Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Babies & other links

Maybe soon there will be a time in my life when things don't revolve around babies. But for now, this is my life, so this is what I think about. (Plus when you're so pregnant that turning over in bed becomes a 12-point turn, it makes it hard NOT to think about babies!)

Anyway, my point is that my blogging eye is drawn to these types of posts most often. I love recipe posts too, and this one combines the two. I was drawn to this blog simply because I can't imagine coming up with 365 meals/uses for my crockpot. I am really inspired by this post about making baby food in the crockpot--I can't wait to try it!

Elizabeth talks about setting boundaries for Time Online--this post really caused me to stop and think. Coming from full-time paid work to being a stay at home (and always working!) mommy, it has still been hard for me to "turn it off," so to speak, and just BE with my son or BE in my home taking care of things. It is so easy just to hide away at the computer...a friend & I have been chatting about this and how easy it is to become addicted to checking email or blogs or just plain spending time online when you could/should be doing something else. So this post came just in time! I am definitely going to be pondering this one....and making some hard decisions to keep myself accountable. (I'm sure that having a newborn will help make some of these decisions for me, though!)

And for all you married women out there (or soon to be), check out this post: 12 Things You Should Not Do to Your Husband. After almost 9 years, I definitely still need reminders about how to keep my hubby happy and how to respect him more. I have lots to chew on this week!

While I know I will be limiting my time online in some fashion, I am also so thankful for the internet. Most of the blogs that I subscribe to or visit from time to time are written by Godly women who are seeking the same things I am, and it is so helpful to stay in touch with what others are doing or facing. Just have to keep an eye on the time....

Monday, August 25, 2008

There's just nothing like...

...nothing like watching your son enjoy his first Reese's cup, all to himself. He kept pointing to the peanut butter part & saying, "Look, there's the peanut butter again!" after every bite!
I wonder if God enjoys us experiencing new tastes & sensations (physically, emotionally, spiritually) as much as I as a mom enjoy watching my son experience new things. He probably enjoys it so much more than I do because He knows what else He has created that we can't even imagine yet!
But, sometimes, you just can't imagine that anything could be better than a Reese's cup.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If you love blueberry muffins...

You will LOVE this recipe for Yummy Blueberry Breakfast Cake. I posted a week ago that I was going to try this on my family. We had it this morning & I can tell you, it is Wonderful with a capital W.

It was super easy to put together and smells awesome coming out of the oven, too. Marc didn't have time to eat it before work since it took a few extra minutes to bake, but he took one with him. He said he wished he would have taken half the pan with him, it was that good. :)

The only thing I did differently was cook it a few minutes longer, almost 30 minutes. The middle didn't seem to be done enough at 25 minutes.

I love that there is no muffin pan to wash, you can cut the cake into whatever size you want, and no spooning equal portions into the muffin pan either. Can you tell I liked it? :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Links to love

Here's a great reminder to all the moms in my season of life that it's okay not to have it all together--Crystal from Biblical Womanhood shares with us. This really helps me, as this week I have literally felt run over by a Mac truck, Z has taken 1 nap out of 3 days, and Marc hasn't been feeling well either. Not much housework getting done here. :)

Here's one for a good laugh. I can definitely see this happening in my house!

I guess I'm out of links for now....I'm out of steam too, ready for bed.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A new perspective

So I was feeling sad the other day.

Last night I had an opportunity for a Girls' Night Out--always fun since I rarely get to leave the house after 8 pm due to hubby's work schedule. A bunch of us got together for some great Mexican food, desserts, and spa treatments. Janna even painted my toenails for me! Super sweet, since I can barely reach them anymore! (They look so cute, I wore dressy sandals out to dinner tonight instead of my usual sneakers.)

But my favorite part of the night was when I got to share my stories. About how God led us to move to TN, how He led us to the right high-risk OB office, how He surprised us with this baby when we had given up on expanding our family. How He provided answers to all the "why" questions we faced with our losses. How He redeemed what the enemy meant for evil and made it turn into good.

I love getting to share what God has done in my life through these trials. I really feel like a different person because of what we have been through, and I know it is only because of His grace. My mind wanders to that popular song on the radio right now "Your Grace is Enough" by Chris Tomlin--I just love the line at the end "Your grace is enough, heaven reaching down to us..."

On another quite humorous note, Marc & I took Z to a new playground after dinner tonight. I was all dressed up in my jeans & cute dressy sandals & pink toes....sitting on the bench because when your belly weighs 500 lbs, that's what you do at the playground.

This family was there, and the adults of the family sitting under the pavilion were clearly "under the influence" of some sort of liquid concoction, disguised in McDonald's large soda cups. The uncle of these kids who was probably only in his 20s comes up to me as Marc & Z are chasing each other around. He starts asking me how far along I am and whether Z was my son, etc. He's about 6 feet away from me & I can smell the alcohol...

Now I wouldn't consider myself to be a bad looking woman, but neither would I describe myself as "hot..." Especially now, in my 33 week pregnant condition. As a matter of fact, I had to rustle up one of the 3 (count 'em, 3) shirts in my closet that cover this massive stomach just so I would look decent enough to be out in public with my hubby. But this clearly drunk man is looking me over as if I am America's Next Top Model. Poor guy...

I don't know whether to laugh my head off or feel complimented. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A moment to ponder

I'm feeling a little sad this afternoon. This Friday was the due date of our last little baby that didn't make it...though I know I'll be giving birth to my precious Kenna in (hopefully) 7 weeks or less, I still think about the four little ones we've lost who are already in heaven being held by Jesus.

It's a hard feeling to explain to those who have never been in our place. Yet in a way, I would never wish that anyone would truly understand because to do that means they would have had to go through the pain we went through as well.

I look at pictures of children of family & friends & think, "oh, this one would be this age by now"...and though I know our losses were early ones, the wondering about these children of ours will probably never end for me--whether girl/boy, what kind of personality they would have, how much joy they would have added to our lives. There is no way to know these things in earth's realm. But I am comforted by this:

The Scripture says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Ps 139:13-16)

I know that each of these precious children were thought about in the mind of God before they were conceived and were ordained to be a part of our lives for however short a time. All His works are wonderful...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Menu planning & grocery budgeting

Some of you have asked how I keep my grocery budget so low. Menu planning is my #1 tool to keep my grocery budget in line. I do stray every now & then but I really try hard to keep within my $200/month for groceries, toiletries, & diapers. (I do get a little help from WIC with milk, eggs, cheese, cereal--and I am so grateful to the state of TN for this help, but using sale prices this would probably only add about $80/month to my budget--still not too bad considering milk here is $5/gallon!)

I also plan my menus the week of grocery shopping (which I only do on paydays or twice a month) using the grocery store ads so I can maximize my shopping dollars and also be sure that I leave enough room to stock up on something I may be running low on.

So, here is my menu plan to get us through Aug 29th for your viewing pleasure. Many of these recipes are ones I have in my head or have used so many times I no longer look at the recipe, but I can certainly dig them out if anyone would like! Just leave me a comment.

This week through Saturday:
  • Veggie stir-fry and fried rice (using leftover rice from last night's dinner)
  • Kielbasa, fried potatoes, and green beans
  • Beef vegetable soup (in the crockpot since Friday is shopping day), bread
  • Grilled cheese/tomato soup (Sat lunch)
  • Hamburgers on the grill, homemade french fries, corn on the cob

The next 2 weeks (in random order--I usually decide that morning what to make from my list):

  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, veggies
  • Corn & potato chowder, garlic cheese biscuits
  • Kielbasa & veggie soup (Marc's favorite), bread
  • Spaghetti & Dad's homemade meatballs (I make extra meatballs & freeze), veggies
  • Stuffed shells, salad, bread
  • Chef Boyardee cheese pizza, veggies
  • Hotdogs on the grill, french fries, veggies or fruit
  • Italian sausage sandwiches with peppers/onions, pasta salad
  • Chicken noodle soup (using this homemade chicken broth recipe), cornbread
  • BBQ chicken breasts, rice, veggies
  • Chicken fajitas, mexican rice
  • Chicken nuggets, french fries, veggies
  • Pinto beans & rice, cheese quesadillas

Most of my meals take from 30 min-1 hr to make and I try to have most of my preparation done before I even start cooking. If I'm making soup, I try to have all my veggies cut up before lunch to make it easier. I also try to plan ahead--if I'm having rice one night and fried rice later in the week, I just make extra rice the first night so I don't have to cook rice twice. Or I shred whole blocks of cheese at once & keep in the fridge, etc.

For breakfasts, Z & I typically have cereal or toast with maybe fruit or yogurt if it's on sale. Marc eats cereal or his favorite, egg sandwiches. 2 Saturdays a month we splurge & have cinnamon rolls and bacon/sausage for breakfast & most Sundays we eat southern buttermilk biscuits with honey or jelly--yummy!

I've found a few breakfast ideas I'll be trying out these next few weeks that just sound great to me. One is Yummy Blueberry Breakfast Cake and the other is Baked Oatmeal (which is enticing since you bake the oatmeal in a large pan & then just reheat throughout the week--I hate to cook oatmeal!)

Lunches are typically leftovers for all of us, with the occasional pasta/sauce or mac-n-cheese thrown in the mix, depending on what's on hand & what's on sale. PB&J is always a plus, too!

This week in shopping, I'll probably go over my $100 a little because I just stocked up on diapers for the new little one at CVS & Walgreens. I put everything away already otherwise I'd take a picture for you, but here's a look at what I got:

Walgreens (total $13.91 including tax):

  • 2 bags of Hershey Kisses (to replace the ones my hubby ate while I was gone!), $2.00 ea, $4 total
  • 4 packs BIC pens, free after coupons
  • Scott toilet paper, 4 pack, $.99 after coupons
  • 2 packages size 1 Walgreens brand diapers (56 diapers each pack), $6.98 for both packs (that's $3.49 each pack--ask me how I did this!)

CVS (total around $16 incl tax after sale prices & extra care bucks used):

  • 2 packages Huggies newborn diapers (40 diap each pk), $7.99 each after coupons
  • 1 Johnson/Johnson baby wash, $1.99 after coupon
  • 1 J/J baby lotion, $1.99 after coupon
  • 1 CVS chapstick (free gift)
  • 1 CVS q-tips, $1.50

I used $7 extra care bucks but gained $5 back. I usually hate to spend this much at CVS but it just couldn't be avoided this trip--I had to use some coupons & extra bucks before they expired & let's face it--we'll need diapers at some point.

Hope you enjoyed a look into meals at our house. I'm tired now, so heading to bed!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Starting the day off right

Psalm 119:32-37

"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word."

I completely embraced this passage for ME this morning--lately with all the changes and traveling in my life, my quiet time has steadily become less and less each day. It leaves me feeling empty, knowing why, yet for some reason I had not made the effort to feed my soul again.

Wow, this passage is like a cry right from my heart--like I just want to be taught all over again. I'm sitting at your feet again, Lord, listening to You. Speak to me Your life-giving Words and fill my soul again.

If you have a few free minutes, log onto my "myspace" page and listen to the song I have on there. It's a new one from Kari Jobe (not even on a CD yet) and is ministering so powerfully to me this morning. Here are the lyrics:

Sweep Me Away© Kari Jobe

Father I love Your ways
You came in your mercy, and died in my place
All I can do is bow
Because of Your mercy
And Your sovereign Grace

Sweep me away
Sweep me away in Your Love
Where nothing else matters(2x)

Tears rolling down my face
Because of your loveand your sweet embrace
The peace that just overflows
It’s here that I know
You have been waiting to

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Changes upstairs...

Me & Kenna at 32 weeks. I'm farther out here than I was with Z at delivery...haven't gained as much weight but I'm so much bigger!

What do you think? Is it a little boy's room?....

Or a little girl's room?

Or a guest bedroom? (bed not made)

Or maybe it's all 3? :) Z has a new big boy bed now. No more fire engine toddler bed--we just didn't have the room for it, plus the crib, plus the queen bed in our 2nd bedroom. And since we only have 2 bedrooms, something had to go. Thankfully, he is not too sad about it and in fact, is very protective of his "new" bed (which is really just a twin mattress on the floor right now til we get the rest of it). When we try to get on it, he says "get out. Please." Hilarious!

I posted his fire engine bed on craigslist, thinking it might take up to a week to sell...the post went up around 9:00 pm, it was sold by 10:00 pm, and I already had to turn someone else down a few minutes ago! These people are serious about their craigslist stuff! I'm just glad it will be off our hands by tomorrow & we'll have a little extra cash.

I also feel much better knowing the crib is set up and we have her carseat at least here at the house (as opposed to our storage unit), just in case she decides to come earlier than we think. I must have done a little too much today (had a few contractions), so now I'm "resting" at the computer. Don't worry, they stopped. Plus my hubby has ordered me to rest the rest of the night--he is so good to me!

A few more pics

At my old church (Life Church)...Jacque took this picture b/c of my belly & Celina's belly (we're both pregnant). When we looked at the picture, we laughed at Celina's hubby's belly poking out & then realized there was another pregnant woman in the same row!

Jacque & Z enjoying the great Wisconsin weather:

Very patriotic!

I just thought this was hilarious! At the Madison Farmers Market (which was awesome, by the way!)...this guy was really into selling his honey. I wonder where he got this hat?

A boy + his mom = LOVE!

Baby shower!

Getting measured for one of my shower games...

It was a humbling experience! This is my measurement (in inches) at 30 weeks 5 days.

It was great to see lots of friends at my shower, and I was so surprised to even be having a shower--thanks so much, Celina & Erica!

Midwestern beauty

This pic was taken at one of the many parks that Jacque & Z visited:

I just love the sign that says "Please keep off the stone fence" and here he is climbing it!

Looks like a postcard, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Faces and feet

Well, we had our monthly ultrasound today. She is growing well but is still disappointing us with her bad positioning. The last 3 ultrasounds I've had she's been laying face up and we get horrible pictures of her, you know, those "skeleton" looking ones that don't even look like a baby? Our drs office does the 3D ultrasounds but we still don't have one since she never cooperates. Guess she wants her face to be a real surprise!

But, she's doing great otherwise. I was able to confirm her position (which I'd guessed due to all the poking & prodding the last few weeks)--she is head down with her knees on the top right side of my belly and both her feet on the top left side of my belly. She likes to push HARD and tries to stretch out a lot...needless to say that is not too comfortable, but it's so fun to feel her moving & touch her little feet from the outside.

Her weight today was 4 lb 4 oz and she measured right on target, so all is good. I have to start my weekly visits now for non-stress tests and ultrasound to measure the amniotic fluid. I can't believe we're getting this close!

We also got to take a tour of the hospital we'll be having her at, which was nice since we had only been there for Marc's lithotripsy surgery in January and had no clue where the OB unit was or anything. It is so nice and every room is private, which is a luxury we did not have with Z. We also got to peek at some of the babies in the nursery. One of the nurses brought a little boy over to the window so we could see. Z looked over and said "mommy, there's baby kenna!" It was so sweet....but we had to tell him "not yet!" He is so anxious to see his little sister! (as are Marc & I)

Normally I'd post an ultrasound pic at this point, but.....really, it's not even worth scanning. It's half her face with her balled up fist on the other side. You can't even tell it is supposed to be a face. It makes me so anxious to see her! Maybe next week she'll cooperate!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Catching up on life.

About every 3-4 hours I think of something to blog about, but just haven't had the time to sit down & do it. We got home from our WI trip on Friday night, spent Sat & Sun with Marc (which was wonderful!), and then started off our week with a bang by barely being home at all Mon & Tues. Today we've been hanging out at home in our pjs doing some housework and snuggling and napping. Ahhhh....

I really enjoyed my 2 weeks of working, but I'm so so glad to be back to my full time "mom and wife" job. The workload is about the same, but the stress load is much greater when I was working and then had to come back to the hotel, think about dinner, snuggle with my son, put him to bed, etc. By 8:30 I was ready to sleep and then had to start it all over again. I definitely DO NOT miss working full time, at least at this toddler/pregnancy stage of my life. And I have to give major props to all the single parents out there--don't know how you do it!

I know I posted about seeing the Dalai Lama in WI, but we also had something else happen that was really cool! We went out to eat at PF Changs one night in Middleton, WI and noticed a really big crowd next door at the Quaker Steak & Lube (a wings place)--lots of motorcycles and a stage was set up. We thought it was just one of those "things" going on & didn't really pay any attention until we noticed that lots of people were wearing those cool bright blue "Extreme Home Makeover" t-shirts. Then we realized that Paige from the "show" had just walked out of PF Changs right as we were going in, and we didn't even recognize her until we saw all the shirts. They were having some kind of auction thing to benefit either a charity or the family they were helping that week. I had heard they were in town, because Melissa (who I worked for the last few weeks) had mentioned that the Extreme H.M. team was playing a baseball game at a local field against the city team. How funny that both the Dalai Lama and Extreme Home Makeover were in the same 10 mile area of Wisconsin that we were in at the same time!

Better go get dinner going, but more stories & pics to come!