Monday, January 31, 2011

lessons from a coffee stained note card

The other night while Eric was at class, I was reading through some older posts on here and ran across this post that I had written almost a year ago...

It reminded me of the joy that can be found during the more "challenging" days of life. For instance, let's take last Monday. Ellie and I took lunch to Eric at school for his b'day. She was really fussy and crying a lot. This really isn't like her, she is a pretty happy baby who only cries when there is an obvious need. So, I was getting really annoyed by it all, I mean, how could Ellie cry away the birthday lunch... So, we got things together, made it home, and off to a nap she went. I needed one too. So, I layed down and locked Harvey (our bark-a-lots dog) in the room with me so he wouldn't wake her up by barking (you know, at the bushes blowing or the old man who walks by five times a day...)

So, you know how hard it is to take naps during your child's nap. You almost dread falling asleep because you know as soon as you do they will wake up and you will end up more tired than you were to start with (you know, like a little "teaser" nap.) Well, as I was lying there, I heard the mail truck hauling down the street so I jumped up to grab Harvey because I knew that he would have something to say about it. Yes, staying at home has led me to know my dog way more than I ever would have hoped... So, as I did, of course, I tipped over a huge cup of coffee on to my night stand, books, journal, white carpet, you get the gist. Oh, let the pity party begin. (I just wanted a little rest and instead I am sopping up coffee with our white bath towels (how smart was that) ) And then what?? Cries. (Ellie, not me :)

So, I let her cry it out (which I don't do very often) with hopes that she'll go back to sleep while I finish cleaning up the bedside Coffee spill of '11. Well, it gets kind of clean, and the cries are only getting louder. So I get her out of bed, and rock her. She falls asleep and I just get to hold her for an hour or so (I know, some of y'all are freaking out about this lack of sleep discipline that I am exhibiting...) and this is actually a sweet little blessing in the otherwise not so sweet afternoon. You know, now that she is almost 1 and not a baby baby anymore, I have really tried, let me say it again, tried to stop stressing out about doing things "by the books" or "by so and so's opinions" etc. because I really want to cherish her. So, I held her while she napped.

Well, she woke up, and mother daughter bonding bliss was over. I went to go put her in the living room, when, hmmm I thought, Why is my front door wide open, and where is my dog?

So, I run outside, with my baby on my hip, did I mention she was wearing just a sweet little diaper, in January, am I sounding like a country song yet? To see my lovely dog (with a track record of running away) with no collar on about half a mile down the road. Somehow, I called his name, he came sprinting right into the house. Later, Eric told Harvey he was glad he came back, because it would have been pretty sad to have the little guy run away on his birthday...

All of this to say, as I was cleaning up the remains of the spill, I found a little note card with this written on it (sometimes I write quotes I like from books I'm reading and tuck them around the house for days like this one...)

"I needed to accept days like this- my child's neediness, the myriad of mindless tasks, and even my own occasional discomfort as part of my partnering, with my husband, toward our mutual goal of building a godly heritage... Two conflicted drives were present in my heart: my commitment to motherhood versus my lurking desire to have life my own way... I began to see my child's care and nurture as God's best will for my life during this season as a mother."

Can I get an amen? This sums it up for me right now. This is my prayer.

It is from the book The Mission of Motherhood (a must read for all you moms!) For those who are riding in the same boat as me right now, let it encourage you!

And on a different note real quick....

Little bit is a bit past 11 months and here she is! Taking it easy...

Happy girl

This is what I saw when I went outside Sunday morning. So pretty!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cook something Greek

Right now, I am cooking about one night a week when Eric is home, so when I do, I think long and hard about making something good! For y'all Birmingham folks, this is a copy cat recipe from a yummy little Greek place called Tazikis. They have a Friday special that is SO good! Basically, you make a balsamic vinaigrette and toss grilled chicken (I'll put the best Greek chicken marinade recipe below) with pasta and put it over a bed of mixxed greens. Then, top it off with tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh basil. Do NOT skip the basil it makes it so good! This recipe makes a lot, so you could cut it in half. It is so good, hot and yummy but crunchy and fresh! Perfect for these long winter days! Let me know how you like it!

 Friday Special
• 3 tbsp. fresh thyme (chopped) (or 1 1/2 tbsp. dried- I had none on hand so used oregano)
• 1 tbsp. shallot (minced)
• ½ cup balsamic vinegar
• Juice from one lemon
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
• 1-1 ½ cup olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
•  lettuce (I used mixxed greens and baby spinach)
• 1 ½ pounds cooked penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
• 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cubed (just cook however much you need for your crew)
•  feta cheese
• 1 tomatoes seeded and diced
• 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
To make vinaigrette: Mix thyme, shallots, balsamic vinegar, lemon, sugar, Dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper. (I did this in the food processor and it worked well)
Place about 1 cup mixed lettuces on each plate. Toss cooked pasta and chicken with vinaigrette to taste. Put chicken/pasta on lettuce and top with tomatoes, feta, and basil. Serves 6.

Greek Marinade
 1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
 3 cloves garlic, minced
 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
 2 tablespoons dried oregano
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leave or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

The longer the meat marinades the better! Just cover and refrigerate.

I am, by no means, a food photographer pro, but just to give you and idea.. Yum!

And since every post is sweeter with a picture of her, my sous chef.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy birthday, to my bookend.

book.end (noun): a support placed at the end of a row of books to hold them upright, usually used in pairs.
One of my favorite books chronicles a sweet, older couple who refer to themselves as these. Eric, this is what you are to me. Day in and Day out, you keep our life, all of our many "books" we carry, upright. You are my rock. My constant. My best friend. My light. The ways that I admire you are many, and I hope that I remind you of this enough. This time of year especially, as you put in many long days and evenings, I want to say thank you. For working so hard, providing for your girls so abundantly, and for doing it all with joy. Happy birthday babe. I love you so much!
A stroll through your past year...
                                                             You and your little twin

Wearing one of your many hats.

I cherish watching you and Ellie together.

Never stop making us laugh!


Your first Father's day

The everyday times I love.

Early days of being a dad.
Meeting your baby girl.
Life has changed so much since your last birthday. At the time, it was just me and you (I being about to pop...) Now, we have become a family of three. As you drove off to work today, and Ellie stood at the window sill waving good bye and blowing kisses, my heart was overflowing with thankfulness to the Lord for letting me experience this life he has given.
I love you. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Parenting advice

Don't worry, not from me... This is a series on parenting children from infancy to age 5. I really like this blog and plan on listening to this soon. I though some of you all might be interested!

"Being a parent of young children can sometimes be a confusing experience. You face many new challenges that you don't always know how to handle. Thankfully Scripture provides the clarity we so desperately need. And God has provided wonderful teachers to help us apply biblical principles in parenting to our every day lives."
-From girltalk blog: conversations on Biblical womanhood

You can listen to the series here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Picture this...

All this talk about the New Year and resolutions has got me to thinking about new things I want to do. But, instead of thinking of things like exercise more, be more organized, learn how to spell, don't throw your credit card away at the gas station (a story for another time and place...), my mind wanders to fun things- read more, hang out with encouraging people, really study the Bible, journal a lot, sew more, cook new things, plant a (small) veggie garden, continue to work on our house, and take better pictures (which means I have to try and learn some of that technical stuff, so I think practice is the best way to get there!)

So, for this last one, I am trying out a little something. Each day, I want to try and capture a special/memorable/ part of that day in one picture and then post some of them on here every now and then (I didn't come up with this idea, I borrowed it.) So here was our last week...

Saturday: My handyman and his assistant working on the nest

Sunday: cozy, wear your jammies to lunch kinda day

Monday: snow day lovin'

Tuesday: getting organized

Wednesday: snack time officially added to the schedule

Thursday: bliss

Friday: an idea that wouldn't leave me alone (what would the mantle look like in a color?), a can of paint just sitting there waiting to be used, Eric coming home after a game... it smells like paint in here...
Why yes dear, it does (more on this soon)
Saturday: an adventure at the Flea mall
Sunday: a little cuddling before church (the only way this is possible right now is a: she is so tired it's not funny or b: there is a book involved)
So, hope you all are looking forward to a wonderful week! On a side note, about the whole menu planning, well, it's basketball season so life is crazy and the menu is rather dull, and often, non-exisistant. But, I do have some really good recipes I've found that I will share real soon. Y'all come back!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

crafting away the snow days

This weekend turned out to be way better than I thought! Friday I was feeling kind of down because Eric wouldn't be home till almost 10 Friday night because there were games (happy though that all teams won! Go Bucs!) and Saturday he had a meeting... but I didn't know what was in store! We had a "winter storm" come through Sunday night meaning NO SCHOOL Monday or Tuesday (I know Eric's friends and family up north must think that it is crazy that everything shuts down when 1-3 inches of snow is predicted...)! So, we got to spend a ton of unexpected time together and Ellie and I were super pumped about it! We watched old movies (Fiddler on the Roof was the best by far), ran outside to see the ice and hurried back in because it was freezing, and I got to do a lot of projects. So here is what I did, hope this gets your creative juices flowing too!
Kelly and I made these boards out of old frames that we painted (mines blue), drilled holes on the edge and strung wire, and then stapled burlap on the back. Add some clothes pins, super cute pictures, and there you have it. This is going in my "new room" I have been working on.
I had been wanting a bag that I could take everywhere and throw in mine and Ellie's junk instead of carrying around 2 bags. So, I made this one night while Eric watched Ben Hur (I'd seen it in like 8th grade, so I was good.) I made this using extra fabric I had lying around (see 2 posts ago...) I didn't have a pattern, but kind of went off of this tutorial and just made a few changes. I loved how it turned out and it was really fun to make. It took about 3 1/2 hours... the same amount of time it took Eric to watch his movie.
And, every baby needs a Valentine's day outfit right? I made this for Ellie. I found the best pants pattern. It is super easy. (They really barely took an hour.) And it goes from size newborn to 4t. They can be made for boys or girls. I also made this little shirt for Ellie (I don't love baby turtlenecks but it's all I had around.) If you like to sew/craft and haven't tried applique- you should! It is so easy and really cute. There are tons of tutorials online. I hand stitch around (so you really don't even need a sewing machine) mine with embroidery floss because I like the homemade feel it gives it.
I also got to go to a baby shower for a really good friend where she made these as her hostess gifts. I had tons of mason jars Kelly had given me from her wedding so I made a few. I want to put them on my mantle, but what should I put in them???
They were super easy. I just glued a strip of burlap around the jar with hot glue and then glued a strip of fabric on that. I made some of the strips into ruffles.

And lastly, this is a sneak peak of our new room that is still a work in progress. So, Eric thought that JoAnns was out of S's when he saw this, but I told him, no I wanted to spell nesT. You know, a cozy, homey, happy place to be? Well, the name caught on, and I find Eric referring to it as the "nest" all the time... seriously. I asked Eric, before you knew me, did you ever think you'd be referring to a room in your home as the nest? :)
I made these letters by wrapping the cutest yarn I'd ever seen (from JoAnn's of all places) around the cardboard letters and taping it on the back.

No, I haven't lost my mind and gone crafting crazy, I've just had lots of time sine my wonderful husband took over all "Ellie duties" so I could relax and do what I like to do. He's the best! Now, we're braving this winter mayhem to do a little shopping and dining with our Christmas gift cards. (Thanks to Eric's mom and dad:) Happy crafting!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Rest of the Holidays

We were blessed this year in that both of our families made a trip to B'ham to visit us over the holidays! Eric's mom and dad came after Christmas and we had a great time celebrating Christmas, going to basketball games, lots of good food, going to the park, taking Ellie to the zoo for the first time, and Eric and his dad even repainted the bathroom!
She loved watching all the animals. She is so big now she can do it all by herself! We ended up getting a year membership (thanks Nana and Papa!) and look forward to lots of more trips there!

Playing with Papaw and Grammy at the park

New Year's dinner
We also got to visit with our good friends the Flannery's who were in from CA. We got to meet Harris for the first time and what a handsome little guy he is! It is always SO good to see them. It is crazy to look at pictures of us a couple of years ago, there were only 4 of us. Now, there are 7!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

a shared obsession

Some girls love to shop for shoes, others purses, some splurge on mannie's and peddie's. Me... I give into fabric. Some of you might totally feel me, most of you are thinking, seriously? I can't help it. I see it, think of what I could do with it, buy it, and there we have it. I really am trying to not buy on a whim and use what I have (one of my many "resolutions"). But now, I think Ellie is falling for it too... She will sit and go through it, pull it all out, and play with it forever. Maybe a sign of things to come... I can only hope!

Yes, she is under there, see her arm?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

happy everything

Poor neglected blog...
Well, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We are still celebrating around here, seeing that all of the decorations are still up (I can only imagine how fun it will be to take them down with my little shadow pulling everything out as I put it away...) Christmas was great, we had tons of family come visit, and it snowed!

Somethings I don't want to forget about Ellie's first Christmas:
- Early Christmas morning, reading the Christmas story together under the tree for the first time as a family of 3.
- Our 1st white Christmas. Snow can be so cozy, don't you think?
- Listening to Ellie laugh as Drew and Eric zoomed her up and down the hall in her wagon while I made dinner.
- Lots of time with Eric home.
- Some firsts for Ellie: trip to zoo and park, teeth finally came in, watching her fold her hands to "pray" before meals
Special delivery

Christmas morning breakfast

The ladies

Christmas Eve

It reminded Eric of one of his favorite Thomas Kinkade prints... (that's for Jeff :)

Eric's got his 5th grade glasses on (on) boots w/ the fur... (w/ the fur)
She can walk- who knew!
LIttle love birds 1st Christmas
Taking care of business. I guess I wasn't thinking when I used the brown paper this year, kinda hard to open, especially with so little experience.
My "carnie" and his faithful companion. I never knew he could juggle until about a month ago...

Hope you all had a wonderful time over Christmas! I have more things to post, but am so tired of trying to upload pics I need to take a break (there has to be an easier way to do it... any advice yall?) So, I shall return!