Monday, October 31, 2011

Where I've Been / Halloween Lore

Oh friends.  A busy season it has been... and only about to get busier.  Let's hope I beat whatever this sore throat / sickness is that I've been battling for the last three days before the festivities really get underway.  Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe {*said with a beastly growl.  the word 'loathe' is not even strong enough, but I regress} being sick?  Moreso at this point in my life than ever before.  Momma's don't get sick days to recuperate, we tarry on, changing and feeding and coughing into our sleeves so it's not in the face of the little children who, in much innocence, probably gave us this nastiness. 

But I wouldn't change it.  Really.  (cough, sneeze)


We're taking today as low key.  There won't be much teaching, preachin' (ahem - gettin' on to... we talk about Jesus all days of our life.  Even when it hurts to talk...) or strenuous activity today from this momma, unless you count chasing a 7 month old who is crawling at 100 mph and whose favorite pastime is to chew on cords and play near outlets.  That could be considered to be strenuous.  But all in all - I'm saving my energy up for Bryton's first time trick or treating tonight.  We had an entire halloween day planned, starting with taking B to a 'scary good time' at the local library, but you know, today - I'm not dressed like supermom.  Maybe next holiday...

However - I do have some mighty cute pictures of the lovely offspring at our church's fall festival Saturday night... want to see?  I knew you did.

B went this year as Mickey Mouse.  It's only appropriate that we take his favorite thing and run with it.  Ansley went as Minnie - for the same reason.  It's been amazing how 'into' dressing in "classrooms" (ahem - costumes) Bryton has been this year!  It's totally fun!

I. Love. And. Adore. this picture of my daughter!  She doesn't get all dolled up very often, but just look at her sweetness.  Love love it!

Ok - are you ready for this shocking statement?  B did this on his own.  Sure - we had to ask him to do it again since I wasn't camera ready when it happened the first time, but luckily he obliged this time. 

B got to learn to lasso at the fall fest.  He seemed to really enjoy it!

I can't believe how big my baby boy is getting.  It was just yesterday I was up all night with him, staring at his little face, giving him a bottle.  How is he so big?  So frustrating!

A boy and his ears.  

And this was the continual question - how to get yellow shoes?  Final decision: spray paint.  The shoes are almost too small for him anyway... so they work :)

Look at this precious, slobbery face.  So very blessed.  Who cares about a little sore throat.  

Well - folks, that's all for today.  I have to go rescue A from behind the recliner.  I promise I will try to better this week... it's a big week, so I'll have to keep you posted. 

Until next week -


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm a Control Freak

I should join a support group - or, err, an anti-support group... someone who could encourage me to relinquish some control (though, let's get real... did I really have it anyway?). 

It's what I really mean when I say, "I'm type A."

It's the reason I make all of my lists. 

It's the reason I schedule things.

It's the reason I crave routine. 

And, you know, it's a great part of the reason we weren't going to do Santa.

Now - let me preface by saying this:  I don't believe that the administrative, leadership qualities that I have are sinful.  I believe they are gifts... given to me by God.  However, any gift used poorly - or dare I say, any gift used aside from to bring Christ glory - can become an idol.  And, from time to time, I can get a little controlling with my control.  Ya'll following? 

And how does this play into our decision with Santa Claus?

Somewhere along the line I got really confused.  Somewhere along the line I was convinced that I am the underlying determining factor on whether my kids make a decision for faith in their lives.  I did!

I thought if I read enough Jesus to them, if I prayed enough with them, if I taught them to put their dishes in the dishwasher, their clothes in the hamper, and to say 'please' and 'thank you' at appropriate times, I would lead them into a faith decision.  

And you know - those things may be vitally important tools that Christ has (dare I say it, again) pre-destined for us to use with our children for Him to lead them to make a decision for faith.  (Or just to not drive their spouses nuts later in life...)

I've had to come to a place of realizing that if I'm being faithful to what God is impressing upon my heart (and Aaron as well, obviously) as to how to minister to and grow His children (because, again, being honest, they aren't mine)... then it is His work that is ministering to them... not mine.  I am only the vessel.  It is not about me. 

And you know, if I would start treating these children as if they are His, and not mine, we may hit a level spiritually in this house that we've never come to before.  If I treat them as if they are His, maybe they will see Him and not me, because let's face it... I kinda suck sometimes... and "sometimes" is being generous. 

And Santa?  Well - he was part of the control.  He was part of the idea that I could do A.), B.) and C.) and whip up a recipe for a Jesus prayer. 

And then - as my controlling nature has surfaced over and over again, I see in my pinterest a letter explaining who Santa really is to the writer's daughter... and it brought up an idea about Santa that I had never even considered. 

If Santa does anything for us... he teaches children to believe in something... again, dare I say, have faith in something, that they cannot see or touch.  He provides hope... and joy... and not so much for gifts, but for the idea that there is someone out there who is ultimately good (by the world's definition, of course) and you know - somewhere in this letter it hit me...

Santa could be a tool. 

Is he the answer?  No.  Will my kids be allowed to create mile long Christmas lists and sit on Santa's lap asking for toy after toy.  Absolutely not.  This will not be a season of want in our lives.  But I hope it's a birth of the idea of belief.  I hope it's the birth of thankfulness, contentment, and the joy that comes with believing in something.  I pray there is a movement of Christ that reigns free in our family, because ultimately, our decision to do Santa, comes only from a contentment that we've been given the green light in the peace we feel about it. 

And you know... it's not about me anyway... and I'm sure He knows what He's doing. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Monumental Decision

Yep - I'm sure you've put two and two together. 

This isn't a 'we were wrong' post... or a 'they were wrong' post, it is a 'rethinking life' post. 

And we've done a lot of that lately.

With theology.

With family.

With life.

And once avid "no Santa" gift-givers, we know that this is probably the year that will make every bit of difference for Bryton.  He's catching on and remembering things... he's retaining information... he's learning.  This is the year we had to decide.  For good.

Who and what will Santa be for us?

And a pinterest post I ran across made Aaron and I do some reconsidering...

More on that later. 

But one thing is certain - Jesus IS and always will be the center and the reason for our season. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why I'm a Cardinal Fan

My break from life has been the world series lately.  I could be a season ticket holder for the Cards, I tell you... the ballpark is one of my favorite places to be.  

So - while the playing field is neutral, I thought I'd list a few reasons why my ties in the world of baseball will forever be knotted to the Cardinals... it's really more in-depth than you think...
  1. Local.  Of course this has to play in... born, raised, and bred in the good 'ole central U.S. and STL is (and probably will continue to be) one of my favorite. cities. ever.  (And we've been fortunate enough to see many.)  Granted, this isn't enough to make a fan, as I can't see myself ever rooting on the Rams. 
  2. History.  And not World Series appearances or pennant wins, a long line of influential athletes make up the history of the Cardinals.  
  3. Pujols.  Yadi.  Carpenter.  And even past greats like Edmonds, Eckstein, Rolen, and great hitting pitcher, Marquis.  
  4. Busch stadium.  Wowza.  One of my favorite places to be.  
  5. 4 words:  Greatest. Fans. In. Baseball.  And before I was a fan, I thought it was a crock.  But the 'stick with your men' attitude married with the sincere sportsmanship to other teams and players (minus a few idiots here and there), keep me proud to be a supporter.  
Minus an insane night for game 3, it's been an unbelievably evenly matched series, thus far... and regardless what happens games 5, 6 and 7... We are proud to be Cardinal nation!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's 3:00 a.m. - I Must Be Lonely

Don't get me wrong... if there's a time that I want to be lonely - it'd be 3 a.m.  This girl *two thumbs pointed dramatically at me* likes her sleep.  And I'm not even kidding.

But sleep the past two nights has not come easily for some reason.  I really can't seem to turn my brain off, and half of it is because I'm just not feeling 'the norm of life' yet.  You know what I mean?  We're not so much in our house, with a regular routine, with a defined budget (and girls and gents - this girl *insert dramatic thumb point again* thrives on and financial peace rests on a defined budget, especially with the holidays coming up!), with an established kid schedule.  And me - I can handle change, and normally can handle it pretty well, but phew, give me normal, please! 

As crazy as it sounds - I believe I've adapted more easily to the 12 hour move than I have my youngest sleeping a good two naps a day.  (Btw - I'm totally not complaining about this!)

So - all of the explanation to say why I'm up at 3:00 a.m. a writin' and a bloggin' - to give you some miscellanies and news -

1.)  Ansley is officially a crawler.  She beat her big bro out by about 2 months.  (Have I ever mentioned how much gray hair I earned from that boy?  Because I worry too much, and he took his happy time about everything, geesh.)  And let me tell you - it takes them what seems like forever to get it figured out, but, once they get it, watch out, buddy!  She's everywhere, and getting there quickly!

2.) Have I ever mentioned how much I love my husband?  I should totally do it more often!  It's awesome to have the support to be able to stay home with my children, and the encouragement to get out for awhile.  I spent the entire day today 'junkin' with a new friend... hitting all the resale shops in a 10 minute radius. (Did you catch that I said 'all day' and ten minute radius?  Wow!)  And when I got home he was chipper, supportive, and encouraged me to go out Monday night to a ladies get together with the church.  Have I mentioned how much I need this with two under three, napping with only a very short overlap, while being confined to the house most days of my life?  I need this.

3.)  In the midst of all the chaos - I have two, count them, two sick kiddos.  B developed the ever dreaded snotty nose the other day.  Let me tell you about me and kids with snotty noses.  YUCK!  That pretty much explains it.  And don't get me wrong, I'll tolerate it with my own kid, but they just don't know what to do with it.  The snot, I mean.  B has felt the need to touch it and lick it and wipe it... bleh.  AND - besides the yuck factor - small colds or even allergies in my medical history almost always led to a sinus infection... so when kids become snotty - I become constantly frazzled that the next trip is going to be for antibiotics (and as much as I took them as a kid... I don't want my kids to have to live on them.)

4.)  Check this one out: hubs and I have some weight to lose... I'm not sure what happened after I had Ansley.  My diet wasn't bad... and definitely wasn't bad enough to gain this weight this fast, but I went from 'down to pre-pregnancy weight' to 'up (as much as) 9 pounds from that'.  And the weight gain happened, literally, in about 6-8 weeks.  Quickly enough, mind you, that I was (and still am, a little bit) concerned that something has brought on the weight gain.  (But I keep writing it off as, "Of course I want to blame it on something else.")  But in reality - it may possibly be my bc.   It's the enemy, I tell you, the enemy.  (And I've NEVER thought that before...) 

So anyway - all of that to say that the hubs and I are in a friendly little competition to see who can lose the weight, keep it off, winner gets to choose our vacation destination / activities next year. 

And folks, I like to golf, but I don't know that I like to golf that often. 

I'm thinking a cruise.  Or the ocean.  Or Disney... I have lots of thoughts, actually ;)  Guess I should win the challenge before I start planning ;)

So there you go - there's some random facts to tide you over until the bloggin' resumes... preferably not at 3:00 a.m. next time...


Thursday, October 20, 2011


Maybe I'm a little more stressed than I thought I was...

And it's not moving.  No, I can't blame it on that.  The move has been, well, much easier than expected.

But I think it's more ages and stages of kiddos overlapping...

It has come to be that Ansley is taking up twice my time than what she once did, and it comes at a time where Bryton needs (for the sake of keeping he and I both sane and behaving well) me more than usual as well.  Ok, maybe he doesn't need me so much, but he needs to do something, exert energy, jump (on things that aren't my couch), run (preferably not into me when I'm trying to get something out of the oven), and just. be. a. boy.

Ansley - though - has dropped a bottle, which you'd think would free up all kinds of time, except the dropping of the bottle adds three times of 'meals' a day that must be fed to her... which all take time, as she cannot do it herself yet.  Add onto it that 'lil Miss' is now 'lil Miss Mobile' - and I find myself trying to get something in the house clean, trying to do something with Bryton, or trying to fix a meal and she's pulling on a cord someplace, sitting inside our fireplace (seriously, I'm not kidding), or she's gotten all of our shoes off their shelves to chew on.  *Sigh*  So I find myself chasing her all over the place, making every other task (which seemed impossible to begin with) take twice as long.

On top of it all - Ansley - and this is a good thing - has finally "gotten" the two naps a day idea, but doing so takes a huge chunk out of the morning (meaning, by the time I bottle feed her, get Bryton ready, get myself ready, and 'feed feed' her I have maybe a spare half hour combined before it's time for her to nap again. 

Now - all of that being said... it isn't really driving me crazy... if there's one thing I've learned from my firstborn, for every phase there is a season, and the seasons are usually much shorter than we'd ever expect them to be.  I give her a month and she'll be finger feeding herself, meaning she can do that at the bathroom door while I shower in the morning (mine and Bryton's old routine) or while I accomplish something with her brother.  So - I'm not going nuts, just trying to adapt...

Another change - this long morning nap she's taking is pushing back the long afternoon nap... which means that when 'normal naptime' comes along at about 1 or 1:30 (when this momma needs a small break), she's usually only been up an hour or so and has another hour or so to be wide eyed and bushy tailed.  B goes down at 1 still... but their naps don't overlap like they once did. 

Having kids is good for me... it ensures I don't get to comfortable and I remain adaptable.  That's for sure.

Phew - there was 10 minutes of a breath and a vent... now, on with the day...


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Little Pinterest Post

It'd be a bigger pinterest post, but I've gotta work on making my other image smaller... bummer.  Anyway... Saw on pinterest a little snip snip here and another snip snip there on an old t-shirt to make a little boy (or girl, for that matter) one nifty, spifty cape.

SO - when I discovered a hole in one of my t-shirts I thought "tada", and here is our Superhero in all of his glory, and it took me all of 2 minutes with a pair of scissors. 

Note  - you can run so fast with these capes that the neck becomes a litttttle stretched out ;)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Little Fall Decor

I've been getting by not having all of my things out and in places (since over half of our stuff still lives in boxes in the church office's garage), but I'd be lying if I said there weren't times that I reaaaallllly wish I had something. 

Like every Sunday morning when I look through my closet...

Or when I'm going to cook something and need my dutch oven (who knows where that thing is...)...

Or when I can think of the perfect toy Ansley has finally grown into...

But I really, really wish I had all of my things when it comes to seasons. 

I'm a seasonally decorative person... especially from the beginning of October through the end of December.  I firmly believe that every home should be pumpkined, snowflaked, and evergreened out!  For real! 

And so - I have a small collection of our fall decor out - but not much, and I don't really want to buy anymore being that I don't know what our next house will be like, and I need to wait and buy up when I'm going to have an idea of what it is I'll actually be decorating. 

So - I used some pinterest ideas and B and I got to work.  (Ok, ok.  First confession, this was intended for B and I to do, but considering the pattern I 'not on purpose' developed was totally not 3 year old friendly, and B is all boy and has the attention span of a... boy... I ended up doing the tracing, cutting, and patterning myself.  BUT - he contributes later on in a very cute story.  I'll share that eventually.)

And so, together was formed some leaf garland with nothing more than some scissors, a hole punch, some yarn and construction paper. 

 Do I feel a little bit like we live in a Kindergarten classroom?  A little.  But hey, I have a almost 3 year old in the house... and you know what he told me??
 After hearing Aaron tell me, "Hey, honey, the house looks great,"

The next day Bryton looked up at me with those baby blues, completely unprompted, and said, "Momma, the house *long pause* looks great!" with a big 'ole cheese on his face. 

And he said it again the day after that.

I'll decorate my house in construction paper all year round if it looks great to my three year old... just sayin'.

Oh, and let me leave you with a spooky picture of my blessed offspring:

 Watch the facial expressions... I'm already learning about the art (or luck, rather) of getting both of your children looking and smiling at the same time for photos...
 I swear they just exchanged facial expressions...
At least dad's smiling in this one.  Ansley is smiling.  B is looking.  I guess that's a good start =)


Sunday, October 16, 2011

7 Months Old

How does it go by so fast?  I mean, really?  I was prepared for how quickly it goes by this time... I knew not to blink... I knew how quickly Bryton had grown. 

But as I sit I have a mobile, two teethed, laughing, grinning, life - enjoyin' little girl.  

Since life was crazy when we would have had 6 month pictures professionally done, I took some 7 month pictures with our new camera myself... for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Coping of the Grandparents

Moving is hard on everyone involved, but I would be lying if I said that those taking it the hardest are definitely the grandparents of our babies, specifically, my parents, who have spent at least 2 nights a week every week with our kids, well, since B was born.  Almost 3 years of that, and you get a little attached, if you know what I mean.

So we hooked my 'rents up on skype... they've sent cards back and forth, and today, B received a coloring book in the mail from my mom, one page, ripped out and colored by her, then we can send it back with one colored by B, and so on. 

Something she can do to think of him, and he can do to think of her.  Not sure if she thought of it on her own or not, but I love the idea...

What other ideas have ya'll heard of for keeping grandbabies in touch with their grandparents?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Had a Little Mournful Moment Today

So it happened, for probably the first real time I let myself (or even felt the need to, really) be sad... legitimately sad... today. 

And you know, it's not a bad sad, but just a mourning a period in our lives that, for however long, possibly indefinitely, has passed. 

And it happened while I was listening to my Christmas music.

I know, right?!  I'm sure you are asking, "Well, Alicia, how could this be so, Mrs. "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear?" 

But you must understand - every time I've ever heard those Christmas songs it has been in the little box context of my small town, with my family, with more of a chance of snow than I ever realized on Christmas day... at least compared to here.  And I had to mourn, for possibly the first of many times, our old 'normal.' 

Which will be hard for this girl who is used to - and enjoys - having a full Christmas day with family, who enjoys the slam-packedness of all of Aaron's family being in and crammed into tight living quarters for days on end.  I love the Chevy Chase Christmas celebrating style... it may be difficult, but by golly, it's Christmas.

So it may mean filling our time with things to keep my mind off of it... it may mean developing some of our own traditions that don't revolve around the traditions we already had.  It may mean really resting firm in Jesus - the foundation to life... I mean... Christmas or not, He's really what this is all about anyway.

And you know - I am so very grateful for a God who sees our needs and knows them, even when we don't know them ourselves.  He sees and knows our circumstances in such a way that he provides - just as He promises to.  We carried heavy loads for a long time... and He has lightened our burden immensely.  I feel more spiritually healthy than I have in a long time... and that is good, and God is good.

I miss my family and best friends dearly - but God says that those who give up everything for Him, gain everything... and I rest certain that for His glory alone that those relationships with thrive over the many miles, probably moreso than they could have up close... because in our obedience is God's blessing.

it's all because of Jesus

Monday, October 10, 2011


Because everyone needs some confession time in cyber space, so, admittedly:

  • My itunes has been up on my computer for going on a week.  In the small times of the day when it's just me, I've, admittedly, had my Christmas playlist jammin' in my background.  Ahhh, I can smell the evergreen. 
  • I've been praying for God to help me extend grace, rather than frustration, to my offspring, because, admittedly, this no nap thing has made me a cranky mother lately.  (Could it be possible that he has napped today?!  Let's not breathe for fear the dream may end!) 
  • Take a breath, you will need it.  Admittedly, I have. not. couponed. since we've been in Texas.  My heart hurts.  Time to get back on the bandwagon.  
  • I want snow.  If you are confused on this, please refer back to bullet #1.  Thank you. 
  • Admittedly, I have not dusted one time since we've moved in.  Maybe I should add that to my to do list, for the week, shall we? :)
  • Admittedly - as if it's any surprise, I am yearning just to be in the swing of things.  I'm tired of looking at homes, I'm tired of talking about what we can afford, I just want to know all of those things, for God to highlight a big mls listing and put a huge neon sign that says, "This is where I want you."  Is that too much to ask? 
  • Admittedly - I was up until past 1:00 a.m. last night looking over that budget.  And also - admittedly, though it's not to any doings of our own, but we pay well over $800 in insurance, between health, life, auto and homeowners... $800.  Though I hope we ever need it, it makes my heart hurt to know that $800 a month, $9600 a year, goes towards things we may. never. use.  (But the 'may' makes you pay it.)
  • How's this for my last one?  Admittedly - it's been a long day, and I'm tired, and I have 3 magazines sitting next to me who have been waiting over a week to be read... and I'm not going to dust, or straighten or do laundry... I'm going to read them, and maybe take a nap.  Why?  Because, ladies and gentlemen, I think he may be sleeping... 
--- A

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Is it, could it be?

My heart is heavy as I begin this blog, heavy in frustration, heavy in exasperation, heavy in physically and mentally throwing my hands in the air. 

Our nemesis, human will and disobedience, is coming out of Bryton in the world of naptime.  He's been fighting us and winning.  My naptime routine (which was normally, cook, clean and me time), has become every ten minutes going in and telling Bryton to be quiet, or put away his toys, or walking him back to bed.  It has left me frustrated, angry even, and has been a great test on my own character to not sin in my anger. 

And this is my life every day recently.

Some say he's ready to give up his nap.  Age wise, he may be?  But I also know how he acts and misbehaves as the day goes on, which is much increased if there is no nap to be had.

We've taken away privileges.  We've even bribed.  (Which I'm ashamed of...)  Nothing is working, and I'm aware of one thing. 

{I. Can't. Make. Him. Sleep.}

Can I make him lie in bed, even if it means working me up to the brink of breaking... yes.

Can I scold him and take away privileges... yes.

Is it best for him in the long run... no.

And somewhere in me is this drive that "I deserve his respect and obedience," and I ask myself, "do I really?"

Have I earned that in the anger I've had towards him during these naptime periods?

Is this a battle worth fighting?

If I step back and don't demand his obedience here, will he take advantage of us and disobey elsewhere... and... is this even about obedience at all?  Maybe he's just. not. tired. 

One thing I've learned about parenting... it'll forever keep you humble and will forever open opportunities for God to continue to refine you... there are always tests, always questioning whether what you are doing is best meeting their needs... best caring for them...

Phew.  His no naps have made me tired...

Any advice out there in blogworld?


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Photo Card

Happy Haunting Collage Halloween
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Pumpkin Fun

If you know me at all you know that everything 'fall' makes me giddy, especially pumpkins.  So - we had thought we were going yesterday - but figures, the first day in our Texas history (okay, that's a slight exaggeration, there was one day it rained here) that it's supposed to rain would be the day that we'd planned the pumpkin patch.

So - rather than go yesterday, we went this morning and took a risk on the overcast skies.  I also figured it'd give me a good go at pictures under overcast skies... so, without further ado...


Love her eyes here! 

Look there on that bottom gum, not so much of a gummy grin anymore!

So there ya go - halloween memories in the making! 
See, I told you there'd be more pictures! :)


Friday, October 7, 2011

Don't Judge to Harshly

On the pictures, that is.  Remember, these pictures were all taken on the 'auto' setting immediately after putting my camera together.  I spent all of the 'sacred time' (after kids go to bed) until 11 p.m. reading the manual and taking practice shots of my feet (no, really, I did), so today's pictures may be a little more... well, let's just say that I'll take the camera off of 'auto'.

Anyway - here's a few to tide you over for the day:

This one is by far my favorite... so I'm spoiling the rest by giving it to you first.  Oh well.  This is pure little boy bliss in the making:  astronaut rain boots, stickers all over his knee, and a big ole cheesy, laughing grin.  AND - the lighting cooperated the best. 

This was our 'playing outside time'.  Tried the manual setting outside but the white balance was WAY off.  I'm going to need to reread the specifics in the manual before we go out today.  Anyway - these pictures were 'dull' on the auto setting... but they were pictures none the less.  (They were dull, but we were in the shade... soooo.)

My lovely, drooly, one tooth, working on another, child ;) 

This one may have been my 2nd favorite.  Right behind our house is a big ole house with a big ole farm and they have horses and cows that B likes to look at.  (They also have a real John Deere mower that looks exactly (well, without the pedals of course) like Bryton's!

Speaking of that "John Deere Green" (as Bryton has been so instructed to say, by Papa), here it is!

So - as if the horses and cows weren't enough... we have visitor peacocks that roam around every now and then.  We were warned about it when we moved in - but hey, this is temporary housing that we need!  The only evidence we've seen of them, though, is this:

And I'd say that is pretty good evidence. 

On another - non-picture related note, Ansley's new favorite thing sounds something like, "Mamamamamama" -which just so happened to come before 'dadadadada', which makes this momma happy.  

Especially since Bryton's first real mumbling, and definitely first word, was 'Zeke'.  Fo real. 

Pumpkin patch today, possibly?  Going to read the manual again on the way :) 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Crock Pot Meals

Two days in a row, now, I've put meals in the crock pot for supper.

Can I begin to explain to you how much I love this concept, and am currently kicking myself in the rear that I've not done this more often before!  What is wrong with me? 

In 20 minutes I can throw all of supper in a crock pot, spend time with my husband as a family when he gets home from work, and scoop stuff out of the crock pot onto a plate for supper.  This is genius!  Why am I so behind the times?

So rather than go on and on and on about how wonderful this {ahem} not new invention is, I'll fill you in on what's for supper in our household this evening!

Crock Pot Italian Beef
[I have to preface this recipe with this... my mom makes the most wonderful amazing Italian Beef in all of this great green earth.  Yep, even better that your mom's... in my opinion anyway.  So this recipe doesn't even begin to touch how good her's is, but her recipe consists of 'a little bit of this', a 'pinch of that', a 'pour of that', and sometimes I use this particular thing and sometimes I don't.  You all know me, I'm type A... so I'm going to have to get very brave one day in order to try that... it's coming... I promise.  And when it does... I'll create the recipe (in my type a'edness) and post it here for the world to see.  Until then...]

2 lb chuck roast
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 packet dry italian salad dressing mix
White vinegar

Literally, put the roast in the crock pot, mix the water with all of the dry ingredients, pour over roast.  I pour over a splash of white vinegar when it all gets started cooking.  Cook for 7-8 hours on low.  Shred beef, add another splash (or so - to your taste) of vinegar, and cook for another 30 minutes.  Serve on buns, with chips.  Voila! 

(My mom uses peppercini juice and no italian salad dressing mix... I gotta get off the mix and get to the real stuff!)

Ok - YOUR TURN - share with me your favorite crock pot meals so I can add to my recipe arsenal! 


P.S.  Camera is coming today!  If God will's, this blog will have pictures on it tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Houston, We Have Teeth, Err, Tooth

That's right, folks.  Ansley had her first tooth come through sometime during the night before, or on her 7 month birthday.  A white, pointy, pearly reminder that my baby, probably the last baby I will ever have, is ever so quickly growing up.  Good bye gummy grin, hello heels and slamming doors.

Ok - maybe we can get past the slamming doors stage... wishful thinking?  Probably.

(I mean, come on, Bryton has slammed his door, and he is two... going on fourteen, if you ask him.)

And of course, I have not one picture to show to you of tooth number 1 for child number 2 (not as if I could anyway, her tongue is rubbing over it so much I'm lucky, with all of my prying, that I've been able to see it.)

But rest assured, dear friends, tomorrow is delivery day for the Gregg's new camera, and with a new camera there will come many pictures... and I'll be letting you all in on this new life we're living...

Until then - peace & love


Monday, October 3, 2011


A long, long time ago this word became very real to me.  Passion meant, aside from all else, putting Jesus first, despite the cost.  Passion meant loving in the face of sacrifice and hardship... it meant keepin' on, it meant desire, it meant faithfulness.

A year or so following that passion took root in another realm of life.  As Aaron and I began considering the idea of courting or dating we were well aware that there could be great opposition (for those of you just tuning in, there's quite an age difference).  "Passion" (for each other, but most importantly to be in God's will) would have to be the thing to get us through.  And get us through it did (thought there was much less opposition than we anticipated.)

And ever since, God has been growing this idea of 'passion' in my life, and what I am finding is is this:  what we are passionate about, we make time for.  What we are passionate about, we tell others about.  What we are passionate about, we sacrifice for.  What we are passionate about we live and we breathe.  And - where there is no passion... complacency and apathy tend to follow.

I've been searching for a football team lately... you know, like, one to be a fan of.  I know, that sounds so lame.  You don't have to tell me that, but the truth is, I really do like football.  Really!  I like the game, I like the rules, shoot, I even like to play in my backyard!  But, being that I've never really followed it, it bores the life out of me to watch it on tv.  I'm not connected to it.  I have no 'team' to root for, thus, there's no passion.

In us is this desire to have a passion for something.  I'm passionate about the St. Louis Cardinals and about the St. Louis Blues.  I'm passionate about certain writers or movies.  I'm passionate about being home with my kids and being a stay at home mom.  And hopefully, one of these days I'll have a football team to be passionate about.

But more than anything - I want to be passionate about Jesus.  I want the same enthusiasm that you'd see in me at Busch stadium to be the same enthusiasm you see when I'm living my life for Christ.   I want the things I do and say to reflect the love I have for Him.

I feel lucky to be part of a body of believers that seems to understand this passion, and I thank God for it, and pray that He continues the works in us that He has planned for us... that our enthusiasm and zeal for the Lord would not be lightened, but would be deepened as we learn to know Him better... that we'd be seen as devoted fans and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, not for our glory, but for His.

Until next time

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What I Never Expected...

It's been a long journey getting us here... a lot of praying, searching, talking, thinking, then packing, moving, unpacking, repacking, and here we sit. 


And it'd be a lie if I said I didn't have some expectations in this move.   For instance:
I expected it to take forever to get in living order again. 
I expected lots and lots and lots of tears on my part.
I expected sadness and loneliness.
I expected it to be the worst possible time for me to move to Texas, because I love SIL fall.
I expected to be lost trying to find myself around...

Etc. Etc. Etc. (Of course I expected lots of positive things too, like loving the church and our pastor - and his family - having ample options of things to do, places to go, etc... but for the sake of this blog and it's point, let's just concentrate at the ones mentioned above, shall we?)

And what I've found is this:
I've almost got every cardboard box out of my house and everything that we need for living in 'a place.' (We aren't unpacking all of our boxes this move... senseless.)
I've only shed a few tears since being here... very few, in fact. 
I've not felt 'sad.'  Sure - I dearly and deeply miss several people from 'home' (may I call it that just a little while longer?)... and yearn and long to see them again... but 'sadness' has not consumed me, and neither has loneliness. 
The weather may be just a little warmer than what I'd like, but aside from one day this week, it's been quite enjoyable... and somehow it still seems like fall.
And - I don't have the area figured out by any means, but I can get myself around here quite well so far. 

Not ever to say that it's all rosey and great, but after a short stint during a bad season in our lives after we got off the road, all I knew of 'moving' was scary, making my glass half empty... well, as Aaron would say, maybe I didn't even have a glass. 

But so far - so good.  We are so very thankful for the little house in which we are staying.  We are so very thankful that their is a contract on our home that we are selling.  We are so very thankful for two happy, healthy babies.  We are so very thankful for a helpful, sweet church family.  We are so very thankful that God prepares our hearts and our minds for such ventures. 

My heart really is full... in so many ways.  Now - if we can just get some visitors on the calendar we'd be good to go ;)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm a Camera Copy Cat

But I'm also camera illiterate... in other words... I have no. idea. what I'm doing when it comes to knowing what is good for the price.  (For those of you who have missed a few days, I've been needing a new dslr because the last one I used occasionally was the youth groups from our old church.)

So - I figured the only thing I knew to do was to ask a few people, search around on blogs of people whose photography skills I covet, and start figuring out what I need. 

So - after a whole day spent yesterday, at about 10:00 last night I ordered my Canon Rebel XS.  I'm seeing that it's not the newest model, but I also see the picture quality it is capable of (if I can teach myself to use it.) 

Want to see for yourself, go visit this here blog.  (I love her blog, btw, and hope you do as well!)