For Daddy...

My husband graduates from PA school on Thursday and we're so proud of him! We've had some tough spots in these last few years, but I think we've done pretty well considering all the challenges we've had. You know, challenges like having a baby, moving three times, living with family members, buying a house, expecting baby number two, no income, lots of bills, applying for PA jobs...And on top of all of that, Joel has managed to do very well in school and secure himself a great job. Amazing! We will also be celebrating our fifth anniversary on September 1st! What a big, big week for our family! We miss you, Joely! We can't wait to see you very soon...


Wanna see my tummy?

You all get an insider's view into this lovely little world of pregnancy. I thought that I would share a picture of my belly every now and then to keep you updated on how my girth is expanding. Don't worry, you will never see a bare tummy. Yucky:) So, here it is...the headless, 15 weeks pregnant tummy. I have to say, though, that the bump looks bigger in person. Maybe I was flexing? You'll just have to come see me to find out how much bigger! More to come- oh yeah!

I'm a winner!!

I have The Blog Of The Day for my post, No Faking! I can't believe I got an award...I feel honored! And all this time, I've been embarrassed about writing it in the first place. Looks like it has now got me a place of honor. I better get caught up on blogging now:)

Thank you for the award and the nominations!



Daring to Dream...

My little sister has started her very own blog and so....look out people, this is going to be good:) You should head over to Kelsey's place when you have time. I'm sure you'll soon love her like so many of us do!

Daring to Dream


Thursday Thirteen: August 24

Thirteen reasons I'm excited for the fall season:)

Okay...so I know that my last post was slightly related to the change of seasons, but now I can't get it off of my mind. Maybe if I write out a list, I can relax a bit and enjoy the end of summer while we have it!

1. The colors! The foliage around here is just amazing! I hope to go on some small family trips to explore the beauty.
2. The coziness of lighting candles and snuggling up with a blanket
3. Pumpkin Patches
4. Cooking: Almost everything I like to make is best suited for the fall and winter (see below)
5. We'll be that much closer to meeting our new baby! So here is the way I see it...we'll have the lovliness of fall, the joy of the Christmas season, and then BABY!
6. Local apples at farmer's markets and stores
7. Making lots and lots of applesauce. I have a (not so) secret ingredient in my recipe: raw sugar!
8. Our upcoming Halloween party with family and friends
9. Dressing Parker up in a super-cute costume...
10. Which I might just make by myself
11. Wearing sweaters and real shoes (instead of Chaco's and flip-flops!)
12. Jumping in leaves with Joel and Parker
13. Husband will start his first PA job on Oct. 1 and then we'll get a paycheck! I could make a whole list of things that will be great about this. Maybe next time...:)

For more lists like this, please visit Thursday Thirteen!


Tomato Soupa!

I am starting to feel the change of seasons and I'm getting excited for fall! Actually, it is still really hot here, but you know how you can feel things change when school starts for students and people start staying home more instead of vacationing? In past years, I haven't been quite ready for fall to come, but I think that living in a hotter climate has made me very ready for it! So, in honor of the end of August and the upcoming days of coziness to come, we have a very yummy tomato soup recipe from Everyday Food.

  • 4 Tbls. real butter
  • 2 Tbls. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbls. tomato paste
  • 2 springs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (28 oz each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice (the recipe says you can use the kind with basil already added but I like to be in control of my own herbs and spices. I add my own basil, oregano, and garlic to tase)
What to do... 1. In a 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add oil and onion, season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste, cook one minute

2. To saucepan, add thyme, broth, and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with your fingers. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, 30 minutes. (Remove thyme sprigs before blending.)

3. Working in several batches, puree half (or more!) of the soup in a conventional blender until smooth; return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. (Make sure you hold a hand towel tightly over the blender to prevent the pressure from popping the top off when blending.) Serve immediately, or let cool to room temperature before dividing among airtight containers (leaving 1 inch of space at the top and freezing.)

notes: I believe this soup is best when you let the tomatoes rule; don't go overboard on the herbs and spices. This recipe makes a ton of soup so cutting the recipe in half would be fine for a small family.


Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things that I want to say at this very second...

1. I woke up nauseated today
2. So I'm sorta grumpy
3. I have the stupidest can opener in the world (Is "stupidest" a word?) Oh, and it took me ten minutes yesterday to open two cans. Ridiculous.
4. I feel really embarrassed about my post about my floor. I think I made people feel nervous to come to my house. Totally not my intention:( Should I erase it?
5. This list is going to get more positive in just a second. I promise.
6. My sister comes home in...let's see...30 hours or so:)))
7. I love making soup and I think it is the best thing I make.
8. I have a great tomato soup recipe...do you want to see it?
9. I'm really excited because Parker and I kind of got on a new schedule yesterday (finally!)
10. I feel big right now.
11. But that is okay, right? I'm pregnant for goodness sakes!
12. I bought this at Motherhood Maternity and I feel so much better!
13. So now I can wear my regular jeans and shirts and, really...what could be better?

If you would like to read more lists like this, visit Thursday Thirteen!


Family Fun...

The first picture is of Audrey and Parker looking quite angelic in Grandma and Grandpa's wagon. Could they be any cuter? The next is the action shot of the very next second: Parker falling off the wagon and Audrey with a suspicious hand on his back! She didn't mean to push and Parker forgave her very fast:) Oh, cousins...

We spent the weekend with family up at my parent's place. We had so much fun just relaxing with the family and watching the two little ones play with one another. The only bummer: Kelsey couldn't be with us this time. She is, of course, off on her summer adventure! We were able to spend time with my brother and his little family, who live across the state. We sure wish we could see them more often. Parker especially misses little Audrey. He would get pretty sad when she would go to bed and then didn't understand why she had to leave to go home. They have such different personalities but they really got along well.


No Faking

So... I've come to the conclusion that you just cannot fake a clean, hardwood floor. Our floor in our house is almost completely a dark Oak (except for the kitchen and bathroom). It is really beautiful and one of the reasons we fell in love with our little treasure in the first place. I like being able to know that my floor is really clean. With carpet, you never really know what is underneath all of that cushy lovliness, do you? I mean, it might feel good but are you always in the presence of filth?! If my floor looks clean, it really is. I like being authentic:) It is a lot of work but really worth the battle. I sweep constantly and mop all the time but there always seems to be a lonely crumb here and there.

A little sidenote: I feel really blessed when people take off their shoes before coming into my house. How respectful! I can't help but feel panic when I see dirty shoes leaving a mess. Anyway...back to the real subject.

As I was mopping last night, I was thinking about how it is easier to be authentic as a person, when we have less to cover up with...kind of like carpet over a hardwood floor. Joel and I are in the process of trying to simplify our life. We intentionally bought a small home with the hope of living a "smaller" life with less material things. So many people have made comments about this being our starter home when, in reality, we hope to stay here for a very long time. We are trying not to be swept up in the trend of buying more and more and moving up and up. What is the point? I think that if we got on that track, we might end up cluttering our lives with so many "things" that we may have a much harder time being our authentic selves...a harder time being the people God intended us to be. I want to live my life like a hardwood floor. If it is messy, I want that to be clear to those who know me well. If my life is looking good, I also want that to be apparent. I don't want to have the option of faking it...kinda like my floor! It is a lot of work but certainly worth the battle.

By the way, if you come into our house and don't feel comfortable taking off your shoes, I will really be okay with that:) Honest.


Fun at the lake

Parker had fun with Daddy and with Winston at the lake on Sunday. What a nice, relaxing day! How do you like Parker's hot bathing suit?!


Baby on my mind...

I've got serious baby-brain right now. I keep thinking about this little one...how big it is right now, if it is a boy or girl, what we should name him/her. So many thoughts and still so much time!! We've found a girl name that we really love and we have had a boy name but now we're not so sure. It was totally the other way around with Parker! So, needless to say, I do a bit of searching online about my current favorite subject.

I really like the Social Security Administration website. You can see what the most popular baby names were for a specific year and even search for a specific name to see what it ranked for a span of years. Very interesting. I find myself searching friend's names, just out of curiousity! I don't really care if our baby has a sorta popular name...just not in the top 20 or something...and certainly not made-up:) I also frequent this fetal development site that I found when pregnant with Parker. It is so interesting to see how the baby grows and mom's body changes. I think it is funny to see how the intestines have to move out of the way!!

Anyway, this is what I do in my spare time and I thought I'd share these great sites!


Five Ingredient Friday

Pizza Friday

Joel and I used to always make pizza together on Friday every week. This tradition is slowly coming back into play after about a year hiatus as we were moving from place to place and didn't have our beloved pizza stone!

We make our dough in our breadmaker on the dough/pasta setting. This 1.5 lb crust actually has 6 ingredients but we just won't count the water as one:)

7-8 oz of water
1/2 tea. coarse salt
2 Tbl. olive oil (or canola oil for a flakier crust)
2 Tbl. honey (this is my secret ingredient!)
3 cups flour
1.5 tea. active dry yeast

Combine all ingredients into bread pan. Select Dough/Pasta setting. Press Start/Stop. When the unit signals and the display reads 0, press Start/Stop and remove dough.

Spread a few Tbl. of cornmeal onto a pizza stone or pizza pan. Pat dough into pan and let stand for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread desired sauce and garnishes on top and bake 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Here is a little extra tip for making some excellent pizza sauce:

1 can tomato sauce (I think 12 oz or so)
1 little can tomato paste
1 Tbl. Italian seasoning
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 tea. sugar
1/2 tea. salt

Combine all ingredients together and then simmer on low for about 10 minutes. This makes enough sauce for two pizzas.

*We actually cooked our pizza on the grill a few weeks ago and we loved it!

For more five ingredient recipes, visit Overwhelmed With Joy...


This baby is real!

Since Parker is currently eating Cherrios off of the floor (his new favorite hobby), I have time to give a quick update on our first OB appointment we had yesterday. Can't believe I just admitted that my son was eating off of the floor. I know most people are fine with this but it is different when you put it in writing! Parker has been enjoying eating his snacks in his little red chair (thanks grandma!) and then dumps his cup of snacks on the floor and crunches them with his feet. I think I should get the mother of the year award for this one:)

Anyway, back to the OB appointment. I love the place and all the workers so far. They all loved Parker and asked us to bring him back next time. They made everything so easy and I was able to pick the Doc that will be with us through the pregnancy. He is much like the Doc that delivered Parker. He's an outdoorsy guy...in his 50's...a grandpa...and GOOFY! Just perfect! We did the usual stuff that becomes routine at OB checks. They checked my weight, blood pressure, talked to me about symptoms and what to expect this month, etc.

The best part of the visit was getting to hear the heartbeat! It was much different that when we heard Parker's HB for the first time. When trying to find Parker's HB for the first time, all they had to do was put the doppler right on my tummy and, bam, there he was! His HB was unusually fast (high 170's to 180's) everytime because he was always moving. We always heard his little arms and legs swishing around. The doctor would always ask what I was feeding the little squirt. And the boy is still moving...he never stops. This new baby, however, is a little more relaxed I think. It took a little while for the nurse to find the bean and then when she did, the HB was 162 and we didn't hear much movement. Parker's heart was never in this range...it sort of shocked me! Maybe this baby actually sleeps or maybe he/she is shy and didn't want to be heard? I'm already comparing my kids...this could be a bad sign. It was so wonderful to hear my new baby's heartbeat. I feel more attached and reality has really sunk in about having a new baby. I'm really looking forward to it. Having an infant around the house seems so easy now and I think Parker will be a great big brother. I can't wait until the next appointment!


More camping...

Check out Aleah's post about our camping experience. She has more pictures and more details about our trip....and she has a beautiful, not so little family:)

Here is a pic that Aleah sent of Joel and Parker. Aren't my boys good looking?



How do you get a human poop stain off of a carpet? Need tips now!!

I changed Parker's diaper on the floor after his nap and didn't know he had a blowout. Now we have smeared poop on our light colored rug.....what to do...what do do?

Splatter paint thoughts...

Sometimes I cannot figure out what I want to write about because I have so many little things running through my head. Here are a few...

~I found this picture of Parker on our camera this morning. Joel must have taken it when I was in the shower. Parker thinks he is so cool in his shades and my hat!

~I'm tired of eating. I never thought I'd say that but I am so hungry and everything sounds gross. Well, not everything. I'd really like to eat a box of maple bars but I.will.not.eat.those.things:) If I told you everything I ate yesterday, you would be amazed.

~You know what is better than a totally helpless baby that needs to be cuddled all the time? An independent little one who chooses to be cuddled. Parenting gets better and better everyday.

~Joel and I have decided that responsibility sometimes stinks. I'm sure you will all agree...

~I'm learning that I have an easier time forgiving people who hurt me than forgiving people who hurt those that I love. It is an ugly thing that I'm trying to work on.

~Parker got three shots yesterday and it was a very traumatic experience for both of us. He is at the age that he is old enough to remember what happens in that office but young enough to not understand that it will be over very soon. He cried the entire appointment leading up to the shots. The nurses were arguing about how to administer the shot while I was pinning Parker down and he was having a panic attack. Whatever happened to the cartoon bandaids and lollipops? They could have made him feel a ton more comfortable. We will not be going back to that office again. Can you tell that my mama bear claws are coming out as I write? We did find out that he's growing and developing very well. Parker is still a little squirt...which really surprises me because I think he looks totally normal.

~Gina and I have made a goal that we will both try to make it a point to recognize other children's character before their appearance. So before telling a little one that her dress is cute, tell her that she is a very kind person or that she shares very well. It actually is harder than it sounds. I challenge you all to try to do the same...

~I have my first OB appointment tomorrow and I'm really hoping to hear the heartbeat. I remember when we first heard Parker's little heart. It is something that I'll never forget.

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*WIFE* to a great man *MAMA* to Parker, Griffin & Hollyn *BLESSED* to be living out this dream & always... longing to be *LOVELY*

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