Thursday, April 29, 2010

Parents' Night Out

I know you wouldn't think it from reading this blog, but Will and I actually have friends and do stuff without our kids! Thankfully, my parents let the kids spend the night with them this past Saturday night, and we got to go to a fun M.B.A. graduation party for our friend Chris.

Here are our hosts, Holly and Chris, in their beautiful new home. (They just moved in at the end of March, so I guess this was kind of a housewarming party too.)

Some of my friends from book club ... Marianne, Claire and Jessica.

Will and I with our friends Hunter and Marianne. Yes, I really am that much shorter than everyone else in this picture. But I'm 5'6, so I'm really not that short. They are just all tall.

Some other book club friends. Claire, Colleen and Holly. Next up is a going away party for Colleen and her family as they are moving to Missouri in June. We will miss them so much!!

Congrats Chris on your MBA. Thanks for having such a fun party to celebrate!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Recipes and such ...

Here are links to the recipes I promised a few weeks ago.

(I love these first two recipes because they are healthy and only have 5 ingredients.)

Mango Shrimp Kabobs. I served this with wild rice and whole wheat rolls.

Pan-Grilled pork chops with pineapple salsa. I made this for my neighbors when I took a meal to them a couple of weeks ago. I served it with wild rice and steamed broccoli. In their words, it was "delish". I don't have a grill-pan so my pork chops did not have those lovely grill marks (click on the recipe link to see picture). I need to add that to my kitchen wish list, along with a 24-count muffin pan.

Cheesy Chicken-Rice Casserole (from E-Mealz). This was a big hit with the whole family!

Last, but not least, you must try this cinnamon toast. We had it for breakfast this morning and it is "da bomb". (Sadly, Claire would not eat it, but Will and I really liked it.)

We may be potty training soon ...

and here's why:

(1) David loves to take his clothes off, especially his pants.

(2) I have come into David's room after nap on more than one occasion and he has taken his diaper off. Once he had tee-tee'd (is that even a word?) all over the bed.

(3) David has recently tee-tee'd in the bathtub on several occasions, which wouldn't be that bad if Claire wasn't in there with him.

(4) David tells me that he is "stinky" almost every time he goes #2. In fact, last week, he came into the kitchen with his wipes and diaper bag and began to take his diaper off. If I hadn't stopped him, he probably would have tried to change his own diaper. I did stop him and asked him what he was doing and he said "I stinky."

(5) He loves to try and sit on the potty, especially when he see Claire or me going to the bathroom.

Here's why I might wait to potty train David, even though he is CLEARLY ready:

(1) He almost never goes #2 while he is awake. Almost all of his stinky diapers occur during nap time or nighttime and we change him when he wakes up. This will clearly cause some problems with potty training to go #2, which I have heard is much harder for boys than girls.

(2) He just turned 2 this month. Most boys do better potty training if you wait until they are closer to 3.

(3) Timing. I will not be on maternity leave until September. (I potty trained Claire while I was on maternity leave with David.) In fact, we only have a two week break between the end of preschool and the beginning of the kids' summer program when we could get the potty training done. We have a month off in August, but I think that is too close to when the new baby is due. Oh, and I will be working during both of these breaks from school.

We potty trained Claire easy-breezy in about 5 days. She had really showed no interest at all before we started. I don't think she had even sat on the potty before. We stayed at home and armed ourselves with lots of character pa*nties and stayed in the kitchen on the tile floor. We bought lots of candy and a kid potty that makes music when you tinkle. And it worked.

Hopefully, David's training will go the same way, but I know it is different for boys. If I knew it would only take 5-10 days, I would be all geared up to go mid-May, but I don't know that with him. But he is definitely ready. And if I don't do it in May or June, I probably need to wait until November or December when we get settled in with the new baby. Who knows how many times that diaper may come off before then?!?

Any thoughts, opinions or advice? It would be VERY nice to only buy diapers for one come the fall ...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: April 26-May 2

We did a pretty good job of sticking to the menu plan this week. The only repeat you may see are things from the freezer that we didn't eat because we ate leftovers instead. One of the new recipes I tried last week was Greek Chicken & vegetable kabobs and it was a BIG hit. It will definitely go into the regular menu rotation. Another favorite new recipe find is whole-wheat buttermilk pancakes (from Cooking Light). I've made them with chocolate chips and blueberries (not together of course) and they are perfect!

Unexpectedly on the dessert menu this week (thank you pregnancy cravings!) is my favorite pound cake from the lovely Paula Deen.

Monday: leftover Cheesy Tomato Stroganoff, salad, garlic bread

Tuesday: BBQ Quesadillas, fruit

Wednesday: Tilapia, mixed veggies, rolls

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: dinner at a couples' baby shower

Saturday: dinner with friends at their house

Sunday: Bacon cobb deli flats, chips, fruit (lunch), Cheez-It chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus (dinner)

Check out other menu plans here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Soccer

So we've been playing a little soccer this spring. And Claire is really loving it ... and her skills are much improved from the fall. In fact, her coach told Will last week that she is definitely the most improved player from the fall team. (We have several new players that were added on to the team in the spring.)

I never know whether to take "most improved player" as an compliment on your current skills or an insult to how bad you were before. (I was the "most improved player" my junior year of high school on our school's softball team.) I think for a 3-4 year old to go from having no soccer experience to being a decent player is quite a compliment in this case though and we are very proud of our girl.

Here are some pictures from the game last week.

The red team was scrappy. They had some mad goal-tending skills, but the "Blueberries" managed to score several times despite the fact that pretty much their entire team was standing in the goal every time we tried to score. In fact, Claire scored her first goal on Saturday!! We were super-pumped and she was so proud of herself.

Getting a pep-talk from one of the other dads.

Lining up to play defense.

More running and kicking the ball.

I love that Claire is improving her athletic skills, but I think it is most important that she learns to play on a team and show good sportsmanship and she has that down pat. She never tries to take the ball away from a fellow blueberry (like several of her teammates do), she always cheers when her teams scores regardless of who scores and she is always concerned when someone falls and gets hurt. (The red team fell down a lot and she would always stop and check on them.)

A team photo from the beginning of the season.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another project, finished

UPDATED: I hope I have fixed the photo viewing problem in this post. Leave a comment if you still can't see the photos.

I finished up the kids' birthday outfits just in the nick of time. Actually, one day early.

I am in love with this cupcake fabric!! It is too cute!

Claire's pants are the Portobellapixie ruffle capris. These pants would be much easier to make without those ruffles ... but they are so darn cute!

David's pants are from my trusty Kwik Sew pattern and seriously took me about one hour to make. Easy peasy.

I bought the shirts here, and the owner was kind enough to match my fabric (I sent her swatches).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I may need to find a new pediatrician

As a follow-up to our grocery store trip last Thursday, I took both of the kids to see our pediatrician for their annual well-check (a pro to having both birthdays in the same week!). What a mistake that was!! I knew it was going to be bad when both kids were running around the waiting room spinning and squealing. David was also throwing himself on the floor in playful fits. They were having a grand ole time much to the amusement of the other patients waiting to see their doctors (who all had lap babies or babies in car seats).

The nurse came out and called for "Aiden" but I thought she said "David" and back we went. Not until I had undressed David down to his diaper did the nurse realize she had the wrong patients. Thankfully, they were able to move us into one of our doctor's exam rooms and I didn't have to re-dress David and take the walk of shame back into the waiting room.

Next came the exam of both kids, which was pretty non-eventful. Everyone looked great. Here are the official stats.

Claire: Weight=31 lbs (30%), Height=38 3/4 inches (30%)

David: Weight=27 lbs (45%), Height=33 1/2 inches (25%)

[I was told that my kids are "well proportioned".]

Claire still has a small hole in her left eardrum where her ear tube was placed, so we will have to follow-up with the ENT on that (it's been there almost a year and hasn't healed yet). That is a trip the two of us will be making ALONE!

Claire started asking the night before if she was going to have to get a shot. I told her I didn't know. [Last time she saw the doctor, she had strep throat and I opted for the Rocephin shot instead of 10 days of antibiotics. Apparently, it is a very painful shot ... a fact the nurse told me after the shot had been administered.] When our pediatrician walked in, she asked him if she had to get a shot and he said he didn't know yet and turned to me and said "Y-E-S." Great!

After the exams, I told Claire she was going to have to get a shot and this is where it got really fun. She put her hand on her hip and stomped her foot and said "I don't want to get a shot." There was a lot of crying and screaming involved too. And then David started crying because Claire was crying. There was a lot of begging and pleading and bargaining done by me and I honestly thought we might have to leave there without the shot. I pretty much had to lay on top of her on the exam table while she got the shot.

Well, the shots were given (David had to get a shot and a finger prick) and more crying ensued. I had to carry Claire to the front desk to check out. She couldn't walk because her leg hurt so bad. She is quite the drama queen. A couple of princess stickers made her leg feel a little better. And she was miracuously healed by the time we got home.

Oh, and did I mention that Claire had to go pee in a cup after all that. [We had already tried once with no success.] Fortunately, she managed to squeeze a little out.

Oh, I also forgot to mention that David broke my sunglasses and colored on a chair in the exam room while we were there. Nice!

After all that, we finally headed home. I am sure that office staff was glad to see us go! And I am sure that it was much quieter in there after we left!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: April 19-25

Now that we made it through the week of leftovers, it is back to the kitchen for me!

A little recap from last week though ... the breadmachine wheat rolls were AWESOME! And very easy to make. Next time I will probably freeze half the rolls, but for now, we are munching on these for another week.

Monday: Tilapia, mixed veggies, wheat rolls

Tuesday: Chinese Roast, rice, steamed broccoli

Wednesday: Steak & Bleu salad (with the leftover roast from the previous day), garlic bread

Thursday: I have dinner at my monthly book club so it will be leftovers or frozen pizza for Will and the kids.

Friday: Greek Chicken & vegetable kabobs, wild rice, pita bread

Saturday: Banana pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Turkey sandwiches (or other leftovers) for lunch. We will have dinner at a friend's house to celebrate his MBA graduation.

Sunday: Cheesy Tomato Stroganoff, salad, garlic bread

Check out other menu plans here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Birthday David!

Dear David,

I cannot believe that my baby boy is two years old today. Where has the time gone? How did my sweet baby boy grow into this little man? (One who refuses to hold my hand as we walk through a parking lot and pushes me away and says "top".)

You are so full of energy and life and keep me on my toes every single day. I love how excited you are to see me when you wake up in the morning or when I pick you up from preschool in the afternoon. It is the highlight of my day. I love how you try to snuggle and love on me when I drop you off at preschool (so I won't leave you), but when I put you down, you walk right in and start playing with your friends.

You are strong and independent. You like to "do it yourself" and most times refuse any help from Mommy or Daddy. (I am thinking about an incident with a spoon and some applesauce). I love to hear your sweet little voice say "I did it" when you accomplish something.

You are a busy boy and you are curious about everything. You love to explore and do things with your hands. You love to paint and sing and dance. You love to play with your big sister and you try to do everything that she does (and most of the time you can). I wish you would pose for a picture like she does! Ha! (This was the best picture I could get of you today.)

You have lots to say to us, but the sweetest is when I walk into your bedroom when you've woken up during the night and you say "I wanna wok" and you're standing in your crib with your two blankets reaching for me. I could "wok" you all night long!

Your name means "beloved" and you truly are the beloved of your Daddy and me. I've always heard that little boys hold a special place in their mommy's hearts and now I know that to be true.

The biblical King David was a man after God's own heart and I pray that one day that can also be said of you.

I love you more than you will ever know and I can't wait to see God's plan for your life unfold in the coming years.

Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

Love, Mommy

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday outing ... not a good idea!

David took what is very likely his last trip to the grocery store today. Since it 87 degrees outside this afternoon, I decided to run by Whole Foods after I picked the kids up from preschool to kill some of what is usually our "play outside" time and take advantage of their tax-free shopping day.

This is why David will not be returning to a grocery store any time soon ... maybe ever.

(1) He refused to get into the seat of the shopping cart. Like wrapped his legs around me as tight as he could and screamed as loud as he could refused. I finally managed to get him into the basket of the cart, which was fine since I was only buying a few groceries.

(2) He proceeded to scream for the next 5 minutes, and it seemed like I was the only person with children inside the store at the time.
(3) He opened the box of frozen waffles I put into the cart. Let me rephrase that ... he tore the box open so that we came home with about 3/4 of the box.

(4) He took a bite out of one of the apples I had put in a produce bag.

(5) He tried to open the yogurt container I put into the cart.

Need I say more? Don't worry. I've got more. I failed to mention that he tried to climb out of the cart about 10 times and he is almost tall enough to do it.

The yogurt was almost my breaking point. But then I looked up and saw this older lady smiling at me when I was jerking the yogurt container from his hands and fussing at him for trying to open it and I smiled back at her. That made me feel better. And it was time to go.

I think I saved like $2 in tax and it was totally not worth the trouble. Who knew the double car shopping carts at Publix were so valuable (or the free cookies)? He gets into those without a fight, we get our free cookies at the bakery and I quickly get my groceries while everyone is happy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some unfinished projects, now finished

I have managed to finish up a couple of half-completed sewing projects that were laying around my sewing room for a while.

David is modeling pants with a matching hoodie that I started in a sewing class I took last fall. (I finished the hoodie, just never finished the pants.) It's a Kwik Sew pattern that is really easy to make. Fortunately, the fabric is lightweight twill and he has been able to wear it this spring with a short-sleeve tee. You can't see it very well at all, but the lining in the hoodie is baby blue with giraffes printed on it. Will calls this David's safari outfit.

This letter number was cut of for Claire last summer and I never sewed it up. Except for the bias tape under the arms, which gave me fits, it was a very quick sew. This pattern is Simplicity 5118 as modified here. This is such a cute dress. I actually made her another one to wear to the beach last year. This one may be a little short now, but I'm sure I can find somebody to wear it or throw some capri leggings under it.

This last outfit was actually started and finished on the same day. From cutting out the fabric to sewing up the outfit, this took me about 4 hours total to make. (I took a Saturday class, which is why I had 4 hours of uninterrupted time to sew.) This is the Mod Kid pattern Nina, which is super easy. This is a size 4 so I doubt Claire can wear it this year. I might give it to my niece, or just stick it in the closet for next year. The top has a very cute sash in the back.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

We had such a beautiful spring weekend that we did not do much laying around in the house, but this was right after the kids woke up from their nap on Sunday afternoon. I was trying to finish up some shorts for David in my sewing room/guest and the kids naturally ended up in there with me. (They are watching the Masters on TV, which is what I had on when they woke up.)

We had a special house guest this weekend ... Lucy-belle (as Claire calls her). Her real name is just plain old Lucy. Lucy used to live with us. She was born to my parents' poodle in 1998 and became my dog. She stayed with us when Will and I got married. Will grew to love her. She stayed with us when we had Claire. When Claire was about 8 months old, she was crawling near Lucy's food bowl and Lucy nipped her on the cheek. She was not a big fan of children which made it difficult for us to keep her, but she was part of the family.

When this little man came along (couldn't you just eat him up?), I decided I could not have three little ones constantly under my feed ... and there was the fear that she might bite one of my children again. And don't forget about all the barking during nap time. [We have finally invested in sound machines for our kids' rooms so that would not be a big deal anymore.] So, to keep Lucy in the family, my parents gladly took her. [Their dog, Abby, who was Lucy's mother, had recently passed away and they were missing having a dog.]
So, now we are content with having Lucy coming to visit when my parents are out of town, which is more often than you would think. Claire loves Lucy and wants her to sleep in her bed with her. [She sleeps with us instead.] David really never paid much attention to Lucy until recently. He has even gotten brave enough to pet her and he is surprisingly gentle, which bodes well for our new addition! And Lucy doesn't seem to mind as much as she used to.
So, thank you Lucy for letting my children terrorize you this weekend. David is saying that Lucy is "night, night" in this picture, and surely she must have needed a rest after a long weekend at our house.

Aside from immediate family members like Mommy, Daddy and Sister (Claire), and grandparents, the only name I have heard David say (and that I've understood) is "Lucy". It is too cute!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Claire!

Dear Claire,

I can't believe that you are four today! I remember so vividly the day you came into the world and blessed us with your sweet presence. Your daddy and I were forever changed.

You are growing into a beautiful young lady. You are so sweet and kind and always think of others before yourself. You love your family so much and pray for each of us by name every night. I love to see you play with your baby brother. You treat him with such kindness and are always looking out for him.

You love to sing and dance. You love to color and write in your notebook (or make "observations" as you say). Maybe one day you will be an artist or a reporter. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you, but I also want to bottle you up and keep you just as you are right now.

Even though we didn't rock you to sleep much when you were little (we wanted you to put yourself to sleep and not create bad sleep habits), I love that over the past few months, you want us to rock you before bed at night. I will do it anytime you ask (even when you wake up in the middle of the night) because I know it will just be a second before you are too big to sit in my lap and rock (or you don't want to anymore).

On this your fourth birthday, this is my scripture prayer for you:

"I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!"
Ephesians 1:17-19 (The Message).

I love you so much ... more than you will ever know or understand (until you have your own children). I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Love, Mommy

Birthday Hanukkah

Both of my kids are celebrating birthdays this week ... and I totally had to look up how to spell Hanukkah. Here's the schedule:

Monday: Claire's birthday. Family fun night at Chuck E. Cheese.

Tuesday: Cookies at preschool for Claire's birthday.

Thursday: Cookies at mother's day out for David's birthday.

Friday: David's birthday.

Saturday: the Big Birthday party at Bounce U.

Whew, I'm tired and it's only Monday. Here are some pictures from our night a Chuck E. Cheese.

Claire stayed far away from the "real" Chuck E. Cheese, but she didn't mind giving the plastic, less creepy version a big hug.

David liked playing with the plastic Chuck E. Cheese too.

Will and David eating pizza.

Claire and me (just to prove that I was actually there).

David loved the whack-a-mole game, but he had to work hard (with both hands) to swing that mallet.

David very quickly learned how to put the "money" in the machine. If they had a game where you had to put coins in a slot, he would hit the jackpot.

Claire and Will playing air hockey ...

and riding the jet ski.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: April 12-18

It's been a while since I did menu plan Monday, but I have been loosely menu planning every week. We would never eat any sort of coherent meal if I didn't.

Nothing too exciting this week ... I cooked a lot last week and over the weekend, so I have a ton of leftovers. This means no cooking for me this week (except reheating). I did find a new breadmachine wheat roll recipe that I want to try and we had a yummy taco salad tonight with taco salad dressing. I also made my favorite peach cobbler recipe from Paula Deen and it is a breeze to fix ... it took me about 10 minutes to put together while I was cooking dinner and then we stuck it in the oven to bake while we ate. (I have also made this with fresh blackberries and it is DELISH!)

Monday: pizza at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate Claire's 4th birthday

Tuesday: Leftover chicken/rice casserole (I will post this recipe later ... it was yummy!), green beans, rolls

Wednesday: leftover shrimp kabobs (this recipe will come later too), wild rice, salad and rolls

Thursday: Leftovers hamburgers or taco salad for Will ... I am eating at Chuy's with my old bible study group for a belated birthday celebration for myself and my friend Melissa.

Friday: I think we are meeting some friends out for dinner this night? If not, I have leftover flank steak, roasted red potatoes and salad. (I told you we had a lot of leftovers!)

Saturday: I would like to make these yummy apricot bars for breakfast ... still trying to find a healthy "bar" breakfast that the kids will eat. They both eat chocolate chip granola bars for breakfast almost every morning. We are eating out (or picking up) dinner with Will's family after the kids' birthday parties.

Sunday: Our Sunday school class is having a belated egg hunt after church so we will pick up something quick to take for our picnic lunch. (Our pre-Easter egg hunt was rained out.) For dinner we'll have breaded tilapia (from the freezer), mixed veggies and rolls.

Check out other menu plans here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Favorites: Rita's Rolls

My sister and I named these rolls after Will's mom because she made them at Thanksgiving last year and they were DELISH! She gave me the recipe then, but I didn't get around to making them until Easter lunch this past weekend. They were easy-peasy to make. Here is the recipe.

1/4c. sugar
2c. warm water
1 pkg. yeast
Stir together and let sit for about 5 minutes.

1 egg
1-1/2 sticks melted butter
4c. self-rising flour
Mix about with yeast mixture. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake in muffin tin at 375 for approximately 20 minutes. Yield: 24 rolls. Can keep in refrigerator for up to two weeks (so you don't have to bake them all at once.

NOTE: These rolls look more like muffins when they bake. If anyone has ever lived in Tuscaloosa, these rolls taste like they rolls they serve at the Diner.

Check at other Friday Favorites on Hillary's blog and sign up for a really cool giveaway.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's All About Love!

I am posting this story below from our church website (edited to protect anonymity). Will and I have long been members of the West class mentioned in the story and were honored to know and love this couple (and learn a little about God's love in the process). I love that they are willing to share their story and I know that God has great things in store for their family.

From "had it all" to "lost it all"—one couple's journey to freedom

Once upon a time, there was a lovely young couple who lived in sunny Florida and had “it all.” Homes, cars, boats, art, vacations—they enjoyed lots of leisure time, entertaining and all the trappings of success. Then the real estate crash of 2007 happened, and they lost “it all.”

That’s where their “Journey to Freedom” begins…

Even as the trappings were sold off or repossessed, Patrick and Beth still felt no freedom but it had already begun. They were mired in debt and possessed by regret. They grew apart and wondered if they’d lost even more than “it all.” There seemed to be nothing left.

“This is when the phone calls and the mail were filled with people looking for money we owed them,” Beth said. “We had our SUV repossessed and we could no longer pay for our own home. We were selling off all of our just keep afloat. Patrick began drinking daily and using sleeping pills to get him out of reality.”

In January 2009, Patrick, bankrupt and dejected, moved to Tennessee alone to start a new job and, hopefully, start over. Beth, his wife of nearly 10 years, stayed behind in Florida to manage the sales of their failed retail store’s inventory and the contents of the home they’d acquired during the market boom of the early 2000s.

Though the tasks each carried justified physical separation, both knew the arrangement was a thin veil over a marriage cracking at the foundation. In the process of losing material possessions, Patrick and Beth started losing each other as well.

“I relied on the gym and my girlfriends to avoid going home to face reality and avoid phone calls,” Beth said. “Patrick lost over twenty pounds during his depression.”

New to Tennessee, Patrick joined the local YMCA in effort to gain back some bulk and get healthy again. There, he saw a posted invitation to join a group called, “Journey to Freedom.”

“Had he known it was religious-based, he would’ve never gone,” Beth said. “After the first meeting, it became clear that it was a class strongly based on faith. He figured that it must be something he needed, so he continued to go. This introduction to God was no accident.”

Meanwhile—750 miles away in Florida—Beth met Christ for the first time and became a believer at the same time her husband did. Unknowingly, she and Patrick each began individual “journeys to freedom,” in perfect step, though on parallel paths that God clearly intended to converge once again.

The couple reunited in Tennessee and, renewed as man and wife, soon learned they were expecting.

“We started the search for a church,” Beth said. “Also important to Pat was to find a good group of guys to do general outdoors stuff with. We started going to different churches and knew we would know when we hit the right church. The first time at B. Baptist, we knew this was the one. We can’t explain it—we simply looked at each other and knew.”

Patrick soon connected with “Men in Action,” a men’s Bible study group filled with fellow outdoorsmen, led by Mike C.

So fledgling as Christians, Patrick and Beth asked Mike to meet them at the church bookstore one Sunday morning to help them buy a Bible. In all their years of purchasing so many things, this was one item they’d never bought before.

After the stop by the bookstore, Mike and his wife Darlene introduced Patrick and Beth to the West Sunday School class. This was another God-anointed fit for the Patick and Beth. They found true friends and a supportive community at every turn at B. Baptist—so vital in nurturing the root system of their newly professed faith.

Living in Tennessee made it tougher to financially do life. At one point, Patrick even delivered pizzas at night just to make enough. As a result, Beth’s mom offered Patrick, Beth, and their newborn son Gavin a chance to move to Wisconsin and live in her basement while they got back on their feet.

They decided it was their only option and left mid-January of this year to begin a new chapter of life.

“The West class at B. Baptist had a goodbye party for us, and…they raised over $2,500 for us,” Patrick said. “This was very hard for both of us. For one, we never thought, in a million years, we would be that needy family. Second, we had only known our friends in the West class for a short time.”

Before they left, Patrick began sending resumes out both here and in Wisconsin. He said, “After a long talk with God one evening, the next day I was offered several positions in the industry I was once in.”

Today, their journey continues in Madison, Wisconsin. They’re still in touch with their B. Baptist friends from the West class and “Men in Action,” though they’re now sharing their testimony with friends at their new church.

They’re also sharing that testimony every day as they raise Gavin. Patrick and Beth welcomed their new son into a family in which Christ is the center, having “it all” means nothing at all, and the Journey to Freedom is led by God’s hand.

“So you see—God really has been a part of our lives,” Beth said. “It simply took us losing everything to realize what’s important.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

While I was sleeping ...

Here is a somewhat quick round-up of the first 2-1/2 months of 2010. [When I took my little bloggy break.]

{okay ... now that I have finished this post, it's really not quick at all. Please bear with me.}

We celebrated my niece's 4th birthday with a super-fun snowman party, complete with scarf and mitten making, manicures and a showing of the movie "Happy Feet".

Happy Birthday Evie!

(On a side note, I made Evie's snowman shirt and gave it to her for Christmas. I appliqued it on my regular sewing machine. Maybe I will post a tutorial soon.)

We also celebrated Claire's friend Baker's birthday (his parents are close friends of ours) at Bounce U, which is always a good time.

David had a blast on the inflatables. He kept Will very busy.

Baker & Claire.

Our friends Spencer and Max.

Happy Birthday Baker!

And, we celebrated RiRi (Will's mom, Rita) turning the big 6-0, with a family party at her house. It was fun to get all the little cousins together for the first time in a long time (maybe ever?).
My sis-in-law Brandi ... she made this lovely cake.

Chef Mark and Chef Joe ... cooking up the birthday meat fest.

The birthday girl opening her gifts.

All the little cousins.

Our family with Aunt Sissy and cousin Val in the rear.

RiRi and DiDi with all their grandkids.

We also went to many other birthday parties of Claire's classmates (who all have birthdays between February and April). I'm now officially broke from buying birthday presents, although I did run into a great deal on age-appropriate games at Target one day ($7/each) and bought up the rest of the little boys' gifts. I'm glad when Claire starts real school, her classmates' birthdays will be more spread out through the year and not concentrated in a three month period of time.

We also celebrated Valentine's Day. I felt horrible on this day and actually stayed on the couch most of the day. Thank you to Will for picking up a little gift for the kids and picking up some ice cream cookie sandwiches from Cold Stone Creamery for me.
(A sewing tip ... when you pick out an old machine applique to put a new applique on a shirt, make sure the new applique completely covers the old applique or you end up being able to see all the little needle holes. This dress had a large Christmas tree on it and you can still see where the bottom of the tree and trunk were sewn. Claire did not wear this outfit out of the house.)

Oh yeah, and somebody found his sister's slippers and refused to take them off!

Don't forget about the snow ... we got a lot of snow this year. Three different snows in fact (but we only played in two). I think I am going to petition for a refund from my kids' preschool for the month of January we had so many snow days. (Just kidding of course, that refund would never happen.)
This snow barely covered the ground, but it was enough to do a little sledding on the grass. David was not a fan!

Claire clearly enjoyed herself.

The next day ... see, not much to get excited about.

More sledding.

After playing in the snow, we enjoyed hot chocolate and made paper snowflakes. David will drink anything out of a straw.

The next snow at the end of January was much more substantial. I think we got around 6 inches (?) topped with a nice layer of ice, which made sledding fun.
Our next door neighbors.
Lots of sledding that day.
David preferred body sledding and with that nice layer of ice, it worked pretty well for him.
Our family.
Our house.
Sledding with daddy.
We dug up some snow from underneath the ice and made a snowman.

In the beginning of March, it finally warmed up enough for the kids to get outside and play. Claire finally got to ride her bike that Santa brought for Christmas and David has become quite good at riding Claire's scooter. [He is getting his own blue scooter for his birthday this month, which will hopefully prevent any future fights over the pink scooter.]

I think that brings you up to speed on our family so far this year.