Monday, February 28, 2011


As of late, I have frequently found myself torn.

Torn between wishing my children could just stay little

And wishing they could JUST GROW UP!

Is it any wonder that I feel these sentiments? That I love the precious snuggles, lisping speech, "mom is everything" phase? While also struggling to love the enormous amount of work, utter dependence, and lack of sleep?

At times, oh so badly, I wish they were not so dependent. I wish they could just do something, ANYTHING for themselves. And to hear something else come from their mouths that's not, "MOOOOM, can you
dress, feed, fix, buckle, snap, read, clean, wipe ME?"

But nope. Right now it's all about momdependence. And maybe it's not so crazy to wish for a little less of it.

Or is it?

Cause when I think of their sweet little voices saying, "Moooooooom, can you snuggle, read, hold, love, craft, tickle, nurse, make, feed, hug me??"  something in my heart just melts and bursts with joy over how much I LOVE this phase.

The next stage of life is both longed for and cried over.

I never knew being a mom would make me crazy like that.
Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to love every minute, and to live each one for your glory.

Friday, February 25, 2011


My kids are very safety conscious, as you can well see.
I’m not sure if it comes from their mother being a nurse and the stories I tell about what happens to people when they aren’t safety conscious… or if my boys are just truly aware of the dangers of cutting lumber with their plastic handsaws.
But either way, every time I see them put on their safety goggles, I say, “Oh yeah! I love a man in goggles!”
And then we giggle together. My boys get me like that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One of those moments

Yesterday, I had one of those moments.

You know, the kind of moment where you are just trying to snap a couple of sweet pictures in the backyard… when all of a sudden you start thinking about what you are doing, who you are capturing, and the amazing beauty of it all.

Yes, one of those moments.

A simple photo shoot went from an outward task to an inward reflection. And before I knew it, there were tears in my eyes as I began to truly notice the sweet little faces, the precious round cheeks, the shouts of laughter, and the mischievous grins… and the wonderment that they are mine. That they were given to me from God’s good hand.

When you see those faces, no wonder I started crying, right? Or am I just entirely too biased?

I admit that I have always been a crier and if you read any of my blog posts you’ll see this happens to me frequently. From my earliest childhood days, till my advanced young age of 28, I have shed countless tears. Most of those tears from joy and gladness, and comparatively so very few from frustration or sorrow. God has been so good to me. I am blessed beyond measure, beyond description, beyond anything I could ask or think.  Thank you, Lord, for my children.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
         The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
         So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.”
Psalm 127: 3-5

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little signs

Spring has SPRUNG!

At least it has here in the South.

It still being February, I had my reservations (as does all the frost bitten dead grass surrounding Mr Green Grass pictured here) that the warm weather would be here to stay. But this past week we haven't had a day below 60 degrees. And in truth, most of the days have been over 70.

I kid you not.

I expect that we'll have one or two cold spells before warmer weather is here to stay, but for the time being, we're loving it.

Big time.

We actually hit the beach on Friday (a bit windy, but still quite pleasant) and hosted my dear Joshua's 3rd birthday party outside yesterday morning.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Love note

I walked into the kitchen this morning and saw this sweet little love note waiting for me on the counter. It just about brought tears to my eyes.

Not only is it reason #501,987 that I love my husband, but it's also the sweet reminder that our love is not about one special day a year.

Not Valentines Day, our anniversary, or even my birthday. It's about loving each other all day every day.
We don't do it perfectly, but I'll tell you, we really love loving each other.

I bet my husband received as much delight from sneakily writing this note last night (and the several others I found while getting breakfast ready for the kids!!), as I did finding it this morning.  Look how this simple act of love brought us both such joy and pleasure!

I'm so thankful that God brought Nick and I together. That he blessed us with a firm foundation grounded in Him, and gave us creativity and mischieviousness to delight each other throughout our marriage. Thank you, Lord, for my husband.

Linking up with Thankful Thursday

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Being a grown up

Last night, I got to be a grown up. [Insert enormous smile here]

And it was SO nice. [Insert second enormous smile here]

Some girl friends and I, all of whom love (and need) grown up time of our own, decided it'd be fun to start a book club. And to read real books and have real discussions together. No "Cat in the Hat" or "Thomas the Tank Engine." No sound effects, nursery rhymes, or puppet shows.

But real books and real discussions.

So we met yesterday evening to discuss our first book; a novel by Kathryn Stockett, called, "The Help."

It was a great first book for our club. Not just a gripping and effortless read, but also thought provoking, unique, and well written. While there were a few things that could possibly have been done without, it was a very enjoyable book, and surprisingly clean for a New York Times Best Seller (that topped the charts for 42 weeks in a row!)
While we puzzled over different issues (civil rights, family dynamics, character flaws, and all their implications), we also enjoyed some sweet treats and hand crafted coffees.

And when I say hand crafted, I mean it.

One of the book club gal's was once a Starbucks barista and she pulled out the big guns. That is, she brought her amazing espresso maker and, with incredible finesse, whipped up our grande, nonfat, decaf, caramel macchiato's with extra foam IN MY KITCHEN.

It was amazing.

And so was being a grown up for the evening.

While I love my kids, and Thomas the Tank Engine, it was so fun to put on a different hat, a hat that doesn't get worn all that often, and spend some time with other adults.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


After a morning at the park, in beautiful 60 degree weather, I called the kids and said the least popular phrase a child could ever hear at the park.

"It's time to go!"

My boys, looked up (or down, depending on which end of the jungle gym they were at) and shouted, the most favorite phrase any mom at the park could ever hear,

"Yes, MOOOOM!"

And they jumped off the play equipment and ran to obey.

As any mom does, when her children obey without challenge, without excuse, and without delay, I felt a surge of happiness and joy as we marched to the car hand in hand.

Some of the other moms looked at each other in disbelief. Some frowned. Some smiled. Some mouthed "Wow!!"

And I thought, for a brief moment, of going back to the crowd of moms and saying, "This doesn't happen half as often as it should!!!!!" But I thought better of it. Why mar the moment with excuses? For today. For just a moment. I'll delight in the pleasure of obedience. And I'll let my kids delight in it too.

For, truly, all of us smiled hugely as we walked to the car. I think we were all praising God for a moment like this. I felt so glad for my kids to know the joy of obedience. To walk in the light. And to feel God's face shining upon them. While we know that our good works can never save us, and that it is Christ and Christ alone that brings us into favor with God, there is still such pleasure in serving and obeying Him.

And like my kids, I too know just how how good it feels to obey the Lord. I was so thankful for the bit of personal encouragement it brought-- that all the discipline, the spankings, the tears, the's worth it. My kids are learning. And so am I.

So, as I said, we reveled in the moment. Cause we all know, it doesn't happen as often as it should.

Monday, February 14, 2011


 My husband and I have been talking about spacing a lot lately.

No, not about gaps between teeth... or inches between parked cars... but the spacing between our children. The years and months that separate them.

We have 3 wonderful children. Three wonderful son's, at that. Our first two boys, Isaiah and Joshua, are just over 17 months apart. Whereas, between Joshua and Noah there are 26 months.
As you may or may not have guessed, we're planners when it comes to having babies. We pray, we seek God's face, we ask for direction...and we take responsibility and plan. That's us. Of course, while we make plans and seek God's path, we also acknowledge our inability to control the future. "Man makes a plan, but God directs his way." If our plans come to naught, we still rejoice and are grateful for God's sovereign control over all our hopes and dreams.

So while many looked at us in shock when we announced my second pregnancy just 9 months after our first child was born, we actually did plan it that way.

Yes. We really did. And no, I'm not just saying that.

We thought it'd be fun to have two close in age. We saw many benefits. Close friendships. Bunkbeds. Shared toys. We also thought that it would be handy for our oldest to never know what it was like to be the only child, and to avoid the struggle and (perhaps the) resentment that the arrival of subsequent siblings might bring. A wise mother of many called it "the de-throning process."

It worked out quite well. Our first two boys are two peas in a pod. They adore each other. They are the closest of friends. They are loyal, faithful, tender hearted to each other. They've grown up much as a 4 year old and almost 3 year old can be called grown up, that is. They play with each other. Entertain each other. Care for each other. All of which has been a wonder and delight to see.
But boy was it, and is it, A LOT of work.

Having two little boys that close in age was almost like having 2 baby's. Sure they were 17 months apart, but for a while they were both very dependent. Two in diapers. Two mouths that needed great assistance to be fed. Twice as many faces to wipe and small laundry items to fold (and those of you with little ones know that a load full of onesies takes TWICE as long to fold than a load of your husbands shirts) While they are often grouped together, the two boys also possess two completely different personalities and needs that need attention all day long.

Thanks to God's providence (and our attempts to plan around deployments), the spacing between our second and 3rd child is 26 months. A big change from 17 months. But with different joys and challenges as well.

Joshua was much more grown up when Noah arrived, yet he was also much more aware of being trumped as the baby of the house. It really threw him off. Josh didn't seem to know if he was a big boy or a baby. There were days when he'd sit next to the rocking chair while I nursed Noah, just waiting for my lap to be empty and to have his snuggling time with mommy. But there were also days when it was such a blessing to have a 2 year old that could walk on his own, obey commands, sit still in church, and feed himself (however messy that might be!)

In addition, while we see the bond growing stronger between the older two boys, we also see that our youngest is often left to hang out with Mom. In part, that is the way it is with the youngest. Not only is Noah completely dependent on me right now,  but he also can't play trucks or build legos like the other two. Not yet anyway.

Hence the discussion on spacing. Close in age with double the work? Or longer spacing with potentially harder transitions? Is there even such a thing has preferred spacing? Does it even matter?

Friday, February 11, 2011

So sorry

So sorry for my absence of blogging genius this week. 

Has another week gone by already? Is it really Friday? This week has been packed, start to finish. Jam packed day followed by maj dekcap yad.

Wait. Reverse that. I did have coffee this morning, yet I'm still not thinking straight.

As I was saying, it's been a busy busy week. I enjoy being busy and having my days full,  but I think we've eaten  too many bags of Cheerios in the car (i.e. been out the door and on the road before breakfast) and had too few family dinners together this week.

Doctor appointments. Immunizations. Ladies' Bible Study (times 2). FRG meetings. Taxes. Grocery trips. Baking treats. Schooling kids. Phone calls. Play dates. Emails. Story time. Orthodontist consultations.

*Yes, I did say orthodontist consult. Sigh. Let me just say that I hope you all had braces when you were children because getting braces as an adult is going to be twice as traumatizing, I'm sure. Can't wait to be the only Commander's wife with 3 children, who actually looks like the Commander's children's babysitter. And to add insult to injury, of course, braces for adults cost TWICE AS MUCH as they do for the young. Good Bye, Summer Vacation. You're being swapped out for a mouth full of metal...I think.*

That just about sums up the week. I'd bore you to mention that each trip out the door involves endless finding, zipping, wiping, and feeding all before we actually get in the car. I know it will not always be this much work, but I'll tell you, I had no idea that three little ones would be so busy. I even remember as a full time career woman single gal, saying "I wonder what that mother of three does all day?"


Despite the work, busyness, and fatigue, I keep having dreams about pregnancy tests and twins.

Not that that is any prediction for the future. Or that we're even trying. I'm just star crazy after a roller coaster week.

So sorry.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Change in perspective

The other day, as any gal with a handy dandy (but quite foreign to her) camera will do, I was fiddling around with different settings.

After taking countless pictures of my boys (another thing a gal with a handy dandy camera AND three incredibly cute sons is prone to do), I stood at the backyard gate and snapped a few shots between the slats of the fence.

As I moved the lens in different directions, it was amazing to see how a change in focus changed my perspective.

It reminded me of the way the Holy Spirit has worked in my heart and refined my outlook on life. Once I was so given to sin and selfishness.


All I could see was what was right in front of me. My perspective was just for the here and now... for the things of this world.

But then, after God gave me a new heart, my desire became for the Lord and His service.

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-3

Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Cheesecake

After being inspired by my amazing-cheesecake-baking friend, I decided to make it a personal goal this year  to make my first cheesecake.

Culinary expert though I am (wink wink), I have never made a cheesecake. There is something about it that always intimidated me. Water baths, soft fillings, cookie crusts... I don't know, it just sounds scary.

Doesn't it?

I think another factor is that I never really liked cheesecake growing up. I hated cream cheese. I didn't like the texture. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It was only after I went to the Cheesecake Factory for the first time that I discovered that cheesecake was a good thing. A really good thing. A please-order-me-a-Cheesecake-Factory-Cheesecake-every-month good thing. (which has never happened, but wouldn't that be nice?)

Anyway... so this past week I made my first ever cheesecake. I read oodles of cheesecake making techniques and play by plays and found this recipe  for a Turtle Cheesecake and decided to try it.  *For those with boys, please note, it's a turtle as in chocolate, caramel and pecans... not turtle as in creature that lives in land and water*

I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I started out with an Oreo cookie crust (instead of wafer). Being an amateur, I goofed and didn't put the crust up along the sides of the pan.

I toasted the pecans while the crust was baking. Oh how good is a toasted pecan?

My handy dandy Kitchen Aid and I stirred up the batter while the crust cooked. I opted out of making the entire batter chocolate and kept it plain instead, but added chocolate swirls before baking.

After the crust was cool, I poured creamy caramel over the crust, and topped with pecans.

Then topped the entire mixture with the cheesecake batter. I swirled the batter with some remaining caramel and roughly chopped chocolate baking pieces.

I think it just about baked perfectly. I did get a single crack on the top which marred it's beauty. And because I didn't put the crust up the sides of the pan, some of the caramel bubbled out and hardened along the edges. It didn't taste bad (or burnt) it just made the edge a little crunchy. But I'll fix that the next time. I might try a water bath too, I just didn't have the right equipment to do it this time.

After it had completely cooled and chilled over night, I topped it with some remaining toasted pecans and drizzled caramel and melted chocolate over the top. It was pretty amazing for a first cheesecake.

So there you have it! My first cheesecake! I'd offer you a piece, but it's just about gone already. That's what happens when you try sneaking a piece for breakfast and your little boys catch you with your mouthful.

Yes, you guessed correctly: I let my boys eat cheesecake for breakfast too. What can I say? I'm such a fun mom.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Unspoken Rules

I've always been thankful for unspoken rules.

I mean, isn't it nice to have an oncoming vehicle flash their lights to warn of a hidden police car? Or for your hosts to offer something to drink when you arrive? Or for your spouse to hang a new roll of toilet paper when the previous one is gone?

I'm thankful for unspoken rules.

My family had lots of them growing up: Always get permission before inviting a friend over. Confess your sins immediately and the punishment will be less.  Bargain hunt. Check pockets before throwing something in the laundry (I wish I was better about this one!)

Of course, my husband's family had unspoken rules too. And having been part of my husband's family now for almost 7 years, I've picked up on a few: never go to Starbucks without picking up a drink for Nick's mom. Always save coupons. Don't do laundry or shower between 9am and 9pm.

But I'll never forget the time I completely missed the boat on a cardinal unspoken rule. I threw away an empty sugar bag.

I didn't think twice. I was tidying the kitchen after cooking up some apple pies for our Thanksgiving celebration and tossed an empty paper sugar bag in the trash. I went about my day not even thinking about what I had done.

But later on, when Nick's dad, Louie, came home, it was again brought to light. Louie was working in the kitchen when he noticed something amiss and exclaimed,
"Who threw the sugar bag in the garbage?!?!?"

Blushing, I quickly fessed up. I figured I had thrown it in the trash when it was supposed to be in the recycling.  Or vice versa. Louie was immediately gracious and kind, and explained the problem. It was not in the wrong trash can, the problem was that it was in the trash.

Because empty sugar bags are NOT to be thrown away, of course!

Because, oh you of questioning mind, sugar bags make the best lunch sacks a guy could ask for. Sturdy. Solid. Easy to fold. They stay closed. Protect food. The lunch bag benefits are innumerable! And so I say it again, empty sugar bags are not to be thrown away!

I'll admit, it took me a while to come around on this unspoken rule... but I just recently learned the benefits. And I'll tell you now, Louie, your grandson thinks just like you.

Beyond good lunch sacks, Noah discovered that sugar bags also make the perfect play thing. They Crinkle. Crunch. Shake. Rattle.

And they taste awfully good too.

So, today I'm thankful to God for my wonderful father in law. For strolling down memory lane and remembering unspoken rules. For my sweet little son. And of course, for sugar bags.

Memory Lane

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Slides, swings, and jungle gyms galore... but what is my little one fascinated with? Dirt!

Typical boy, right?

He did manage to tear his eyes away from the ground for a few seconds... to gaze at his gorgeous photographer, of course.

Having fun with Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I love to cook, and ever since I learned of this delicious substance called, Risotto, I've been wanting to make some of my own.

It was a fun experience.

Fun, as in... a lot of work, but amazing flavors.

Risotto, a rice cooked with broth till reaching a creamy consistency, requires close monitoring and frequent stirring. Yet the depth of flavor and textures in each mouthful is well worth the time. At least Noah (my 9 month old) and I thought so. My husband, who enjoyed every bite, wasn't sure it was worth the 40 minutes of stirring over the stove.

He does have a point there.

It's definitely labor intensive for a mom with a handful of little ones. But! I wanted to give it a try. And now that I've made it once, I'm sure I can multi task and get other dinner preparations completed while it is cooking.

 Here's the basic recipe. You can add a variety of vegetables at the last step (mushrooms being the most common) to change things up.

Classic Risotto

1 T butter
1 cup Aborio Rice
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
3 1/2 cups hot chicken broth

1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
1 T Butter

Bring 3 1/2 cups chicken broth to simmer over stove while preparing other ingredients.

Then, in a separate heavy sauce pan, melt butter, and saute rice for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chopped onion and minced garlic until onion is tender, being careful not to burn garlic.

Add wine to rice mixture and saute until rice has absorbed the wine.  Slowly add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing all the liquid to be absorbed before adding more broth. Continue adding until liquid is absorbed and broth is gone. By this time, rice should be creamy and al dente to bite. Remove from heat, immediately stir in 1 T butter and cheese.  Serve immediately.


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