Sunday, December 27, 2009

a new season

Wow. What a whirlwind has happened since October...

November held Philip's Senior Composition Recital where he premiered 7 new pieces ranging from voice and strings to choral to electronic to saxes and strings. It was so amazing to hear his talent and get to "show him off" to our family and friends. He has such a gift.

The end of November we headed out to my parent's house for Thanksgiving. We had so much fun meeting our new nephew, Mason, who is just about 6 weeks younger than Jude. There were 6 kids under 7 in the house for 2 days! Whew! The funny story from Thanksgiving was that I made the turkey, since I have for several years now, but never for my family. So I did it this year (I use Alton Brown's recipe... YUM), but I forgot to bring our probe thermometer that stays in the meat with the cord that comes out of the oven to the reader. So I had to use my parent's normal meat thermometer. Fine. Until I realized two hours into cooking that it was not reading. So I pulled the thermometer out to check it, and the whole end of it had broken off INTO the bird! We didn't know what to do! Call grandma, call my aunt who's a nurse, call poison control! My sister-in-law ended up calling poison control and they said as long as we just eat around the red liquid, we should be fine. And we were. And the bird was delish.

December 12th, Philip graduated summa cum laude from HSU!!! His graduation was something so incredibly special: not just because it's a wonderful accomplishment and it's been a hard road, but this completes a long season of restoration in our family. Three years ago we decided it was time to go back to school and finish what we had started. Also, it marked a completion in God restoring what the enemy had stolen from us way back in our "retro-hippie phase" as we lovingly (or not so lovingly, really) call it. As soon as he walked across that stage, we both felt a HUGE burden lifted. No more weekends literally filled with homework, nights coming home from work at 6 and studying until bed, no more school or working on Fridays(!), etc, etc. I don't really know if anyone really knows what it's like. Feeling like a single parent, having double the amount of work to do just to make the sacrifices you have to because you've made the decision that it's just going to have to be that way for awhile. What an amazing and glorious day graduation was. To those contemplating dropping out of school for whatever reason.... don't. That's all I have to say about that. Your education is so important. No, it's not the most important. But it is important. And definitely worth it. We're just so excited to start a new season....

December 13th, Philip and I celebrated six wonderful years together! What a great weekend it was! Lots of celebrating goin' on. I sure love that man. And I know he does me. And that is a wonderful feeling.

Christmas came next. We'll start with the BLIZZARD that blew into Abilene on Christmas Eve. Yes. Blizzard in Texas. Weird. We had about 6 inches of snow and lots of wind. It was so fun to play in and a great day for it all to blow in, since we didn't have anywhere to go. Our communion service at our church got canceled, but we decided to do it as a family anyway. What a special time! We read the Christmas story out of Deron's Bible and explained again about who's birthday we were celebrating. Then we read the Last Supper out of his Bible and talked with him about the sacrifice Jesus made for us so we could have abundant life. His little heart is so moldable. It was awesome to see his mind and heart turning, thinking about the things of the Kingdom. Then we prayed together as a family, under the lights of the Christmas Tree and decorations. What a sweet time... then we watched a G-Force and had ice cream. It was cute. :)

Christmas Day was exhausting. Beginning super early (thank you, Jude, who still is not sleeping more than 3 hours at a stretch *sigh*), we got up and opened our presents to each other. Notable gifts include an incredible wall hanging that says "Be still before the Lord"- I've been wanting decor that has scripture on it to adorn my house with the Word!- and a new Harry CD. Philip got a great t-shirt that he's been wanting that says "I heart Katy" :) and a mousepad that says "My name is Philip and I am a Ninja".... you have to know him I guess... oh, and a binary clock. Look it up. Deron and Jude got lots of toys and clothes and books. Typical.
We forged the icy roads after that and had Christmas and lunch with Philip's family which was fun! Then we took off for Irving and finished celebrating there. But of course, what is a get-together with my family without some singing? This time, my sister printed out some Victoria motets for us to sightread just for fun. Are we weird? It WAS fun! I like telling people of the family reunion we had about five years ago when my aunt borrowed a few octaves of handbells from their church and we all played them for fun. Anyway, the day after Christmas we went to visit Erin and Clark and their kiddos (with one more on the way!!!!) at their new house in Dallas (conveniently right across the street from Northpark Mall and Maggiano's!) and then went to pick out my graduation present with my mom and uncle.... a new guitar!! I've never had one before and have always wanted one of my own for many reasons. Anyway, it's a Takamine, gorgeous and easy to play. It has a rich, mellow tone and is now my very own!! I'm very excited!

We are back home now and are enjoying it immensely. I can't wait to get back in the groove and see what awesome things God has in store for our family and me!

One thing I do know though, I am making a huge effort to spend more time in His presence. Not just quiet times, not just prayer, though these things are important. I want to abide in Him. I want to be constantly near to Him. Anyway... more on that later...

Have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Deron is quickly learning to spell. He's quite an impressive speller, if I do say so myself. He's definitely surprised Philip and I both several times. What a smart kid we have!

Last week bug was in the bathtub and he shouts, "Mom! Come look! Popsicle!" I came in and saw this attempt. How cute is this?!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

pumpkin patch time!

Here is documentation of our trip to the pumpkin patch! Deron's school got cancelled Friday and Monday because of several cases of swine flu (thankfully only in older grades), and his class was supposed to go on a field trip. I was so sad for him-probably more than he was- that I decided we'd all go that evening. It was a quick trip, but fun anyhow. We got some great pictures!

My favorite!
Not sure what all the hand raising was about.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pledge to the Christian Flag

This afternoon Deron and I were playing school. He then recited the Pledge of Allegiance spot-on. He then sang "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" and went on to recite the Pledge to the Christian Flag and to the Bible and then sang "I May Never...(march in the infantry, ride in the calorie, shoot the artillery)".

I thought I'd post his version of the Pledge to the Christian Flag.

I pledge allegience to the Christian flag of the United States of America. One nation, crucified, risen and coming again. Full of life, liberty to all who believe.


Monday, October 5, 2009


from the bellybutton

This morning as we were getting ready to take bug to school, he says bear is hungry and he needs to feed him when we get in the car. Philip and I look at each other with a mixed look of panic and hilarity not quite knowing what this will entail. We ask him, "Just HOW are you going to feed bear, Deron?" "Oh, just from my bellybutton, just like mommy."

(Philip and I then turn to each other with a new mixed look of relief and more hilarity.)
"Oooooh, ok," we replied.

Then as he sits down in his chair in the car, he pulls up his shirt ALL the way and sticks bear right on his bellybutton. He tells me that bear is very hungry and he has to feed him all the way until we get to his school.

When we get to school, he tells me bear isn't quite full yet and he'll hand him to me once he gets to his class. Because I didn't want to start off on a bad foot and his class is the first inside the building, I said that was fine and we proceeded to walk across the parking lot, with his shirt completely pulled up and held by his chin. The teacher standing at the front door laughed and the principal that we passed laughed and then his teacher laughed as she told him bear needed to stay with mommy.

I'm glad we shared joy around this morning. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dedication Sunday!

Last Sunday our church held baby dedications. It is such a sweet time for our friends and family to pray over our new little ones and commit to helping us raise them in the Kingdom. Unfortunately, none of our parents could be in town (totally understandably though- Philip's parents were in Germany, mine we had seen almost every weekend for 6 weeks, and we had just driven BACK from Dallas where they live from the conference). We had lots of spiritual family around though to help us celebrate!

Amity and Ella (born 2 weeks before Jude)

Why, oh why must I be so gushy when it comes to certain things? I really wanted all 4 of us to be a part of this, but I should have just left the bug in his class. Philip spent the whole time cajoling him and trying to keep him from squirming and whining over everyone praying. *sigh* Oh well. I'm learning!

Here are a few cute pictures when we got home! Don't you love the bowtie!!?
My cutie!

Marriage Seminar 2009

This year, again, we traveled to Dallas to gain wisdom and spend a little time devoted to our marriage. I can't stress enough how important it has been for us to invest in one of the most important relationships we have. I hope to someday pass on all of the awesome stuff God has taught us about marriage!

Deron's new favorite game: playing school. These are the centers he's laid out in the hotel room: puzzles, drawaing, books. So cute! Often I play Auston Keith Gray while he plays Ms. Chaconne. Once while I was in a coloring center he said, "Now I'll come over here and sit and watch you." When asked what teachers do, he replied, "Oh teachers? They don't do anything. Except talk. And sit."

The group. We all just met up at the church.

Our great friends, The Blaines!

The Pizookie from BJs. Yummm.
My parents watched the kids in the hotel while we were gone. Their house is being remodeled and this particular weekend they were ousted from their bedroom (and the rest of the bedrooms!)
Smiles for grandma!
Caught a smile!
The two boys. Quiet. Asleep. Ahhhhh...

just for fun. 6 weeks

A jude-tastic photo shoot. He just learned to smile! You'll be seeing more smiles from now on. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor day at the zoo

I got to take the boys to the zoo Monday for Labor Day. Here are some fun pictures of our adventure...

Check out this guy's tongue!

And... a gratuitous Deron picture.

"Yes, Sir!"

Deron's been in school for 2 1/2 weeks now. He's learned 2 Bible verses, discipline, and a multitude of songs. I'm having so much fun seeing his pictures everyday displaying his skill of coloring in the lines and cutting in a straight line! I wish I was in his class! How much fun to do crafts all day and get stickers and stamps just for coloring and learning to glue bits of construction paper on to bigger pieces of construction paper! Not to mention all the fun songs! Yesterday bug was sitting at the table with Philip and I at lunch and he just started singing, "I wanna see, I wanna see, I wanna see Jesus lifted high!". Oh, to make a mommy and daddy proud!

We had a few incidences of hitting/pushing the first week of school. When discipline really started to be implemented, he came home with green dots!! Yay!! This was daddy's reaction. So sweet!

39 things Every Mom Should Know

I have seen across the cyber-world varying opinions on this article. I, for one, enjoyed it and actually felt a bit better about mommyhood after reading. Those who know me know I don't believe in karma and I hugely dislike halloween, but some of the other points I've learned on my own and wish someone had told me! :)

39 Things Every Mom Should Know

from Parents Magazine...written by Kacy Faulconer

1. You never have to go to obnoxious kid-themed restaurants. Ever. I wish someone had told me that.

2. Don't make birthday parties a huge deal.

3. Do your chores while kids are awake. Using up naptime to wash dishes or clean the bathroom is truly soul-crushing.

4. Put Band-Aids on everything your kids want you to. Why not?

5. If the kids are awake, bite the bullet and be awake yourself. You'll waste so many hours trying futilely to extend early-morning snoozes that it's not worth it. If you are sick, pregnant, or it's the middle of the night, ignore this advice.

6. Just throw away the poopy underwear.

7. Don't beat yourself up if you have to use a bribe.

8. Teach your kids not to pee outside unless you're camping-- you'll be glad you did. But if other people's kids do it, don't judge teh parents too harshly-- it's all about karma. (If you're in the midst of potty training, all bets are off. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.)

9. Buy cheap shoes when kids are little. Feet grow faster than you think.

10. Don't forget about board games. You'll suffer through way too much Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, but Connect Four and Battleship aren't half bad. And Clue rocks.

11. Embrace their quirks.

12. Know this: That stain won't come out. And it's okay. (The sooner you accept this, the better.)

13. At some point it will be February. Things will seem bleak. You will think about vitamins, glasses, more exercise, more sleep, more chores, less TV, more rules, fewer rules, and organic food. Just wait. Things will get better when the snow melts. Know that it will happen again at the end of summer, right before school starts. It's the circle of life, baby.

14. Always get boys' haircuts at barber shops instead of hair salons.

15. Answer this question: What is the worst thing that can happen if your kids sleep in their clothes?

16. Never stifle a generous inclination.

17. Try to like what they like. It kind of sucks when it's Bob the Builder, but the payoff will come when they discover Lemony Snicket.

18. Teach them to pump on the swings ASAP.

19. If your child falls asleep occasionally without brushing her teeth, don't wake her; baby teeth do eventually fall out.

20. I know you are supposed to use natural consequences to punish bad behavior, but sometimes it's hard to think of natural consequences. In these cases try threatening your kids with clipping their toenails or some other activity they dread. I've had great success with this one, but you must find your own.

21. Get used to the word zerrissenheit. It means a state of disjointedness, and it's the new normal for most of us. At least you can feel fancy because it's German.

22. Buy kids deodorant before they need it.

23. Teach your children to make their own breakfast-- and allow enough time so they can do it without pressure.

24. I can't stress this enough: Use duvet covers on your comforters and forget about the top sheet. Not only will you thank me for this advice, but your kids will thank me as well when they are learning to make their bed.

25. Remember clogging lessons are not in the best interest of the child.

26. Don't administer a punishment that hurts you more than it does them.

27. Always pack wipes. If your kids go somewhere without you, send along wipes. It's like having a mom with them.

28. Do not allow the word wienies in your home.

29. Dress your little girls like, well, little girls.

30. Make sure your kids know how they like their eggs and burgers cooked. You don't want them to feel stress when ordering at the diner.

31. It's fine to brag about yourself to your kids.

32. Buy quaint wooden toys and hand-knit stuffed animals, but don't expect your kids to play with them.

33. Just say "No" to any toy or doll that comes with packets that have to be mixed with water.

34. Teach them to like cool music. Why suffer through The Wiggles when you could be enjoying Wilco or counting along with Feist?

35. Don't buy the most expensive school-picture package. It's a waste of money.

36. Give out awards for actual achievements.

37. You're never too old to dress up and decorate your house for Halloween. And it's more fun for everyone if you are into it. It also entitles you to more candy.

38. If the school year, new babysitter, or karate class gets off to a rocky start, don't totally stress out about it. Instead, think of the improvement that can be made by the end of the year.

39. Independence is a wonderful thing. For everyone. So is together time. Make sure you have a healthy dose of both.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

1 month old

We've hit the 1-month milestone! (Actually, tomorrow will be 5 weeks, but hey). Our littlest man has grown quite a bit, now really fitting into those 0-3 month clothes, and even some 3-6 mo. This makes me happy, since Deron had some awfully cute clothes, but since their birthdays are on opposite sides of the summer, a lot of his old stuff will be out of season.

Anyway, he's begun one of my favorite things: cooing. And we're also getting into somewhat of a schedule. This also makes me happy. Schedules are this mommy's best friend. When things are out of whack, it seems to make everything and everyone, well, out of whack.

Enjoy some new pictures!

disclaimer: ok, for those of you who clicked on this picture to get a close-up of our cute feet, let me assure you that I KNOW it is time to get a pedi. Sue me for being on my feet a lot and not adequately preparing the bottoms of my feet for this picture. The opportunity arose, and I had to take it.

rachael ray

The past week and a half I have made 5 Rachael Ray recipes and have 1 more on the schedule for this week. I've also printed out 2 more to try maybe next week.

I have this newfound joy for Rachael Ray's stuff. We used to be die-hard Alton Brown fans (and still are), but I found that more often than not he liked including either hard-to-find ingredients or there was a lot to buy for one recipe. With needing to shop on a budget, but still wanting to cook good food for my boys, and ENJOY what I make (since I do really love to cook), I turned again to Rachael. I don't mind "slaving away" for up to an hour making something delish, so it's not that her recipes are often pretty easy to whip up. I've just found that they are quite yummy and don't cost a lot at the grocery.

Since I've had so much fun trying out some of her recipes, I thought I'd share them with you as well.

Mexican Lasagna - this was really easy and really tasty! Philip especially enjoyed it. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces instead of ground chicken and omitted the corn for my love. I also just used the flour tortillas I had in the fridge and all worked out very yummily!

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Basil-Parsley Sauce - very good. Definitely on the to-make-again stack. To me it is basically a chicken parm recipe (which is a staple at our house) without the tomato sauce. On the link it includes a recipe for Cheesy Risi e Bisi, which I kinda flubbed on and made white rice with parmesan.

Spicy Pork Roast with Rosemary Potatoes - I just realized this isn't RRay, but it was good anyhow. I had a pork roast, which I've never cooked before, and found this recipe. The sweet and sour sauce was a little strange, and we liked the taste of the pork without it better than with. Good to know.

Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps - I made these for lunch yesterday. I don't often cook Asian, so it was a stretch, but I thought it sounded interesting. I left out the water chestnuts for Philip again, and used powdered ginger (since I already had it) instead of grating ginger root myself. All in all, it was really great. I haven't done lettuce wraps ever, so it was fun! Philip's first comment when he saw it on the table was, "Aww! It's so cute!" haha.. made me smile.

Fennel-Pepper Spaghetti
- I saw her make this on her show last week and it completely intrigued me. The fennel seeds are supposed to give the illusion of sausage (smells like it!), and the heartiness of the peppers and onions gives a good texture with the noodles. We had this last night and I did again for lunch today. Fantastic! Philip thought it better as a side dish, but I thought it was a great change to your typical meat and tomato sauce. I will definitely be making this again.

On the to-make list:
The Only Pizza You'll Ever Want Again: Chicken, Sun Dried Tomato, Broccoli, Ricotta, Mozzarella and Basil - on the docket for this week! The broccoli is an interesting touch, but we'll see how it really tastes! I'll let you know.

Chicken Cacciatore Subs - anything on bread is yum

Mini Chicken Sausage Meatballs with Gnocchi and Tomato Sauce - my love has a love for gnocchi, so he's pumped about this one. I've never cooked gnocchi before (and I don't even know where to find it at the grocery!), so it'll be a fun one to try!