Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Summer Meal Ideas

Sometimes when it is hot outside, I don't feel like eating heavy winter casseroles, but it is so much easier to have something to put together beforehand or at least something very quick. Here are some things we have been loving.

BLTA's+ your fish of choice (I usually use wild salmon, but I have some yellowfin to try this week; oh, and the "A" stands for avocado) I know this sounds boring, but with some good bread and good quality bacon, it is very yummy.

Pasta salad dishes (we do a take on a Caesar salad: romaine, chicken, tomato, feta, and Caesar dressing tossed with penne pasta, or try penne with a homemade dressing of balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil, chopped fresh basil and cilantro or parsley, then toss with some arugula, tomatoes, and a grilled NY strip sliced on top. Top with a little Parmesan and you have pasta salad Giada style.)

Salads: We love mixed baby greens with chopped mango, avocado, blueberries, feta, and topped with pan seared tuna. I found a blueberry pomegranate vinaigrette that is so good with this one.

We love to grill. We will pick up whatever meat is on special and grill it with veggies (we love onions, pepper, mushrooms, asparagus, corn on the cob, and zucchini)

This casserole is great, not too heavy and so easy. I double the chicken stock and flour to give a little more sauce http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1634749

I tried a zucchini bread recipe recommended by Taylor, and it was a big hit. You can find it http://www.stonyfield.com/Recipes/recipe.cfm?RecipeID=69

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas for dinner next week!
I was tagged earlier this week by Taylor, and I finished my list and posted it, and somehow it ended up under the walking video. So, as I am sure you are all dying to know my answers, I thought I would fill you in that you need to scroll down a tad.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Funny Micah Sayings

Today while riding in the car with Dada, Micah says from nowhere "Thank you Jesus for Owen and Dylie Bop...they are good babies. And Oliver, he's an awesome baby too!

Tonight at dinner, Micah bit his cheek :( and in between cries, he said "want a sucker to fix your mouth?!" very hopefully. He's so good at manipulation; part of me wanted to jump up and get a sucker. Reason kicked in, and we took a bite of watermelon instead!

Walking

video

My List

So I was "tagged" by a friend: here is my list

what was i doing 10 years ago?

Struggling. I was a new believer trying to figure out how to live a life pleasing to God, while I was still screwing up all the time. I was learning about God's grace, and feeling a lot like the words in Romans 7:13-20. I wanted to be so done with high school, and "start over," so to speak, in a new place.

5 things on my to-do list:
1. make dinners for two families with new babies
2.catch up on my scrapbooks
3. make a grocery list for meals next week (chicken enchiladas, Italian paninis with prosciutto and mozzerella, and find a couple more)
4. swiffer the hardfloors, vacuum the stairs (always on the list)
5. Read

5 snacks i enjoy:
1. Stacy's pita chips (cinnamon sugar, and bare naked) I like the naked ones with jalepeno or sun dried tomato humus
2. pretzels and honey mustard
3. anything chocolate
4. smoothies
5. ice cream

5 things i would do if i were a billionaire:
1. Give to my church, RUF, which had a huge impact on my life, find a few missionaries to support, etc.
2. adopt a bunch of kids (Matt and I always say we would have 10-12 if he could stay home to help and I could have a maid and cook!)
3. Pay off all student loan debt and invest wisely, so we would never HAVE to work again. (we might want to one day when all 12 of our babies are grown!)
4. Buy a huge plot of land and build some custom houses for close friends and family, complete with pool, playground, walking trail, and pond (gotta have ducks for Micah!)
5. Travel lots (Europe, South Pacific, South America, and on and on)


5 bad habits
1. obsess about cleaning the house
2. pick my toenails (yuck!)
3. manipulate (thats where Micah gets it, I don't even know I am doing it half the time)
4. skip breakfast (I hate this one, because then I get a headache around 11. I am trying at least to scarf down some cereal with Micah or drink a smoothie.
5. eat snacks at 10:30 or 11:00 PM (that is what skipping breakfast will do: make you hungry at night

5 places i have lived:
1. Memphis, TN
2. Little Rock, AR
3. Auburn, AL
4. Nashville, TN (currently)
[...I only have 4]

5 jobs i've had or have:
1. Bogey's golf and games (I did birthday parties for little kids and traded the tickets from ski ball and stuff for lots of really "cool" prizes)
2. Waited tables at the American Cafe and Houston's
3. Harry and David (sales clerk during holidays)
4. Babysat/Nanny
5. Tutored privately and at a place for learning disorders

i want to know more about [a nice way of saying "you're tagged"]:
1. Annie Harralson
2. Allison Stephens
3.Meg Wingfield

Friday, April 25, 2008

Walking


Matt and I realized the other day, that we haven't tried to really help Owen understand that he can walk. He had the ability, we saw him cruise around the furniture, stand on his own, and walk behind a push toy; he is just a little top heavy with his large head and small body making it a challenge to keep his balance. Funny, Micah was the exact same way, and on Tuesday, we taught Owen that he could indeed take steps on his own, the exact same way. We got some of his favorite treats (Ellie's bone, fruit snacks, and a sing along book) and put them on the ottoman (a cushioned, stable surface.) Then, we would back him up and let him take a couple of steps and fall into the ottoman. We all got a big kick out of it, even Micah. Of course, he was jumping from his highest surface yet (the coffee table) to make sure we were still proud of him too. So, Tuesday was the day Owen officially took some steps. Wednesday, however, I think it dawned on him that walking isn't just for big people, he can do it too; and he wanted to. He would pull up on everything, get a ready look on his face and begin toddling toward one of us, laughing the whole way. He started getting a little too brave for the hard floor though, so we spent most of yesterday in the carpeted playroom. He is so proud of himself. I would venture to say that in a couple of weeks, he will have the whole walking thing down. I know his knees will appreciate the break. Right now, they are covered in bruises and scrapes from crawling around outside. I guess with walking come bigger falls and bigger scrapes, but don't you love those summer knees? It just wouldn't be the same without scrapes and bruises. I am even getting my fair share (and no, I don't love summer knees on me, I just think it is cute on little ones.) Hopefully, I will have some better pictures and video clips soon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Good Quote From A Good Book

I am reading a book right now by Elisabeth Elliot called The Shaping of a Christian Family. It is somewhat of a memoir of her childhood, and the way her parents strove to raise their children in a way that was pleasing to the Lord. I am enjoying reading it, and I found this to be a good quote. She says that "a father's submission to a Heavenly Father means submission to the needs of his children, in other words, sacrifice and humble service, always the conditions of Godlike authority." She then quotes Martin Luther:

Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, "Alas! Must I rock the baby? wash its diapers? make its bed? smell its stench? stay at nights with it? take care of it when it cries? heal its rashes and sores? and on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this, and take care of that? do this and do that? and endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?"
What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says "O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock this little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving they creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly I will do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight."

Let us not be like the world and seek only our own pleasure, but let us rejoice in the privilege of serving our children, whom the Lord has lent to us for such a short time!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The New Water Table ,etc.








I thought I would do a post on some of Owen's new birthday presents. When our families asked what to get Owen, we had to brainstorm. Thanks to all our generous friends and families, our boys have any toy they could want and tons of adorable clothes. Owen did need some shoes, as his feet are quite a bit smaller than Micah's were at his age, and he is trying to walk now (got to protect those tootsies outside!) He loves his shoes. He will crawl over to the shoe box and pull them out, and even tries to put them on himself. I mentioned this in the birthday post, but my mom got him some Umis for prewalkers. They still have the soft sole for their growing feet, but have rubber circles placed along the sole so that they can still wear them outside. They seem very comfy and I give them an A+. He also got some Toms shoes from Matt's parents (I got the idea from the Browns). I visited the website, and for every pair that you buy, they will give a pair to a child in need of a good pair of shoes. Check out this video if you get a chance http://youtube.com/tomsshoes They are adorable; I think we will ask for a matching pair for Micah in June. He does not quite fit in them yet because we ordered a size too big, in hopes that he would be walking better when they do fit. We also asked for toys to play with outside. We have the big swing set, but Owen isn't quite ready to play on anything but the swing. Aunt Maggie got him a bubble lawnmower. Micah was happy to show him how to use it! Matt's parents got him a water table made by Step 2, and the boys LOVE it. Owen did not stop laughing the whole time we were outside yesterday. He loved splashing and watching Micah scoop and pour the water. Today, he learned to scoop it himself and had a blast imitating his big brother.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Zoo #2






So, we took our second family trip to the zoo yesterday. I took the boys once by myself, and it is not so easy to take pictures when I am trying to keep up with both boys. It was gorgeous outside and we had fun walking around looking at a few animals. Micah was a fan of the meerkats this time. They really are quite fascinating animals. One will stand as the lookout while the others run about. When they sense a threat to the rest of the group (it was an airplane yesterday), they will signal with a bark and the others will dive in their holes on command. They won't come back out until the lookout of the group signals that it is safe. So, there you have it: your science lesson for the day! Owen also got to take his first ride on the carousel (not in my arms). He was a bit scared at first, but once he saw how much fun we were all having, he joined in with his smiles and giggles. You might be able to notice Owen's haircut under his visor. I wasn't planning on getting his haircut yet, but I figured I may as well knock it out while I was getting Micah's done. I didn't even have my camera, but sometimes you just have to take care of business. He did fine after we snagged him a cherry dum dum. He forgot all about the scissors once he tasted the sugar! He looks so handsome and more and more like Micah with his new do!

What's the Deal?

Ok, so I know many of you moms out there are up at 7 with your little darlings, but I am happy to say mine don't get up until at least 8. So you can imagine how sad/angry I am when the construction crews show up on my street at the crack of dawn. They aren't just working on my street though, they are jackhammering my driveway for Pete's sake! If I wasn't in my pj's, I think I would go give them a piece of my mind. Thanks to our Honeywell fans in the boys rooms (very good idea for only $11) they will sleep like the dead through anything. Maybe I should go get one for myself, although I am scared I wouldn't hear the monitors if the boys needed me. I am trying to look at the bright side, I got to enjoy cup #1 of my coffee this morning alone. Fact about me: I LOVE coffee. I like to have it first thing in the morning, I like two cups, and I like it very creamy with vanilla coffee mate. I recently read that one of the most important things to buy organic is coffee. When we lived in Memphis, we were turned on to a brand that is roasted there called Ugly Mug. When we moved, I began doing the research to find out if I could order it, and was so happy when I could have a 5 pound bag of Saving Grace (my favorite blend) sent to my doorstep for $37. I was paying $8 for a half pound bag at the store. I also found out on their website, that the beans are organic, and because they pay such a good price for their beans, children in many developing countries are being schooled and clothed with the extra money that the farmers are being payed for their coffee. You can't beat that. So, if you are a coffee lover, check out uglymugcoffee.com and read about the fair trade prices that they offer. I think once you try a cup, you will be hooked. Happy Thursday; I think I hear my big boy (Owen is no longer a baby, and I am having withdrawals) waking now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

1 Year Old













































































We took Owen to the doctor today for his well baby visit, and he weighed in at 20 lbs. 4 oz (15%) and 29 in (25%) and head circumference at 18 3/4 (80 %). So, he is a little guy with a big head! You should see how much this boy eats and the size of his belly: you wouldn't believe he was only bigger than 15-25% of babies his age. We got the go ahead to turn the car seat around, but I err on the cautious side (I have read several studies that say rear facing is best until 30 lbs) and will probably wait until his legs are out of room back there. He doesn't mind; he likes playing with Micah. Matt and I have seen them hold hands back there and it makes us so happy! The doctor says that Owen is on track developmentally and looks very healthy. He is on the quiet side, but we have heard him speak several words including: mama, dada, mi (micah), yaya (Ellie, our dog) ni-ni (night night and no no, you have to use context), bi (bite), bre (bread, also all food), bada (banana), and duh (duck). He loves to dance, can wave, do his shape sorter, stack his nesting cups, and do sign language for more, please, and all done. He loves to be part of the family. He always wants to be doing what we are doing, especially Micah; but he has a side of him that will play independently too. He is still very content, unless he is in teeth pain. His poor gums are still so swollen. We thought we had gotten somewhere last night as a friend and I witnessed a huge piece of tooth that had pierced his gums. Just as we were talking about how much relief he would soon feel, we could no longer find the sliver in his bright red gums. I hope he will soon have relief from this.
He did get all his shots today after the doctor reassured us that this is what is best for our child. It is hard for me to see so much vaccine put into such a little boy. I ask myself is Owen really going to get hepatitis, or die from chickenpox? The doctor said he witnessed a child die from chickenpox, and I cannot argue with that. As parents, we have to do what we think is best for our children, and trust that the Lord will answer our prayers to keep them safe and healthy. I could go on a tangent the previous statement, but I will save it for a later post.
Owen's birthday party was a success. Our boys are very introverted, and prefer small crowds, so we invited immediate family. We served a light lunch of honey pecan chicken salad on cranberry walnut bread, penne pasta salad with new york strip and arugula, and assorted fruit. I ordered his big cake from a bakery for the adults. It was a two layer yellow cake with sliced strawberries and whipped cream icing, and it was fabulous. Owen is allergic to milk and eggs, so I searched and searched for a cake without these ingredients. I found one, and made him his own personal cake with grape juice, wheat flour, wheat germ, margarine, and baking powder. He loved it. He had a similar reaction as Micah to his first cake: "am I allowed to make a big mess, and I don't know if I want this sticky stuff all over me. Help Mama, please!" He received many fun gifts including a bubble lawn mower, a tractor, some bubbles, and new shoes. Owen loves shoes. After seeing some pictures of Dylan in her Toms shoes, we had to get some for Owen; he didn't want to take them off. He also got some Umi shoes, which will hopefully be easy for him to walk in. On his actual birthday, we gave him his new car. It has a seat belt and a parent steering wheel. He loved Micah's tricycle, but couldn't ride it because he was too small. Today, we took them for a walk with their bikes, and Owen was so happy to be just like his big brother. Micah gave him a few high fives as he sped past! I could go on and on about our precious boy. We love him so much and have bitter sweet feelings about him growing up. I am excited to see him running around the yard this summer, but I still want my sweet baby too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Owen!


Happy First Birthday Owen!
We love you so much.

"The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And give you peace, and give you peace forever."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lots of Babies




Last week was also busy because we were taking care of a friend's little boy, Oliver. We had so much fun and the boys enjoyed making a new
friend. Also pictured is our new highchair from IKEA. It was a great buy, and I highly recommend it. For $25, it is lightweight, easy to clean, and very functional. I am a big fan of highchairs. I use them for lots of things other than eating. It is a great way to get the boys focused on an activity because they can't run around and get distracted. It is definitely where most of the "learning time" takes place. It is also great for playdough, coloring, and keeping them still while I unload the dishwasher!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Zoo





I think I have mentioned this before, but I have this complex about trying to keep everything in the right order. So, even though I want to post about Owen's birthday party, I have yet to sort through all the pictures, and I have a few that belong first! I meant to post these last week as mentioned in the previous post. Although,
I had good intentions, I came down with tonsillitis ("not so awesome," in the words of Micah). Thankfully, they have those walk in clinics at Kroger that stay open till 8, so I was able to get an antibiotic and feel a little better for the party. And, Nana arrived a day early, which was a huge blessing as she helped tremendously. Thanks, Mom for helping! I will do a separate post for the party though so stay tuned. These pictures are from our trip to the zoo last weekend. We bought a zoo pass this year (a great investment because the boys only really have fun for an hour or two, and we don't have to feel like we wasted our money on such a short trip!) This was one of hopefully many zoo trips. It was a little cold, but we were able to get around to many of the animals. Owen tired out towards the end, but he is such a trooper and didn't mind napping in the stroller. Micah loved the Siamang (a monkey) the best this time. I suspect his favorite will change frequently. Another great thing about the zoo pass is that you can bring a guest, so Gramps (Matt's dad) joined us this time.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

So Much to Say










Well, we have been quite busy the past few days and I hope to have several new pictures posted by the end of the day. I like to choose the pictures and then do a chore while they upload. The boys are doing very well. We are enjoying playing outside, and are trying to teach Owen to walk so he can get down from the swing and play. Now, I have to walk beside him holding his hand, so that he can slide down the baby slide, kick the ball, and chase bubbles. I love this really, but after 20 minutes or so, my back has had about all it can take, and Micah is no where near ready to go in. It will be much easier, and I suspect more fun for Owen, when he can run around on his own. He is getting more brave and will let go and stand for a minute or so, he is just still too nervous to take those steps on his own. I am weaning him down to just one hand when I walk with him, so he can learn to keep his balance better. I will give a more detailed update next week after his checkup and birthday. Micah is being a great big brother, and is teaching Owen how to climb up and go down the slide. He also loves to select a special song for Owen when he wakes up from his nap. In some of these pictures, he was teaching Owen how to do "Big Jumps" off the perch (toy box) in the playroom. The dressy ones are from picture day (Micah didn't even end up getting his picture made because it was too crazy. Matt and I are thinking we will have a photographer just come and snap pictures of us all playing outside, so we can hopefully avoid the anxiety of sitting still for a picture!)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Loves a Challenge




Owen is quite the adventurer these days. I left him for a minute in the playroom, and when I returned, he was on top of the toy box! He loves climbing into things especially our cabinets. Then he proceeds to take all Dada's toiletries out of his basket and put them back in. He loves to empty and fill baskets (always has.) He will also create obstacle courses for himself. Matt and I laugh as he circles around the playroom going under the table and around the ottomans, over the pillow, and then around again. He has made his course more challenging the past couple of days by going under the chairs as well. He knows they are too low for him, and he insists on learning how to duck his head so he won't bonk it. It is funny because he is still cautious (he proceeds very slowly, so the bonk won't hurt) but it is like he thinks "I know I can figure this one out." Another cute thing he does lately is a combination wave. He has figured out when to wave (bye bye, hello, or when he wants me to take him to another part of the house) but he does a full arm flap first, then a inward open and close fist (like he is waving at himself), then he will turn it around and open and close his fist toward the new person or direction he wants to go. Micah's waves changed, but he never did them all at the same time. Owen is also cutting his top two teeth, which is always interesting. I hate teething because it is such a long process (it literally takes months for each set to cut through.) He had a sliver in the other day and was feeling so good, but then his gums swelled so much that the gum closed up over his tooth. This in turn makes the gum tougher because of scar tissue, and so I feel like we are back where we started with restlessness, which is his main symptom. He has a really hard time relaxing to take a nap. This happens to Micah too (he is also finishing up his top molars.) So, yesterday we had two babies fighting naps. They were in their rooms for two hours; Micah never fell asleep, and Owen finally did after an hour or so. Owen just talks, and stands up and throws his paci (so frustrating) and Micah rolls around and listens to his iPod or talks to himself. We have a rule in this house: when it is naptime, you lay down in your bed. I can't make them sleep, but we all need a rest. The problem with this lack of sleep is that it makes for more disobedience and defiance, which makes for a harder afternoon/evening. Generally, our boys are amazing sleepers (12 hour nights, and 2-3 hour naps) so I know I just have to wait out this storm. I just want to fix the problem, and unfortunately their is no cure; we just have to wait.