most recent frustration was the 6 months we spent apart.  We arrived here in the PNW last August and Peter left in September for 6 months.  I barely had enough time to learn my way to the grocery store and he was gone.  I was pregnant, in a new town, with a 14 month old.  Not my idea of ideal.

I haven't talked a lot about what we learned and that time apart here.  But I can honestly say that if we were given the chance to go back and change it we wouldn't.  We chose to look at the positive side of being apart.  We counted our blessings instead of crying over missed milestones and lonely days and nights.  We made the best of the situation.  We looked for the good.  

If you are new to the blog you should know I talk a LOT about thankfulness.  It has changed my life.  One of my favorite scripture passages is in I Thessalonians.  It says thankful always.  It's easy to understand....hard to follow.

If you are having a hard time changing your perspective I encourage you to practice thankfulness.  Sometimes I list 5 things about my day that I am thankful for.  Sometimes I do more.  Regardless I make an attempt to see what good I can find in any situation.

I encourage you to change your perspective if things are looking a off.  That is what I'm going to do.  Right after I teach Peter how to take pictures!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

3 Month Update

Dear Sweet Reed,

You are such a sweet, sweet little baby.  You've finally grown out of your fussiness and you are just so fun to be around now!  For a while I wasn't sure I was going to be able to figure out what made you happy but now you are so easy!

You are sleeping much better now.  You usually go down between 9 and 11 and then usually sleep until sometime between 5 and 7.  We are pretty happy with that considering you were getting up every 30 minutes for a while!

You are still wearing size 2 diapers and 0-3 month clothes.  I've had to buy a few warmer clothes for you because they weather here is still chilly in June and even into July!

It is fun to watch you interact with Stafford although right now that just involves you watching him and him asking me to "move" you.  You are very wide eyed and aware of what is going on around you.  You have started to notice the toys on your bouncy seat.

So far you haven't rolled over but you are very active.  You don't seem to enjoy tummy time that much although for a while you took all of your naps on your tummy.

We love you so very much and can't wait to see what the next few months have in store for you!  We are so thankful that God has blessed us with you!!

Mama & Daddy

One of THOSE Days

Let's start at the beginning.

Crib Climbing.  The two words I've been dreading most.  Well, other than potty training.  I was really hoping the Little Guy would stay in his crib until he was at least 17.  Fine.  At least 2.5.  My sweet husband is going to be traveling a lot in the Fall again and I was just keeping my fingers crossed that somehow the love affair with the crib would last until he was back.  I have to admit I've had it pretty good.  My Little Guy is a great sleeping and napper. If he isn't napping he will often play in his crib for up to an hour or so.  This is fabulous for a Mama who thinks 8:30 is the ideal time to start the day.

So anyway.  I woke up yesterday to the usual.  Little Guy yelling "hi hi hi" from his crib.  I figured I had at least 20 minutes to roll back over and sleep before the hi-ing became more insistent.  Only all the sudden a small man materialized beside my bed and was calling me Mama.  I seriously wanted to cry.

Fast forward to our "coloring" session.  Aka my dear child found paint and decided to color his clothes, body and the floor.  Thank goodness it was washable!

And the best part of the day had to be the 20 minute episode which can only be described as a fit during which is prostrated himself on the kitchen floor and wailed that he did not want milk.  The only dinner he ate went up his NOSE in the form of a pea.  And thankfully Peter noticed this.  Fishing small green vegetables from my dear son's nostril wasn't the way I anticipated spending my dinner hour.

All this being said, I'm not sure I handled my day correctly.  I made myself a promise when I was still pregnant with Stafford that I would try to always be thankful for him.  Clearly I don't always succeed in that.  I let him drive me crazy yesterday.  He wasn't happy and neither was I.

And you know what?  All he wanted was some loving.  He wanted me to scoop him up and tickle him.  He wanted to sit in my lap.  He wanted me to give him "muahs".  He wanted me to set down what I was doing and focus on him for a little bit.  And in my mind I was doing just that.  I was making decorations for his birthday.  I was cleaning his room.  I was fixing his lunch.  I was taking care of him but I wasn't serving him.

A lot of people have misconceptions about stay at home parents.  Some people think all we do is sleep in and take a nap and change an occasional diaper.  Some people think we work all day long doing crafts, dishes, laundry and never get a break.  For me those are extremes.  There are days when I am caught up that I let myself take a nap.  And sometimes I even nap when I'm not caught up.  For me staying at home takes a different set of skills and uses different parts of myself than my 40 hour work week used to.  Sometimes my house is spotless and sometimes I can't find a spot to sit down.

But no matter how the house looks my attitude should be the same.  My job right now is to love my children and point them to Jesus.  I'm not sure Jesus would have enjoyed being around me much yesterday.  Except for the pea.  Who wouldn't love that?

Thankfully each day is a new day.  I woke up today and re-set my mindset.  Being Christlike is no joke.  It is hard.  It takes work.

My babies aren't going to remember is the house was messy when they were little.  But they will either grow up with a grumpy mother or one who is continually striving to point them to Jesus.  That is the Mama I want to be.  Matthew 5:16 says to let your light shine before men.  I have 2 little men and I want them to grow up confident of 3 things.

They have a Mama who loves Jesus.

They have a Mama who loves them.

And they should never, ever stick their dinner up their nose!

Catching Up-The Friends Version

Lately it seems like I've been super busy doing nothing.  We've only been back a week and already our trip homes seems like ages ago!  We had SUCH a good time and I have a lot of pictures I want to post and share!

Here are a few of my favorites.  I got to see quite a few of my favorite people from Charleston and Kentucky while we were home.  My roommate Lauren drove all the way to Chattanooga to meet up with us at the late.  Megan drove from Indiana to Lexington and Rachel & Kyle drove from Connecticut!  We also got to see Lexington and Chattanooga friends as well.  It was wonderful!

I managed to get in very few pictures while we were home but here are some with my sweet friends!

Meeting up with Gina...I really only see her as an excuse to eat donuts 

Hanging out with my roomie Lauren at the lake

My oldest friend....we've been besties for a LONG time

So excited to finally get to see this one!  We live on opposite coasts and that makes getting together challenging!  

I feel so blessed to have had time with each of these special girls!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2 Year Update

1 year

2 years
Dear Stafford,

You are officially 2 years old.  I thought I would be a little more sad about this day but really I couldn't wait to see your face when you saw the ginormous fire truck we bought you.  You were also pretty impressed with the "Melmo" cupcake.

You have changed so much since my last update!  It is amazing the progress that you have made in just 3 months!  I know toddlers are like sponges but I had no idea you'd be soaking up quite so much!

You are still wearing 18-24 month clothes with a few 2T here and there.  You wear size 5 diapers and size 6 shoes.  We bought you some crocs and you wear those everyday.  Daddy works on your left and right whenever you put your shoes on.

You know most of your colors but you always say red first.  I usually have to ask you a second time and then you will tell me the correct color.  You count to twenty but something you skip 14, 15, 16 and 17.  You know all of your upper and lowercase letters by sight and when we are driving you often yell out numbers or letters that you recognize.

Some of my favorite things you say are "Where's x"  When you find it you say "There you are" and it is usually followed by "Hi x".  You might have picked up "shoot" from your Mommy who says that when she forgets something or stubs her toe.  I catch you saying it every once in a while.  When we throw the ball with you you say "ready" and if you miss you say "almost".  You've also stared saying "How are you? but it comes out like "hower you?".  You also understand your name and will call yourself by it sometimes.

One of my least favorite things you've learned is the word pull.  You often try to grab my hair and say pull or mama pull.  If I tell you not to you'll usually grab your hair and do it.  In my head I think it is funny but sometimes it really hurts!

You've started to enjoy music.  Your favorite song is If You're Happy and you Know It.  I love watching you do the "hooray" part.  You also like Jesus Loves Me, Deep & Wide, The Frog Song, The Monkey Song, The Elephant Song, Old MacDonald and The Wheels on the Bus.  You want to listen to "pumic" as often as you can.

You have done a great job in your swimming lessons and are very comfortable in the water.  You have also started climbing things and trying to hop.  When you run you say "go go go".  We usually let you run for a while when we go on walks at night.

You have done a great job learning all of your family member's names.  I made a book for you and during breakfast we would look at pictures and work on names.  You still ask if we are going to see "valvalval" often and at night you usually want to thank Jesus for Daddy, Allison, Yancey and Nola. You love all of your family very much and had a great time with them while we were on vacation.

You are still into animals and transportation.  We went to the aquarium on vacation and when you saw the mccaws you yelled "Mccaw!!"  You read your zoo book or animal book almost everyday.  You have particularly enjoyed playing with your Little People vehicles and matchbox cars.  You really like the ambulance, firetrucks and construction vehicles.  I love listening to you say ambulance and cement mixer.  I'm not sure anyone else would know what you mean but Mama does!

You've started chasing Bear around the house with a pillow.  You also get into the pantry as often as you can and pour out whatever you find.  Hopefully by the next update you will not being doing that!

You are still an excellent sleeper at night and a good napper.  You take anywhere from a 2 to 4 hour nap.  You seem to require more sleep because you get pretty grumpy if you haven't had enough!  Sometimes you will even go down for your nap around 10:30 or 11 if you are too fussy.

You have adjusted well to having a baby brother.  In the morning you look for him and you are gentle with him.  Sometimes you tell me to move him when I am holding him.  But your attitude and behavior have improved over the past 3 months.  You are starting to become a better listening and starting to obey even when it is hard.

You are starting to do and say so many funny and cute things that I need to keep a running list.  I know I will forget them the next time I sit down to update!

Your Daddy and I love you so very much.  You've changed our lives and life is so full and fun with you!  You have a happy, happy heart and we pray you will learn to love Jesus and others with that sweet heart!  We are already proud of the little boy you are becoming!

Mama & Daddy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Creamed Onions

I know you've been dying for a new recipe so I wanted to share one of my favorite side dishes.  Growing up I hate onions.  I think most children probably do.  They have a sharp, distinct taste and let's be honest....they don't exactly leave you with rosy smelling breath!  But as an adult I have learned to LOVE them!!  This is one of my favorite side dishes.  It is rich and satisfying.  I usually serve it with beef.

6 large onions, sliced
1 cup butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 cups milk

In a large skillet saute onions in butter until tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Add flour, salt and pepper to skillet; stir until smooth.  Gradually stir in milk until blended.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Reduce heat to medium.  Return onions to the pan; heat through.

**Recipe and picture via Taste of Home Magazine

A Walk To Remember

The first week in August is a big week for us.  It marks the 1 year anniversary of our arrival here in the Seattle/Tacoma area.  It marks the 2nd year of life for our sweet firstborn son.  And it marks 5 wonderful years of marriage.

If you knew me in my pre-Peter days you probably were subject to the horrible event of watching me watch A Walk To Remember.  Nicholas Sparks clearly tugs at the heartstrings of anyone and everyone who has ever fallen in love.  But you know who he REALLY gets to?  People who have just broken up with their boyfriend and are clearly never, ever, ever going to love again.

Yeah...I'm not dramatic or anything.

I'll never forget watching this for the first time.  My sister (who had been dating her boyfriend for oh, 7 years at the time) told me what a great movie it was and convinced me to watch it.  I had no idea what it was about.  I got to the end and sobbed for about 2 weeks straight because I was just sure no one would ever love me like Landon loves Jamie.  Seriously.  Weeks.  Buckets of tears.  Ridiculous.

At the time though it did seem rather traumatic.  There is a sense of "it's never going to happen for me" in lots of women and I even know a few men who feel the same way.  You watch your friends, siblings, people you used to babysit...and you do wonder if it will ever be you making that walk down the aisle.

I forced many people to watch this movie with me.  Actually I forced Gina and Rachel to watch it with me innumerable times.  They actually got great pleasure out of this event for 2 reasons.  One--I really did cry like a baby each and every time I watched this movie.  Two--I had the same dorky sweater that the main character gets as a gift.  The worst part?  My recent "ex" had given it to me for Christmas the first year we were dating.  I'm so glad I could be a source of entertainment for my friends.

Back to the real reason for this post.

For a few years whenever I would pray about finding a spouse God's answer was always "Please Wait".  I even printed out signs that said that and hung them up on my refrigerator and at my desk at work.  I needed a constant reminder that the Lord was asking me to wait.

When I went on my first day with Peter it was extremely clear to me that God had answered my prayers.  And now five years later I am so thankful for my partner in life.  We've faced unexpected challenges, moved from one coast to the other and supported one another during illnesses and deaths of family members.  We've grown, fought, made up, spent way too much time apart and eaten out way too much.

Our life together has been a walk to remember.  It is rich and full and my love for my dear husband grows deeper and stronger with each passing day.  I can't wait to see what the next 5 years have in store!

Happy 2nd Birthday

to the Little Guy!!  I'm planning to wax nostalgic about the last two years and how special this tiny man is to me but for now here is a picture of him enjoying his special day!

Clearly he enjoyed his "mElmo" cupcake!  Can't believe my Little Guy is a 2 year old!!


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