Friday, January 30, 2009

Funny. And serious.

We were driving in the car yesterday morning, and Zachary was pretending to be a baby.

(Background: When I was pregnant with Z, a coworker nicknamed me "pooch" since I had a really cute little pooched out belly. That is, until I hit 22 weeks & couldn't stop from eating...it all went downhill from there. So, Marc decided to continue the tradition of "pooch" when I was pregnant with Kenna--he always told Z "Kenna's in the pooch.")

Back to the story. So Z was pretending to be a baby, then he said "Mom, I was in the pooch when I was a baby just like Kenna was." I said, "Yes, buddy, you were." Then Z said, "Mom, then I got in my helicopter & I flew right out of the pooch!"

I wish it would have been that easy.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Signs of Southernness:

Me, after hearing Z rummage around in the kitchen: "Z-man, whatcha doing over there?"

Z: "Mom, I'm just fixin' ta use the mixer."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Some of Z's favorite new "big boy" things he can do now:
  • He pees standing up. This one is just weird for me. You know, never having stood up to pee & all that. But he sure is proud of it.
  • He drinks from a regular cup all the time.
  • He can get his own spoon of peanut butter. This one--a bit dangerous. Nothing like finding a spoon of peanut butter on the couch when you sit down. Hasn't happened yet, but I can see it coming...
  • He can almost dress himself all the way. And not a moment too soon, as far as I'm concerned.
  • He has such an imagination. He says all the time, "Mom, I'm going to get in my ambulance, and drive to Lowe's (his favorite store), and take back your blue chopper & your white mixer and get a white chopper & a black mixer." First of all....he'd make great time getting to Lowe's. Second....when did this kid learn about returning stuff to the store? I think I've only returned 1 thing in his presence.
  • He can out-talk any girl or woman I know. With real, actual conversation. Marc said yesterday Z woke him up by talking. Marc timed it & Z talked for 6 minutes straight without stopping. And you wonder why I need a few hours off... :)
  • He loves God. He's learned 3 Bible verses (with references)...and can actually tell you how they apply to his life. My favorite is hearing him say, "God loves me SOOO much He sent His Son Jesus. John Free Sixteen." When you think about it, I guess it really is "John Free Sixteen." Doesn't get any "free-er" than that.
  • He knows what ingredients go in whatever we're baking. I asked him, "How do we make chocolate chip cookies?" He says, "Butter, sugar, eggs...then vanilla. Flour...." Have I mentioned how in love I am?
  • When asked what music he'd like to listen to, he chooses from the following: Praise the Lord music (otherwise known as Crystal Lewis "A Joyful Noise" kids CD), Sara Groves (yes, he actually says Sara Groves!), Zachary's music (a concoction of classical music, mostly the soundtrack from the movie Rudy), or Mosh Music (Stavesacre...Christian alternative).

I just know you love him more now that you know all this stuff! Right?

Now I lay me down to sleep...

"...I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

Oh, and God? Please help me remember the following picture in a few years when my brother won't stop tormenting me. Thanks."


He is a beautiful little thing, isn't he? (He was copying me--I use a headband like this when I exercise. You should see him copying me exercise--even funnier!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Let's get real.

I'm on an adventure. A journey, if you will. Come, walk with me.

I think it's gonna be a blast.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

One of our favorite ways to use up zucchini before it goes bad. (Not necessarily the healthiest, though!)

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 c butter or margarine
1/2 c oil
1 & 3/4 c sugar
~~Cream the above well~~
Add 2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sour cream or buttermilk (I also use milk in a pinch)

In a separate bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:
2 & 1/2 c all purpose flour
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Grate 2 medium zucchini (washed & don't peel it); you should end up with around 2 cups grated zucchini.

Add dry ingredients & zucchini alternately to creamed butter/sugar mixture until well blended. Add 1/2 package chocolate chips to batter & mix well.

Pour batter into 9x13 pan. Top with 1/4-1/2 bag chocolate chips. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40-45 min or until toothpick comes out clean.

I often use a 9x9 pan; bake for around 50-60 min, checking often for doneness.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Laugh it up

I'm finally uploading some videos from my new FLIP video camera. It does take awhile to upload, so I've been putting it off.

Here is Marc getting Kenna to laugh a bit.

video

And (if I remember correctly!) this video is of Z getting Kenna to laugh. She's just started laughing in the past few weeks & it's still hit & miss--we never know what's going to tickle her!

video

Friday, January 23, 2009

A good deal

On a whim, I swung by the KARM thrift store on the way home today. Look at this! A beautiful, 3-story dollhouse for my daughter (complete with pieces, including that cool grand piano at Z's left):


(I say daughter because my son is pictured here. Cut him some slack--it's a new toy. Anyone would be excited. Plus someone has to play with it til Kenna gets older, right?)

And check out that price tag: $9.99! I believe this originally retailed for somewhere around $65-$70. Even better: When I got up to the checkout, they had me draw a ticket for a % off my bill for a customer appreciation event they were having. Boy, was I appreciative--I got a 25% discount! So this beauty cost me a whole $7.50.
Just had to share that great deal with all of you! Thanks for indulging me.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kielbasa Soup

I'm participating in a Comfort Food recipe swap over at Life as Mom. Head over there & check out some of the recipes!

This is probably my hubby's most favorite thing that we eat. It's one of the few soup recipes that I cook all through the year & not just during the fall/winter. Hope you enjoy!

Kielbasa Soup (makes 6 servings)

1/2 lb fully cooked kielbasa, diced
6 med potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 c frozen corn
1 can chicken broth (about 2 cups)
1 celery rib, sliced
2 carrots, peeled & sliced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tsp minced fresh parsley)

In a large saucepan, brown kielbasa, drain. Set kielbasa aside. In the same pan, combine potatoes, corn, broth, celery, carrot & seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add milk, cheese, parsley and kielbasa. Cook & stir over low heat until cheese is melted & soup is heated through. (Be careful not to boil after adding cheese/milk or the cheese will separate.)

This is actually the first time I have looked at the recipe card in a really long time. I usually just use however much of each of these ingredients I have on hand & I always make a double batch because it goes fast. It's a really flexible recipe!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A few links...

  • I love these posts about helping me to deal with my 3 year old... Learning with Preschoolers and Activities to Try with Preschoolers from Keeper of the Home
  • My new favorite blog: Joy the Baker. Seriously, people. If you like food even a little, you're going to love this. I have so many new recipes to try...oh, and the pictures!!!
  • Two more of my favorite websites: Life as Mom and Simple Mom. If you don't put anything else in your blog reader, these are the ones!
  • If you're bored, or your children are bored, or your husband is bored....well, this is the one for you. Provides plenty of entertainment! A Lego A Day
  • Two new recipes I can't wait to try from Pioneer Woman: Crash Hot Potatoes and Cinnamon Rolls

I could go on and on, but I won't. Gotta get supper finished up! (oh, and I've been collecting these over weeks, ok? this is not the result of my web browsing for today...otherwise my kids would be dirty & hungry & tired!)

And another thing...if you like any of these, let me know, would you? I know it's easy to lurk & not comment, but comments are SO fun!! You can always comment anonymously.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sweet Apples

Wash

Peel

Cut

Chomp, chomp, chomp

"Mom, let me see your apples." (Mom opens mouth.)

"Wanna see my apples?" (Son opens mouth.)

~~Sweet moments only a mother can appreciate.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Biggest Loser makes me weepy

Although, I think I was weepy before I started watching the Biggest Loser. Unusual, since I'm never weepy unless I'm pregnant. And no, I'm not pregnant. I'm like 99% sure.

I struggle. Just wanted to put that out there. Sometimes you can look at other blogs & think "man, they seem to have it all together--why can't I be more like her?" I've decided a little reality check is in order. It's natural to want to put your best face forward. But sometimes, it's good to let your guard down. To let people know that it's not always perfect. My laundry is usually never caught up, I leave the dishes in the sink til morning (gasp), and yes, I am that woman who cleans her bathrooms a few minutes before guests arrive. I hope I haven't disappointed you.

But the truth is, what I want my children to remember about me is not that the house was always clean or that they never had to search for clean socks, but that I was always available to play with them, read stories, go outside. I'm not the best at this...dirty dishes often win over a cuddle on the couch, and sometimes I do mumble "yeah, that was so cool!" without looking when my son says "Mom, watch this!" for the hundredth time that day. But I'm trying, and learning, and growing every day to be a better mom.

**beep, beep beep**We interrupt this broadcast to let you know that the author of this blog is now feeling 105% better. We now return to your regular programming.**beep, beep beep**

I just had the most wonderful video conversation (if you can call laughing your heads off a conversation) with my sisters via Tokbox. Nothing like a few smiles across the smiles to make all the weepiness disappear forever. And a surprise chainsaw...

My deepest apologies to all you women out there with no sisters. There's just nothing like it in the whole, wide world.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yesterday

A few pictures to round out our week. Well, it just rounds out yesterday. :) Our week was a little crazy with a virus that went around, but thankfully we're all feeling better. Kenna is cutting her first tooth, though. Poor baby!



Z playing around with our suitcase. I really need to put it back in the closet since we haven't gone anywhere after our Christmas trip. But, hey, at least it's unpacked, right?

Doesn't he look SO huge & grown up here? I'm wishing I could freeze time...

Kenna Boo having tummy time. She is getting so strong! She hasn't been smiling too much since she started teething, so this is the best we get. So stonefaced...



Z got these stickers from a birthday party he attended last week. I left the room for a minute & came back to find him doing this:



She's just looking at me as if to say, "Make him stop, Mom!"






Saturday, January 3, 2009

K girls come to visit

I got to spend a day with my mom & sisters...it was awesome!

Here's one of Kenna finally sitting in her Bumbo. I think it's cute how she's got her arm resting on the side like it's an armchair!



Kenna chatting it up with Grandma Memere...love all those smiles!


Kenna enjoys her first time coloring with Grandma. She really held the crayon by herself. Gotta love that grasping reflex that babies have! I think this picture is one worth framing.



Zach got bored while we were coloring, so he hid in the mountain of dirty laundry and said he was "taking a nap." Funny how he doesn't want to take a nap when it's really time...


My friend sent the kids these "Cozy Cookies" for Christmas. My kids just love them! Here, we caught Kenna on camera getting some use out of Zachary's! Z named his "Fred" and my mom called Kenna's "Ginger."

Here is the fruit of our coloring labor....I wish you could see these in person, they're too cool!


My sister Katie with Kenna--a great picture!


And Katie with both kids--another framer.








On the eve

I think we're on our way to having more established New Years' traditions than Christmas traditions! :) I've decided that it's just okay.

Here's a cute picture of Kenna talking/laughing to Marc...I love how big her smiles are now! Marc said he's going to start calling her "Patches" since her baby hair is falling out in chunks. She sure looks funny & probably will until the new blond hair grows in!

Baby feet. They're just too cute!

On New Year's Eve, we always have appetizers for dinner and chocolate fondue. Yummy! This year, we added a new tradition that I saw on Life as Mom: A cake to celebrate the birth-day of the New Year. FishMama also has lots of great ideas on this post to help us celebrate New Year's with kids. I can't wait to try the Garlic-Brie Bread next year...
Zachary was SUPER excited to make this cake, even more excited about the numbers on it, and unbelievably more excited about blowing out the candles all by himself. I think we may have some trouble when Kenna is able to understand...hopefully he'll be better at sharing then!



White Christmas

So Christmas Eve night, we decided to be crazy & drive to see some of our old friends, Dave & June & kids, in Naperville/south Chicago...we left at 9:30 Christmas Eve night after attending our first Christmas Eve service ever and enjoying a wonderful meal with some friends. We drove all through the night, the kids did awesome, and we made it there in 8 hours! With the time change, we ended up waking our friends at 4:30 am...poor Dave & June! Their kids slept til 8 but we woke them so early.

**Side note: Marc & I have been, um, "discussing" the commencement of yearly Christmas traditions for our family. Since we've been married, we've never done the same thing every year, and I wanted to start establishing some small traditions now that we have kids. He graciously agreed to them...but since we decided to drive to IL at the last minute, the only one we squeaked in was attending the Christmas Eve service. Guess the joke's on me. Maybe our holiday tradition is to not have any traditions & to be spontaneous?

I was a horrible mom & didn't take the usual "opening the presents" pictures. But at least I got a few of our friends & the kids later that day.

This is our new "Grandpa" holding Kenna. (Grandpa is June's Dad....he was a breath of fresh air. We SO enjoyed getting to meet him and he felt like family to us!)


Marc pulling Zachary on the sled. He kept asking to go outside every half hour. He loves the snow! It rained the day after Christmas & didn't stop...we followed the rain all the way home to TN a few days later. We were glad that we didn't miss the snow & that Z got to have another White Christmas!

Dave/June's daughter, Lydia, holding Kenna. She was such a sweet babysitter (so was her brother Micah), and she made that hat she's wearing with a cool knitting kit she got for Christmas. She graciously allowed me to make one, too--it was so fun! I think I'd like to make knitting my new hobby. After I finish all the other half-completed hobbies over the last 4 years...

We are so thankful for our friends & for the great, relaxing Christmas we had with them!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Whole Thing

Well, Happy New Year! I guess that has to be said since this is the first day of the year, and that's the kind of thing that just can't be skipped over. I certainly am glad it's a New year. I always like a chance to start over, make things better, see some change in my life.

I'm not one to make "resolutions" per se, but at every New Year I do like to look at where I am and where I'm going, and where I should be going if I'm not headed the right direction. You can't really figure out what needs to change until you take a good, hard look at where you really are.

And, frankly, I don't like what I see. I mean, yes, there are some good things I've done, and hard places I've walked through, and I've "kept the faith," and all that. But I think that 2009 for me is going to be a year of personal change. A year where I really let the Lord do in me what He's been dying (and died) to do years ago.

Hard things like Forgiveness, True Love, "It's not about me," and more along that line. I'm extremely tired of looking at myself in the mirror and seeing me with glimpses of Christ. I want to see Christ and only Him. I want Him to have my heart, all of it. To be truly yielded...

I took a marriage "class" in my weekly mom's group this fall. Thinking, I'm sure somewhere deep down (if I'm really honest with myself), that I've really got it all together and all the things I don't like about my marriage have nothing to do with me & everything to do with my spouse needing to change. Talk about needing to look in the mirror...! :)

But I'm convinced what really happened is what needed to happen all along, and thankfully, what the Lord knew....that I need to change. I need to be broken, I need to love unconditionally, I need to change, I need to pray more, I need to love bigger, I should give a little more and take a little less.

I realized that I don't know if I've truly loved anyone unselfishly in my entire life. Everything I've ever done, even in the name of Love, has been for Me. Deep down, I can admit that. And now that I know where I'm starting (at the bottom!), I know where I can begin again. Loving with no thought to how much love I'll get in return. Giving with no thought of what I will get back.

I'll leave you with the words to a song that hit me over the head like a 2x4 this morning:

Loving A Person
by Sara Groves and Gordon Kennedy

Loving a person just the way they are, it's no small thing
It takes some time to see things through
Sometimes things change, sometimes we're waiting
We need grace either way

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

There's a lot of pain in reaching out and trying
It's a vulnerable place to be
Love and pride can't occupy the same spaces baby
Only one makes you free

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

If we go looking for offense
We're going to find it
If we go looking for real love
We're going to find it

Loving the person just the way they are, it's no small thing
It's the whole thing


"Only one makes you free..."