apples for today

When Parker was a baby and my husband was finishing up his last year in PA school, we spent time living with family members as Joel moved from one rotation to the next. To welcome a family member to live with you is one thing, but to welcome a family with a baby is something totally different! Many thanks to our family for the many gracious acts throughout those years.

Parker was four months old when we moved in with my grandparents. We have so many amazing memories together and those months will always hold a special place in my heart. One memory in particular...

My grandparents walked with me as I pushed Parker in the stroller to go find the apple tree we spotted earlier in the vacant lot. We were armed with grocery sacks to collect our find! They helped me collect tons and tons of free apples and we then loaded them up in the stroller in every way possible. We made applesauce together...and I think it was the very best I've ever tasted. And it was FREE, which always makes things taste great. Even better, though, are the memories we made together during the process.

Each year since then, I've made my own applesauce. I can't help it...I just can't. I feel like I could make some everyday if people would eat it. I love slicing and peeling, adding my special spices and making the house smell delicious. You know how scents take you back to a particular moment in your history? I'm always amazed with this. Every batch of applesauce I make brings me back to that day. I love that! I guess it is a good thing we live in apple country!

This year, my mom went up north with us to get our apples. It was such a perfect Fall morning....ice cream and scones to top it off:) I've made two pots of applesauce and now I'm in the process of making Sandy's Apple Butter. Yummy!

My Recipe

Two kinds of apples, enough to fill a large slow cooker...maybe 12 apples (I used Jonagold and Fuji this year)
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup raw sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg

Peel and slice apples and mix all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low overnight. Mash with a potato masher in the morning and there you go, breakfast for all. Freezes well. Oh, and it is good warm with vanilla ice cream. What isn't?


my darlings

Oh, how I wish I had the time to write...I'm in the mood to write! But I need to get dinner started before the boys wake up and we head out on a walk. I thought we were going to slow down this month...not so far. I'm actually fine with that because life has been full of good things lately.

I've recently pulled out some of some of my favorite clothes for Griffin that Parker wore when he was a baby. I get a bit sentimental about some of the items--like the outfit above! (Aleah, do you recognize something?!) I put Griffin in an outfit today that brought back so many memories from when Parker was a baby. Funny thing is, Parker wore this stuff when he was older. I didn't realize how small Parker was as a baby until Griffin started wearing all of his old clothes at a younger age. Oh yeah, that is Parker on the right, Griffin on the left--just in case it was hard to tell!

And just because I can, here is a good shot of Parker on the swings today...

Maybe I'll have a chance to write soon. Until then...


Delayed Gratification

Some of the last sunflowers from the summer. They're from a friend's yard...I tend to kill plants.

Delayed Gratification
...I used to hear my parents use this term all of the time and it usually meant something I didn't want to hear. This weekend, we had a little bit of delayed gratification. There was an itty bitty mix-up and Joel ended up needing to work the weekend instead of spending a family weekend together. Kind of a strange turn of events, but now that he has worked the weekend, he gets both Monday and Tuesday off. Nice! I actually didn't mind that I was alone with the kids because we had a fun weekend anyway....friends and family galore:) Now it is time for our weekend and we hope to do a whole lot of nothing...together.

Griffin has been a Mr. Grumpy Pants. I think he's getting some teeth ...or he's sick...or he's nervous about his new-found mobility...or this is his new disposition. Hope not on that last one! However, he's pretty cute crawling (actually lunging) all over the floor. Oh, and Parker....he's been showing us how he learned to break dance! Someday, I will catch it on video. Some recent random pictures...


some offical starts...

Fall officially starts on Sunday, but Fall actually came to my part of the woods earlier this week. Last week, we were still using our air-conditioning, we ate dinner in the park on a warm evening, and I think I might have even complained about it still being HOT. I actually thought that I would have at least a couple more weeks of griping ;) But no, God has spared you all and I am pleased to announce that there will be no griping about the weather for a couple of months! Just as everyone else, it seems, loves this delightful season, I am so glad it is finally here-for real.

Today was a Rosie Thomas, coffee in hand, wrap up in a blanket and slippers with a book sort of day. Not that I did all of that, but I sure wanted to and it felt like it would have been appropriate behavior for this blustery Thursday. Instead, it was a coffee with friends/playdate and make the first trip to the gym with the kids kind of day. The coffee with friends was wonderful, but to be really honest, I was so not looking forward to our first trip to the gym. It isn't that I don't want to work out, but it is the whole process I was dreading...you know, getting everything and everyone packed up and driving down town? Plus, I'd rather exercise outside in the fresh air.

We're fairly active people, but now that things are cooling down, we are trying to be proactive about making sure we stay healthy all year long. For me, not exercising is not an option. I have to do it for myself and my family. I've found that if I go too long with out working out, I tend to be more anxious, my energy level plummets and I'm not a lot of fun to be around. So this is something I have to do. Yeah, it is a bit of a pain to go to the gym, but I think everyone will benefit. Oh, and did I mention the very best part? We get free childcare!! The kids get to play and I get to have an hour break. Splendid!

I'm a little giddy about it right now, but ask me in the morning how I feel...I worked out muscles this afternoon that haven't been worked in maybe three years... we're talking pre-Parker pregnancy. Oh, joy!


Do you think they're related?

Seriously, this little guy doesn't look like his daddy, does he?! Holy schmoly...I have no idea who his mom is:))

I do have little things to blog about and I had planned on doing that tonight, however, we decided to watch The Departed after the boys went to bed. I love watching movies with my husband....but if you're looking for a funny, inspirational, pick-me-up, movie, full of life and loveliness...do not watch this one! Definitely a well done movie, though....especially if you like bullets!



A quote I read on Liz's blog a while ago...

In "Tender Mercy for a Mother's Soul" Angela Thomas says..."In motherhood, I have come to know the weakest parts of myself. I see where other moms are more and I am less. I feel the weight of wanting to be all and struggling to be in part. There are more hardships and difficulties than I could have ever anticipated. To love my family, care for a home, and pursue my passions is to be confronted with the truth of my weakness. I am not enough. I cannot possibly do it all. But then Jesus speaks and says, 'There-right there in the weakness of motherhood-there is where My power is perfected. My grace in you will be more than enough .' [paraphrase from 2 cor 12:9] And I can rest. I can breath a deep sigh of relief and rest. The power of Christ covers my weak places and supernaturally makes me strong."

I've always liked that "Bloom where you are planted" quote...but I'd like to change it to "Bloom using the seed you've been given" :)

Like a lot of women, I often dwell on what I am not, how I fail to measure up, how I don't fit the mold, and how I'm just not good enough. I have a huge list of things that I'm not gifted in...allow me to share just a few:

*I'm not a great organizer*I forget things*I'm not a linear thinker*not a great multi-tasker*I don't stick to a strict schedule with my children*I'm not super crafty*I don't like to bake*my house isn't always perfectly clean*I don't always follow through*I lose my temper sometimes*I have anxiety*I'm easily overwhelmed*sometimes I don't say the right things at the right time*I don't have a super-neat life of order*I can be lazy*I'm not, I'm not, I'm not....

BUT....I've been thinking a lot about how I've been uniquely created and I've been given a special set of gifts for my role in life. These gifts are more important than the numerous ways that I fail to meet the standard. Now, this isn't intended to be a boastful list, just a way for me to reflect on the gifts God has given me, instead of the areas in which I struggle...

*I'm sensitive to my family's needs*I'm a good communicator*I'm resourceful*I have vision and can see the big picture*I'm a thinker*I try to think before I speak*I listen*I am a fun mom--we dance, we sing, we play, we read...lots!*I like to cook*I find humor in tough situations*I can make a house a home*I'm a relaxed mama*I let the kids get dirty*my kids and my husband know I love them because I tell them/show them*I know how to relax*I am a nurturer*I am a passionate person*I love deeply*I love God*I recognize this is a gift....because He loved me first.

Instead of focusing on that first list...I've been thinking, praying about the gifts I do have and have become more thankful for how I have been created. This way, I can be of much more use to everybody...if I can bloom using the seed I've been given!

So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. From Romans 12

I'm sure I'll be coming back to this list once in a while to remind myself of my good intentions:)



Griffin has entered the "fixation" stage of development. I have no idea if it is a stage of development, but I decided to make up a name for my son's obsessive behavior. We could also just call it plain old weird. There are a couple of things that come to mind that have become quite powerful over Griffin:

Spitting: I do believe that little boys are born knowing how to spit--big time. So here is the drill:

Mom puts pureed peas (or whatever) into Griffin's mouth.
Griffin smiles mischievously and lets peas squish out of sides of mouth.
Mom warns Griffin..."Don't even think about it, Mister."
Griffin's eyes light up.
Mom looks for a wash cloth
Griffin leans over the side of the highchair, spits peas out onto floor while smiling, looks at mom and starts to belly laugh.

His stuffed bear:

Griffin has a little stuffed bear that has become his favorite. I didn't realize he was so attached until a couple of days ago. He can no longer have it in bed with him because he will never sleep. He wrestles the little bear and tries to eat him. This went on for an hour and a half this morning...starting at 5 am.

The Huggies Wipes Dispenser: This one is the most mysterious and the most powerful of all.

If Griffin happens to have the wipes dispenser in view, he cannot rest until he touches it. No, until he licks it. When we change his diaper, we must keep it out of sight. If we don't and he sees it, we have a full-on tantrum. Yes, seven months old and he pulls out a temper-tantrum. I have said he has a strong will! You should see Griffin's face when he actually gets to touch (lick!) the darn container. Pure bliss:)



Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.

~Ashleigh Brilliant

I was talking with a family member the other day about how we agree whole-heartedly with this quote. I think this Ashleigh Brilliant person is, indeed, brilliant. I'm still sick, and unless I stay fairly loaded up with ibuprofen or Tylenol, I feel constant muscle aches. So I'm just exhausted and achey.

I was so tired after lunch today that I desperately tried to get both boys to bed early so I could rest. I never nap during the day because, as you know, there is just too much to get done. But it was one of those times when I could barely get the words out straight as I was tucking Parker in...I was that tired. I left the disaster in the house for later--food smeared over the floor and all- and hit the sack. For Two Hours!!! I was so giddy when I woke up, I didn't even care much that my body ached. I had just take a two hour nap during the day....and best of all, the boys were still sleeping! It was glorious. I highly recommend the adult nap in the middle of the day--we all need a little rest and refreshing once in a while. However, it is now 7 pm and I'm ready for bed again...


Fun In September Sun

I am battling a bit of a cold or something and feel just slightly under the weather...but I don't mind at all. Being a tad sick physically is so much better than feeling anxiety ridden. Oh, so much better. Thank you for all of the words of encouragement and for your prayer. I promise you...I've felt it. While on Friday I felt as though I couldn't see beyond my little world inside my head...I now feel as though I have my vision back.

We spent Sunday afternoon helping my dad celebrate his birthday. Last year we went up north to pick blackberries and we did it again this year. I hope that it is now set in stone to be tradition. The grandkids were "helping" my parents pick berries and push the wagon so I was able to spend some time alone hunting down the good ones. I could hear my loved ones chattering away as I filled my box. It was therapeutic and nice. After picking all of my berries, I realized I didn't know what I was going to do with them. I guess I got carried away. Remember, I don't bake. I made jam last year but I'm not sure if I want to do that again. I'm tempted to try something simple....but even "simple" can turn into a disaster. So....I let Parker eat blackberries for lunch today. He had other food but he only at the berries. I hope his system likes them:)

Griffin loves his baths with Parker. I am beginning to think that pictures in the mirror are going to be our thing...since they started while he was in utero:)

In other news, Griffin turned seven months on Friday. I need to record it here because I'm better at keeping this blog up than I am at keeping up the baby book. SEVEN MONTHS! He's practically a preschooler now:) I was just telling Joel yesterday that I believe that Griffin is such an answer to prayer. Along with praying for his character and such while I was pregnant, I begged God to allow me to have a baby that didn't spit up. You see, Parker didn't spit up...he tossed up his meals 20-30 times a day. It was really fun. Really, I was terrified of that happening again because it made Parker's first year quite challenging. Anyway, Griffin barely spits up and he's is such a happy baby. He soooo social, but he also doesn't mind playing on his own. He is very sensitive, but he also has a strong will...which is pretty cute right now. He really is a delight and the perfect fit for our family. He sits up and is working on crawling. He plays with toys, plays in his walker and squeals when he's happy...or frustrated. He loooooves to eat....everything. Oh, and he still sleeps like a dream child. Griffin continues to be so easy to love. I love you Baby Griffin!

edited for the record: 17 lbs, 13 oz....27 inches. Began crawling on 9.20. Well, scooting...but he gets from A to B like none other:)



So I wasn't lying when I said in my last post that I had a good, busy week. It is true...but in that last post, I was trying to reflect and be thankful for the very lovely parts of my week instead of all of the anxiety going on in my head. I think I've always struggled with anxiety and some periods of time are better than others. In the last couple of weeks, I have been overwhelmed by anxiety. So overwhelmed. The strange thing is that I don't even know what I'm worrying about. Life is actually so good right now and it makes me mad that I'm anxious over nothing. But it feels like everything. I've even felt anxious about writing this post for fear of making this sound better or worse than it actually is. I'm feeling well today, but yesterday was very bad and I felt like a big, fat failure. I don't have a pretty picture to present to you and I can't tell you a happy ending to this story...yet. But this is what I know: God is working on this heart of mine...and I have been promised that He will restore my soul.

I'm finally writing this post because I was encouraged by a couple of women today. They happen to be sisters, but one lives in another part of the country and another lives here. I really look up to both of them. They are both smart and funny, very cool, amazing mothers and best of all, they don't even pretend to have it all together. I ran into the older sister in the Target parking lot. We literally talked for a couple of minutes, but in that time we shared some of our similar feelings about our place in life at the moment. And just by my friend sharing her struggles, I was so encouraged because I was reminded that I'm not the only one here. I climbed into my car feeling like my heart was so much lighter. And then, I just sat down here at my computer to find an email from the younger sister that made my heart jump again. Basically, she related to some of my blog posts, wrote some really sweet things... her encouraging words were the exact words I needed to hear. Whenever I am around these two women, I go away feeling refreshed because they are so darn honest and humble and make me want keep trudging forward. Thank you both so much.

I feel good today. Hmmm...maybe it was that Target run? Or maybe the home fragrance I just bought at Bath & Body Works? Pumpkin Spice...so great! Maybe a little...but today I needed to relate to women and I did. I still feel some anxiety about posting things about my anxiety:) I wish that I had it all together, but I don't and I don't want to pretend. I want to encourage people in my life and I'm learning that the only way I can do that is by being honest. So, there you have it! Someday, I might be able to write a happy ending!


a much needed thursday 13

I once had this naive, totally ridiculous, uninformed thought that my life would slow down once I became a stay at home mom. Seriously, I didn't tell people that, but I actually believed it a little bit. Oh, dear... can you believe that? I am 10 times busier now and not just as far as activities go...my brain doesn't stop. This week has been busier than normal. A very good busy, but I really feel like I need to sit down and reflect just a bit. So, thirteen lovely things about this week...

-Some good talks with my husband.
-Our small group starting up again for the year. I love this group...they are our church family and I feel like we're home again.
-The real Parker (the one who is nice to me, sweet, and talks instead of screams:) is back.
-Much needed talks with my parents.
-This passage in scripture...He let me catch my breath.
-Griffin delighting me with his non-stop jabber. I think that once he really starts talking--he won't stop. He's a yapper!
-Learning things about myself. Okay, so this one is good only after the lesson is learned!
-Spending more time with my brother, sister-in-law and their kiddos...Parker and Audrey in the bathtub. So funny!
-Spending time with my friend, Gina and her son, Winston.
-Girls night out! I go out once a month with some really fun girls. None of the others have kids yet and we're all in different stages of life...it is so refreshing to chat and hang out with them. -Can't wait till next month!
-I saw the first signs of fall coming...a yellow leaf in the park. I'm so excited!
-It is Jenn's birthday today and she is altogether lovely:) Jenn, Happy Birthday! You are loved!

For more lists, visit Thursday Thirteen.


our holiday weekend...

We actually didn't have a Labor Day weekend because Joel worked yesterday...however, it was "our holiday", as we celebrated our 6th anniversary! Here are some pictures from the weekend...

*edit* I added in the photo I used to make the anniversary card. It is the only one I have scanned in. We look like kids....we were!

Our anniversary gift to ourselves. It is hanging in our living room.

My attempt to take a picture of us at lunch. Next time I’ll
ask the waiter...:)

Griffin is always laughing! I have no idea wh
y the sky was so funny:)

Daddy and his big boy...the most tenderhearted little boy I’ve ever met.

The chicken marsala at DRG. Simply amazing.

Aren‘t they so precious?.


Six years...

My anniversary card for my husband. Thought I would share some highlights with you all. If you click on the picture, you can read the text.

We get to go on a date today...really looking forward to some time as just the two of us!

About Me

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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*

Our Family

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