Wednesday, June 30, 2010

God is Good, God is Great

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV).

Our Sunday School class has decided to select a verse each month to mediate on, memorize, teach our children, etc. This is our verse for July. I love The Message version, which reads:

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!"

Reading this verse was a very fitting way to start this week. I say that because two couples we know who are going through the adoption process both received amazing news this week.

(1) Joey and Courtney got the go ahead to leave for Ethiopia and pick up baby Bristol this weekend. They were originally slated to leave in late-July. Bristol will join Joey & Courtney and their three other children and their new family will soon leave to serve as missionaries in South Africa for the next two years.

(2) This week, Clay and Emily met a birth mother who has chosen them to be the forever family of her son, who will be born in September. You can read more about their story here.

In a world where there seems to be much pain and heartache (and lots of blaming and questioning of God) it is nice to be reminded that God can and will do things in the lives of his children that are above and beyond what we could ever imagine.

Please say a prayer for these two sweet couples and they are embarking on these new journeys in life.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I need your help!

I am horrible at making decisions related to anything fashion, decorating, etc. Will tells me this on an almost daily basis. Fortunately my little sister is an interior designer, which comes in VERY handy.

So, I am trying to decide on some fabric for the new baby's diaper bag that will be sewn next month. It is hard trying to find cute boy fabric and I wanted something that would still look good as a bag after we were done with the diaper part (i.e., not cutesy animal, spaceship or car fabrics).

So, this is what I have chosen for my main fabric. The background is a chocolate brown that doesn't come across too good in the picture.

Here are five options for the coordinating fabric ... it will be the lining of the bag.

#1: white background swirls (this is my favorite, but I think it might be a little to frilly for a boy with all the swirls).

#2: white background dots

#3: lime dots (this is probably my second favorite because I think it is a nice contrast to the dark brown of the main fabric).

#4: white background leaf stripe

#5: brown/aqua stripe

Okay people ... I need some feedback. Oh, and if you don't like the main fabric, keep that bit of info to yourself. It's a keeper (I think).

Saturday Matinee

Saturday was stormy and hot so we decided to forego a trip to the pool and went to the movies instead to see Toy Story 3. The kids got Toy Story 1 and 2 on DVD for their birthdays back in April and we have watched them A LOT in preparation for #3 coming out this summer.

Jessie the cowgirl is definitely Claire's favorite character. I don't know if David has a preference, but he does recognize and can say Woody and Buzz.

David, Will and Claire. David loved the popcorn and Sprite the best. Claire got comfy in her seat and stayed there pretty much the entire movie.

This was David's first trip to the movies and Claire's second. [Claire saw the Chipmunks Squeakquel back in December and she has asked to back to the movies ever since.] Claire sat there and watched the entire movie without making a peep. David, on the other hand, had to go to the bathroom 4 times and got bored eating popcorn and sitting down for two hours. He left the theatre with Will about 20 minutes before it ended.

I had a free ticket that I got when I purchased Toy Story 1 and 2 and David was free so all 4 of us saw the movie for $14 + $14 for a large popcorn and sprite. I was quite impressed that we got out of there for under $30.

This movie was sweet and I recommend taking a few tissues with you. Watching Andy leave for college and play with his toys one last time brought more than a few tears to my eyes. I'll blame it on the pregnancy. I even teared up quite a bit when I was telling Will how the movie ended on the way home afterwards.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: June 28-July 4

This week's menu plan will be short because we have BIG plans for the weekend that involve no cooking on my part. Those are my favorite kind of plans!!

Monday: chicken quesadillas, Spanish rice, lettuce & tomatoes

Tuesday: Shrimp and feta vermicelli, salad (Will has been begging me to make this again. I sent him to the store on Saturday morning to get milk and he picked up some shrimp while he was there so now I have no excuse).

Wednesday: Baked pizza roll & sauce, salad

Thursday: Garlic pork tenderloin, squash casserole, green beans, rolls. (I am still looking for a good squash casserole recipe, so if you have one, let me know.)

Check out other menu plans here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ballerina Girl

Sunday was Claire's very first dance recital. She did great! She was so excited to dance on the big stage. And as much as I complained this year about planning our day around dance lessons every Friday and all the money spent on tuition, shoes, tights and costumes (and pictures and a DVD), it was well worth it.

This was her ballet costume where they danced to "Put a Little Love in Your Heart".

Dance buddies, Evie and Hannah.

All lined up and ready to go backstage for the first act.

Me and Claire. Claire loved getting to put a little make-up on before the show. I did not love washing my waterproof mascara off of her that night.

Next up was her tap dance routine to "Buttercup". I love the yellow!!

Hannah, Claire and Evie. I love how they are posing ... they did that all on their own, I promise.

Flowers after the performance. Claire was excited about the flowers. That was $5 well spent!

DiDi and RiRi came to see the show, which lasted 2-1/2 hours! Yikes ... that is a lot of dancing!

And Meme and Poppy came too of course.

I think we will definitely have more dance classes in the future for this little ballerina! I'm just glad we only have one girl!!!

On a side note, David sat in the auditorium from about 2:30 until 5pm. We brought the portable DVD player to keep him entertained before the show, but he loved watching all the dancing. After every performance he would say "another one, another one" and just grin and clap.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Boy Bed

David has gone through a lot in the past couple of weeks all in the name of getting ready for his new baby brother. (A fact I am not too sure he is aware of.) So two weeks ago, we potty-trained. (You can read about it in great detail here, here and here.) I am glad to say that he is officially potty trained and has made public appearances at the Y, the church nursery and his summer preschool program without accident. (He has been completely accident-free since last Wednesday.)

That brings us to big change #2: the big boy bed. Yes, last night, David said farewell to the crib and moved into his big boy bed that is in the room he is now sharing with his sister. He was pumped about it. And so was Claire. I knew they would love sharing a room together.

He ran to his bed as soon as he finished his bath and climbed right in. He kept saying "my bed, my bed." Mickey and Minnie (his new favorite toys) were there to welcome him.

He was so proud. He laid down and covered right up.

Big cheese for the camera.

Claire was excited he was in her room too. This morning, she asked if he could sleep there again and we told her he would always be sleeping there from now on.
Reading books together before bedtime. David did run back into his own room to get his books.

Claire loves to read The Berenstain Bears books.
I snuck in after the kids were good and asleep to take a picture. Clearly, David has not yet bonded with the pillow. This is a new concept for him.
Last night was a really good night. The kids got up once shortly after we put them down to "potty", but after that, we didn't hear a peep from them until about 7am this morning. I was worried that they might be up playing all night long, but they were perfect!

Monday, June 21, 2010

For future reference ...

This is a Marg*ritaville Fiji Premium Frozen Concoction Maker. Will hinted around that he would like to have one of these ... for Father's Day. (By "hinting around" I mean he came downstairs where I was watching TV and turned the channel to QVC and make me watch an hour infomercial about it.)

I'm not going to lie. I was impressed. And I do love a good margarita.

But me and my preggo self was not going to spend $275 for a margarita machine when I will be partaking of exactly zero margaritas for the next few months. (Nor was I going to spend $275 on a Father's Day gift.) This baby retails for $369 so it is a really good deal, and who doesn't love separate settings for margaritas, smoothies, slides and daiquiris? (Can you tell that if I wasn't pregnant we would probably have one of these things set up in our kitchen right now?)

Maybe he will get this for his birthday/Christmas (since both are in December) and we will have a very merry Christmas indeed! I better start saving up!

Menu Plan Monday: June 21-27

This weekend has been C-R-A-Z-Y and I haven't really had a chance to menu plan (or go to the grocery store). I have to go before tomorrow though because I have a coupon for free blueberries that is about to expire and I cannot pass up free.

This week's menu plan involves leftovers, leftovers and more leftovers. My fridge is full of them. We'll just kind of wing it as I have no specific plan. Oh, and we'll probably go to kids' night at Chick-Fil-A on Tuesday night.

Highlights from last week ...

(1) The Roast Sticky Chicken was divine. Much better than a rotisserie chicken from the store. Plan ahead though ... I made mine 3 days later than planned because I didn't realize it had to marinate in the fridge overnight (after the chicken had thawed) and it cooks for 5 hours in the oven. (This would probably be a better recipe for the fall/winter months.) I had to add a little water to my pan and cover my chicken with foil about half-way through so it wouldn't dry out. It was so good though and totally worth the time.

(2) I found a recipe called Pantry Porkchops and as the name said, I had everything in my pantry to make them (and pork chops in the freezer).

(3) If you have some ripe bananas, try this recipe for Banana-Cinnamon Bundt Cake. (You have to sign in to get the recipe, but it's free.) It was tasty. I would err on the side of less cooking time as mine was a little dry.

(4) Sausage Crescent Roll Casserole ... I might have posted this before, but it is a staple at my girls' scrapbooking weekends. We had it yesterday for Father's Day brunch.

Sausage Crescent Roll Casserole

2 cans crescent rolls
1 (16oz.) pkg. sausage
(8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
2c. shredded cheddar cheese

Spray bottom of 9x13 (or a little smaller) pan. Put 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of baking dish (if you use 9x13, you may have to roll out a little to cover; seal perforations. Brown sausage in skillet and drain. Combine with cream cheese. Spread sausage mixture over layer of crescent rolls. Top with shredded cheddar. Put remaining can of crescent rolls on top. You may want to roll it out to seal perforations before placing on casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cut into squares and serve.

Check out other menu plans here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Sewing Goals

Goals are good. Especially when the birth of your third child is quickly approaching.

Accountability is good too, which is why I am posting my goals for the world to see.

Most of the things I want to finish are works in progress just sitting around in my sewing room. I have a sinking feeling if I don't finish them now, before baby #3 rocks our world, they will be worn by my grandchildren and not my own children. Ha!

(1) Put elastic in waistband and hem shorts. (DONE ... I took all these pictures on Saturday so I have made a little progress since then.) (I love marking things off a list.)

(2) Smocked insert top/ruffled knee-length bloomers for Claire. I love this pink and green together. It screams summer! I just learned how to picture smock in a class I took earlier this month and I am currently obsessed. Plus, it gives me something to do while I sit around and watch TV at night, which is about all I have the energy to do right now.

I have finished smocking the snail since I took this picture. Like I said, I'm currently obsessed. If you want to smock, but think it is too time consuming, do a small picture window insert instead of the full insert. I only had to smock one snail.

I plan on using this pattern: "Hallie" by Bonnie Blue.

(3) Smocked picture window romper for David. I made this outfit in a class last fall. It's a 2T so I knew David wouldn't wear it until end of this summer, early fall. I smocked the insert in the picture smocking class I took. The outfit still needs a finished collar, sleeves and sides/legs sewn up. The hard part, the smocking, is finished though. (As Martha Stewart would say, that is a "good thing".)

A close up of the smocking. I'm pretty proud of my first picture smocking project. By the way, that blue line in the center will wash off with water.

(4) Ava top and skirt for Claire. Isn't this fabric just gorgeous? I think so. I may need to make something for myself out of it! The white fabric is kind of sheer and has white on white stripes in it. Do you think they make this pattern in adult size? They should.

(5) This will be a short romper. How old does that pattern look? Believe it or not, it's still in print! I smoked this insert in September 2008 when we drove to Orlando. Oh my word ... it's about time I did something with it. I hope to make this into a 2T (I can't remember what size I blocked the insert) and it will probably be saved for the baby to grow into since David has more clothes than he needs right now. I might let him model it for you when it is finished though.

(6) This little dress is the Miss Mary pattern by The Handmade Dress. I don't love this dress, but I'm sure it will be cute on. Since the picture, it now has a sash out of the coordinating green fabric tied around the waist. The only thing left to do on this project is add a hook at the side (in case the sash comes untied) and finish the ends of the sash.

(7) and (8) More gorgeous fabric. This will be a round-neck dress for Claire. I have quite a bit of this fabric left over because I wasn't sure what I would use it for when I bought it. I think I am going to try and make a maternity top for myself. I found a free pattern and pattern modification instructions for a super cute top here. (I may need to move this project to the top of my list!)

My goal is to have all of these projects finished by the end of July. (I realize this is pretty unrealistic, but let's roll with it.) Will has promised me some sewing time this weekend while he watches the U.S. Open on television. We'll see how much I get accomplished.

I would like to spend August working on a couple of projects for the baby. Since the baby is not getting a new nursery (he is getting David's old nursery which I still totally love), I felt like I needed to get a few new things for him.

(1) I plan to update the infant carrier that was used by both Claire and David with a new infant car seat cover. (I will be using different fabric.)
(2) Last project is the urban diaper bag. I will probably use the same fabric as the car seat cover, which I need to pick out soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 15

Yesterday was an eventful day in our little world. Let me explain with a list!

(1) Will's company laid off 28% of its employees yesterday. We have known this day was coming for about 6 weeks now and we both really felt at peace about whatever happened. But, as the date approached, we both became much more apprehensive and starting having doubts. Will was supposed to get the call from his boss between 9-9:30 yesterday morning and I was taking Claire to preschool and driving to work during this time. I was about to hypervenhilate in the car!

Well, Will called me at 9:28 and both he and his business partner Chris got to keep their jobs. We were both crying on the phone! Once we finally learned the outcome, we were overcome with emotion.

Both of us had really tried to pray for God's will in this situation. Of course, the comfortable, easy thing would have been for Will to keep his job (especially since we are about to have our 3rd child), but we also knew that if Will lost his job, God would take care of us. He would have bigger and better things in store for us. We were confident in this ... until about 9am yesterday morning. Satan can really use doubt and fear to draw us away from God.

One of Will's favorite versus that he clung to through this ordeal was this ... I Thessalonians 5:16-18: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

A verse that really spoke to me during all this was from Habakkuk 3:16-18: "Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (One of our pastors preached a wonderful sermon about this a few weeks ago, which was very timely for our situation ... God's timing is always perfect.)

We are both relieved and thankful that Will kept his job. But I am also confident that God will always take care of us no matter what our worldly circumstances may be. I am also thankful that we had this opportunity to grow closer to God.

(2) Our dear friends Laura and Courtney welcomed their sweet baby boy Coston into the world yesterday morning.

Here is their family of four, ready to grow to five.

The newest member of the clan ... Coston Heath. That hand sure looks yummy!

I nabbed these pictures off Courtney's FB account. We are so excited to meet baby Coston in person and so excited for this sweet family! Congrats!!

(3) We had some setbacks in the potty training department yesterday. I'll spare you the details, but there were a couple of big accidents in the morning. Fortunately Will (and not me) was home to clean up. After nap, there seemed to be a turn for the better and David was accident free until bedtime. He even used the potty 3-4 times. We'll see how today goes with the sitter!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So Long, Farewell ...

Last Sunday night, we met up with some friends at a local park to say goodbye to the Hawthorne family. We got to eat a picnic dinner, see Little Texas perform and hang out with some great people.

The Hawthornes.

We are so sad to see them go ... they are such a sweet family. We wish them the best as they get settled into their new home in St. Louis. We hope they will find their way back to Tennessee in a few years!

Will's cell phone is always good to entertain the kids when we need them to be still.

Holly, me and Colleen. I have known Holly for years and met Colleen when she moved here through Holly (they went to high school together in Florida).

On the dance floor with the kiddos. Claire was content just to stand there and clap, but David had a grand old time running around the entire dance floor. He was hard to keep up with.

Colleen dancing with some of the girls.

Colleen and Claire. Colleen has been doing Claire's speech therapy for about a year now. Claire is crazy about her! Another reason we are so sad to see them go ...

David and Will ... still playing with the cell phone. Will kept taking pictures of the two of them and David thought it was the grandest thing in the world to look at the picture afterwards.

Claire enjoyed sitting on the picnic blanket with me, drinking a little Diet Coke and listening to the music.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Potty Training: Day 3

Success!!!! Today was a good day. I was home by myself with the kids all day. And we had to make an outing to the YMCA for Claire's swim lesson this afternoon.

David has now figured out that he is not supposed to tee-tee in his underwear. And he can hold it for a good long while. He still just doesn't love going on the potty. He will do it though. Especially if it means he gets to flush the potty when he is finished.

When we potty trained Claire, she was at about the same place on Day 3. She had stopped having accidents at that point, but still wouldn't voluntarily go unless you just sat her on the potty and made her. (Or filled her so full of fluid that she just had to let it out.) It was really on Day 6 that she realized ... hey, Mommy is giving me a Hershey Kiss every time I use the potty ... I'm going to go every 5 minutes and eat a whole bag of chocolate. (After that day, we revised our reward system.)

I have gotten really frustrated with this boy over the past few days. But he is just so sweet and he constantly reminds me of that. Like yesterday, he was playing with Claire's stuffed Mickey Mouse (which he has now claimed as his own) and he was putting Mickey on the little potty and giving him milk to drink from his sippy cup. Then, today, he went a got a sucker from the bowl on the kitchen counter and brought it in to show me. I told him that he could not have a sucker unless he put more tee-tee in the potty. He kind of put his head down and ran off and I got up to chase him. He was running back into the kitchen to put the sucker back in the bowl just like I told him to.

Will gets to stay home with David tomorrow. He is off tomorrow anyway. Hopefully, after that, we can go back to our regular routine, diaper free.

And I promise not to write anymore potty talk.

Day 3 tally: accidents (1); tee-tee in potty (5); poo-poo in potty (1); dry pull-up at YMCA (1).

Menu Plan Monday: June 14-20

Has another week already gone by?? This has been a quick one. It makes me tired to think about planning our menu for the week this week. I'm going to try and make it without going to the grocery store, although I am going to have to swing by for some milk. I'm going to start buying 3 gallons at a time instead of two. We go through a gallon in about 2 days flat and I hate going to the store just for milk because I don't always come home with just milk!

Monday: Roast Sticky Chicken, roasted red potatoes, green beans, breadmachine wheat rolls

Tuesday: Kids' night at Chick-Fil-A

Wednesday: Chicken Crispitos, spanish rice, salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Gail's pork chops & rice, steamed broccoli

Saturday: I think we will eat out this night ... or order pizza. It's too hot to cook!

Sunday: Father's Day ... plans still up in the air with family so I will have to figure this out later in the week.

Check out other menu plans here.